When Should a Hitter Start Their Stride?

Written By: Eric Tyler

When Should a Hitter Start Their Stride

What is a Stride?

Rhythm and timing are crucial components of a good swing. The two go hand and hand and can turn a sub-optimal mechanical swing and allow for positive results. The stride phase of the swing is where timing and rhythm are most evident.

So what is the stride? The stride is the first move a hitter makes to begin the swing process. The beginning of the stride is the raising of the hitter's front heel. Some hitters will begin by shifting their weight onto their back leg while turning or coiling their core in towards the catcher.

This puts them in a “loaded” position and allows them to begin the rotation process. As the hitter picks up their front foot and moves it towards the pitcher, this is known as the stride. 

What is Your Stride Tempo?

Every hitter has a different tempo and length of stride. When a hitter should start their stride depends on that individual hitter's stride tempo and the amount of time it takes for them to get their front foot back into the ground. Let's take a look at a couple of different stride tempos and when that hitter starts their stride. 

Types of Stride Tempo’s

Slow Stride Tempo- Cincinnati Reds, Eugenio Suarez

The Red’s Eugenio Suarez is a hitter that can be considered a slow strider. To me, this tempo allows for the easiest timing adjustments. The earlier a hitter begins moving the slower they are able to move, in turn staying “quieter” through the forward move. However, this stride tempo also forces the hitter to have the best balance and control being that their front foot will be in the air the longest.

When looking closer you will notice that Suarez begins moving and loading both the body and the barrel around the point that the pitcher breaks their hands and begins their move down the mound. 

Average Stride Tempo- Cincinnati Reds, Mike Moustakas

I would consider Mike Moustakas to have an average tempo stride. Not too fast, not too slow which allows for the proper adjustments needed without being quite as difficult to control. Moustakas starts moving sooner than Suarez, but because the stride is a little quicker doesn’t raise the entire front foot until after the ball is released.

Fast Stride Tempo- Seattle Mariners, Evan White

With White being the quickest stride of the three (also, please note how slow and controlled a “quick” MLB stride is) he begins moving the latest. With White starting later his tempo is a little quicker making it easier to get back to the ground consistently but could make it difficult to track the ball optimally. 

Consistency Starting Point

  • You may have noticed just how close the starting point was for all 3 hitters, despite the different length and tempo strides.
  • The best hitters in the world begin moving at some point around hand break, however, when their front foot gets off the ground and they begin their forward move are all different.
  • Each hitter gives themself plenty of time to begin the loading process before there is even a ball in flight to track.
  • Having a consistent starting point to begin moving before the ball is in the air is crucial to slow the pitch down and seeing it well. 

Know Who You Are 

  • Just as we split the hitters into 3 different stride types, you yourself as a hitter have a certain tempo in your stride.
  • Knowing which type of strider you are can help you discover your own starting point. Each pitch is going to be a different speed, spin, and angle.
  • The pitch can be considered a variable.
  • For us to be on time more, we need to make our starting point a constant. Find your starting point and improve your timing.

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3 thoughts on "When Should a Hitter Start Their Stride?"

  1. Adam Carroll says:

    What’s the opinion with softball, when to start? Have an 11 year old and that is where we are in our young career.

  2. jerry ross says:

    I am also interested to hear about start of the stride for the fastpitch hitter, I’ve always taught to start when the pitcher shows their front hip

  3. Daniel Campbell says:

    When a youth hitters is developing stride/timing in conjunction with a pitching machine. Should coaches slow down the machine so hitters can make more contact with their stride or set a faster pitch to adjust both foot stride and bat speed? Thanks…..dc

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