Why the Knocking Knuckles Grip May Be Misleading Hitters
The knocking knuckles grip is the universal way to hold a baseball or softball bat, but it is preventing hitters from hitting the baseball with consistency and more power. This grip is performed by lining up the small knocking knuckles while gripping the bat. No one knows the original creators of this technique, but it was well marketed at some point and became the standard way to grip the bat.
The fact is that none of the professional baseball and softball hitters grip the bat this way (even though some may they think they might. So, if the pro ball players aren’t doing it, why is the knocking knuckles grip still being taught to hitters in lower level programs?
If you look closely you will see that the small knocking knuckles are aligned at contact. Maybe the originators of this bat grip tip saw this alignment at the moment of contact with the ball and thought that this was the right way to grip the bat. So why is the knocking knuckles grip misleading?
During the swing, we can all agree, there are lots of moving parts, especially of the hands and wrists. While swinging, your hands will turn and slide a bit on the bat as the wrist prepares for correct alignment on contact. For those who grip the bat correctly in the first place, the wrist movement will align the small knuckles together at contact. So whoever noticed that the small knuckles align at contact was actually witnessing a hitter who held the bat correctly during the swing. By correctly, I mean that the small knuckle of the top hand is aligned between the big and small knuckle of the bottom hand. Baseball and softball hitters’ who are programmed at a young age, really feel the ill effects of the knocking knuckles grip.
So what are the ill effects of knocking knuckles gripping and is it really that big of a deal?
Yes! It is a big deal and the grip causes several minor problems that can lead to major problems. Mostly, the grip limits the hitters’ power because it throws off the synchronicity of the wrist snap just after contact. The small knuckles will not align at contact like they should. This also causes the bat head to flatten out too much in the zone. Baseball and softball hitters’ who grip with this alignment, foul off too many pitches and have trouble squaring up on the pitch.
It seems the knocking knuckles grip is only successful for base hit hitters who swing with their upper body. It is the “Hands to the ball” or slap hitters who are typically knocking knuckles hitters.
In his book, “The Science of Hitting,” Ted Williams tried to set the record straight on the correct grip and how much of a difference the correct grip made. Still, to this day, many have not taken the advice of one of the greatest hitters of all time.