The load is where you gather and store energy that will be released into the baseball.
The movements of the load are not huge movements. In fact, most people load with very slight movements. You will lift your front heel and turn your front knee in just a bit. Your front shoulder will close slightly, moving the hands back. The head of the bat will tilt toward the pitcher and the knob of the bat will be pointed toward the catcher.
The power will come from the ground up. Your weight will transfer to roughly 60%/40% in favor of the backside. This is where the “coil” begins before the assault on the baseball.
Look at the initial load by Bryce Harper. In the first picture, he is in his comfortable batting stance with his head and eyes locked in. In the second picture, he begins to load while keeping his head in the same spot.
Your batting stance and rhythm at the plate is the first stage of your swing mechanics. Some people would argue if this should actually be considered an actual stage of the hitting process. If you watch a Major League game, you will see many different batting stances, but the purpose of each is the same – staying relaxed and having rhythm at the plate.
If I see something drastically disturbing with your batting stance, I may make an adjustment. But for the most part, I really don’t care what you do to stay relaxed at the plate. I just want hitters to be comfortable in the batter’s box, relax and breathe. After this initial stage of the swing mechanics, all good hitters will get to a common point.
A rigid batting stance and stiff swing is a recipe for disaster. You must have rhythm in the batter’s box. Rhythm is the slight movement with the hands and/or feet that keeps you relaxed and ready to swing the bat. It helps you have quicker reactions which means you will make more frequent contact.
Guess what? Hitting a baseball is tough. In my opinion, it’s the hardest thing to do in all of sports. It is a specialized skill that a select few people can do successfully.
Being a superior athlete will get you a long way in most sports, but doesn’t necessarily mean you can hit. Let’s use Lebron James as an example. He is one of the greatest basketball players of all-time. Put him on a soccer field and he would be a star. Most NFL quarterbacks would love to have a target like him to throw to. Throw him a 90-mph slider and more than likely, he won’t even touch it.
With a fraction of a second being the time it takes the baseball to reach home plate once it leaves the pitcher’s hand, you don’t have time to think about the mechanics of your swing. The swing must be embedded into your muscle memory through repetition. Taking batting practice, working with a batting tee and studying video are just a few ways to work on your swing. Make sure you are practicing proper mechanics.
- Stance & Rhythm
- Stride & Separation
- Extend & Follow Through
Be sure to follow through with the pitch. Finish with a flat back and your throwing arm over your glove side knee. Be ready to field your position.
The release point of the baseball happens when your throwing arm is out in front of your body and the glove is tucked. Release the ball on a downward trajectory.
When your glove side foot hits the ground, you are in the power position. Your legs provide a wide base. Your arm is up and ready to transition forward. Your throwing side elbow should be about shoulder height. Your glove begins to pull into your chest and upper body shifts momentum over the front leg.
The break is when the ball and glove separate. Your hand should take the ball down, back and up. Keep your head over your throwing side foot. Stride in line with your target (catcher’s mitt).