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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 play book. 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. Those 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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