fbpx

How To Correct An Open Or Closed Landing

How To Correct An Open Or Closed Landing

Landing in a good position, in line with the middle of the field, and with a strong foundation, is the start to every great swing. So, when we land with our hips already open or closed off, we are setting ourselves up for failure from the start. Doing either of these things could cause you to have bad direction, less power, and less time in the zone.

When we step open, or commonly referenced as “stepping in the bucket”, our hips will begin to open prematurely. When this happens, we lose the stretch created throughout our load and our barrel will follow the direction that our hips take, causing us to have poor direction through the zone. This bad direction will also leave us wondering why we can’t get to pitches on the outer half of the plate.

Luke Davis gif

As you can see Khris Davis steps open and he does this on just about every swing. From 2016-2018 he tore the cover off the ball and made a name for himself. With the position his stride puts him in it forces him to side bend way more than most to be able to cover the outer part of the zone which many people would not be able to do because of physical limitations.

When we close ourselves off in our stride, it will cause our rotation to be slower and our front hip will stop us from being able to finish our turn. This will leave our hips closed at contact and our barrel pushing towards the opposite field gap. When our barrel pushes through the zone it causes us to take away the inner part of the plate and take a lot of balls off the hands.

Luke Altuve

For some, like Jose Altuve, this can be a beneficial move because it helps the hips to decelerate. If the hips do not decelerate then the barrel cannot accelerate as fast. The people who this stride could benefit are individuals with hypermobile hips, which is kind of like being double jointed. People who are hypermobile need extra help to decelerate their turn. With that being said, this is not going to benefit the majority and will actually cause harm to the speed of rotation. 

Luke Arozarena

The reason we want to stride in line is the same reason why you tell pitchers to step towards their target. It keeps everything in line to the direction they want to throw. Just like the examples I have shown you above of some of guys that can get away with these flaws, there are elite pitchers and throwers that can as well. However, just because Chris Sale can step crossed his body, doesn’t mean that Johnny from next door should be trying to do the same thing. The elite players who can get away with these strides are either helping to correct a direction problem or they’re athletic and flexible enough to get away with it. So, for the other 99% of us, a good stride in line with the pitcher is important to hold good direction.

Drill To Correct Stride Problems

Correcting this problem is easier than most mechanical adjustments; it just takes awareness. The reason why we do it on a wall or cage net is so we can tell if we’re loading correctly and see where our stride is. 

Just remember this one tip, stride in line so you can have a good time!

Get Drills, Articles, Videos, And More Sent Right To Your Inbox!

Did you like this content? Check out some of our Products or Other Articles!

  • Rebel's Rack

    The Rebel’s Rack

    $74.99
    Select options
  • Placeholder

    The Drive Developer

    $49.99
    Add to cart
My Post

Get A Better Launch Position With This Drill

The hip hinge is a vital part of having a powerful and consistent swing. Most young kids have a tough time figuring this out because they have yet to step in the weight room. Therefore, as an Instructor I have to get a little creative with how I can get hitters in the positions they need. Every hitter responds differently and this drill below may just help your hitter to get that swing they desire.

My Post (5)

How To Correct An Open Or Closed Landing

The position we land in can set us up for success or failure right from the start. If we begin our swing from an open or closed stance, this will dictate the direction of our swing no matter how good the movement is. Just like when throwing a ball, you want to stride towards the target so you can be more accurate.

Stay Connected To Consistently Hit Balls Harder

A lot of coaches love to talk about connection, but few will describe what it actually is. It’s a term I heard all the time from coaches growing up but never understood what it really was. They would just say it and then that was the end of it, leaving me confused and back to doing what I was doing. It is not enough to say “HEY, stay connected longer”. That cue is meaningless if one: you don’t know what it means and two: if you don’t know what it feels like to really be connected. Hitters don’t swing disconnected because they want to, they do it because of years of bad habits and trying to reach for the baseball. 

If we reach for the ball, not only will we be losing power because we’re now pushing with our upper half, but we also lose time in the zone. The goal of staying connected is to allow our turn to work the barrel into the zone and be powerful, but to also keep us in the zone. We want to work behind and through the ball rather than reaching for the ball and forcing our contact point to be perfect. 

I like to use the Rebel’s Rack with my hitters because it allows them to feel the changes in their turns that are needed to access their power potential. This work will go to waste if as soon as we get back into the box, we begin to push our barrel to the baseball rather than turning it. This push to the ball is the loss of connection that I’m talking about. 

 

How to Fix Connection Problems

Another addition to this connection drill is to work off a tee at the deepest point of contact (just in front of your front hip, after stride). Working from this very deep point of contact is going to force you to really make sure you’re turning behind the ball early and staying connected.  If you struggle to get that pitch off the ground, it’s because you’re losing connection too early and pushing to contact. The goal is to drive this pitch up the middle to the top of the cage or where the top meets the back.

Why it’s Important to Stay Connected

  1. Time in the Zone

Good connection allows you to start working on plane with the pitch early and through the zone long. This allows you to work in the zone early and stay through the zone long, giving you a greater opportunity for success.

 

Luke Dansby Gif

2. Greater Power Output

Rotational power comes from our legs, hips, and core. This is why we practice our turns on a Rebel’s Rack so we can train the lower half of our body to sequence correctly and be the engine to our swings. What happens when we lose connection and push with our hands is we lose the ability to generate power with our lower half because our shoulders have to start our turn. This gets our swings out of sequence which then reduces the speed of our barrel through the zone which will reduce our power. 

 

Get Drills, Articles, Videos, And More Sent Right To Your Inbox!

Did you like this content? Check out some of our Products or Other Articles!

  • Rebel's Rack

    The Rebel’s Rack

    $74.99
    Select options
  • Placeholder

    The Drive Developer

    $49.99
    Add to cart
My Post

Get A Better Launch Position With This Drill

The hip hinge is a vital part of having a powerful and consistent swing. Most young kids have a tough time figuring this out because they have yet to step in the weight room. Therefore, as an Instructor I have to get a little creative with how I can get hitters in the positions they need. Every hitter responds differently and this drill below may just help your hitter to get that swing they desire.

My Post (5)

How To Correct An Open Or Closed Landing

The position we land in can set us up for success or failure right from the start. If we begin our swing from an open or closed stance, this will dictate the direction of our swing no matter how good the movement is. Just like when throwing a ball, you want to stride towards the target so you can be more accurate.

Understanding Swing Feel And Swing Real

Having feel for what you’re doing in the box is something I talk about with my hitters daily. Your feel is something you need to physically do or think to get your swing where it needs to be. Not everyone’s feel is going to be the same, which is why problems get created with old school coaching methods. This is because when you listen to former players like Arod and Chipper Jones, they discuss their feel as reality. Meaning they talk about swinging down like it is actually what is happening, in real time, with their swing. 

I picked those players because, in my eyes, those are the two that have been very vocal and the most reluctant to conform with the new era of teaching hitters. When I talk about the new era of teaching hitting, I don’t mean you should teach everyone to swing up. It’s not about teaching everyone to swing up or down, it’s about looking at the numbers and swing and creating the correct feel for the hitter with the right drills and vocabulary. What is correct is different from player to player. The difference is the vocabulary and the drills and how they correlate with the feel you’re trying to construct. This is why it is so important to understand the big difference between swing feel and swing real.

What Swing Feel Is Best For Me?

Many players need to feel different than what is actually happening in they swing. We see this even at the highest level with some of the most elite players in the game.

Here are examples of Bellinger and Trout. Both are great hitters, even though Trout is in a class of his own, Bellinger is still a top hitter in the league. These two have polar opposite feels that get them where they need to be. As you can tell, Bellinger’s feel is a little more realistic than Trout’s, but it shows that it doesn’t matter what you feel as long as it gets you where you need to be.

These videos show each hitters feel, then their feel in the batter's box, and finally their in-game swing.

Trout Feel
giphy
Trout Swing
Belli Feel
Belli on deck
Belli swing

How do I Find my Swing Feel?

The feel you need is personalized to you as a hitter and what your tendencies are. It takes trial and error to find what will work for you and sometimes it can change day to day. This is why working with an instructor you can connect with will help. An instructor will help you to create different feels within your swing by using different drills and vocabulary that will help you make adjustments. Additionally, when you are struggling to feel changes being made, they can help with understanding swing feel and swing real.

Not only is it about creating a feel that will help you maintain a consistent swing, but it could even mean creating a feel to make an adjustment. For example, if you’re a hitter who rips off the ball and loses posture, a good feel for you might be to hinge over the plate, uncomfortably low, and feel out your movement to the opposite field gap. So, if you’re trying to make a timing, direction, or movement adjustment, the important thing is feeling different and getting out of your comfort zone. If nothing feels different and the results are still the same, then you’re not doing anything different.

Why is Swing Feel Important?

The biggest reason for trying to create a good feel is so you know what is going on with your swing. You can start to see and feel what you’re doing right and what you’re doing wrong. If you don’t, it’s hard to understand how to fix things when it's going bad and to keep doing it right when things are going well. If you don’t know why you’re hitting well, it would be like not knowing how to add but understanding that 2+2=4. You know that you’re getting to the right answer, you just don’t understand why. Or worse, you know you’re getting the wrong answer but you don’t know how to fix it. The goal is to understand what your swing looks like and what you need to feel to get it to look like that, or to get it to look better.

Get Drills, Articles, Videos, And More Sent Right To Your Inbox!

Did you like this content? Check out some of our Products or Other Articles!

  • Sale!

    Rebel’s Rack Movement Progression Certification Course

    $199.00 $99.99 / year
    Sign Up Now
  • Sale!

    The Rebel’s Rack and Rack Bat Combo

    $144.98 $124.99
    Select options
My Post

Get A Better Launch Position With This Drill

The hip hinge is a vital part of having a powerful and consistent swing. Most young kids have a tough time figuring this out because they have yet to step in the weight room. Therefore, as an Instructor I have to get a little creative with how I can get hitters in the positions they need. Every hitter responds differently and this drill below may just help your hitter to get that swing they desire.

My Post (5)

How To Correct An Open Or Closed Landing

The position we land in can set us up for success or failure right from the start. If we begin our swing from an open or closed stance, this will dictate the direction of our swing no matter how good the movement is. Just like when throwing a ball, you want to stride towards the target so you can be more accurate.

Fixing Direction in the Swing

Do you find yourself constantly missing barrels, hitting balls off the cap, top spinning balls over to the pull side, or flaring balls to the opposite field? This could be from bad or inconsistent timing. But if this is a consistent trend, chances are you’re losing posture over the plate and spinning with your shoulders. This will cause your barrel to fly out of the zone and off the ball early. Leaving you wondering why you can’t consistently do damage. 

A good path through the zone means you’re working behind the ball early and stay through it long. Many times, I see hitters work behind the ball early but also out of the zone early. So, what does this mean? It means, your chances of success go down greatly. This means fixing bat path can be as simple as fixing body posture and barrel release.

Direction Drill

The biggest thing to focus on while doing these drills, is hitting line drives to the middle of the field. This way we can make sure we have our swing set up to center and our barrel travels through the zone as long as possible. Below I have examples of good and bad shoulder positions at contact.

Bad Position at Contact

giphy

As you can see, I have highlighted the angle of the shoulders at contact. He starts with a good hinge over the plate, but throughout the swing the back shoulder starts to rise and become flatter through contact. Therefore, this movement is going to pull his barrel out of the hitting zone early causing weak contact and top spin.

Good Position at Contact

giphy-1

In this clip, I have also highlighted the angle of the shoulders at contact. He is able to hold posture over the plate throughout contact. This allows his barrel to work through the hitting zone longer with better direction towards center. 

The visual that I have presented with the PVC forces the hitter to be conscious of the direction their barrel is traveling and find where extension is. So, if extension is coming outside of your torso, it means you’re spinning with your shoulders and losing posture. If you’re a hitter that only has the ability to hit balls hard on the inner half, these drills could be the solution for fixing direction in your swing. 

Get Drills, Articles, Videos, And More Sent Right To Your Inbox!

Did you like this content? Check out some of our Products or Other Articles!

  • Rebel's Rack

    The Rebel’s Rack

    $74.99
    Select options
  • Placeholder

    The Drive Developer

    $49.99
    Add to cart
My Post

Get A Better Launch Position With This Drill

The hip hinge is a vital part of having a powerful and consistent swing. Most young kids have a tough time figuring this out because they have yet to step in the weight room. Therefore, as an Instructor I have to get a little creative with how I can get hitters in the positions they need. Every hitter responds differently and this drill below may just help your hitter to get that swing they desire.

My Post (5)

How To Correct An Open Or Closed Landing

The position we land in can set us up for success or failure right from the start. If we begin our swing from an open or closed stance, this will dictate the direction of our swing no matter how good the movement is. Just like when throwing a ball, you want to stride towards the target so you can be more accurate.

Why Failure In Training Breeds Success In Games

Today we'll look at how variable training and failure help to better a player’s mentality and preparation come game day and different drills that will help develop your approach. 

The Practice Work

Tee work, front toss, and casual batting practice are all good things when learning new movements and for your pregame warm-up but there’s more to being a great hitter than just having a “good swing” and 5 o’clock power.

Hopping into a cage and taking swing after swing with no plan, no awareness for what the goal is for the day, and no thought to making the pitch to pitch adjustments is going to build confidence in the present but set up failure come game day. We all need some confidence-boosting days but too many times that’s the bulk of how athletes train. 

I’ve seen countless players with all the talent in the world but shut down come game time. I believe this comes from being in unfamiliar situations that you have not practiced. As we all know failure is a part of all sports but especially in baseball and softball. We all know the saying if you fail 3 out of 10 times, you’ll be an all-star. Yet success is all that is practiced so failure becomes harder to manage when it, inevitably, happens.

Check out this quote from Chicago Cubs star, Kris Bryant, about how he challenges himself in practice:

Kris Bryant Practice Quote

This doesn’t mean you always have to do variable training or impossible sliders off the pitching machine, but it does mean you have to switch up the day-to-day training routine. If all you do every day is hit batting practice fastballs you will only become good at one thing, hitting fastballs right down the middle.

To become better, it’s important to broaden your skillset and work on areas you’re lacking. This will allow your player to feel better prepared, more confident, and overall, more successful come game day.

Examples of Technique Training to Take Your Game to the Next Level

1. Pitch Selection Training

Pitch Selection Training

    1. Challenge your hitter with fastballs and off-speed but have them start by only swinging at the fastball, while still throwing a full mix of pitches. The next step is to switch it and only have them swing at the off-speed. Last do full simulated at-bats with a count (to make sure they’re not just going into cruise control and swinging at everything). 
    2. It is important to also do this by starting with different counts and situations to make it as game-like as possible.
2. Zone Awareness Training

Zone Awareness Training

    1. This can be done with fastballs or off-speed but make the pitch constant. Mark the plate with 6 baseballs (4 if using softballs) and have the player start by tracking pitches into the zone and calling out which ball it crossed (1 would be black on the inside and 6 would be black on the outside).
    2. The next step is to do the same thing but have them actually swing creating awareness for where the pitch is.
3. Variable Timing Training

Variable Timing Training 

    1. This can be done with fastballs or off-speed but make the pitch constant. Pre-pitch call out what field you want your hitter to work (Left, Center, Right). This will force the hitter to have zone awareness by not swinging at inside pitches if they’re trying to work the opposite field and adjust their timing on the fly.
4. Situational Hitting Training

Situational Hitting Training

    1. This can be done with a constant pitch to start but should eventually develop into a full mix of pitches. This is just how it sounds to create a situation and count for the player and force him/her to execute.
    2. Examples include:
      1. A guy on third and one out (get the run in)
      2. Bases loaded infield in (get it to the outfield)
5. Velocity From Pitching Machine

Velocity from Pitching Machine

    1. Having a coach that can throw good batting practice is great but no coach can throw 100 mid 90’s fastballs and devastating off-speed pitches. Working off a pitching machine, if available is great because it can give you game-like velocity and knee-buckling breakers on a consistent basis. Also gives hitters a challenge to keep consistent mechanics and timing on nasty pitches.
    2. The goal is obviously to hit anything that we may set the machine on, but I notice a lot of hitter’s struggle to make timing adjustments. If this is the case, players can strap on a rebel’s rack and focus on timing the turn.

Get Drills, Articles, Videos, And More Sent Right To Your Inbox!

Did you like this content? Check out some of our Products or Other Articles!

  • Rebel's Rack

    The Rebel’s Rack

    $74.99
    Select options
  • Placeholder

    The Drive Developer

    $49.99
    Add to cart
My Post

Get A Better Launch Position With This Drill

The hip hinge is a vital part of having a powerful and consistent swing. Most young kids have a tough time figuring this out because they have yet to step in the weight room. Therefore, as an Instructor I have to get a little creative with how I can get hitters in the positions they need. Every hitter responds differently and this drill below may just help your hitter to get that swing they desire.

My Post (5)

How To Correct An Open Or Closed Landing

The position we land in can set us up for success or failure right from the start. If we begin our swing from an open or closed stance, this will dictate the direction of our swing no matter how good the movement is. Just like when throwing a ball, you want to stride towards the target so you can be more accurate.