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Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Hands Lead the Elbows

Posted by: tom.guerry (tom.guerry@kp.org) on Wed Feb 5 11:50:34 2003

> I had a recent discussion with Mike and can provide validity to both your interpretation of the swing based on video analysis and his based on video analysis.
> I have spend the last year researching swing mechanics (analyzing over 10,000 athletes of all ages) and have come to some astonishing conclusions.
> Number one is that athlete are doing exactly what they are being doing taught, whether it is right or wrong.
> Second, is that athletes are not being taught correctly. (Something I am sure you have seen from your work. More importantly, the instructors are looking at the results of a specific action and forcing athletes to emphasize that result. Instead of looking at the cause of the action and teaching to the aspect of the swing.
> I am not saying that over 10,000 coaches out there are wrong, just that they have focused on the wrong theing. Our technology (3D-skillcheck, which can be found at www.skilltechnologies.com) has allowed us to identify specific physical characteristics in the swing including hip, torso, arm/hand, and bat angular acceleration. Identify joint angles (accurately, no guessing as is the case with video), and much more. I can tell you if what an athlete does or a coach teaches is efficient and in the best interests of the athlete based on the physical strengths and weaknesses of the athlete.
> You and Epstein are both almost correct on arm position. The lead arm is not straight or bent to 90 degrees at contact. It has approximately a 15 to 30 degree bend at the elbow debending on the strength of the athlete, balance, and speed of rotation of the bat. People thing the athlete is swinging a 22 to 34 ounce bat of different lengths because that's what it says on the end of the bat. But as you begin to swing the bat, rotational forces begin to act on the bat at at varying points throughout the swing, bat weight increases to well over 100 pounds (force). This means that depending on the strength of the athlete, weight may be improperly distributed through one joint or another, causing the athletes to lose balance or extend prematurely at or before contact. Coaches who teach the athlete to extend at contact forces the athlete out of sequence and thus causing a potential loss of power.
> There are many factors that go into the swing and believe it or not technique only goes so far. An athlete who is in better physical shape, with more athletic ability, balance, stability, and other physical strengths, will always produce better results that the other athlete (all other things being equal--vision, pitch, mind)
> Zig Ziegler

I would be interested in seeing how things are studied.

My hypothesis(es) based on Jack's and others(Nyman,Hodge,Epstein,etc.) is that the swing must be optimized for quickness(low timing error/blend of short path of sweetspot from launch to contact and traversing this as quickly as possible).

You would therefore want to study only superquick types to figure out what works for them and to measure things to create some criteria for what such a quick type is.

With regard to transfer mechanics,based on Jack's info,the important thing to me seems to be to have as short a swing radius as possible set at "launch".It would be possible for bend to come out of the elbow before contact without distorting timing too much(as long as there is no deceleration/"disconnection" before contact)if there is a long swing radius/"high load" situation where there can be extension at the elbows after the bat has swung out to the point of almost lining up with the lead arm.These mechanics may be necessary for the outside location,but will involve a tradeoff where quickness suffers.(Note:Young/small players can't cover the plate without a longer swing radius).

For example,if you watch Bonds(big strong guy,mechanics optimized for quickness/waiting on ball as long as possible) on a very inside high pitch,the elbow is very bent(way more than 30 degrees) at launch and stays that way through contact.This allows the bathead to come out steadily to build speed over a maximal amount of torso turn(105 degree idea)without the bat angle getting to the point of hitting around the ball for the dead pull foul.That's how he keeps these balls fair with power and elevation.

I would be interested on biomechanics studies of this type hitter to see what they do as opposed to ones that stay off the plate more and are more likely to want to get the elbows extended through contact.

Epstein uses the "soft elbows" as a feel cue,but I don't know exactly how he thinks of the underlying sequence of joint angles/extension.

One advantage of the big chested people(besides having lots of mass in the torso to carry momentum) is that they tend to have a stable tight conection with a flexed arm at launch and cover the plate well if they are bellied up.A straight arm is not necessary for tight connection if you form the box well via external rotation of the back arm and internal rotation of the front arm during the tht/separation part of the swing(last frame or 2 immediately prior to launch).Straightening the lead arm may be necessary to get the sweetspot to the ball,but this creates a high load/less quick swing.

Epstein particularly discourages "wrapping" the bat before launch which gets confused with how straight the lead arm may stretch.This wrapping in the flaw sense comes from excessive flexing arm muscle action which messes up the timing of tht and the establishment of the desired early turning of the bat which should come from the big muscles as the upper and lower half separate and the box is formed.

In summary,you want the bat in motion(turning around a short radius-final arc) before launch and you want to have the shortest possible swing radius(radius of handpath driven by torso turn-?next to final arc?) at launch that is miantained as much as possible to contact to be as quich as possible to the ball.If you can get tight connection with lots of flex in the lead arm and keep the swing radius there until good fairball contact is made as quickly as possible,that is ideal.The more the lead arm straightens before launch to set the swing radius the less quick/higher load the swing will be.In the high load case,flex may come out of the lead elbow as the bat lines up with the lead arm without excessively degrading swing timing.

Have these things been looked at by the 3D software.

Knowing what to look for is key.Pitching is a whole nother area where I would be interested in looking at arm slot,relation/sequence of elbows and knees as well as x-factor and center of gravity motion.


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