An athlete’s posture is crucial in order to maximize their performance on the field or at the plate. Why? You are only as strong and powerful as your posture allows you to be. Even small deviations in proper posture can have massive effects on your strength and power output. In terms of hitting our posture is something that I don’t think is addressed enough.
With all the different hitting philosophies out there I rarely, if ever, hear a coach or instructor discuss posture, how the adjustments they are asking a player to make will impact that posture, and what the overall impact of the posture changes will have on performance. Make no mistake, it’s almost impossible to make even minor adjustments to a hitter’s swing without somehow impacting that player’s posture either positively or negatively. “Hands inside” hitting or “getting on plane early” for example drastically impacts a player’s bat path which has a detrimental effect on player’s posture at the point of contact. Their posture at contact determines whether or not that player is able to maximize their power potential. Which is a big reason why I have a major issue with the “everybody’s different” mentality in baseball. Sure there are players who are able to have less than optimal posture and still have what we in the baseball community would define as success. This is usually due to that player’s size and strength which would allow them to compensate for less than optimal posture at contact. However they are still a far cry from maximizing their potential. So while everybody might be different there is really only one way to execute a swing so that the player will be in their optimal posture at contact allowing them to maximize their performance.
In addition posture in the stance goes a long way in allowing a hitter to repeat proper mechanics easily. Again this is something I believe isn’t paid enough attention to. Hitters are often taught to stand in a way that is comfortable or in ways that will compensate for some other flaw later in the swing. Yet comfort or compensation might not be optimal in terms of setting up a stance that is going to allow the successful repetition of proper mechanics. Since we know that hitting success is created by the consistent execution of proper mechanics on hittable pitches then it only makes sense to set the stance up in such a way that allows this to happen effortlessly and consistently. A hitter’s posture in their stance determines if the mechanics will be executed easily or if the player’s body will have to fight itself in order to get into the optimal position at contact.
On a deeper level muscle imbalances and poor overall posture (from sitting in front of the tv or computer all day for example) such as anterior pelvic tilt or forward head carriage have a huge impact on overall body function. As a result of diminished function of the body the hitter will of course experience less than optimal results at the plate. For this very reason joint mobility as well as body strength and power go hand in hand when we’re talking about maximizing hitting performance.
I can’t stress enough how important posture is. Since you can only perform at the level your posture allows you to it’s important that you understand how the steps you are taking to improve as a player will impact your posture. Whether we’re talking about adjustments to a swing (such as hand position or weight distribution) or the exercise protocols you’re engaged in it will all have an impact on your posture either positively or negatively. Make sure you’re setting yourself up to maximize your potential by making sure your posture is sound in your stance and at the point of contact.