In this week’s article I am going to go over somewhat of a swing self assessment to see if your lower half is working efficiently. In my last couple of breakdowns, (Andrew Mccutchen and Marcell Ozuna) I talk about them being very efficient with their loads and unloads in their swings. I specifically analyzed these 2 guys because they don’t utilize giant leg kicks or barrel tips. In my eyes, I see that of a rolling load. One that never stops. Mccutchen is more of a sway into a coil guy while Ozuna is a guy who gets his toe down early. Both adequately load their rear leg and rear hip the whole time up until they unload their swings. Another guy I like to watch is Jim Edmonds. Jim Edmonds was not a huge guy. He hit out of an unusually wide stance with no stride. Pay specific attention to how once he starts loading his rear hip, he lengthens out his load until he’s ready to unload (turn).
It’s apparent to me that a high level swing doesn’t HAVE to have a leg kick. A leg kick is a great move IF you lengthen out a loaded back leg. All too often I see hitters take outrageous leg kicks that don’t do anything for them because the angle of their back leg never changes.
Another hitter I like to pay attention to is Pujols. Pujols starts in somewhat of a crouch with visible bend in his knees. Just ike Edmonds, Pujols goes from a wide stance as well. As the pitch comes in, his spine angle changes due to the loading of his rear hip and the rowing of his back shoulder. His front heel goes up then he moves his center of mass forward through his back hip. He continues his load up until the point he’s ready to unload (swing) or take.
I’ve seen Miguel Cabrera use this type of load as well. The only video I could find of Cabrera using this type of load is a front view from 2013. It’s still a really good example to clearly see that a high level pattern doesn’t require a big leg move. Watch how Cabrera’s torso angle changes as his front heel goes up. I know Cabrera is a giant human being, but his lower half no matter which timing mechanism he uses (Double tap, Leg kick, Wide stance) is always very good. The best hitters can vary their timing mechanisms in their lower body due to proper lower half loading.
One of the high level softball swings that comes to mind when I think of a small stride or no stride is from Megan Langenfeld. Megan was extremely successful during her time at UCLA. Watch as she uses virtually no forward move yet still does a tremendous job of loading her lower half through a no stride load.
Next time you’re in the cage, assess yourself. SEE if your lower body mechanics will allow you to hit from a wide stance or a small stride in which your toe gets down early. A lot of the hitters we work with at Baseball Rebellion can transition from their normal leg kick to that of a rolling wide stance because they use their lower halves correctly. If you’re within 10% of your max exit velocity or distance from a no stride or a small stride, you’re more than likely using your lower half in the correct manner. Success in this style of hitting can only be attributed to the proper sequencing of the lower body in the baseball and softball swing. If you want to learn how to use your lower half efficiently through our online training click here. Thank you for reading!