Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: creating a torque couple: Coach C
Posted by: Teacherman (
) on Fri Apr 18 17:53:05 2003
Hi! I played college and amateur baseball back in 1980. After college I bought this windmill bat with 3 big fans that you swung against air resistance somewhat like swinging a broom. I learned that the best way to swing was by creating a couple with my legs. I would stride and when my front foot hit the ground the weight on both feet was exactly the same and remained that way throughout the swing. My legs would push against each other. My front leg would straighten and push my front hip back toward the catcher and my back leg would push my back hip toward the pitcher. This caused my hips to rotate. I would swing this windmill bat about 20 times and then swing a regular bat. The sensation was unbelievable. The bat seemed to whip itself around and I felt like I had to hold on to the bat to keep it from flying away. My hitting really improved. I could wait on a fast ball and not get too far in front of a curve ball. Of course the competition I played against wasn't that great but I felt that I had a very quick bat. So much so that I went a summer season (almost 100 at bats) without striking out and hit almost .400. I could hit the ball a lot harder. When I saw Jack's video I thought that he is exactly right. I have a master's degree in civil engineering so I know more than the average person about angular momentum and torque and in my opinion Jack is on the money. Shifting your weight from your back foot to your front foot and throwing the bat towards the ball and pitcher is not the way to go. I could never swing my windmill bat very well this way. The air resistance would soon let you know the proper way to swing a bat. Mike Kay
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> > > > I use a similar tool called a swing fan. It was made for golf, but I find it equally helpful for my baseball swing. I have a few questions for you.......Do you feel more powerful with the stride or could you hit without a stride equally well? Also, what percentage of power do you feel in the lower back and abs?
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> > > > Thanks,
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> > > > Coach C
> > > > Congrats on your success
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> > > Thanks for the response. I too have a swing fan for golf. It has helped my golf as well. (I golf right handed and bat left handed so I can't use my golf fan for baseball). You ask some thoughful questions. Sometimes I could swing the fan with more force without the stride. My own opinion is that you need a short stride for timing the pitch but you have to be careful because if you stride too much you get too spread out and can't use your legs to create that torque and couple. Since you are working against air resistance you really feel the forces in your lower back and abs. Then when you swing without the fans you hardly notice it but the bat seems to swing your upper body around. It is quite a sensation. I wish the people here had a chance to experiment with this device and think about the principles that are discussed here. I think it would help in understanding the swing better. Mike Kay
> > I like your answers and I agree with you that more people should swing that thing. It's nothing like swinging a donut on the end of a bat. After swinging the fan, the baseball bat feels like a hot knife through butter and one get's the feeling that the bat is swinging them. Tremendous torque!!!
> > My feel is that 100% of the power comes from the torso and that my legs respond to the torque. For my legs to respond to all of the torque they need to be in an athletic position, strong, stable and in touch with the ground. I feel a strong sense of leverage from the ground. Something I learned about myself in golf was that I tended to sway (improper hip usage)laterally with my legs prior to impact. Changing that flaw made a huge difference for me in golf and gave me incredible power and more accuracy. I than began to wonder if that same flaw existed in my baseball swing and in fact, it did! I prefer no stride in my baseball swing and feel I'm better for it. Unfortunately my playing days are over, but I spend a few hours a week working with kids. I've spoken at hitting seminars with some prominant Major Leaguers, spent a limited amount of time with some high school players, two of which will be guaranteed first rounders, but mostly I hit baseballs, softballs and anything round that moves (watch your head......just kidding). I have never taught for money, because I love the game. All I've done is to try and develop drills that share this feeling you apparently have. Not many people get my attention on this site, because no one ever talks about the feel.........if you don't feel it in your back, abs, and legs, then you don't have it, in my opinion. Everyone just talks about mechanics...........You have to feel it and when you feel it, then you will see it! Good Luck Mike.....share your knowledge with the kids.
> Mike, I think that was an excellent and easy to understand description of what is occurring below the waist during the swing. I have hit with those mechanics my entire career and they allowed me to play a little pro ball even though I'll admit to having limited natural ability. Those swing fans can be a very useful tool but they have to be used properly. I've seen guys actually hurt themselves with those things by throwing it with their upper body instead of using their lower body to actually swing it.
> Coach C, I have read many of your posts and feel you have a good grip on what you are talking about. However, while I agree a strong core (abs & lower back) add to the power of the swing I don't think the torso is responsible for 100%. Though I am a biologist and not an engineer I think I have a fair understanding of how and where power is generated. I think of power as being an additive property with lower, mid, and upper body parts adding differing percentages. I think the best hitters are strong in all three areas and have the mechanics to coordinate everything properly. Today's stronger athletes combined with good rotational mechanics account for the huge power numbers being put up in today's game. If the players of past were as strong, especially in the upper body, 70 HRs would have already been in the books. Imagine if Ted Williams could bench press 300lbs, combined with the incredible power he generated with his legs and hips many of his doubles would have been HRs. The same could pobably be said of most of the sluggers of the past; they generated most of their power with their legs and hips. I feel strong legs can compensate for a weaker torso and upper body. I will use myself as an example. At a very young age I had a major surgery which left a huge amount of scar tissue on the left side of my chest and back which inhibited muscle development; as a result I never developed much upper body strength. Until a few years ago I could not bench my body weight, 190lbs. However, I developed very strong legs topping out with a 450lb free weight squat when I was in college. Using mechanics like Mike described above which I obtained by reading Ted Williams' book like the bible I was able to generate enough power to hit balls over 400ft even with wood and a weaker torso and upper body. I didn't mean to ramble on so long but I had to get in my two cents that a strong lower body and proper lower body mechanics are an essential part for developing power in the swing. Also to address another of your questions, I think a short stride, 6-9 inches, starting from a stance that is slightly more than shoulder width is the proper starting point. Keep up the interesting posts, Coach C, and I would be interested in reading your comments.
Any of you guys have a picture of these swing fans? I'm having a hard time understanding their makeup. If not give me another detailed description.
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