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Re: extension and bottom hand torque

Posted by: Major Dan (markj89@charter.net) on Fri Dec 15 06:58:21 2000

some questions for guys i respect:
> tom.guerry quote:
> "the rotational baseball swing does not work well with wrist snap, it requires continuous application of torque from launch to contact."
> question 1.
> what is the difference between wrist snap and the bottom hand torque that jack promotes?
> comment: in jack's video i was very impressed by the demo with brian taped up and sitting in the chair. on the last swing into the bag, jack asks brian to use a little more pull on his bottom hand. in two frames (the last two preceeding contact with the bag) the wrist's torque and the bat appears to travel at least 2 to 3 feet. don't you consider this a snap? is this wrong? should the torque be applied over more frames?
> tom, your quote again:
> "in a few cases there can be some casting/extension through the ball (starting slightly before contact) after maximum batspeed is reached and the bat pulls the bottom hand away from the body. ...in other words, extension is late enough that it doesn't significantly degrade the swing..."
> question 2.
> do you think full extension at contact is bad?
> comment: watched the tape of "the science of the swing" and was simply captivated. quote by mcguire: "i worked so hard to get total extension on my swing. a lot of young kids come up today and they hit like this... (here he demonstrates leaning backwards while swinging).
> i used to be one of those hitters when i first broke in. a high fly ball hitter. the ball would just fall over the wall. now, my ball is...(he demonstates a rocket shot with his hand).
> george brett then comments on mcguire: "everytime he swings now he takes that top hand off and he's swinging through the ball. he's not swinging to it and falling backwards like he used to.
> and that's why he's hitting the ball 650 feet rather than 450 feet."
> maybe the point is - extension is ok at contact if your not simultaneously falling away from the ball. your rotational adjustment is on a somewhat tilted axis to put the swing on the same plane as the pitch (slight upswing). many things can result from this position and full extension -- back shoulder dipping, back leg collapsing, etc. these things decrease the power of the swing, but perhaps putting full extension INTO the ball is what mac is talking about. something that would be very difficult to achieve, but very rewarding.
> major dan - your quote to me:
> "full extension of the arms before contact reduces power as well."
> question 3. how about full extension AT contact?
> question 4 for jack. should bottom hand torque be applied at full extension?
> question 5 for jack. on sat., dec. 9 you asked the forum 4 questions, got a variety of responses and left us (or at least me) hanging. what are YOUR answers to your question?
> post script:
> tom.guerry - your paragraph on "pre-extension" in the golf post to chuck was crystal. made an impact on my son.
> major dan - your post at dave's on pontificating experts was stirring.

> thanks,
> ray porco

Ray -
>major dan - your quote to me:
> "full extension of the arms before contact reduces power as well."
> question 3. how about full extension AT contact?

If, by 'full extension' you mean that the arms are straight at contact, then I don't think this will give the best results.
Maybe it depends on how you conceptualize the swing, but if Charlie Lau Jr., Jack Mankin and Paul Nyman all have reasons for avoiding it (and they don't agree on a lot of things ), there might be something to it.
The videos I analyze show the top hand arm in some variation of the L position at contact, sometimes more extended, sometimes less, but never totally extended. Significant extension happens around and just after contact in my observations.
I am coming around to Paul Nyman's suggestion that some element of casting in a swing is good. The timing of it is critical.
The currently popular analogy is that of the figure skater doing a spin. Pulling the arms in speeds the spin up, pushing them out slows the spin down. Keeping the arms in, top hand near the hip/ribs lets hip/upperbody rotation get the bat to contact more quickly.
However, players don't simply spin through a swing. They come out of the spin when the hips, then shoulders square with the pitcher. Ultimately this sends the bat flying out of the spin in the same way that a rock, tied to a string and whirled around and around, will take off once the string is let go.
If the whirler (is that a word?) lets the string slip, then regrabs, the rock will make a larger circle. During the string slip, does the rock momentarily pick up speed? (no - no force is acting on it), does it lose speed? (no - no force is acting against it) I think the real point is that while spinning (the rock on the string and the bat on the hitters upper body), its direction is constantly changing direction (angular momentum).
Extension, casting or letting the string go/slip all remove the force that is redirecting the bat/rock in its circular flight. It then goes in a straight line at a constant speed. [there has been discussion of circular hand path and a slight straightening of it or ovaling of it near concact that may connect to this topic]
Essentially the transition from rotation to extension creates a window when the bathead goes in more of a straight line. This should, if the swing plane is in line with the ball, put the head of the bat in the pitch flight path for a lengthened contact area with a bathead moving at a constant speed. While this is momentary, it could account for the 2 feet or so of contact area of the swing that we see with BatTrack on Sunday Night baseball.
I know this has been long, but, if you see where I am going with this - full extension before contact widens the circle, then the string/arms grab again, and the bat is pulled into a wider, slower circle so the bat slows. We all know that a sweep is not a fast swing.
Most hitters contact the ball near the start of extension or during it. Observation shows that when a batter is fooled, he will add extension any way possible - leaning or diving (tilting the axis of rotation toward the ball), reaching, letting go with the top hand for more 'emergency' reach, etc. The bat may get there but it loses its speed. We've all seen that in the extreme.
"during extension" probably works reasonably well from just starting to extend to near the end of top arm extension. Charlie Lau Jr. talks about the top hand cutting off the swing. That is the point at which the top hand's extension is done before contact. If held, the bat will start to slow. If released, the bottom hand can continue the extension longer.
A question to all - can the hitter 'juice' the extension phase to add some extra bat speed near contact?
Jack talks about bottom hand torque pulling against the top hand oar lock. Can the bottom hand time a push to make it both hands torque?
I'm not sure what really happens with top hitters during that brief extension into contact phase. Any ideas?
Ray, hope this helps.


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