The grip has to be loose, and have little or no tension. The bat barrel is an extension of your hands—just like the ball is an extension of your hand when you throw. You do need to have a firm enough grip to hold on to the bat through the swing, but too many youngsters grip the bat too hard.

Major League hitters “throw” or “whip” the head of the bat. They hold on just enough to not let the bat go flying—most of the time anyway. When you see a bat flying into the stands on TV this loose grip is the reason. This would never happen if the hitter had a strangling ‘death grip’ on the bat. The loose grip directly relates to bat speed.

I say ‘throw’ because it relates to throwing. You should have no more tension on the handle of the bat when you swing than you would put on the baseball when you throw. It is the same whipping motion. This allows you to feel the barrel of the bat just as you would feel the weight of the baseball.

Try to squeeze a baseball hard right now and tell me how far you could throw it. It’s the same when holding a bat—too much tension in your grip leads to arm swinging or trying to muscle the ball—and to a lot of broken bats due to a drop in bat speed. Think of gripping your bat at a 3 or 4 on a scale of 1 to 10, where a 10 is the hardest you could squeeze and 1 is barely holding on to it.