7 Absolutes of How to Hit a Baseball

Baseball hitting drills for more power

About the author: Doug Bernier has played pro baseball for 15 years, including the Rockies, Yankees, Pirates, Twins, and most recently with the TX Rangers.

Because of the different set ups and stances, there are different ways for how to hit a baseball.  But once a hitter gets to the contact point that is where all the differences stop and the absolutes and similarities start.

If you compare Johnny Damon (who has a very open stance and a leg kick), to Albert Pujols (wide stance and has very little movement), and to David Eckstein (gets in his legs a lot, chokes up and stands very close to the plate) you would find that initially they look completely different.

BUT…  when you strip away the pre-pitch rhythm, the leg kicks and all of the other movement that is personal preference, you find that they are a lot alike.

The 7 absolutes are seen at contact.  No matter how a hitter gets to the contact point of his swing, all great hitters do the same thing.

How to hit a baseball – The 7 absolutes of a good swing

Every good hitter will do these 7 things on a perfect swing.  Sometimes, depending on a pitch, not all 7 will be attained every time.  It’s important to remember that hitting is a battle, and sometimes using your athletic ability to hit a ball will trump all the perfect mechanics we will talk about.

1. Hitting against a firm front side.

This doesn’t always mean a stiff leg, you can have a slight bend but this leg is keeping the rest of your body and hands behind the baseball. This leg will stop your forward momentum and start the axis of rotation that you will now be hitting on. This is very important, you lose this firm front side you lose a lot of bat speed and your head movement drastically increases.

2.  Have your back foot on its toe

When you commit your backside and decide to swing, the force you generate going toward the baseball will be abruptly stopped by your firm front side so you can start rotation, what’s left is your back toe on or slightly off the ground.

Pro tips for how to hit a baseball -This article discusses when it might be ok for hitters to have no rotation of the back foot when batting

5 time All Star Andrew Jones

  • This is one rule that can be slightly different depending on the type of hitter that you are.
    1. A hitter that gets off of their back side and gets slightly linear before they get into rotation will get their toe on or off the ground. (A-Rod, Manny Ramirez, Pujols, Frank Thomas)
    2. The next type of hitter is a back foot hitter, someone that will really ride their back side. This hitter will spin on their back side and won’t fully get on their toe. (Teixeira, Kinsler) These players are so good at letting the ball get deep . They are also more likely pull hitters.
  • You have heard the expression squashing the bug, this is not what we are looking for. When you “squash the bug” you get into your rotation too quickly and can pull off the ball. It also forces your bat path to be in and out of the zone and the goal to hitting is to have that bat be in the zone for as long as possible.
  • Getting on your toe allows you to take your swing entirely too the ball and not away from it. It will help you use the weight shift and rotation together, which is ideal. This seems like a very small technicality but it can be enough to throw your swing off. Getting onto your back toe will allow your backside to start the swing rather than using your front side to pull your back side through. This doesn’t look much different but your bat path through the zone greatly suffers if you are pulling your backside through. Being on your toe will start your weight shift by driving your back hip towards the baseball, this should get your back foot in the correct position.
  • If you look in slow motion at contact, many hitters will be on their toe or even a little off the ground (this is from a powerful leg drive) and then quickly they will be down on the ball of their foot, looking like they are “squashing the bug”. Remember this is only at contact, once the ball leaves your bat, your foot may do something else. It could look like most hitters don’t get to their back toe, but if you watch in slow motion, most hitters do.

This step can be avoided by some extreme pull hitters. Guys that get close to the plate and look to pull will sometimes just rotate. However, if you want to drive the ball the other way you will need to have perfect timing or be able to get off of your backside. To hit like this is very difficult, and can open up a lot of holes in your swing if you don’t really know what you are doing.

Also their hitters that will sometimes not pivot on their back foot, usually depending on the pitch. This may help them to use their hands, reach a ball well off the plate, or keep their body out of his hands way. But if you notice these hitters really drive their back knee to the ball (unless they are battling and are fooled by a pitch) so it is the same concept they just don’t fully rotate their back side through the ball.

3. The hands are in a palm up, palm down position.

On a right handed hitter if you took the bat away at contact and had him open up his hands his right hand should be facing straight up towards the sky (or receiving the money) and the left hand should be facing the ground. This bat grip is the most powerful position you can be in at contact.

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4. Head on the ball.

I.e. Seeing the ball at its contact point.  This might be obvious, but it’s not simple.   Knowing how to hit a baseball starts with knowing how see the ball.  How to be a better baseball hitter – Seeing the Baseball talks more about the importance of this point, as well as some tips to improve your ability to see the baseball.

5. The Your back knee, back hip and head should be in a straight line.

A thought is to stick a pole in the ground through your knee, hip and head and rotate around that pole. That ensures you are not too far forward losing power and not too far bat getting tied up and having an uphill inconsistent swing

6. Your head should be right in the middle of your feet.

Think of it as a triangle draw 3 lines between your head and two feet. A triangle is a very strong structural object used in many applications (roof joists etc.) So being in a strong triangle will be the strongest possible position for your body. Also it allows you to rotate on an axis with minimal head movement.

7. Top arm is bent

Ideally you want your elbow planted firmly against your side.  This is where you are most powerful.  The closer your elbow is to your body, the more torque you can create as you spin.  The farther your elbow gets as you straighten it, the more you are losing power and leverage and making the force of the baseball more powerful against you.

I hope you find this article on the 7 Absolutes of How to Hit a Baseball to be helpful.    I welcome hearing your thoughts, comments or questions in the comment section below.  – Doug

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More tips on How to Hit a Baseball:

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About Author

Doug Bernier, founder of Pro Baseball Insider.com, debuted in the Major Leagues in 2008 with the Colorado Rockies, and has played professional baseball for 13 years. Most recently, Doug signed with the Minnesota Twins in 2013, where he logged time at every infield position except 1st base in 33 Major League games. Currently Doug is with the Twins' AAA team in Rochester, NY


  1. Thanks! This is helping alot! I was wondering if you have a page for pitching? My younger sister pitches for me and she didn’t know how to throw it properly and she has trouble (and dislikes unless easy) learning new things. She only pitches for me cause I don’t have a team…… (where I live all soccer and football teams)

  2. Swinging and missing a strike 3 pitch is one of the most frustrating things in sports. Learn where you miss and how you miss, talk to your teammates, have confidence, be patient and if you keep your eye on the ball you can drive it. Hopefully far, just don’t go for the fences every swing!

  3. Anthony L Smith Jr on

    My nephew is 5 and my brother is showing him how to hit, what are some teaching tools I can tell him to give my nephew a good fundamental foundation of how to hit a baseball.

  4. Thanks for this advice these were some good tips. This helped me with my research for my baseball project for school and it is also helpful for when I play. I also want to thank you for signing an autograph for me in 2013 when you were on the Twins. I have it on my shelf in my room.

    • Nate,

      That’s awesome I’m glad our website has helped with your school project and helps you when you are playing. I’m glad I signed our baseball, and I am fortunate I was able to spend some time in Minnesota. It is a beautiful stadium and great fans. Thanks for the kind words.


  5. My grandson plays little league he is a good hitter at home but when it comes to batting during a game it’s like he can’t focus on the ball his eyes are on the coach what should I do?

    • whats you should tell him it to take deep breathes and focus on the batter and don’t worry about what is happening around you my son had that and he had been doing much better then what he was doing before from only 3 homer to 28

      • I’m glad that deep breathes were so helpful. Baseball is so cool, where there are many ways to get focused and perform better on the field. Tell your son nice work on the homeruns. Thanks for sharing.

    • Tracey,
      Its always a little different when it comes to competition and people are in the stands cheering and coaches are giving signs and trying to help the players. Just encourage him to watch the coach but once he gets in the batters box then he should turn his attention to the pitcher only. Once he steps out, he can look around. He will figure it out, he is young, keep encouraging him. Thanks for writing in with your question. Hope this helps.


    • I am a little league coach and this is a very common problem for young kids. What I like to do is get on the pitchers mound and walk a ball to the plate making sure that they are staring at the ball the whole time. I do this multiple times so they can get a feel for what we mean when we say watch the ball.

    • Hitting is not easy, keep working hard and you will improve. I have been playing baseball for over 25 years and I still get really frustrated with hitting. Don’t give up, keep working. Hopefully we will add more things to the website soon that can help you.


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