Re: Role of the legs
>>> How exactly do the legs function in the swing? Does the hitter consciously straighten the front leg and consciously push with the back leg, or are these natural occurences due to sound early mechanics? <<<
In a game situation, I would say that the batter is consciously tracking the ball and initiating the timing of the swing. The actual firing of the muscles to accomplish the swing is more governed by a program in the subconscious. We use batting “cues” to consciously override or reinforce our normal swing program.
The swing mechanics of the best hitters makes efficient use of both the lead and back- side. However, while doing video analysis of young hitters, I have found that most are back-side dominant. Most of their lower-body mechanics is to accommodate the rotation of the back-side and extension of the back-arm which produces a more linear hand-path.
Therefore, I find little need to reinforce the lower-body mechanics for the rotation of the back-side – it seems to occur naturally in most hitters. They need to learn how to make more efficient use of the lead-side to generate a more circular hand-path. This requires keeping the top-hand back at the shoulder (lead-arm across the chest) and concentrating on using the rotation of the lead-side to fling the hands into a CHP.
I impress on them that as they initiate the swing, to concentrate on getting the lead-shoulder to rotate back toward the catcher (105-degree position) to bring the bat to contact. To accomplish this, I instruct them to have ample flex in the lead-knee at foot-plant and use the extension of the lead-leg to rotate the lead-hip rearward. Rotating the lead-hip rearward accommodates the rotation of the lead-shoulder back to the 105 position, which produces the “hook” in the hand-path.
There are good hitters that that stride to a firmer front-side and rotate more around the lead-hip. However, most rotate the hips evenly and for reasons mentioned above, I use cues that generate rotation of the hips around the center of the body (the spine).
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