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Re: inside pitch

Posted by: Jack Mankin (MrBatspeed@aol.com) on Tue May 17 10:58:04 2005

>>> With your hitting techniques, how does a kid hit an inside pitch? The swing is so long...leading with the bottom of the bat and the head coming around in a circle. If there is an inside pitch how can a kid get his hands through quick enough to get the bat-head to the ball and turn on it with your technique? <<<

Hi Heywood

There has long been a common belief that extending the hands straighter (A to B) to the zone results in a “short compact” swing whereas, taking the hands in a circular path leads to a long and slower swing. However, in the research work we did with a Motion Studies computer showed just the opposite. Rotational transfer mechanics brings the bat from launch to contact much quicker with the hands traveling less distance.

Below are a couple of posts from the Archives on this topic.

Jack Mankin
Re: Re: Reaction Time: Softball/baseball Jack

Posted by: (mailto:) on Tue Jul 3 14:06:17 2001

>>> You have stated that the swing mechanics for softball and baseball are the same. I agree, but what do you say to those people who INSIST that there is less reaction time in softball. Therefore, softball hitters cannot push the bat back and down before launching the swing. They say that it takes to long.

I know that a 60 mph softball from 40 feet has the same travel time as a 90 mph base ball from 60' 6". But what exactly does this mean to the subject? Do you think that females are not as quick as males so must adjust? This may be an acceptable explination <<<

Hi Joe

If there is less reaction time in softball hitting, then all the more reason to use the most efficient mechanics to get the bat-head to the ball as quickly as possible. All mental calculations for "go – no go," plane of the swing, timing, etc., takes place before the swing is initiated. --- "A ballistic motion, once initiated, produces trajectories that can only be efficiently changed at its margins." --- The time required for these calculations would be about the same regardless of which mechanics the batter intends to use.

Once the "go" decision has been made, the main concern should be, which mechanic will bring the bat-head to the ball in the least amount of time while generating the greatest bat speed? --- The results of charting thousands of professional swings and results from motion studies show that players using rotational mechanics (angular hand-path and torque) are 20+ % quicker to the ball than those using a straight thrust of the hands.

A rotational hitter requires 4 to 5 video frames (9/60 second average) from initiation to contact. Batters with a straight hand-path require 5 to 6 frames (11/60 sec average). At contact, the rotational hitters back arm is still well flexed (in the classic "L" shape) and thus far from full extension. The hand travel for the rotational hitter is a good 6 to 10 inches shorter than extension mechanics.

Joe, the efficiency rating for a mechanic does not recognize "sex" as a factor.

Jack Mankin

RE: "Casting" - Bill - July

Posted by: Jack Mankin (MrBatspeed@aol.com) on Wed Aug 1 13:14:17 2001

>>> I have a question about the casting of a bat away from your body during a swing. All the technique's that I have follewed in the past said that casting was the worse thing you could do for batspeed. That keeping the bathead in close to your body for that whip at the end was key.

I know this site isn't a big proponent for the crack of the whip idea, but I don't think casting is a sound practice either. With the bht tht, it seems like you want people to cast the bat away from there body's, and basically elongate the swing. I have a very rotational swing as it is, I was just wondering about your thoughts on this particular idea, I want to try and piece all of my swing together. Thanks <<<

Hi Bill

These can be very trying times for players and batting coaches. It was much easier in the past when all coaches taught hitting from the same playbook. All hitting seminars, coaches' clinics, books and instructional videos herald the same linear batting principles. All the batter's motions and energies were to be directed in a straight line back toward the pitcher. So all the teaching "cues" were based on those linear principles - "transfer your weight forward to a firm front leg" - "keep your shoulder in there" - "keep your hands inside the ball" - "extend A to B" - "extend the knob at the ball (or pitcher)." And, let us not forget the original intent of the fence-drill.

Generations of players and coaches were taught to believe that all straight-line batting motions were good and all circular batting motions were bad. Non-linear terms like casting - rotating - looping - spinning - circular and etc. -- were bad (if not evil) batting concepts. These terms have become politically incorrect. "Popping the hips" was acceptable, but you would rarely hear a coach comment on "shoulder rotation." The only permissible cues for the shoulders were meant to limit rotation, such as "you're pulling your shoulder out."

Problems with the linear truisms began to surface when coaches were able to study the swing of the better hitters for themselves. Frame-by-frame video has shown that forward weight shift slowed to a stop (or near stop) before the actual swing began. The body, including the shoulders, then rotated around a fixed axis. The knob of the bat, hands, arms and bat-head are cast into a series of accelerating arcs - not straight or linear lines. But the linear indoctrination has been so deep that most coaches still cannot bring themselves to use the non-linear terms in a positive way. Instead, they try to redefine the old linear cues and truisms so as to conform to today's rotational mechanics.

So, Bill, "casting" is not an evil batting term. Using the arms to cast the hands in a wide arc while keeping the shoulders closed is bad mechanics. But when a batter allows the lead-arm to cast away from the body in order to reach an outside pitch, it is not bad mechanics. --- With linear mechanics, separating the lead-arm away from the body is not bad, it is the norm. The lead-arm is supposed to extend the hands away toward the pitcher, and "casting" is only a problem when the hand-path becomes circular.

(1) Is not rotating around a stationary axis - "spinning?"
(2) If the plane of the swing arcs downward before it levels out and starts upward, is that "looping?"
(3) With linear mechanics, as the hands are extended further and further toward full extension, is the swing getting shorter and more compact?

Jack Mankin


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