Why Taking Knocking Knuckles Can Be Misleading
Punching is the universal way to hold a baseball or softball bat, but it prevents hitters from hitting the ball consistently and with more power. This grip is done by lining up the small knuckles while gripping the bat. No one knows the original creators of this technique, but it was marketed well at one point and became the standard way to grab the bat.
The point is, none of the professional baseball and softball hitters grab the bat this way (although some think they might. So if pro hitters don’t, why the hitting the bat? Is punching still taught? hitters in lower level programs?
If you look closely you will see that the small knuckles are lined up on contact. Maybe the creators of this batting grip tip saw this alignment upon contact with the ball and thought it was the right way to grip the bat. So why is the grip of the phalanges misleading?
During the swing, we all agree, there are a lot of moving parts, especially hands and wrists. As you swing, your hands will spin and slide on the bat a bit as the wrist prepares for proper alignment on contact. For those who grip the bat correctly in the first place, the movement of the wrist will align the small joints together on contact. So anyone who noticed the small knuckles lining up on contact was actually witnessing a hitter holding the bat correctly during the swing. By correctly, I mean that the small knuckle of the top hand is aligned between the large and the small knuckle of the bottom hand. Baseball and softball hitters who are programmed at a young age really feel the detrimental effects of taking the punches.
So what are the ill effects of taking punches and is it really that big of a deal?
Yes! This is a big deal and there are several minor issues with getting started that can lead to major issues. Most of the time, the grip limits the power of the hitters because it overrides the timing of the wrist pressure right after contact. The small joints will not line up on contact as they should. It also causes excessive flattening of the bat head in the area. Baseball and softball hitters who adhere to this roster, foul on too many pitches, and find it difficult to compete on the field.
It seems that the grip of punches is only successful for basic hitters who swing with the upper body. These are the “hands to the ball” or slapping hitters that typically strike hitters in the knuckles.
In his book, “The Science of Hitting”, Ted Williams tried to set the record straight on the right grip and the difference the right grip made. Yet to date, many have not taken the advice of one of the greatest hitters of all time.