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Re: Jack follow up

Posted by: Jack Mankin (mrbatspeed@aol.com) on Thu Nov 6 22:56:45 2003


>>> You never got back to me on the front shoulder question I had a week or two ago. In order to bar the lead arm the front shoulder might hold firm. Would this be what you teach on an inside pitch? I think this is where we differ in opinion. How do you hit the inside pitch. I'll give you three choices.

Assume torso is rotating in all these choices.

1) Pull arms across chest, perpendicular to the pitch.
2) Pull knob forward to reach the inside of the ball. (I'm gussing you're too smart for this one).
3) Fling the bat head out.

If you have another way..please say so, but I've given you three choices.

Thanks Jack....I want to clarify this with you.

Coach C <<<

Jack Mankin's reply:

Hi Coach C

I do not like the term "barred lead-arm." I have no problem with a batter who has the lead-arm fairly straight across the chest. But the term "Barred" conjures up images of tense ridged muscles, which I oppose. Whether the batter has the lead-arm straight or flexed, the important point to remember is that the arm should not flex any further during initiation. The more the lead-arm flexes during rotation, the more linear the resulting hand-path.

The lead-arm need not flex to draw the hands in tighter unless the batter is jammed with the pitch. You can test this for yourself. -- Keep the arm fairly straight across the chest and rotate your shoulders to the 105 degree contact position for an inside pitch. Note that your lead-hand barely clears your right side. Not a bad position for hitting most pitches from the middle-in. -- The same would hold true for a batter with a more flexed lead-arm. He would just need to move his stance in a couple inches or lean out more over the plate.

4 Good hitters – Lead Arm

As far as your choices are concerned, I would say "Pull arms across chest, perpendicular to the pitch" is true if we clarify what mechanic is pulling the lead-arm arm across the chest during rotation. --- Each shoulder has 90+ degrees of movement independent of the spine or other shoulder. As the batter extends the hands back toward the back-shoulder to set up the launch position, the lead-shoulder rotates inward about 60 to 70 degrees from its straight away position. I have referred to this inward rotation as the "Shrugging of the lead-shoulder."

As the rotational batter prepares to launch the swing, he can almost rub his chin on the shoulder. (In fact, Matt Williams does just that as he waits for the pitch.) It is very important that the 'shrug' remain in the shoulder during initiation. If the batter fires the hands forward, the shrug will come out of the shoulder and the lead-arm will be forced away from the chest too soon resulting in a loss of linkage and disconnect to body rotation.

You will note as rql pointed out in his Post , it is the rotation of the shoulders (and the timely un-shrugging of the lead-shoulder - pulling back of the lead-arm) that powers the hand-path, creates the "hook" in the hand-path and generates Bottom-Hand-Torque. However, as I pointed out above, this can only take place if the hands remain back and allow shoulder rotation to accelerate the hands at initiation.

Burrell & Bonds - BHT mechanics

Yes, Coach C, the lead-arm will be pulled across the chest during rotation by the timely 'un-shrugging' of the lead-shoulder. With this mechanic, the lead-arm will remain fairly straight through contact.

NOTE: For the baseball/softball swing, I think the shrugging of the lead-shoulder is the correct example of "scap loading." It is loading the muscles in preparation to do the work.

Jack Mankin


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