Hitting- The Power of Posture
By- Ben Gutke
The Power of Posture
How hitters posture their body while in the batter's box is a large indicator for how much energy output a hitter has in their tank to hit the ball hard. Posture is often overlooked in baseball despite often times making or breaking a hitter’s ability to even make contact. A hitter's posture is directly related to the level of connection through contact and a hitter’s ability to get on plane with the incoming pitch.
Achieving the Perfect Tilt
The perfect tilt isn’t created by one tilt, but by combining numerous adjustments to our upper body to put us in the best position to drive the baseball, such as: Prior to swinging, hitters should create a 90 degree angle with their bat and the angle of their spine while in their launch position. This will create the quickest bat path to the ball while maximizing the power potential throughout their swing.
Notice here while Mike Trout is entering his launch position, his bat and spine create just above a 90 degree angle. At contact, hitters should be tilting their upper body in the direction of home plate, again creating a 90 degree angle with their bat and spine. This will maximize a hitter’s ability to hit the ball without leaving any power or energy on the table. Tilting their upper body over home plate will also increase a hitter’s contact zone. The outside pitch will be
easier to barrel, while unlocking more time for a hitter to simply decide to swing given that our bat path will now be quicker to the baseball.
Take a look on the left; Mike Trout’s upper body is tilting over home plate creating a 90 degree angle with his bat and spine.
Achieving these 90 degree angles will allow hitters to reach pitches on the outer edge of the strike zone with ease. This translates to a wider range of hitting opportunities in a
hitter’s power zone. An inclined upper body, or posterior tilt with hip hinge(from a kinematic standpoint) puts a hitter’s bat on a path that aligns with the incoming pitch. This alignment is essential to meeting the trajectory of the incoming pitch and dramatically increases your chances of making solid contact consistently.
Lower Half Engagement
To engage their lower half, hitters should be focused on optimizing balance, control, and power generation. Power generation kinetically happens when a hitter coils their weight around their back hip (external rotation of trail hip, think hiding the back hip into load). A significant portion of a hitter’s power and timing originates from learning to store energy and unleash it from the middle. Tapping into this power source will result in harder hit balls and an increased distance.
Notice on the right- Josh Donaldson lifts his front leg, transferring his weight, externally rotating his trail hip
while he postures into his launch position. Hiding the hip like this will activate the large and very powerful gluteals and hamstring muscles, storing massive energy for the swing.
Balance and control go hand and hand. As hitters transfer their weight to their back hip, their front foot is left to stabilize their stance as they get into their launch position. As their front foot strikes the ground, to not shift their weight too early or get off balanced, a hitter should focus on having a soft landing. Hitters should look to glide their front foot into their launch position to maximize their lower half balance and control.
Do not underestimate the importance of posture in the batter’s box. An upper body tilt and an engaged lower half are not just components of a pretty stance; they’re the building blocks of a more consistent and powerful swing.
Let us know what you think in the comments section and don't hesitate to reach out if you need some help at the plate!