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Re: Keeping the hands back

Posted by: Jack Mankin (MrBatspeed@aol.com) on Sat Jan 5 17:26:27 2002


>>> Great video Jack. I learned a lot. I was especially interested when you talked about the bottom hand drifting forward causing the wrists to bind. That is my problem, as I seem to foul back or pop a lot of balls up because of it. My back shoulder also tends to drop. Are there any drills that you can recommend for keeping that bottom hand still? Please help me. The rest of my swing is great. Thanks, JT<<<

>>> Jack, I have been introducing one of my teammates to rotational mechanics. I have noticed how he lets his hands drift forward during his swing. In my opinion, and from what I,ve learned from this site, letting the hands drift forward causes the hitter to get ahead of the power curve and try to apply torque out on end. I also noticed he has pretty good lower body mechanics but I've explained to him how if he doesn't keep the hands back his rotation isn't worth a plug nickel. Also, I noticed in your video how you said that if the hands aren't near the rear armpit when top hand torque is applied and rotation begins, it can cause wrist bindings. Before I noticed that he lets his hands drift forward, I talked to him about pulling back with the top hand. He mentioned to me that he hurt his wrist on one of his swings and I thought that maybe it was because he applied torque with his hands in the middle of his torsoe instead of at his rear armpit. Do you think that I have been accurate in my teachings? If not, what should I tell him? Thanks, Matt. <<<

<u>Jack Mankin's reply:</u>

Hi Jt & Matt

The concern of both of your post asks how does a batter correctly initiate the swing with top-hand torque to avoid "wrist binds" and similar problems that can occur. Hope you don't mind if I address your post together.

Gentleman you have both addressed the KEY problem that must be solved to effectively change from linear to rotational transfer mechanics. All of your hitting careers and hours of batting practice have centered on the mechanic of extending your hands as you initiate the swing. But as you have discovered, extending the hands away from the body causes real problems with rotational mechanics. It will not be easy to erase the old muscle program and burn in a new one, but the results make it well worth the time.

Trying to burn-in a new mechanic in the batting cage with live balls is a long and tedious affair. You can shorten your time and effort considerably by using a heavy bag to workout with. --- The important thing to remember is - The hands must be at, or coming to, the shoulders (armpit) when shoulder rotation begins.

Here is the way I would practice it (Barry Bonds style):

Start with hands 4 or 5 from the shoulder - bat cocked slightly forward toward the pitcher - back elbow elevated 70 degrees or so;

Perform the inward-turn - take a soft 5 to 6 inch stride;

As you initiate shoulder rotation the back-elbow starts lowering toward the side;

HERE IS THE KEY -- as the shoulders start to rotate, the hands (4 or 5 from the shoulder) should be coming back and toward the rotating shoulder. As the back-elbow lowers, the top-hand pulls the hands (as a unit) back and stretches the lead-arm tighter (and straighter) across the chest. As the hands are pulled back, the bat-head will also be accelerated in an arc back toward the catcher. Make sure the bat-head is accelerated into the swing plane (not to vertical); and

Don't forget the lead-arm, it must be applying a pulling force to the knob end of the bat. The top-hand is pulling the bat-head around toward the catcher until the elbow lowers to the side and then, the pull (on the knob end) of the lead-arm (and shoulder) accelerates the bat-head around the arc (middle-in pitches).

Jack Manklin


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