Baseball players of all ages (including very young sluggers) and fans of the game know that a proper batting stance is essential and can turn even an average hitter into a consistent and dangerous offensive performer. This is true even though all players in every age group have their own “hitting style” and may line up in the batter’s box in a way that is unique and different from other players.
That is not necessarily a bad thing because individuality matters and no two players are ever exactly alike. That said, it is still extremely important for young and future baseball stars to learn the mechanics of a proper batting stance. Once accomplished, it will serve them well for as long as they play the game.
5 Fundamental Steps To Learn
The proper batting stance for all players involves the correct placement of the feet … the knees … the fingers … the hands … and the elbows. Importantly, there is also a sixth step. That involves the correct positioning of the bat.
- How To Position Your Feet
Most players and fans know that a wide stance helps to provide stability in the batter’s box. Ideally, the feet should be kept several inches apart and wider than one’s shoulders. That’s important because it tends to eliminate any tendency a young hitter may have to drift forward above the waist, lunge with the front knee and even “step in the bucket,” which means to step away from the pitch.
All of these “faults” leave a hitter somewhat unbalanced and rob him of his power. On the other hand, a wide stance helps a hitter to “stay back” and that almost always leads to solid contact and fewer “swings and misses.”
- How To Arrange Your Knees
Many young hitters make the following mistake: they consciously lean back while in their stance for the express purpose of keeping their body back. That tends to eliminate “lunging” which puts a batter in an unbalanced position and makes it more difficult to hit.
In order to achieve their desired stance, young hitters bend their back knee more than their front knee. This causes the weight of the upper body to get behind the back knee which affects momentum and the speed of the swing. Another negative reaction occurs because the shoulders tilt backward, a movement that causes the back shoulder to drop below the front shoulder, an occurrence that is known as “dipping.”
The end result is that the batter generally swings under the baseball and pops it up or hits it softly. There is a right way to arrange the knees. It is to bend both of them equally as you might do if you were playing defense in basketball or soccer. That enables you to keep your hands back and “remain level” when swinging at the ball.
- How To Hold Your Fingers
Lots of players use a closed grip or one that has the fingers twisted which put the largest knuckles on the hands in alignment and cause the elbows to flare outward, away from the body.
That is considered a poor hitting position. The right way to “hold the fingers” is in a position where the knuckles of the middle fingers are in alignment in a way that enables the elbows to rest in a kind of upside-down “V” position.
That “positioning” allows the back elbow to “tuck” into the side of the player’s ribs as contact takes place. The result is that the player can then fully extend his arms and hit with much more power.
See also: How To Hold A Baseball Bat
- How To Use Your Hands Effectively
A player’s hands are a critically important component in hitting. They should be positioned at the back of the shoulder and at a slightly higher elevation. When placed that way, it becomes less likely that a batter’s hands will “drop” and a batted ball will be pulled into foul territory.
Ideally, the best results occur when the bat is placed on the back shoulder and the hands are resting on the chest. That enables all hitters to keep their hands up and create solid contact with the ball.
- How To Keep Your Elbows In The Right Position
As noted earlier, the upside-down “V” position enables a young hitter to keep his hands up and his elbows down. That is the best position for any batter who wants to make consistently solid contact.
Of course, the bat’s position is also critically important. A polished batter, regardless of age, knows that he needs to rest the bat against his back shoulder with his hands held high. That position allows the swiftest and most effective path to the ball and generally produces frequent and very solid contact. And solid contact is what makes a hitter successful.
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