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Thursday, April 8, 2010

Teaching Young Batters to Use the No-Stride Technique For a Good Baseball Swing

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Teaching Young Batters to Use the No-Stride Technique For a Good Baseball Swing
By Nick Dixon

If you watched the College World Series on ESPN SPORTS TV last June, I am sure that you saw, as I did, player after player, use the no-stride technique. The abundance of players using the "No-Stride" technique at the College World Series in Omaha shows how many baseball coaches today teach the "wider stance and no stride approach" to hitting. Here I cover the basics of teaching and coaching the "No-Stride" hitting method.

The "No-stride" technique is simply the process of swinging the baseball bat without taking a big step or stride forward during the swing. The front foot is the stride foot. The back foot is called the pivot foot. The "No-stride" technique allows the batter to swing and keep the head still, the weight back, and the eyes on the ball.

When using the "No-Stride" approach, the batting stance should be wide enough to insure a solid base and wide enough so that the batter can use a "soft or short" stride technique. It is best that the batter simply lifts the front foot up less than an inch and puts in back down in the same place. There is little or no movement forward by the front foot.

A wider base and shorter stride allow the batter to keep the head still and prevents the head from dropping during the swing. When a batter assumes a narrow stance with the feet close together, the batter must take a long stride during the swing. This long stride causes the head and eyes to "fall or drop" during the swing. This is the reason that many coaches teach the no stride technique. Of course, another reason is the fact that when a batters uses a "close stance" and "long stride approach" they often cannot hit the fastball velocity of many pitchers in the game today.

The optimum width of the feet would be slightly wider than shoulder width. The weight should be on the "balls" of the feet and off the heels. The front foot or stride foot should be "placed softly as if it is on a carton of eggs". This softness allows the foot to be lifted and placed back down easily. The back foot or pivot foot is also important during the swing. The back foot should not "move or leak forward" but should turn up "shoe laces to pitcher" when the front foot settles into place during the swing.

COACHING POINT: I recommended an "even toed" stance meaning that the toes of each foot are even when the stance is assumed. A closed stance is one with the back foot farther away from the plate than the front foot. An open stance is one with the front foot farther away from the plate than the back foot.

COACHING POINT: You may actually use a simple demonstration to illustrate how a long stride causes the head to drop and the eyes to move. Have a batter assume a narrow stance. As you face the batter, hold your hand palm down exactly even with the eyes. Have the batter take a long stride while you hold your hand perfectly still at the level where the eyes were when the stride began. A long stride will cause the head to drop and the eyes to drop also. This movement of the head and eyes makes it more difficult for the batter to "see and hit" the ball as it travels through the strike zone.

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Nick Dixon is the President and founder of Nedco Sports, a sports training company established in 1999. Dixon is also an active and full time high school baseball coach with over 25 years experience. Coach Dixon is better known as the inventor of the BatAction Hitting Machine, the SKLZ Derek Jeter Hurricane Hitting Machine, the SKLZ Target Trainer, the SKLZ Derek Jeter ZipnHit Pro, and the SKLZ Strikeback Trainer. Dixon is also a contributing writer for BaseballCoachingDigest, the Youth Baseball Digest, the Baseball Parent Guide, the Baseball 2Day Coaches Journal, and Blog4Coaches.

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Hello Baseball Friend,
I welcome any comments or suggestions. If you have a question or a topic that you would like to read about, please leave a comment and I will try to address that topic as soon as I can. Good luck in the coming season!
Have a great day, Nick