Re: Re: Re: Re: Dr. Chambers
Below is a post from the archives that may add to the discussion
Style vs Absolute
Posted by: Jack Mankin (MrBatspeed@aol.com on Thu Feb 13 16:04:42 2003
Mikeyd, you stated, -- "I know from watching videos and looking at pictures, Jack, that there is more than one "right" way to swing the bat - and your style is not a cure all and has some definite limitations too." -- I agree with you that good hitters exhibit many different styles in how they prepare for the swing. As a hitter takes his stance in the box, some will (as you pointed out) have their hands away from their body, some close to the shoulder. Some will have their hands high like A-Rod, some low like Bonds. Some good hitters will stand tall while others like to squat. Some will take longer strides, some soft or no-stride. These are all matters of a batters individual style and my work has not taken a position on whether or not one style has an advantage over another.
But once the batter has completed his preparation for the swing and brought the bat to the launch position (is now in the plane of the swing), the "style" time is over. And once the swing is fully initiated, the swing mechanics exhibited by the best hitters are all basically the same (viewed frame-by-frame). The bat speed developed by all swings will be governed by the same mechanical principles. Defining those mechanical principles common to all great hitterï¿½s swings was what my study concentrated on. --- The purpose of all batting mechanics is to apply forces to the bat that will gain maximum acceleration of the bat-head into a predictable arc around toward contact. -- Note: Since the purpose of batting mechanics is to accelerate the bat-head, the terms I defined, CHP, BHT and THT are to identify forces acting on the bat.
Other than gravity, the two (and only two) forces acting on the bat that cause the bat-head to accelerate into its arc is ï¿½torqueï¿½ (push/pull action supplied through the hands) and transfer of the bodyï¿½s rotational energy via a "circular hand-path" (CHP). The batter does not have a choice of whether or not to use these forces. The bat speed attained, regardless of who he or she is, baseball or softball, light or heavy bat, will be governed by the quality of the CHP and how much torque energy was supplied to the bat during the swing by the batterï¿½s transfer mechanics.
Regardless of the length of the batter's stride (style), all good hitters will rotate around a stationary axis to generate a quality CHP. -- Regardless of where a great hitter has his hands in his stance (style), his hands will be at the back-shoulder at initiation. I call this "hiding the hands from the pitcher." -- In order to generate a quality CHP, he will keep the hands back and allow rotation to propel their first movement perpendicular to (not parallel with) the flight of the incoming ball. - All great hitters will have their elbow at their side as they rotate. - All great hitters will have the lead shoulder pulling back toward the catcher at contact (hook in the hand-path). - Those are not style. Those are absolute principles for maximizing bat speed and generating a predicable swing plane .
As a great hitter initiates his swing, the bat-head's first movement is to arc back toward the catcher before his rotation turns and directs his energy around toward contact. It should be obvious that the top-hand could not be pushing "forward" while the bat-head is arcing "backward." Since shoulder rotation has just begun, the force acting on the bat that causes the bat-head to arc back toward the catcher is "torque." And since the top-hand is moving back with the bat while the bottom-hand is more stationary, I termed this mechanic "Top-Hand Torque."
I think the defining difference between the great hitters and all the rest takes place at (or just before) initiation. Great hitters are pulling back with the top-hand at initiation - all the rest are pushing it forward. --- When a batter pushes the top-hand forward at initiation (99 % of batters), instead of the bat-head arcing back toward the catcher, it slides over and trails behind the hands. --- So THT is not style. It is an absolute for maximizing the torque factor before and during the swing.
Mikeyd, great hitters find an elevated back-elbow a more powerful position to apply THT than starting with it low or in the slot.
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