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A few years ago I was struggling with the same thing as well as other aspects of the swing that my kids had troubling comprehending. The result was that I took what I knew about the swing and built a swing trainer unlike anything on the market today. I began showing it to folks I knew in the baseball world including two nationally ranked High School coaches and a former Major Leaguer. The feedback was so positive that I have now filed a patent application and been talking to manufacturers about building these in mass quantity. If you send me your information to email@example.com, I will send you a photo of the swing trainer and we can discuss how it works.
My biggest hitter last fall struggled with this same concept which kept him from getting his hands out front on impact. The result was that he was off balance and hit a lot of weak ground balls. After about 15 minutes, he was able to feel the proper weight balance and rotation and was able to get his bat on plain and start launching line drives.
Is the cause of this linear movement because the torso is moving forward during the stride?
I was taught a simple drill to keep the head still during the stride. The only body part that should be moving during the stride is the foot and leg doing the striding.
Find a pole or vertical mark to line up on, and then take your stance with your head in line with that pole/mark. The entire cock/stride/swing should take place without the hitter's head leaving the pole/mark. The weight will transfer from back to front, with hip rotation, but the body doesn't move.
Balance. This will help keep the hitter from getting his weight forward during the swing, which is what I am assuming is causing the linear movement.
The weight shifts, it does not move the body.
I hope this helps.
First I'll cover the part about the stride/head/balance, then I'll discuss my thoughts on linear/rotational theory.
The 'stride' as we call it, is really just a timing mechanism/trigger for hip rotation. What happens is, the 'stride foot' comes up, shifting the weight to the back leg, the stride foot comes down, initiating hip rotation, which transfers the weight to the front side, accomplishing weight shift, without moving the head. Then, if you're timing is right, which is 75% of the battle, you get front leg block, back leg perpendicular with the head directly above, and still. Some folks employ a leg lift, some a stride, some don't even stride at all, but use the ankle as the trigger.
It's a misconception that the stride moves the body. It's not supposed to. I used to think that I had to get my body moving toward the pitcher to get any power, but I have learned that is not the case.
I, personally, don't stride at all. My heel goes up, it comes down, and that initiates rotation, while keeping my torso and head still. This will not work for everyone, as I had to resort to the strideless swing to fix an even worse problem than some forward movement. But in doing that, I not only fixed the horrible bailing problem I had, I cut way down on strikeouts and my average went up.
No stride, very minimal head or torso movement, plenty of power.
Here, you have Griffey, with a stride, but also, minimal head and torso movement. He doesn't totally accomplish the goal of the head remaining perfectly still, his head moves up and down, but it does not move laterally. An excellent example of keeping the weight back until hip rotation propels weight transfer onto the front leg.
Both pics borrowed: http://www.chrisoleary.com/
Maintaining the head and torso perfectly still is very difficult to do, but should be the goal.
I'm thinking soft toss, aimed at the back hip, or even centered between the hips would be a good drill to teach keeping the weight back, in addition to lining up on the mark to keep torso still.
As for linear vs rotational, I have no opinion on the matter, and here's my theory. The thread on linear vs rotational seems to do with what happens before and after the basic parts of the swing. Basic point being, and this is addressed by Williams and others, is to get to the hitting position at the proper time. Whether the actions that get you (the hitter) there are linear or rotational, it does not matter (unless I completely misunderstand the linear vs rotational arguement). At that time, the front foot has 'landed', hips and hands are ready, if not at that moment receiving the neurological command to fire, head/eyes locked onto target, and the body is balanced, which will keep the head still.
I'm trying to keep on topic concerning how to get rotation after foot strike without getting the weight/torso over the front foot.
I think you're on the right track, looking for what works for your hitters. It is a constant learning environment, for sure, even for the teachers.
The body moves forward during the stride and so does the head. You can clearly see both happening in both videos you posted. The idea is to keep the same relationship of the the body and the head meaning the player should not lean forward or back. Yes some guys do lean a little but during the stride the body has to come forward in order to get to balance. If the leg is the only part the moves than you have a hitter that simply sticks his foot out and keeps all the weight on their back foot then rotates in and out of the zone quickly. A Drill I use to stop linear movement is something I call (Heel/Hip). The hitter starts in the position he would be in post stride without dropping the heel. Then the hitter drops the heel and rotates the back hip. This helps them build muscle memory of the heel hitting which allows the hips to rotate. Then as you add their rhythm back into the swing you will get a hitter that loads, strides, hits the front heel and the back hip will begin to open and get the hands to the baseball.
Here is some hitters showing how the torso and head move forward during the stride but stop that movement at heel strike. Anything else will cause sequences issues.
<iframe title="YouTube video player" width="475" height="385" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/nDBowgHwzPQ" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
Check out this great hitter with a ton of head and torso movement but notice how the relationship between the two never changes, then the heel hits and the swing is launched.
<iframe title="YouTube video player" width="475" height="385" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/YEvxmXsutgY" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
Notice as peoples heads begin to disappear in the background during the stride of this great hitter.
<iframe title="YouTube video player" width="475" height="385" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/9BoTnfuFJKE" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
It is all about keeping the relationship the same not stopping forward movement during the stride. The body needs to move forward during the stride so the hitter can get back to a balanced position at foot strike. Also, try the torque drill (Mike Epstein) you can find examples on his website or on youtube as well.
Another drill I use for this is a High Knee Drill where the hitter uses an exaggerated knee lift so they can feel the foot come down and when the heel hits the back hip fires.
A term I use all the time is (Heel/Hip) this is to remind the hitters to let the back hip go so it can lead the hands through the swing.
Let me know what you think if you try these drills.
Okay motionless is a bit of an exageration. However once the foot plants the head remains
almost stationary while the hips, shoulders, torso rotate around an axis with minimal
head movement. You get the idea.
something I've done that is incredibly simple and effective using the tee is to just place it deeper in the zone.
one of our players last year showed a great swing path, but had issues with his pre-swing move (sliding, etc). we just put the tee on the back outside corner of home-plate and let him hit low, solid liners through the right side. if he had hip slide, he'd top the ball, or have to collapse the back side to get behind it. when his forward movement stopped like it should and he got right into his swing, the result was consistent, solid contact with a much more effortless feel.
sounds simple, but that is the best part.
good luck this year