What is Dynamic Balance & How Can It Increase Hip Thrust?
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.
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:
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:
- 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
- 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)
- Note how Jose Bautista's weight is pulling up "against" his front leg, and Not over it
- 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
- 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 :)