Taking the Proper Stride

Saturday, Jun. 12th 2010

For a young baseball player, one of the most difficult parts of a swing to master is the stride. The stride, however, is one of the most important aspects of the swing because not only does it help with the hitter’s timing, but it also helps to generate power. Therefore, it is vital that a baseball coach helps the hitter to isolate each part of the stride and understand what the most important aspects of the stride entail.

For this drill, all that is needed is a bat and a helmet. This is a great way to start off a batting practice because you can coach the player before any balls are thrown. You can then incorporate balls into it once the hitter has mastered the stride, which will allow him or her to see the results of taking a proper stride immediately.

To start this drill, have the hitter line up in his or her batting stance, just like he or she would do in a game. The coach will then go into a windup and throw a simulated pitch. The player will then coil and stride, without completing the swing. He or she is to freeze once the stride has been taken to see where his or her body ends up during this process.

The first thing that you are looking for in this case is a proper distribution of weight. If too much weight has gone forward at this point, the hitter will end up lunging for the ball, which will lead to a weakly hit ball or a swinging strike. The weight will come forward when the hips are turned but during the stride, most of the weight should still be back.

Secondly, you will want to look at the hitter’s hands. At this point in the process, the hands should still be back and they should not have dropped. The hands will come through the strike zone as the hips drive through but at this stage, the hands should still be back.

The body should also remain in the same alignment as the original stance. Many players begin bending their knees at this point in the swing, which can throw the body’s entire alignment off. This leads to the player swinging through the ball, as he or she cannot readjust to make up for the bent knees.

The player’s head should also be at the same height, which goes hand in hand with not bending the knees. In addition, the back should remain in the same alignment, so you are basically attempting to keep the body as still as possible while you take your stride. The more movement that they player has, the more likely he or she is to end up misaligned, which will produce an ineffective swing.

Have your players repeat this drill until they are able to produce the exact stride that you want to see. Have the players step out of the batter’s box before each stride and receive a sign from the third base coach. That way, a proper stride will become a part of their routine and can be incorporated into every swing.

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