7 Absolutes of How to Hit a Baseball

Baseball hitting drills for more power

About the author: Doug Bernier has played pro baseball for 16 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

Avatar für Doug Bernier

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 5 organizations (CO Rockies, NY Yankees, PIT Pirates, MN Twins, & TX Rangers) over the past 16 years. He has Major League time at every infield position, and has played every position on the field professionally except for catcher. (You should click to watch this great defensive play by Bernier) Where is he now? After 16 years of playing professionally, Doug retired and took a position as a Major League scout with the Colorado Rockies for 2 years. Currently Doug is the Data and Game Planning Coordinator with the Colorado Rockies


  1. Avatar für Tom Brian

    It makes a huge difference if you have the correct amount of confidence and faith in your instincts. It’s worth noting that precise hitting goes via a mental state before it develops as a physical act. As a result, it directly follows your thoughts.

  2. Avatar für Ronal Owens

    Thank you for writing this. My son just started playing baseball recently and this article is very helpful for him.

  3. Avatar für Brennan

    I was reading through this list and loving it until I got to the last pointer. Honestly I kind of got hung up on #7, my coach has always preached it like gospel truth to extend at contact for power. (I think for the purpose of staying behind the ball) but with a flexed and tight elbow, how do you balance that tight, powerful rotation with extension to stay behind the ball? Or perhaps do you reject one cue for the other?

  4. Avatar für Zoe Campos

    It’s interesting to know that there are different ways that can be used to hit a baseball. It must be the reason why my father can’t understand it completely despite watching several sports events every weekend. It might be better for him to take pitching coach courses in order for him to understand it more.

  5. Avatar für Vivian Black

    You made a great point about the hands being in a palm up, palm down position to help improve power. My husband and I are looking for a baseball coaching and training center that can train our son since he started playing baseball last year. We will keep these tips in mind as we search for a professional that can help us out best.

  6. Avatar für Skylar Williams

    I appreciate your tip to keep your head in the middle of your feet. My son loves watching baseball and he’ll be old enough to start learning soon. I wonder if there is something I can buy to help him with his balance and form.

  7. Avatar für Blaise Webb

    Hi Mr. Doug i am trying to become a Mlb pitcher and i love baseball i live in Pennsylvania.
    Thanks for the advice hopefully you’ll see me on TV one day playing in the Mlb.
    Blaise Webb

  8. Avatar für bill

    The baseball swing should mimic throwing a ball sidearm. the bottom hand and arm are a limp noodle. your whole swing should be generated by the top hand.

    • Avatar für Joe

      False, if all of your power is coming through your top hand, you will be forced to come around the ball. When you come around the ball, it forces you to have a flat swing leading to lots of grounders and pop ups. It may sometimes work against fast balls, however once pitchers pick up a curve, you will struggle.

  9. Avatar für Kirt Beske

    Doug, thanks so much for the great web site. You are good for the game of baseball and your wife is a gem for managing the site and helping the both of you to leave your mark on the baseball community in a way that benefits others instead of seeking glory for yourself. I’ve organized a group of friends in southern Arizona into an unofficial baseball league of all ages and we are having a blast learning the game together and trying to unlearn what our little league coaches brainwashed us with years ago (ie “get that back elbow way up, boy!”). I have a question about the 7 absolutes of hitting. 6 of them make total sense and are easily relatable. however, the 7th is more confusing and a little harder to take you at your word on. First of all, whether or not you can have your arms bent and elbow planted at your side depends on where the pitch is, so I’m assuming that you are talking about an ideal condition, rather than one that can be created in every scenario. Second of all, time and again, we’ve all heard tv announcers commend the way a player got his “arms extended” during a replay of a powerful hit. If you don’t believe extended (or nearly extended) arms are ideal, it would be helpful if you explained this a bit more. Thirdly, my take on this is that I’m wondering if what you say in another video about “whipping” through the zone instead of “pushing” is compatible with bent arms at contact. You argue that bent arms is the most powerful position, and I believe that would be the case if we were performing a stationary act, such as standing still and trying to absorb an impact. In that case, we would be stronger and more stable with arms bent and closer to our core. But since power in the baseball swing comes mostly from bat speed and requires us to barrel up the baseball, it seems certain that we will limit the speed we can transfer from the ground up and into our hands and bat if we shorten our arms. A short whip will produce less speed than a long one at the very end of the whip. And the fact that we need to barrel the ball up anyway will take care of the fact that having our arms extended puts us in a weaker position to withstand a blow. Withstanding the blow of the baseball I believe is a much less important factor than efficiently transferring the torque we’ve created through all your other good tips into the whipped bat you also speak of. Again, you get tons of respect and props from me. This is just one thing I disagreed with but maybe I’m missing something. Thoughts?

    • Avatar für Angie Gregory
      Angie Gregory on

      Love this site and Doug’s desire to share his expertise-MLB!!-and love of the game. Since I assume you didn’t make it to MLB, I guess your coach’s idea didn’t get you there. Just try this and remember that the 7 points are point-of-contact position. If you pull in your elbow at that 90 degree angle and get the rest lined up (just do it standing still), you can feel how that is right. I think you will extend AFTER contact, not before. The hardest thing about learning to get better is actually removing your prejudice about what is right–a factor we’ve had with my grandson whose dad screams at him of what to do, but he can’t do it himself and also has some weird ideas. We are going to try a real hitting coach to try to stop the screaming.

  10. Avatar für Sharon

    Hi Doug, I am the mother of a high school baseball player who is in his senior year varsity. He plays pitcher, shortstop most of the time. All the sudden this year he started to play really bad, not hitting the balls, missing grounders, when before he was a very good player. I don’t know what happened, and we are at a complete loss as to what to do at this point. He does have a couple of colleges looking at him, because they heard he was a really good player, But now we’re concerned that those college coaches will not take him . What do you advise, we are desperate at this point. His mechanics are good, but he does it make contact with the ball anymore. Help please.

  11. Avatar für Kevin Donalson
    Kevin Donalson on

    Hi, I am the father of two sons that guys playing baseball. Current, i’m looking for hitting baseball techniques to teach them. lucky that after searching on the google and found your article. It is useful for us. Thanks so much Mate.

  12. Avatar für June

    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)

  13. Avatar für Joe

    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!

  14. Avatar für Anthony L Smith Jr
    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.

  15. Avatar für Nate

    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.

    • Avatar für Doug Bernier


      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.


  16. Avatar für Tracey

    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?

    • Avatar für damon

      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

      • Avatar für Doug Bernier

        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.

    • Avatar für Doug Bernier

      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.


    • Avatar für Brian

      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.

    • Avatar für Doug Bernier

      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.


      • Avatar für Martha Zumaya

        Hi Doug,
        My 8 year old son tends to step back with his left leg when at bat and can never make contact with the ball. He’s afraid of the ball. How can I get him to break this habit? He’s right handed.

        • Avatar für Ellie

          Hey Martha, I play little league and I am also a bit afraid of the ball, but what helps me most is just focusing on hitting the ball aa hard as I possibly can. And thinking about how proud my team would be if I hit it. Also take a few deep breaths before you go up to the plate. Make sure to correct his stance and have him pretend like he will hit it and talk about how he is supposed to do that.

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