The Stride Right Training System

This training system is designed to help you find, adjust and groove the three major components of ground up hitting. By reading and following this guide, you will develop a deeper awareness of foundational footwork and the importance of building good habits from the ground up. 

  

The Three Major Components to Ground Up Hitting

  1. Your Plate Positioning

  2. Your Stance

  3. Your Stride 

They can influence the following: 

  • Reaction Time

  • Swing Path

  • Perceived Pitch Location

  • Pitch Recognition

  • How You See the Ball

  • Power

  • Contact

  • Ball Direction 

  • Momentum Generation

  • Head & Vision Movement

Step 1) Find Your Setup

To begin, determine whether you are what we consider a Beginning Hitter or an Advanced Hitter

  • Beginning Hitters are typically new to the game of hitting. Generally under the age of 9, still in coach pitch and still trying to understand the basics and make ball contact. The goal for a beginning hitter is to find their proper setup and then groove that setup into a habit.  

  • Advanced Hitters have been around the game for a few years. They know the basics of hitting and are ready to start making adjustments at the plate. Usually 9 and older. The advanced hitter should have a good understanding of their setup already, their goal is to adjust and then groove their setup  

Beginning Hitter Setup

For Beginning Hitters, your first goal is to find the right ground setup for you. 

One way to do this is to start with our recommended Beginning Hitter setup below, and then make individualized player adjustments based on height and body size. 

Plate Positioning

We recommend setting up in Row A, with the center of your feet on Line 4. From here, take a few dry swings and get a feel for you positioning. If your arms are long or you feel too close adjust to Row B. 

Stance

 

We recommend starting with a two column spaced stance, placing your front foot in Column 5, and your back foot in Column 2. You’ll want to feel balanced and comfortable. You may have to adjust your stance based on your height. The taller you are, the wider your stance will become.

Stride 

 

We recommend striding with your front foot from A5 to A6. This will keep your stance square and give you a balanced stride. 

Once you’ve found your proper ground setup, it’s time to groove it. Grooving it refers to the practice of repeating your plate positioning, your stance and your stride until it becomes a habit or muscle memory. There’s more information on How to Groove Your Swing here. 

Once you've grooved this setup, meaning, practiced it enough times for it to become a mental habit, you can move on to Advanced Hitter adjustments. 

Step 2) Adjust Your Setup

Advanced Hitter Adjustments

 

Once you’ve grooved your Beginning Hitter Setup, it’s time to practice some in-game adjustments. These adjustments will be relative to your current Beginning Hitter Setup. There are three main adjustments a player can make:

  1. Plate Positioning Adjustment

  2. Stance Adjustment

  3. Stride Adjustment

Plate Positioning Adjustments

Plate Positioning refers to where your feet are in relationship to home plate and it has a huge influence while at the plate. It affects your reaction time and will determine your success rate among different pitches. There are 4 main adjustments you can make with your plate positioning. 

  1. Back In the Box

  2. Up In the Box

  3. Back Off the Plate

  4. Up On the Plate

Back In the Box

Moving Back in the Box means you move towards the back of the batter's box, away from the pitching mound and towards the lower numbers. 

 

A batter would move Back in the Box for the following reasons: 

  • The batter is swinging late on pitches.

  • The pitcher is throwing faster than the batter is comfortable with.

  • The batter wants more reaction time.

Up In the Box

 

Moving Up in the Box means the batter moves towards the front of the batter's box, towards the pitching mound and towards the higher numbers.

 

A batter would move Up In the Box for the following reasons: 

  • The batter is swinging early on pitches.

  • The pitcher is throwing slower than the batter is used to.

  • If the batter wants to focus on keeping balls in fair territory.

  • If the batter plans on bunting.

Towards the Plate

Moving Towards the Plate means moving toward home plate and towards Row A. The closest one can move towards the plate is Row A, or the plate side batter's box line. 

 

A batter would move Towards the Plate for the following reasons:

  • The batter is having trouble with an outside pitch.

  • The batter enjoys hitting inside pitches.

Away From the Plate

Moving Away From the Plate means moving away from home plate, or away from Row A. 

 

A batter would move Towards the Plate for the following reasons:

  • The batter is having trouble with an inside pitch, or gets jammed easily.

  • The batter enjoys hitting outside pitches and extending their hands.

Stance Adjustments

 

Your Stance is how your feet are positioned in relation to each other. It will affect how a batter sees the ball, the bat path, batter balance, the direction of momentum and the power a batter generates.  

 

There are 5 main adjustments a batter can make to their stance. These can be made in isolation and some in combination with another. The 5 main adjustments are: 

  1. Wide Stance

  2. Narrow Stance

  3. Open Stance

  4. Square Stance

  5. Closed Stance

Wide Stance

 

A wide stance just means moving your 2 feet further apart.

Widening your stance provides more stability,

requires less stride and less body and head movement. 

A batter would move adjust to a wider stance for the following reasons: 

  • The batter finds them self unbalanced, falling forward or backward.

  • The batter is having trouble making contact with the ball.

Narrow Stance

A narrow stance just means moving your 2 feet closer together. 

A batter would adjust to a narrow stance for the following reasons:

  • The batter is not hitting for power.

  • The batter’s hands are getting tied up or jammed often.

Open Stance

 

An open stance means that the front foot is starting further away from

home plate than the front foot. 

A batter would adjust to an open stance for the following reasons:

  • The batter is having trouble seeing the ball or picking up off speed pitches.

    • This could be an indication that the batter is ‘back-eye’ dominant. 

  • The batter is having trouble pulling the ball.

Square Stance

 

A square stance means that the front and back feet are in the same column. 

A batter would adjust to square stance for the following reasons:

  • The batter likes to hit to all fields.

  • The batter is looking for minimum movement and a smooth simple swing. 

Closed Stance

 

A closed stance means that the front foot is starting closer to home plate than the back foot.

A batter would adjust to a closed stance for the following reasons:

  • The batter is having trouble hitting to the opposite field.

  • The batter is having trouble with power.

    • Some players can increase rotational power by starting in a close stance. 

Stride Adjustments

 

Your stride is how you create momentum from your back foot to your front foot and triggers the start of your swing. Stride is important for influencing how hard you swing at the ball which controls power and ball contact. 

 

Typically, a bigger stride will create more momentum and power in your swing, but leads to more body movement and more room for error which can decrease ball contact. 

 

A smaller stride will create less momentum and power, but also allow for less body movement and less room for error resulting in more ball contact.  

 

There are 5 main adjustments a batter can make to their stride. These can be made in isolation and some in combination with another. The 5 main adjustments are: 

  1. No Stride or Heel Pick

  2. Half Stride

  3. Full Stride

  4. Toe Tap

  5. Leg Lift

No Stride or a Heel Pick 

 

No stride or a heel pick refers to not picking up the toes on the front foot. 

A batter would adjust to a heel pick if: 

  • The batter is having trouble making contact with the ball.

  • The batter is having trouble with off speed pitches.

  • Some batters use a heel pick during 2-strike hitting to increase the odds of making ball contact.

Half Stride

 

While stride length is different for every player,

a half stride is typically striding around half a column, or 3 inches.   

A batter would adjust to a half stride if: 

  • The batter wants more contact (and less power) than a Full Stride.

  • The batter also wants more power than a Heel Pick.

Full Stride

Again, while stride length will be different for each individual player,

we recommend a full stride to be one full row, or 6 inches. 

 

A batter would adjust to Full Stride if: 

  • The batter is looking for a happy medium between balance, power and contact. 

Toe Tap

Toe Tapping refers to the batter tapping their front foot a row behind

their setup position and then striding. 

 

A batter would adjust to a Toe Tap if:

  • The batter is looking to create more power 

  • The batter can still remain comfortably in control with the added complex movement

Leg Lift

A Leg Lift means shifting your weight to your back foot, raising your

front knee to a 90 degree angle and then striding. 

 

A batter would adjust to a Leg Lift if:

  • The batter is looking to create even more power than a Toe Tap.

  • The batter can still remain comfortably in control with the complex movement. 

Step 3) Groove Your Swing

 

Grooving Your Swing means essentially means practicing your plate positioning, stance, stride and swing enough times for it to become a consistent habit and be ingrained in your muscle memory. 

 

There are many ways to groove your swing. We detail a few drills that can help you to repeat and master your swing from the ground up. Essentially, it all comes down to repetition. The more practice, the more repetition you can get with each ground game combination, the better baseball or softball hitter you will become. 

 

For these practice exercises, we recommend having a parent, player or coach watch you setup and stride. The observer should be able to communicate to the batter on whether or not they are setting up and striding on the right coordinates.

 

Alternatively, we’ve had customers set up an iPhone cam to get video feedback for proper setup and stride. This can be a great way for a player to internalize and improve their foundational groundwork. A cheap snake-style phone holder usually works.   

Practice Exercises

  • Dry Loads (2-15x): Walk to the plate and lineup with your right plate positioning and stance. Then practice your right stride. You should be balanced and on the balls of your feet. Look down at your feet to get comfortable as your do it. This should become a natural feeling and you should be able to position your feet in the proper coordinates. 

  • Dry Swings (2-15x): Continue working on your plate positioning, stance and stride, but now add a full swing as if you were hitting a baseball. Make sure your plate positioning, stance and stride start and finish in the proper coordinates. 

  • Tee Work (2-15x): Setup with your plate positioning, stance and stride in front of a tee. Go ahead and take some swings. Try setting up for Away Pitches (outside yellow line), Down the Middle Pitches (center red line) and Inside Pitches (inside yellow line). Your goal is to hit the ball in the direction of the pitch. 

  • Outside Pitch = Push the Hit to the Outside Field​
  • Inside Pitch = Pull the Hit to the Inside Field

  • Middle Pitch = Hit Up the Middle of the Field

  • Front or Side Toss (2-15x): Have someone flip you the ball from either behind an L-Screen (Front Toss) or by standing off to the side (Side Toss). Work on trying to hit different pitch locations and follow the momentum chart above. 

  • Live Batting Practice (5-50x): Have someone throw to you live. Work on your setup and stride. Remember to look at your feet before and after to get proper visual feedback. You should try to maintain the same ground work as when you did your Dry Swings. 

 

And most importantly, have fun! Hitting can be exciting, engaging and even therapeutic. Remember to celebrate small successes and improvements. Making it to the bigs doesn’t happen overnight, it happens through fine tuned adjustments and reinforced habits. 

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