I taped my 15 year old son the other day and was blown away by what I saw. He is actually taking two strides before he starts the swing. The first one is about 3-4 inches and then the second one is more of a foot up and then foot down. It hasn't affected his swing and hitting numbers at all. Does anyone think this could become a problem later on? Thanks.
Swing Smarter Response: Hey Darrel! This is called the toe tap stride. Major Leaguers like Chipper Jones, Sammy Sosa, and Josh Hamilton at one time made this popular. You can see what Hamilton says about it in the above video at about the 1 minute mark. I, myself, did it for a stretch during my playing days. The reason it probably hasn't affected your son's swing is because it's mainly used as a timing mechanism.
I don't like teaching the toe tap because it's just another "thing" that can go wrong in a swing (striding away/in, wasting pitch recognition time, can turn into a small leg kick, etc.)
I like to tell my young hitters to "fall" onto their stride foot (50/50 weight distribution), like when we all take another step while walking.
Although, the heel must come down right away with the "fall," a lot of kids like to be on the toe and keep the heel up during their stride, but the heel MUST drop before we can even start hip rotation, to me, this is wasted movement and delaying the inevitable.
The stride has nothing to do with power, it's just for timing. What you're son may be lacking is a good load into the back hip and not using his bent front leg to push off with to get the back hip to explode through impact. This is supposedly why Hamilton (in above video) went to the toe tap stride because he was lunging a bit and was having trouble with off speed pitches.
Most likely, it was his load that was the problem and the leverage he wasn't getting off his front leg because of too much "back-to-forward" weight shifting.
Darrell, let me know what you think, and if anyone else has some advice, please sound off :)