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Re: fastpitch softball

Posted by: Jim (jwelborn@lexcominc.net) on Mon Jan 16 19:46:23 2006

> I have a question about the fastpitch swing and if it should mirror the baseball swing. I have been reading up on the rotational swing vs the linear swing. The reason I bring this up is because of a hitting coach in our area. He is teaching a Linear to rotational swing where the rotation is off the front side. I know that Mike Candrea with Arizona teaches this method. Has anyone herd of this and what are your thoughts.
> Thanks Dan


I have attended numerous clinics where Coach Candrea was the keynote speaker on hitting. I can tell you that Candrea does NOT teach the linear swing. He breaks the swing down into two overall phases; preparation phase and swing phase. Each phase is further broken down into specific steps.

The preparation phase, which has linear aspects to it, begins with stance and ends as rotation begins between toe touch and heel plant. There is NO linear movement after rotation begins.

There is really only one difference between Candrea and Mankin. Candrea stresses the importance of keeping the bat on the plane of the pitch longer which logically improves most hitters’ chances of making good contact with the ball. This is achieved through keeping the hands inside the ball during the bat lag part of the swing prior to contact, and extending the arms through contact and into the finish. Yes, this will create a slightly less rotational hand path. But if done correctly, it does NOT create a linear hand path. It can be easily done while core rotation is maintained and with the bat remaining connected to rotation. It also makes it easier for the average athlete to react properly to pitch location and movement. I know this because our high school girls are very successful with this.

Mankin teaches that a highly rotational hand path that is well connected to core rotation generates maximum bat speed. I believe this is true. I also believe that this requires high precision on the part of the athlete. Some athletes can succeed with a highly rotational hand path while others are more successful when adding more extension. I do know that our pitchers are usually successful when facing highly rotational hitters UNLESS they make a mistake and leave the ball in the wrong place in the strike zone.

It is important to understand that after rotation begins, there is no difference in the teachings except for extension. Candrea does use the terminology of “rotating the back side around the front side, but this is ONLY in reference to the hips. The thought here is to prevent rotating the front side around the back side (squashing the bug), and promote the release of the back leg during contact (allowing the back foot to drag on the toes). In practice, we find that using this terminology gets the point across very quickly to our students.

When Candrea says “rotate around the front side”, it has nothing to do with what is happening with shoulders. Indeed, it is impossible to rotate the back shoulder around the front shoulder unless one lunges forward. Candrea and Mankin both stress the importance of a stationary axis of rotation.

The mechanics of the baseball swing and the fastpitch softball swing are the same, but there are some factors that may sometimes make them appear different. Greater upper body strength of baseball players, a more downward angle of the plane of the baseball pitched from a mound, and the way the softball batter must adjust the swing in the case of the rise ball are three that come to mind.

A very interesting observation when speaking of Candrea and Mankin is that both use many of the same professional players as models for their examples of a correct swing.

Understanding swing mechanics is not easy. Finding a way to teach it can be even harder. Sometimes terminology is the biggest obstacle.



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