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Bat Path and Timing

It is awesome to watch a major league hitter get a 93 mph fastball down the middle of the plate and hit it 450 feet. These swings showcase the optimal swing when evrything syncs up. However, I think we can learn just as much if not more from swings where hitters mishit the ball and still manage to have success. The ability for hitters to have success when they are either early or late and "mishit" balls, showcases one of the biggest traits that good hitters possess: a good bat path. Today I want to discuss why bat path is so important and how it is vital to good timing.


What is timing?


Timing is the ability for a hitter to make contact with pitches throughout the entire hitting zone (the area where a hitter can make contact and keep the ball fair). Timing is perhaps the most talked about and dicsussed topic int he world of hitting. After all, if timing is impaired, hitting becomes very hard, if not impossible. However, there really are only a few things that a hitter has control over when it comes to timing and one of those is bat path. When we say bat path, we arte talking about the path that the bat takes as it moves through the hitting zone .


What is a good bat path?


Bat path is the topic that I write the most about and talk the most about with my hitters. Simply put, a good bat path is one that moves slightly up through the hitting zone. This allows the hitter to match the downard angle of the incoming pitch and squre up the ball with the most consistency. Check out this illustration from Ted Williams book The Science of Hitting.





How bat path impacts timing


The ability for the bat to stay on plane with the incoming pitch allows hitters to be late and still make solid contact and also be early and do the same. The best hitters in the world keep thier bat one plane for the entire hitting zone and gives them a great ability in timing to be late or early and still hit a line drive and have success. Hitters who have impaired bat paths have a much smaller window in which to make solid contact. This means that thier bat is not on the path of the pitch for very long through the hitting zone and they will square up fewer pitches. Instead of the bat being on a collision course with the pitch for a long time, these hitters have to be precise with the small window that the path of the pitch crosses with the path of the bat. Check out the video below.





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