What is the role of the stride leg in the swing? Most players are taught to lock out the front leg. Others are taught to stay bent on the front side. So what should the front leg look like and why?
Lets take a look at what the stride leg does in an elite hitters.
Hitter 1: Max Muncy- Bent front leg at contact
Hitter 2: Matt Holliday- Slight bend, almost locked at contact
Hitter 3: Jose Reyes- Locked at contact
Which is correct?
The short answer is all are correct. Most hitters will be either locked out on their front leg or very close to it at contact. Some, like Max Muncy create tremendous power with a ton of bend.
The role of the stride leg
The stride leg is responsible for receiving energy from the stride, stabilizing and allowing the lower body to have a firm base to rotate from. The key is stabilization. If you go back and look and the previous videos, you will notice that as soon as the heel of the stride leg lands, there is no more forward movement from the front leg. The reason why most players get locked out on their front leg or very close it it is that this position is easier to stabilize from. The more bent stride leg is harder to stabilize, but can still be done. The biggest key is that the front leg does not move forward once the heel lands.
How to work on front leg stabilization
In order for the front leg to learn to stabilize, the most effective drill that I have used is the launch position separation drill. It teaches the hitter to land in the launch position, firm up and stabilize the front leg to begin rotation of the hips.