It is commonly acknowledged that the hardest thing to do in sports is hit a baseball. Hall of Famer Ted Williams was quoted as saying “I think without question the hardest single thing to do in sports is to hit a baseball. A .300 hitter, that rarest of breeds these days, goes through life with the certainty that he will fail at his job seven out of ten times.”
And the consensus of the pros is that the curveball is the toughest pitch to hit.
Sounds daunting to attempt to build proficiency at the toughest feat in all of sports. But the good news is that hitting a curveball can be learned the same way any skill is learned – good mechanics and repetition.
Let’s start with mechanics. There are books written on this subject but let’s keep it simple. Here are three quick tips on how to hit a curveball:
- Stay Short: From a mechanical perspective – you’ll want to be short to it when hitting a curveball. This doesn’t mean drastically changing your swing. You just need to always be short to the ball. During the launch of your swing, you’ll have to attempt to keep the knob point down toward the pitch. Right before contact, try to push the barrel through the contact zone from about 5-10 inches out.
- No Drifting Or Dropping: You can’t let your eyes drift or drop when trying to hit a curveball. You must stay disciplined to ensure a smart swing. If your eyes drift or drop, you will register the pitch to be moving much faster than it is actually traveling. This will cause you to miss most pitches, but is especially detrimental when hitting a curveball.
- Always On Top: When hitting a curveball, you always want to get on top. This means keeping the barrel of your bat up and always keeping your eyes above the pitch. This forces you to avoid dropping the barrel in too soon or being too long during the swing.
How to hit a Curveball
Next up, reps. The more reps you get trying to hit a curveball, the easier connecting with this difficult pitch will become.
And the easiest way to get more reps vs. a curveball is through the use of a pitching machine. Yes. we sell pitching machines but hear this out. Pitchers in practice can only handle so many reps. If you’re struggling to hit the curveball during games, you need to find a pitching machine and build this skill, your muscle-memory, and ultimately confidence. You just do.