Discover Baseball Hitting Techniques: 3 Simple Steps to Increasing Opposite Field Strength
This baseball hitting techniques article to seeing the ball deep and smacking it the other way will walk you through how to simulate an outside pitch off the tee, and learn the simple trick to hitting with opposite field power!
Sorry for the poor picture quality, I needed this angle, and with all the nets in the way, distorted the picture.)
This is arguably one of the most invaluable baseball hitting techniques Swing Smarter articles written on the site because anyone can benefit from how to address the ball the other way. Benefits include:
Raise your average,
Decrease your strikeouts,
Get better pitches to hit*,
Give you more confidence as a well-rounded hitter, and most of all
Boost your power and distance to the opposite field!
*Most pitchers live on the outside corner, and if you take that away from them, then they have to do what most pitchers try to avoid, coming inside.
Unfortunately, players learn how to hit the ball the other way too late in their careers [Me? I learned in High School, still not soon enough] where they could super-polish the technique, so today we're going to change all that.
The best part of this baseball hitting techniques instructional piece is we stay with the Swing Smarter concept of Down & Through, or D&T; with one minor twist, or should I say adjustment...
First Step - Simulating an Outside Pitch The reason hitting the ball to the opposite field is so difficult is because we have to exercise patience as a hitter. We've all heard the terms, "let it get deep" or "let the ball get to you," these are invaluable phrases for the hitter to accomplish in hitting the ball with authority the other way.
How to simulate an outside pitch off a hitting tee...
We step up to the tee with the ball in line with our belly button because this is the best position to make contact with an outside pitch and get the best result, a low line drive OR quick one hopping ground ball.
Do an experiment with various contact points on an outside pitch; have someone hold a ball on the outside corner in line with your belly button (notice where on the bat you're making contact with the ball), now have your partner slowly back the ball up (towards the pitcher), see how you start to lose contact with the ball out in front?
If we're out in front of an outside pitch,
Most likely the end result is a rollover ground ball, a squibbler to the opposite side of the diamond, or anything else weak off the bat really.
If you're swinging wood, then you'll need to pick your thumbs up at home plate because you've just broken your bat!
So, off the tee, line the ball up to your belly button. The next adjustment is to back off the plate, to about where you can still get to the ball without having to reach.
So far so good with one of the most important Swing Smarter baseball hitting techniques: setting ourselves up to hit the ball effectively to the opposite field.
Second Step - The Power is in the Hips The way we load into our back hip will reveal the potential energy we put into the ball. Not only will this technique give you unmatched power the other way, but will also help when pulling the ball or going up the middle.
But wait! First we have to develop a sense of how to properly engage hip movement and maximize swing power and efficiency...
Traditional baseball hitting techniques can get very overwhelming, saying, "Do this for more bat speed..." and "Do that for more power..." Swing Smarter says, your power comes from the hips and core musculature, period. So, we have another explosive article to give you all-you-need-to-know about leverage & power.
Please read the above-mentioned Swing Smarter articles first, then return here, don't worry, we'll still be here when you get back.
So, returning to our original piece: hitting with power to the opposite field, we've developed an understanding that in order to effectively hit the ball the other way with authority, we have to load into our back hip. This is crucial!
Without the two subtle techniques learned in the former articles (rotating the hips underneath you & hip loading), you're hitting with a wet newspaper.
The Third and Final Step - Lining up the Cross-hairs Up till now, we've simulated the outside pitch off the tee, or "letting the ball get deep" if a partner is throwing batting practice to us, AND we're maximizing our swing potency with our pre-swing hip action.
Now, we're going to talk about something other hitting pundits don't know or choose to leave out about opposite field baseball hitting techniques.
And it's so simple, aligning with Swing Smarter's Down & Through (D&T) philosophy. If you haven't done so, please read this article to catch up on what D&T means to your swing, then come back when you're ready. It's really important you have an understanding before we tweak the process.
Do you remember the picture in the advanced hitting piece you just read showing the three baseballs lined up in front of homeplate? To practice the "Through" part of D&T as it applies to hitting the other way, we shift the last two baseballs towards where the second baseman (for a righty), shortstop (for a lefty), would ordinarily play.
You can see this (although tough) in the above video.
Opposite field baseball hitting techniques recap:
On an outside pitch we should be patient by letting the ball get deep (in line with our belly button) before making contact, and after contact, we guide the barrel through the three off center baseballs.
If someone is throwing to you, then you'll have to adjust the line of three baseballs by starting the first one just off the plate (in line with the belly button), and the last two following the line toward the appropriate opposite-side middle infielder.
Here's a helpful swing queue...think about taking the back knee through the line of off center baseballs, instead of fully rotating the hips; it almost feels like you're taking a half swing, when actually you're just taking the rotational energy generated from your hips, and transferring it (via upper body) in a different direction...to the opposite field.
Now, you're ready to increase your batting average, On Base plus Slugging Percentage (OPS), and your confidence after this baseball hitting techniques piece to smacking the ball to the opposite field with authority.