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What are the benefits and drawbacks of using a closed hitting stance?

The closed hitting stance is often used to correct the fatal flaws in many players’ swings, which includes the front shoulder opening too much, and pulling off on most pitches. Unlike the open stance, which many players will close at least slightly during their stride before making contact, players with closed stances tend to stride forward and make contact with the ball in the same position, both feet at about the same distance from the plate as they were before the stride.

Players with closed stances also tend to have shorter strides and hit for less power, but are more adept at hitting the ball to all fields. For these reasons, very few power hitters have closed stances.

One of the most dramatic cases of a closed hitting stance was the one employed by the venerable Cal Ripken at one point in his career, as his front foot was a good two feet closer to the plate than his back foot. Another modern player with a distinctive closed stance was Paul Molitor.

Place your front foot and shoulder closest to home plate.

A closed stance means the front foot is closer to the plate than the back foot, and refers to the body or shoulders being closed (that is, the front shoulder is closer to the plate than the back shoulder). This stance is ideal against pitchers who live on the outside edges of the plate, and for players who have a tendency to get pull happy.

What are the benefits and drawbacks of using a closed hitting stance?

As the shoulder is further closed than in other stances, even players who still open their front shoulder during their swing from this stance will make contact at a much more reasonable position than they otherwise would. In most instances, though, the natural tendency of the arms from this stance will be to extend and drive the ball to the opposite field.

The head and eyes also pick up balls down and away best from this stance, which further aids in going to the opposite field. Players who are willing to take this approach at the plate will benefit most from this stance.

Lastly, in contrast to the open stance, most players using a closed stance have it only slightly closed. Leaving the stance only slightly closed allows you to adjust midswing as needed, and still pull the ball when necessary.

With head naturally angled away from same-side pitchers, seeing some types of pitches can be difficult.

Of course the closed hitting stance does have its drawbacks. One comes in the form of inside pitches. Because your front shoulder is leaning in, it becomes exceptionally difficult to open your front shoulder up in time to get the barrel of the bat out in front of an inside pitch.

Inside pitches from a same-handed pitcher as you are also difficult to pick up on, and curveballs or sliders in particular from these pitchers can cause frustration. The reason being that with your front shoulder turning into the plate, your head and eyes are naturally pulled in the wrong direction, away from the pitchers release point. Many pitches also appear as if they’re going to hit you coming out of the pitcher’s hand, causing you to give up on them, but may end being called strikes.

Ideally if you plan on using a closed hitting stance, you should stay somewhat farther off the plate in the batter’s box than you otherwise might. You should still be able to cover the outside pitch, while leaving the inside ones for balls.