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Out of curiosity does anyone support/teach a closed stance? Growing up I had a closed stance due to the fact that my all time favorite player was Will "The Thrill" Clark. By the time I got to college I opened my stance up to see the ball better. I support an open stance 100% but I never change my hitters stance unless it is completely necessary. Are there hitters out there having success with a closed stance or is this a lost art?

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Yea, Iam an advocate of an open stance as well. I think the main thing is that a hitter needs to feel comfortable at the plate, but I agree, most hitters now a days have an open stance, both to see the ball better and to be able to get the hips incorperated into the swing. Is it a lost art? Well the only reason why any one ever had a closed stance was to stay inside the ball and avoid "opening up" too soon. You have to be consistant at this anyway.

When I think of players with closed stances now a days I think of players in the 80's and early 90's! Will Clark had an amazing swing by the way!

Hi Nate,

I like to teach a hitter who is new to the game to be square. This gives you the best chance to clear your hips and get them through the hitting zone, creating bat speed and power.
Unless a kid is really bailing out, I will not change from a square set up.
Feel free to read my blog about hitting HERE.

Thanks
Mike "The HitMan" Easler

Question: Wouldn't starting in an open stance and landing to an open position give a better chance to clear the hips? It would only be logical to think square or closed stance you have to make an additional move to open your hips, but with an open stance you would stride slightly towards the plate with your open foot and hips...but let's not bring in torque and the front shoulder. That's a game changer, or is it?

I agree with you in part with a new player to the game in that they should have a starting point. Once they learn to hit, have good mechanics, then they can experiment with what they like and feel comfortable with and lord knows their stance will change multiple times throughout their career.

I only teach a closed stance when all else fails, or when it is a natural stance...that works... for a student. I've tried open, neutral and closed for myself. I seem to do better with a slightly (2-3") closed stance, but that's because I know I have to always guard against flying open and this keeps me stepping to "neutral."

I saw the ball better in an open stance, but it just didn't feel natural to me, even after 1000 swings or so. When I teach, we start at neutral and go from there.
It's funny because you see more fastpitch softball players hitting with a closed stance then vice versus when it comes to baseball hitters. I'm assuming that has something to do with the angle the ball is coming in at. All the female athletes I work with I've always recommended an even/neutral stance.

Thoughts?
Hey Nate,

I teach the same...neutral stance to start... unless the girl (or boy) is successful with a different stance, then we build on that. As for a lot of female fastpitch players having a closed stance... hmmmm...actually haven't seen that in my experience, either when I was playing fastpitch or as an instructor. I see mostly even, neutral stances... very rarely open. As a baseball player and instructor, I see a wide mix. In my opinion, I don't think it's the angle of the ball that makes female fastpitch players stay in a neutral or (perhaps) sometimes closed stance, but rather the lack of time available to react to a pitch. As you may know, a 64 mph fastpitch ball only gives .3 seconds reaction time, so there's not a lot of time to go from open to neutral. I'd be interested to hear other viewpoints.
Interesting. There is atleast a 65/35 ratio from an open stance to a neutral stance in the show and probably more in college. Anyway a hitters stance is least important part of their swing hence the reason there are so many different versions.
Agreed that the stance is way less important than the actual swing. Look at Youkilis or even Werth (with his low hands). Definitely non-standard stances, eh?... but once they get into the load position, pretty much all MLB hitters look the same (or close) -- except guys like Ichiro. Interestingly, if you look at video and stills of the best fastpitch hitters (excluding slappers), their load and swings are almost identical to MLB swings... slight difference in the swing plane and a shorter path to the ball sometimes, but otherwise, pretty darned close!

Reminds me of a line from My Cousin Vinny, slightly altered..."almost IDENTICAL"!

I certainly agree the technique of a fat pitch and baseball swing are similar and even more than just slightly similar...minus slappers. Reaction times are about the same in fastpitch as in baseball from a higher level perspective. Both swings and maybe it is time we stop referring to them differently, require either being really short to the ball or starting your pre-swing movements earlier in order to compensate for a little longer swing or slower stride...interesting.

Low hands, hitches, open-closed-neutral, etc are just players style and they differ form player to player and sometimes year to year for the same player.

Often we try to affix what is right or wrong. But the art of baseball is that everyone is different and difference makes each player someone hero. Stats can help narrow down the most common path. Majority of the best hitters with a few seasons with averages over .320 usually had a parallel stance (square stance). Yet if you look back at these guys they from time to time made small adjustments, to slightly open or slightly close their stance. Since few really addressed this back then i may be simple to assume adjust to what is making you feel comfortable. Just don't over adjust. Baseball is a game of small adjustments whether at the plate, on the mound or playing the field.

Further note: Those who others who started with either an open or closed stance would align themselves more parallel once their bodies went into motion. If it works for you, meaning your hitting well, don't let anyone less with it. It's funny how many cocky coaches, parents or players will see something they don't agree with, even though performance is there, to only try and undue the uniqueness. If you have a unique aspect that works, keep it!

That's my thoughts

Coach Scott
To me it doesn't matter if the player use an open stance or a closed stance as long as he sees ball and make good contact with it then don't matter unless the batter has flaws on his or her swing
There is a lot more that matters to a swing than just seeing and making good contact with the ball. Sound fundamentals are way more important. Our jobs as coaches are to make sure players are not going strictly off results and focusing on the fundamentals of their swing. Especially at a young age. I hear and see too many parents and coaches pushing bad habits for the mere cause of a specific result. As a player grows in their baseball experience bad fundamentals will stick out like a sore thumb and be exploited.

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