how to hold a baseball bat

How To Hold A Baseball Bat: A Guide for Beginners

how to hold a baseball bat

Struggling with your swing? You might be surprised to find that the root of the problem is quite literally in your hands. Mastering the fundamentals starts with one critical skill. Knowing how to hold a baseball bat. This article tackles the basics head-on and provides easy-to-follow steps to get your grip right. No jargon, just clear advice that’ll have you holding your bat like a pro and ready to up your game.


What Are The Different Types Of Baseball Bat Grips?

How to grip a baseball bat has never been overly complicated, but it’s become a confusing topic for young hitters trying to get the most out of their swing.

I don’t remember a coach telling me how to hold the bat properly when I was younger. What we did was grab the bat and take some swings. Just like pitchers who naturally throw from different arm angles and release points, we just went up there swinging in the most comfortable way. 

The bat grip is one of the most important aspects of hitting a baseball. For the most part, there have been two different ways to hold a bat over the years, with the first being called the “knocking knuckles” grip. 

Door Knocking Knuckles Bat Grip

This isn’t the only way to hold a bat, but many people are taught to align the “door-knocking” knuckles. When the knuckles are correctly aligned, both hands work together, which allows the batter to have better control over the bat.

However, when a batter has an improper grip, the hands work against each other. This can cause poor bat control and may result in the batter not making contact with the ball. The knocking knuckles grip works well for contact hitters since it helps keep the bat closer to your fingertips resulting in more control. If you are a contact hitter, give this grip a try.

The tiny amount of extra bat control generated through the grip could result in more line drives instead of routine groundouts. So what does aligning door-knocking knuckles actually look like? Take a look at the picture below:

baseball bat grip

Is there a downside to the knocking knuckles bat grip?

Despite what we’ve all been taught, there are some misconceptions about this bat grip. Many players who have adopted this technique will tell you that it feels unnatural and will often have to fight through some discomfort as they swing.

This knuckle alignment also causes your elbows to turn inward, which is not the ideal position for them to be in when looking to drive the ball. 

Is the box grip the best option?

The second option is called the “box grip”, where the top knuckles are lined up with the middle (door-knocking knuckles). It’s called this because it looks like a box with your knuckles forming the sides of the box. 

This is the grip I utilized during my illustrious Little League and High School baseball career. The box grip feels natural in my hands, and my swing is much smoother and more comfortable.

If you take a look at some of the elite power hitters in MLB past and present, this is the grip you will most likely see them using. While the knocking knuckles option suits contact hitters, the box grip is better for home run hitters. 

how to hold a baseball bat

Why is the box grip better for power hitters?

The box grip is better for power hitters because it prevents you from dropping the back elbow, which helps you generate more torque through your swing. With the door knocker grip, if your knocking knuckles are aligned, you tuck in both elbows a bit.

This may be helpful for those with short swings where the hitter is just trying to make any contact, but you won’t be able to generate any power with your elbows tucked in. The most important benefit of a box grip is that it makes it much more difficult to roll your wrists before you make contact with the ball.

Wrist rolling

Rolling the wrists is a massive problem for little leaguers, preventing them from realizing their swing’s full potential. Correcting this will help reduce those weak grounders to second base.

When it comes to hitting a baseball, having the palm of your top hand face up when making contact with the baseball can make a big difference. This is because it can help you keep a better grip on the bat and also help you generate more power. In addition, it can also help you stay more balanced and make it easier to control your swing. The box grip enables you to do just that. 

As a hitter, you want your front elbow to be facing the pitcher and the knob of the bat to face the pitcher during your swing. Doing this forces your hands to the ball, creating the proper bat path. With the box grip, you can swing on the same plain that the ball comes in at.

With the elbow dropping due to the knocking knuckles grip, hitters will come underneath the ball, generating weak popups, or strikeouts. If you are a power hitter or looking to become one, this is the grip you will want to start hitting with. So give it a try next time you are in the cage or at the plate. 


What Is The Best Way To Hold A Baseball Bat?

Each of these grips has certain flaws, but it’s more about the comfort level for a hitter than anything else. If a hitter is uncomfortable at the plate, they will not be their best version. As we mentioned earlier, you can work through some of the discomforts in the knocking knuckles grip to reap the benefits, but it may not work for everyone. 

I prefer the box grip and the reason behind this is that when I line my knuckles up with the door knocker grip, my wrists feel much weaker. It just doesn’t feel like there would be as much strength in my swing with my hands this way. The majority of hitters in major league baseball would agree with this. 

how to hold a bat

If you feel like you are leaving some power on the table, then change things up a little bit and make small tweaks to see if that helps. 


Things To Remember When Gripping A Baseball Bat

Don’t hold the bat with the palm of your hand

Do not bury the bat deep in the palm of your top hand. You’re not trying to squeeze the life out of it, so keep somewhat of a loose grip. If you are strangling the bat with your top hand, you will feel more tension and lose flexibility.

How hard should I grip my bat?

The amount of pressure and tension is also essential in developing a proper grip. You should have a firm grip but not too tight. Over-gripping can cause tension in the wrists and forearms, which can lead to fatigue and injury. A grip that is too loose can result in a lack of control and power.

It’s important to adjust grip pressure based on the pitch’s speed and location. Faster pitches require a tighter grip, while slower pitches require a looser grip. By adjusting grip pressure, hitters can generate more power and control.

Launch angle

Once figured out how to hold a baseball bat, you can focus on your launch angle. Changing the bat’s angle after making contact with the ball may affect how it responds. For instance, if you hold the bat straight up and down or perpendicular to the ground, your swing will create a loop.

Because it will take a bit longer for the back part of the swing to reach the ball, you will have more time to develop bat speed, which can create more power. If you keep the bat parallel to the ground, the back half of the swing will be shorter, offering you a more direct path to the baseball.

Should You Ever Rest The Bat On Your Shoulder?

It is crucial to keep the bat raised off your shoulder so you can enter the swing quickly. If the bat is resting on your shoulder, generating the necessary speed for an effective swing at balls in the strike zone will be much more difficult. The ideal angle for holding the bat is just over 45 degrees, allowing for maximal speed and power.


Benefits Of Holding A Baseball Bat Correctly

A proper bat grip is vital for any hitter looking to improve. It’s a small adjustment, but it’s one that can significantly upgrade the quality of your swing.

Here are some of the benefits of using a proper bat grip: 

  • Improved bat speed – A proper grip allows you to swing the bat faster and generate more power. 
  • Better control – With a proper grip, you’ll have better control over the bat and where it goes. This can help you make more contact with the ball and hit it where you want. 
  • Less hand fatigue – A good grip can help you swing the bat longer without your hands getting tired and with the proper grip, your hands will be able to easier adjust to different pitch types and speeds 
  • More comfort – A proper grip will feel more comfortable. This can help you swing the bat with more confidence. 
  • Better results – Ultimately, a proper bat grip can help you swing the bat better and get better results. Your bat will be in a better position at the point of contact

How to hold a baseball bat left-handed

When looking at home plate from the pitcher’s point of view, left-handed hitters will line up in the batter’s box on the left-hand side of the plate.

For lefties, the proper way to hold the bat is to place their right hand at the bottom of the bat where the knob is and the left hand on top. Try either the box grip or the knocking knuckles grip to see which one is more comfortable.

How to hold a baseball bat right-handed

This is simple. Just do the opposite of the left-handed hitting instructions. Looking at the plate from the pitcher’s mound, right-handed hitters will line up on the right-hand side of the plate. Their left hand will go on the bottom of the bat by the knob and their left hand will go on top.

Tools That Will Help Your Bat Grip

Grip tape is essential for baseball bats because it helps protect players’ hands. The tape also helps prevent the bat from slipping out of the hitter’s hands and absorbs some vibrations from poorly hit balls. 


How To Grip Tape A Baseball Bat

A simple way to improve your swing is to replace the grip tape on your bat. Grip tape is straightforward to install and worth the low-cost investment. Try something from Lizard Skins. It’s not a miracle worker, but it will help you feel more comfortable at the plate. 

What do you need to install bat grip tape?

  • Your bat
  • Bat grip tape
  • Scissors
  • Electrical tape

Steps for installing baseball bat grip tape:

  1. The first step is to remove the old tape from your bat as best you can. Clean up the sticky residue if possible. 
  2. Take your new bat tape and unravel it to find one of the ends. 
  3. Peel a small amount of the paper backing and place the unfinished end closest to the knob. You will want the tapered end to be facing towards the bat barrel. 
  4. Begin wrapping the grip tape around the bat handle, peeling the backing little by little as you move up the handle. 
  5. Continue wrapping until complete.
  6. To ensure it’s secure, you can cut a small piece of electrical tape and secure the bat grip towards the bottom by the knob. 

Final Thoughts

How you hold your baseball bat is vital if you want to become a good hitter. It helps determine how balanced your swing will be and how much power you will generate when connecting with the baseball. 

If you take anything away from this article, remember that all hitters are different, so there isn’t one right way to grip a bat. Being relaxed and comfortable in the batter’s box is probably the most important element of being a solid baseball player.

A proper grip on the baseball bat will help you get the most out of your swing.

Chris F.

Chris F.

Chris Forbes is the founder and editor of BaseballMode.com, a leading blog in the youth baseball space. As a lifelong baseball player, coach and fan, he decided to team up with his young son to offer advice and share their experiences with the sport they both love. Chris lives in the Boston area with his wife and three children.
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