The purpose of the stride and separation is to time the pitch and set up for the assault on the baseball. Some professional players have a huge leg kick and fairly long stride. Others will pick up the front foot and set it down in almost the exact same spot. For a youth player, I strongly recommend short, soft stride straight to the baseball.
As you stride, the separation will occur. Your hands will be back in a strong position. Imagine a rubber band between your hands and front foot. Stretch it out. Your head will remain steady and eyes locked on the baseball.
Look at Joey Votto’s stride in the pictures below. The picture on the left shows him at the load position. There are two main points that should be noticed. First, look at where his front foot is in relationship to home plate. Also, look at the position of his hands in relationship to the logo on the front of his jersey.
Compare those two points to the picture on the right. As Votto’s front toe begins to touch the ground, notice it is slightly closer to the front of the batter’s box. His hands are back, much different than the first picture. He is prepared to launch his swing.