One of the most important baseball tips for hitting is that you must learn to recognize a curve ball as quickly as possible. Quickly recognizing a curveball is not an easy thing to do. Hitting a well-placed corner isn’t easy either. That’s why you’ll hear the expression “he’s a good fastball hitter” ten times for each time you hear, “He’s a good curveball hitter.” I am well aware that part of that is because a lot more fastballs are being thrown, so of course more fastballs will be hit with greater force. But I am also aware that the movement in the curve makes the baseball much more difficult and the slower speed interrupts the timing. The faster you can recognize that it is the curve that the pitcher is throwing, the better chance he will have of hitting it well. As we’ve said many times, a split second is an eternity when it comes to hitting in baseball and it certainly applies here. That’s why pitchers who have “late break” pitches are generally very successful, because the hitter doesn’t realize he’s a breaking ball until he is a fraction of a second too late.
Ways to quickly recognize the curve ball:
- Take a close look at the launch point of the pitcher. One of the best baseball tips to remember is that quite often the pitcher’s pitching point for a curveball may be slightly different than the pitching point for his fastball.
- Observe the path of the ball as soon as the pitcher releases it. It could well have a slight arc that is not present on the fastball.
- Observe the angle of the launcher’s arm. There is a great possibility that with the fastball, the pitcher will go almost directly over the head and with the curve may fall a little. This happens very often because many pitchers love horizontal movement. (Personally, I am in love with the downward movement.)
- Practice watching as many curveballs as possible.
Let’s say you play three times a week and get ten at bat a week. Out of those ten at-bats, you see roughly one curve per turn, which is roughly ten per week. I strongly suggest that to get better at curve recognition faster, you should see more than ten per week. If you’re serious about baseball and your best curveball hitting, this is what I highly recommend you do.
1. Whenever you have batting practice with your team, ask your pitcher to mix up a few curve balls during his last ten or twelve swings.
2. If one of your pitchers is doing batting practice, stand behind the backstop and practice trying to recognize your curveball as quickly as possible.
3. If one of your pitchers is throwing a bull pen, stand nearby and watch him closely. Try to read the curve as fast as you can.
If you are serious about your baseball batting, you will find the time to do these things. By doing the things listed above, it is quite possible that you will see 50 curveballs per week instead of just 10 per week. I am well aware that it is not as efficient as if you were up there hitting in the batter’s box, but it will still improve your recognition of the curve. How can it not help? It has to help you.
Hitting the curve ball:
- Fast hands are an essential part of hitting success in baseball. If your hands are fast, you can “fall behind” longer. By falling behind and not over-committing, this is extremely helpful when trying to hit the curve ball. There is much less chance that you will be fooled, off balance, and put too far in front. There is no substitute for having fast hands.
- “Hit it where it’s thrown.” An old cliché, but still one of the best baseball tips for hitting. A strong, low curveball with very good downward motion is not an easy pitch to hit. I highly recommend hitting the opposite field. Very few well-placed far and low curveballs are thrown by a batter and hit well.