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Re: Questions

Posted by: Jack Mankin (mrbatspeed@aol.com) on Fri Apr 9 01:55:12 2004

>>>1. John, when instructing students on lower body mechanics, repeatedly says "front toe up" as he raises the student's front heel, and reverse-rotates the front foot back to the initial stride position.

Does he not mean "front heel up"? <

After the stride, the girl in the video landed with the lead-foot closed and flatfooted. This resulted in tension building in the knee as she rotated her hips. This was her first lesson and John was explaining to her that it was Ok to stride to a closed foot but she would get more hip rotation if she landed on her toe (heel up). Then rotate the heel back (about 45 degrees) as she lowers it to initiate rotation. This allows for better lead-leg extension to drive the lead-hip back toward the catcher as the back-hip rotates around toward the pitcher.

>2. Should the bat roll at all in any hand(s) during the swing. (Difficult to verify in video.) <<<

Hi Mike

Thank you for ordering "Final Arc II." I think you will find the time spent learning the batting principles presented well worth the effort.

It depends on the grip. Some hitters (Bonds for one) has a grip that has the heels of their hands almost touching (both wrists bent). This grip seems to cause no problem to the swing plane while applying THT. Other batters have a grip that can cause problems if the bat is not allowed to role in the top-hand during the swing. ---For more information read:

Grip – Loose or Tight?

The Grip & Wrist Binds

>3. I have observed THT can be largely accomplished by rolling the rear shoulder in an arc up, back, down, and around (finishing with the arm against the body with 90 degree elbow bend). This is a secondary arc path, initially perpendicular, and finally parallel to the full swing plane.

Is this observation correct?<

Mike, I would have to see you perform the mechanic in order to give sound advice. However, if you are starting with a more vertical bat, make sure you do not accelerate the bat-head back in too vertical a direction. This is a major problem I find when analyzing video swing reviews. The bat must be swept behind the head into the swing plane or wrist binds will lead to lower bat speeds and an inconsistent plane.

>4. I have suggested to a veteran hitting instructor the pitfalls of concentrating too much on back leg hip drive, without considering equal power contribution form the front leg. Needless to say, he was dismissive, indicating one would "spin out" too fast if they attempted this. He argued balance is better maintained if the front leg merely rolls with the front hip in a reverse arc.

The video appears to emphasize the front leg, suggesting more front than back leg power.

Exactly what leg power ratio do you expect in an ideal swing, (50% back / 50% front ?). (I don't see how hips can keep a completely circular arc if leg power is not contributed equally.) <

Mike, all I can say for that veteran hitting instructor is, -- Forgive them Lord. For they know not what they do.

To be honest, I have had very few students whose major problem is with their lower body mechanics. I spend a lot of time teaching the batter how to prepare good Launch and Contact positions (all the points shown in your training booklet). I have the batter address the heavy bag with the correct contact position. Then I have them use their legs (mainly the lead-leg) to rotate back to a good launch position (lead-heel up pointing toward third base). Then rotate around a stationary axis back to the contact position. This rotation is activated by the rotation of the lead-heel rotating back toward the catcher as it lowers and the lead-leg begins to extend. Then they rotate back and forth from launch to contact. Once they are fluid with their movements, they can start incorporating their timing step.

I impress upon them that all swing mechanics (lower and upper-body) has one ultimate purpose -- to accelerate the bat-head around the swing plane to contact. That is what they should concentrate on -- not the legs or hips or accelerating the hands - Think, rotate the heel, rotate the bat-head. First in an arc back toward the catcher then around toward the bag. No tension, no explosion - loose, smooth, ever accelerating movements.

The student's bat-head acceleration seem to sync with hip and shoulder rotation better when thinking of accelerating the bat-head rearward than when thinking - hips first - or similar leg type cues. At least this is true for my teaching. --- This is the same method (and thought process) I used to teach John the basics of rotational transfer mechanics he exhibits in the video. John's main problem was (like many others) his muscles were so tight from years of relying on linear mechanics, it took a long time to loosen him up to swing freely.

Jack Mankin


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