How to Hit Home Runs

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The ability to hit a baseball a long way is an impressive skill that everyone is trying to improve upon. The ways to improve hitting the “long ball” may not be as clear cut as you first may think.

I have seen way too many large strong guys who are impressive on a bench press but have extremely slow bat speed and can’t even sniff the outfield wall.

On the reverse, I have seen players that don’t even know where the weight room is but can hit bombs.

So where do you start? Here are few practical tips to increase your distance and hit more home runs.

Tips for how to hit home runs

To start with, a big key for how to hit home runs is bat speed.  Bat speed is how you get good distance.  3 of the 4 points  below are tips for how to increase bat speed.

1. Relax

Of all the tips this may be the most important but most likely to be skipped. When you are relaxed with your body and especially your hands, you allow your swing to work.

Tensing up makes you swing with your big muscles and slows your bat speed down significantly. Our swing gets started with our big muscles but we swing the bat with our hands and forearms.

The more relaxed your hands are the more likely they will whip through the zone. That is what you want. Similar to throwing a baseball, the last push with your wrist and fingers really increase velocity. If people were to throw by using their shoulder and neglect using the hand the ball won’t go very far.

Being relaxed helps you react quicker, and quicker (not harder) equals bat speed. Bat speed equals distance and when you swing properly and get good backspin the ball is guaranteed to go further.

Need a wood bat?  Check out our Guide to the best wood bats for help selecting just the right ones.

2. Achieve quality separation

Separation is where your rhythm turns into the strongest position possible that achieves maximum torque ready to explode on the baseball.

Hands are back, shoulders are square, eyes are watching the baseball, front foot is on the ground. Your back knee is starting its move creating an intense amount of torque in your front side. Think of it as a rubber band about to explode. The energy that has been built up in your legs and core should whip your hands through the zone quickly.

This is often overlooked but feeling torque in your front side is important. Work on this by trying to hit a ball as far as you can off a tee. Feel the hands back as your bottom half starts your swing. The torque created from separation is extremely important if you want to hit the ball further.  Click here for more tips on how to achieve good separation in your baseball swing.

3.  Get in the weight room

Strength doesn’t necessarily turn into homeruns, but coupled with quality hitting mechanics it will help with your distance.

When you are stronger you will be able to hit through the baseball without the bat slowing down too much at contact. If you have ever watched the Little League World Series and watched slow motion replays of hitters hitting a homerun you will notice that the bat almost stops at contact because they are not strong enough to power through the velocity of the pitch.

As you get stronger your bat will be able to stay along its path and power through the ball. You will be able to use a heavier bat. Remember from math class, Distance = Mass x Velocity, being able to swing a heavier bat that you can control will get you more distance.

Baseball hitting drills for more power - Click to view Top 5 best batting tees

Top 5 batting tees list – Tested by pros with 1,000’s of swings

Don’t neglect key areas of your body. Make sure your whole body gets stronger and put a little extra focus on your core, legs, and hands or forearms.

Can you squat or bench press more weight?  If you are lifting properly for baseball you should be able to do much more weight squatting.

You get your power from your legs. The swing starts from the ground up and your legs start the power that creates torque to hit the long ball.

The core controls your whole body. The stronger your core is the stronger you are. When your core (abs, obliques, low back) is strong you will be able to generate more power with your middle half.

Your forearms and hands is the part of your body that connects you to the bat. This needs to be strong. Every year I get my grip strength measured. I have always been amazed by seeing how guys with the stronger grip strength hit the most homeruns. I don’t think its a coincidence.

Check our our guide to Best Baseball Workout Equipment, by Yankees strength coach Lee Tressel.

4.  Create backspin

When a baseball is hit properly and has plenty of backspin you will notice how the baseball stays up in the air a little longer. It will stay straight and distance will increase.

This post separates myth and truth about backspin, and also includes a video with 2 drills to help with power.

20 Hitting Drills with video – This book of hitting drills from MN Twin Doug Bernier helps identify the source of various swing flaws and suggests hitting drills to help correct them.  The book also includes a streaming video for each drill, meant to ensure proper form and effectiveness.

I hope these tips for how to hit home runs were helpful for you.  I invite you to leave comments or ask questions, and we hope you’ll share this page with your friends to help us spread the word about  PBI – the free resource for serious baseball players.

For more free tips, you can subscribe to email updates, or follow us on Facebook or Twitter.

Play hard! – Doug

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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 5 organizations (CO Rockies, NY Yankees, 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. Where is he now? After batting .200 in 45 at-bats and fielding .950 during 2017 spring training with the Rangers, Doug was assigned to the Ranger's AAA team the Round Rock Express. You should click to watch this great defensive play by Bernier

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9 Comments

  1. Young ball player on

    I am a 13 year old beginner and I am struggling with the mechanics but have the basic knowledge of hitting. This article really helped me, just today i went to a batting cage after reading this article and used all of these steps, my first time trying i was unsuccesful missing 3 of the first pitches but after i relaxed my hands and stopped trying to hit the ball as hard as i could i hit my next 8 balls. My mom has also been pushing me to hit the gym so i could hit the ball harder, but after reading this article she has been pushing me more to increase bat speed instead of working out. Thank you so much Doug I’m hoping i have a future in baseball and can be as successful as you were.

    • Young ball player,

      Thanks for the complement and I am glad you are improving. I love to hear that and that is why we started this website. Keep working hard and try to get a little better each day. If you do that you will be happy.

      Doug

  2. Great article! Your explanation of what it means to “relax” is definitely something all hitters struggle with, including myself. I’ve always been a “power-hitter”, but I didn’t really start hitting HRs consitently until I started putting backspin on the ball. For me at least, focusing on my swing and trying to have a backspin-promoting cut helped me RELAX and take the focus off of trying to kill the ball. I would grip the bat way too tight and pull everything, which was really frustrating. Another thing that helped me keep my hands relaxed was I started using that Pro-Hitter thumb ring that I saw pro’s like A-Gon and J Hamilton using… Again, great article! Thanks for providing more insight on something that all of us wish we could do at every at-bat haha! One can only dream…

  3. Doug you’ve done a great job putting this all together. I’m a former minor leaguer and now a hitting instructor at the Hudson Baseball Center in NJ and couldn’t agree with you more on your hitting technique. It’s tough to find people that haven’t played at a high level to understand that swinging down doesn’t mean ground balls all the time and that it does create backspin on the baseball. Even when I demo it for them its hard for them to believe but having you share the same info really helps. I’ve shared your page with some of my friends that have played in the minors and they also agree. Thanks, I’ll be following your page.

    • Ralph,
      Thanks for the kind words and also for sharing our website with some of your friends. Our goal is to show parents, coaches, and baseball players of all ages the correct way to play baseball.
      Doug Bernier

      • I have a question for you. I played in the minors for some years back in the 80s and now Im trying to teach my nephews how to hit. The problem that they are having is that they are swinging with their shoulders and throwing the hands away from the body when they start the swing. I tell them they have to move the hands idependently. Please help

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