No, I didn’t mix up the title. When a hitter steps into the batters box, it is important to get set, then get ready, and then GO! I want to briefly give a couple of tips regarding the proper stance for baseball and softball hitters. I have written about the ideal arm and bat position, but now I want to review what hitters should do initially with their feet.
The “get set” part is pretty simple. I ask my hitters to set up in the back of batters box in a comfortable and athletic position. An athletic position to me means feet that are both just outside the shoulders. A stance that is too narrow will cause hitters to easily lose their balance and will not allow for a powerful weight shift to the back leg and foot. A stance that is too wide will cause all sorts of problems, including too much movement of the body and the head if hitters attempt any type of meaningful weight transfer.
An athletic position also means hitters who stand on the balls of their feet. This will allow them to really plug into the ground for power and it will enable them to quickly adjust to the pitched ball. I see too many hitters set up with their feet relatively flat and some with thier heels actually on the ground. These hitters can be fooled and will easily lose their balance if the pitched ball is on either corner of the plate.
When my hitters “get ready”, they are simply moving their feet back and forth in a rhythmic motion before the pitch is thrown. If you watch almost any major league hitter in the batters box before the pitch is thrown, you will see them gently rocking back and forth on the balls of their feet. Or, you may even see them lift their front foot slightly off the ground as they rock on their back foot. They are doing this for two important reasons.
First, they are rocking back and forth to make sure they can react quickly and athletically when the ball is pitched. Professional tennis players make similar pre-serve movements. While they are waiting to receive the serve, their feet rock side to side and some of them will actually jump up and down slightly. Tennis players and good hitters know that in order to hit a ball moving at high-speed, they cannot stand still. Also, good hitters use this pre-pitch movement as a timing mechanism. By gently rocking back and forth, they are actually trying to time the pitcher. Pitchers typically have the same motion every pitch, so hitters can use this rocking motion to time when pitchers release the ball in order to trigger the swing at the perfect time.
Now, it’s time to “Go”. Here is a link to one of my eight Hitting Keys detailing how the swing is initiated after hitters set up properly in the batters box. https://torque-hitting.com/2013/07/02/is-your-hitting-stuck-in-the-mud/