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How to Stay on Top of your Game: Better Balance Equals Maximum Performance

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Whether you play baseball or softball, in order to be on top of your game your feet need to be in balance. Feet are the foundation to creating better balance in your game whether you are hitting, fielding, running or pitching. Poor foot biomechanics can affect the five tools of baseball and softball. The foot is designed to be a mobile adapter upon contact with the ground and a ridged lever during propulsion. If your feet are not properly supported in your cleats this could be caused by poor foot biomechanics which will result in foot instability.

There are 26 bones in each foot, therefore close to half the bones in our body are found in the feet. So when the foot hits the ground everything changes from the ground up. Whatever skill set you are trying to improve, establishing a controlled weight transfer through your feet will help you achieve your goal. When your feet abnormally pronate, it will cause your arch to collapse towards the ground and flatten out. Feet become unstable during this process and therefore your lower half will become less stable and imbalanced. This can result in losing power and efficiency in the lower half of your body whether you are hitting, fielding, running or pitching. As a hitter, the more stable your feet are in the batter's box, the better balanced you become. When you're fielding a ground ball you need to transfer your weight, plant your feet and throw. As a pitcher, balance is extremely important for accuracy and velocity. Speed is also a very important part of the game and if your feet are not properly supported it could be the difference between being safe or out when stealing, running to 1st base, tracking down a grounder or catching a fly ball in the outfield.

Whether you are hitting for average or power, a balanced hitter should be on the balls of their feet. Their knees should be bent and their feet should be slightly wider than their shoulders. As the pitcher releases the ball, the hitter is simultaneously loading and striding during the loading phase of their hitting cycle in preparation to hit the ball and getting their foot on the ground for bat impact. It is extremely important that your feet are stable and balanced to be able to transfer your body weight and energy through the lower half of the body. Without being able to control your body motion you will find yourself imbalanced, leaning or falling forward or backward. By stabilizing the foot, it becomes maintained in its neutral position allowing for greater foot and leg stability which helps create a stiff front leg and allows your hips to rotate better when hitting. This could be one of the differences between driving the ball hard and softly grounding or flying out.

Fielding is a multi directional activity requiring your feet to quickly move forward, backward or side to side depending where the ball is hit. Standing flat footed instead of on the balls of your feet will slow down your reaction time to the ball. When your feet are supported properly, the balls of your feet will be on the ground and your weight will be evenly displaced. Being more balanced will help you get an edge. It will improve your ability have a stable lower half and better foot mechanics when fielding and throwing.

Foot balance is equally important when pitching; a foot that is searching for stability on the mound can throw off a pitcher's mechanics. In order to throw hard, whether the pitcher is a right or left hander, they must have all of their weight on the ball of the right or left foot, which will result in better positive outcomes.

The first step is the most important step you take either as a hitter coming out of the box or a fielder attempting to track a ball hit to your position. Unstable foot biomechanics will slow you down because the foot is not properly balanced. If you stabilize the foot with an arch support it will improve the player's ability to be more successful.

So, improve your success and outcomes by being better balanced in all phases of the game.

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