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Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The Proper Baseball Swing - Swinging on the Pitch Plane

Baseball Dealz on Ebay

By Todd Thomas

What should players, baseball and fastpitch alike, be focusing on improving going into a new season? I say it should be on the key element to the proper baseball swing and the proper fastpitch swing which is to match their swing plane with the plane of the pitch. Swing the ball. The BALL, not to the ground. You know, like the best players in the game do?

If you swing down on the ball, then you are "intersecting" the path of the ball giving yourself a small window of timing for contact. A more productive swing would be to attempt to match the plane of your swing to the plane of the pitch. Having the bat on the same plane as the ball as long as possible opens up your window of timing for making contact. Why would any hitter consistently give themselves the smaller window of contact? It simply makes sense to swing on the pitch plane.

Swinging on plane IS the proper baseball swing. Albert Pujols, one of the games great hitters, has shown he is on plane on many of his swings for up to 5 and 1/2 feet. That's awesome. Being on plane that long gives Albert or any hitter a much larger window to make good contact with the incoming pitch.

Can you be on plane perfectly every time you try? No. That's why you see various types of hits. But attempting to swing level to the ball increases your line drive rate which in turn raises your batting average. Line drives equal a high batting average.

How do you teach players to swing on the pitch plane? You have to understand and show them how to put the bat on the pitch plane. Take a rope and secure one end. Stretch it out and teach players to put the bat on it in their swing and swing along the rope. You should hold the loose end slightly lower than the secured end in order to more closely simulate the high to low path of the ball. Take a 3 to 4 foot piece of PVC pipe and hold it where players can put their bat on it and swing along it. If you are holding the pipe, I don't recommend letting them swing at full speed.:-) It should be a slow practice swing. Get creative and teach your players the proper baseball swing and the proper fastpitch swing by teaching them to swing on the plane of the pitch.

Play Ball!

Todd Thomas is a Baseball Coach and Professional Hitting Instructor for Mike Epstein Hitting. Coach Todd's personal hitting website is Coach Todd also enthusiastically endorses as a place where baseball and softball hitters can master the Confidence, Composure, Focus and Consistency of their game so they can reach their full potential.

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  1. Todd, great article and well explained. There is so much of this swing down in the ball stuff going around, it makes my head hurt.

  2. Coach, I understand the principals of rotational hitting advocated by Mike E. I just can't figure out a way to teach rotational hitting to a young ballplayer in a way to avoid coming off the ball and also to have quick hands. I hear college coaches complain that most players don't have a quick enough swing to hit college pitchers. The hands must drop to get the bat on pitch plane and stay there for a maximum amount of time. For most young players, if they drop their hands and pull off the ball, they will never develope the type of swing that will give them success. Copying Mark McQuire's and Barry Bonds' swing will not help young players develop.


Hello Baseball Friend,
I welcome any comments or suggestions. If you have a question or a topic that you would like to read about, please leave a comment and I will try to address that topic as soon as I can. Good luck in the coming season!
Have a great day, Nick