Baseball players might spend years trying to perfect their swing, and some might even fail in their attempt. However, some hitters have gone beyond the standard swing in baseball by developing an inside-out swing. This technique has benefited players by allowing batters to hit the baseball with more power and drive the baseball to the opposite field. But, what is an inside out swing in baseball?
The inside-out swing in baseball is a type of swing where the barrel of the bat stays inside the hitter’s hands until the hands reach the hitting zone. As the hitter’s hands enter the hitting zone, the hitter accelerates the barrel of the bat toward the ball to cause a powerful impact.
With that brief overview, you still might have some questions about an inside-out swing and wondering how that is different than a regular swing in baseball.
Inside Out Swing vs. Regular Swing
An inside-out swing occurs when the hitter initially keeps their hands in front of the barrel of the bat during their swing. When striking the ball, hitters will hold their bat around 20 or 30 degrees vertically, with the barrel of the bat facing the ground when they are about to strike the ball.
On the other hand, a regular swing starts with the bat head not much behind the hands. Eventually, the bat head gets ahead of the hands at the moment of impact. Also during a typical swing, the bat is almost at a leveled position.
In an inside-out swing, the barrel of the bat, which is the heaviest part, stays behind the plate until the exact moment when the batter hits the ball. Therefore, batters must have strong and quick hands as they need to drive the bat forward from behind in just milliseconds. Not like during regular swings, where the arms, hands, and trunk of the body all move at the same time.
A regular swing also has a very marked characteristic. Constantly, right-handed hitters pull the ball to left field, while left-handed hitters pull the ball to right field. Because of this common scenario, defenses have begun to play the shift, which is a special formation in baseball where the defense shifts to one side of the field because they are expecting the hitter to pull the ball.
However, inside-out swings have different characteristics. Batters direct the ball to the opposite side of the field, which makes it more difficult for fielding players to predict where the ball will be hit.
Inside Out Swing Explained
The inside-out swing can put players a step above their peers. This type of swing gives players the ability to hit the ball to the opposite side of the field and out of reach of the outfielder. So, how do batters stay inside? Here’s the inside-out swing step by step.
First, when batters take their hitting stance they will hold the bat with their hands near their rib cage. During their stride, they move the bat a few inches back before attempting to strike the ball. The point of this movement or mini backswing is to activate the hips, back, and upper legs muscles.
During the swing, the barrel of the bat stays behind the batter’s hands until the hands reach the hitting zone. That means the handle of the bat, the hands, and the body are all in front of the barrel of the bat all the way until the batter’s hands reach the hitting zone. As a result of these movements, hitters have more control over inside pitches and can hit hard line drives to the outfield.
As the batter’s hands enter the hitting zone, their hands, elbow, and back hip are vertically inline, almost perfectly. At this point of the swing, the barrel of the bat is still behind the batter’s hands.
For the next part of the swing, which also means the baseball is getting closer, the batter accelerates the barrel of the bat toward the ball to cause a powerful impact.
When impacting the ball, the batter holds the bat at a negative vertical angle of around 25 degrees and maintains that angle until the ball goes off the bat. This means the barrel of the bat is somewhat pointed towards the ground when the bat makes an impact with the baseball.
For a great visual of the inside-out swing in baseball, check out the video below of Derek Jeter. Here you can see his inside-out swing in slow-motion.
Masters of the Inside-Out Swing
Derek Jeter is probably the most famous inside-out hitter in the history of baseball. Nonetheless, other players left a mark on baseball because of their excellent use of the inside-out swing during their careers. Some of the most famous inside out hitters of baseball are:
All of these players could hit the ball behind the runners, drop hits to the right and left field, and hit home runs.
Benefits of an inside out swing
There’s a reason why the popularity of the inside-out swing is rising nowadays. Those hitters who are able to master the inside-out swing, have developed a precious tool to increase their batting average and contribute more offensively.
The inside-out swing allows batters to hit the ball to the opposite side of the field where they normally wouldn’t hit the ball. For right-handed hitters, it can be especially helpful to bring runners home from third base by placing the ball towards the right side of the field.
However, major league players can also hit home runs with an inside-out swing. This type of swing also helps batters hit the ball out the park down baselines, where stadiums are typically the shortest.
Batters can also use an inside-out swing to easily adjust to inside pitches. An inside pitch regularly forces batters to hit the ball not with the head of the bat but closer to the handle, where the bat is thinner. This results in a weaker impact and most likely a foul or an out. An inside swing allows to strike the ball with the barrel of the bat so that the ball is hit to fair territory and with much more power.
Additionally, an inside-out swing gives batters more time to decide to make a swing or let the pitch pass. Therefore, players can be slightly more selective at the plate.
The Inside Out Swing: A Hitter’s Best Ally
There are numerous benefits to an inside-out swing in baseball, making this type of batting style gain in popularity. It allows hitters to hit an inside pitch to the opposite side of the field, and can also help batters hit home runs. Nevertheless, what makes this type of swing so valuable is that it makes hitters better overall.
With the skill to drop hits in any of the three outfield locations, batters can rest assured that any slumps on their performance will not last for long.