Batting Stance Summary & Square Stance
As a coach I have no doubt the best way to start a young hitter off is with a square stance. It will help them become balanced quickly with limited effort and will give them the best chance to put a level swing on the baseball.
Now, you will have players that try to immolate what Major League players are doing but I would encourage you to take a firm stance (pardon the pun) on this subject and encourage them to start with the square stance. It will make it much easier to teach them a correct fundamental swing.
I do caution you against making major stance changes with players that have been playing the game a number of years and otherwise have a good fundamentally sound swing. The stance change on this type of player could harm their hitting ability and really makes no sense to do so you as the coach will need to be the judge.
Remember the stance is important but it’s not critical and variations are common. If the player has a great swing and usually hits the ball well leave their stance alone.
A square stance, shown in the above picture means the players feet are equal distance from the plate and on a straight line to the pitcher. The toes should be pointed toward home plate or turned in very slightly. You want to make sure the toes never point outward when the player takes his stance. Make sure the knees are bent slightly to help with balance.
It’s best for the player to have his feet about shoulder width apart but that’s not a hard and fast rule. It really comes down to player preference and what will keep them balanced throughout the swing so if you see a player loosing their balance try a slightly wider stance and see if that corrects it.
We really believe the square stance will allow the player to see the pitcher’s release point with both eyes and put them in the best fundamental position when they drive toward the baseball.
- As you have read above there are many different types of stances but the three most common ones are the square, open and closed stance.
- We feel the square stance is the best start for most young baseball players but regardless of what stance is used it’s important to make sure the player is comfortable and balanced when standing at the plate.
- Balance is extremely important as the player cannot put a level swing on the baseball without being well balanced at the plate. This starts by taking a square stance and being comfortable when getting into the batter’s box.
- A square stance is one where the feet are parallel to home plate with good balance and slightly bent knees. Knees should be inside the feet with the toes turned slightly in. The stride should be directly toward the pitcher.
Ok, you want to use an open or closed stance. Here are some guidelines, but remember we don’t recommend it as it can cause other swing problems. These stances are typically used by older players to make up for swing imperfections.
- The open stance is one where the front foot closest to the pitcher is out away from the plate. Toes on the front foot are not pointed to pitcher but more of a 45 degree angle. Stride should be back to parallel directly toward pitcher and should not remain open. Doing so will limit power and make it very difficult to handle an outside pitch.
- The closed stance where the back foot is out away from home plate. Toes on the front foot are not pointed to pitcher but more of a 45 degree angle. Stride should be back to parallel every time.
Batter’s Box Setup Position
The average player playing against average competition should setup with their front foot closest to the pitcher placed at the point where the plate breaks back to its tip. We call this the middle of the box position.
As you get older and play against better caliber players it’s a good idea to adjust your setup location based on the type of pitcher you are facing. Here is a guideline to follow.
- Deep in the box – setup here when you are facing a tough pitcher that throws very hard and you need the extra time to catch up to the fast ball. Standing here against a breaking pitch or pitcher makes you deal with the entire break of the ball. Not a good place to be if you are facing a primary breaking pitcher.
- Up in the box – setup here when you are facing a breaking pitcher that throws softly. This will allow you to hit the ball before the majority of the break.
- Middle of the box – best place to setup for a young and average hitter.
Read more useful baseball tips right here.