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Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Dominant Hand

Posted by: Jack Mankin (MrBatspeed@aol.com) on Fri Jul 25 10:45:04 2003

>>> The release of the top hand should occur at or slightly before the point of contact, but just about all of the force of the swing has already been generated by the hips, stomach muscles, and forearms.
> The top hand of good hitters who release does not come off the bat until well after contact. Check out film of G.Brett, W. Clark and Jason Giambi and you will see that their hands are still on the bat for about 3-4 feet after impact. Releasing is just a style.
> Doug

Releasing is a style for some. But for others it is a deliberate act to allow them to extend through the ball and keep a continuous angle as not to roll over the top hand. In addition, for many players who already have there weight shift back (pre swing) on their back leg the top hand release helps them maintain balance while finishing their swing. Some hitters in this case would unfortunately roll their hands over prematurely which would cause their head and body to bail out if the kept both hands on the bat. (See Charlie Lau the art of hitting .300 video) The point given by doug is a good point, but to be completely accurate we would need a zoom in close up to see if the initial hand angle has moved toward the motion of realeasing at the point of contact. (Charlie Lau method) This is a good topic for debate and I would suggest for anyone who has a differing opinion to try both methods themselves and see what the results are. On a perfect swing it may be true that both hands remain. But how often is everything in sink to perfection. I have seen a lot of players lunge out to reach pitches and still hit them out of the park. And it appeared that they almost completely one handed the ball. (ex. Soriano home run of Schilling in Game 7 of the 2001 World Series on an offspeed pitch) <<<


Below is part of a thread from the archives that may add to your discussion.

Jack Manklin

RE: Top hand release - Charley Lau Jr.
Hi All

This is a discussion on “Releasing the top hand” brought forward from January.

>>>If you look at the Skeleton of Big Mac at the web address posted by Shawn under the hip rotation 2 thread, Mac is letting go with the top hand after contact. This seems to keep the bat on plane and allow the shoulder to keep turning back instead of breaking down the front arm. Do you think there is any advantage to this or intending to do this? Does this accentuate the pull back/bottom hand torque or keep things on plane better/longer? <<<

Hi Tom

>> First of all, I would like to make a couple of commits regarding the “Skeleton” action they showed (http://www.biokinetics3d.com/hitters.htm). -- I was curious as to why they showed the two forms in different time frames. They showed Mac’s skeleton starting at initiation, shoulders starting to rotate. Whereas, they had the “Amateur” starting with his stride and his swing initiation (shoulder rotation) starting about 4 frames later.

It was also interesting to note that the mechanics of the Amateur generated greater bat- displacement (about 85 degrees/ frame) coming into the contact zone than did Mac (about 45 degrees/frame). Maybe the Amateur was using a -10 bat (just kidding).

The last 2 or 3 years, Mac has moved slightly away from the plate and sets up to treat most pitches as being middle-out. This means he plans to use a lot of top-hand-torque well into the swing (forget the Skeleton for a minute, Mac develops great early bat speed). This also means he will have less hip and shoulder rotation and the back arm will be more extended at contact. These mechanics will cause a wider hand-path and a fuller extension of the back arm occurs while the bat is pointing in the direction of the first or second baseman. With the bat sweeping in that direction, the lead elbow cannot break down-and-in. Therefore, it would require a sudden change in the direction of the bat’s momentum (hard jerk to the wrist) if he attempts to keep both hands on the bat. Releasing the top hand and allowing the bat to coast out in a wider arc will eliminate this.

Most batters can attain full shoulder rotation for pitches on the enter 2/3 of the plate. The lead elbow will then break down-and-in and their back-arm will not reach full extension until the bat is sweeping past the pitcher. Here the bat’s momentum is directed more toward third base and the batter will have no problem keeping both hands on the bat.

Note: The release of the top hand normally occurs well after contact and therefore has little impact on bat speed.

Note: Batters who limit hip and shoulder rotation by casting to much weight forward onto the front leg may also find it necessary to release the top hand.

>> Jack Mankin

Jack- What is the function of the top hand precisely after contact? I would also like to learn how the top hand and when it pushes in the swing? When the top hitters' bat speeds exceed 90 mph, when should the top hand decide to push?

Charley Lau Jr.

Hi Charley

Welcome to the site. – The ball is only in contact with the bat for about 2/1000 of a second after contact (bat moves forward about ¾ of an inch). Therefor, any forces applied to the bat (or bat speed gained) after contact has no effect on ball flight. The batter should practice batting drills and develop mechanics that that will generate greater bat speed prior to contact. After contact the main role of the batter’s mechanics is to relax and allow the bat’s energy to coast out.

During the swing the top hand is constantly applying force to the bat in the direction the bat-head is accelerating. At initiation the bat-head accelerates back toward the catcher. So, the top hand is pulling with the fingers back toward the catcher. --- A little later the bat-head will be sweeping past the catcher and the pull will be more toward the first-base dugout. At this time the back elbow will have lowered to the batter’s side and the palm of the top hand will start to roll from palm-down to palm-up. So it would be about this point where the batter starts more of a pushing action (instead of pulling with the fingers) with the top hand. – It is important to remember that the top hand is being driven forward more from shoulder rotation than from extending the elbow. This is especially true for inside pitches.

Charley, as I stated earlier in this thread, releasing the top hand after swinging at outside pitches is not only OK, it is more of a necessity. But I do not think it is a good practice when swinging at middle-in pitches. --- Letting go of the top hand on outside pitches allows the bat to expend its energy harmlessly in a wide arc. The batter’s lead arm will usually finish high and the bat will threaten no one. But if the batter releases the bat with the top hand on an inside pitch, the bat will be sweeping past the pitcher as the top hand releases. Under these conditions, the lead arm can swing back to a point where the bat can strike the catcher with a good deal of force. – I have seen this happen too many times.

Jack Mankin


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