Coach Cassidy from the Virginia Baseball Club and the lead hitting instructor. I am going to you about step two of hitting which is called stride load. Basically, were already in our good stance, were comfortable, up at the plate. Now, stride load is all it is, is of slight movement back and a step forward before the ball is ever thrown. So many guys that I see come through, wait to see the pitch and they step at the ball. We dont want to do that anymore.
We want to move when the pitcher gets to about right here and shows us the ball. When he gets there, were going to take a slow movement back, my hands move back and I stride forward. Its a very, very simple movement; the key is to get that front foot down before the ball is ever pitched. If you do that, youre going to see the ball a lot longer, youre going to be able to pick up off speed pitches and your time is going to be right on fast balls. So, I am in my good stance, weight goes back to about 60-40. My upper body is still centered with the rest of my body, and I am taking a small, short, straight step right back at the pitcher. Now, theres five different strides we can do with our front foot. One stride, you see a lot with younger guys, you get real wide, its called a no stride. All youre going to do is rock back. Stride number two, another very common one is the early stride. Were just going to take a small step straight at the pitcher. Now, in all five of these that I talk about I am going to be landing in the same spot no matter where I start from. Early stride is something you see Albert Pujols doing. Boom! Right there, nice and soft, real slow. Third one; toe tap. You might see Sammy Sosa doing this. Small movement back, small movement forward still in the same loaded position.
Number three; A-Rod, Alfonso Serrano, big leg lift that theyre going to land in the same exact position. Last one you dont see too much. Jeff Bagwell used to do this. Were going to get real wide and were actually just going to reverse stride; small step back. In all five of those, the most important thing is that they were slow, they were soft and we landed in the same spot every single time. Last thing on the load and stride, when my bat goes back, when my hands move back, that bat is going to get right behind my head. If it goes too far, if I can see it out of the corner of my eye, Ive gone too far, but I dont want to have the bat straight up and down, right behind my back. The reason we move bat - for momentum. If I am a boxer and I'm going to knock someone out and I am going to hit him like this, I am going to move back and then forward, same concept with hitting.