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Leg/LowerBody Mechanics-Pure Speculation

Posted by: tom.guerry (tom.guerry@kp.org) on Sun Aug 27 15:41:37 2000


The leg mechanics thread mentions dropping of the back leg.This reminds me of the classic advice/observation that you "sit to hit".
When you look at a lot of great hitters,for example Griffey and Sosa,as they stride,they drop quite a bit(watch the level of the head eyes drop)then they come back up as they make contact(back up more for the high location,less for low since they bend more at the waist to get down for the low one).As it used to also be said,you "get up to hit".Seems like these types sit down with the stride then get up as the body rotates to contact.Confusing isn't it?

One of the ongoing controversies is whether or not any preswing linear activity can be transformed/transferred into more powerful "rotation around a stationary axis".My interpretation of Jack's position is that no significant boost of batspeed is necessary(?possible) from any action prior to initiation,but a stride or some action helps with timing and sequencing of muscle activity/motor program execution.
My impression of Steve T's comments here and Paul Nyman's info at Setpro is that the body is capable of transforming the preswing motions into more energy at initiation that can translate into more batspeed.I hope they will correct/expand on this oversimplified interpretation.
Paul also makes the further observation that in the no stride or minimal stride(absence of significant linear preswing motion/forward motion with stride) that the mechanics must get rotation started by the hips leading the body turn more before torso/shoulder turn is connected/started.As an example,there is Bagwell who is such an extreme example of "no stride",that he actually has such a wide flexed stance he may stride BACKWARDS instead of forward.His hips are extremely open at initiation,and instead of sitting to hit he actually comes up to hit(during hip turn)and comes up more after initiation. See

An old fashion example of a long strider is Hank Aaron who strides so far forward that he rotates around the front leg with the back leg off the ground (resulting in the back foot rotating Behind the front leg as an equal and opposite reaction).
So what do it all mean?
There are different ways/styles to rotate around a stationary axis.
-Maybe it's possible for a style like Aaron to carry some linear momentum into the body rotation since the axis of rotation is "offcenter"-that is around the front foot not the spine.
-For the spinecentered axis,maybe striding and flexing the legs prepares for a quicker rotation around the stationary axis of the spine-Griffey/Sosa. This quicker rotation may be because muscles are better timed/sequenced(Jack) or possibly because force is transferred and/or momentum transformed(?Nyman,Steve T?).
-For no stride(or minimal-Nomar/Bagwell) ,rather than flexing the legs(sitting to hit),the hips are opened more before connecting the torso as a way of optimizing rotation.In this case the hitter stays more level and still comes up some to hip.
-In any case,the player learns a style early on and develops"hand-eye" coordination that allows recognition of the pitch and choice of a motor program to hit the spot.It may be hard to change ones style too much once they are used to predicting a target while the body is going through a certain sequence of up/down/forward motion.
So-who cares?Well you might want to look for these things on video and not worry too much about some styles if the swing is short and quick from initiation to contact and contact is consistent.If you are trying to improve lower body mechanics,you might try different things as long as hand/eye coordination doesn't suffer too much.In any case,some things should go together-for example no stride/wide stance/not a lot of head drop preswing/more hip opening prior to initiation(starting the shoulders)etc.


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