If you watch baseball then you’ve probably seen dozens of different stances right? So, obviously the stance isn’t that important to hitting well right? Wrong.
You’ll notice that professional hitters all tend to have distinct stances at the plate, but when they swing their stances all tend to be the same when the ball reaches the plate. Your best bet is to use a stance that is comfortable to you and refine it so that there are no deficiencies in your swing. If you haven’t really formed a stance yet then start with a good balanced stance to begin with. Here are the basics:
- Feet shoulder width apart
- Slight bend at the knees
- Upper body leaning forward very slightly
- Weight of your body on the balls of your feet
- Feet pointed forward toward the plate
These are the basics for the square stance which is probably the most commonly used stance. There are variations of this stance such as the open stance and closed stance. The square stance is a good basic stance that will allow you to hit pitches that are thrown both inside and outside the plate. The square stance has some disadvantages in that younger hitters tend to step into the pitch and move their front foot back resulting in an open stance. Sometimes this can be overcome by moving back slightly from the plate.
The closed stance is similar to the open stance except that the front foot is mover a little closer to the plate. The pitcher will see a little more of your back when you use a closed stance. A closed stance is good for hitting up the middle or to the opposite field especially with outside pitches. But, it’s weakness is that is is more difficult to hit the inside fastball. When using a closed stance be sure to turn your head all the way to the pitcher. If your head is turned slightly away then you’ll only be seeing the ball with one eye.
The open stance occurs when the front foot is mover further from the plate then the back foot. An open stance will allow you to get your hips through the swing faster and will help you make contact with inside pitches. Of course, outside pitches will be more difficult to hit. This can be remedied somewhat by striding slightly toward the plate during your swing.
Here’s a great video by Harold Reynolds that shows the basic stance…