Last week, we talked a little bit about how to get your kids baseball players in the correct hitting stance (Part 1 can be found here).
Today, we’re going to continue and wrap up the topic by providing you with some more tips about achieving the perfect hitting stance.
Bending at the Waist is a No-No
If I bend at the waist, what happens is I put one eye below the other.
And I want to have my eyes parallel to the ground because that’s how I read everything out in front of me. I can see everything clearly out in front of me, make good judgments on anything I want to do.
Whether I’m playing out in the field or swinging a bat or playing another sport, I make my best judgments when my eyes are parallel to the ground. So when I bend at the waist, I take that advantage away from myself.
If we stack our hips above knees, then we’re going to stack our shoulders above our hips. And when we do that, we want to try to keep the front shoulder just a little bit lower than the back shoulder. That does two things for us, by getting the front shoulder just a little lower than the back shoulder. It gives our eyes a clear path to the ball and it gives our hands a better path to the ball.
The Proper Head Alignment
The next step we do is we take our head, and we stack that over our shoulders. When we get our head stacked over our shoulders, we want to get our head turned where we can see the pitcher with both eyes.
If I close my front eye, I can see the rim of my nose with my back eye. I’m not seeing the ball with two eyes. I can turn my head until I can see the ball with two eyes. That’s very important, to make sure that when we’re talking about hitting, we are doing the things that are going to allow us to become a better hitter. And seeing the ball with two eyes is very important.
Arms and Hands
Then we get to the part where some people have a problem when we talk about hitting–and that’s the placement of our arms and our hands. The easiest thing that I can show you to do right now is we drop our hands down the side of our legs and we want to leave the elbow relaxed down beside the rib cage, bend at the elbows, bring the hands up, where we’re comfortable.
This is a very strong position because it’s going to allow your players to be very strong and execute the swing.
So the next thing we want to do is show a couple things that can go wrong when we put the hands in different spots. Now what I’d like you to do is raise your back elbow. With that back elbow raised, I can easily push down on the arm–it’s not a strong position.
My recommendation is get the elbows down and relaxed. Then lift your hands up in a position where they’re right even with your armpits.
You want an estimate of how far your hands should be away from your body, it’s going to be different as far as age groups and how old a person is, but usually you’re going to be anywhere from the 4-8″ range. And as you’re younger, you’re going to be a little bit closer.
And what we want to work on is keeping the hands in a good position where we don’t get them so close to the body that we can’t get them started, or we get them so far away from the body that we lose control of the hands.
We like to put the hands somewhere between the midline of our body and our back armpit as far as our starting position, and not past the shoulder. Because when we start getting past the shoulder, that’s where we’re in trouble.
And as far as how high the hands should be, just start in the top of your strike zone, which is your armpits. We’re going to take the hands and where the callouses of your hands start, or where your fingers start, you lay the bat right there in both hands so that when you grab the bat and you wrap your fingers around it, your second knuckles are lined up.
And when you do that and you tip the bat back, take the bat and just start down the side of your leg, you tip it back, and you can just lay it right next to your back ear. If you don’t like that position, don’t over-adjust. Just make a small adjustment, move the hands and the bat back a little bit.
Very important thing we need to realize when we’re talking about hitting is the angle of the front arm. We have a 90-degree angle with that front arm. The front side of the body has a big impact on how you’re going to hit as a ball player. So we’ve got to do a very good job of maintaining that 90-degree angle and getting in a good position.
You can see the relationship from bottom to top is elbows in the bottom, then your hands, then the barrel of the bat.
The thing you’ve got to realize, when you’re talking about hitting, is that your stance is the only part of the swing that the pitcher does not have impact upon. So we’d better do a pretty good job in our stance to make sure we keep that from happening.
Pitchers are paid to take away your best swing. And hitters, as position players, they’re paid to take their best swing every swing they take. So we’ve got to make sure that we get in a position that’s going to be very strong and keep things from jumping into our swing and eliminating the good habits we want to have.
Do you spend time with your players going over hitting stance? What do you tend to focus on?