Learning how to hold a baseball bat isn't as simple as just picking up the bat with your hands and swinging.
Sure, you can get the bat into your hands that way with ease, but focusing on exactly how you hold and grip a baseball bat will give you the best possible outcome when you swing.
Just like throwing a baseball takes a specific grip, so too does holding and swinging a bat.
Having a proper grip will help you increase your bat speed and relax your entire body. It will also ensure that when the ball makes contact with the bat, that you have strong contact.
A weak grip will result in weak contact, as the bat will slow down at contact.
Having a strong grip will allow you to drive through the baseball instead of having the bat bounce off the ball.
Finally, having a strong grip will allow you to make adjustments if you the pitcher ends up fooling you with a breaking ball, for example.
There are five basic steps you need to take in order to hold a baseball bat correctly.
The first step in learning how to hold a baseball bat...
Take your bottom hand and place the handle of the bat in it.
If you are right-handed, your bottom hand will be your left hand, and vice versa.
The end of the handle should be on the ground in front of your front foot -- which will be the same side as your bottom hand (left foot for right-handed batters, for example).
The idea with this is that your bat will be held at an ever-so-slight angle, which will help you get some extra whip that you'll create with the wrists.
Take your index finger on your bottom hand and make sure it's wrapped around the bat.
It should, however, be separate from the bottom three fingers on your bottom hand, which should be fully wrapped around the bat's handle.
Knuckles on the fingers of your bottom hand should point up the bat's barrel.
You should hold the bat in your fingers, and not let it rest in your palm.
While you will obviously make contact between your palm and the bat, try to keep it out of your palm as much as you can.
Now, it's time to focus on your top hand.
Take it and grab the bat in the exact same way you did your bottom hand.
The handle of the bat should be in your fingers and not your palms.
If you're holding the bat correctly, the second knuckles on the fingers of your top hand should line up down the bat with the first knuckles on your bottom hand.
The key to holding a baseball bat once you've gripped it is to keep the grip as light as you can in your fingers before you start your swing.
As you progress through your swing, your grip will tighten automatically.
The grip will be the tightest when it makes contact with the ball.
If you focus on making sure your grip is light when you are about to swing, then you'll put yourself in position to make good contact.
A side benefit of this is it will keep your upper body relaxed.
The more relaxed your body is before you make an explosion to swing, the more explosive the swing will be.
Once you have the mechanics of holding a baseball bat down, you can focus on your bat angle, or what's sometimes known as launch angle, depending on what type of hitter you are.
Changing the angle of the bat can affect how the ball will react once you've made contact.
If you hold the bat perpendicular to the ground -- or straight up and down -- it will naturally put a loop into your swing.
This can give you more power because it will take slightly longer for the back part of the swing to get to the ball, thereby creating more time to build bat speed.
If you hold the bat parallel to the ground -- or lying flat -- the back part of the swing will naturally be shorter between the start and the ball, giving you a more direct path at the baseball.
You won't be able to generate as much power as having holding the bat perpendicular to the ground because the bat will travel a distance that's shorter, but you'll be giving yourself a better chance at good contact.
Most people hold the bat somewhere between perpendicular and parallel to the ground.
That is, their bat angle ends up being on a slanted angle, somewhere between lying flat and being completely straight up.
You can make adjustments to your bat angle depending on what type of hitter you are -- or would like to become.
The more up-and-down the bat angle is, the more power you'll generate.
The more left-and-right the bat angle is, the less power you'll generate in exchange for a better contact rate.
Learning how to hold a baseball bat is a simple five-step process.
How you grip the baseball bat is essential in determining how good your swing will be and how well you'll make contact with the baseball.
Make sure that you're gripping the bat firmly, but not too tight in your fingers.
This will keep your body relaxed and allow you to make the best contact with the baseball.
Your grip will naturally tighten as you generate your swing.
Beyond the grip, the angle at which you hold the bat will help determine how much power you'll generate, and what exit angle the ball will take off your bat.
The more perpendicular you hold the bat to the ground, the more power you'll have and the higher the launch angle will be.
The more flat you hold the bat in relation to the ground, the less power you'll generate in exchange for a better contact rate.