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The Fastpitch Grip

Posted by: tom.guerry (tom.guerry@kp.org) on Sat Aug 12 10:20:45 2000

I was most interested in your comments on the grip,both in contrasting the golf grip with the baseball grip and in spotting the excessively tight top hand grip in the course of your video analysis.The bat really does need to slide some through the top hand to keep it on plane and apply torque throughout the swing without having the hands fighting one another.
I have been struggling to make the transition from baseball to fastpitch coaching for several years,finally to realize the mechanics you describe are the best for both.
In girl's fastpitch,the golf grip is almost universally endorsed.When I use this and watch the resulting swing,what I see is lots of early wrist rolling(which you have identified as a killer flaw)and poor batspeed.I would think that learning the swing would be fruitless unless this is changed.
For those that are golfer's I would make the following comparison.The two swings are powered by rotation around a stationary axis and a circular handpath.The contact point in hitting is on the sweetspot of the bat and must occur much earlier in the swing when the back arm is still flexed(the equivalent of 1/2 way into the downswing in golf).This requires early maximum batspeed in hitting which is achieved by tophand torque and the application of torque throughout the swing.The baseball grip without excessive top hand tightness is required to do this.Rolling of the wrists will occur after contact and after full extension of both arms.
In golf,contact is with the club face at the end of the club and occurs with full extension of both arms and wrist snapping(adduction/abduction) and even some rolling underway.As Jack points out the golf grip is built to give more freedom of the wrists to snap.
In fastpitch,many instructors believe this golf grip adds to power through a better wrist snap and also helps keep the bathead up.In reality,this lowers batspeed and adds a wobble to the swing(not a good way to get the bathead up)thus lengthening the swing by getting it out of plane.It is also likely to reduce the likelihhood of good contact.
In trying to teach fastpitch hitting,it seems you are likey going to have to start by changing the grip in many cases so that torque can be applied throughout the swing and the bat can be kept on plane,otherwise batspeed and quickness to contact will suffer.


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