I put this clip of Adrian Gonzalez up to illustrate his plate coverage. Take a look at the clips below, I’ve put up one that is quick, and one that is super slow motion. Once I point out a few things in the slow motion clip, watch the faster clip in order to practice seeing different parts of hitting mechanics more closer to a real time speed.
1. If you watch closely, Gonzalez rotates his hips prior to his upper body. This skill is something I work on developing with younger athletes since it can improve power immensely. You can find this hitting mechanics skill explained more in depth in my hitting mechanics 101 DVD (coming August 2010).
2. One of my favorite parts of this clip is watching how Gonzalez lets the ball travel deep into the zone and then takes his hands to where he wants the ball to go. As I mentioned before in the Mauer clip, many inexperienced hitters cast their hands away from their body BEFORE bringing them forward. They then give themselves little chance to cover the outside part of the plate.
3. I want you to take a close look at how much tilt Gonzalez gets on his upper body during the swing. There is no way he could reach that outside pitch if he didn’t let his upper body balance over the hitting zone. This all begins in his stance. He has a very athletic stance that enables his chest to remain forward towards the plate. Not hanging over the plate, just positioned well enough to allow him to cover all pitch locations if he keeps his balance.