Lesson 1: Getting into a consistently good position to hit.
Vocabulary Term: Launch Position
The position your body is in at the moment that your front foot or stride foot lands after taking your step or stride. This is the moment between your “pre-swing” movements that prepare you to swing, and your actual swing.
Keys to being in a good position to hit
- Barrel above head, not wrapped behind head or dropped below head in any direction.
- Width of base must be somewhere around half of the hitter’s height.
- Must have an athletic posture with hips hinged.
- Hands must be back near the area over hitter’s back foot.
- Back shoulder blade muscle (scap) and front shoulder must be loaded.
- Back heel must remain connected to ground.
- Staying in legs.
What is “staying in your legs” and why is it important?
While the hands help you make most late adjustments, your legs have to first be in a good position to allow the hands to work. Without being “in your legs” in your launch position, you will struggle to get to pitches low in the zone or on the outside corner, and also on pitches that you are early or out in front of. Being in your legs means keeping the muscles on the back side of your legs, specifically your back leg, engaged and ready to fire all the way up to the point that you launch your swing.
Keys to staying in your legs
- Load into the back side of your legs, meaning engage your glutes and hamstrings during your negative move or lower body load.
- Stay engaged in your glutes and hamstrings throughout your stride, to your launch position and until you launch your swing.
- Sinking slightly in the back leg and/or coiling your hips inward slightly on negative move/lower body load will help you do this.
- Swaying back past your back foot on your negative move or lunging forward off of your back foot during the stride will take you out of your legs.
- As you land your stride, legs must always be in position to reach lowest and farthest outside pitch you’ll have to hit.
Best Ways to Improve Your Launch Position
- Use a mirror. Seeing and feeling at the same time makes a big difference. Pull up some photos or pause some videos of professional hitters in their launch positions. In front of a mirror, get in your batting stance, take your stride and find what you consider to be your normal launch position. Compare that position to what you are seeing in the stills of professional hitters. What are the similarities? What are the differences? Make any necessary adjustments you need to make to look more like the professional hitters. Feel what that position feels like, and try to recreate that feel in the batting cage.
Use Hitting Made Simple drills. We have tons of drills available. Let’s go over a few of our favorites to help promote a consistent launch position.
Drills to Improve Consistency of Launch Position
Launch Position Drill: Great for players of all ages and skill levels, from tee ball up to the pros. One of the most fundamental hitting drills you can use.
Bucket Stand Up Drill: This will help you find your natural athletic posture and promote proper hip hinge/pelvic tilt. It will also help promote the feeling of staying in your legs as you hit.
Check Flips Drill: You can learn a lot about your launch position by paying attention to what your body does when you take a pitch. Use this drill to increase your awareness.
Notes & Self Reflection
Do you feel like you consistently get to a good position to hit?
If so, you should be feel like you can get to just about any pitch within the strike zone and hit it hard. Do you usually feel that way?
If you answered no to either of these questions, what changes do you need to make to improve your hitting position and be able to get to more pitches?
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