Baseball Express Tip Of The Week #2
Proper Hitting Stance
By: Team Express
On September 28, 1941, Ted Williams stepped into the batter's box for his first at bat in the first game of a doubleheader against the Philadelphia Athletics. Williams was batting .399, but just a week earlier his average was at .405. If he could just manage to get a few hits on the afternoon, Williams would be the first player since Bill Terry in 1930 to achieve the feat.
Before Williams saw any pitches in his first at bat, home plate umpire, Bill McGowan called time and slowly walked around the plate. He bent over to start dusting off to plate and said, "In order to hit .400 a batter has got to be loose. He has got to be loose."
Williams took McGowan's advice, relaxed, and went on to get four hits in the first game and two in the second, finishing the season with a .405 batting average; The last man to ever finish a season with an average over .400.
Alfonso Soriano's Hitting Stance, 2009
Any coach will tell you, much like McGowan said to Williams, that staying loose in the batter's box is an ingredient in finding success at the plate. But that's just one important aspect. Having the proper stance will allow you to stay loose, keep both eyes on the ball, and get the bat head through the strike zone quickly and efficiently.
The next time you step up to the plate, remember these tips for a better batting stance:
Set Up Your Body From the Bottom Up
A good batting stance doesn't just involve your feet and your hands, it's about your entire body. Make sure your feet are spaced out evenly with your shoulders and bend your knees slightly. Then square up your waist and your chest.
Keep Your Chest Upright
This allows you to keep your eyes upright as well. If you bend at the waist, your eyes will be at a lower angle which can lessen your depth perception.
Keep Your Shoulders Level
If your back shoulder is too far down, you are now fighting gravity to get your bat into proper position. If your front shoulder is too far down, your bat will be further away from the strike zone, which means it takes a longer time to get the bat over the plate. Keeping your shoulders parallel with the ground allows you to take a more efficient swing.
Make Sure You Have A Proper Grip
Make sure your knuckles are lined up on the bat. This forces your elbows down and relaxed, creating a naturally quicker and shorter swing.
Stay Away From Extremes With Your Hands
Don't hold the bat too high or too far back from your body as this can create a longer swing. Try to hold the bat slightly above your chest and even with you shoulder to keep your swing compact.
If you can implement these into your current batting stance, you will be on your way to taking better at bats, and an increase in batting average. For more information on how you can improve your batting stance, watch the video above featuring Michigan State Head Coach, Jake Boss.
For another great tip to elevate your game, click here to learn how to better manage a game for your pitcher.