One of the first things anyone new to the game of baseball should do is learn the correct fundamentals of the game. And that’s no different for batting. Hitters need to understand the proper fundamentals of a good hitting stance. In this article, we’ll review those fundamentals and alo discuss a few different types of stances. The exact same stance is not recommended for every player. As long as they utilize proper fundamentals, they can then tailor to a stance they feel most comfortable in.
Let’s take a look at some of the important fundamentals.
When a player steps into the batter’s box and gets into their stance, it’s recommended that they be in a good balanced position initially. They should distribute their weight evenly between both feet and the majority of their weight should fall on the balls of the feet. One mistake players will make is to put too much weight on their back foot in anticipation of the stride into the ball. This has a tendency to throw off your balance and disrupt a more balanced overall swing path. Moving weight to the back foot will happen when the ball is being delivered, but not initially.
Feet and Hands
The position of the feet is debatable and sometimes is a personal preference. However, the rule of thumb is that the feet should be slightly wider than shoulder width, or at shoulder width. Any wider could reduce the amount of power you can generate from the swing. On the other hand, a stance with the feet too close together can cause problems such as a poor or downward swing plane and problems keeping your head level.
Hands should be held away from the body and out in front of you, normally even with the back shoulder. You want to make sure you don’t drop the hands too low as that has a tendency to create a more upward swing path.
During the batting stance the knees should be bent in a slightly crouched position making sure they are both bent equally. Bending your back knee more than the front can also throw off your balance. You want to be in an athletic position with knees and feet feeling comfortable and in a ready position.
Once you get into your batting stance you want to stay and feel relaxed. You don’t want your body to tighten up or feel tense. Get a good grip on the bat but don’t squeeze it, and keep your feet calm to provide a good base prior to the pitch.
Types of Batting Stances
There are basically three types of batting stances. Any one of them is fine and is based on personal preference and comfort. You will see players at the major league level utilizing all three of these stances and having success.
Squared or Level Stance
With the squared or level stance, the batter lines up his feet so they are level to home plate and parallel or squared to the pitcher’s mound. This is probably the most common batting stance and is the one that new players are taught and should try first. Based on the player’s swing, coaches may have them experiment with either an open or closed batting stance.
In the open batting stance, player’s will move their front foot farther away from home plate than their back foot. This opens their body more to the pitcher and players who use the open stance feel the get a better look at the ball as it leaves the pitcher’s hand. Once they begin their stride, player’s will begin to square up more to the pitcher as they begin their swing.
This is the opposite of the open stance as the hitter’s back foot will move farther away from the plate than their front foot. Their back will be facing the pitcher more and the hitter will still keep their head level and facing the pitcher. This stance is sometimes used by hitter’s based on the type of swing they have. Typically, player’s with a longer or looping swing can benefit from a closed batting stance.
So once you’ve learned the fundamentals of being balanced and relaxed in the batter’s box, you can make your own decision of what type of batting stance works best for you.
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