1. Batting Stance.
Stances are like fingerprints. No two alike, but
key characteristics are shared by all successful hitters. The stance is the
starting point of a mechanically correct swing. The position of the feet
often plays an important part in a player's swing. The location and the
direction are integral to a batter generating power, bat speed, and
Below are a few tips to ensure proper feet position:
A player's distance from the plate should be determined by his/her
ability to get full
plate coverage i.e., the ability to reach both inside and outside pitches. This can
vary from one player to the next based on the player's size and level of comfort. Generally, young players frequently position themselves too far from the plate in such a manner that prohibits them from making contact with outside pitches.
The depth of a hitter's stance refers to the position of the feet
toward the front or
back of the batters' box. Young hitter's largely position themselves too much
toward the front of the box closer to the pitcher. The closer the pitcher is to the
batter gives the batter less time to react to an exploding fast ball or a change in
speed of the pitch. A recommended position is one in which the back corner of the
plate dissects the center of the batter as shown below.
A batter's feet should always be aligned with the pitcher in the stance. Closed and open stances can prohibit proper hip and shoulder rotation as well as incorrectly change the batter's head position. This will ultimately minimize a hitter's bat acceleration and power.
2. Set, and See
element that makes up a mechanically correct batting swing is the Step,
Set, and See while the stance is described as a starting point, this next element is often
described as the preparation point. The batter must initiate proper movement prior to the
swing while working to ensure correct pitch recognition.
The Step is the action taken by the hitter's front foot creating
preparing to swing. It consists of the batter's front foot (1) lifting no greater than
three inches directly above the starting position and (2) landing in virtually the same
position from which it started. It is important that the hitter does not stride to the
ball. Striding to the ball often causes head movement, imbalance, an incorrect
contact position, and a reduction in bat speed and power. Keep in mind that when
this step is initiated, the hitter's weight must not transfer from the back foot to the
front foot. Balance should always be maintained during and up to the completion of
The Set functions concurrently with the hitter's step and involves
the action of the
hands into what is termed a 'slot position'. It is a subtle backward movement of the
hitter's hands at the precise time the front foot is lifting. This movement should be
one to two inches in length and should not change the bat direction. The timing of
the Step and Set is critical as they are mechanisms that work to maximize power
and consistency. Depending on the velocity of the pitcher, the Step and Set should
take place around the time the ball is released from the pitcher's hand. The goal is
motion prior to the swing that is fluid so that the bat is fully accelerated when
contact is made with the ball.
The See is the recognition of the type, speed, and location of a
pitch. At the same
time the batter is in the Step and Set position, he/she must focus on the release
point of the pitcher. Young hitters must be able to determine the type, speed, and
location of a pitch as early as possible. This allows the hitter the greatest amount
of time to react. Generally speaking, young hitters should correctly recognize the
type, speed, and location of a pitch before it is half way to the plate.
3. Linear Approach (Straight to the ball)
The third element
of a mechanically correct batting swing involves the beginning forward
motion of the hands and hips that follow successful pitch recognition. It is the most critical
physical action of the swing because it sets in motion a series of proper techniques that
are required for successful hitting. Unfortunately, most young hitters fail to initiate a
proper Linear Approach to the ball which contributes to reduced bat speed, diminished
power, poor pitch selection, and ultimately, hitting failure. It is in this area the area of the
swing where most struggling hitters go wrong. The phrase Linear Approach refers to the direction of the bat in the path of the swing. This path must follow a straight line to contact with the ball. The hitter's hands direct the knob of the bat to face the pitcher as illustrated below.
This is accomplished easily and most effectively by the batter using his/her hands, wrists, and forearms to direct the knob to the pitcher. Be certain that the hitter maintains an angled bat at this juncture of the swing. It is common for young hitters to drop the barrel in such a manner that causes a deviated dropping path. While this action of the hands is taking place, the hitter's back foot must begin its inward rotation. The back foot is important because it enables the hitter to utilize his/her hips in the swing. The rotation should be on the front part of the batter's foot with the knee bent in a slight L-position. When the back foot does not begin turning at this stage, the batter will likely have minimal bat acceleration and diminished power.o the ball.
4. The Contact Position
The Contact Position is the correct movement of the hands,
arms, shoulders, and hips
culminating in the maximum acceleration of the bat at contact with the ball. A batter who is
able to master the correct mechanics of the Linear Approach will more easily and more
frequently achieve the proper Contact Position. It should be the goal of all young hitters to make contact with the ball 1-2 inches in front of the plate.
The proper mechanics of the Contact Position involves a continuation of acceleration of the hands that began in the Linear Approach. With the knob of the bat facing the pitcher, the batter must use his/her hands, arms, shoulders, and hips to propel the barrel of the bat forward to contact with the ball. The arms should be almost extended, hips and shoulders fully square to the ball, and the bat at greatest acceleration.