Basic Method for Determining
 Batter’s Position
Basic Method for Determining Batter’s Position

Baseball: How to Determine the Optimal Distance from the Plate

Dick Moss, Editor

A common beginners' mistake is to stand either too close or too far from the plate in the batting stance.

Batters who stand too far from the plate have difficulty hitting an outside pitch. Too close a position makes inside pitches difficult. And many players stand too far back in the box  (away from the pitcher), which gives breaking balls extra time to break, making them more difficult to hit.

Most beginners use an arbitrary method for determining their position: they simply stand in the depressions left by previous batters. Unfortunately, this method ignores differences in limb and bat length.

Here are two quick methods for determining the optimal position in the batting box.

Basic Method
Players lay their bat on the ground with the end on the middle of the plate, at the point where the plate starts to angle inwards (see diagram).  They  place the toe of their front foot (the foot closest to the pitcher) on the spot where the bat handle ends.

This will place your beginners in a position to hit all pitches, but not so close to the plate that they'll be afraid of the ball.

Advanced Method for Determining
 Batter’s Position
Advanced Method for Determining Batter’s Position

Advanced Method
However, more experienced players can use a method that takes their individual limb length as well as bat size into account—even if it places them closer to the plate.

Bending slightly at the knee and gripping the bat with the lower hand,  players place the tip of the bat on the opposite side of the plate, right where it begins to angle inwards. The front leg should be even with the bat and adjusted so this bent-leg position can be comfortably assumed.

Be sure the legs are bent when your players use this method—straight legs will produce an incorrect batting position.

1. Dusty Baker, Jeff Mercer, Marv Bittinger, You Can Teach Hitting, Masters Press, 1993.
2. Coach Zee, How to Coach Baseball A Parent's Guide to Tips, Drills and Having Fun Playing Baseball [Kindle Edition], Dodzee, 2013.

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© 2013, Physical Education,

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