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Re: Chicken or the egg??

Posted by: Jack Mankin (MrBatspeed@aol.com) on Mon Jun 2 12:35:36 2008

>>> I am very curious how big league hitters seem to have such good mechanics. For instance Pete Rose in the all too familiar overhead shot of his swing and how his hands and shoulders turn as a unit together. How he demonstrates such perfect connection and circular hand path. How does he do this?? I'm sure the first time he ever picked up a baseball bat and swung it didn't look ANYTHING like that from overhead. Could it be that he demonstrates such good connection because of a more simple thing. Is it cause an effect??

Does perfect lower body mechanics contribute to perfect upper body mechanics (if you will). If you have proper hip rotation should you "automatically" have proper shoulder rotation and a circular hand path?? Or would it be the circular hand path and proper "upper body" mechanics that need to be taught to the hitter and the lower body mechanics will come naturally??

It just amazes me how these professional hitters have such perfect mechanics. It intrigues me how the DEVELOP these mechanics. <<<

Hi Dave

I just finished some video analysis of a few of my students’ swings and answered e-mails regarding questions on how to improve lower body mechanics. Although I agree that getting the hips to rotate properly is very important, I believe if concentrating first on hip rotation, we are getting the cart ahead of the horse. The ultimate purpose of swing mechanics is not to rotate the hips – it is to rotate the bat-head from its’ launch position around to contact.

It is obvious from reading the discussions and analysis of swing clips that most coaches think they must first perfect a batter’s lower body mechanics before addressing how his upper body accelerates the bat-head. I have found the opposite to be true. When the batter concentrates on initiating the bat-head acceleration correctly, the mind will activate a program to supply the timing and force of hip rotation to support that mission.

When setting up your program, I would suggest that one of the most limiting factors to a hitter’s development is if he or she envisions only half the swing – the parts of the swing which occur out in front of them. In other words, they only concentrate on swinging the bat-head forward toward the ball. However, as I have often pointed out, great hitters are able to generate great bat speed because they first accelerate the bat-head back toward the catcher before they turn and direct their energy toward the ball as we demonstrate in the Swing Analysis DVD.

As a hitter initiates the swing, it is very tough to keep his hands back when he is only concentrating on swinging forward. If a coach would have the hitter envision the bat-head first accelerating back toward the catcher at initiation, the hands would have to stay back to accelerate the bat-head in that direction. --- Therefore, Coach, I would suggest you have your batters think about accelerating the bat-head over the whole 180+ degrees to contact instead of just relying on the last 90 degrees

Below is a post from the Archives (with video clips) that further discusses the importance of rearward bat-head acceleration.

Rearward acceleration - Key to high level swing

Jack Mankin


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