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Re: Positioning of the top hand -- cont.

Posted by: Jack Mankin (MrBatSpeed@aol.com) on Wed Sep 1 11:20:01 2004

Hi All

Jeff H asked a question Aug. 31 that I feel needs further discussion. Therefore, I am bringing forward to Sept.

Jack Mankin

>>> Where should the top hand be during the swing? I know it should sweep the bat behind the hitter's head, but should the upper back arm be somewhat vertical or horizontal right before contact is made? I believe Barry Bonds often keeps his upper back arm somewhat vertical, then he obviously straightens it, pointing to the pitcher at contact. <<<

Hi Jeff

Good question. – Accelerating the bat-head through the entire swing plane requires both the application of torque (hands applying force at the handle from opposing directions) and an angular displacement rate of the hand-path (CHP). The key for a batter to attain his maximum bat speed is to apply torque throughout the entire swing while also producing the most productive hand-path.

Most hitter’s mechanics limit the amount of bat speed they can attain by straightening out the hand-path as they apply torque – driving the top-hand forward past the bottom-hand. Batters who apply this type of torque find the early lowering of the back-forearm toward horizontal a more powerful position to drive the top-hand forward. This method of applying torque has two main drawbacks. One, lowering the forearm early in the swing takes the hands away from the shoulder, which straightens the hand-path (some refer to it as – disconnect from body rotation). Secondly, it delays the application of torque until later in the swing, and therefore, much of the bat speed generated occurs well after passing the optimum contact point.

Top hitters generate great bat speed by applying torque and maintaining a CHP from initiation to contact. This means they first apply torque to accelerate the bat-head back toward the catcher before directing their energy toward the ball. To apply THT during initiation, the forearm should not lower toward horizontal too early. For the top-hand to apply a rearward force, the hands (as a unit) should remain close to the shoulder – this means the forearm should remain more vertical as shoulder rotation is initiated.

Important note: As the bat-head accelerates behind the batter, the forearm is rotating and the wrist must rotate in the plane of the swing. Hitters who lower the forearm forward too early and attempt to apply THT will experience “Wrist Binds” and waves in the swing plane. --- Try it, lower your forearm and rotate your wrist. Note the plane the wrist is rotating in. That plane will not match the swing plane.

I think the clip of Chipper Jones (http://members.aol.com/bellshw2/Chipper01.mov) posted by Shawn exhibits the correct forearm position at the start of the swing for an erect hitter. Note that after his elbow lowers, his forearm remains fairly vertical during initiation. His shoulders have rotated 60 to 70 degrees before the forearm lowers and his hands accelerate away from the rotating shoulder.

Jack Mankin


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