Hitting: The Balanced Batting Stance

Hitting is a chain reaction of body movements. As with any chain reaction, the end cannot be met without a proper beginning. The purpose of the stance is to get the hitter in a starting body position that will facilitate a quick and powerful movement towards the baseball.

First, hitters need to find a stance that is comfortable and balanced. Their eyes must be focused on the pitcher. Many hitters have their heads tucked under their shoulder or tilted to the side. This consequently impedes their ability to see the ball clearly from the best angle. Make sure the head is upright with the eyes focused directly at the pitcher.

All good hitters get themselves in a good athletic position to start. This position consists of flex in the knees with the hip sockets back. If a hitter is having a difficult time getting into an athletic position or is confused about what this position feels like, have them pretend they are defending someone on the basketball court. They will quickly notice that their knees are flexed, their butt is out, and they are slightly bent over on the balls of their feet. Have them hold that position and put a bat in their hands. This is the proper stance.

The stance should be relaxing enough to have a calming effect over the body. The bat should be held loosely in the fingers or across the callous line of the hand; never hold the bat in the palm. The hands and forearms should be relaxed as much as possible. Seeing the veins pop out of a player’s arms is a good indication that they are gripping the bat too tight. Any tension in the hands and arms slows down the swing, which subsequently reduces power.

In order to relax, hitters should breathe slowly, in with the nose and out with the mouth between pitches. Taking practice check swings while in the box waiting for the pitcher to get set also relaxes the body and gives the hitter a sense of flow. Athletes cannot be successful hitters if their mind and body are not in a relaxed state.