When youth coaches ask me “what is the number one problem you see with high school hitters,” my answer is always that they need more work on the tactical aspect of the game. When it comes to hitting, the answer is easy. Youth hitters need to learn how to get into a good hitting position when their front heel hits the ground. If a hitter isn’t in good hitting position, it is unlikely they will be able to sequence the swing properly and make solid consistent contact.
What is a good hitting position?
When the front heel hits the ground after the stride, a hitter needs to be in a good hitting position. Below are the checkpoints of the hitting position:
1.) Weight has shifted from 60/40 back, to 50/50.
2.) The rear knee is inside the rear foot and the weight is to the inside of the feet.
3.) The back hip pocket has been pointed toward the pitcher by performing a slight inward turn with the hips.
4.) The hands have moved from their starting spot to a position near the rear shoulder.
5.) The top hand is closer to the pitcher than the bottom hand. The knob of the bat is pointed toward the catcher’s feet.
6.) The rear scapula or shoulder blade has been pinched.
7.) The eyes are level and the head has stayed on the same plane as it was in the stance.
The pictures above give an example of a player in their stance (top) moving to hitting position (bottom). There is one flaw in his hitting position, can you find it? I can’t give you the answer... it’s a quiz question in our online hitting course!
Getting your hitters into a proper hitting position
Knowing the proper hitting position is about 20% of the battle. Communicating the information to hitters so they can understand it, and setting them up with drills so they can translate the skill into the game is the other 80%, and by far the toughest part. Here are some recommendations for coaches to help hitters get in hitting position:
1.) Show them what it looks like. Demonstrate the movement from stance to hitting position and find video of major league players moving from their stance to hitting position.
2.) Allow them time to work on moving from stance to hitting position. Give them feedback as they do it.
3.) Once they have an understanding of what hitting position is and can get into hitting position on in an isolated drill, begin incorporating drills such as “Hit/Take,” “Babe Ruth,” “1-2-Fire,” and “Pitcher’s Leg Lift.” Many of these drills follow the principal of random practice which helps players translate skills from practices to games.
4.) Video the hitter against live pitching, or in batting practice and allow them to critique their hitting position. If you are focusing on developing their hitting position, do not worry about other flaws they have right now. Fix one thing at a time. We often overwhelm our players with too much info and too many fixes at once.
Hitting position isn’t a magical fix for all that ails a hitter, but without it, they stand little chance of being able to sequence the swing and make solid consistent contact.
To find out more information on hitting mechanics and ways to generate more offense, sign up for our: