The following baseball hitting article teaches everything you need to know about flying open (how to stay closed) when swinging. Along with mental advice, mechanics and drills to fix this common hitting mistake.

If you take one thing away from this article — then let it be keep hitting simple. Focus on the basics, don’t get caught up in over-complicated hitting theories. Focus on a simple head down/opposite field approach and good things will happen.


Rotational hitting, linear hitting — who cares! Unless a hitter is able to stay closed and keep his head on the baseball, then it doesn’t matter what hitting school, he subscribes to — he will not succeed.

Pulling off the baseball is still the number 1 cause of outs in baseball at all levels of the game… period!

If you ever watch a major league hitter get out, the majority of the time he will be rolling over on a pitch on the outside edge of the plate — this is considered, pulling off the baseball. And it happens all the way from little league to the big leagues!

Now that we have your attention — we hope that the following article will help you understand the concept of staying closed and what tools you can use to prevent a hitter from flying open too early in his swing.

12 Baseball Hitting Drills For Staying Closed


Not getting the results you want? Chances are you're approaching hitting the wrong way...


Below is a snippet of 12 video guides that provides our members (members get access to 40+ videos). To view the full, high quality member versions join today.

Why Hitters Fly Open
The main reasons a hitter pulls off the baseball

55,005 member views

Member rating0%
What Is Flying Open
Explains the basics of flying open too early in the swing

70,566 member views

Member rating0%
3 Cone Lead Hand Drill
A great hitting drill for staying closed

47,007 member views

Member rating0%
Hands Inside Front Toss
Hands inside the baseball to stay closed

87,777 member views

Member rating0%
Opposite Field Tee 101
How opposite field tee-drill helps to stay closed

40,874 member views

Member rating0%
Close Mind & Open Eyes
Don't think and see the ball to stay closed

36,998 member views

Member rating0%
Laser Strap Batting Practice
Using The Laser Strap to prevent flying open

97,965 member views

Member rating0%
Comparing Good/Bad Swing
Comparing a swing with the head down to flying open

26,556 member views

Member rating0%
Laser Strap Side Toss
Using The Laser Strap to stay closed with side toss

66,885 member views

Member rating0%
Red Hat Tee Drill
How the Red Hat Tee-Drill helps to stay closed

66,885 member views

Member rating0%
SwingAtHome System
Teaching young kids to keep their head down

56,888 member views

Member rating0%
Red Hat Series
Staying closed, staying back, keeping head down

20,888 member views

Member rating0%



#1- Flying open: Flying open too early with the front shoulder is a guaranteed batting average killer, releasing the front shoulder too early will likely result in a swing and miss, foul ball, weak ground ball or pop up! It is vital that the hitter lets the ball travel deep in the hitting zone before he releases his front shoulder to attack the baseball.


Member Only Tools To Fix Batting Average Killer #1: 


Join today to access these member tools and more.


Pay special attention to the head movement within the following sequence of images — you will note that the head remains still throughout the entire swing. This is essential for keeping the front shoulder closed.

Click the circles to view next image

One of the most common flaws with a baseball swing at all levels of the game is “flying open” or “pulling off the baseball”. Flying open or pulling off the baseball occurs when the front shoulder releases too early during the initial stages of the baseball swing. There are many reasons why flying open is detrimental to a baseball swing — and they include:

  • When the front shoulder flies open the head and eyes will follow. One of the most well known phrases in baseball is “you can’t hit what you can’t see”. Flying open is the number 1 cause for strike outs and ground ball outs!
  • Flying open causes the bat head to drop, thus increasing the likelihood of a pop up, foul ball, weak ground ball or a complete swing and miss.
  • When the front shoulder opens up prematurely, it’s virtually impossible to generate any type of power with a pitch on the outside corner of home plate.
  • Flying open leads to an ugly swing. There is nothing worse than watching a baseball swing where the hitter is flying open with the front shoulder and pulling his head off the baseball.



  • Bad hitting approach: If a hitter is over-swinging or attempts to pull every pitch he will have a tendency to fly open with the front side. It is vital a hitter stays relaxed, within himself and focused on hitting the ball to the middle of the baseball field.
  • Not staying through the baseball: If a hitter rolls over on the baseball directly after contact then he will most likely hit a weak ground ball to his pull side. It is vital that a hitter does not roll over at the point of contact and stays through the baseball. Staying through the baseball is made easier with solid lower half hitting mechanics.
  • Lack of confidence: If a hitter does not have confidence in his swing, he will try to cheat by flying open too early. This is especially true if the hitter believes that he cannot hit the inside fastball or is not seeing the baseball out of the pitcher’s hand.
  • Not seeing the baseball: If a hitter has problems seeing the baseball out of the pitcher’s hand, he will more than likely fly open to try and compensate for not seeing the ball.
  • Hitter’s anxiety: If a hitter is anxious or “jumpy” there will be a tendency to rush the swing, which can cause the front shoulder to fly open.
  • The hitter may step in the bucket. Stepping away from the plate will cause the rest of the body to fly open. Learn more about how to stride when hitting a baseball.
  • Poor lower half mechanics: If the front foot is too open when it lands, the rest of the body will most likely follow. If the hitter does not get off his back heel during the swing and rotate his hips then the hitter will most likely spin off the baseball. Learn more about how to train the best lower half hitting mechanics.



The back foot can be a great indicator for a hitter that is pulling off the baseball, dipping or late with his swing. If a hitter is not getting onto the balls of his back foot as the front foot lands then this will cause issues with the rest of the swing.



[+] Getting off the heel helps the body to get into a balanced athletic position — ready to hit.
[+] Is crucial for staying through the baseball as it allows the upper body to be in a good hitting posture
[+] Speeds up the rest of your swing as the back foot will complete its rotation faster
[+] Prevents pulling off the baseball as apposed to hitting off a flat back foot, where the hitter will have a tendency to spin off the baseball
[+] Prevents dipping — if a hitter is flat footed then his weight will be forced onto his back side thus causing too much dipping action


It is very difficult to break down this aspect of a baseball swing with isolation drills as it occurs dynamically within the constraints of a real time swing. Just be aware that when a hitter plants his front foot that he should be in a 50/50 athletic position and on the balls of his feet.


Have a good hitting approach: The best way to deal with flying open is to practice hitting the baseball to the opposite field. By focusing on the task of hitting the baseball to the non-pull side the hitter will naturally stay closed with his front side. This is the beauty of the opposite field approach, this effective hitting approach should be used in practice and during the game.

Ensure the hitter is getting in the Locked In Position: this is where the front shoulder engages under the chin just as the front foot hits the ground. The Locked In Position comes directly after the load and stride phases of the swing and is where the hitter makes his final decision on whether to 100% commit to his baseball swing.

Self-Analysis. As a hitter becomes more experienced, he can feel when he is pulling off the baseball. Good hitters can make an adjustment during batting practice or even a live at bat in a game. When a hitter is able to recognize that he is flying open, he has the ability to step out of the batter’s box and use internal dialogue to tell himself to stay closed and focus on hitting the baseball up the middle or to the opposite field. As stated before, focusing on hitting the baseball up the middle or to the opposite field is by far the most effective hitting tool for staying closed. For example, if you see a Major League hitter on TV step out of the box and tap his leg, there is a good chance that he his telling himself to stay closed, stay back, relax and see the baseball. Tapping a body part or looking at focal points, such as the label on your baseball bat are common cues that help remind a baseball hitter of an important hitting technique that they should follow.


  • Tee drills can teach a short/closed stride. A hitter that flies open during tee drill will be exposed, as when he flies open his bat head will drop and he will hit the tee or hit a weak pop up.
  • Bottom hand hitting drills can teach a hitter to keep his front side closed. If a hitter opens up during this drill he will foul the ball off or hit a weak ground ball. This hitting drill can be executed by shortening up on a normal sized bat or by purchasing a small purpose-built baseball bat.
  • Front toss batting drills where the ball is thrown low and away will force a hitter to stay closed and go the other way. The only way a hitter can consistently hit the low and outside pitch is by staying closed and hitting the baseball to the opposite field.
  • Visual hitting drills, where the hitter works on picking up a pitcher’s release point. The release point is where the pitcher lets go of the baseball. The release point can vary from a pitcher’s ear, shoulder, or waist if you are facing a drop down submarine pitcher.
  • Mental training, can also help with flying open. When a hitter is confident in his own ability he is more likely to trust his swing and stay closed. Cognitive techniques can help with a hitter’s confidence. A hitter that is focused & positive will have the best chance of success.
  • Any type of opposite field hitting drill will teach a hitter to stay closed. It is virtually impossible to hit a baseball to the opposite field if the front side has opened up


Two things, which is one thing… Hit through the ball and stay in your legs. Young hitters can’t hit THROUGH the ball without an athletic, balanced base (lower half). Anybody can make contact, but to maximize your opportunity for success a hitter must drive the barrel through the ball, not just to the ball but through it. Good leg positioning will allow the barrel to travel through the zone better.

High legged hitters (those that rise up and lock out their knees) have a tendency to really come off the ball and mis-hit balls too often. The swing becomes loopy, they have a hard time keeping their front shoulder in the swing, which directly affects their head, which really flies off and they end up looking into the pull side dugout. Not sure how you are supposed to hit a ball that is coming from the pitcher’s mound when you are looking in another direction. Yet hitters do it all the time. I truly believe that good leg positioning (staying in your legs) can solve many mechanical flaws in a hitter’s swing.

Choose Your Level of Access To Our 5 Step Complete Hitting System
BEST FOR: Novice parents teaching kids to hit.
BEST FOR: Intermediate parents and coaches.
BEST FOR: Next level parents, coaches and players.



  • The Hitting Project

    Batter up! Attention baseball hitting enthusiasts. We are happy to announce that we are now open for business to answer your hitting questions…feel free to leave a comment below and we will get back to you ASAP… Play Ball! CB (founder)

    Feel free to share this page with your friends by using the share icons that are located on this page.