Baseball Batting Drills for a Tee excerpt – Baseball Definitions

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Appendix 1 – Baseball Definitions

Defining baseball terms and slang as used in the book Baseball Hitting Drills for a Batting Tee.  Common terms you might have heard on the baseball field and wondered about.

1 Backside – Is the part of your swing that drives or pushes through the zone.  It includes the back foot, back knee, back hip, butt, and back shoulder.  All of these parts combine to make the backside of your swing.

Backspin – When a ball has front to back spin.  This spin will make the ball travel straighter and further.  Similar spin to a pitchers fastball.

Base – Is used interchangeably with “bottom half”.  Everything beneath your waist:  Both feet, both knees, both legs and hips.

Bottom half – Is used interchangeably in this book with the term “base”Is everything beneath your waist:  Both feet, both knees, both legs, and hips.  This is sometimes referred to as “lower half”.

Bottom Hand This is the hand of your lead arm.  It is also the closest hand to the knob of the bat.  For a right-handed hitter, the bottom hand is his left hand; and for a lefty the bottom hand would be his right hand.

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Baseball Hitting Drills for a Batting Tee:
Practice Drills for Baseball, Book 1

All paid versions of the full book include 20 batting drills, 20 FREE VIDEOS, full color illustrations, bonus hitting tips and more.

Cast barrel – Also “casting your barrel;” Is when the barrel of your bat gets away from your body too quickly or enters the hitting zone too soon.  The goal is to keep the barrel inside the baseball11 as long as possible, if the barrel gets outside the baseball you are casting your barrel.  This will slow your bat speed down considerably and you will see a lot of weak ground balls to the pull side.

Center line – The center line is an ideal imaginary axis line which is drawn through the hitter’s body during the baseball swing at the point of contact.  The line should be drawn through the hitter’s head, body and back knee, ending at the ground at the midpoint between your feet.

Collapsing backside – This term describes what happens if any part of your back side (Back foot, back knee, back hip, butt, and back shoulder) fails to stay strong, tall and level.  If one of these parts doesn’t stay level, it will cause the batter to have an uppercut swing.  If the shoulders remain level and the swing is level that is a good indicator that your backside is strong and is not collapsing.

Front shoulder in or Front shoulder closedThis is keeping your front shoulder as still as possible as you start your swing.  Hitters that over swing tend to assist their legs by pulling with their front shoulder, opening up their body too early making them susceptible to pitches on the outer half of the plate.

A good key is to start with your chin on your front shoulder and keep it there until you know the location of the pitch and start to swing (also see Drill #15 – the Kick Back Drill).

10 Groove the swing – Is another way of saying a hitter can successfully repeat his swing in games as well as in practice.  As former MLB All-Star Albie Pearson explained in his introduction, “it takes time and many thousands of swings to craft an effective baseball swing, and to make that swing so second-nature that your body will react with good mechanics when you face live pitching and split-second timing in a game.”  When you can regularly take your “A” swing into the games, you have successfully grooved your swing.

11 Inside the Ball This term can be used in either of the following two ways:

(1) to describe the place on the baseball where you ideally want to make contact.  If you  took a vertical axis and stuck it through a baseball, the half of the ball closest to you is the inside part of the ball.  Hitting this area on a baseball gives you the best probability of hitting line drives and driving balls with the proper backspin; and

(2) “Inside the baseball” can also be used to describe the area between the baseball and your body.  In a mechanically sound baseball swing, you want to keep your bat and hands inside the baseball.  This means keep your hands and the entire bat in the space between the ball and your body as long as possible.  This is the ideal path to the baseball, and it is the opposite of the term “casting your barrel.”

12 Elbow in the slot – This is when your back elbow is tucked tightly into the side of your body.  This is an important part of your swing for several reasons.  It helps you keep your hands inside the baseball and it keeps the barrel of the bat on the proper bat path.  If your elbow is “in the slot”, then it will keep your barrel above your hands until it reaches the hitting zone and then allows the barrel to level out as it goes through the zone.  This is a better bat path to make contact with the baseball consistently and avoid the dreaded “swing and miss.”

13 Flat Bat – This refers to when the bat is going through the hitting zone and your hands and the barrel of the bat are level.  This should happen just before contact, at contact, and just after contact.

Note: Sometimes people use this to refer to your set up and holding your bat so its parallel to the ground.

14 Jammed – From time to time, you may hear the common baseball phrase “getting jammed.”  This happens when the baseball makes contact with the bat too close to the batter’s hands, or in other words, somewhere between the ideal contact on the barrel and the batter’s hands.  It usually happens on a sinker or fastball in, or if the baseball swing was a little late.  Often the result is a broken bat or vibrating stinging hands.

15 Launch position – This is your body position after load and separation20; it is the moment you begin to fire your bat at the baseball.  While separation20 is getting into a strong position to hit, the launch position is the point where you start your swing. Your front foot is down, hands are back somewhere between your back shoulder and ear height.

Looking for new batting drills?  Or want to get more out of the classics?  Baseball Hitting Drills for a Batting Tee includes 20 videos, full-color illustrations of proper mechanics and common mistakes, bonus hitting tips, and more.  Check out how these major league batting drills can help you or your team hit for more power and consistency.

16 Linear movement – This term should NOT be confused with the Linear Method of Hitting.   The word “linear” means in a line (as opposed to spinning or rotating), but this should not be confused with the Linear Method of Hitting, which takes the concept of linear motion to its extreme.  It should be noted that even highly rotational swings often have some elements of linear movement in them.  This book reflects the idea that the best baseball players use a combination of linear and rotational motion in their baseball swings.

In baseball, linear movement simply means moving toward or transferring the weight from your backside to your front side.

Linear movement is done with a firm front leg so your body can stay behind your front foot. This is done with your bottom half4 so your head can stay still and see the ball clearly. Linear movement in a baseball swing is beneficial for several reasons: (1) It keeps the bat in the hitting zone longer and increases your chances of making solid contact with the baseball; (2) Keeps your body motion and bat path driving through the baseball instead of pulling off toward third base (or toward 1st base if you are left handed hitter).

17Losing the barrel Is when the barrel of your bat dips below your hands.  You want the barrel of the bat above your hands as long as possible until it levels out just before the point of contact.  This is easier to see from a side view (ex. 1st base side when watching a right handed hitter).  Losing the barrel creates extra length in your swing making it slower and less efficient.

18Palm up / Palm down – Is the strongest position you can be in with your hands and bat at the point of contact.

If you were to open your top hand30 at contact it should be facing up.  If you were to open up your bottom hand at contact it should be facing down towards the ground.

A common  problem happens when hitters lose this power position because they roll the wrist over too early in the swing process.

19Rolling over the wrist too early – A common  problem happens when hitters lose this power position because they roll the wrist over too early in the swing process.  The ideal and most powerful hitting form is to be in the palm up/palm down18 position at contact.

20Separation – Is a power position achieved when your front foot strides away from your hands and makes contact with the ground.  When done correctly you will feel a tightness in your front side (oblique area).  This position resembles a stretched rubber band before its let go.  This stretching of your body produces bat speed and power.  Separation is getting into a strong position to hit.

21Short to the ballSee shortening your swing.  Being “short to the ball” is quickening or shortening the distance that your bat has to travel from the time you decide to swing up to contact.

22Shortening your swing – Is taking out unnecessary movement in your swing up until the contact point.  This never ending project allows you to wait longer to swing.  The goal is to make every move count in your swing from the setup to contact.

23Space – In this book, space refers to distance necessary for the bat to build up speed and make contact with the baseball in the optimal hitting zone/angle.  The phrase “create space” or “creating space” refers to the bad habits a hitter can fall into when his timing is off and the ball gets too deep into the hitting zone.

When this happens, the natural tendency is to fall back onto our back leg to create more room to hit the ball without getting jammed14.  These actions usually do more harm than good.  If you are late with your swing and feel like the pitch is beating you, you should still hit through the ball even if it means you may get jammed.

24Square to home plate – This is when your feet and shoulders are in a straight line towards the pitcher.  Your stance26 is neither open nor closed.  Your body, belt buckle, and knees are facing home plate.  Also referred to as “square stance27“.

25Squash the bug This term has been used to teach hitters to rotate on their back foot.  Rotation is good but when you spin on the ball of your back foot there is a negative tendency for your swing to produce an uppercut.  Your bat will be in and out of the hitting zone too quickly.  Instead of rotating on the ball of your foot, think of rotating by getting your back foot on its toe.  This will help flatten and keep your bat in the zone longer which is ideal.

26Stance – also “batting stance” or “hitting stance.” This refers to your body position and feet placement when you are ready to hit and before your baseball swing begins.

Commonly used terms include “open,” “closed,” and “square24”. An open stance is when your front foot in your hitting stance is further away from home plate then your back foot.  Alternatively, closed refers to when your front foot is closer to home plate than your back foot.

A stance may also be referred to as narrow or wide, which refers to the distance between your feet.  Naturally, a wide stance will be a lower one.  You can read more about the advantages and disadvantages of each here.

27Tight – Is the term used to describe your hands staying close to your body as you deliver the barrel of the bat to the baseball.  Your hands will stay close to your body right up until contact where you will throw your hands in the direction of the ball

28Tightening up – See Tight.  It’s not the opposite of staying loose and relaxed with your swing.  This refers to eliminating unnecessary movement from your swing, keeping your hands close to your body as you bring the bat to contact.  This is also known as making your swing more efficient.

29Topspin When a ball has a back to front spin.  This spin makes the ball fall to the ground quicker and it doesn’t travel as far.  Similar spin to a pitchers curve ball.

30Top Hand – May also be called the rear arm.  When you grip a bat its the closes hand toward the trademark.  A right handed hitter’s top hand would be his right hand.  A lefty’s top hand would be his left hand.

31Whip the bat – Is a term meaning quick bat speed.  Don’t swing hard – this uses big muscles, slowing your swing down.  Instead, swing quick.  This lets your big muscles start your swing but you will finish with your hands, quickening your swing.


The information in this book or book excerpt is meant to supplement, not replace, proper baseball training. Like any sport involving speed, equipment, balance and environmental factors, baseball poses some inherent risk. readers are advised to take full responsibility for their safety and know their limits. Before practicing the skills described in this book, be sure that your equipment is well maintained, and do not take risks beyond your level of experience, aptitude, training, and comfort level.  The Author, publisher and editors of this book assume no liability for actions taken according to the advice of this book, and the actions described in this book are performed at the reader’s own risk.

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Doug Bernier, founder of Pro Baseball, 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