Re: Role of Top Hand (ray porco )
Posted by: Mister X (
) on Thu May 1 19:54:27 2003
And here is my response:
Again sorry for the trouble. I tried to post this Tuesday night, and for some reason it didn't get posted. I think the best way to do this is for me to respond paragraph by paragraph, so here goes:
I disagree with you that you want to "drive the top hand past the bottom hand" on an inside pitch or any kind of pitch. You're probably right when you say that it won't cause wrist roll in a good hitter (one that has timed the pitch perfect). But we are all not good hitters. By driving the top hand past the bottom hand, you will hit the oustide of the ball and most likely pull it foul. But by pulling the bottom hand (through shoulder rotation) around the top hand you will be able to stay inside the ball better and keep the ball fair, that is how Bonds is able to pull those extremely inside pitches and keep them fair for HRs.
I'm still not 100% sure that there is ulnar flex in the Bonds and Griffey pics. Griffey is pretty obvious, but you just can't tell on Bonds for sure. You expect it to be there so you see it. I don't expect it to be there so I don't see it. The fact is that the picture just doesn't clearly illustrate it one way or the other.
I do understand what you meant when you said ulnar flexation. I just termed it wrist bend to try to simplify it. No big deal really, just so we know what each other means. As far as the right angle thing goes. That is not exclusively true. You can have a loose grip, and have the bat at a non 90 degree angle with no wrist bend either way. It is probably a good indicater, but does not mean anything for sure.
On to the pics:
The first Bonds pic doesn't show anything. You can't be 100% for sure either way. I'm not saying it is or isn't there, I'm just saying you can't say for sure. Just not a good angle to show it. The second Bonds pic probably shows it, but I'm still not 100% sure. Both of those pics are after contact and if the top hand is closer to the pitcher that could just be from continuing to rotate after contact.
The first A-Rod pic might have it, but I'm not sure. The bat appears to be at a 90 degree angle (which doesn't guaruntee anything) and his hands appear to be "even" to me. Neither one appears to be ahead of each other. The top hand might be closer to the pitcher, but that seems to be from rotation. He hasn't reached contact yet, and he is already a little out front. With the bat at a 90 degree angle, and the fact that he is early, seems to suggest that the only reason his top hand is closer to the pitcher is due to rotation. His hands really appear even in relationship to each other here with no ulnar flex. The second pic doesn't really show anything either. It is right at contact but because of the angle, you can't really tell if one hand is closer to the pitcher. And you really can't tell if the wrist is flexed because his batting gloves blend together.
The first Mac clip appears to have ulnar flex. But notice that the pitch is inside and he could be trying to really yank it out. I did say that even on an inside pitch you should pull the bottom hand around the top hand, but no one does it right all the time. The second Mac pic might have ulnar flex, but I'm not 100% sure. Again he is out in front (hitting the ball at his front foot) and the position of the top hand could be from rotating for a longer time than normal. In the third Mac pic, I might see some ulnar flex. But the hands are even with respect to the pitcher and this pic in almost exactly at contact. Also notice where the contact is being made: right even with the front knee.
Berkman's top hand is way in front of his bottom hand. But his is also very far along (timewise) in his swing. Again this could by continuing to rotate after contact. I'm not sure if I see ulnar flex, but I do believe I see his top hand starting to roll over. You can see a little of the logo on his batting glove which you wouldn't be able to see if his hand was exactly palm up.
The Matt William's clip is a really bad example. You just really can't tell anything one way or the other because of the angle. His top hand is closer but again he is way out in front. Contact is being made in front of his stride foot and this could be the result of rotation.
I would say Griffey has unlar flex. But the position of the top hand is probably due to rotating to contact which out in front.
For Chris Gomez, I would say the same things as I said for Griffey.
For Cliff Floyd I'm not sure if I see ulnar flex or not. I see more "wrist curl" than any other wrist movement. And notice where contact is being made: at about the front knee.
Basically, these pics just don't say anything 100% for sure. Whether is it the angle of the pic or what, the just don't say for sure.
So when you say "I never ask anyone to consciously think once the ball has been released" I assume you mean that when you get to the plate you just do what comes natural (or through practice). That is the correct view, and that is also why many players have a hard time switching their mechanics. When they decide to swing they revert back to their old "natural" mechanics. But then in practice don't you have your players think about what they are doing? I don't think hitters should ever think to "drive their top hand past their bottom". It will most likely lead to problems.
Paul Nyman was the one who first told me that contact should be made even with the front knee, but he has proven it in my mind. Contact should be made even with the front knee on an ideal pitch right down the middle. Of course it varies a little by pitch location. On an outside pitch it should be deeper like around your crotch, and on an inside pitch it should be closer to your front foot. But think about it. If you are using correct, rotational mechanics, you will lose a lot power if you try to hit the ball deeper than your crotch or more out in front than your stride foot. It's really common sense. Most of those swings that resulted in HR's were also most likely inside pitches that were pulled except the ones I mentioned that prove my point.
When I swing I just let my wrists do whatever. In fact, I have never really thought of doing anything with them. I don't lock them, but I don't believe they really bend either way at contact.
If you don't use "drive the top hand past the bottom hand" as a cue, what do you use it as? What is the point of saying it if you don't believe/follow/use it?
And what is the difference between "wrist roll" and "wrist roll over"? You can't really have one without the other. If you wrists "roll", as you continue your swing they will eventually "roll over". And if they do roll over, then before that they had to just "roll". Both of them cause undesireable results and make it very difficult to hit the ball well. If you can't have one without the other, and they both cause the same bad results, what is the difference? Basically we're just taking about degrees that don't matter.
I really don't have any pics to back me up. The Mac pic that I pointed out and the one you changed your mind about show the contact point and the even wrists. There are some links below that show even wrists and contact at the knee. Video clips would really be the best to use. Still pics can almost show anything you want and can be very misleading.
This discussion has been really good. In my opinion it is the best this board has ever had. Questions are actually being answered without the discussion breaking down into personal attacks. Thank you ray, and I hope we can keep it going. You have changed my mind about the cue. I never have thought about driving your top hand past your bottom hand by using your wrists. But I still don't think they have a big role in the swing. They only come into play when the batter is fooled and throws the hands to create the whip effect (like the A-Rod clip). I'll sit back and wait for you response.
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