At virtually every level of baseball, making contact at the plate is the primary goal of any hitter. When a hitter steps up to the plate, the object is to put the ball in play. The art of doing so is called contact hitting.
If you are able to consistently contact the baseball, then your batting average and offensive statistics will eventually reflect that. Here are five tips to help you make better contact with the baseball more often.
Keeping your head in is the number one way to increase contact with the baseball. The natural reflex when a baseball is flying towards the plate is to turn away from the pitch. This is to protect your head and face and it is completely natural. Unfortunately, this natural reflex makes it nearly impossible to hit a baseball consistently. Instead, you have to resist the urge to turn away and keep your head and eyes on the baseball all the way through. In theory you should be able to watch the baseball make contact with your bat.
Occasionally it benefits a hitter who is having trouble making contact to choke up on the bat. This means to hold the bat a little farther away from the end. This increases your bat speed thereby increasing the odds that you will make contact with the ball.
The vast majority of great hitters watch at least one pitch per at bat. Many of them watch even more than that depending upon the count. If you’re struggling with contact, make up your mind that you will watch the first pitch and visualize your swing. If the first pitch is a ball, then you will watch another. Continue this until you have at least one strike against you. This will help you to stay ahead in the count and get better pitches to swing at.
Practice striding through the baseball. If you ever watch a Major league baseball hitter, the vast majority of them step into and through the baseball. Many people that have difficulty making contact with the baseball can attribute it to the fact that they step out with their lead foot. Learning to stride towards the pitcher as opposed to opening up will help you to make better contact with the baseball.
The single most important thing that you can do to increase your contact is to practice. While simple and obvious, you would be amazed at the number of hitters who ignore this simple truth. Time in the batter’s box and in the batting cages will increase your contact exponentially. However much time you put into practicing you will get back as points on your batting average. Get out there and swing that bat!