No Stride Small Stride: Is Your Lower Half Efficient?

Written by on April 20, 2017 in Hitting Methodology, Methodology / Mechanics - 2 Comments

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!

K.C. Judge

About the Author

KC Judge is Baseball Rebellion and ITS Baseball’s Head of Sport Performance and Speed / Strength Coach, from Las Vegas, NV. KC holds a BS in Exercise Science from Cal. Lutheran University, a CSCS certification from the NSCA and is FMS Certified. KC is specialized in speed and agility training, having previously worked at 2 high profile Strength and Conditioning facilities in Las Vegas, Phillipi Sports Institute and TSPT Sports Performance, training many high level major league baseball players. KC played collegiately at Taft College and Cal. Lutheran University. After a record setting season in 2010, which included the single season all time record for batting average (.453), an NCAA All West Region selection, & the SCIAC leader in batting average & on base percentage, KC was named a pre season All American prior to the 2011 season. KC spent 4 seasons playing professionally in the Independent League. With his playing history and knowledge / training with Baseball Rebellion, KC applies his knowledge of speed/strength training directly to the Baseball Rebellion hitting and pitching training systems.

2 Comments on "No Stride Small Stride: Is Your Lower Half Efficient?"

  1. Daniel Campbell May 4, 2017 at 2:49 am · Reply

    Oh Man,

    I gotta say, I’d like Chas to weigh-in on this article. I’ve been following you guys for the past five years and this article seem to inadvertently advocate a no-stride method and imply a leg kick is no good. That seems antithetical to what Baseball Rebellion has been advocating all these years. I have trouble with parents that seem to think their kids’ back and front legs should stay planted in the same position to hit well (to the point where I’ve seen coaches put cinder blocks in front of a kid’s front foot during batting cage sessions) and I constantly point those parents to Baseball Rebellion to give them a data fueled and professional view point.

    I understand that your trying to emphasize an efficient lower half. Makes sense, but this article is vague and gives ammunition to those no-step guys with kids 8,9,10,11 yrs. Respect you guys immensely and have learned a lot from BR, but I think this article does not give proper context and allows to much room for misinterpretation especially for young hitters.

    FYI, I’ve seen a number of MLB hitters this year hit home-runs with back foot planted. It seems more so now then in years past. Is this a trend? Or maybe I’m just noticing what’s always been there.

    Peace …..dc

    • KC Judge May 8, 2017 at 2:04 pm · Reply

      Hey Daniel,
      Chas and I both agree there wasn’t an implication that a leg kick is bad. And if that was the perception of this article, I apologize. I was saying that not all hitters need to utilize a leg kick. And I stand by that. A leg kick, no matter which way you cut it, is a higher risk move. If you are a bigger than average player, the risk of a leg kick (timing wise) is probably not in your best interest. From a practical standpoint. For example, we had a professional in here who crushes the ball (500+ feet on hittrax). He came in for work one time and wasn’t demonstrating that he was consistent with his leg kick. So we did a few no stride rounds. Every one of his metrics on the hittrax went up and was still able to hit the ball within 10% of his max through a no stride. So, for a hitter like him, a no stride proved to be a much better fit. Unfortunately, when writing hitting articles, the information isn’t going to resonate with every single type of hitter. Thats where the reader needs to decipher what is applicable and what isn’t for their hitter. Just as big league hitters don’t all pull their back foot through when hitting a homerun. Not all hitters HAVE to take a big stride. Please let me know if there is anything that isn’t clear. I appreciate your comment and reading of our articles. Thank you Daniel.
      KC

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