Hitting Terms Every Coach Must Know

Written By: Chas Pippitt

Do you Know Today's Most Commonly Used Hitting Terms?

If not, this article will be extremely helpful for you. It's important for moms, dads, coaches, and players to understand these terms. Knowledge is power, and knowing these terms and what they mean will help everyone learn faster and share hitting information better.

Exit Velocity

Exit Velocity: The speed the ball comes off the bat, this has nothing to do with the bat itself, just the ball once it’s hit. Another term that means the same thing as Exit Velocity is Ball Exit Speed.

Exit Velocity

Bat Speed

Bat Speed: this is the speed at which the bat is swung.  This has nothing to do with Exit Velocity of the ball as Bat Speed is only about the bat. Another term that means the same speed as Bat Speed is Swing Speed.

Bat Speed

Launch Angle

Launch Angle: The angle at which the ball leaves the bat once it is hit.  Every ball has a launch angle, grounders are negative angles to slightly positive angles (-90 degrees to about 6 degrees). Line Drives are about 7 degrees to about 24 degrees, and fly balls are higher than 25 degrees generally. Contrary to popular belief, there is no such thing as a ‘launch angle swing’. Another term that means the same thing as Launch Angle is Exit Angle.

Launch Angle

Attack Angle

Attack Angle: This is the angle from when the bat enters the hitting zone until contact with the ball. For example: if you swing down and chop at the ball, your attack angle will be a negative number (-15 degrees). If you swing flat and level to the ground it will be 0 degrees. And if you swing upward it will be a positive number, anywhere from 1 to about 25 degrees. Contrary to popular belief, Pop-ups are mostly caused by negative or flat attack angles. Alternatively, line drives and hard grounders are from positive attack angles. Another term that means the same thing as Attack Angle is Swing Plane Angle.

Attack Angle
Attack Angle Numbers

Pitch Plane

Pitch Plane: This the angle at which the pitch comes in. The best contact hitters have attack angles that are opposite of the pitch angle coming in. For example, if the pitch comes in on a -4 degree angle, the hitter would want at least a 4-degree attack angle. Home run hitters tend to have higher attack angles than the pitch plane. 

Pitch Plane

Area of Impact

Area of Impact: this is how long the bat is in the hitting zone and behind the ball. A perfectly matched attack angle to pitch plane has the longest area of impact, which is around 3.5 feet.

Area of Impact

Hip Hinge

Hip Hinge: this is bending at the waist towards home plate from your stance position. Another term that means the same thing as Hip Hinge is Pelvis Bend.

Hip Hinge

Side Bend

Side Bend: this is bending towards home plate at the contact position.  The body has rotated to this ball now so the hip hinge in the stance has transitioned to side bend. Other terms that mean the same thing as Side Bend are Pelvis Side Bend or Torso Bend or Inward Tilt.

Side Bend

Hip and Shoulder Separation

Hip and Shoulder Separation: this is the angle of the front of the pelvis compared to the angle to the shoulder girdle/collar bone of a hitter or thrower. Generally, the more different the angles of the chest and hips, (more open for hips and more closed for shoulders) the harder a player can swing a bat or throw a ball. Another term that means the same thing as Hip and Shoulder Separation is X-Factor Stretch.

Hip and Shoulder Separation
Hopefully, this article has cleared up some of the murkiness of the internet in regards to hitting terms.

At Softball Rebellion, we want people to feel included in our discussions instead of excluded by hard to understand terms. If there are others you think we should list and identify, please comment below.

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