How Can Your Shoes Affect Your Swing?
By Eric Tyler of Baseball Rebellion
Why is Balance so Important?
Stability and balance. Two major factors in swing quality. The hardest thing to do in sports is to be “on-time” with a moving pitch. When in a hitter is struggling timing is often hard to find. It can often be the most frustrating time for a hitter. But where does this issue with timing come from? It may be from somewhere you’ve never thought to look.
The difficulty of being “on-time” with a pitch is hard enough without having to overcome faulty vision created by poor balance. The better balance a hitter has, the better their vision. Balance comes from stability and during the stride phase and being that the only leg on the ground is the back leg, that’s where stability is needed.
What Creates Stability?
With the back leg being the sole connector to the ground, where does stability in that leg come from? The foot. Stability in the back foot allows the body to move forward in balance. Instability in that foot forces the body to compensate as well as cause poor vision. The sole of the shoes you hit in play a major role in how stable the back foot is able to be. The thicker and softer the soles, the harder it is to maintain a stable base into the ground.
As you can see in the picture above, the hitter is unable to create a stable base because of the shoe’s sole/soft knit cover. The shoe gives as he loads his back hip and forces the foot to roll on its side. This instability creates an unbalanced, pushy forward move.
With a quick shoe change to a more stable, sturdy shoe, the hitter was able to maintain a stronger base with the ground. The stability is noticeable not only in the video but also in the fact that his next three swings were his highest exit velocities of the training session.
How to Replicate This in Cleats
As I addressed in the above video, the orientation of the back foot allows Bichette to maintain his back hip load throughout the stride. If the back foot lost stability, the knee would crash in to maintain the body’s balance. If you’re having trouble being on time or feel like your forward move is uncontrolled and unbalanced try turning your foot towards the catcher a little more. This will allow for more stability similar to a squat positioning.
Control and stability are huge in the stride. This ability to control your forward move as a hitter allows for better timing and adjustability. Take the shoes off and find true balance. ????⚾https://t.co/c6zoRdCI4V pic.twitter.com/HGAy1N3atJ— Baseball Rebellion (@BRrebellion) May 6, 2020
In order to continue working on your balance and stability as a hitter, try to do your movement work or warmup barefooted. The more barefoot work you get as a hitter, the more stable of a base you will create. Pop the shoes off and give it a shot.
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