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Re: front foot diving

Posted by: Bryce (bsummers06@wou.edu) on Thu Apr 22 01:44:33 2010

> My son tends to dive in towards the plate with his front foot. I see
this as causing 2 problems. The first is it carries his momentum
towards the plate not the pitcher. I think it keeps him from being
able to get hip rotation and transfer of weight. The second is hitting
the inside pitch but I think that is due to the diving. Are these
assessments accurate? What can be done to solve this problem. He hits
about .500 at the varsity level.


I don't think that "carrying his momentum toward the plate" is a
problem in this instance. When your son's diving front foot plants, it
should create the axis about which he rotates, and no motion toward
the plate or pitcher generally occurs at this point. If it did, his
head would be moving and he would probably have trouble just making
contact with the ball. As you state he hits around .500, contact
doesn't seem to be an issue.

To hit the inside pitch, the batter must get his shoulders around a
bit quicker, to get the bat head around on the ball. The change
between a neutral stride and your son's stride is the difference
between the angle of his shoulders at contact and the angle of his
feet. Imagine a line through both of a hitter's feet. The neutral
hitter's foot-line will point towards the pitcher and second base.
Let's call this our zero-degree line. A pitch down the middle would
generally require a shoulder angle of about 90 degrees relative to the
zero-degree line. The shoulder angle for the inside pitch would be
greater, say 100 degrees (his chest would point towards the
shortstop). It sounds to me like your son creates a closed stance when
he "dives in" with his front foot. So the line through his feet would
point toward the second baseman, say -10 degrees to the zero-degree
line. The problem this poses is that he then needs to rotate his
shoulders 10 degrees MORE just to get to the same position to his the
inside pitch. This is OVER-rotation of the shoulders and will result
in poorer bat speed.

To remedy this, there are two main options. First, adopt the same
stance but move away from the plate. This allows one to hit the ball
earlier in the swing and can keep the shoulders from over-rotating. It
will also cause the ball to travel more towards the opposite field.
This, however, can lead to other problems, namely reaching the outside
pitch. The second is to adopt a more neutral stride/stance and strive
to hit that zero-degree line.

A few caveats to all this: The are numerous major league hitters who
have closed or open stances, so this does not mean that your son
cannot keep his diving foot and be a successful hitter. Second: if it
ain't broke, don't fix it. Hitting .500 at the varsity level is no
mean feat. I would deter you from trying to change your son's swing
unless he has an obvious weakness, for example, if he NEVER swings at
a pitch on the inner part of the strike zone because he can't get good
wood on the ball. If he can't do that, he will not be successful at
higher levels. Make sure that whatever stance/stride he uses, he is
able to get good contact with the meat of the bat anywhere in the
strike zone.

Hope I understood your question well and gave you a useful answer,



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