It's the greatest cliche in sports... an unquestionable absolute...
"Hitting a baseball is the hardest thing to do."
But is it? And if so, then why?
People talk about the roundness of both ball & bat. But the ball's spherical nature allows it to be thrown in a straight line, and the bat's roundness makes it easier to hold. Besides, on contact, the ball compresses into the curvature of the bat. All the roundness does is make it harder to send the ball exactly where you want it to go - at the right angle and elevation. Although those rotating seams do change the drag on the ball and cause it to move.
Does that mean hitting is just physics? No. The reason hitting is hard, and why teaching effective hitting mechanics is difficult, is not about physics, it's more about us. It's because of timing, vision, hand-eye coordination, and how we, as hitters, fool ourselves by guessing wrong about what pitch is coming and where in the zone it will end up. That lack of predictability makes hitting a challenge. Plus of course, all the bad instruction that has made the rounds.
There are a lot of theories on hitting. So all the pages on WebBall for hitting break down into two categories - ideas most instructors might agree on, versus those they can't.
For years now we have been comparing various hitting instructional methods and swing mechanics in preparation for launching a detailed lesson series on hitting which we did in 2007, followed by a second lesson series in 2008 on small ball. Both sections will have additional content developed in 2009 and beyond.
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We've conducted 4 challenges in which guest instructors presented competing viewpoints on hitting and we invited readers to vote. The intro pages explain the details. Included here are lists of the essays from 2005 and 2006 with voter comments, as well as the 2007 survey which looked beyond the mechanics to pitcher-hitter match-ups, and the latest in 2009 which sought to uncover the best tips.
All challenge articles express the opinions of the authors (and voters) and do not necessarily reflect the approach recommended by WebBall.
This section includes articles on various mechanical concepts and instructional approaches that are out there. The intro explains the premise. Please note that none of these are specifically how we teach.
A collection of articles, essays, and suggestions on both the mental and physical aspects of hitting separate from the swing theories above. These are from guest authors and other sources who have granted WebBall reprint permission.
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Photo Credit: Bob Harris, 2012 photo contest finalist (both live batters).
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