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Nov
4
2009

How to Hit a Baseball: The Landing

http://www.cobrabrigade.com/img/pujols.freak.jpgThis photo of Albert Pujols denting the baseball was sent in by friend of the site, Keith. I'm doubting this was a home run by Pujols but it certainly was a ball hit with a lot of force.

So now you've 'coiled and you're ready to 'land' your front foot in the batter's box. There are a million little things that can go wrong when you swing and this is another of those tiny, tiny things that can throw you completely off. It's no surprise that with so many movable parts and so many things that can go wrong during the process of a swing, that they say hitting a baseball is the hardest thing to do in sports. 


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http://www.cobrabrigade.com/img/arod.toes.jpgAgain, I'm going to try to keep this short and sweet, just like how your stride and 'landing' should be.

When you 'coil', your front foot should have either moved towards your back foot or stayed in place (preferred). Keeping the front foot in place obviously cuts down on moving parts in your swing. So now your starting to move towards the ball to hit it with force and you're wondering where your front foot should land.

When I was little my coaches always told me to try to step in the direction of the second baseman (as a right handed hitter). This isn't great advice but for a younger player it does force them to stay with the pitch and keeps them from bailing out or 'stepping in the bucket'. The common rule though is that your front foot should stay parallel with your back foot and your 'stride' should be anywhere from 3-6 inches. This is going to put you a little bit wider than the 'athletic position' but by this isn't a problem.

As you place your foot on the ground you aren't trying to grind it into the dirt, in fact, it's about the opposite. Some people say to "don't break the ice" or to "step on eggshells" but either way you get the point. Step softly with the tip of your toes initially. This is going to keep your front hip from locking into place which wouldn't allow you turn on an inside pitch, thus causing you to get 'tied up' and lose leverage/power/force/etc.

So, in review, after the coil....short stride, keep the front foot parallel with the back foot and 'step on eggshells'. Leave your comments below or shoot me an email. Next week we'll talk about what your hands should be doing during all of this commotion.
2 Comments
Arin said

That was the biggest issue I had for the first few years of ball...bailing out on the swing. I was very small and had no strike zone, so I was either hit with the pitch or walked. I never got the opportunity to practice a good swing other than batting practice, but when you are 10 and you have a 30 year old coach trying to live out his past on the mound, it gets a bit intimidating! I was one of the best bunters around though!

I bailed out a bit too, so you aren't alone. That's actually what led me to my current open stance swing since it forces me to move towards home plate instead of away from it. Previously I would just settle into the box as close as I could to home plate so that when I was bailing out I would still have coverage of the entire strike zone, albeit, with little power.

A good tool for younger players is to stick a couple of bats behind their feet and swing a hundred times a day for a month without stepping on the bats behind you.


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