Ideal Bat Path

Get the most out of your baseball swing. Doug Bernier offers pro tips on the proper bat path.

What is a bat path?

The “bat path” or” swing path” is the route in which your bat takes to hit the baseball.

Proper mechanics for the perfect baseball swing includes an ideal bat path that stays in the hitting zone for the longest period of time. This diagram illustrates the ideal swing path.

Good swing path vs bad swing path

What is a proper bat path?

A proper swing path gets into the hitting zone quickly and stays in that zone as long as possible. The longer the bat is cutting through the hitting zone the better chance you have to hit the ball more consistently.

How do we get our bat to stay in the hitting zone as long as possible?

This is where our weight shift in our swing becomes useful. Weight shift and rotation are two components to every swing, but if we use too much rotation and not have a proper weight shift our bat path may get cut off, and not have proper length through the zone.

Instead of hitting the baseball and cutting off your follow through, think of hitting the baseball as well as 3 invisible baseballs just beyond where you make contact. This thought will help you stay through the baseball.

What is the benefit to having a lengthy bat path in the hitting zone?

The more time that the barrel of your bat spends in the hitting zone the better chance you have to hit the ball more consistently.

The longer your bat path stays in the hitting zone, the less perfect your timing needs to be to hit the ball well. As long as your bat is in the zone, if your timing is a little late you may hit a line drive to the opposite field rather than hitting it right back up the middle.

Next:  Bat Path – The most important hitting trait no one is talking about

More Free Batting Instruction:

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  3. Hitting Philosophy & Lineup
  4. Sacrifice Bunting
<– Back to All Hitting Instruction articles

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

6 Comments

  1. I am a firm believer in top hand, to-the-ball-through-the-ball and have witnessed it’s success in consistent contact as a player but more importantly as a youth and high school softball and baseball coach. I feel using your eyes to track the ball from release to contact is most significant trait for any level hitters and see expert after expert agree. However, they then go straight to mechanical techniques without elaborating on how to utilize the eyes in getting the barrel to ball and timing. My theory is your eyes send messages to your brain, so brain can decide appropriate response. If we emphasize tracking we must give hitters a reference point, attached to our body to enable brain to perform the task. Top hand is what worked for me and over the years I have gotten more specific to teach palm of that hand to the ball. Then, in BP I stress significance of approach, in not thinking about situation once they dig in. To me vision and ability to relax(self-confidence), along with physical gifts are what separates the level of their success. I preach accepting failure without allowing it to effect confidence. Emphasize tracking every pitch to permit eyes and brain to record info for future pitches of that or a later at bat. Of course comfortable stance, hand position, and getting lower half started, being relaxed to be quick and prevent muscling up, are all necessary for success but seeing the ball leave pitchers’ hand slows the game down and has to happen or nothing else matters. I had no idea how few hitters track the ball further than out in front of the plate, until I started coaching first base. It became obvious why so few hitters drive the ball through the middle or can even touch an offspeed pitch. The better a hitters vision, the more they trust their eyes to track and record speed and spin off the ball. having a reference point for eyes and brain to direct barrel to the ball , accompanied by ability, confidence determine how good a hitter will be. Never responded to anything before but I am a teacher who loves the game and see fewer players who feel that passion. Local hitting instructors make things so complicated and technical that fun is removed. Give my rambling some serious thought and tell me where I am wrong or might improve.

    • Doug,

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this topic. I think Doug would agree with you on many of those points. He’s already at the field today, and honestly may not be able to really respond properly until off season. I just wanted to let you know it might take some time for him to get back with you, and to say thanks for being awesome and helping players to fall in love with the game!

    • Doug Baugh,

      You are so correct! I teach the top hand also, because it works with your back hip, and the hitter should actually watch their the barrel hit the ball with good extension. You can tell if the hitter is keeping their head still through contact.

  2. players chosen on

    I rarely drop remarks, but after browsing through
    a lot of comments on this page Ideal Bat Path for A Baseball Swing.

    I do have 2 questions for you if you do not mind. Could it be just me or do a
    few of these comments come across as if they are left by brain dead people?
    :-P And, if you are posting at additional sites, I’d like to follow anything new you have to post.
    Could you list of all of your public sites like your Facebook page,
    twitter feed, or linkedin profile?

    • Tony,

      Thanks for wanting to follow new stuff we are putting out. To be honest it is difficult for me to release a lot of new content during the season since I am still playing. But if you follow us on our probaseballinsider facebook page and on twitter @lowliners we will let you know when we put out anything new. We have been talking to a lot of different players on different teams and we plan out to come out with what we believe is a lot of quality content. It may be slow over the next few months but it will definitely pick up. Thanks for being patient.

      Doug

  3. This is extremely helpfull to my 10 year old son and I! I have only played little league baseball and never was a great hitter, but to have some sort of guidance toward getting him in the right direction in hitting the ball helps so much. I’m in school, not working, and can’t afford expensive coaches. But I have time with my only son as I find that this can be the best benefit for both of us with these tips. Thank you!!
    I wouldn’t normally write this, but I want you to know that it is very appreciated!
    Richard & Matthew Rodriguez

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