Wednesday, August 23rd, 2017

Stan The Man

January 22, 2013 by  
Filed under Coaching, Hitting

My condolences go out to Cardinal fans on the passing of Stan “The Man” Musial.  One of the greatest players but more importantly, a great person as well.  With his passing, many news agencies have been showing photographs and footage of his great career.  One thing that always jumps out upon seeing the footage is his

Stan "The Man" Musial

Stan “The Man” Musial

famous batting stance.  

Musial had a stance that no coach would ever teach.  It goes to show that sometimes we coaches get too caught up in teaching/demanding the “correct” mechanics of baseball.  As I’ve said in previous posts, the problem with being too married to a certain style, technique, mechanic, or philosophy in baseball is that as soon as we teach that to a player, he will undoubtedly turn on the TV and see a major leaguer doing the very thing we said couldn’t be done.

I spoke about this at length in the “Common Coaching Mistakes” webinar posted on the Video page of this website (click the Video tab above and scroll down to watch it).  It basically comes down to Procedure and Technique.  Procedure is what we want a player to do.  Technique is how he does it.  Procedure is the same for everyone but players will vary in their technique based on body type, strength, age, speed, etc.  Stan Musial’s stance is another example of this.

For me, there are only two points of the swing that really matter when it’s all said and done.  The first point is how the body is positioned when the player has loaded up and stored all the energy possible.  The second point is where his body is at the point of contact.  The small window between those two points of the swing is basically the only part of the total hitting process that will impact how someone hits the ball.  How a player stands, holds the bat, etc. prior to the first point doesn’t mean nearly as much to me.  What a player does after he makes contact with the ball doesn’t mean much to me either.  The ball is gone after contact.  Nothing else can effect it.  From load to contact is where the gold is.

In Musial’s case, his unusual stance that included narrow feet, a slightly tilted head and eyes, and hands held low didn’t negatively impact him at all because when he loaded up before the swing, everything got to where it needed to be (and on time) for maximum bat speed and power to occur.

There have always been crazy stances in the major leagues.  Everyone is going to be slightly different before they get to the loaded position and after contact is made.  What is consistent for all good hitters is what is done from the loading point to contact.  That small window of time is the procedure (doesn’t vary) and everything before and after is technique (will vary). 

As a coach, be firm with procedure but allow players some freedom with technique.

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