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Left-Handed Batting Tips

By Dennis Hartman

In baseball, the majority of hitters bat right-handed. Even some left-handed players bat right-handed, if this is the way that they were taught to bat as children. However, left-handed batters have a distinct statistical advantage against the majority of pitchers. There are several tips that can make a left-handed batter even more productive in the batter's box.

Matchups

Opinions vary as to why left-handed batters have a statistical advantage against right-handed pitchers. The opposite also holds true with right-handed batters performing better against lefty pitchers, but there is less of a marked difference. Left-handed batters should be ready to play frequently, since the majority of pitchers are right-handed. Even on days when a lefty pitches and left-handed batters might not be in the starting lineup, they are likely to enter the game as pinch hitters once a right-handed relief pitcher takes over for the opposing team.

The Batter's Box

Left-handed batters hit from the left-handed batter's box, which is closer to first base. This gives lefties an advantage by placing them closer to first base, and also positioning them better to run to first base as they follow through on a hit. Left-handed batters should practice following through and transitioning quickly from the batting stance to a baserunning position. Despite the slight advantage, left-handed batters who master this will find themselves safe on first more often on close plays.

Training

Work with a hitting coach who has experience working with left-handed hitters. Even though the mechanics of good hitting are the same, left-handed batters face different challenges in tracking the ball from the pitcher and hitting to different parts of the field.

Equipment

Be sure to use a left-handed batting glove (or a pair of gloves for added protection). Left-handed hitters must also wear a left-handed batter's helmet with protection over the right ear.

Situational Hitting

Left-handed hitters should practice situational hitting, since there are certain tasks that they are more likely to be asked to perform. Because they are closer to first base, left-handed batters may be asked to bunt for a hit. This requires speed as well as good bunting skills.

Left-handed batters also block a right-handed catcher's throwing arm. This makes it easier for a baserunner to steal second base, as the catcher will have to avoid the batter in making the throw. Lefties should be sure to understand a coach's signals to know when they are being used as an obstacle to the opposing catcher.

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