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Tulo after step.jpg

One of the big misconceptions taught to young hitters is that in order to see the ball well and increase power--the hitter must cut his stride down significantly. I have ran into many lately who have taken the stride all the way out of the swing. This teaching is handicapping the power and timing of many youngsters today.

As always, the key is to keep the stride in control. Most hitters use a slow front-knee tuck to transfer their weight against their back side and create linear energy at the beginning of the loading phase. This is not much different than the beginning of the throwing motion. This knee-tuck also coils the front side just enough to create rotational energy.

All this energy does no good, if we aren't able to release it into the baseball. The stride is a big part of this process. It is the first positive movement toward the ball. The big key is that there is significant weight against the front side when the front foot touches, AND that the upper body has remained back--creating separation.

Tulowitski is a great example of what I try to teach my guys to think as they stride, which is "Step to hit!". Granted, Tulowitzki (above) is a freak athlete and gets away with some more exaggerated movements than I teach youngsters, but it is also why he is so good. It keeps him aggressive and ready to hit if the ball is in his happy zone. Too many youngsters don't get their bodies ready to hit with (controlled) movement early enough and then have to try to catch up to the pitch.