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Re: Dusty Baker quote

Posted by: Jack Mankin (MrBatspeed@aol.com) on Fri Oct 19 22:41:16 2001

On page 29 of Dusty's "You Can Teach Hitting" he says: "Throw the head of the bat at the ball. To do this, the hitter accelerates his wrists, forearms, hands, and fingers and throws the bat through the strike zone. He should think of this as though he were cracking a whip".

It seems to me that after having read Jack's materials (debunking the crack-the-whip theory, etc) there seems to be a conflict between what Jack teaches and what Dusty teaches.

My question is this: Is it possible to subscribe to 80 percent of Jack's teachings but give Baker the benefit of the doubt on this particular issue, or should I totally dismiss the teachings of one of these individuals?

Hi Giant Fan

Welcome to the site. -- I would suggest it would be better to follow the teachings of one or the other. Combining the two methods can lead to real problems. If the mechanics you choose separate the lead arm from the body, do not attempt to apply early torque (tht) to the bat. Serious wrist binds can develop and place a lot of stress on the joints and spinal column.

Below is an exchange of posts between Major Dan and I regarding the use of the hands and arms in the swing.

"Using the arms correctly is essential if a batter is to become a better hitter and rise above the average hitters. A batter will never develop sufficient arm strength that can generate the bat speed necessary to become a great hitter without properly using the rest of his body. The more the batter attempts to use the arms to accelerate the hands, the more he separates the arms from the power of the rotating body and shoulders.

> In the swing of the best hitters, the arms are not used as much to generate energy, they are used to transfer the energy from the larger muscle groups in the legs and torso to the bat. Great hitters do not separate the lead arm away from the rotating body by extending the top hand.. In fact, far from it, great hitters keep the hands and lead arm back (across the chest) and allow the powerful rotation of the shoulders to bring the hands to the contact point. --- The top hand is not driving the lead arm away from the chest (this is forward arm extension and linear mechanics). As shoulder rotation starts to accelerate the lead arm and hands around the arc -- THE TOP HAND IS PULLING BACK TOWARD THE CATCHER. This "pulling back" not only applies tremendous torque to the bat, but it also keeps the lead arm extended across much of the rotating chest as the swing is initiated.

> As the swing continues, the back elbow will lower to the batter�s side and top hand will stop pulling back toward the catcher, and back arm will rotate with the body in the classic "L" position. The lead shoulder continues its rotation, which pulls the lead arm around the arc and back toward the catcher as contact is made. It is the "pulling back" of the lead arm that causes the "fishhook" effect (reducing the arc radius of the hand-path) and adds bottom-hand-torque to the bat. --- These are the mechanics of the great hitter that result in a highly accelerated bat through contact.
> I hope that all of you are understanding that this is the main difference between the materials offered on Batspeed.com and the materials taught by other coaches who teach linear or their version of rotational/linear batting mechanics. It is fine to own and read that material for a general understanding, but I submit to you that those are not the mechanics used by great, All-Star caliber hitters.
> Jack Mankin

Jack -
I was experimenting in the batting cage last week with many of the ideas I have come across on the internet. After a number of swings and misses (getting the rust off) I realized I was swinging my arms at the ball. Applying your lessons, I tried to get a full hip, then shoulder turn into my swing. Two things happened - first, (and I clearly remember this) I was fully facing the ball, body completely open, and the ball was still 5-10 feet in front of me (I had been late on previous pitches)(it felt like the pitch was a changeup); second, though I never consciously tried to swing the bat, the bat seemingly flew into the ball. I found myself crushing ball after ball with minimal effort.
I know this is just a cue, but for those who are or have used linear elements in their swings, trying to swing the bat results in using the arms to swing. This is the key 'wrong turn' in the swing.
If I just turned into the ball, keeping my hands with me, the bat hit the ball. I didn't feel as if I was swinging at it.
However it feels strange, almost surreal, to hit without trying to swing the bat.
From a kinesthetic perspective, it is a very significant difference in feeling. Mentally it is counter-intuitive. In action, it works really well.
Jack, do you know of other people who have had this experience? I am sure for me that I can feel the difference between rotational and linear and it is like night and day in action.
Working with my 10 year old last night, I kept telling him - "don't swing, just turn into the ball". Seems like a strange thing to say, but the results are correct. Strange....


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