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Re: Re: Re: Jack--Thoughts on Initiation?

Posted by: Jack Mankin (mrbatspeed@aol.com) on Mon Feb 9 18:03:18 2004

>>> I was working a player yesterday. He was staying tall on the rear leg and it was not dropping to parallel. His past tendecy has been to extend the rear leg and extend with rear elbow. Obviously he was not getting a hip turn. I made him sit in on a more bent rear leg. With it more "knock kneed" it served as a better spring. I also made him get more "linebacker" in his set up with the legs more bent at the knees and more spine angle. I asked him to get his rear elbow around and higher at toe touch. IMO rear side momentum comes from the circling and dropping of the rear elbow in the slot and the dropping of the rear knee to parallel. I then asked him to focus on not stopping the hip turn from launch to finish and keep his hips in front of his hands at all times. He did better on many swings but it takes time. <<<

Hi Donny &BHL

BHL, Donny made some good suggestions. -- When practicing your swing, it is important to keep in mind that the purpose of swing mechanics is not to get the hips to rotate ahead of the hands and shoulders, or even to take the hands to the zone. The ultimate purpose of all swing mechanics is to attain maximum acceleration of the bat-head around the 'entire' swing plane.

With this in mind, when setting up your practice program, I would suggest that one of the most limiting factors to a hitter's development is his tendency to only concentrates on those mechanics that swing the bat-head forward toward the ball. However, in a high level swing, before the bat-head arcs forward toward the ball, it must first be accelerated rearward from its launch position behind the head back to the lag position (first 90 degrees of acceleration).

Therefore, as you prepare to initiate your swing, I would suggest you envision mechanics that would accelerate the bat-head around the entire 180+ degrees to contact -- instead of just concentrating on mechanics that accelerate the bat forward the last 90 degrees (from the lag position).

As a hitter initiates the swing, it is very tough to keep his hands back when he is concentrating on swinging the bat-head forward. If a coach would have the hitter envision the bat-head first accelerating back toward the catcher at initiation, the batters hands would have to stay back to accelerate the bat-head in that direction.

When we ask the body to perform an athletic movement, the sub-conscious mind will set up a motor program for the rest of the body to aid in accomplishing the task.

Therefore, I have found that if I can get the batter to correctly envision the bat-head first accelerating rearward to the lag position before he directs his energy toward the ball, the more likely he will generate the most productive hip and shoulder rotation to accomplish the task.

If, on the other hand, the batter�s vision of the swing is only forward, he will have the tendency to first extend the hands. This is mainly accomplished by using the arms to thrust the hands and knob, which does not require good hip and shoulder rotation. With this vision of the swing, keeping the hands back is at odds with his forward vision. He now has to consciously think, "Hips First." -- Using cues to override a batter's natural tendency to think forward is not as effective as changing how they invision the swing.

Once I feel the batter is starting to have the correct vision of the swing, I use the cue, "Rotate the heel (initiate lower-body rotation) " Rotate the bat-head (initiate the acceleration back toward the catcher'). I ask the student, "what must you do with the top-hand as your elbow lowers to accelerate the bat-head back toward the catcher?" After a few attempts, they learn to hold back (or pull back) the top-hand at the shoulder and allow shoulder rotation to accelerate the bat-head back. When they start to get the bat to accelerate correctly, the hips just naturally rotate ahead of the hands and they have the "L" in the back-leg at contact.

Jack Mankin


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