Any drill that presets a hitter’s stride is going to be detrimental to the hitter.
There’s the one-knee drill, the two-knee drill, the spread-out drill (where you spread out the hitters feet into the stride position) and host of other drills like them.
Here’s the problem with these drills:
Anytime we pre-set the lower half of a hitter, we’re always putting the hitter in the optimal lower position.
We then proceed to flip or lob balls to them and let them “swing away.”
Hitters tend to make better contact when their lower half is pre-set because we’ve put them to an optimal lower half position, so the rest of the body can’t help but flow better.
The point of these drills is to help the hitter make better contact.
So, what’s the problem?
The problem comes when a hitter returns to normal hitting and now must deliver his stride into the same optimal position we put him in during the drill. He rarely does. There’s placement issues, strength issues and timing issues.
If the stride they take in live hitting is even a few inches off from the pre-set stride position they used in the drills, it changes the entire swing. (All of this is not factoring in that the balls they hit in the pre-set stride drills were all lobbed by a coach and not a pitcher throwing to different pitches to different locations at different speeds.)
One inch is the difference between a line drive and a ground ball… or a ground ball and a strike out.
A player can get a false sense of success during these drills because they eliminate a very important part of reading, timing and responding to a pitch. Everything gets easier when we take out the hard parts.
Any time you are presetting the lower half of the stride in drills and then the hitter cannot get to that stride when he’s hitting live, that’s a drill that’s not helping a hitter in any way… it’s actually hurting the hitter.