Ideal Balance Position Determines Stride Length
Some hitting coaches say a 2 to 3 inch stride length for batting is best and some say an 8 to 12 inch one is best. They are both right.
When you watch great major league hitters, most, if not all, do the same things to swing the bat, once the stride foot lands. Before that though, many major league hitters have their own style with how they initially setup and with their stride length. There is simply no one stride length fits all, when it comes to correct hitting mechanics. However, it is safe to say that all great players’ stride- length takes them to the ideal balanced position, which is that position that allows them to perform such an explosive action under control and with ultimate speed.
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This explains why there is no perfect stride length for baseball batting, as it varies depending on each player’s individual style-setup. Players, who prefer a narrow initial stance, stride further to get to that ideal balance position and those, who like a wide stance to begin, have a short stride to attain ideal balance position.
With that in mind, one of the first thing coaches should do with young players, is to find and explain this ideal balance position. This balance position, not only helps with hitting, but with setting up to steal bases and for setting up in ready position on defense, among other things.
Many young players have trouble figuring out ideal balance position, so a couple of ways to help them include:
- Having them jump with two feet as high as they can and have them hold their finish upon landing – most will have great posture and stance upon landing.
- Have them get set in the position they guard someone in basketball, or the stance they have to take on a runner coming at them in football. Many kids play other sports and understand the ideal stance from playing those.
- Have players get set to hit and then gently push them in each direction to see if you can throw off their balance. They adjust to ideal balance, as you are able to move them in various directions.
- Have players swing on a balance beam for a spell, usually helps them figure out great balance position.
Having found this ideal balance position, coaches should measure it and give players that measurement, so they know when they are not getting to it. Using their baseball bat as a measurement device, generally, is the easiest measurement device and the most useful.
Once done, players can practice the stride length that takes them from their initial stance to this ideal balance position.
A couple of extra hitting “stride length” notes:
Losing balance after their swing is a good indicator that players are not getting to ideal balance position.
With very young players, it is best to have them hit initially from this ending balance position (no stride hitting) to help them get the feel for it.
It is a lot to expect inexperienced player to achieve the perfect stride length to the perfect balance position, so starting as close to ideal hitting position is best, meaning a short stride approach.