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Should your bat barrel be pointed toward the pitcher before the swing?

I have a coach saying keep your bat straight up in your stance to get the bat to the zone quicker,

I have mine angled toward the pitcher.  Don't most players have a bat angled toward the pitcher and don't you have to get to this spot before you hit anyway? Barrel toward the pitcher handle toward the catcher.  Thanks for help  See pics




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Your pictures show batters wraping the bat when they load or get to the pre-launch position. For a pure linear hitter, many coaches think this is a flaw and that this position will causes the hitter to take longer to get the the barrel to the ball. I disagree with that and view the cocking of the wrist as a good thing and this angle of the bat not being a negative for hitting the ball. I think we need to see the next two or three frames of these hitters to really see what is happening. I think they are rotational and you will see the bat drop into the slot getting on plane with the ball and then they bring the barrel to contact using rotational mechanics. I don't like the terminology "barrel pointing to the pitcher" and would prefer to call it a cocking of the wrist which causes the barrel to move to a more powerful position. Some basic thoughts that might help start the discussion.
I think this is a great response. The only thing I will add is as long as the elbow slots (like you said it should) before the hips rotate it doesn't matter where your bat is facing because when the elbow slots all the bats will look the same.

I also agree that pointing the bat toward the pitcher is not ideal terminology.
I think the linear and rotation comments is fine. All hitters are not both, understanding the mechanics will allow you to realize this is simply not a true statement. Great hitters hit with rotational mechanics and that is simply the way it is.

Please tell me when a hitter is both Linear and Rotational. I have a good idea lets get rid of the terms and just call it the proper way to swing, and even when we did this there would still be no aspect linear to the swing.
The two most over taught aspect of hitting are Stance and Grip because they should be left alone all together.

The stance has no affect let me re word that that stance has absolutely no affect on the swing. If it did everyone would use the same stance. Pujols and Griffey Jr. had far different stances. Cecil fielder and Mickey Tettleton had completely different stances. All that matters is what position the hitter is in when the front heel hits the ground.

The front foot should be open and shoulders closed. If this happens you have created torque because you have separated your hips and your shoulders. This torque is what allows the back hip to fire and rotate after the elbow slots.

It does not matter what your stance looks like, not one little bit. Not even a little bit. Teaching the stance is just as much crap as teaching a hitter to line up their door knocking knuckles. It simply does not matter. You cannot prove it matters because of the many different ways big league hitters stand. For example would you teach a kid to stand like Renteria, no but he just won the MVP of the world series. would you teach a kid to stand like Bonds? Sure you would because you would say he is balanced and comfortable feet shoulder width apart and all that nonsense.

It does not matter, get in the box and get comfortable.
George, George, George.

Just read this post I left in another forum:"Please remember, we are looking for the most efficient swing, not what some guys in the big leagues do because....those guys might be able to be more efficient, or am I now going to far by saying these great hitters could be better?"

Do you still think I believe all MLB players are perfect. Also, if you read the posts I have left I have offered a lot of analysis and even a few breakdows of pro and amateur swings. I am not reactionary. Again George you have spoke and said nothing.
I agree with your actions effect results. You keep talking about the stance. Stance is determined by the style of the hitter and really has no effect on the swing. Now, this assumes you are not facing backwards or have your legs crossed and eyes closed.
I understand one thing changes another. I completely understand that. I have also said on this forum that a person can have a perfect swing and be a bad hitter. I said that George. You just read one post and make assumptions about my philosophy.

What you should understand is when I work with hitters I spend more time talking about approach then I do mechanics. Why? because I understand at a early level you can get away with some swing issues if you have an idea what you are doing at the plate. That being said a player at young levels can and do have really good swings, Swings that look like Big League hitters. George what you do not understand about why kids at age 10 are not in the big leagues is it comes down to physical development not a swing or an approach. A 10 year old kid could have a perfect swing and a great approach but because the bat would get knocked out of his hand he would not be any good in the big leagues.

George you must stop being so angry and understand that this is a thread in a forum, this thread does not cover every possible topic when it comes to hitting, thus things will be left out in order to stay on task.

George since you want to talk about everything I will oblige a few comments.

Stance: Look around and see how many different stances there are in all levels of baseball, this is because it is how a hitter feels most comfortable. If a hitter is not comfortable they will struggle. People with all different stances have success. I am done with stance.

Grip: Hitters do not grab the bat with the door knocking knuckles. Some may but most of the ones I see do not. Therefore teaching that makes no sense. It is not the most efficient grip but I also do not think it hurts a kid either. If it was the most efficient grip everyone would do it, because it is a simple adjustment. Fact is someone saw a few random still photos of hitters and just put a blanket on every good hitter. This is also how squish the bug came about, a few random photos of hitters post contact who deflected off their front foot and back onto their back foot. Done with Grip now too.

Approach: Possibly the single most important part of hitting. Some coaches teach different approaches and they all have success. I played for a coach who wanted his hitters to swing at all 1st pitch fastballs middle in. No questions asked, he did not want his hitters getting behind. He wanted you up there and aggressive. This coach won 5 NJCAA National Championships and finished 2nd and 3rd a few times.

I have worked for a coach who wants his hitters to take pitches, and never swing at a pitch you have not seen (Ted Williams Style) This coach believes you beat the Bull Pen not a starter, and the more pitches a pitchers throws the more chances he has to make a mistake. This particular Coach has won State Championships in High School and a few Overall Mid American Conference Championships at the D-1 level as well as a West Division MAC Title.

Both coaches very successful, both with completely different approaches. Why? because they could coach and good coaches can motivate and get their players to buy into a system.

Note some of the players who played for the first coach I mentioned then went on to play for the second coach and had success at both places. Why? because the approach does not really matter, what matters is the player believes in it and buys into it.

Note also an approach George can change during a game and change during an at bat. If you know a pitcher always throws a 2-0 change up, you are no longer looking for the fastball you were looking for 0-0 or 1-0 now are you or the fastball most hitters would look for 2-0. Why? because you have information about a pitcher and you use it to your advantage.

Swing: The higher you play the better your mechanics must be to stay on top of the game. This is why players who have good approaches but a bad swing fizzle out as they get older. I am not going to get into mechanics because that is a different discussion all together.

Would you like to discuss Running the bases, bunting, situational hitting, double cuts, trailing the runner, practice ideas, or any other topic that does not belong in this thread. I am sure everyone will love reading about things they did not click on this post to read. Also, I never contradicted what i said, I want hitters to do what the very best ever do, that does not mean every hitter in the big leagues is the very best ever? No that does not mean that. Can they get the same swing as the very best players to ever live? Yes even 10 year old kids, what will separate them is their athletic ability and their ability to make adjustments and get better all the time, etc...


George you assume people do not think of these things because they don't mention them on a forum and you go off on a rant. While we are on this forum if you notice the pictures of the hitters posted up top you will notice a lot of similarities in their swing besides the barrel being pointed forward: All of them have inward shoulder turn, this with the degree at which their back elbow is up determines where the bat is going to point. Just look at the Howard and Mantle Picture. Each are going forward but Mantle has a lower Elbow, and Howard has a higher elbow which changes the degree in which the barrel is pointed forward because it changes the position of the hands. Each have inward shoulder turn, Mantle a little more than Howard.

You must understand what each hitter is trying to accomplish and then figure out which is the most efficient. In this case I think it is obvious that Mantle is a more efficient hitter than Howard, and it is safe to assume they are both trying to hit a baseball. Does any of the above reasons have anything to do with that? I think so, some may not, but I do.

Sam,

I think you hit most points fairly well, but let me offer a couple of things on your statement.

  True, I agree the stance has no effect on the swing. Not one bit, not even a little bit...loved it. And should not be messed with or changed unless the stance is the cause for any flaws from heel plant/Launch and ultimately to Power-V. You use a lot of the same terminology I do, so that makes me think you have either read a lot of information by Mike Epstein, or you are an Epstein Instructor. What I will clarify a little is when you state that "this torque is what allows the back hip to fire and rotate after the elbow slots". First, torque is what is created by the separation of the lower body and upper body-two opposing forces working together to create bat speed and power. Yes, the front shoulder being tilted down/closed and the hips beginning to open creates torque, but that is not necessarily what causes the hip to fire. The back knee pinching in initiates the swing and a conscious decision to "fire" then back hip is made. I can initiate my back hip without keeping my shoulders closed, although little, if any torque/separation would be created. Second, the back elbow slotting is somewhat of a misnomer, or over teach...meaning that a lot of hitters are now being taught to actively slot the elbow instead of it being the result of a cause...the shoulders turning through. When you actively slot the elbow too much this can lead to bat drag (elbow leading the knob), negative angle at Approach, long swing (end of bat behind rear foot). By the way, I really like your Rentier and Bonds analogies...spot on, but part of that, the balance [part, I think a lot of people get wrong as well. Balance to me in a swing is comprised of two parts; Static and Dynamic Balance. Static in the stance and dynamic coming into front heel plant through Finish. As long as the head is in the center of the body, regardless of how far it travels during the stride if a player takes a stride, when the front heel plants, that player is balanced. To me, it has nothing to do with a coach walking up, pushing a player and that player falling back...that is a parlor trick because as the coach tells the player about staying balanced and then pushes the player again, the player is ready for it and braces himself.  No miracle there. It was fun reading your posts...

The ideal swing is a combination of linearity and rotation across the entire torso (i.e. the legs, core, and upper arms. The legs and upper body move around the central axis, creating torque against the loaded hands-bat combo, which ideally is loaded in the wrist and extremely tightly coupled with very strong hands (ideally). Then, after the legs, then upper body, the hands will Ideally bring the sweet-spot Directly to the ball in a linear fashion (i.e. joining the same line of momentum the lower body began). This happens only momentarily, but it ought to be a conscious effort, as it keeps your body's energy from being wasted in directions that are not in fair territory. 

The last element is the most POTENT, the unlocking of the bodies energy through the HANDS and into the ball. This is the point that gives the illusion of "rotational hitting".  I heard the inventor of the Stacked Handle baseball bat, an engineer, describe to me this most important element in the following way: "your rear forearm must stay below the "lead" or lower forearm all the way through the strike."  "Lunch" McKensie, ex USA Olympic team trainer (trained A-Rod and Joe Mauer), agrees via a testimonial on the Stacked Handle site (www.stackedhandle.com).I challenge you to find a well a myriad of well struck baseballs and examine this detail alone.

 

You will find it to be invariably true to a larger degree that the forearm relationship is as such. To site someone is a major league hitter does not necessarily mean that he understands the physics of hitting. More often, major league players have marginally better hitting skills than their minor league counterparts, but, instead, they are larger and stronger than those counterparts. Therefore, a larger percentage of their "moderately well" struck balls end up in a highly desirable effect, e.g. - a home-run.  In other words HUGE guys can get away with bad habits, even at the major league level. 

 

Remember, the idea is not to hit balls hard. The idea is to hit balls hard...fair. Rotating a swing around ones body, is not how one gets the most out of their bodies energy if their goal is to hit balls into the field of play. If you want to train hitters to hit the longest foul balls you have ever seen, then yeah, rotate. Otherwise, rotate to get unlock your bodies potential energy, then rush your hands directly at the ball and apply your wrists at impact. 

Carl,

Your last paragraph just doesn't make sense. Yes, the idea is to hit ball hard in fair territory, but to rush your hands directly at the ball and apply wrists at at impact. Really? First, just the statement of rush your hands directly to the ball makes me question your understanding of how the swing really works...and you certainly don't apply the wrists at impact if you mean to roll them or actively snap them.  About the hands; the bat is released from near the shoulder out of bat lag and the barrel travels to the ball, not the hands. Also, keeping the knob inside the ball should be a given considering it is almost impossible to get the knob of theta outside the baseball and if you do, you are going to get hit. The barrel of the bat should stay inside the baseball, not the knob, or the hands or anything else.  Except maybe the obvious, the body, but let's not get too ridiculous.

Once again, I disagree. From what I'm understanding from you is that a person should start his hands way out in font of the body and close to the zone or even in it because your power is your power no matter where you start everything. Again, I'd love to see one of your students in a video to show how you teach. Thanks
Oh my gosh George, nothing in your post is correct. Who told you these things? I am lost for words.

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