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Jonny Gould


Read Jonny's Baseball World Cup blog HERE

17 July 2009

Hi fellow baseball-nuts

Ever wanted to be more than just a couch-potato baseball-nut? I know I have. My whole life I've played cricket and still get a real buzz from a good game. Sadly I never got the chance to actually play baseball, and when I have taken a few swings on the morning of an All-Star game, it was pretty obvious (to all Channel 5 baseball viewers) that I didn't really know what I was doing. Well if there's one man in the UK guaranteed to turn an also-ran into a Group 1 winner it's GB Baseball's legendary Catcher Mr. Joshua Chetwynd. What follows is his master class. Enjoy!

How to Teach a Cricket Batsman to Hit a Baseball

It can be done.

Cricket and baseball are both bat and ball sports, but experts in each game take a different approach to teaching how to make successful contact with the ball. Here are some tips on how to turn a cricket batsman into a baseball hitter.


Things You'll Need:

  • Baseball bat
  • Baseballs
  • Baseball tee

Step 1
Get your hands loaded. Baseball swings tend to be more power-oriented than the usually more controlled approach in cricket. In baseball, hitters "coil" before attacking a pitch. This means "coiling" or moving your hands back (maybe two to three inches) from your starting point as the pitcher brings his arm back to throw. This allows the hitter to create more power and bat speed as he "uncoils". Many cricketers trying baseball will swing from a dead standstill.

Step 2
Bend the front arm. In cricket, batsmen tend to keep a very straight front arm. This doesn't work for baseball. Hitters in baseball want their front arm to be bent at approximately a 90-degree angle when in their stance and as they "coil". The reason: it allows the hitter to get the bat to a position of contact faster and with more power (think of throwing a frisbee -- if you do it with a straight arm you have less strength and it takes longer to release; if you bend your arm 90-degree, watch the disc fly!)

Step 3
Rotate the lower body. With the exception of a few specific shots, cricketers tend to be more flat-footed at point of contact than baseball players. In baseball, a key to driving the ball is rotating not only the hands but also the hips and the lower body through the point of contact (as part of the "uncoiling" process). A key to making sure you get good hip rotation is pivoting the back foot (think of it like "squashing a bug" in the dirt). This will help open your hips and better utilise your leg strength. Also, the faster you rotate that foot, the faster your hips will open (try it). If your back foot is flat-footed, it makes it difficult to fully open your hips and get the most out of your "uncoiling" efforts.

Step 4
Practice. Hitting a baseball -- like hitting a cricket ball -- is a process of muscle memory. Only repetition will lead to success. Rather than get a pitcher to throw to you, it's better to slow down the progression. A good way to do this is to get a batting tee and work on the elements discussed above. Focus on each element at a time as it may take awhile to master them all.

And finally, I thought you might enjoy this site I just found - beautiful baseball infographics and other visual treats.;

It's hardcore!!