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By now you guys know me and have a pretty good handle on how I explain ideas and concepts at Baseball Rebellion Headquarters or here in my articles.
I'm a huge analogy guy. The reason for this is because I really enjoy simplifying movements to their core and getting rid of the grey area. For players of all ages but especially younger players, analogies do a great job of cleaning things up inside their head.
The important vs. vital concept is no different than anything else. Like the human body, there are parts of us that are vital to our health and therefore living. These things are measured as "vitals" in the medical world.
The four main ones are body temperature, heart rate or pulse, respiratory rate, and blood pressure. Anything other than those four vitals would be listed as important.
I'm sure at this point you're wondering how this relates to hitting. Well, here it goes.
In hitting, vitals are concepts or movements that can not be compensated for. Without them, players can "stay alive" in baseball but will ultimately not last.
Important aspects of the swing are things that are nice to have and can really help, but are necessities to be great long term.
Now don't' get me wrong here. We teach footwork until it's really good but you can find tons of examples in the big leagues of guys doing all sorts of things with their feet in games. It's important to have a solid base of footwork but at the end of the day, if the bat is fast and going up pitch plane, you'll do damage. Proper footwork will, however, allow hitters to get the most out of what their hips are trying to do.
As stated above, if you look at a few of your favorite big league players you'll notice a variety of back foot movement. Generally, they all rotate to some degree but the distance forward can really vary, and for some, it may even go behind them. For the hips to fully clear it is important that the back foot is allowed to move not forced improperly. The bigger you are the less it may need to move. For little guys, letting the back foot move can really open up your hip turn and speed.