Coach Paul Petricca is the hitting coach for the Wheaton College softball team is a true student of hitting – both baseball and softball. His website is a treasure trove of information and I highly recommend that you check it out.

One of his keys is the position of the hands and bat at the start of the swing.

For his complete analysis, go here…

Most hitting coaches tell a player to hold the bat in a comfortable position, noting that all players are different.

Petricca disagrees:

I’m all for comfort, but most hitters find the most comfortable position is high and close to their face. This bat position may be comfortable, but it will not result in optimum bat speed.

During his hitting lessons, he uses a device that measures bat speed – and disputes the “comfort” theory.

He moves the hitter’s hands back toward the catcher, which results in almost total extension on the front arm, approximately 6 inches behind the head. It usually only takes one swing to make his point, because this swing typically registers over 10 mph faster than the swing with the hands near the body and head.

From Coach Petricca:

“I then immediately proceed to walk off 50 feet from home plate to reinforce the message that for every additional 5mph of bat speed, the ball will travel 25 additional feet (as described in the Sport Science video on bat speed in the video section of this site).

By merely moving my hands back toward the catcher, I realized 50 additional feet of distance. After this illustration, hitters are usually anxious to move their hands back toward the catcher and away from their bodies.

This dramatic increase in bat speed from merely adjusting the position of the hands disproves the myth that hands close to the body make a hitter quicker….it actually restricts their bat speed.

I continue to be focused on increasing bat speed, because it allows hitters to read a pitch for a split second longer, which is a huge benefit to the average hitter, in addition to greater power.”

He concludes:

“The higher the bat speed, the longer hitters can wait to see the ball before swinging.  This is the real meaning of being “quick to the ball”.  Try it!”