The Science of Hitting Info

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“Baseball’s last .400 hitter share[s] his secrets
in this primer still used at all levels of the game.” —Paul
Dickson, author of Bill Veeck: Baseball’s
Greatest Maverick


Now fully revised with new
illustrations and diagrams, the classic—and still the
greatest—book on hitting from the last baseball player to break
the magic .400 barrier, Ted Williams.

Ted Williams was arguably
the greatest pure hitter who ever lived. A lifelong student of hitting,
he sought advice from every great hitter—and pitcher—he met.
Drawing on that advice, as well as his own legendary life in baseball,
Williams produced the all-time batting classic, The Science of
Hitting
. Using its detailed illustrations, anecdotes, and concise
coaching, players of all skill levels will learn how to improve their
fundamentals and gain keen insights into the finer points of hitting,
including:

-How to Think Like a Pitcher and Guess the Pitch

-The Three Cardinal Rules for Developing a Smooth Line-Driving Swing

-The Secrets of Hip and Wrist Action
-Pitch Selection

-Bunting
-Hitting the Opposite Way

The Science of
Hitting
is a must-read for all baseball players looking to improve
their turn at bat and for all coaches and parents teaching the
sport.

Average Ratings and Reviews
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4.40

926 Ratings

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Reviews for The Science of Hitting:

4

Jan 02, 2017

‘A good friend of mine used to say, "This is a very simple game. You throw the ball, you catch the ball, you hit the ball. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, sometimes it rains." Think about that for a while.’ Ebby Calvin LaLoosh in the movie, Bull Durham (after hearing it from ‘Crash’ Davis)

For all the changes in the sport world, baseball has changed the least. That’s part of the joy in discovering this gem of a book. What’s the difference between an antique car and a classic? The antique ‘A good friend of mine used to say, "This is a very simple game. You throw the ball, you catch the ball, you hit the ball. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, sometimes it rains." Think about that for a while.’ Ebby Calvin LaLoosh in the movie, Bull Durham (after hearing it from ‘Crash’ Davis)

For all the changes in the sport world, baseball has changed the least. That’s part of the joy in discovering this gem of a book. What’s the difference between an antique car and a classic? The antique sits in the garage until you take it to an auto show while the classic is ready whenever you want to take a drive.

The Science of Hitting is a classic. Reading it, I discovered that much of what Williams wrote almost fifty years ago is still being repeated by batting coaches, managers and the players, themselves. Examples: using a light bat; doing your homework on pitchers; leading your swing with your hips.

Even if you are not going to the batting cage, or trying to make the team, there is plenty in the book that is pleasing. Read it and you will become a better observer of the game. Read it and you will learn a lot about the best batters that Ted Williams saw during his many decades in the sport. ...more
4

Dec 19, 2009

This book did wonders for my wiffle ball slugging pct.

If you're serious about baseball and hitting, check this book out. Like all old men, he rambles on about old stories and such, but sit & listen...try it out, and keep what works for you.
5

May 31, 2011

For young and inexperienced players, Ted Williams’ name may no longer hold the magic it did when I was growing up and playing baseball. But most of us "old-timers" will still remember that Williams was the last professional ball player (in the MLB) to hit over .400 for a full season. So when my Little League aged son was struggling a bit at the plate a season ago, I broke out my copy of Williams’ The Science of Hitting to look for some kernel of wisdom that would help my son get out of his For young and inexperienced players, Ted Williams’ name may no longer hold the magic it did when I was growing up and playing baseball. But most of us "old-timers" will still remember that Williams was the last professional ball player (in the MLB) to hit over .400 for a full season. So when my Little League aged son was struggling a bit at the plate a season ago, I broke out my copy of Williams’ The Science of Hitting to look for some kernel of wisdom that would help my son get out of his slump.

But, the first line in the book is an admonition that today’s best hitters fail more than they succeed “...even if you're a .300 hitter...you are going to fail at your job seven out of ten times." This statement is at once encouraging as well as discouraging. That is hitting in a nutshell (triumphant in success yet unbelievably humbling and potentially discouraging in failure) and any good player will need to remember that success as a ball player is measured a bit differently.

The admonition out of the way, William’s book splits the topic of hitting up into two basic parts--first, the physical mechanics involved in hitting; second, the mental duel taking place between the batter and pitcher.

Much of what is written in the book is the result of Williams’ conversations with great hitters of the past. As a result, much of the advice in the book is shared in the form of readable anecdotes, which make the book easy to read and enjoyable for baseball aficionados as well -- where else are you going to learn about Harry Heillman's philosophy of hitting?

One of the primary keys to Teddy Ballgame’s success was his swing. The best “old-time” hitters (and Williams was certainly one of them) had a nearly a flat swing plane, flat wrist-roll and a low, rather than high finish. Most of today's hitters' display an upper cutting arc and high finish to their swings. Yet, in the “dead ball” the old-timers managed to wrack up nearly as many homeruns but had much higher batting averages and strike-out to hit ratios. This ended up being the clincher for me. I noticed immediately that my son had started trying to uppercut the ball so he could hit more homeruns (after hitting his one in his first at-bat of the season).

We started working on having him hit line drives and sure enough he raised his average from .175 to .403 by the end of the season. Then this season he kept the swing we worked on and ended up hitting .390+, but also leading the league in home runs, finishing with 24 (including 6 in the post-season).

The other thing that Williams writes (which is often misinterpreted) is that he'd never swing at a pitch he hadn't seen before. Often time people will swear (incorrectly) that Williams never swung at a pitcher's first pitch. Williams was, if nothing else, a student of the game. He intently studied pitchers watching them warm up, watching them from the on-deck circle and mentally replaying previous at-bats in his head. When he stepped into the batters box he had a game plan and he had a good understanding of what a pitcher threw and when. My son used this part of Williams' game as well and it was fun to watch him "studying" the opposing pitchers.

Thank you Ted Williams! My son, whose name is Theodore William by the way, earned the nickname "Teddy Ballgame" from his coaches and teammates as well.

Williams text in The Science of Hitting is accompanied by the wonderful pen and ink illustrations of Robert E. Cupp. These drawings and other explanatory photographs to help illustrate the points Williams is trying to make and really enhance the book.

If you are a player, coach or just a parent wanting to help your son or daughter improve their game, this book is a must have! ...more
4

Jul 07, 2014

"I averaged .344 for a career. I had a higher percentage of game-winning home runs than Ruth, I was second only to Ruth in slugging and percentage combined; I was walked more frequently than Ruth and struck out less--once every eleven times up to Ruth's one in six. I had to be doing something right, and for my money the principal something was being selective."
4

Jan 19, 2020

Slim volume with analytics, anecdotes and analysis. Students of the game today are using computers to do what Ted did with just eyes and brain, though probably not as well. Way ahead of its time.
4

Sep 10, 2018

Kind of a classic, with many good nuggets for hitters. The writing was a bit all over the place, with some rambling anecdotes and lists of names of players most of us haven't heard of these days. Some of them are fun, others distracting. Could benefit from better organization and more concise writing. But, his tenets are now widely accepted and his tips are really useful.
4

Jan 18, 2018

I wish I had read this years ago. And I wish they would re-issue it and back up Williams' theories with now available statistics to see if he was, indeed, correct. The writing is clear, the advice and philosophy makes sense, and while some of the schematic drawings are confusing (a YouTube video would be fantastic), the biggest points easy to adopt. Highly recommend this to anyone who wants to improve how they hit from the neck up. This is a book I look forward to purchasing and using as a I wish I had read this years ago. And I wish they would re-issue it and back up Williams' theories with now available statistics to see if he was, indeed, correct. The writing is clear, the advice and philosophy makes sense, and while some of the schematic drawings are confusing (a YouTube video would be fantastic), the biggest points easy to adopt. Highly recommend this to anyone who wants to improve how they hit from the neck up. This is a book I look forward to purchasing and using as a reference for the foreseeable future. ...more
5

Nov 20, 2015

Ted Williams was possibly the greatest hitter to ever play the game of baseball and when he writes a book about hitting, you pay attention.
Throughout the book he reflects on past experiences over his professional career and personal life. He shows the science and physics behind the art of hitting a baseball.
Ted said hitting a baseball was "The hardest thing to do in sport". He uses the knowledge of other greats to write this book. He really stays true to the fundamentals of the game and breaks Ted Williams was possibly the greatest hitter to ever play the game of baseball and when he writes a book about hitting, you pay attention.
Throughout the book he reflects on past experiences over his professional career and personal life. He shows the science and physics behind the art of hitting a baseball.
Ted said hitting a baseball was "The hardest thing to do in sport". He uses the knowledge of other greats to write this book. He really stays true to the fundamentals of the game and breaks down the science behind being a good hitter.
After reading this book, I changed a few small things on my swing and those changes have really improved my batting average. ...more
4

Aug 26, 2016

Ted Williams' treatise on hitting is a classic for a reason: it's informative, engaging, and concise. This book is written for the serious baseball player, not the casual fan; it's a description of how Williams approached hitting, from pitch selection to angle of bat at impact.

For today's well-trained players, the book will contain little new information because Williams' insights have become so well-accepted. For example, the fact that the bat should be traveling upwards (not downwards) at Ted Williams' treatise on hitting is a classic for a reason: it's informative, engaging, and concise. This book is written for the serious baseball player, not the casual fan; it's a description of how Williams approached hitting, from pitch selection to angle of bat at impact.

For today's well-trained players, the book will contain little new information because Williams' insights have become so well-accepted. For example, the fact that the bat should be traveling upwards (not downwards) at impact, in order to be on-plane with the incoming pitch, is well-known. Using a shorter, quicker swing with two strikes is preached by every Little League coach. However, while many players "know" these things, they tend to forget them -- and would therefore benefit from rereading Williams' book.

The writing style is conversational and humorous -- in part because of Williams' blunt manners. He refers to pitchers as "hard-headed" and, of Ty Cobbs' advice about how to stride, says "This is wrong because it's impossible." At just 66 pages, it's a quick, easy, fun, and useful book. ...more
4

Sep 04, 2017

What you need to know about this slim book is that it is a byproduct of the life story Underwood set out to write with Williams. In an early conversation, Williams insisted there be an entire section devoted to what he had learned about hitting. One reason why he remains one of the best hitters who ever played baseball—along with his prodigious natural skills and his inner demons—is that hitting was to him more important than anything else in life. Even during the off-season, there was always a What you need to know about this slim book is that it is a byproduct of the life story Underwood set out to write with Williams. In an early conversation, Williams insisted there be an entire section devoted to what he had learned about hitting. One reason why he remains one of the best hitters who ever played baseball—along with his prodigious natural skills and his inner demons—is that hitting was to him more important than anything else in life. Even during the off-season, there was always a bat within reach. He seems to have thought of hitting night and day.
As so often, one of the elements of his excellence was attention to detail. The first photo of him in the book shows him standing next to a player he is coaching. The first thing I noticed was that I could see the label on the barrel of the bat he’s holding. A no-no, I thought. I was taught to have the label facing up as I swung, for it was placed to show how the grains of the wood ran, thus minimizing the likelihood of bat breakage. That part was right, but it worked equally well if the label faced down, and that’s how Williams held it, so there would be one less distraction to his eye.
Williams is appropriately aware that he might come across sounding like yet another old fart griping about how much better the game was in his day. In fact, the book surprised me by not being overly dogmatic. He concentrates on the mental part of an at-bat. I had heard he was big on taking the first pitch, but that only applied to his first time up in a game; in that at-bat, he wanted to see as many pitches as he could from a pitcher to compare it with what he remembered (and he did remember) from previous times facing him. Does his fastball have extra zip today? Is he having trouble getting his curve over?
He is surprisingly flexible on some of the physical aspects, such as stance. Young players should experiment, find a stance they are comfortable with. He also encourages batters to recognize what type of player he or she is and work within that. He is dogmatic on one point: weight shift alone won’t generate power, it must be combined with hip rotation.
Most memorable is his analysis of the strike zone and stressing the importance of choosing your pitch. The book has a chart with 77 baseballs filling his strike zone. Written on each is his batting average on a pitch located there. I had seen the chart before and was happy to learn while reading the book that these are not meant to apply to everyone. This was his analysis of his strike zone. Each batter has to analyze his or her own.
For all the helpfulness of the advice and information this book contains, none of it takes away from one thing Williams is dogmatic about: hitting a baseball is the single most difficult skill in all of sport. That being the case, a batter needs all the help he or she can get; there’s a great deal to find here. ...more
5

Jan 03, 2019

The Science of Hitting by Ted Williams is a remarkable book. In one sense, the book is well before it's time. The graphics, layout, and data recorded in the book seem like they would have been derived from the 21st century, not the 20th. However, the simplicity of Williams' approach is a sure sign that the book hails from a different era. While Williams provides lots of advice on a myriad of topics such as the kinetic chain (he wouldn't call it that), bunting, and finding the right bat, two The Science of Hitting by Ted Williams is a remarkable book. In one sense, the book is well before it's time. The graphics, layout, and data recorded in the book seem like they would have been derived from the 21st century, not the 20th. However, the simplicity of Williams' approach is a sure sign that the book hails from a different era. While Williams provides lots of advice on a myriad of topics such as the kinetic chain (he wouldn't call it that), bunting, and finding the right bat, two things stand out to me as things that should give hitters a sure advantage. First, Williams recommends being patient and finding a good ball to hit. Second, he recommends making contact with the ball on a slight upward plane in order to give the hitter more time in the zone. ...more
0

Oct 14, 2016

I thought this book was very educational and since I play baseball it was very informational and interesting to see what one of the best players ever to play the game thought about. Ted Williams believed in a philosophy that many people now disagree with. His goal every time he got up to the plate was to hit the ball in the air and pull it. Many theories now a days believe to hit to the opposite field and get the ball on the ground and force more than one person to touch the baseball for more of I thought this book was very educational and since I play baseball it was very informational and interesting to see what one of the best players ever to play the game thought about. Ted Williams believed in a philosophy that many people now disagree with. His goal every time he got up to the plate was to hit the ball in the air and pull it. Many theories now a days believe to hit to the opposite field and get the ball on the ground and force more than one person to touch the baseball for more of an opportunity for one of them making a mistake but Ted Williams's theory is the exact opposite. This book has many pictures and is an easy read but the concepts are interesting and definitely an interesting read. ...more
4

Dec 27, 2018

A classic book by the Greatest Hitter who ever lived. It's being taught today by hitting coaches.
4

Mar 06, 2017

Good short read about hiting a baseball. I really enjoyed how Ted Williams broke down the strike zone to find his sweet spots.
5

Oct 25, 2017

Folksy, but breaks hitting down and Williams' unmatched philosophy on it in such a way that even children can understand why he thought that way.
4

Mar 22, 2017

Why would a baseball fan not want to know what Ted Williams thinks about hitting? Quick, easy read. Fun stories and memories.
5

Feb 20, 2019

The book to read if you want to understand power hitting. It's as plain as that. Ted Williams understood hitting. That this is a straightforward guide makes it even better.
0

Oct 11, 2019

A very good book about hitting a baseball from the greatest hitter of all time. Goes into a lot of depth about what you need to do and how to think to be a great hitter.
3

Mar 06, 2018

It’s odd how many points made are tenets of current hitting trends.
5

May 05, 2019

Loved the breakdown and tactical look at hitting. Great simple and clear messages.
5

Mar 06, 2018

Ted Williams was an incredible genius in everything he did. Greatest batter, pilot and fisherman - I hope my average goes up in the things I do now in my life and that I find the science to do that.
5

May 18, 2018

This book is a really helpful guide to help you with hitting in baseball. Ted Williams does an amazing job explaining everything you need to know. I loved this book and it is really helpful.
5

Jul 12, 2017

Great insight into the mind of arguably the most knowledgeable hitter the sport has ever seen. I learned a lot reading this book that has improved my swing and how I approach my time at the plate. Wish I would have had coaches teach me this back when I was a kid.
5

Jan 03, 2020

The greatest book on hitting ever. I could talk about it for hours, but will just say that both Wade Boggs and Tony Gwynn read it and together they totled 34 seasons with a batting average of .300 or more, and 13 combined batting titles. They both claimed that reading this book made them into the hitters that they were during their career. If you want to be a great hitter you MUST READ this book.
5

Jan 02, 2019

I don't care how old this book is, or how obsessed the game of baseball gets with new analytical fads like "launch angle" -- there is still, to me, no better book on hitting than this one by Ted Williams.

The only downside to this book is that many of the references are dated. He quotes statistical performance of certain hitters who played decades ago, because, of course, this was written decades ago.

But when it comes to the actual content? Brilliant.

I'm a baseball coach, and I've been giving I don't care how old this book is, or how obsessed the game of baseball gets with new analytical fads like "launch angle" -- there is still, to me, no better book on hitting than this one by Ted Williams.

The only downside to this book is that many of the references are dated. He quotes statistical performance of certain hitters who played decades ago, because, of course, this was written decades ago.

But when it comes to the actual content? Brilliant.

I'm a baseball coach, and I've been giving this book to all my 12 year old Little League players who are aging out every year for the last several years. It is easy enough for a kid to understand, but also is complex enough to be helpful for those in high school, college, and the pros.

Full of diagrams and images that show certain angles and paths of a baseball swing, Williams does an excellent job explaining, from start to finish, what a good swing looks like, and more importantly *why* a certain kind of swing works best.

You can't go wrong with this one. Love it. ...more

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