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Let's talk hitting Mechanics


Let's talk hitting Mechanics

Place to share tips, thoughts and theories on the art of hitting.

Members: 370
Latest Activity: Nov 2, 2018

Discussion Forum

The "Old" vs "New" Swing

Started by Dave Vaccaro. Last reply by Dave Vaccaro Nov 2, 2018. 11 Replies

In this day and age of the “new” swing where an upward plane is over-exaggerated, it’s tough to decipher right from wrong.  This is especially true for players who bounce back and forth from coaches…Continue

Toe Tap vs. Leg Kick- what do you think?

Started by Bill Stanton. Last reply by Dave Vaccaro Oct 4, 2018. 3 Replies

Interesting article below using Lucas Duda and Jose Bautista as examples.  It debates the use of a "toe tap" vs. the use of a "leg kick".  Is there a right or wrong approach…Continue

Tags: Bautista, Jose, MLB, Lucas, Duda

H.S. Tryouts...

Started by Jose M Hernandez. Last reply by Grant Clifford Feb 10, 2016. 6 Replies

H.S. tryouts are getting set to begin in our area... Any ideas on how to help a Freshman on getting ready? Thanks.Continue

Tags: school, high, team, baseball, Tyrouts

Soft Toss?

Started by Grant Clifford. Last reply by Robin Cox Oct 14, 2015. 8 Replies

More and more I am thinking that soft toss is useless.The angle...  from the side just isn't working for me. It's convenient when an L-screen isn't available or for quick pre-game warmup.. but I…Continue

Tags: toss, soft, hitting

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Comment by Rod Haney on August 27, 2015 at 10:51pm



       I'm replying in order of receiving.


          I believe you have touched on the missing ingredient.

          I have not said a baseball player,a softball player ,a golfer,or a logger

      doesn't move,twist, their hips during the execution of their swing.

           I said, the form of a question......''How do the hips produce swing

      power during the swing ?

            You have emphatically pointed out that they all rotate,twist,open                ,initiate hip action during the execution of their swing,''after the club

      head,axe head,and barrel of bat have made contact''with the object they

      were hitting.

               Since I am of the belief the power is supposed to be produced to

       be delivered to the ball or tree,...let me reword my question.......

             How do the players' loggers' and golfers'' hips produce swing

         power.....prior to making contact with their target ?

                 And since I am now curious,..what does the golfer,logger,ball

         player do with the swing power they produce after they made contact

         with the ball and tree ??



Comment by Richard Lovell on August 27, 2015 at 7:01pm

I had to break all my long windeness into parts. Hope you can follow:

Rod, (I am ready and I owe you an apology as well. My apologies for misinterpreting your sincerity).I have come across people on here and other forums that just want to be argumentative and aren't willing to listen to other experiences. They already have their mind made up and nothing you say will change it.  And you are welcome. I enjoy discussions such as this and it helps me learn as well. No disrespect taken and I am beginning to understand what you mean and I do not take it as pestering. As I stated in my response, you are truly not being argumentative and looking for answers, etc, I will help in any way I can. So, Fire away...

Let me elaborate on something: I often hear coaches come into my facility that repeat something they have heard, but do not understand the reasoning or purpose behind the statement or hitting "cue", so for that, I commend you on trying to better understand it. I would never expect an apology for trying to expand your knowledge and understanding. I realize that at times the written word can come across in various ways not intended…context and meaning are tough.

Comment by Richard Lovell on August 27, 2015 at 7:01pm

Regarding the hips (I am making an assumption we are talking about a mistake pitch-a pitch down the middle about mid-thigh high, fastball. I will address that outside pitch question in a moment): The hips alone do not create power in the baseball swing. They are just a part in the kinetic link/chain. As I described earlier, the feet, knees, hips, core, chest/back, shoulders, arms and hands combined create that power...effortless power if performed in the correct sequence. Now this is obvious to me, but I will state it anyway. Some players will have more power than others, but in swinging with the correct sequence utilizing proper technique we can extract a particular players maximum out put. And as far as Ted says so, or Ted Williams said-what we have learned, or at least some of us, with the advent of slo-motion video in the last 20 years (golf is way ahead of us on this), Ted Williams pretty much saw 70 years ago. He didn't see everything, but he was way ahead of his time when he wrote "The Science of Hitting". You should check it out. Now, I will say I thought I gave you a pretty good explanation of how the hips help generate power in the swing. Let me try this: Place a tee at a point that when your front foot lands the ball will about 1-3 inches in front of your landing foot. Take your stance after your stride, so have your feet at their widest part just before you begin your weight shift or pre-swing movement. Begin to take your swing, but DO NOT USE YOUR LOWER BODY! Act as if your legs and hips are in cement and you can't use them. Use only your upper body to swing the bat and see how far or hard you hit the ball. Now, take your stride with your front foot landing about 1-3 inches behind the ball and use your whole body; refer to the kinetic link for sequencing.  Which ball did you hit hardest? I will go out on a limb and say the one that you utilized the kinetic link. Here is little more detail and I hope I am not jumping around too much.  Stride-this part of a players style and will be different from player to player. Stride as if you are falling and allow your front foot to get in the way to stop your fall and you land into a slightly flexed, front knee.  Controlled in other words, not a quick jab step into a straight front knee that causes your front shoulder to be up. You cannot create torque if your front shoulder is flying up or away. As you fall into your fled front knee and foot, your back knee pinches in and the back heel is released from the ground. We refer to the back knee initiating your swing because your stance and stride are part of your style, not your swing. I describe the totality of the swing in this manner: Stance, stride (Style) Universal Launch Position, Approach, Contact, Power-V/extension (the swing), and Finish or follow through (style again). A players style regardless of level is different, but through study of video we have found that there are 4 positions that 95% of all HOF MLB players got into.  All the way back to Joe Jackson through Stanton today.  As the front foot lands it creates ground force which as you push into the ground, that ground force travels back up your body and eventually out through your hands. For smaller players, this is very important-it helps them create as much bat speed and power as their little bodies can.

For your comment about how the hips move-you are correct. The front hip does appear to pull back as the back hip comes forward. This is rotating around your axis. Imagine a tether ball as it goes out, reaches its apex or full length and then is yanked back, Your front foot is essentially acting as a break which stops any lateral movement and then your body rotates around its axis. Is it full rotation, no, I do not believe it is, but that is the best way to describe it. 

Comment by Richard Lovell on August 27, 2015 at 7:00pm

Your unfortunate prompting of more questions (I say this jokingly):

1)    We teach mechanics based a pitch down the middle with a non-moving teach. Meaning that we do not stand back and throw balls and yell instructions. Get a player to groove a swing and he will automatically make adjustments on the fly once they have learned the three release positions of the bat based on the location of the pitch. The bat to ball contact is made deeper in the zone more towards the rear of the plate…in a perfect world where the player does not cast his hands out and hit around the ball. Think Moustakas with the Royals.

2)   2) My understanding of your question was not the loss of power, but the effect the bat has on the travel of the ball. Let’s address both: a) Power is not affected, but travel of the ball is. In essence and yes, it is actually before contact, the bat is traveling at a pitch, or plane that will end higher than what the initial plane of the pitch came in on. Thus, if a player is early on the pitch they will roll right over the top of the ball causing a ground ball. The only way to not do this is have absolutely perfect timing and cut the middle part of the ball causing backspin and good launch angle. How often do players have perfect timing? That is why the goal is to keep the barrel in the zone, meaning on plane with the pitch, for as long as possible. Regarding the golfer and logger, the hips are an integral part of creating power. Again, reference my experiment.

Lastly, Yes, everything I commented about had to do with before contact that affected after contact. For example, if you took the old adage, which is an absolutely ridiculous hitting cue, to “chop wood”, the path of the bat prior to contact would have an affect on the outcome of the travel of the ball after contact. There are some people pout there that think you should swing down on a pitch that is traveling down. This does nothing but create ground balls. That might be okay with ages under 11, but as the player advances the defense gets better and those ground balls they use to run out to first are now outs. So, the travel of the bat before matters as does the travel of the bat after contact.  We have three core movements in the elite swing we teach: 1) Hips lead the hands; 2) Keep the barrel of the bat to the inside of the ball; 3) Match the plane of the bat to the plane of the pitch. Obviously, there are more details to this, but these are the core movements we teach by and everything is backed up by video.

Thanks for taking the time to explain your position to me and I hope this has helped in some small way.  Since typing and trying to convey in the written word is long and time consuming, I would suggest we have a phone conversation to discuss some of the finer points. Let’s also, if we agree, try to limit it to about an hour.

Comment by bill kenik on August 27, 2015 at 6:53pm

I know better, but I just can't resist.

if you don't like "open the hips", try rotation.

if you really don't get it, then try to hit a baseball/swing a bat at ball without any rotation or lower body movement whatsoever.

which means, all arms.

look at the pictures at the top of this website. two show hitters with their hips in a different position than when they started.

what more do you need than that to know or understand that there is and must be some kind of movement of the hips. not to mention, the rest of the body.

"how come golfers don't do it."

are you serious? golfers don't open their hips? golfers don't rotate their hips?

have you ever swung an axe?

and forget about what ted says.

and forget about I or anyone else says.

go out and try to do most, if not all activities, actions, etc. that involve the legs and arms, and try not to engage the hips.

try not to rotate. any & all parts.

sorry to be attacking and abusive, but if you don't or can't see or understand any of this, then I can only conclude you are just playing with everyone to see what kind of reaction you can get.
Comment by Rod Haney on August 27, 2015 at 3:43pm
Rich,(are you ready)
I know how much of your time it takes to provide such an elaborate
response,and for that I sincerely thank you.
And I never meant to be disrespectful or argumentative.
But yes my quest for logical answers has been recurring because I
haven't received any explanations that make sense to me.
And you are correct,I have been confused by the phrase,''opening the hips.
The reason is,I've heard coaches tell their players to ''open their hips.''
Than illustrate how to open them.
And no one has been capable of telling me how opening the hips produces
bat swing power.
Other than ''Ted says so.'
That said...........good bad or indifferent,I need to pester you again.
You describe the hips as having to ''slightly turn toward the pitcher''
(only way can be done is if lead hip pulls away from home plate) prior to
bat to ball contact.
You also say,if hips do not follow through after bat to ball contact,power
is lost.
This unfortunately prompts questions.
(1) If the lead hip is pulled away from home plate,where do you suggest
the bat to ball contact transpires on a ball that is traveling in the low
outside edge of the players strike zone ?
(2) If bat swing power is lost after the bat to ball contact transpires,how
is the flight of the ball affected ? (uh..ooooo one of my recurring questions)
You say a golfer and logger initiate their hips during their swing.
Does that mean you are saying their hips are producing swing power
as they initiate ?
Everything you provided in the form of an answer to the question,
''How does the bat affect the travel of the ball,after it's contact with the
ball?" pertained to prior to the contact occurring.
I apologize for being an A-hole to you Rich,but I won't apologize
for having a desire to be the best coach I can be.
Hey,let's see what type of answers I get from the members for this
question........'' In your opinion,..what is the most important thing for a
players bat swing execution to accomplish ?''
Hey.............are you still there ??
Chris.......a sincere thanks.
Comment by Richard Lovell on August 27, 2015 at 11:16am

To Rod Haney:

This seems to be a recurring theme for you even after it has been explained. I suppose you are trying to make a point, or as I was accused of being, trying to be argumentative. If not and if you are genuinely interested, I hope this helps.

Actually, golfers do open their hips. If a golfers hips never opened they would never point their belt buckle to the target. In a golf swing and especially in a baseball/fastpitch swing, to create torque you must keep the front shoulder tilted down as the front foot lands with the hips staying neutral then begin to open along with the front knee, or turn towards the pitcher-or direction in which they are going to hit the pitch thrown to them. This is how torque s created which is one of two ways to produce power in the swing. I am sure there are arguments out there that you can produce power other ways, but it is the weight shift and torque-separation between the shoulders/chest and the hips. You may also be confusing the phrase "open the hips" and thinking it means the hips are completely open, or turned towards the pitcher, or tree, or target as in golf. The feet initiate the swing as in the kinetic link: 1) Feet; 2) Knees; 3) Hips; 4) Core; 5) Chest/Back; 6) Shoulders; 7) Arms; 8) Hands; 9) Bat. Obviously, you have a weight shift when you take your stride, or even if you use a no-stride swing. Once you have initiated your weight shift your hips open along with your front knee-meaning they begin to slightly turn towards the direction the pitch is thrown, or more commonly referred to as opening up towards the pitcher depending on how technical you want to get. Once the hips have turned slightly, the core initiates, then the chest/back, then the shoulders get involved and eventually catch up and sometimes slightly pass the hips and the hips ultimately catch up and finish with the shoulders. If the hips do not continue forward into and slightly after contact, then bat speed/power prematurely is lost. And loggers, watch them chop wood in slo-motion and you will see that the hips do initiate their swing as well. It might be subtle, but the hips do initiate before the upper body gets involved.  Oh, and watch their feet; the front foot, plant foot, pushes into the ground to create ground force as in the elite baseball or fastpitch swing.

Your second question: How does the bat affect travel of the ball after the bat to ball contact has transpired? It's all a matter of perception. If you are swinging up too much, you may make good contact with the ball , but as you continue to swing up the bat goes over the top of the ball causing a groundball. Conversely, if your swing path is through the path of the pitch (as Ted Williams said: plane of the bat to the plane of the pitch). Also, if you make contact and never extend your arms, the ball has less energy imparted from the bat and the ball travels a shorter distance. As with the feet-hips, etc, it is a series of events or a chain of events as in the kinetic link or kinetic chain.

I hope this helps your understanding of the movements involved in an elite swing, be it baseball or fastpitch. Although not exactly alike, there are more similarities between the two swings Best of luck to you.

Comment by Rod Haney on August 26, 2015 at 10:29pm

  Love some feed back.

   If opening the hips produces swing come golfers don't do it..

   and how come professional loggers don't do it when cutting a tree down

   with their axe ?

   Who needs more swing power than them ?

   And how does the bat affect the travel of the ball after the bat to ball contact

   has transpired ?

   Rod Haney

Comment by Richard Lovell on August 25, 2015 at 3:57pm

Again, for 8, Bryden's swing is fantastic and I appreciate the fact that you uploaded the video in slo-motion.

As he begins his pre-swing movement and weight shift, which for his size I absolutely love because that step and leg kick helps him create more weight shift and ground force. I notice he tends to push his hands backwards away from his back shoulder which can lead to some issues; 1) straight bottom arm/arm barring; 2) longer swing-slower to the ball; 3) And bat drag-back elbow leading the hands/knob of the bat into the swing. Of the three, I would focus more on the bat drag issue and get him to have his hands at his left pec muscle when he launches his swing. This will make him shorter to the ball wither robbing hand-bat speed or power. At heel plant his front shoulder looks pretty good, meaning it is level, to slightly tilted down at heel plant, but there is some room for improvement. A little more tilt with the front shoulder will increase torque (more separation between hip and chest angle creating more power) and keep him from pulling his shoulder up too soon-pulling off the ball some people call it. Also, he could push more with his top hand (right hand/arm) to get more extension as he goes through and past Contact. This lack of extension may cause him to roll his hands/wrists too soon and if he is early on a pitch, he will top the ball and create a ground ball as opposed to a line drive just out of the infield. Lastly, his hips are moving backwards as he makes contact and not through with his Contact and Power-V positions.

Again though, he has a pretty darn good swing and looks like he really enjoys himself. I think we all must remember, he is 8! I wouldn't get too caught up on these things unless they begin to cause a problem. Eventually they will as he faces better and faster pitching, but right now he is probably dominating the pitchers out there. Thanks for sharing, good luck and hope my comments help.

Comment by BRANDON BULL on August 25, 2015 at 3:27pm

In my opinion no hitter is 100% linear or rotational.  Obviously some more one way or the other.  I think there is give and take with each.  I believe the strikeout percentage is much higher with a rotational swing than linear which makes sense just from basic physics.  But you can generate some extra power by pulling with the arms a little more than you can with the linear swing. Both swings require a snapping of the hips to whip the hands through and clear the front side so contact can be made out front.  I think to teach it correctly you need to see what side the player naturally gravitates too and work from there.


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