Best Batting Stance: Comparing Open, Square and Closed Batting Stance

By Doug Bernier

Watching a baseball game, you’ll likely see 18 different batting stances. You will see some hitters stand tall, some squat low, and some very wide. But regardless of the vast variety of quirks, you will find that all hitters stances fall into one of these three categories: (1) Open (2) square, or (3) closed. This article describes the different batting stances, including the advantages and disadvantages of each, so you can choose the best batting stance for you.

This issue is very much an individual comfort thing, especially when dealing with how upright you stand or how low you squat.

What are the differences between square, open and closed batting stances?

A certain stance may help your hands or your swing work a little better than another. That is something you need to play with and feel comfortable with.

In this section I will talk about the open, closed, and square batting stances, including what the advantages and disadvantages are of each one.

Square Batting Stance

This is the most common stance hitters use in the batters box, and some would argue it’s the best batting stance. Beginners should start with this one.

This is where all good hitters want to be at contact, so if you can start here it makes your stride and swing less complicated.

  • A square stance is where both feet are in line with the pitcher and parallel with the edge the batter’s box.
  • Your stride just needs to go straight toward the pitcher.
  • From this setup you should be in an optimal position to hit any pitch.
  • Your upper body is already in the correct position to attack the baseball.
  • It should be easy to see the pitcher with both eyes.

Open Batting Stance

This one is second most common, and is usually from a result of having some problems with the square stance. Most people go to this setup because they were having a little trouble seeing the ball well, they like to get on the plate and pull the baseball, or they used to step in the bucket a little when they were square.

  • An open hitting stance is when your front foot is further from home plate than your back foot. You are open to the pitcher.
  • Standing open to the pitcher will allow you to turn your head a little more to the pitcher so you will be able to see the ball better with both eyes.
  • When open, you need to get back to square to hit the ball, so your front foot will step toward home plate eliminating the tendency to step away from the plate if you start square.
  • This is a problem that some hitters have especially when a right handed hitter is facing a right handed pitcher and a left handed hitter is facing a left handed pitcher.
  • Some people think to eliminate the problem, you should close your feet off, but that will make your stepping in the bucket more pronounced and you will end up in the same spot with your feet.
  • Getting your feet back square to hit the baseball allows you a better chance to hit any pitch in any location that comes your way.
  • Some hitters use this stance because they are more successful at pulling the baseball.
  • Getting a little closer to the plate will take away the outside part of the plate and make it closer to them. Then they can look to their strength which is to pull the baseball.
  • Sometimes these hitters sell out to pulling the baseball and don’t get quite back to square, that is why they have to get closer to the plate then most hitters.

Closed Batting Stance

This stance is not used as much as it was back in the 80’s and early 90’s. It is used mostly for selling out on a approach of looking for the ball the other way and hitting it that way. It can create some problems with getting to an inside pitch.

Your upper body is already closed off and your bat has to go a little further to get to an inside pitch because it has to get around your body. Most people go to this stance because they are having trouble handling the pitch away and hitting the ball the other way.

  • A closed batting stance is when your front foot is closer to the plate than your back foot – making you closed to the pitcher.
  • Being closed will make seeing the baseball a little more difficult since your back is turned a little toward the pitcher.
  • From here, you would like to get to square but if your front foot slides back from the plate then you have momentum starting to spin away from the pitcher. This makes it tough to stay square through the baseball.
  • If you keep your feet closed at contact, you will be able to handle the pitches away much better and hit the ball with more success the other way.
  • On the other hand, if you keep your feet closed at contact, it makes your path to an inside pitch very long and tough to get to consistently.

All baseball batting stances have pros and cons and should be used to fit the type of hitter and the swing that you have. Pay attention to problems that you may have at the plate and make adjustments to make your swing more efficient.

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 13 years. Most recently, Doug signed with the Minnesota Twins in 2013, where he logged time at every infield position except 1st base in 33 Major League games. Currently Doug is with the Twins’ AAA team in Rochester, NY 

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2 Responses

  1. Very informative article, Doug. I was just discussing this with the other coaches on my son”s baseball team. Had I read this article before, then at least one of us would have known what we were talking about. 🙂 As I read this I could see that understanding the three basic batting stances provides some adaptive opportunities for hitters and pitchers. For example, if I’m a square-stanced hitter but I’m facing a count where I know this particular pitcher is likely to throw me outside heat, I might want to close my stance to drive that pitch oppo. On the mound, if I see a closed-stanced hitter, wouldn’t I think about throwing the 2-seam and working him inside?

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