Every single hitter has a certain grip and style to their set-up that fits them the best. To me, this is not a problem as every player’s body works differently. Today, I want to talk about a certain type of grip: putting the pinky finger off of the knob of the bat.
Every coach has a certain style of hitting that he prefers, as well as some liking player choking up, etc. To me, this has to be a comfortable set-up that will allow you to repeat your swing. Growing up, I was never a big fan of choking up, but I never put my pinky over the knob either. It wasn’t until I got into college and really struggled and began experimenting with my swing that I began doing it. To this day, when I grab the bat, I automatically wrap my pinky around the end because that’s the only way I feel comfortable hitting and it makes me feel like my barrel creates much more bat speed, much earlier in my swing.
Here is what wrapping my pinky did for me:
- Corrected my bat path: I believe by putting my pinky around the knob, my bottom hand became less dominant in my swing, eliminating my ability to “push” my hands to the ball. Since there was more bat above my top hand, the bat had to be swung properly to be effective. It’s like swinging a fungo; the 1st time hitters with bad mechanics swing a fungo, it’s usually not a good situation because they push their hands instead of allowing the bat head to be thrown. The fungo really shows the problem because the bat is much longer!
- Created more bat speed: Because my swing was naturally correcting itself, my bat head was generating it’s maximum speed much earlier in my swing. This allowed me to have more power to all fields, but right field in particular.
- Stay through the ball much longer: Because of the bat path and swinging correctly, my bat head got on plane and stayed on plane much longer, allowing me to stay through pitches I was fooled on, hitting a line drive instead of missing it. These gave me a much better chance of hitting a ball squarely than if my bat head was in the zone for less time.
Most young hitters have never thought about wrapping their pinky around the end, but I believe that if you try it and become comfortable with it, it can completely change your swing. Since we’re in the off-season, try it for 1 week straight and then take a few swings the old way. If it feels good, continue to do it for a longer period of time until it becomes comfortable for you!