The Importance of Posture
When talking about the load and land during the swing, posture is extremely important to as it relates to the swing itself. A lot of times with players load and stride or load and land they tend to get off balance and it disrupts the course of the swing before it actually starts.
When we talk about posture with players, we try to remind them that when they land with the front foot, we want the shoulders to be stacked over the balls of the foot and close to parallel to the ground as opposed to having the shoulders out over the toes, or the front shoulder pointing down too far towards the ground, or up in the air. Having the shoulders over the balls of the feet allows the path of the bat to remain direct to the ball rather than working too far underneath and at a steep upwards plane to the ball.
If we land with poor posture and our shoulders are too far over the toes or the front shoulder pointing too far down or up, the natural reaction for the body is to get back close to parallel and upright. In order for our body to get back to the natural position, the first movement players make is to clear the front shoulder by pulling out. By pulling the front shoulder out as the first move, we do not allow our hands to work to the ball efficiently. Typically when this happens, we see hands drop to work too far under the ball as well as cast them away from the body and work around the ball.
Once a pitcher or pitching coach sees a player “break posture,” or “dive” towards the plate, that is their cue to start throwing the player on the inner half of the plate. Breaking posture makes it difficult to get their hands in position to hit the inside pitch.
When players land with proper posture, shoulders over the balls of the foot, upright and close to parallel, they allow their hands to work independent of their front shoulder creating a direct path to the ball. This direct path to the ball ensures that we can work our hands through the ball at contact rather than being at the mercy of the front shoulder and having the hands going too much to the pull-side of the field and around the ball.
A great drill to work on proper posture at the load and land is to load three times the proper way, taking time to make sure we have the shoulders in the perfect position. On the third load and land the player can swing, whether on a tee or front toss. When doing this it is important to have all three load and lands the same. A lot of times players revert back to the old tendencies of diving too much towards the ball on the third load when swinging. Slowing down and making sure to do the drill correctly is paramount. Quality over quantity, as always, is the most important part of training.