Top 5 Mistakes Hitters Make In Their Stance
Here are the Top 5 Mistakes Hitters Make In Their Stance.
“It doesn’t matter how you start, but how you finish.”
That’s true in many facets of sports, but that’s not true when it comes to the swing. I come across so many hitters that make mistakes in their stance and it causes a domino effect that doesn’t allow them to finish strong.
1. They don’t start 50-50.
There are many young hitters that instead of starting with a balanced 50-50 stance, they end up putting the majority of their weight on their back leg to start.
In my experience hitters that start this way end up with a few problems.
- In order to get to a good launch position (the position they get to after they stride) they really have to push forward in their weight transfer which can cause an entirely new set of issues
- They usually get stuck on their backside in their stride or just have weight transfer issues in general.
- Their eyes/nose/chin get behind their belly button causing posture issues
A good way to tell if you’re 50-50 is looking down at your knees. If the back knee is over your back foot, your weight is too far back. If your back knee is inside the front foot, you’re closer to 50-50.
2. Eyes/Nose/Chin behind center of gravity (or belly button).
When hitters get their eyes, nose and chin behind their belly button in their stance, it means that they are starting in a bad posture and their back shoulder is a little (or sometimes a lot) below their front shoulder. If the hitters shoulders begin uphill (front shoulder higher than back shoulder) this causes a ton of problems in the load and stride and “most” hitters when they get to launch position are even more uphill than when they started and causing an extremely upward swing path.
I get a ton of emails and messages asking me about hitters who “drop their hands” or “drop their shoulders” and how to fix it. Most of the time they are referring to their posture more than there actual swing.
3. Front heel up in the air.
There is a large number of hitters out there that like to start with their front heel up in the air. This, in and of itself is not a bad thing, but I’d like you to try and exercise with me. Stand up where you are at and just lift your front heel (left heel if you’re a right handed better). What do you notice? For 99% of you, you felt your weight shift back. Which brings us back to Mistake #1 (scroll up for a reminder) where we NEED our weight to start 50-50 balanced. Now try the exercise again, this time, after lifting your front heel and feeling your weight shift back, shift your weight back to 50-50 and keep your front heel up. You see, it can be done!
So, if you are a front heel down in your stance hitter, you can ignore these mistakes in your stance. If you are a front heel up hitter, try that exercise with your bat and in your stance. Most of the time, if I come across a young hitter, I’ll just have them start with their heel down and over time it’s a good fix for them. But, if you prefer your heel up, I’m totally fine with it, as long as you can maintain that 50-50 balance.
4. Too wide of a stance.
When the best baseball and softball hitters get to their Launch Position, the distance between their feet is approximately 50-60% of their height.
There are many hitters (more in softball) that start in their stance at that distance and just lift their foot and place it back down (No stride, very little weight transfer).
There are many examples of great hitters in both baseball and softball that do this. However, 99% of them are above-average in a couple areas (Their physical size and their strength).
The majority of hitters (including most pros), need to have a smaller stance and use it to create some weight transfer with their body in order to put a good amount of force into the ball.
5. Hands & bat mistakes.
One of the most common mistakes hitters make in their stance, is with their hands and bat because they go “hand in hand” (see what I did there).
Some of the biggest mistakes I come across with the hands/bat are these:
- Knob pointing towards the pitcher, top hand palm to the sky and hands are in front of the chest/belly button. I see this almost only in softball. These hitters have such a long way to go to get their hands into a good position that most really struggle with timing and bat path.
- Hands way too high. If the hitters hands are too far above their back shoulder not only does it make it difficult to have a good load, their back shoulder is really tense and prohibits good bat speed and relaxation. Many coaches try to fix their hitters from dropping their hands by doing this. They addressed the right problem but are giving out the wrong medicine.
- Hands way too low. I’d rather have the hands low than higher but some hitters start really low (by their waist). Although there are many pro hitters that can get away with it, the body and hand control needed for that position is not ideal for most.
Hitting Is Hard
Hitting a ball well is hard enough with a good stance. Add in the mistakes I’ve talked about makes it even harder.
I want to make one thing clear. You can have success with the “mistakes” I’ve listed. There are many professional baseball and softball hitters that do those things. The three things I would if you’re thinking “Well that guy/girl does that and is a great hitter”
- There are always exceptions to the rule
- Comparing your ability to that of a pro isn’t always the best thing.
- Is it possible that a person could have even more success if they didn’t do that?
Are you set up for success? Head to the closest mirror and get in your stance. Are you making any of these mistakes that are robbing you of your power and consistent contact?
Hard work works,