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Re: High Back Elbow

Posted by: Jack Mankin (mrbatspeed@aol.com) on Fri Dec 5 00:46:19 2003


>>> Regarding a previous post, here is my opinion from experience:

Every time I hear a coach telling the hitter to raise the back elbow up, I cringe. No one can explain the true benefit from raising the back elbow. If you ask a coach why he tells his batter to raise the back elbow, he CAN NOT honestly explain "why"; all he can say is that it will help him hit the ball better. The only benefit a high back elbow has is that it causes an uppercut for a better chance of hitting a homerun. This philosophy will ruin a hitter. The majority of the time that a batter has the back elbow up, he/she will either hit a pop-up or a week ground ball. I have watched many professional ball games and if you really notice, the majority of the professional hitters with a high back elbow has a batting average under .300. They are not worried about averages, they are worried about homeruns.

I have been giving private instruction for 5 years. If you watch a young hitter's video in slow motion, you will see that the first thing the back elbow does is drop to the hitters side. Along with that, the wrist follows causing the bat to drop. The young hitter is not strong enough to regain the bat angle. It causes the batter to swing under the ball causing either a pop-up or a weak ground ball. The professional hitter can get away with it because most of them can bench press 3-400 lbs. No one should ever copy what the professionals do; they are special athletes. <<<

<u>Jack Mankin's reply:</u>

Hi Kajun Coach

Welcome to the site. I would agree that a player having an elevated elbow would be of little value with the swing mechanics that are taught by the vast majority of coaches. In fact, it could very well lead to the problems you outlined. But this is not the case with the top hitters in the game. Having an elevated elbow adds to their hitting performance because they have adopted transfer mechanics that are far more efficient than the mechanics taught to the average hitter.

The average hitter is taught to fire the hands forward as they initiate the swing. This does a great job of accelerating the knob of the bat. However, the bat-head just slides over and trails behind the hands while developing minimal angular bat-head displacement well into the swing.

Most Pro batters elevate the back-elbow and most hit under 300. But, all the great hitters (300+ aver & 30+ hr) have transfer mechanics that keeps the hands back at the shoulder during initiation. ** They accelerate the bat-head in an arc back toward the catcher before they rotate and direct their energy around toward the ball. ** I termed the mechanic that accelerates the bat-head back toward the catcher as "Top-Hand-Torque - THT" because, at initiation, the top-hand is applying torque to the bat by pulling back instead of driving forward.

Kajun Coach, the reason you find the best hitters with an elevated elbow is because they find this a more powerful position for "pulling back" with the top-hand (like an archer pulling back on a bowstring). And, as I stated earlier, it is of little value if the batter (Little League or Pro) drives the hand forward at initiation.

Jack Mankin


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