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Re: Start of swing

Posted by: Jack Mankin (MrBatspeed@aol.com) on Fri Jan 31 05:22:38 2003


>>> I tried this question before but it got mixed in with another, so I'll try again.I need help in figuring out the start of the swing. I know this has probably been answered in past postings. I hope you guys don't get tired of answering the same questions over and over. The last couple of postings has had "loading" in the talk. I thought real loading was coming back counter rotational as far as your muscles will allow (coil tension) , something like the golf back swing. The slight counter rotation in batting, I always called the trigger. I believe the body can't perform its best smooth extremely quick motion without alerting the mind & muscles that it's coming, thus the pre-counter(trigger) to get the body ready for the explosion. I'm probaby missing something here (leg load?) , I'm sure you guys will straighten me out, just like you have on several other points. Once you decide to swing is it a one piece movement (hands, shoulders, hips as one) or do the hips lead the way? The one piece has helped some girls I coach make better contact but I have a feeling that it's not the best for bat speed. <<<

Jack Mankin's reply:

Hi BMill:

The "one piece movement" usually means that the hip, torso, shoulders and hands all rotate at the same rate, or in other words they stay in the same relationship to each other during the swing. This would indicate to me a batter with very inefficient mechanics. But far too many coaches think that the reason the hips lead the hands is due to sequential timing. They think the batter should first start the hips and when the hips reach some rotational velocity, the batter then starts the torso muscles and later rotates the shoulders. This requires sequential timing for firing the contraction the different muscle groups up through the legs, torso, shoulders and on out to the arms. Sequentially timed mechanics would not produce the smooth swing of a great hitter.

Once a good rotational hitter decides it's a "go" and initiates the swing, all the muscles needed to accelerate the bat-head into its' arc are firing "in unison." His mechanics are not programmed to first fire this muscle group - then that one - and so on. --- Stand up and take a swing for yourself. You will note that as your lower-body fires to rotate your hips, the muscles in the torso are also firing to rotate your shoulders. I seriously doubt that as you initiated the swing your torso muscles were static while you rotated your hips. (Note: All bets are off if you keep your shoulder "in there" and extend knob first.)

Yes, the hips will rotate ahead of the torso and shoulders. But this is not due to sequential timing. The hips lead the shoulders and hands because in order to rotate, the upper-body must first overcome the inertia offered by bat-head acceleration. Accelerating the bat-head in an arc back toward the catcher develops a much greater load to rotation than sliding the bat lengthwise at the pitcher.

Therefore, when I see a batter with a "one piece movement", I know the reason their shoulders were able to rotate faster than their hips during initiation is because there was little or no load to overcome from bat-head acceleration. Due to poor linkage or whatever, the batter was not generating early bat speed. He was just sliding the knob at the pitcher. Without any load, the shoulders (and, or hands) can rotate right with the hips.

When you see Barry Bonds' hips go first -- take a look at where his bat-head is going.

Bonds - hip/shoulder comparison

Jack Mankin


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