During the separation stage of the baseball swing, you should feel as if you are in your most powerful stance before the violent assault happens on the baseball.   Part 3 in AAA Yankee Doug Bernier’s series on sound baseball swing mechanics.

Separation is part 3 of the baseball swing mechanics series by Yankee Doug BernierWhat is Separation?

Separation (stage 3) is the portion of the baseball swing mechanics when we stride and separate the movement of our hands from our stride foot in order to create torque, in a strong balanced launch position.

Separation is essential for bat speed, and bat speed directly translates into power and distance.  Separation also…

  • Starts at the completion of our load
  • Is finished after you stride, when your front foot makes contact with the ground.
  • It is during this phase that you will first see the ball out of the pitchers hand.

In this position you should feel as if you are waiting for the ball in the most powerful position you can be in before the violent assault happens on the baseball.

How we incorporate separation into the baseball swing:

Starting point.

This movement should start when the pitcher starts making his move towards home plate.

Hands.

At this point we want to have our hands back and in a strong position (from our load), usually around shoulder height.

Stride and Separate.

You will stride forward in a very controlled and soft movement, while using your shoulder and outside oblique to pull the top half of your body in the opposite direction.

Movement.

Our goal is to keep this movement slow and in control. This is important, because it will keep your head still so you can see the ball better.

Tension.

Once your front foot hits the ground and your hands remain back from where the load took them, this will create tension in your front oblique area.

This tension is like a stretched rubber band that will allow for a violent action toward the baseball. The more stretched tension you create, the more bat speed you can create.

Weight distribution.
  • At least 60% of your weight should be on your back leg
  • Your front toe is softly placed on the ground
  • With your heel on the same (front) foot in the air
Feet.

Your feet should be in line with each other out toward the pitcher. At this point of your swing, your stride should not be open or closed.

Bat.

Your hands are still back – at or above the height of your back shoulder – and your bat should be at a 45 degree angle.

Eyes.

This is where you pick up the ball as quickly as possible and determine what pitch is being thrown, and if you are going to swing.

Final thought on swing separation:

The separation portion of the swing allows your load to turn into momentum to help create as much bat speed as possible. The separation is probably the most difficult part of the swing to consistently repeat.

  1. Weight Shift (The Baseball Swing, Stage 4)
  2. Decide and release (The BaseballSwing, Stage 5)
  3. Grip and bat angle
  4. Different Batting Stances
  5. Ideal Bat Path
  6. Best Wood Bats
  7. Guide to Metal Bats
  8. Hitting Drills

Or, return to the hub page for Batting

About Author

Doug Bernier, founder of Pro Baseball Insider.com, debuted in the Major Leagues in 2008 with the Colorado Rockies, and has played professional baseball for 5 organizations (CO Rockies, NY Yankees, Pirates, MN Twins, & TX Rangers) over the past 16 years. He has Major League time at every infield position, and has played every position on the field professionally except for catcher. Where is he now? After batting .200 in 45 at-bats and fielding .950 during 2017 spring training with the Rangers, Doug was assigned to the Ranger's AAA team the Round Rock Express. You should click to watch this great defensive play by Bernier

5 Comments

  1. I’d love to speak with vou. Coaching 17-19. In Minnesota. Boys are still striding through swing. I played at Creighton in Omaha. How can I convince them that the stride doesn’t create power?

    • Craig,
      Thanks for the question. This is very common with young hitters. I feel like there are two things you can pass on to your boys. First if they watch major league hitters most of them swing with less effort than most young hitters, they almost look “handsy”. Their stride is completed in plenty of time and they use their hands and hips to hit. It is hard to convince young hitters but barrel accuracy is the best batting skill. The next thing to do is ask them how they would throw a punch or even throw a ball. Their front foot has to be down and fully planted before they use their body to deliver the punch or throw the ball. This is the same concept with hitting. Hopefully this helps a little bit.

      Doug

      • Craig–I’m only coaching LL so maybe take this with a grain of salt, but one thing I do to help my kids in this regard is have them take soft toss with weighted balls. I make them stride and separate, then freeze and wait to explode through the soft tossed ball. If I’m indoors with them, I use Doug’s separation T-drill. Both achieve similar objectives.

    • Craig–I’m only coaching LL so maybe take this with a grain of salt, but one thing I do to help my kids in this regard is have them take soft toss with weighted balls. I make them stride and separate, then freeze and wait to explode through the soft tossed ball. If I’m indoors with them, I use Doug’s separation T-drill. Both achieve similar objectives.
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