When should I begin my stride? Or, 'My kid is swinging late?'
Most youth players wait until the ball is halfway to the plate before they start their stride.
By then, it's too late to hit the ball properly.
Your front toe must be down when the ball is roughly halfway to the plate.
My kid is 'swinging late'. The instructor told him to remove his stride.
Being late is obviously a timing issue
, not a swing issue.
Kids are waiting until they have decided the ball is a strike before they start moving forward.
This causes kids to miss the ball, and then start changing their swing.
This is the point when most coaching/ instructing goes awry.
They start by eliminating the stride, or using destuctive cues like "take the hands to the ball", "swing harder/faster", etc.
Many hitting aids (like "quick swing" products) are needlessly purchased during this phase.
However, most instructors try to fix "being late" by elminating the stride, which not only ruins the player's timing,
but has the added benefit of ruining their 'natural' swing.
Of course, eliminating the stride does actually 'fix' the 'being late' issue. The coach gets instant results.
But the player gets a lifetime of weak-hitting mediocrity and a fatal flaw in their swing that must be corrected before they reach high school.
When does my front foot need to be down?
Generally, your front foot must be down when the ball is halfway to the plate.
The ball takes roughly 0.400 seconds to reach the plate, and the swing takes roughly 0.200 seconds to complete.
Pitch time average is .424 in MLB (90 mph) and travels less than 53 feet from a 60.5 foot mound
- 5 frame swing (most common) takes 0.167 seconds (roughly 21 feet away from the plate)
- 7 frame takes 0.233 seconds (roughly 29 feet away)
Pitch time average is .478 in 12U baseball (60 mph) and travels 40 feet from a 46 foot mound
- 5 frame swing (rare?) takes 0.167 seconds (roughly 14 feet away from the plate)
- 7 frame takes 0.233 seconds (roughly 19 feet away)
Do not eliminate the stride to fix 'Being Late'
The fix for 'being late' is to begin the stride (or coil/weight shift) for every pitch, not just for strikes.
So, correct their timing (the real problem) instead of 'fixing' their swing.
Begin by starting your move forward when the pitcher (or pitching machine) releases the ball, and adjust from there - either faster or slower.
Drills to correct 'being late'
Try this when pitching behind an "L" screen... throw a few balls, then randomly don't let go of the ball.
See if they begin their stride for every pitch (they should).