>>> First time posting. Followed discussions for couple years. Purchased Final Arc II about three months ago.
Situation: HS coach told my son to drive his front elbow "down and in." Now he has a downward bat plane as he makes contact with ball.
Question: What is proper position of front elbow in launch position, as back elbow enters slot, and as shoulders turn for contact? Equally important, how do I describe this to me son? Are there any drills that will help him get front arm in right place? <<<
Jack Mankin's reply:
Think of the plane of the swing as being a flat disc that is tilted down toward the plate so as to intersect the path of the ball in the contact zone. The bat, lead-arm and shoulders should all be in that plane from initiation to contact. A batter may have the bat more vertical while in his stance, but during his pre-launch movements, he must cleanly sweep the bat into the plane of the lead-arm as shoulder rotation is initiated.
Note: To his credit, Paul Nyman’s animation provides a great visual of the Swing Plane
Since the shoulders are rotating on a tilted plane (not horizontal to the ground), the back-shoulder will begin (from the inward turn position) higher and rotate to a lower position as the lead-shoulder starts lower and is rotating upward. You should not have to think about lowering the back-shoulder, it should happen automatically as you rotate if your launch position is correct.
Keeping the lead-arm (including the elbow) in the plane of the swing is an absolute MUST. That means the lead-elbow MUST always remain pointing into the plane of the swing. If the lead-elbow lowers (or drops) down out of the plane before contact -- the swing is ruined. The wrist will start to roll too soon and the bat-head will come out of the intended plane. This will normally cause inconsistent contact and usually results in weak grounders or pop-ups.