Simple hitting tips, and drills to fix “Stepping in the bucket.”
To fix any stride related problems such as stepping in the bucket, you need a two-pronged strategy.
Firstly, kids will need to build confidence when hitting. The mind plays a crucial role in the “front foot stride.” Simply put, any doubt in a hitters mind reveals itself in the form of rushing the “front foot stride,” as a result, players “step in the bucket.”
Secondly, you’ll need to practice drills to reverse bad habits.
Why’s Stepping in the Bucket Bad for your Swing?
- Increases strikeouts, weak ground balls or “pop-ups.”
- Reduction of hitting power.
- Stepping away from the plate makes it difficult to reach an outside pitch.
- Reduces contact consistency.
- Triggers the number one hitting mistake; “pulling off the ball.”
REASONS PLAYER’S “STEP IN THE BUCKET”
- Fear of getting hit by the baseball.
- Bad batting practice habits, for example; trying to “pull every pitch for a home run” AKA; “overswinging.”
- Failure to see the ball.
- Lacking the confidence to hit an inside fastball
- Incorrect set up in the batting stance.
Open Batting Stance
Many players like to “open up” in their batting stance. When asked, why they do it? The typical response is a shoulder shrug.
Three reasons why players “open up” in their batting stance;
- Lacking the confidence to hit an inside fastball. FYI, opening up does not help this, it’s a “band-aid solution:” developing a compact swing path is the critical factor to hit an inside fastball.
- Fear of being hit by pitch.
- To see the ball better, for example; facing “submarine” pitchers.
The danger of opening up in your stance is the time it takes to get your “foot down,” more movement equals less margin for error. Secondly, the inconsistency of where your front foot lands, either “stepping in the bucket” or diving.” Draw a straight line in the batter’s box, toward the pitcher; and look down at your feet after every swing, 90% of the time you’ll see your front foot is either behind or in front of the line.
Your Mind And Your Stride
Hitting approach and visual techniques quickly fix stride related hitting problems.
- To fix mental issues which trigger, “stepping in the bucket” you can try the following technique, “close your mind and open your eyes.” To achieve this, focus on the pitcher’s release point and track the ball for as long as possible before committing to your swing.
- Your subconscious mind influences your batting stride. Doubt, fear, and thoughts of “pulling the ball,” triggers hitting mistakes such as; “stepping in the bucket.”
- Develop your hitting approach; one method is focusing on a hitting target. For example, aim to hit the ball over the second baseman’s head (for a right-handed hitter) or shortstop (for a left-handed hitter).
Too much batting practice (BP) can be detrimental to the front foot stride. During batting practice where the coach throws overhand to players tend to rush their swing and “over-swing.” Tee, side-toss and front-toss drills are recommended to fix “stepping in the bucket.”
- Batting stance drills.
- Hitting approach focused drills.
- Drills which minimize swing movement.
- Release point drills.
- Timing and rhythm drills.