A hitting discussion | part 1: Getting to 50-50
As I mentioned in my previous post, when a swing is perfectly on time, I believe a hitter should hit the ball as far as they can, in the air. However, if they are NOT perfectly on time, the swing should still produce a batted ball that is well hit for that player. Now this is obviously easier said than done. The question should be how it is done?
To answer the question how, I think we should look at the order of how things happen. Obviously individuals start in their own unique stances. These stances usually come from how they were told to hold the bat or stand in the box as a kid: something that feels comfortable for each hitter.
You can see the differences in the stances between two Hall of Famers, Jeff Bagwell and Ken Griffey Jr. Studying stances and footage of Major League hitters, you can see they all stand in a unique way, but all load in a similar pattern. When Major League hitters load, it seems like they load into their back leg.
Check out this clip of 2018 NL MVP Christian Yelich:
There is an increase in weight on his back leg as he starts his stride. You can see he keeps his weight inside the frame of his body while he loads his weight into his back leg. If you were to draw a vertical line right behind his back hip as he loads, he would not travel back across that line. It is important to gather energy, but loading your weight outside of your frame could cause problems as you unload and move forward. As hitters land, they land in a 50-50 position, also known as an "athletic position." 50-50 refers to the weight distribution of the hitter as they land, where there is even weight on each leg. If we are doing one of the hardest things in sports, hitting a baseball, why would we not want to be in an athletic position?
Here, Cabrera lands in the 50-50 position. Landing in a 50-50 allows our body to be in the best position to rotate efficiently. It also allows you to make adjustments to the different pitches being thrown. Being in this position allows us to rotate most efficiently, while being in a good position to see the ball and decide to swing or not.
Thanks for reading - Please feel free to reach out! Eric del Prado Manager | Cascade Collegiate League Hitting Coach | Lewis & Clark College email@example.com