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How to Grip a Bat. Door Knocking Knuckles, Big Knuckles, or Rings?
4/25/2011 added Mike Epstein position from 2004
5/13/2010 added Alex Rodriguez GMA comments and picture
5/13/2010 added Pujols and Ichiro door knocker pictures (h/t mudvnine)
3/8/2010 added Mattingly and Aaron pictures (h/t Chris O'Leary)
This is another confusing topic in a baseball swing.
Most recommmend lining up the "door knocking knuckles". Some align the "big knuckles" or "punching knuckles". And yet others "line up the rings". We will explore the pros and cons of each version and give you the correct alignment.
One thing all good hitters should always do is you should always put your knuckles together - all eight of them - should be lined up together that will create better whip and better bat speed. even though he doesn't use this knuckle alignment - see picture
Line up your "door-knocking knuckles." This may feel uncomfortable at first, however with practice it will become second nature.
This allows your wrists to roll properly after making contact with the baseball this grip will promote roll at contact.
The knuckles should be slightly ‘misaligned’ with the top hand ‘knocker’ knuckles between the middle and top knuckles of the bottom hand. An easy way to teach this (from Mike Epstein) is to “have the hitter place the bat barrel between his feet and lean it against his body. Have him to pick the bat up by the handle with both hands. This places his hands in the correct grip: the “knocker” knuckles of the top hand will be aligned perfectly between the “knocker” knuckles and the big knuckles on the bottom hand.”
notice the contorted top hand
Founded by New York Yankees legend and Los Angeles Dodgers Hitting Coach Don Mattingly in 2005, we feature the patented V-Grip handle baseball bats and softball bats which are statistically proven to increase bat speed by
promoting proper grip technique and alignment of the knocking knucklessee actual picture of Mattingly lining up his rings during his playing days.
The baseball bats and softball bats, approved for T-Ball, Youth, Little League, Senior League and Adult High School and College play, keep the bat in the fingers and away from the palm for a more tension free swing.
The picture (left) shows the correct grip of a hitter. The top hand "knocker-knuckles" line up with the "knocker-knuckles" of the bottom hand. With the hands in this position, it is virtually impossible to elevate the back elbow.
Most MLB hitters do not use the grip he describes, and 99% of them elevate their back elbow at toe touch
Line up these ["door-knocking knuckles."] This will force you to be in the right position.
Otherwise, you're not able to roll over your top hand... like you should rolling your top hand early is a problem to be avoided.
In the end you want players hands to align somewhere from the middle knuckles lining up (door knocking knuckles) and the middle knuckles of the lower hand lining up with the top knuckles on the upper hand (rings).
From Doug O'Neil & team (D & D Baseball was a company that produced great videos back in the 90s)
We teach to align the middle finger knuckles (door knocking knuckles). This creates a loose grip
which will also gives the range of motion and whip necessary to hit any pitch
location without rolling over or locking yourself. The hands and grip will
naturally tighten when the pitch is on the way.
From Daryl Ringwald (Hitting Coach, Ontario and B.C.)
Lining up the door-knocking knuckles brings the elbows in. Keeping the elbows in lets you have a quick controlled power swing
So, I was working with our players today on hitting when I noticed something with one of them. As I looked at her hands I could see that she was holding the bat handle deep in her palms, and her knuckles were in the "matched grip" position, i.e. the knocking knuckles on one hand were lined up with the big knuckles of the other.
I stopped her for a moment, double checked what I thought I was seeing, and had her move the bat into her fingers and turn her hands so the knocking knuckles lined up (more or less) with each other. She then continued hitting, but with measurably better results. Instead of hitting weak ground balls and fly balls, she started blasting line drives.
The girl was pretty excited about this discovery. We both commented on the big difference a small change can make.
and so begins a lifetime of mediocre hitting
Keeping back elbow down when waiting for pitch brings your hands through quicker.
If you have your elbow up, you still have to drop it to swing….
This also goes along with your grip. If you have your big knuckles lined up, you elbow stays up,
which is more difficult to hit. When your middle knuckles line up, the elbow stays lower, which is what you want…..
Quick hands through the strike zone!
number knuckles: A method of teaching young hitters how to properly grip a bat by assigning numerical values to joints in the fingers.
The joints made by the finger and the hand is (#1), the middle knuckles (door knocking knuckles) are (#2), and the end joints of the fingers are numbered (#3).
Aligning the middle knuckles, #2’s, or thereabouts, puts the bat out in the fingers and gets it out of the palms.
Granted, you see different grips from professional hitters, but this method seems to help hitters who don’t have professional abilities.
In spite of the evidence to the contrary...
lining up the middle knuckles (10 to 30 degree wrist angles) encourages a "swing down" or wood chopping type of swing. Attempting to initiate the swing into a more productive plane with this grip will cause a breakdown of the backside and force the back elbow inward toward the bellybutton.
The easiest way to ensure that you are keeping the bat up in the fingers is to rotate your hands so that the second row of knuckles on each hand line up with each other.
If you are uncomfortable with aligning your knuckles as described earlier, try rotating the hands until the second and third knuckles line up with each other. This is known as a "box grip" and is used by quite a few Major League players. Either way, it is important to be comfortable. So, pick the one that feels the best for your size and shape of hand and stick with it.
From Bobby Woods (on the new Hitting Skills video from Marty Schupak and the Youth Sports Club)...
If your arms form a natural V-shape and the bat rests easily in your fingers that's all that matters. Where the knuckles line up doesn't matter - you want to be palm-up/palm-down at contact.
From Chris Sperry (Head Baseball Coach, University of Portland)...
Not concerned with the knuckles at all, more important that the hands come through the zone palm-up, palm down.
Advocates for Aligning the Big Knuckles
We could not find anyone advocating big knuckles in print or in a video.
MLB Players Using Door Knocking Knuckles
We spotted a couple of players using door knocking knuckles in games.
What is the Proper Knuckle Alignment for a Baseball or Fastpitch Grip?
Line Up the Rings
aka Box Grip
aka Offset Grip
Line up your rings
Like many areas of the baseball swing, despite what most instructors and players teach (door knocking knuckles),
the best rotational hitters (and almost all current MLB players) actually align the rings when they grip their bat (see picture at right).
Since this grip is purely technique and has nothing to do with strength, any age hitter can use this grip - even Tee Ball kids.
Important Note for Box Grip: The top hand must be loose in order for the hands to rotate into the palm up/ palm down position at contact. (We don't want our picture at the right to give the impression you must hold the bat with a death grip)
Door knocking knuckles may be a cause of bat drag in rotational hitters. Door knocking knuckles may be the best solution for linear hitters.
Important Note for Door Knocking Knuckles: Your top hand must use a golf club type grip (bat loosely held in the knuckles, not in the palm) in order for the elbows to properly separate at toe touch.
Big knuckle alignment may contribute to wrist roll at contact.