Chipper Jones: Staying within his stance
from start to finish with little head movement
Greg Gross, the hitting coach for the Philadelphia Phillies, had a short clip on a pre-game Phillies show about a basic hitting tip he gives to players of all ages. He called it “staying within your framework” but I’ll call it “staying within your stance.” It’s a very simple tip for players of any age and can have a tremendous impact on a hitter’s ability to hit on a consistent basis.Staying within your stance basically means keeping your weight under control and in between your feet at all times. If a hitter is in his stance with his feet just beyond shoulder width, have him look down. When he loads up before swinging, his weight and head should not go back beyond the inside part of his back foot. When he finishes, his weight/head should not be beyond the inside part of the front foot. When you work with young hitters, you’ll see all kinds of variations (many not good) with regards to stances and the swinging process. Some lift the front shoulder and lean too far back before striding or during the swing. Some stride and get their weight ahead of their front foot when they swing. Some swing and lean/fall over the plate. Some swing and lean/fall away from the plate. All of these are examples of hitters NOT staying within their stance. When a major leaguer swings, you’ll probably notice that most start and finish relaxed and completely balanced. So much so that the hitting process from start to finish almost looks effortless. This is because of their ability to “stay within their stance.” Doing so not only helps with overall balance but it also limits how much the head/eyes move during the hitting process. Too much head/eye movement and moving beyond your stance in any form usually leads to poor hitting performance.