The Front Leg: How Hitting and Pitching Are Not the Same

The one technique that differs in execution in pitching and hitting skills is how the front leg lands. In hitting, professional coaches constantly preach about a soft landing with the front foot and swinging against the inside of a firm front leg. Those fundamentals are needed to maximize a hitter’s power. When done correctly, the hips and the upper body explode to the inside of the front leg while the head stays over the middle of the batting stance. However if a hitter lands with a bent front leg, the head and upper body tend to go with the stride, causing imbalance, head movement, and drift out of the maximum power position.

Professional pitching coaches also talk about a soft landing with the ball of the front foot or flat foot landing like Greg Maddux did throughout his baseball career. Like hitting, landing on the heel of the front foot stops maximum, efficient rotation of the hips, and jars the execution of the skill.

Unlike hitting, coaches want pitchers to bend their front knee at foot strike to get their back side through the pitching zone fully and correctly and to ensure a DOWNWARD plane on all pitches. There lies the major teaching difference: the bent knee for pitchers will help them keep the ball down for more ground balls, and the the firm front side for hitters will help them elevate balls for power hits.