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Whether it involves a bat wiggle, a funky squat or other unique mannerisms, batting stances are often as individual as the batter. Starting lineups in baseball often have 9 different batting stances amongst them, but there are just 3 basic terms that describe practically any of them: the open stance, the square stance and the closed stance. Each of these stances has benefits and drawbacks, and odds are one of them best fits your hitting style.
An open batting stance places the front foot of a batter further from the plate than the back foot, “opening” your chest to the pitcher. An open stance turns your eyes more in the pitcher’s direction, allowing you to track the ball better with both eyes. In order to hit the ball, a batter in an open stance must get his feet square to drive the bat through the ball using the legs. Open-stace batters to step toward home plate with their front feet during a swing, which is a good correction for the power-reducing midswing step “in the bucket,” or away from the plate. This closeness to the plate enables them to pull the ball, reach over the plate and claim the outside corner, but low or inside pitches can handcuff an open-stance swing and render it ineffective.
A square stance sees a hitter stand with both feet an equal distance from the plate. It is the most balanced stance and is also the stance beginners most frequently use, as it allows easy vision of the pitcher with both eyes. A good swing requires that the hitter’s chest be square to the plate at contact, and this type of stance virtually guarantees it. A batter should stride directly toward the pitcher in a square stance, and this straightforward motion allows the batter to reach pitches on almost any part of the plate. A square batting stance has no real disadvantages, but no outstanding advantages either.
A closed batting stance is an advanced position aimed at hitting the ball to the opposite field with power. In a closed batting stance, the front foot is placed much closer to the plate than the back foot. This can make seeing the pitcher more difficult, as the head is naturally turned away. A closed batting stance is excellent for getting to pitches away, but is notoriously problematic against inside pitches as the distance to the square contact position is much greater.
The batting stance you choose could have a tremendous impact on your performance at the plate. Although square stances are the most common, the best stance for you to use depends on your personal hitting style and mechanics. The right stance puts you in the best position to get results with every swing.