What we do before the pitch, our separation, is the most important part of our swing. In order to finish our swing correctly, we must first start it correctly.
If our separation is off we are throwing off our entire swing. If your stride is going too much into the plate, or stepping too much away from the plate, you are changing the bat’s path to the ball. Now instead of getting the barrel to the right spot, we are either getting too much of our handle or not getting enough of our bat over the plate. For example, if you step out with your stride then the bat is not going to reach the outer third of the plate, which will make it nearly impossible to hit the outside pitch. On the other hand, if you stride into the plate then too much of the bat handle will be over the zone, making it tough to get around on the inside pitch. One way we can help ourselves from “mis-striding” is to tell ourselves to keep a straight stride to the pitcher, with the toes of your feet staying lined up in a straight line.
Another problem that comes from our separation is having too long of a stride. Getting too long of a stride will throw you off because it will make you unbalanced at the plate. As a hitter the most important thing we need at the plate is balance. If your balance is off and we are falling all over the place when we swing it makes it difficult to have a consistent swing. Keeping a nice short stride will enable you to be much more balanced, and have a more comfortable feeling throughout our swing. “Too long”, “too short”, and “balanced” are personal words and need to be addressed on an individual basis. That’s why when we train, whether in a group or private session, our focus is always on what the individual needs.
We want to live by the two S’s when it comes to our stride: Short and Straight. Meaning, we want our front foot to have a short, straight step right to the pitcher. If we are able to keep our stride short and straight, it will put us consistently in the best position to hit the baseball. A drill that we can do at home is an easy one that requires no equipment, just determination. Get into a mirror and just practice your separation! Try doing it 50 times a day, really focusing on keeping the stride short and straight to the pitcher. All these repetitions will build up our muscle memory, and make it so our stride will never be off.
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