The Importance of Evaluating Hip Internal Rotation in Baseball and Softball

Sun Jan 6, 2019 by OnBaseU

Last fall, hitting instructor Craig Hyatt posted a moment on Twitter of various MLB players' Front Foot Landing.  Hyatt is a tremendous follow and the thread is an example of why #HittingTwitter is so popular.  One of the things that stands out in scrolling through the GIFs is the different techniques of the players, specifically how some hitters have their lead foot square and others are externally rotated towards the pitcher.  

So which is correct?  Our philosophy at OnBaseU is that either can be correct, but the most suitable technique for you is based on what your body can do.  In this case, if you can't internally rotate your lead hip, you shouldn't copy a technique that requires MORE internal hip rotation.  Here's OnBaseU co-founder Dr. Greg Rose explaining the importance of internal rotation and how we evaluate it with the OnBaseU screen.

The Toe Tap Test measures the amount of hip and tibial internal rotation that the athlete can perform while standing. Our research shows that this physical attribute is paramount for proper loading into the back hip during the negative move or to post up into the front hip after toe touch. 

Though the average internal rotation over 50 degrees, many players will present with less than 40 degrees usually as a result from hip joint restrictions (most common) or muscular/capsular/myofascial restrictions.

One of the common pitfalls in instruction is asking an athlete to do something that they aren't physically capable of doing.  If you're someone who believes that a baseball player should point their foot towards the plate at toe touch and you're not evaluating hip internal rotation, you might be subjecting them to a strategy that doesn't match their physical capabilities.

It's an example of why we don't prioritize swing efficiency instead of subscribing to a specific swing. 


For more information on the Toe Tap Test and how to perform it, check out a recent article on our site.

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