Baseball hitting myths

Friday, Jan. 25th 2013

Today I want to defunct two common practices that coaches try to instill in hitters, as far as technique is concerned. They are connected in the way that they take place in the lower half of the body, and in the way that one generates the other. Let’s look at the load and the action of the back foot during the swing.

Most coaches suggest a short and concise stride on the front foot. This swing is also known to some as the “Stanford Swing.” Moreover, I can hear my former high school coach scream, “Get your front foot down early!” and “You can’t hit it if you don’t have your load down!” While it is important to get your front foot down to hit the ball, it is also more important to take a stride that will generate enough power to hit the ball. With the implementation of new BBCOR bats, youths around the country will need to learn ways to generate power now that old BESR bats are no longer there to create the power for them. A stride of one inch forward, where your foot only get one inch off the ground, will essentially make you a slap hitter in modern baseball. A coach explained it to me like this years ago. Would you rather get punched in the chest by a person that can only pull his fist back one inch away from you chest and then hit you, or would you rather get punched by someone that has free rain to load up on their swing and use their whole body to hit you? Exactly. In the same way that the punch uses the load to generate power and incorporate the lower half, the baseball swing uses the load of the front foot to generate power and incorporate the lower half.

So we have just proven that the load can be integral to the generation of power in your swing. However, lets iconoclastically attack another commonly preached baseball technique: squashing the bug. When you “squash the bug” you restrict the movement of your hips and disallow the energy you created with your stride. You want your hips to be free to finish through the zone, and your back leg should be in the shape of an L on your finish. Here is a video I found on play sports TV, that brings both of the concepts that I talked about together, called How To Generate Power. Next time you here a coach scream “Get your front foot down!” or “Squash the bug!”, you have my permission to roll your eyes.

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