Often times you will hear the phrase “stay back” yelled out at a hitter. Two areas need to be examined when dealing with the term "stay back." First, what is happening that would cause the coach to say “stay back”? And secondly what needs to happen in order to “stay back”?
Because the phrase “stay back” is so ambiguous let me give you two key reference points when dealing with staying back. The first is the upper torso and the second are the feet. During the loading phase, the hitter will have his upper torso closer in line with the middle of his feet. And at contact the upper torso will be closer in line with the front foot. However, this (contact) is the critical point that we are dealing with. At no point during the swing does the hitter want his upper torso (shoulders and chest) to go in front of (or over) the front foot. When the upper torso does go over the front foot, this is commonly referred to as “lunging at the ball”. Lunging at the ball will negatively affect a hitter’s power.
The feet should be positioned slightly outside of the shoulders during the swing. Now how a hitter starts in his stance is based on preference and comfort but during the contact phase of the swing the feet need to be slightly outside of the shoulders to provide a strong base while allowing for a weight shift.
Ok, now we know what needs to stay back and when, how do we fix the problem? First when hitting you still want to maintain a good weight transfer from an athletic position forward. The throwing motion is a good example of how the weight shifts. While the arm goes back to prepare to throw the weight shifts slightly back and then when the throw is made the weight has shifted up against but not over the front side. Hitting is very similar in the weight transfer. The weight will be slightly back during the loading phase and then it moves forward up into the front side (front foot) during the swing. Remember, the upper torso should not go over the front foot.
By working on keeping the upper torso from going over the front foot (“staying back”) you will have better balance during your swing. Another great benefit of staying back is that you will be in better position to extend your arms through your swing which will add to your consistency as well as power.
Now all that is left to do is for you to go out and practice these two key reference points and you will be able to improve your game or coaching today! If you need further explanations you can visit Brandon Smith at www.ebaseballtips.com