Thursday, March 22, 2012

It All Starts From the Ground Up!..... Feet First

Being Balanced Will Bring Out Your Natural Ability

It is baseball season, so hit the ground running and let the games begin.

Feet First

The feet are the first thing that hits the ground and without balanced feet a player’s mechanics can be affected. Standing flat footed at the plate and swinging off balance can lead to frustration and not actualizing your full potential. The player's timing is off because his lower half is not properly balanced and the balls of their feet are not on the ground. Having a balanced lower half will allow the hitter to become more fluid, confident and their rhythm as well as timing will be better. As kids continue to develop the good habits they learn through good coaching early on their success will be parallel. As they get older and continue to pursue their dreams the little things to improve will be easier. Having a fundamentally strong foundation is the first step. Even though all hitters go into slumps, they come out of them because they go back to basics working with hitting coaches who can break them down and then build them back up to give them more confidence. Hitting coach’s work on developing muscle memory and mechanical triggers in player’s and when their lower half is balanced all the triggers and muscle memory work in sync.

There are those who will say that plate discipline makes a better hitter. Warren Spahn the hall of fame pitcher once said that “it is all about timing and a good pitcher will try and disrupt that timing.” Ted Williams states in his book, The Science of Hitting, three rules to be a better hitter “get a good ball to hit”, “proper thinking” at the plate, “quickness with the bat” when the ball is picked up the last third of its flight toward the hitter. Hitters should also “know their happy zone”. If you complement that with keeping your hands inside the ball, the balls of the feet on the ground and a balanced lower half. Hitters will have a great deal of success at any level.

Overuse Injuries

As a pitcher it is the legs that drive the power and the feet drive the legs. If the pitcher’s feet are not balanced and they are not able to reach a balance point on the mound, the drive off the mound will be less powerful and that can affect the release point, elbow or shoulder. If the player’s bio-mechanics are not corrected early in his carrier it can translate into repetitive overuse injuries and lead to arm, elbow or shoulder injuries somewhere down the line.

I believe that most pitching injuries are due to repetitive overuse of one particular motion over a prolonged period of time. It probably starts as early as little league because of poor mechanics. Players at a young age usually play multiple positions and can develop poor mechanics and bad habits if they are not careful. If their throwing mechanics are off as a position player or pitcher overtime muscles, tendons and ligaments in the arm, elbow and shoulder will break down. Therefore, when they begin to play high school ball and then advance to the next level, college or professional ball the soft tissue damage had already begun.

So the question is?

Do arch supports in baseball cleats improve a player’s ability to have success at the plate, on the pitcher’s mound or in the field?

It is my opinion that it does.

In order for a player to be balanced from the ground up, it starts with their feet.

Arch supports are designed to place the ball of the foot on the ground as well as stabilize and balance the joints of the foot which in turn will strengthen the muscles of the foot and prevent the arch from collapsing. When the arch continually collapses during the normal course of the game the muscles in the arch could fatigue, tire, cramp or spasm. Most of the time, it is because the player has flat feet. Flat feet can lead to a player’s inability to be consistent at the plate, in the field or on the mound. As a result the player’s performance could be compromised. Therefore, it is important for feet to be supported in baseball cleats and realize the role they play in the overall success of playing baseball. Do not take them for granted.

There are many arch support products available today that players can choose from, one of these products is Instant Arches® Baseball,, the only baseball specific arch support that can be placed in baseball cleats and provide the support needed to keep players balanced and the balls of their feet on the ground.


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