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Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Axis Tilt & Shoulder Rotation

Posted by: tom.guerry (tom.guerry@kp.org) on Sat Jan 26 10:19:11 2008

Jack -

I think you and teacherman are describing the same pattern. The confusion is largely
because of lack of clarity between when feel vs mechanics are being discussed and how
the swing is or isn't broken into what parts.

For example, teacherman has stated he fully agrees with this recent post by Jack and finds
this extremely important.

Jack said:

"I have found that in order to overcome old muscle memory and ingrain new mechanics, a
change of mind-set is far more important than the number of drill reps.. Therefore, when
practicing your swing, it is important to keep in mind that the purpose of swing mechanics
is not to get the hips to rotate or take the hands and knob to the zone. The ultimate
purpose of all swing mechanics is to accelerate the ‘bat-head’ around the swing plane to

"When setting up your practice program, I would suggest that one of the most limiting
factors to a hitter’s development is his tendency to only concentrates on those mechanics
that swing the bat-head forward toward the ball. However, before the bat-head arcs
forward toward the ball, it must first be accelerated rearward from its launch position
behind the head, rearward to the lag position (first 90 degrees of acceleration). Therefore,
as you prepare to initiate your swing, I would suggest you envision mechanics for
accelerating the bat-head around the entire 180+ degrees to contact instead of just
concentrating on mechanics for only the last 90 degrees (forward from the lag position)

"As a hitter initiates the swing, it is very tough to keep his hands back when he is
concentrating on taking the knob or bat-head forward. If the hitter would envision the
bat-head first accelerating back toward the catcher at initiation, his hands would tend to
stay back in order to accelerate the bat-head in that direction -- rearward.

"When we ask the body to perform an athletic movement, the sub-conscious mind will set
up a motor program for the rest of the body to aid in accomplishing the task. Therefore, I
have found that if I can get the batter to correctly envision the bat-head first accelerating
rearward to the lag position before he directs his energy toward the ball, the more likely
he will generate the correct hip and shoulder rotation to accomplish the task.

"If, on the other hand, the batter only thinks of swinging forward, he has the tendency to
first extend the hands forward. This is mainly accomplished by using the arms to thrust
the hands and knob, which does not require good hip and shoulder rotation. With this
vision of the swing, keeping the hands back and allowing the hips to lead does not
compute to his vision of the swing. He now has to consciously think of starting hip and
shoulder rotaion ahead of accelerating the hands. -- He may be able to think "hips first"
in practice, but in the game, old muscle memories will win out almost everytime.

"Once I feel the batter is starting to have the correct vision of the swing, I use the cue,
“Rotate the heel (initiate lower-body rotation) – Rotate the bat-head (initiate the
acceleration back toward the catcher”). I ask the student, “what must you do with the top-
hand as your elbow lowers to accelerate the bat-head back at the catcher?” After a few
attempts, they learn to hold back (or pull back) the top-hand at the shoulder and allow
shoulder rotation to accelerate the bat-head back. the hips just naturally rotate ahead of
the hands and they have the “L” in the back-leg and lead-arm at contact. and they have
the “L” in the back-leg and lead-arm at contact."

End of quote.

So, Jack and teacherman both agree on the ultimate mindset/vision/purpose of the swing.

Jack states that "shoulder and hip rotation" will tend to be good if you think/start the
swing by hands turning handle to swing bathead rearward.

teacherman says you have to bypass the shoulders.

both MIGHT (input please) agree that:

1- when bathead starts rearward, front heel/lower body starts "rotating" at same time,

2-as the swing proceeds "the hips just naturally rotate ahead of the hands" (upper body in
control of total body synch/action).

The big area of diference is in how the "shoulder" action is described. To "reconcile" this
difference, I would offer the following:

Think of hips as rotating the TORSO, not the "shoulders".

Think of the "shoulders" in terms of how the "scaps" move.

Think of the role of the scaps/shoulders as primarily to:

1- support the handle torquing/bahead turning and

2- to connect/lock on to the turning torso.

Think of the torso as the power source like the turning flywheel with mass of a purely
mechanical model ("ironnyman"/etc.). Think of the scaps as slaved to the upper limbs in
producing "transfer mechanics" that also enable adjusting swing on fly to create a
generous/forgiving contact zone (increase allowable timing error).

In this sense, the role of the "shoulders" is to support the turning of the bathead. When
they do this, they become active AFTER the swing has started ("running start" roughly
equivalent to "prelaunch tht") by synched upper and lower body turn bathead/turn front
heel (bathead uncocks/untips as hands/shoulders stay back).

This rearward acceleration of the bat/mass initially/reactively keeps the shoulders back
for a bit, THEN there is the "THT at launch" or "GO" or "drop and tilt" which involves
further acceleration of the bathead around the swing arc which initially creates MORE
resistance to turning with the hip/torso/trunk rotation. This means a controlled (timing
and direction) stretch of torso as "shoulders"/scaps lock on, then firing of the bathead by
good "transfer mechanics" (handle torque and body connection/CHP).

IF the scaps are used instead to try to assist the torso/hips in TURNING, then early
batspeed and adjustability are compromised. This forces OVERuse of the arms and "drag"
of the bat longitudinally.

So in this sense, it is NECESSARY to "bypass" the shoulders as a contributer to "rotating"
the body. Instead the shoulders (scaps) support handle torquing and the ability to adjust
the contact zone and timing of the body stretch and fire of the TORSO's "spinal rotation".

Torso rotates.

Shoulders "tilt".

As far as swing phases are concerned, the bat head is cocked/tipped, THEN it is
uncocked/untipped by "prelaunch" tht/running start where front heel and bathead turning
are synched. Top hand/back arm are primary actors here initially, THEN the lead ARM
takes over by internal rotation +/- lift off chest to adjust (more lift for up adjustment as
location being recognized).

THEN there is the GO/drop and tilt/"THT at launch" where lateral tilt of the scaps (front
shoulder up, back shoulder/scap relatively down) and swiveling of the FOREARMS (without
uncocking the wrists prematurely) fires the bathead which finishes stretching/adjusting
the torso/flywheel which the scaps then connect to for good "transfer", enabling "early
batspeed" and "late adjustment".


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