The Proper Distance From Home Plate
Just what is the proper distance from home plate in the baseball batting stance?
If you watch much baseball you will see all kinds of batting stances. The batting stance will differ from batter to batter and so will the distance from home plate. Each hitter must find his unique, comfortable distance from home plate. Most hitters will accomplish this by trial and error. He/she will move around until he/she is comfortable. Well, the most comfortable place might not be the most effective. For example, if a batter is extremely close to home plate, the inside pitch could be too difficult to hit in fair territory. Or, if a batter is too far from home plate, it might be tough getting to the outside pitch.
Some hitters will stand really close to home plate challenging the pitcher to throw inside. I don't suggest doing that because most will have trouble keeping the baseball fair. However, if you can get the hands "inside" the baseball on a good fastball then stay close to home plate.
Determining the proper distance from home plate can be achieved with a batting tee.
I believe that understanding the proper distance from home plate is fundamental to hitting. Helping my students understand this is important to me. Many times during the first batting lesson a parent will ask me how far should their son or daughter stand from home plate. I will immediately get a batting tee to help determine the proper distance.
First, place the batting tee about 3-4 inches past the outside corner of home plate. I want the tee that far outside because most umpires in youth baseball will call strikes that far outside. Next, place a baseball on the tee and have the batter take a few swings. Proper plate coverage is what I am looking for now. Make sure the batter is able to get the sweet spot of the bat on a pitch that far outside without reaching too far to make contact. If contact is being made with the sweet spot of the bat you know the batter is not too far from the plate.
Next, place the tee about 3-4 inches past the inside corner because umpires will often call strikes that far inside. Now have the hitter take a few swings. Is the hitter making contact with the ball on the handle or on the "sweet spot" of the bat? If the baseball is hitting the "sweet spot" of the bat, then the hitter is in a good place. If not, move away from home plate a little or try getting the hands more "inside".
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