Is proper baseball technique necessary to be a successful ballplayer? Is baseball technique the same as baseball form or style? Can it be taught or learned? Let’s face it, there is a lot of advice going around the baseball world these days. Various advice and instruction can be found at all levels of baseball, from little league and youth baseball, through travel ball and high school baseball, and beyond. Although some of the more technical advice tends to taper down as players progress and become comfortable with their style and technique, there is still a lot of it our there and readily available from any coach, parent or self-proclaimed expert, all whom are more than happy to talk baseball and provide pointers and tips, some of which may be good, and others which may not be good! Of course, this advice ranges to all aspects and parts of the great game, and includes, but is certainly not limited to, advice on batting stance, form, type of swing, either rotational or linear or a combination of the two, pitching, fielding, strategy, and pretty much anything else that has to do with any part of the game. There is even a great deal of advice on choosing bats, training aids, equipment, and more.
Of course, while some advice is purely based on opinion or something that has worked for someone else, much of it is also based on scientific fact, studies, analysis and research. And unfortunately, even some of the advice based on research and analysis that doesn’t fit in with some coaching philosophy or point of view, is looked at with blinders on…basically as not possible or correct because it goes against some of the methods we were taught when we were younger. Over at www.efastball.com - another great instructional website, there is a fabulous discussion link on baseball technique. The author, who has given me permission to link to their site and use some of their material, states “to combat hitting and pitching myths, follow the Hanson Principle (named after Mark Hanson) which is, look at what players do on video, not what they say they do, and look at what they do in a game”. In today’s day and age, with all the ridiculous modern technology, slow motion, super-duper slow speed, frame by frame video analysis available, this advice could not be any truer.
Photos by Christine Beck, chrissybeckphotography, Chesapeake, VA
Of course, baseball technique should not be confused with form, or style. Michael Yessis of the American Running Association published a great article called “The difference between 'style' and proper technique” on www.active.com, and while it deals primarily with jogging, the gist of the article, and the primary points he makes, can certainly be applied to baseball, and likely any other sport you could think of. In the article, Yessis states “while everyone has his or her own style (form), there are basic elements that everyone must have for the most effective running technique. Only then can you have the correct techniques which ensure safe and productive running. How these basic elements are executed can still be an individual matter (http://www.active.com/articles/the-difference-between-style-and-proper-technique). The proper correlation to make here is in baseball, from a ballplayer’s point of view, his style, or form, will certainly be different from other players, but when it is all said and done, execution of proper baseball technique is the cornerstone for good fundamentals and is certainly the primary contributing factor for success. There are some definite examples of this. Look around baseball at any level and you will see an infinite number of batting stances and styles. Now snap a picture at contact and you will see baseball technique 101, the proper technique necessary to hit a baseball with authority, including firm front side, palm up and palm down at contact, head down, bent top arm and excellent balance, to name a few. Again, efastball.com states that “anyone can learn the correct swing technique, and with the natural swing being just perfect technique, anyone can teach it also”.
The same holds true for pitching. While windups may differ, and stride lengths differ, to name a few, at execution, all successful pitchers have similar technique in that they explode, that is, accelerate towards the plate, and they all get the proper hip and shoulder separation. And of course, not to leave out the ever important catcher, when you watch catchers across all levels of baseball, you will notice various styles of position, both primary and secondary, with some being slightly lower than others, some being slightly wider, etc, and you will also see various techniques for throwing, including jab step, pivot, and replace So while the form for each may be different on a catcher to catcher bases, the techniques are generally the same, and conducting the proper technique is what leads to success.
As we stated back on the home page for this baseball site, we are here to provide information that can be used to help you, as a ball player or coach, improve in all aspects. While we clearly stated that our methods are merely that – just methods – and they are not the only way to do things, we recommend you put them to good use and see if they work for you. Be open minded. Don’t give up on something if it doesn’t work for you right away. Stay with it. You will improve!Baseball › Baseball Technique
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