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To step or not to step, that is the question?!?!?

What's on your mind?

by curveballerguy124 » Tue Mar 02, 2021 3:36 pm

Soooo, why do I bring this up well..... I have always been a stepper when I hit, sometimes a toe tapper but for the most part a stepper. I have always been a advocate of taking a step when batting just because it always felt stronger and right to me. Well recently I picked up my golf clubs and started playing a bit felt nice getting my swing back. No sooner after a few outings I get a call from my old fastpitch team telling me, "hey dude we are playing the SCIFL mens tourny in Vegas in April get ready"!! So getting excited I figure crap I gotta start swinging my stick again so I go into my closet move all the boxes find my trusty Easton and start taking some hacks off the tee. When halfway through the bucket I realize I haven't taken a stride not even a toe tap?? It didn't feel awkward probably because of the golfing I was doing. Nonetheless, I went a step further and took some BP from one of the guys not gonna lie did pretty decent the best part was it was easier to time the pitching without my stride!!!

So my question to all you batting guru's is, is the step necessary?? What are the pro's and con's of no stepping??? Now I am not a hitting instructor by no stretch of the imagination. Although I can hit pretty well I cannot teach what I do nor can I teach how to swing with power because I'm a pretty strong guy so that comes without much effort. What I wanna know is along with the above posed questions, can a female softball player benefit from a no stride swing??? What are your thoughts?!?!
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by Spazsdad » Tue Mar 02, 2021 5:57 pm

Spoken as a non guru.
I think a large percentage of females struggle with weight transfer if they don’t have the natural motion of a step.
Of course, having said that, there are also plenty that are unable to stop the linear motion of a step after heel plant leading to them being over their front side losing power and being susceptible to change up.
Timing wise No female is throwing hard enough from that distance to not give you time for a step. It just depends when you start it.
When in doubt always look to video of elite hitters and emulate.
Are there any MLB players that don’t step?
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by 110% » Tue Mar 02, 2021 6:46 pm

Baseball and Softball swings/mechanics are the same. But Baseball Players and Women's Fastpitch Softball Players are not the same. Hitting is not something you can cookie cutter and make work by emulating other hitters. Physical makeup, size, strength and athletic ability need to be considered. When determining whether a stride is a good thing or not, you have to look at the hitter. You can find 100's of different stances and launches in the MLB or Elite Softball, but the great ones swing mechanics are going to be very very similar.

There are 7 stages to hitting and while not the same as golf, many are similar:

1 - Grip - Different
2 - Stance - Same or Close
3 - Load - Same or Close
4 -Stride - Different
5 - Hip Rotation - Close
6 - Contact - Close
7 -Follow Through - Close

If you have a stance that is overly wide it can make a stride difficult unless you move the front leg back during the load and then forward in the launch or up and down with the leg kick (Justin Turner).

If you're not going to stride, you must be able to transfer your weight back efficiently while remaining inside your back leg or backside butback or heavy enough allowing for a violent weight transfer forward. Hitters that get their nose over their toes are not utilizing a firm front leg as a brake. The firm front leg forces the hips/core to rotate faster acting as a brake and causing the momentum to go into the rotation. The no stride variation is usually from hitters that are physically bigger and stronger that can transfer enough weight back and use their strength to power or explode forward into the firm front leg.

Utilizing a stride assists in the weight transfer back to a 50-50 position setting the hips in motion. As the front foot plants, that's the trigger for everything else to follow, hips, the the shoulders and then the hands. You want separation between the stride foot when it plants and the bat knob (hands) like stretching a rubber band or a bow and arrow.

Using a high kick does not impact a hitter being late, it's about timing. They start a little earlier is all and in fact, a kick like JT can also help with timing when thrown an off speed pitch because it's easier to pause or slow before you launch.
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by natlee » Wed Mar 03, 2021 7:15 pm

Albert Pujols ring a bell. Future HoFer. Google his swing. Bigger dudes don't need a stride. Keeps eyes quieter.
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by Spazsdad » Wed Mar 03, 2021 9:30 pm

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by 110% » Thu Mar 04, 2021 1:54 pm

That's what I said, big, strong players that can transfer weight effectively without it and can muscle the ball don't require a stride.
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by Spazsdad » Thu Mar 04, 2021 4:44 pm

So Pujols doesn’t meet those criteria ?
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by 110% » Thu Mar 04, 2021 8:32 pm

Yes, Pujols, Trout and a hundred other MLB hitters meet it. Several Elite softball players too. But just because your big and strong doesn't mean they have to hit with no stride. There's no rule or right way or wrong way. It all comes down to how effectively they transfer their weight back in the load phase, how effectively they transfer it back forward. It's about getting the forward momentum going forward and the firm front leg transferring that energy from linear (forward) to rotational turning the hips/core violently.

What it means is that Pujols is very very good at his load phase and his weight transfer back forward (launch) and doesn't need a stride to help him. Also being as strong as a bull doesn't hurt.
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by curveballerguy124 » Thu Mar 04, 2021 8:46 pm

110%.........I like your take on it makes a lot of sense. I Just wonder why more coaches don't teach it to females that often or at all for that matter?
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by 110% » Thu Mar 04, 2021 10:37 pm

Most coaches use the cookie cutter method. If it works for this one, copy it and it'll work for everyone, but it doesn't.

Each player is different. Different in athleticism, different in their work ethic, skills, size and strength. With that in mind, you need to tailor what your hitters do based on them. A player that's 5' 5" and 145 is never going to generate the bat speed of a player 6' 3" and 225 pounds all other things being equal.

Remember, it takes an exit speed of just 63mph and a launch angle of around 25 degrees (think of the angle a baseball pitch approaches the hitter as it leaves the pitchers hand) to hit a home run. Most average sized softball players in the 14u level can do this with good mechanics. Even many 12u players can reach these speeds. Obviously, strength training helps and puts the odds in her favor.

Teach good mechanics. Timing is the most critical of all in hitting. (Which is why changeups are so effective). If they start their swing before the front foot plants and lose that necessary separation (think bow and arrow or slingshot) they're dead before they even get to contact. Their "finish" should be OVER their front shoulder and not through it. The bat path should look sort of like a "Nike Swoosh".

Do not teach to hit the top half of the ball. The better teams you play, they'll make those infield ground ball outs. Teach line drives, gap to gap. There's 5 infielders (counting the pitcher) covering just the small area of the infield, usually just about 20-25 feet between them, but there's only 3 outfielders covering a much larger area with more than 80 feet between them and much more on the BLD and other baseball/softball dual fields. The odds of a hit on a ball in the outfield is much better than hitting those crappy ground balls. Those line drives turn into home runs as the players get bigger and stronger, but until they do, they're hitting gappers for doubles and triples.
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