One of the key techniques in baseball is knowing how to hold a baseball bat. Not only how to properly grip your baseball bat, but knowing how to do it in a way that ensures proper bat control and bat speed.
With a proper grip, your body is more relaxed which reduces the probability of you striking out due to having the wrong posture. And with a more relaxed position, you can make split-second adjustments to your hands when in the strike zone.
The steps to having a good strong grip when you hold a baseball bat are simple. This, however, is one of those situations where you get better the more you practice.
Steps to Holding a Baseball Bat
There are six major steps when it comes to learning how to hold a baseball bat correctly.
If you’re training a child, always make sure to use a lighter bat. You’ll progress to more standard baseball bats down the line.
1. Position the Baseball Bat
On the batter’s box, place your baseball bat headfirst on the ground and hold the bat handle with your bottom hand (the non-dominant hand). The bat should be in front of your lead foot i.e., the foot aligning with your bottom hand.
This creates a slight angle for that extra whip.
2. Lightly Grip the Bat
Position the fingers of your bottom hand on the bat handle. To do this, circle your index finger around the baseball bat and ensure your knuckles are pointing toward the barrel.
Keep your other fingers separate from the index finger.
If you have good bat grip with your bottom hand, follow up with your other hand i.e., the top hand. Like the position of your bottom hand’s fingers, bend the index finger of your dominant hand and keep the other fingers separate from it, holding the bat’s handle.
It’s always best to let your fingers control the bat. A comfortable grip and optimal bat control affect your overall performance.
Make sure your knuckles are all aligned and that you have a loose grip. During the swing, your grip will naturally tighten up for a strong hit, so don’t tire yourself out right now.
When aligning your knuckles for proper bat control, you can choose between a box grip and a door-knocker grip.
The box grip is the most popular among power hitters and professional baseball players. It adds more torque to your swing.
Some players, however, still find that the door-knocker grip best suits their abilities.
As per the name, the box grip is where your bat grip resembles a box, your knuckles forming the sides. The door knocker grip, on the other hand, is where your knuckles are aligned through the center of the handle (instead of the sides).
There’s no “correct way” between the two as it all depends on what makes you comfortable. Just make sure it doesn’t result in a weak grip.
3. Use Your Wrists to Your Advantage
When swinging the baseball bat, make sure your wrists are in the proper position to create bat lag. This is the relationship between the bat head and the wrists.
As you swing the bat, your hands will come out first followed by the motion of the bat head. The power you generate in this position is dependent on how your wrists are positioned, which all comes down to proper bat grip.
4. Position Your Body
If your grip is relaxed, your entire body is relaxed. If your grip is tense, your whole body is tense—and you don’t want this in a baseball game.
To enter the strike zone faster and with the most power, save your energy and unleash it when the bat is about to make contact with the ball.
Your bat grip will automatically tighten, but you can also tilt your shoulders before this. This helps you generate even more power.
When holding your bat straight, ensure the palm of your top hand is facing up the bat’s barrel with your bottom hand facing down. When you tighten the grip, the thumb of your top hand will prevent your bat from moving backward.
Once again, ensure the second knuckles are aligned to the first knuckles of the top hand.
5. Prepare for the Swing
When learning how to hold a baseball bat, you’ll almost always follow this up with the swing. To prepare for this, you need to get into the right stance.
Keep your legs apart, a little wider than your shoulder width. The reason for this is to ensure proper balance which enables you to react with maximum swing speed when the ball is coming at you.
If you keep your feet too wide, you sacrifice power. If you keep them too close (overstriding), you sacrifice proper timing of the pitch.
Bend your knees and ensure your weight is balanced on the balls of your feet. This all keeps you positioned in a way that allows you to easily uncoil your upper body into the hit.
To enhance your line of vision, open yourself up a little more until you feel like you can see both the pitcher and the ball.
You want to avoid moving too much, however. This not only affects your concentration but also interferes with your batting grip and stance altogether.
When learning how to hold a baseball bat correctly, don’t force the tilting of your shoulders or any of the above movements. This goes against the premise of reducing as much tension in your body as possible.
If you have trouble with your hits, one simple solution is bringing your middle knuckles closer when you hold the baseball bat. This also helps you avoid hitting a ground ball.
If you feel like you’re having trouble implementing any of these movements or positions, don’t be afraid to start over again and try to focus on just a few things at a time. The most important thing is for you to feel comfortable and confident in your bat grip.
6. Find a Workable Bat Angle
When moving the baseball bat back to gear up more swing speed and power, you can choose to position the bat perpendicular to the ground. It’s not the only favorable angle, however, as you can also position your bat parallel to the ground i.e., lying flat.
Though you’ll have a more direct path to the ball, you won’t generate as much power due to the shorter travel distance.
The more your swing progresses, the more you’ll know what kind of a hitter you are. When you do, over time, you’ll be able to find the angle that works for you.
There’s no one correct way as some contact hitters are fond of even using a combination of the above two.
As a baseball player, and more specifically, a contact hitter, the effectiveness of all bat movements stems from how well you hold a baseball bat. It might seem like a small, insignificant part of the puzzle, but it’s the foundation that holds the scaffolding in place.
While you should always work on your swing and your hit, don’t dismiss sharpening up your bat grip in every practice session.
The good thing here is that it’s the easiest technique to master among the three. As long as you can dedicate the time, you’ll see visible improvement in your batting average in no time.