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RE: Hank Aaron, transfer mechanics

Posted by: Jack Mankin (MrBatspeed@aol.com) on Fri May 11 22:08:42 2001


>>> Hi Jack,

Here's something some might enjoy. The HR king pulling the ball and going to right/center. I kinda wish I included a third swing, right field.


I believe these two swings to be good swings of Hank early in his career (I have many swings of Hank). Since there has been so much talk about weight shift etc. etc., I think a discussion on transfer mechanics in these two swing would be great.

I read some very solid information on the swing itself here about a month ago, smoothness, letting rotation bring the bat around, etc. I didn't comment, although it was some great stuff on the upperbody.

Both swings are in 'real time', no replays, extra frames, synced to contact, the only differences is between turning on one and going the other way. This isn't from release to contact, 11 frames, just after (that's where one started).

I agree going frame by frame is good for discussion, and I numbered the frames. If you think it needs to be slower, I can adjust to any speed. Shawn <<<

Jack Mankin's reply:

Hi Shawn

I am bringing your post back to the top of the board because a lot can be learned from the clip you presented. Viewing Aaron's swing from this angle allows us to study a batting mechanic that is the KEY to bat speed development.

This clip is very similar to the clip of George Brett's swing I was studying when the lights suddenly went on to my understanding of the baseball swing. There are key components found in the transfer mechanics of both Aaron and Brett swings that are not found in the average hitter. --- I had known for some time that about 50% of a great hitters bat speed came from the transfer of the body's rotational energy (via a circular hand-path) and about 50% from torque. At that time I thought torque was almost entirely supplied by a mechanic I termed "bottom-hand-torque."

In order to fully apply BHT to the bat requires the lead-shoulder be fully rotated and pulling the lead-arm back toward the catcher at contact. This appeared to be the main difference between the average and the great hitters. The great hitters had shoulder rotation and lead-arm pull through contact and the rest did not. But there were some exceptions to this rule that I could not explain. There were a few hitters (very few) like Juan Gonzales who could develop great bat speed and yet their shoulders did not fully rotate. It was obvious that little BHT was being applied. -- Things just did not add up. If the amount of torque (BHT) supplied to the bat was reduced - where did the energy needed to hit a ball that hard come from??

This was the dilemma that had plagued me for months as I viewed the George Brett clip. And now, thanks to Shawn, we can observe the same mechanics in the swing of Hank Aaron. --- What caught my attention about Brett's swing was that he accelerated the bat-head BACK toward the catcher before he fully initiated the swing. The bat-head rotated nearly 45 degrees before shoulder rotation had begun and 80 or 90 degrees by the time the back-elbow lowered, and full rotation started.

I wondered - what forces could he be applying to the bat that would cause that reaction? So, I picked a bat and assumed his launch position as close as I could. While trying to attain the bat-head movement I had observed, it suddenly dawned on me - This is a perfect position to apply torque to the bat. By keeping the bottom-hand stationary at the armpit and pulling back with the top-hand (instead of extending it forward), I could accelerate the bat-head back toward the catcher very similar to what I observed in Brett's swing.

The over-head clip below illustrates what I observed viewing the initiation of Brett’s swing. The second clip exhibits the mechanics of applying torque approaching contact;

Over-head view of PLT & THT

BHT – Burrell & Bonds

So that was the missing link that had troubled me for so long. Great hitters do not solely rely applying bottom-hand-torque later in the swing, they also generate a great deal of torque back behind them before they turn and direct their energies toward the mound. --- Since this form of torque was mainly developed from the pulling back of the top-hand, I termed the mechanic; "Top-Hand-Torque."

I think that if we can pry our attention away from the lower-body for a moment and spend more time studying upper-body and transfer mechanics, we can better understand those mechanics used by the great hitters that are not found in average hitters. --- The scope of this topic is much too great to be covered in one post. I will refer to other important aspects of Arron's (and Gonzales) mechanics in following post to this tread.

Jack Mankin


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