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Why You Should Or Shouldn't Choke Up On A Bat

why choke up on a bat

When it comes to gripping a baseball bat or softball bat, one controversial technique that divides players and coaches is "choking up on the bat." Choking up involves moving one's hands closer to the barrel of the bat, effectively shortening the grip. While some argue it enhances control and contact, others claim it sacrifices power and hitting distance. In this article, the Bat Experts at JustBats will explore both perspectives and provide the pros and cons of each to help you make an informed decision on whether you should or shouldn't choke up on a bat.

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Should You Choke Up On A Bat? 

Before we get into the pros and cons of choking up on a bat, watch as the Baseball Bat Bros hop on the Hittrax and Blast Motion sensor to test out if choking up is helping or hurting your bat speed and exit velocity. 

Pros Of Choking Up On A Bat

Pro #1: Improved bat control and contact

One compelling argument in favor of choking up is the improved bat control it provides. By shortening the grip, hitters gain better command over the bat's trajectory, allowing them to make better mid-swing adjustments. For instance, legendary baseball player Tony Gwynn was known for his exceptional bat control, often choking up to enhance his ability to place the ball precisely where he wanted it, resulting in a mind-boggling .338 career batting average. 

Pro #2: Enhanced bat-to-ball quickness

One advantage of choking up on a bat is the potential for increased quickness to contact. By shortening the grip, hitters can generate quicker, shorter swings, enabling them to catch up to high-velocity pitches. Ichiro Suzuki was famous for his exceptional bat-to-ball quickness. He often choked up on the bat, allowing him to react swiftly to fast pitches and maintain a high batting average throughout his career. Barry Bonds is another great example of someone who choked up on the bat to gain an advantage. Watch as Barry Bonds discusses choking up on the bat and why it was a way of life to the all-time home run king.

Cons Of Choking Up On A Bat

Sacrificing power and distance

On the flip side, critics of choking up argue that it comes at the cost of power and hitting distance. When hands are moved closer to the barrel, the leverage and torque generated during the swing are reduced, resulting in decreased power. Major league slugger Giancarlo Stanton, known for his incredible home run power, rarely chokes up on the bat, preferring the full extension of his swing to maximize power and drive the ball deep into the outfield. 

In fact, many players in today’s game (and especially slow pitch softball) like to hang their pinky off the end of the bat knob. The idea here is to lengthen the swing and increase bat speed. Physics supports this idea as a longer lever (arms + hands + bat) has a higher potential for maximized swing speeds. 

Ultimately, the decision to choke up on a bat boils down to personal preference. The biggest key is to step into the box with confidence. Different players have unique styles and strengths, and certain game situations may call for adjustments. For example, when facing a dominant pitcher with a high-velocity fastball, a hitter may choose to choke up to improve bat control and timing. However, in a situation early in the count when you are looking to drive the ball deep into the outfield, a normal grip is likely the move. 

But at the end of the day, do what you are most comfortable with. If you feel confident in your swing, good results are bound to follow!

We hope this article was helpful as you decide whether or not to choke up on your bat. As always, if you have any additional questions, don’t hesitate to contact our Bat Experts. They’re standing by to answer any questions you may have and are always happy to help. You can call or text 866-321-2287, email, or you can click here to live chat. We’re JustBats, and we’ll be here for you from Click To Hit!

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