Re: Teaching top hand torque
I've been following the discussion of top hand torque and I am seeing an evolution of thought over the last month. The posts on Carlos Delgado and how he uses a momentary high elbow to initiate top hand torque piqued my curiosity.
> I watch the pro hitters and one thing I observe is their pre-swing routines - I assume they are practicing muscle memory, ques, etc. of the core elements of their swing in my opinion.
> Examples: Mark McGuire wiggles the bat low and in front of him - he is practicing a loose grip and whippy bat through the hitting area.
> Jim Thome points the bat at the pitcher - he is reminding himself to extend / drive the top hand through contact.
> Watching Gary Sheffield, Barry Bonds, Carl Everett and a number of other rotational hitters, I see various forms of elbow wiggles and flaps, arms rocking back and forth, etc.
> I am coming to the conclusion that picking the back elbow up momentarily, then driving it down and taking the top hand with it is the way these hitters initiate top hand torque.
> To test this, I took my 9 year old son out hitting yesterday. We have already been working on leg torque and last week he hit the longest ball he has hit in a game. He only weighs 50 lbs and he hit it about 120 feet - not bad for a peanut.
> Last night I soft tossed to him and had him add one thing to his swing. After he does his inward turn and gets the bat in the slot position, I had him pick his elbow up and drive it right back down to start the bat. At the same time he torqued his legs for the swing. (I'm figuring any offset in the timing of these events will work itself out over time so I just had him do both and didn't talk about which comes first).
> He seemed to pick it up pretty easily and hit some balls hard in soft toss. I pitched to him and he hit 4 balls really well using the adjustments we were working on - 2 to left, one to left center and one to dead center on a pitch over the outside half of the plate.
> All four went farther than the 'long' ball he hit last week.!
> So I'm looking for comments about this and tips on how to teach top hand torque. Is this a legitimate way to teach top hand torque - which is not and intuitive thing to do for most hitters.
> How have the rest of you been teaching this?
Hi Major Dan,
It sounds like to me you have a very good "eye" for detail. I would watch the lead arm (elbow) making sure it stays down, and just continue working on swing planes. If you find that he can't keep the barrel above his hands during initiation (approach). Back up, because he is dragging (bat lag) the barrel through the zone (dropping the barrel to far).
Over-all I like your approach. I have seen Big Mac hitting off a tee, in which he pumped his elbow getting the top hand relaxed and then ripping the ball.
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