Where Does the Ball Go?


Contact with your pitch(s) depends on a lot of variables, but you can simplify the unexpected by establishing some basics about batting contact(s). By establishing a basic working model of why the ball goes where it goes, in manageable segments, you can get a better understanding of what to pitch, when and why.

Where a batter is in the order, where he stands in the box and how, the position of his arms and hands, his pitch likes and dislikes are just some of the things that you will learn as you progress with experience. Of course you pitch selection and how well that goes is also a consideration, on any given day.

But let me focus your attention on something that you can prove to yourself, easily and without much fanfare. Below are two pictures of hand position that a batter can choose to “place” the ball in play, intentionally. So, in doing so with intent, a batter can steer your pitch by using his top hand - either opening the palm or closing the palm. I should mention that it’s really hard to see this from where you are 60’ away, so don’t even try. Let your backstop spot these top hand positions. By the way, these pictures are for a right handed pitcher, pitching to a right handed batter. For lefties, use your own experiences during a practice session and use this format to plug in your figures.
Test the results for yourself - place a ball on a batting T, and rotate your top hand in various open and closed positions and watch how effective it is to control placing the ball in play, in any direction you choose, at will.


And here’s a couple of lines from a little ditty I wrote in praise of the knuckleball (to the tune of an old Christmas carol):
You grip the ball, and then you throw;
No telling where that pitch will go…


I teach a bat grip that is directly between the two you show above. The first one gears more toward the pop up and the bottom one sets up the ground ball. I teach players to align the door knocking knuckles of the top hand half way between the door knocking knuckles and punch knuckles of the bottom hand and to grip the bat only hard enough to hold it steady.