Sunday, December 17th, 2017

Teaching the open stance

June 10, 2013 by  
Filed under Coaching, Hitting

Growing up, I remember watching major league games and seeing quite a few closed stances from hitters.  Mike Schmidt comes to mind.  George Hendrix probably was the most extreme example.  Today, you rarely see that kind of stance.  The open stance is much more the norm in today’s game.

Certainly not unusual to see this stance in today's game.

Nothing unusual about this stance in today’s game.

The question from coaches is “do I teach the open stance or is that something a hitter must decide and do on his own?” 

When it comes to batting stances, my point of view is that a hitter must start out in a position that is most comfortable for him where his sight of the pitcher/ball is best.  No matter how a batter starts out in the box, at the point of contact every batter needs to get in basically the same position.  I addressed this in a post called Procedure v Technique.

Although I would give players a lot of leeway in deciding for themselves what stance is best for them, there are times when I would indeed recommend the player try a more open stance.  Usually I would do so if the player is flying open too quickly on his swing.  Sometimes when a batter starts with an even stance or a closed stance, his body gets used to opening up as its first movement.  A habit like this can prevent a hitter from loading up properly.  When a player opens his stance a little bit, his body knows that his first movement on the pitch needs to be to close his front side before swinging.  Developing this feel of closing the front side more (or at least a little longer) can help the batter who tends to open up too soon on the swing.  The open stance is a constant reminder that closing the front side a little is an important early step in the hitting process.

As always, there are pros and cons to every type of stance.  A quick fix for one player causes more problems for another.  Although I wouldn’t teach the open stance to every single hitter, it is one of the many adjustments available for players to try if needed.

Speak Your Mind

Tell us what you're thinking...
and oh, if you want a pic to show with your comment, go get a gravatar!