What is Dynamic Balance & How Can It Increase Hip Thrust?

by Jim

My daughter is a high school and gold team softball player, and she has developed a bad habit of bringing her back foot forward when she is swinging.


Needless to say this is causing a lot of problems at the plate.

We have a batting cage out back and she doesn't do it when I am pitching to her. I alternate pitching fast, changups, etc. and she does well.

She realizes she is doing it during the game, but she has a hard time correcting the problem.

I read Chas Pippitt's Baseball Hitting Rebellion article on anchoring the back foot and it is exactly what she needs to do to balance her weight.

What percentage of her weight should be on the back foot and where should the rest of the weight be distributed?

She is a very hard worker and she wants to succeed. It is very frustrating to her and me.
Any suggestions or drills to eliminate this problem.

Thank you.
Jim

Swing Smarter Response:


Hey Jim, thank you for the submission. Check out the following moving picture of Jose Bautista, which perfectly shows lower half locomotion:

Jose Bautista Hitting in Slow Motion


To answer your questions:

"What percentage of her weight should be on the back foot and where should the rest of the weight be distributed?"

The Loaded Gun


Here's the breakdown of the video above speaking in elite swing lower half movement:

  1. Double Knee Inside Load (article referenced above) is where there's an inward turn of the hips (pitcher can now see hitter's back front pocket), and both knees stay inside the big toes and hitter seems to "ride out" the back hip as he falls forward

  2. We see the core muscles (big group) turning the pelvis (including a big joint and big Glute and Hamstring muscles), which then turns the knee (smaller joint), and finally turns the back heel over (ankle: even smaller joint and calf muscles)

  3. Note how Jose Bautista's weight is pulling up "against" his front leg, and Not over it

  4. Also notice how Bautista's hips travel forward (along with the head) until front heel plant, then forward movement stops; which kind of resembles a car crashing head on into a brick wall

  5. This causes the back foot to slide forward, and upon swing finish Bautista "catches" himself on his back foot



Dynamic Balance is the Swing Holy Grail


This describes a fertile dynamic balance environment, where the body is making an aggressive move forward, behind the front leg, and under complete control.

And Jim, as you described your daughter's back foot sliding forward, unless I'm missing something here, don't worry, it's a healthy part of a dynamically balanced swing.

Legends of the Fall


To finally answer your questions about what percentage of her weight should be on the back foot and where should the rest of the weight be distributed...?

I invite you to watch the clip of Bautista a couple times more above...what do you see if you focus on weight distribution?

Difficult to say huh? I like to teach my kids to fall forward as they stride, ride their loaded back hip, and let their body mass "crash" up against their front side as they rotate.

A "fall" is hard to fathom with all the coaches saying, "Sit back!" This is not what happens with the elite swing (evidenced above, and by the way, Jose Bautista hit an oppo field home-run in that picture).

Just as Ted Williams said for a hitter to get better, they need to watch a pitcher's mechanics.

A pitcher uses his momentum by falling down the mound, and NOT by pushing off with his back foot. The back foot should actually pull off the mound thanks to the downward momentum.

A hitter should fall forward with a loaded hip to create momentum towards the pitcher, then utilize the front leg by hitting behind it as Bautista does.

I hope this helps and please comment below if I need to clear anything up :)

Thanks Jim!

Comments for What is Dynamic Balance & How Can It Increase Hip Thrust?

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Weight distribution
by: Joey from SwingSmarter.com

@Steve:

Thank you for your comment...the distance the front hip travels might be minimal, 2-3 inches for some and 3-6 inches for others (Babe & Mick), but it does move forward, and yes once front heel plant happens, the core rotates the hips around the spine and forward momentum stops. I mentioned this.

However, I have to disagree with you on 100% of Jose Bautista's weight being on his back leg. Looking at the moving picture, this is NOT true. If it were, you'd see his back knee directly over his back toe.

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Back foot coming across the plate
by: Joey from SwingSmarter.com

It sounds like your daughter may not be balanced at the swing finish. If she's falling over towards the plate, then you have to work with her on holding a nice balanced finish without falling over for at least 4 seconds post-swing.

See how that goes...

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Back foot going toward right field - right handed hitter
by: Anonymous

Thanks for getting back to me so soon.What you said makes a lot of sense. The video was helpful also, as my daugher is a no stride hitter and I noticed that these type of hitters have a wider stance.

The one thing I need to clarify is that my daugter's momentum is carrying her back foot toward right field almost across the plate, not forward.
Any suggestions?

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Bautista Swing
by: Steve

In regards to the swing of Jose Bautista. From the point he starts his swing, he has 100% of his weight on his backside and loaded, ready to explode to the pitch. Once his front side foot touches down to the ground, he quickly rotates his hips towards the pitcher, which in turn brings the whole right side of his body with it, finishing like a whip crack with the hands snapping the barrell of the bat through the hitting zone. His front hip only moves an inch or two at most forward from where it originally started. Please make sure you clarify to people the difference between rotating the hips and sliding the hips.

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