How to Properly Hold a Baseball Bat: (An Easy to Follow Guide)

When you do something, do it right. As trivial as it may sound, we often tend to omit the proper and correct way of doing something.

In sports, doing things incorrectly can cause a wide range of problems, all the way from inefficiency, to harm done to our body. One such commonly done thing is not holding the bat properly.

Now, you might be thinking that what is the correct way of holding the bat? Well, worry not, this article details on this topic itself. So, read on to find out everything about holding a bat properly.

Result of Improper Bat Gripping

As discussed earlier, there can be problems if you do not hold your bat properly. Some of the most common ones are

Reduced Control

Reduced control over your instrument is one of the worst things to expect while playing, and improperly gripping your bat can be a good cause of this problem.

If a bat is not held properly, it starts to vibrate excessively, making it very hard to control the bat.

Harms your Joints

We have already discussed that improperly holding your bat causes excessive vibrations. These vibrations are of very high frequency.

If our joints are subject to such vibrations, they can get damaged quickly, as our joints are not designed to withstand and face them repeatedly.

Hence, utmost care should be taken that your bat does not vibrate and if your wrists start to pain after you have your baseball session, it is time to consult your coach for what is wrong in your technique for holding the bat.

Reduced Actuation Speed

As improper holding reduces control, it takes a person more time to reflect their actions on the instrument. This is what the problem of reduced actuation speed is.

Reduced actuation speed also leads to timing issues while hitting the ball, for example, if you time your hit perfectly, and the bat does not hit the ball when you want to, it can make the shot from perfect to even a total disaster.

Makes the Sport Unsafe

Not holding your bat properly increases the chance of it slipping from your hands, making the sport unsafe for everyone involved, including yourself.

This is because when someone swings a bat at full power, and it hits someone, the impact is sufficient to break even the strongest of the bones in our bodies.

Uncomfortable

Holding the bat improperly causes unnecessary strain in muscles, which makes a person uncomfortable. This unnecessary strain can also lead to pain if the player continues to follow their improper methods.

If done continuously for prolonged periods over a long time, this can also cause repetitive strain injury, also known as RSI, which can even lead to disability of the affected organ.

Gives a Bad Impression

Not properly doing something not only makes someone look arrogant, but look manner-less and lousy as well, so if you are doing it, commit to it and do it properly.

Proper Way of Holding a Bat

Irrespective of their dominant hand, one should be able to properly hold a bat to play the game with safety, ease, and comfort.

Under the following headings, we will now discuss how one should hold their bats. Keep in mind that people with different dominant hands need to hold their bats differently, for which we have made suitable headings and detailed about the proper way, in steps.

How to Hold Bat Right Handed

Step 1

Hold the handle in your left hand and touch the bat’s end on the ground, making sure that it aligns with your left leg

Step 2

Wrap around your left hand around the bat and make a knuckle, axis of which is in line with the centerline of the bat.

Step 3

Curl in your fingers tightly, trying to keep the bat as far as possible from the palm of your hands.

Step 4

Place your right hand on top of your left hand and curl the fingers in similarly. The orientation of your fist should be similar to that of your left hand.

Step 5

Relax the fingers, trying to just lift the bat, as opposed to the step 3, now that you have reached the final position.

How to Hold Bat Left Handed

Steps for a left-handed person to hold a bat are similar to that of a right-handed batsman, what changes are the order of hands and the foot which is in the front.

Step 1

Hold the handle in your right hand and touch the bat’s end on the ground, making sure that it aligns with your right leg

Step 2

Wrap around your right hand around the bat and make a knuckle, axis of which is in line with the centerline of the bat. 

Step 3

Curl in your fingers tightly, trying to keep the bat as far as possible from the palm of your hands.

Step 4

Place your left hand on top of your left hand and curl the fingers in similarly. The orientation of your fist should be similar to that of your right hand.

Step 5

Relax the fingers, trying to just lift the bat, as opposed to the step 3, now that you have reached the final position.

Important ‘Rules’ to be Followed

What experts and novices will agree that there are some things that they feel in common that made their life and gripping a bat very effective for them.

Discussed below are these golden rules that should always be followed, no matter what style and level of game someone is playing.

Keep the Grip Light

Some newbies tend to grip the bat too hard, or as said, they ‘clutch’ the bat.

Clutching the bat should essentially be avoided, as it causes two problems, first it reduces your speed and second, it reduces the control you have over your bat.

You can easily see this by first gripping your bat lightly, swinging it and then try clutching the bat and then swinging it. You will observe that when you clutch the bat, the muscles near your elbows tighten way more than required.

This tightness in muscles restricts any further movement that our muscles can do, resulting in reduced speed, and since the muscles are tightened, our wrists also get locked, which does not allow for controlling the bat.

Keep the bat far from your palms

When you keep the bat handle in your palms, what happens is that you will grip it harder than required. This makes doing the minor adjustments while batting too difficult.

Also, this will ensure that the vibrations caused at the bat handle dampen in the portion between your fingers and your wrists, before reaching the wrists, which is important for not having joint-related problems in the future.

The bat angle is your preference

Some people love to lecture others for hours how one bat angle is superior to others, but don’t worry, bat angles create a little difference, if you know which angle to use for which balls.

Generally, a player develops his sense of angles while playing. That being said, we will discuss two types of bat angles, that are, perpendicular to the ground and then parallel to ground.

When your bat is perpendicular to the ground, the net length of the swing increases. Increase in length translates to having more time for building up the bat speed, but you should be careful about the timing, if you delay your decision a bit, the effect will be much more.

When your bat is parallel to the ground, the swing becomes shorter, but at the same time, you will generate less power, as you will not be able to build speed.

Keeping these points in mind, experiment for various ball types and see which angle suits you the best, for a particular type.

The length where you grip from

Different players have different ‘sweet spots’ for gripping their bats, and it is not objectionable by any means. But, one should know how changing the length where your grip changes the bat handling. We will discuss both the extremities here.

If you grip your bat from the very end (bat handle), chances are, you will have difficulties handling the bat and the time required to make a swing will increase drastically. Also, you will require a lot of effort to get the bat to the correct speed.

In this case, the advantage is that you will transmit a lot of power to the ball when the bat hits it, making it useful for playing long shots.

The disadvantage is that the bat will vibrate longer than expected, and the amplitude of vibrations will be higher as well.

On the other hand, if you grip your bat from way too far from the end, the swing length will be decreased and you will be able to handle the bat very well, which can surely be counted as advantages.

The disadvantages here are that the vibrations caused might become way too intense to be handled (high-frequency vibrations), and the fact that you will transmit a lot less power to the ball when you hit it.

So, it is quite important to practice a lot and find your sweet spot, which will help you get the most stable and controllable bat in most of the situations while delivering maximum power to your shot.

Factors that Influence Bat Gripping

Strength

As gripping the bat involves the use of hands, it would not be surprising to say that the strength a person has in their hand muscles affects the grip they have on their bats.

If you doubt that you do not have enough strength in your hands, what you can do is exercise the muscles, by doing exercises meant for wrists.

The simplest exercise that can be done is to lift a dumbbell in your hands and then rotate your hands such that the dumbbells are vertical. Now, start moving your wrists up and down and also inwards and outwards. Progressively increase the weights, making sure that you do not overload your elbow, an indication of which will be mild pain in the joint.

Gloves

If you do not wear good quality gloves, chances are that you would not be able to have a good grip on your bat. Indications are that the bat will slip even if you are clenching it hard, and the surface of glove material getting stiff but smooth.

The best solution for this problem is to replace your glove with a new one.

Hand size

Hand size plays an important role in how well and comfortably can one hold their bat.

A person with large hands would have proportionately large fingers, which they will be able to wrap around the bat well and get a solid grip, without using their palms at all.

The same will be quite problematic for people with small hands, as they will need to hold the bat with relatively smaller fingers. This, however, does not mean that a person with a shorter hand cannot grip a bat better than a person with large hands.

Posture and stance

Posture and stance also play an important role in how well can a person grip his bat.

We have discussed earlier, that muscles of the hand are under stress when we make a swing. But, it is also possible that due to improper posture, the muscles might already be under stress and not let us have a good grip till the end of the swing.

Hence, always be in a proper posture and stance when you are playing not only baseball but any other game as well.

Material of bat

Some players also use bats made of materials such as metals, which are inherently slippery.

This makes it quite difficult to grip them, especially if a person is a newbie. Patterns on the surface (such as corrugations or waves) can help one to get a grip, but metal is smooth, and smoothness is bad for grips, no explanation required for that.

The general rule is that wood is the best possible material to grip, while bare metal is the worst, as it offers no resistance and slips very easily.

Final Words

This article details why to hold a baseball bat properly, how to do the same and factors that influence grip one has on their bat.

If you are new to the game and still figuring out how to do so, this is one of the first and most things to learn and master, to ensure that later on, you have no problems.

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Vijay Singh
I love Baseball, and I researched a lot about how to improve your game. For that, you need the proper baseball cleats, bats, helmet, and other training equipment. So, I share everything that you require to become a better baseball player.

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