Everyone can kickback, but not everyone needs to

We know that some of the best hitters in the game use a “scissor” move where they step closed and kick back with their back leg into the strike. We also know that there are plenty of hitters who do not need to do this, so it brings up a question: Why do some hitters kick back while others do not?

Is it because some hitters aren’t “physically capable” of pulling this move off?

Short answer: No.

Everyone has the ability to kick back. Just see what happens when you pick up a hockey stick and rip off a wrist shot. You don’t force yourself to kick back with your back foot. It just naturally happens. Hitting is the same thing.

Now the kick back is not something all hitters need to do, but there is something that ALL hitters need to do… 

Notice how Connor McDavid’s back foot works behind his front foot as he shoots? This is anchoring in the air.

In the 108 Performance Courses, we share our five Key Movement Indicators (KMI) for hitters. One these is the anchor point. When we look at the best hitters in the game, all of them create some sort of an anchor point with their back foot that gives their lower half stability so the upper half can work reciprocally against it.

If our upper half is the hand that twists off the pickle jar, our lower half is the hand that’s holding the jar still so we have a point of leverage to work against. Our anchor point makes sure we can grasp the jar without it slipping out of our hands.

While everyone needs to anchor to move reciprocally, how guys anchor is where we can see some variation. Some players like Mike Trout, Miguel Cabrera, and Fernando Tatis Jr. need to kick back and create an anchor point in the air the way a bowler would. Other guys like Joey Votto, George Springer, and Cody Bellinger need to anchor on the ground to create the same effect.

Two elite players using a slightly different way to anchor their back leg during the swing. Both work – it just depends on the hitter.

Now if the hitter who claims he can’t kick back isn’t anchoring, that becomes a different story. Not all hitters need to scissor, but everyone needs to anchor. It just becomes pretty tough to do this when you’re worried about staying back… (see full video).

⚾ Interested in more? We share the rest of our hitting Key Movement Indicators in our level one courses. ⚾