So, you’re questioning whether you have the correct batting stance? Or perhaps you’re wondering if there even is a right way of doing it? After all, every batter has their own style that is comfortable for them. But, there are some basic fundamentals to a proper batting stance, that will not only improve your batting skills, but will also help you to deliver a powerful hit and improve your confidence as you play.
How Important Is Your Batting Stance?
While your batting stance is important when it comes to batting effectively, the most important aspects of your stance are comfort, balance and vision. Before a hitter goes into the “heel down” position, it is unlikely their style will affect their swing. And as noted earlier, most hitters have their own style that is unique to them.
As long as you have all the basics down when your front heel hits the ground, you’re chances of successfully hitting the ball are greatly increased.
So, to answer the question, a proper batting stance is important, but in the pre-swing stance, you can use your own creativity to get yourself ready for successfully hitting that home run!
Three Batting Stances
There are many different approaches to a proper batting stance, but here we will discuss three of the most popular ones… Square, closed and open. All of which will have their advantages and disadvantages.
Square Batting Stance
This stance is one of the most popular and very good for beginners. It is also one of the most balanced. In the square stance, your feet should be in line with the pitcher and also parallel with the edge of the batter’s box. The batter should then go straight towards the pitcher in a square stance. In this position, you should be able to see the pitcher easily with both eyes and you will also be in the best position to hit the baseball.
Open Batting Stance
For this stance, the back foot is closer to the home plate than the front foot, which opens the batter to the pitcher. To hit the ball in this stance, the batter must get back to square, so your front foot should step toward home plate, eliminating the habit of stepping away from the plate.
Using the open stance turns the batter towards the pitcher, allowing both eyes to clearly track the ball. It also helps to achieve optimum plate coverage.
Closed Batting Stance
In the closed batting stance, the front foot is closer to the plate than the back foot, closing the batter to the pitcher. As this stance causes the batter’s back to be turned a little, it makes seeing the pitcher very difficult. Inside pitches are also challenging due to the distance to the square contact position. But an advantage is that this stance is great for getting to pitches away.
This is a more advanced stance and not ideal for beginners to start out with.
So now we’ve covered the three batting stances, we’ll have a closer look at the smaller details, such as whether you should have your elbow up or down and how far apart your feet should be.
The Smaller Details Of A Proper Batting Stance
As well as the three stances mentioned above, there are some smaller details when it comes to the proper batting stance. This is what we will go over now.
Should I Have My Elbow Up or Down?
For a lot of baseball players, the debate of whether the elbow should be up or down varies greatly. The truth is, it all comes down to preference and what the batter finds comfortable. Younger players tend to be taught elbow down, as it is easier for them to learn. If a batter can keep their knuckles aligned as they move their elbow up, they are more likely to deliver a successful and powerful hit.
But even if the batter has their elbow down, they will still be able to deliver a successful hit. The players you see with their elbow up are mostly Major League players, so have had a lot of practice. Chances are, they started out with elbows down and progressed as they got better.
So there’s no definite rule of whether the elbow should be up or down. Practice both and see which one works best for you.
Distance Between Feet
The distance between the feet is what will help generate power from the lower body and also keep the stride level and even. If a batter’s feet are too far apart, the movement in their legs will be restricted, which then reduces the amount of power they can generate from their lower body.
That being said, the batter’s feet being too close together can also cause problems. The batter may have difficulty distributing their weight and may over stride into a pitch, causing the lower and upper halves of a batter’s swing to disconnect.
For the best balanced position, a batter’s feet should be shoulder width apart or a little wider than shoulder width apart. If you are having some trouble with your swing, you may need to adjust the distance between your feet a little.
So, that covers the basics to the proper batting stance and if it has an affect on how well and how powerful you hit the ball. The most important thing to remember is that your stance should be comfortable, balanced and enables you to easily see the pitcher. Get all of these aspects and you’re well on your way.
Practice each of these stances and your swing as much as possible and you’ll soon have your own style down that will help you play at your best.