Believe me I am the biggest advocate of keeping things simple as a baseball player. Especially when playing, the only thing that I feel a hitter should ever focus on is the present situation, his approach, and staying internally balanced.
Throw whatever you have learned out the window, and let it fly. The whole point of practicing is to ultimately forget what you have learned so that certain concepts can come naturally.
Practice allows you to make “success” a habit.
With that being said, for those of you who are baseball parents or players that have established daily hitting drills, I just wanted to makes sure you are using certain hitting mechanics that are actually helping you so you can avoid practicing bad habits.
Here is a check list
Balanced- Before you are in your swing, If someone attempted to nudge you would you lose your balance. If so, you aren’t balanced.
Knees are slightly inside the feet- This is a result of being in an athletic position. A hitter with his feet pointed straight is fine but may be subject to not being able to incorporate the full potential of the lower-half.
Toes pointed in= athletic
Pointed out= non-athletic.
Sorry…just my opinion.
Head above the center of gravity-Without your core, you can’t do anything physical. You incorporate your mid-section in almost every mundane activity. Hitting is no different. If your head isn’t directly above your core during your pre-swing and especially during the swing, then your not using your center of gravity, and therefore your not exploding through the ball like you can.
Imagine swinging while bent over from the hips. It’s not very easy-nor is it comfortable. Make sure your head is directly above your center of gravity.
Both eyes should be facing the pitcher- This is more important for some than others, mostly depending on which dominant eye a hitter is as well as whether he is a left or right-handed hitter. The point of making sure both eyes are on the pitcher is to promote seeing the ball as well as possible. A lot of times a hitter’s eye’s are registering only a portion of the visual information because his eyes aren’t in the right place. Take a look at any object to your side then turn your head so that you are facing it and compare the difference. Does you vision improve with both eyes locked on the object to your side?
Slight Weight shift or cock of the hips- As the swing starts there needs to be some sort of movement before a hitter attempts to generate bat speed. Some are an advocate of a simple cocking of the hips to get the swing going while others feel it’s better to get some weight moving backwards on the back leg before shifting the weight momentum and power to the front. My theory is that both are fine as long as
- you are using your hips to pull your hands trough the zone.
- you are shifting your weight back to center and not lunging forward.
- your head stays still so that you can pick up the pitch as early as possible.
Separation- This is an important part of the swing because its what allows for you to transfer the power from your core. Your core pulls your hands through the zone so they need to have some distance from the body to make this happen.
Foot down in time and is stable- This concept probably is the most difficult to understand especially for younger players. Hitting higher velocities requires rhythm and getting the foot down in time is the “required step” to being on time on fast-balls. If your a hitter that is having trouble hitting the fast-ball try post-striding. Having the lead foot firm upon rotation is critical for being able to hit against this leg for leverage.
Correct Bat path- A lot of debate has been exercised about this topic. What is the correct bat path. Short answer. The path that keeps the head of the ball on the path of the pitch for as long as possible. You don’t swing across the hitting zone. You hit through it.
Little head movement- The less the head moves, the better you will see the ball.
Short stride- The shorter the stride the less the head will move.
Firm foundation-squish the bug or heel to toe- I’m not to concerned with what happens with the back foot at the point of contact. Just as long as the hitter is balanced. Wether or not he is on the ball of his foot or on the tip of his toe is purely inconsequential to me.
Hand are inside the baseball- Every hitter that has ever made it to the MLB has mastered the ability to hit the inner half of the ball. Even aggressive power-hitters hit the inner half of balls they pull for home-runs
Balanced- If some one can tip you over with a soft “shove” after your follow through….you’re not balanced.