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Re: A Different Slant

Posted by: Doug () on Thu Apr 24 07:58:59 2003

I really enjoy the dialog on this site and appreciate some of the insight. As many have mentioned before I too see many hitters with a different style of hitting in MLB and it has been one of my life's ambitions to understand their differences. I've spent years emulating many of these great hitters in cages and in games, both left handed and right. I've used video analysis to help me to achieve these goals and I can say for certain that I never will stop learning. I feel it was my responsibility not to change someone's swing until I understand everything about their swing, because many do it differently. Nothing grieves me more than to go to a college or high school baseball game and see 30 kids all look the same in their set-up and their swings. It's a cookie cutter approach and I don't buy it. Those of you that go to these games too, know what I'm talking about. However go to a MLB game and everyone looks different.....they have their own style.
> In my quest to emulate many great hitters it was always important for me not only to mirror their swings identically, but more importantly, understand the feel that got me there. Feel is how I teach, because that is all I know. So from me students often hear.......it feels like this, or did you feel that. I try to develop drills that encourage these feels and quite frankly my methods are not conventional. Most of you know from experience that conventional drills can do more harm than good.
> Some of the swings I've been able to replicate in hitting, with the use of slow motion video are Nomar Garciaparra, Ken Griffey, Barry Bonds, Hank Aaron, Alex Rodriguez, Babe Ruth, Larry Walker, Lance Berkman, Jeff Bagwell, Rafeil Palmeiro, Juan Gonzales, Tony Gwynn and about 50 others. I know it's sounds crazy, but it just been my obsession for the last 20 years.
> I mention this now because I want to talk about what feel has taught me, not science. Feel has taught me that the hands control all swings, but how we use them is the key. As an example Tony Gwynn teaches pull the knob, but the way he teaches it is not how he himself does it and many of his students struggle. His students rarely get in the slot to activate the lower body. I believe A-Rod pushes the knob with his hands (not pulls)with emphasis on bottom arm extension (on the proper path but avoids top hand rollover by extending is hands past the ball , and gets added power from pushing his legs to the ground, which forces his hips to rotate, this is why he sometimes never gets the lead leg straight at contact (only sometimes). Bonds hands are very active as evident by his prepatory bat wave, but his key is not to drive them through the ball but only to hold on, as evident by his sometimes shortened follow through and short arms, rarely does he ever get extended in the swing. Bonds and A-Rod's idea of staying inside the ball are two different concepts.....Bonds stay's inside by shortening his arms and A-Rod pushes his hands inside the ball with the goal for longer arms. I do not favor one over the other quite frankly because I understand the goals of each hitter. Bonds hits to one side of the field with idea of hitting home runs, A-rod wants to hit to all fields and never wants to swing over 70% (That's a quote from him on ESPN). Bonds has perfected his approach by waiting for the ball to get to him and hitting only his pitch while the other 99.99 percent probably don't do one or both. Bonds is just tremendous!!!!
> All the others I've mentioned have different quirks in their swings as well and to be sure I've definitly over simplified Bonds and A-Rods swing. However to my original point about the hand action. In all of the swings I've emulated the hands are the key factor. Whether their actively going to the ball (pepper mentality or linear) or completely passive and just holding on (pure rotational). The problem most have with the rotational concept is that the hands get to far away from the body and the arms tend to get too long (disconnect), this is why the hands are active because they keep the arms in close to the body, but they don't hit. Completely passive hands create disconnect from the torso and too long of a swing. If you hit a ball with long arms it can go a long way, but consistancy is not likely because the swing will be too long, in a game where you need more time.
> It is only my opinion that most kids need to feel their hands in the swing at a young age. This doesn't mean they should go straight to the ball, but they need to know what they are doing, their position in relation to their body, because no matter how we slice it, the hands must stay inside the ball or the ball will hit us in the arms. In rotational mechanics we want short arms as the goal, in linear type hitting we want long arms (extension) in front of the body............both are quick when done correctly, so seeing the ball a long time can still be achieved.
> I much prefer the short-arm approach (rotational), but it doesn't mean linear hitters won't succeed if the instruction is done correctly. Linear hitters can definetly hit for power too, I give you Manny Ramirez, Mark McGwire, Alfonso Soriano and Jason Giambi, to name only a few. Frank Thomas pulls the knob (not good in my opinion), while Manny Ramirez and most others push (really push) the hands through the ball.
> Hope I don't ruffle feathers, but this is what I feel.........it's not based on science.
> Coach C
> Please make any comments in your response to feel and not based on science, I'm not a scientist, I'm a baseball player. I'll fully understand it when you tell me your feel in the swing. Thanks.

Coach C, Very good post. I understand what you are saying and appreciate your post.



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