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Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: THT

Posted by: tom.guerry (tom.guerry@kp.org) on Fri Sep 12 14:30:07 2003

Proposing cues is fraught with danger if the underlying model of the swing is not agreed on.This brings us face to face with Nyman's hypothesis:

"Two experts can not occupy the same space at the same time"





But I will try to find some useful reconciliation among experts.I confess,I am an "Epstein lover".I also love Mankin and Nyman and Hodge.Take these ideas with caution,however,because as Nyman says,cause and effect can be tricky,and the wrong ideas could lead to "danger and destruction".

I think Nick summarized Paul's shoulder/"counter rotation" comments well,but see the thread above for more detail.I would agree with Nyman that "counter rotation" DEFINED AS SHOULDER ROTATION is a nono.I would also agree with Epstein that "counter rotation" is essential and should be taught,but I would not define "counter rotation" the same way Nyman does.The way I think of the necessary/essential form of counter rotation,I see no reason that "counter rotation" has to involve pulling the head off the ball or making the ball harder to track/see.

I also don't see why the general principles of Nyman's throwing theory(see first link above) are not just as applicable to acquisition of hitting skills.Ecological theory,upward and downward causation,backward chaining,primacy of arm action should apply to both without a big difference even though hitting is reactive as opposed to throwing being more creative.

I don't know why scapula loading wouldn't be just as important in hitting.I don't know why he considers Jack's torque description both a poor cue(Jack admits it isn't a great cue) and a poor reality.

Epstein has developed the same type of approach-"backward chaining"- as recommended by Nyman.Epstein starts with the torque drill and moves back to the numbers drills.These drills can also be combined with Jack's preference for the heavy bag-what Nyman might call "augmented feedback" that would be productive as long as the drill is similar enough to the actual skill(specificity principle).I believe it is very specific since it stops you at contact by which time you should me at max batspeed and you can check the contact position.Both Jack and Mike are unclear about how(Jack) or whether(Mike)THT gets taught.

I do think it needs to be taught,because it is an essential part of arm action(arm action is king in structuring/organizing this motor skill) and improves swing quickness and lessens swing error.

So where might there be something similar ? I believe it is in Hodge's description of arm action for the overhand throw (with the addition of Nyman's scap loading and arm action is king principles).Hodge recognized a universal sequence of arm action as well as the necessity of synchronizing the arm action with the lower body that was most effective and least stressful for the overhand throw.While this may seem confusing because it is in anatomical/kinesiology motion terms,this probably should be in the fund of knowledge of most throwing/hitting skill coaches/trainers,because of the direct way of understanding how changes in the mechanical sequence or timing can stress the anterioir or posterior shoulder or create instability or bone spur problems.Also because it permits perception to more closely resemble reality(lessen Nyman's perception-action gap).

These same motions can be learned as well in hitting and can become a successful way of learning the swing,including THT and good "mapping" (Nyman term for synchronization) of upper and lower body.The key to the swing is to set up external rotation of the back arm as the lead leg externally rotates.This will synchronize the upper and lower body well going into the "launch phase" which is triggered by uncocking the hip.Prelaunch THT will result and continue as the lead arm internally rotates prior to tight connection turning the torso/driving the CHP.Prior to this you have to learn to set this all up by internally rotating the back arm as the hip cocks and "counterrotating" the TORSO (not shoulders) as the scap loads(back scap horizontally adducts,front scap horizontally abducts).

The simplest accessible teaching method is to graft these ideas on to Epstein's methods.Mike is a master of "feel"/describing awareness of swing motions.He also has a successful method that errs on the side of keeping things simple,a good place to be in error.He also has experience and mastery of the mental side.No one is perfect,but this is a good foundation for most.The missing area was described accurately by one poster as how "upper body loading" was accomplished.If you could add learning THT to Mike's method,you would be in great shape.You can also follow Jack's method,but I find Epstein's a little more structured/easy to follow without being overstructured/cloning.

Mike's material is available on tape and in book form.It helps to become familiar with every nuance of his descriptions,because he only mentions the essentials.You start with the bat on the deltoid.This is a controlled way of locking the muscles together/fixing the circular handpath(CHP) so that the angular/rotational feel of the swing can be learned(learning the THT/torque part comes later as you backward chain to start the drill motion at a point earlier and earlier in the swing).Next you go back to the numbers drills-how to get to toe touch(#1) and how to go from #1 to 2,short 3 and 3(get the tapes and book!).Especially important are : 1- the detail of getting to #1(wind rubber band as you stride to balance at toe touch with weight slgihtly forward and 2- the "drop and tilt" motions of heel drop/uncock hip/pull with front side/work lead elbow up a little.

Mike also goes through a nice step by step progression of dry swing to front toss to real game situations.The two areas that are not fully fleshed out are the "upper body load"/THT/torque phase of the swing (which becomes a problem of what to do when you take the bat off the deltoid and go "hands free") and the specifics of "hooking the handpath" which he encourages with his proprietary fence drill(save that for another day).

To approach learning THT,I think you need to learn the feel of the arm/shoulder action sequence and timing analagous to Hodge's description and Nyman's scap load concept.

Where does "counter rotation" come in ? Counter rotation is best felt/learned with Mikes "cue" of "wind the rubber band",etc. as you go to #1.The counterrotation of the torso needs to happen at this point-during scap load- in the full(hands free) swing-see Guerrero in Nick's clip for example.If the torso doesn't "counter rotate",I don't believe you can rotate the hips open without lunging or preventing the necessary stretch/contraction eccentric/concentric muscle action.If you watch Guerrero.as he adducts the back scap and abducts the front scap(scap loads),the torso(above belt/bottom of number) can be seen to turn back "significantly"(Nick's clip is ? 90 frames per second) as the hips begin rotating.The head does not turn back at all.What are the shoulder scaps doing? They are moving in a way that continues loading without turning the shoulders back.Counter rotating the shoulders is the wrong action.Counter rotating the torso/winding the rubber band is an essential action that should be taught.How to load the scaps should be taught too.

Now not even Mike is perfect.He is at least wide open to misinterpretation if not misinformation when it comes to the "one-piece counterrotation","flat hands" and "scoop sand with the top hand " cues.One piece counter rotation is OK as a "cue" for the desired torso counter rotation in the bat on deltoid("hands in jail") drill,but it will prevent the desired scap load action if it isn't understood that scap load happens as the lower torso counterrotates once the hands are "free".In other words,you might tend to interpret and implement this as turning the shoulders back which might lead to danger and destruction.

So you need to learn the sequence/feel of how to cock the hip as the stride foot lifts and the back arm internally rotates cocking the bat somewhat vertically.You have to learn to counterrotate and scap load as you stride out.Before toe touch(#1) you have to learn to feel the back arm externally rotate as it starts down toward the slot synchronized with the external rotation/opening of the lead leg without losing hip cock.This will start THT,and permit you to "rotate into toe touch".Then at the right time you do all the many things that comprise the "drop and tilt".Included in this is the lead elbow internally rotating/working up.This will continue/accelerate THT as the front side firms up and connects to turn the torso.

Sounds complex,but really not so much if you focus on feel and watch closely how your role model is already doing it.I think it also helps to think in terms of the back arm/top hand doing the loading and the lead arm/front scap doing the launching after the hip uncocks.The back arm/top hand then stays the way Jack describes it in Pujols while the lead arm/bottom hand get in plane with out "overshooting"/wobbling.The launch interrupting load perspective and positioning of the lead scap as it firms up are also helpful in seeting the right swing radius for a given location(swing timing VERY different for outside vs in as stressed by Epstein-look one way or the other most of the time).


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