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Re: RE: Hank Aaron, transfer mechanics

Posted by: Jack Mankin (MrBatspeed@aol.com) on Tue May 15 07:37:40 2001

> http://www.geocities.com/leebell1970/15.html
Hi All

In this post I would like to discuss a few key points I see in Aaron’s swing mechanics. In the post above I mainly concentrated on how George Brett initiated his swing. Now I will use the clip of Aaron’s swing to describe the most productive way a great hitter can apply top-hand-torque. But it is important to remember that we could use clips from this angle of most any hitter who can hit 35 or more home runs and see basically the same mechanics.

Much can be learned from studying frames 5,6 and 7 of the Aaron clip on the left and 6,7 and 8 of the clip on the right. --- I have often stated that the most productive way to apply THT was to accelerate the bat-head back toward the catcher by pulling back with the fingers of the top-hand. But from posts I have read, many have concluded that it is the lowering of the back-elbow that accelerates the bat. I would agree that the back-elbow does indeed lower as THT is being applied, but many hitters run into serious problems attempting to accelerate the bat-head by just pulling down the back-elbow.

Many hitters, from the pros on down, are using VCR’s to study the swings of the better hitters. It is quite evident that they are trying to emulate their mechanics including some version of THT. The most common problem I find is with those batters who have their hands move forward as they accelerate the bat-head back toward the catcher. This is very common with batters who take a firm grip with the top-hand and accelerate the bat by pulling down the back-elbow. With this type of action, as the elbow sweeps downward, the hands sweep a few inches (2 to 4 inches) forward. This not only plays havoc with linkage, it also results in serious wrist-binds (the plane of top-hand wrist rotation is not inline with the swing plane).

A great hitter like Aaron uses the correct mechanics to apply top-hand-torque. Note how far Aaron’s bat moved (angular displacement) in frames 5,6 and 7 (left clip) before the back-elbow lowered to his side in frame 8 or 9. Also note that hands did not move forward until frame 8 and actually the top-hand moved up and back (5,6 and 7). --- The clip on the right is taken from a little more from the right of the plate and gives us a better view of the lead arm during the swing. Note how the pulling back of the top-hand helps straighten the lead-arm in frames 6,7 and 8.

What these notes point out is that Aaron was pulling back with the top-arm and not driving down with the elbow as he initiated the swing. The pulling back not only accelerated the bat but also straightened the lead-arm across the chest for good linkage as rotation began.

Most coaches seem to agree that a circular hand-path is important in developing bat speed. But few seem to understand that to have a good CHP, the first movement of the hands must be perpendicular to the flight of the ball. If the lead-elbow bends at initiation, the first movement will be more toward first or second baseman. This is another reason why having the lead-arm pulled back and straightened by the pulling back of the top-hand is so important. --- Note the direction of movement of Aaron’s hands in frames 7 to 8 (right clip) or 6 to 7 (left clip).

Jack Mankin


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