What do hitters like Miguel Cabrera & Nico Hoerner share in common?

Are you more of a ‘stand and start moving’ type of person, or do you tend to lean forward or backward when you’re on your feet? Well, it turns out that our body weight isn’t always distributed the same way on both of our feet.

For some athletes who rely more on their anterior muscle chain, their weight is pretty evenly spread out on both feet, like a perfect 50/50 split. It’s like they’re standing symmetrically.

But for those who rely more on their posterior muscle chain, it’s a bit different. More of their weight, about 55%, goes on one foot, leaving the other with the remaining 45%. So, it’s not as balanced. For example, there are people who prefer to put more weight on the left foot, while others, who belong to another motor family pattern favour the right foot.

Now, this lopsided weight distribution comes into play when you’re swinging a baseball bat.

For players like Cabrera and Hoerner who belong to the same motor family style, their rotation axis leans to the right.

Now, here’s the interesting part: Most hitting coaches advise players to distribute their weight equally between both feet. However, as we discussed earlier, there are players who have a natural inclination to favour more weight on either their right or left side due to their unique motor preferences.

Here are a couple of characteristics of this motor family:

  • The body’s alignment is a key factor, with a slight offset to the right in the axis. This alignment is crucial for proper skeletal positioning, which in turn enhances engagement and confidence during play. 
  • The movement begins with the elbow close to the body and ends with it extending far away, all while following a slightly offset rotation axis to the right. The key focus is on releasing the low mobile point, and the motion is initiated by dropping the shoulders, with both hips and shoulders rotating in tandem. During the swing, the right side of the body moves as one unit, with the hip, shoulder, and elbow all rotating together, while most of the body weight remains on the right leg. 
  • These players employ a plyometric strategy with the right foot and combine gross motor skills on the left side with fine motor skills on the right.
  • The left side of the body mainly provides support for maintaining balance during the swing. They need to drop the upper body, allowing for quick rotation of the knees and hips. 
  • It’s essential to focus on achieving the right balance and relaxation on the left side, particularly emphasizing the supination of the left leg and left foot. 

This is why players like Cabrera and Hoerner experience their back foot ‘slipping’ backwards. They generate a tremendous amount of power by initiating their swing from the right side, which results in such force that their back (right) foot moves away and backwards in response to this power. This is a natural occurrence for players in this motor family but does not happen with right-handed hitters from the other three motor families.

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