One thing I have learned over the course of working with hitters is not to assume they understand the most basic concepts, such as gripping the bat. I am going to share how we should grip the bat for adequate barrel release.
Of course, we know that we do not want the hitter to get the “punching knuckles” lined up, otherwise known as chocking the bat. Think of our body as a big whip and the barrel is the end crack of the whip. We need to hold the bat in a way that will naturally whip to release the barrel to get as much velocity through the zone as we can.
The common teaching is telling hitters that they need to put the bat on their shoulder and stick their index fingers in the air to get the “knocking knuckles” lined up with each other. It’s not to say that big leaguers don’t do this, because you will find a few.
What we are going to find is most hitters are comfortable with what is termed a “whipping grip”. This will place the knuckles of the top hand in between the knocking knuckles and the punching knuckles.
A simple drill we can do to help hitters find a comfortable grip and get out of the knocking knuckles is in the video below. The drill goes like this:
1.Put the bat down as if you were a golfer, the bat between the legs. Now, waggle the bat from side to side using your wrist.
- Now go back to the golfer position, the bat between the legs. Now waggle the bat up and down using your wrists.
- Now take this grip and bring it up to your stance, and you will likely find your comfortable grip being exactly as explained above.
We are looking for an area of comfort where we can get the wrists to unlock and create adequate barrel release. We need to be comfortable when hitting. It is hard enough, and forcing kids to do thing uncomfortable hinders their ability to hit the baseball.