Proper Batting Stance – What is it and do you have one?
I hate to break it to you, but you don't have the proper batting stance. Nope. Sorry. You just don't have it.
Why, you ask?
Because as much as the baseball gurus, or your little league coach, or that overbearing neighborhood dad wants to tell you, there is no such thing as a "proper" batting stance.
There are weird batting stances. And there normal batting stances. And then there's yours, maybe somewhere in the middle. But if you're comfortable in the batter's box, then congratulations!
You... have a proper stance.
But, wait, it's not that simple...
No, of course it's not. You can't just stand there all knotted up and crazy and expect to be in a good hitting position when the ball is thrown.
You see, the crazier your stance is, the more movement you'll need to take to get back to a good, balanced, load position when the ball is being released. But as long as you can get there, you'll be fine.
Just look at these notoriously weird batting stances:
As you can see, they all get to a good load position, regardless of where they start from. Even the strangest of these batting stances only lasts until the ball is being released by the pitcher, and then, everyone is more or less the same.
Timing is Everything...
You're timing is more or less the most crucial part of your swing, at least in terms of being able to make contact on a consistent basis. So, rather than focusing on how far apart your feet are in the box, or whether you have a "proper batting stance". Just focus on whether you can get into a rhythm with the opposing pitcher.
When I'm on deck, assuming that I'm loosened up, the only thing I'm trying to do is time the pitcher. Where do I need to be in relation to the pitcher's motion to put me in a successful pose to drive the ball.
My actual batting stance has very little to do with that.
So There Really is No Proper Batting Stance?
In my opinion, no.
But if you're a little league coach reading this, or a kid just starting out, there are a few basics to keep in mind when trying to find your comfort zone in the batter's box.
- Balance is your best friend. Aim to be in a balanced, athletic position as the pitcher is in his or her windup.
- Be aware of the location of your hands. In general, you don't want them too high or too low as the ball is approaching. The less that you have to move your hands up and down to get on plane with the ball, the better. I like mine to be just below ear level during my stance.
- Try to limit bat movement, but not to the point that you feel "frozen" in the box. It's good to stay loose, but there's no need to get all "Gary Sheffield" in your stance when you're just starting out.
So there you go. Don't sweat about your stance. Just be comfortable, confident, and be ready to attack the baseball when you see a fat pitch right down the middle. Good luck!