Updated: Jan 23, 2020
Hitting posture and setup is crucial to creating a smooth entry and a solid batted ball collision. When we talk about posture we are referring to the hitters spine angle and forward bend in the set up and launch position. Here is an example below:
This is Cody Bellinger in his setup and his transition to the forward move into a launch position.
In the setup or stance, some hitters are more straight up than others and that is okay. It is more important that hitters transition into good spine angle and hip hinge during the forward move. Hip hinge is simply the forward bend of the torso at the waist.
Here is an example of a youth player who has pretty good posture at launch position. We want to be balanced with bend in the knees and have a slight forward bend over the waist line.
One way to easily find good posture is to tell your hitter to get into a basketball defensive position. As seen below, this usually allows the hitter to feel a solid athletic base with proper forward bend or hip hinge - the essential pieces of good posture.
From this position you should be able to put a bat in your hitters hands and they should look more like a hitter who has landed in a strong launch position.
How does your posture impact your hitting?
Hitters with too much forward bend in their stance or too much forward bend at launch position will struggle to hit pitches up in the zone. We want to setup the body to easily transition to multiple areas of the strike zone - up and down - in and out. As with Cody Bellinger, it is much better to start out with a more vertical spine angle and transition to good posture than it is to start out with the chest over the plate and too much forward bend or hip hinge. Ideally, our posture at launch position and the amount of hip hinge we have is going to be decided as we recognize the pitch location during our forward move.
Good posture allows hitters to easily turn the barrel around their body in various pitch locations. As we land in good posture we should transition to side bend - which creates a level of shoulder tilt. Lower pitches require more side bend to tilt the shoulders while higher pitches would require less. The barrel should match the plane created with shoulder tilt as it turns to make impact with the ball. Finally, we want hitters to stay on the arc of the swing through contact. Here are some examples below:
Posture and Alignment - low and inside
On the low and inside pitch, Kemp has more shoulder tilt and side bend to match his body and posture with the pitch location. The barrel matches his tilt (the two green arrows), and the barrel stays on the swing path through contact.
Posture and Alignment - middle inside
This hitter recognizes the pitch during the forward move and lands with less hip hinge or forward bend than required for a lower location. The hitter transitions into side bend; however, as you can tell the amount of bend and shoulder tilt is less than the lower pitch shown in the previous clip. The barrel matches the shoulder tilt and the arc of the swing maintains good direction though impact.
High School Hitter - low and inside
In this example the hitter does a good job recognizing the pitch location and creates good posture to match the bat angle and shoulder angle at impact. The hitter is able to continue the path of the swing through contact and stay on the arc of the swing.
Line Drive Pro Trainer - Middle Pitch
Proper posture for the middle pitch location. The hitter turns the barrel around the body - matching shoulder tilt and keeping good direction of the swing arc.
Middle - poor direction - roll over
In this example, the hitter has pretty good posture; however, the barrel doesn't turn around his spine angle and begins to push away from the body - creating a horizontal swing arc and that does not match the shoulder tilt - cutting across the angle.
Posture - middle location with better angles and direction
This time the hitter did a much better job of using his posture to turn the barrel around the body. He matches his shoulder tilt with his bat angle and stays on the swing arc longer.
-Posture is vital to creating good angles to hit multiple pitch locations.
-Posture should start more upright and as the hitter recognizes pitch location he or she can create more hinge as needed.
-Posture that starts with too much forward bend or hinge will leave hitters vulnerable to pitches up in the zone - especially velocity.
-Shoulder tilt and side bend are relative to pitch location - pitches up in the zone require a flatter shoulder line while pitches lower in the zone require an increased shoulder line.
-Good posture and side bend encourages the hitter to simply turn the barrel from the shoulder line into the incoming pitch - creating a smooth swing arc through the pitch path.
Hope this helps,
See you on the diamond!