What the Best Pitchers and Hitters Have in Common

Baseball is constantly a battle between the batter and the pitcher. The pitcher is trying to do everything he can to keep hitters off base and the hitter is trying to do everything he can to get on base. Even though the pitcher and batter are trying to do two different things, they both do similar things mechanically.

So, what do elite pitchers and hitters do to maximize power, efficiency, and performance? I am going to go over three points that I believe the great ones do that we can learn from and apply.

Load on Back Hip

Take a look at Jose Bautista in the video below:

You'll notice the first thing he does with his load that is unconventional is he lifts his leg up almost like a pitcher does. Not only does Bautista lift his leg up, but he also takes his front knee at an angle toward his back hip. What this does is it allows him to start coiling up all of his energy and begin to engage his core. 

Take a look at what Danny Salazar does below:

The first thing you'll notice is the lower body is basically identical to Bautista, except it is a little bit bigger movement due to Bautista not having as much freedom of time when it comes to being ready. Salazar does a great job of taking that front knee towards that back hip creating the build up of energy to get ready to transfer to the next phase. 

Elite Hip to Shoulder Separation 

Hip/Shoulder separation is a popular term thrown around that I want to make sure we understand first. To keep it simple, hip to shoulder separation is the ability to separate your hips from your shoulders. In other words, as you begin to rotate your hips open, you maintain your closed position of the shoulders. What this does is creates a stretch throughout your midsection which allows for the rubber band affect. Once you reach that point of hips open, shoulders closed it's like pulling a rubber band and then letting it go on one end. The greater the stretch, or greater the pull of the rubber band, the faster and more explosive it will uncoil. 

Josh Donaldson talking about the rubber band affect (Fast forward to 3:40):

Josh Donaldson side view up hip to shoulder separation:

Donaldson side.gif

Josh Donaldson front view of hip to shoulder separation:

What does this look like from a pitcher's perspective? Take a look at Sandy Koufax in the gif below to see his hip to shoulder separation.

Lead Leg Blocking

Lead leg blocking is what allows you to stabilize your body after foot strike. For a hitter, lead leg blocking stops you from lunging forward as you go to swing. For a pitcher, lead leg blocking allows you to "catapult" your body over your front side to finish the pitch. Both for hitters and pitchers, lead leg blocking allows you to stabilize your body as well as maximize your power. Take a look at some hitters and pitchers demonstrating this.

Mike Trout

Kris Bryant

Aroldis Chapman

Jake Arrieta

In Conclusion

There are many factors other than these three things that go into maxing out your performance in the batters box and on the mound. These are three standout points that should be a starting point for you to start going in the right direction. 

Work on these movements and see how it goes. If you have any questions you can email me at info@gaynorstrength-pitching.com

- Jared