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Re: Barred arm

Posted by: Jack Mankin (MrBatspeed@aol.com) on Thu Jul 3 09:08:51 2008

>>> Why is the barred front arm frowned upon? Most major leaugers do it why do we continue to teach mechanics that only average hitters do? <<<

Hi Mike

Along with a raised back-elbow, another major sin to most linear batting coaches is a straight or “barred” lead arm. To them, any casting of the hands away from the linear “A to B” hand-path is not productive. Yet, as you point out, when we study the swings of many of the best hitters, we see a raised back-elbow in the launch position and they maintain a fairly straight lead-arm from launch to contact.

Why then is a straighter or “barred” lead-arm thought to be such a problem when it is apparent that so many good hitters use it? --- It only becomes a problem when it is combined with linear batting principles. If the batter initiates the swing with a straight (or “barred”) lead-arm while following the linear rule of “Keep Your Shoulder In-There,” major problems will occur. The combination of a straighter lead-arm without adequate shoulder rotation leads to a weak casting away of the lead-arm from the chest.

**Linear and rotational transfer mechanics are not compatible. Many fruitless hours of practice and unrealized dreams await those that try. **

Great hitters can use a straight lead-arm because their mechanics do not “Keep their shoulder in-there” as they initiate their swing. Their rotational mechanics keeps the barred arm close across the chest and they start the swing with shoulder rotation. Keeping the arm fairly straight across the chest and allowing rotation to accelerate the hands generates a productive circular hand-path. In fact, the path cam be so tight that shoulder rotation must be slowed to allow the arm to cast outward for pitches on the outside part of the plate. The only time a rotational batter needs to bend the lead-elbow is when he is jammed with an inside pitch.

Some good hitters (like Bonds) may have a more “boxed” lead-arm at initiation. A batter can produce an efficient hand-path with a barred or boxed lead-arm as long as the elbow maintains a constant angle from initiation to contact. However, a loss in bat speed occurs if the batter allows a bent lead-elbow to extend (or straighten) approaching contact.

Jack Mankin


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