A Level Swing Isn't Swinging the Bat Level with the Ground
By: Jon Hoelter
There is a lot of controversy concerning the angle of the bat
when hitting a pitched ball. Based on watching film of great
hitters and what has proved successful for the kids I work with.
(and in line with Ted Williams' approach to hitting), a level
swing is not swinging the bat level with the ground. A level
swing also only refers to the path of the bat head through the
hitting zone, not the initial part of the swing involving the
hands coming down to the ball or the follow through after
A level swing involves swinging the bat level with the path of
the pitch. This is a slightly upward swing (the degree to which
depends on the pitcher). This increases the likelihood of hitting
the ball squarely, even if contact is a little too late or too
early. When hitting down on the ball (which is popular among many
coaches), the hardest hit balls will be grounders. Lines drives
will flutter and only occur when slightly undercutting the ball.
Weak line drives are also produced by big uppercuts and the only
hard hit balls will be high fly balls (which are easier to catch
than low fly balls).
Correcting for uppercuts and undercuts begins with the position
of the hands when the stride foot is planted (launch position).
Aside from the hands being over the rear foot at this point,
their height is also important. Uppercutting (more than what is
required by the path of the pitch) often occurs because the hands
start too low ñ often by the ribs. Undercutters generally start
their hands too high, somewhere above their shoulder. Ideally,
the hands should be close to shoulder height. From the rear
shoulder, the hands should bring the bat head down into the
hitting zone and then up at the ball. When the bat head flies
forward, it should go through the contact area level with the
path of the ball.