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Re: Re: Lead-arm extension

Posted by: THG () on Mon Jan 28 18:28:59 2008

> >>> My son's college coach wants him to swing down on the ball to create more backspin. He wants a pronounced lead arm extension at contact swinging down on the ball. Is the correct way. He is having a lot of trouble with this. I took him to his old hitting coach over Christmas break and the hitting coach said my son's college coach is crazy. Please help us! <<<
> Hi Bob
> I agree with his old hitting coach. Swinging downward and extending the lead-arm to contact are both detrimental to good hitting. Let us first address the role of the lead-arm in a high level swing.
> In order to attain maximum acceleration of the bat approaching contact, the bottom-hand must apply a rearward force on the handle as the top-hand applies the forward force. To better illustrate this, I will use the analogy of loosening a nut with a 4-prong tire wrench. – In order to loosen the nut, you would push up with your right-hand while pulling downward with your left-hand. Pushing up or pulling down with both hands would apply no torque on the nut. The forces must be from opposing directions to torque the nut loose.
> Let us use that analogy in the your swing. -- Starting your swing with a bent lead-elbow and then extending your lead-hand forward as you drive forward with your back-hand would apply little torque to accelerate the bat-head to contact. However, if you maintain the bend in your elbow (not extending the arm), the rotation of your lead-shoulder back toward the catcher will provide a rearward pull on the lead-hand you need to apply maximum torque.
> I will place below a couple video clips that illustrates this better than I can describe it with words. So as not to change the subject matter, I will address the “swing down at the ball” issue in a later post.
> <a href="http://www.batspeed.com/media/Rose_Hook_HandPath.wmv">Rose -- hook in handpath</a --
> <a href="http://www.batspeed.com/media/Rose_Hook_HandPath_BHT.wmv">Rose -- hook handpath w/ BHT</a --
> Jack Mankin

Bob. Try not to get caught up in terms with regard to what the coach is preaching. Instead focus on the fact that the coach is trying to get your son to get the ball in the air most likely so that it will carry. And backspin is one way to accomplish that.

But the real key is for your son to strike the bottom half of the ball. How he does it is up for debate. And over the years a few great hitters have benefited from the level cut. The following players used such principles effectively to hit not only homeruns but solid linedrive hits.

George Brett, Cal Ripken, Andre Dawson, Wade Boggs, Dave Winfield, and Gary Sheffield

The interesting thing to note is that each hitter was also a high ball hitter.

Also many coach preach swinging down, but it is really more of keeping your head down when you swing.

Barry Bonds was once quoted that he preached swinging down, but he was later found incorrect. He was actually swinging in a downward loop which is technically swinging up which was the analogy Ted Williams used in describing how one would chop a tree.

The original practice of swinging through the ball or exteinding at or through contact was meant to help the hitter finish his swing when he was turning his hands over prematurely. The concept is seen as more helpful to those hitters who cannot reach full extension through other means. Reggie Jackson, Don Mattingly, and some other hitters practiced that approach, but during the games went to their regular way of hitting.


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