> Myths > Get Front Foot Down Early

Get the Front Foot Down Early?

I'll never forget the moment that I first saw Shane Robinson.

It was in 2009 during Spring Training and he was a late-game fill-in. As he stepped into the box, I started chuckling because he was wearing a jersey that was at least two sizes too large. In fact, I was laughing so hard that I totally missed the shot when he crushed a home run over the left field corner.

Ever since that day, I have followed Shane Robinson. I am interested in guys who exhibit disproportionate power; power that would seem to far exceed their size.

As I have watched Shane Robinson and his swing, I have noticed that he seems to follow a fairly common piece of advice, namely to "get your front foot down early." I believe that his following that advice may help to explain his relative lack of success at the major league level.

As I explain in my (recently updated) piece on Albert Pujols' stride, in the best hitters' best swings, the planting of the front heel launches the swing. It's not a coincidence that the best hitters have the ability to delay the planting of the heel of their front foot until they are ready to start their swing and it's time for their hips and shoulders and the barrel to rotate around to the Point Of Contact.

Shane Robinson's Swing

Shane Robinson

In contrast, in my library I have numerous clips of Shane Robinson where he gets his front foot down extremely early and then, for a unusually large number of frames, just sits there waiting for the pitch. Invariably, the result is a lunge-y, arm-y swing and a weakly-hit ball (if he manages to make contact at all).

Shane Robinson's Swing

Shane Robinson

Perhaps the problem is with Shane Robinson's eye; that he can't see major-league off-speed pitch. I'm sure that's what some people are thinking and saying.

However, when I look at clips of Shane Robinson's swing, I have to wonder if isn't just doing what he was taught; getting his front foot down early. The problem is that, by doing this, he is essentially ensuring that he won't be able to swing with his entire body and has to swing with just his arms and wrists, which is why he seems to be vulnerable to good off-speed pitching and appears to be unable to hit a good off-speed pitch hard.

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