Hitter’s Hack – Hit the Ball Out in Front
By Garrett Gordon
Does Letting the Ball Get Deep in Your Swing Help with Power?
IF IT GETS TOO DEEP YOU WILL GET BEAT
Does your kid look rushed when hitting? Are they swinging too late and striking out? The problem could be that they are letting the ball get too deep. What that means is they are letting the ball travel too far towards home plate before making the decision to swing. Now I have been told that as a player you have to let the ball get deep to hit it hard. My understanding now is that you really need to hit the ball out front to maximize your swing speed, drive the ball harder and farther, and finally become more consistent at the plate.
WHY YOU SHOULDN’T LET THE BALL GET TOO DEEP
Often times, when hitters roll over or jump out front to the ball the common phrase, is “let the ball get deep”. I have to agree that you do have to let the ball get to a certain depth to hit it well. But, taking this approach I think puts hitters in a passive mindset. If you want to be a great hitter you have to be aggressive and swing with the intent to crush it. Now, in contrast, some hitters don’t want to let the ball get to that sweet spot out front, Instead of saying “let the ball get deep” have them focus on swinging a little bit later, it’s better to be late and quick.
Check out the Point of Impacts at the Major League Level and what distance produces the most power:
- 9-18 Inches in Front of Home Plate: Home Runs
- 3 Inches to 6 Inches Behind the Front of Home Plate: Line Drives
- 6-18 Inches Behind the Front of Home Plate: Ground Balls
Of course, this is all dependent on where the hitter stands in the batter’s box. Some hitters stand in the back while others stand in the front. For a HitTrax machine to consistently read the batted ball the hitter must stand towards the back of the box.
UNDERSTAND WHERE HITTING THE BALL OUT FRONT IS
The two pictures below are prime examples of hitting the ball out front. Many players use the home plate as a good reference point on where to make solid contact. Although that may not be the best idea there is another way that I think holds true to anyone no matter where they are standing in the box. Check out the videos below for further explanation.
IS USING HOME PLATE A GOOD REFERENCE POINT FOR HITTING THE BALL OUT FRONT?
- Stand in the back of the box if you want to use home plate as a reference point.
- Understand if you move forward and back in the box home plate may not be the best reference point for hitting the ball out front.
- Be aware of where you are in the batter’s box
OUT FRONT REFERENCE POINTS THAT WILL ALWAYS BE TRUE
- Making contact out front between your front hip and front foot will hold true no matter where you stand in the box.
- When you do hit it out front it will feel much better and you will hit the ball harder
- This cue will help you take a more aggressive approach when hitting.
What The Data Shows
Here at Baseball Rebellion, we have HitTrax technology that can show a lot of data about our hitters. I had one of our high school hitters test out what the theory on ‘letting the ball get deep’. What we know is that you have to hit the ball out front to get hits, gain exit velocity and most importantly distance. Below are the results.
LET THE BALL GET DEEP OVER THE PLATE? THINK AGAIN
I had Ethan stand in the batter’s box where he was comfortable. I then put the ball directly over the middle of the plate. This position made it so it’s deep in his stance. Therefore this would be considered “letting the ball get deep”. He then proceeded to take 10 swings.
When Ethan was hitting he said that the ball felt right on top of him. He couldn’t turn all the way as you can see in the image of him at the contact above. Every baseball was hit to the left side of the field and he did not hit for power when the ball was this deep. baseball is a numbers game and if you are not hitting the ball hard you won’t have much success.
WHAT IF WE MOVED THE BALL MORE TOWARDS THE FRONT OF HOME PLATE?
We then moved the ball a little bit to where it was right at the front of the plate. As you can see below in the picture at contact Ethan is able to turn a little bit more than before. Will, Ethan hit the ball harder and drive the ball? See the results below.
Ethan still looked uncomfortable with the ball right behind the back front edge of home plate. You can see his exit velocity is more consistent and he is getting singles up the middle but if we are trying to hit for power and drive balls in the gaps letting the ball even get this deep is not ideal. The percentage of ground balls did go down which is good, but we still hit all singles. Furthermore, what we can learn is that letting the ball get deeper isn’t what you want.
TIME TO HIT THE BALL OUT FRONT
Lastly, we moved the tee so that it was a foot or so in front of the plate. Ethan was the most consistent when the ball was out front. He was able to turn all the way as you can see in the picture below. Therefore, the results were much better and his hitting was more consistent.
Just by looking at the spray chart, exit velocity, and distance you can see that not only Ethan hits the ball harder out front but farther as well. The reason is that hitting the ball out front is a more aggressive approach and allows him to turn his body open more. Therefore, being able to turn more allows him to create more rotational force.
To give you guys an even better understanding of why you shouldn’t let the ball get to do is the picture below. Everything circled in blue is when Ethan was hitting the ball out in front of the plate. You can see on the spray chart he is hitting the ball in the right-center gap. Hitting the ball out front allows him to hit for more power! All other statistics circled in red was when he was hitting the ball directly over the plate.
As you can see Ethan did not hit the ball for power and he didn’t hit the ball nearly as hard as to when he was hitting the ball out front. Check out the charts below that highlights all the changes between swing session.
Do not get confused with the phrase “let the ball get deep” as I have said before that leads to a passive approach when hitting. Hitting is more than getting the bat on the ball. In my opinion, it’s about ruining the other teams day by being relentless with your intent to smash the ball. Nobody in the history of baseball has been noticed because they hit so many single and ground balls. Go hit that ball out front, maximize your turn, and most importantly elevate to celebrate. Hope this article helps!
Questions about the Article?
Reach out to Garrett: firstname.lastname@example.org
Follow Garrett on Twitter: @Garrett__Gordon
Get 1x Online Swing Analysis from Garrett: https://baseballrebellion.com/product/online-hitting-one-time-eval/
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