Discover Hitting Fundamentals To Develop A Power Base
Working the lower half is the CORE of hitting fundamentals and power, so master this article, and Part 2 located under fixing a broken bottom half in the Smart Hitting Tips tab on the nav bar, and you'll have the 20% of information bringing 80% of baseball swing success!
Note: The same information included in the two lower half hitting pieces on this website, professional athletes and other so called experts on hitting, regurgitate into books and DVD's while charging a premium. To me, this information should be free! Anyway...
A broken bottom half is responsible for a hitter NOT being able to get the ball out of the infield, if they don't overcome it now, then they're in for a lot of humiliation and career disappointment.
Good waist down mechanics are responsible for at least 90% of a hitter's power, without it, the player might as well be swinging a colorful foam pool noodle.
We'll begin with the pre-mechanical phase to hitting fundamentals by talking about where to line up at the plate and how wide the stance should be. We'll also explain the why behind each point because that is very important for a complete understanding of the lower half swing.
Let's get started...
The hitter should lay their bat down perpendicular to the plate along the back two points, and toe up their front foot to the end of the bat. Then, take the baseball bat and put it on the ground between their feet, lining their feet up at the ends of the bat.
A batting stance should be almost as wide as the bat the kid uses...wider is better than narrow, especially for little ones (we'll explain why a little later). The toes should line up straight with each other and not point in or out.
Coaches and instructors have to be hardcore sticklers on this point, for the 5-12 year olds phase of training, every pre-swing approach because they need to build body awareness early if they want success later.
At this point, weight should be evenly distributed between the feet (preferably inside the feet). This is also a constant throughout all phases of the swing. You NEVER should let your weight shift passed the outside of each foot, this goes for the entire bottom half swing.
Up till now, waist down positioning of a baseball stance should be clear, now we'll look into the why of the above information.
So, why a wider stance you ask?
This is a very good hitting fundamentals question because I, myself, do NOT like to fit kids into the same hitting mold, so by all means experiment.
BUT, here's my reasoning for a wider stance...
A wider stance takes care of 2 major hitting faults:
- Keeps the eyes from bouncing up/down during the launch phase of the swing, and
- Prohibits lunging at the ball and eyes moving forward.
With a narrow stance, the stride is always the killer to a sound fundamental baseball swing. Players tend to over stride starting with their feet closer together because they really aren't in a good athletic position to hit, and the body automatically overcompensates by taking a longer stride.
Now, in addition to that, do a quick experiment for me...
Take a narrow stance, mark what level your eyes start out,then take your stride, and mark what level your eyes finish...they drop about 1-3 inches, in fact.
Not only that, but the act of over striding actually moves the eyes forward a few inches as well, and that alone makes the ball SEEM 5-10 mph faster depending on the exaggeration of the stride.
The bottom line?
When it comes to sound hitting fundamentals, always come back to a wider stance, it comes in handy when players are in slumps because most likely they aren't seeing the ball as well as they should be.
There's no magic formula for the width of the stance or distance from the plate, only guidelines. So use the above as a fundamental to come back to for older players, and a model to stick to for the younger ones...it will keep them out of trouble;-)
Please check out the sequels, Parts 2 & 3 to this article, they won't let you down...we promise.;-)
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