During this blog post, we’re going to talk about various kids baseball hitting mechanics and techniques related to the load.
The Load Technique Explained
If we’re doing a good job of getting ourselves set up in a strong stance, the load becomes a lot easier to work on and maintain in creating good rhythm from start to finish. The first part of our swing sequence is the stance–the second part is the load.
When we’re talking about the load, we want to think about being quiet on the front side. You’re going to split your body in half. The front side’s quiet, the back side makes the noise.
You need to know what happens on the front side. And when we start on the front side, our load is on the front side, and it’s quiet. And then our stride is also on the front side, and that’s quiet. Then on the back side is where we’re going to make our noise.
Going back to what we want to talk about here in our load–we want to be very quiet where we’re doing this. And we want to think about what we want to do here, talking about with our front leg and our front side arm. They’re very important when we talk about the load because these two parts of our body are going to be very important when we talk about what kind of swing we’ll be developing as a hitter.
The front knee is going to become very important in our load. We’re going to take the front knee and then we watch the pitcher; they’re going to tell us by their physical movements when we start our load.
We’re going to take that front knee, and we’re going to establish a distance when we get in our stance. We take the knees and that distance they have in the stance, and we take that front knee and get it closer to the back knee before we take our stride. To do that, we have to bend the front knee and take the front heel off the ground a little bit.
Now I can have some movement in my body as long as when I’m taking care of the load, the weight doesn’t go over the outside of my back foot. You can have some physical movement occur or some minimal weight shift to happen in your load, and you’re going to need that to happen to create some rhythm. But we want the weight shift to be minimal. So we want to create some rhythm, but we also want to have a point where we have that front knee going in quietly towards the back knee.
We don’t want to be mechanical, but it’s got to be quiet. So that front knee’s going to bend a little bit and the front heel’s going to come off the ground.
And then we also need to help out the top side. That’s going to help the bottom side, by cocking the lower half. Imagine there’s an imaginary rope attaching your front knee to your hands. When your hands walk back, they’re going to pull that rope and it’s going to pull that front knee right with it. So the hands are going to walk back the same time that front knee cocks the lower half of the body. It’s like taking a hand gun and pulling the hammer back on the gun.
Remember when you cock the hips, you also have to maintain stability. When you stride, you want to make sure that the hips are still cocked and you don’t pull the trigger too soon.
The Importance of Being in a Short Lever Position
You should have your front arm in a short lever position. Our body’s made up of levers. The distance between your shoulder and your hands is going to determine what kind of lever you have. If you bend the elbow, the distance is shorter and you’re in a short lever position.
If you want to maintain velocity or bat speed, you want to create bat speed going from a short lever to a long lever, forward. Not from a short lever to long lever, backwards. Keep that in mind, that when we get done loading our hands and our lower half of our body and we get into launch position, we are not in a long lever position–we’re in a short lever position.
Have your kids baseball players do that a couple times–walk the hands back and the knee at the same time. Now they’re cocked. Now they’re going to cock the hips and cock the hands back. And remember: It’s a walk, not a sprint.
Do you think your kids baseball team will get something out of these techniques and tips regarding the load? If so, feel free to share this blog post with your fellow coaches and players!