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Batting "Do's & Don'ts"

Posted by: Jack Mankin (MrBatspeed@aol.com) on Sun Oct 19 13:55:01 2008

Hi All

Over the past 8 years, I have had hundreds of swings of young hitters sent to me for video analysis. A good number of them have graduated high school and are now playing college ball. Although their hitting achievements played a major roll in how and why they were selected, I still receive countless emails and phone calls from frustrated parents and players complaining that their new coaches demand they make changes in their swing mechanics.

Invariably, the change demanded is for the hitter to adopt linear principles and cues to their swings. I understand how frustrating this must be to these young hitters. At the same time, I am sure their coaches, like most coaches, have the player’s best interest at heart and are just teaching them the batting principles they were taught. In fact, linear mechanics and cues is what nearly every coach learned during his playing years. The problem is, those principles and batting cues taught are all based on a false theory.

The theory that when the batter’s straight extension of the hands slows, the kinetic energy attained from a batter’s forward weight shift is transferred into bat speed, like the “Crack of a Whip,” is false. – There is no angular acceleration of the bat induced from a straight extension of the hands regardless of how much weight-shift occurs.

Accepting the false “Crack of a Whip” theory by the baseball community left coaches the below list of “Do’s” & “Don’ts” to teach our youth. Basically, everything that promotes straight movements is good while those promoting angular motion are bad.

Linear "Do’s"
1. Swing down at the ball
2. Hands above the ball
3. Knob to the ball
4. Extend hands “A to B”
5. Keep hands inside the ball
6. Get your arms extended
7. Hit the inside part of the ball
8. Keep your shoulder in there
9. Extend boxed lead-elbow at contact
10. Hit against at firm front leg

Linear "Don’ts"
2. Casting -- Hands going “A to B to C”
3. Looping
4. Spinning
5. Baring the lead-arm
6. Hitting around the ball
7. Upper-cutting
8. High back-elbow
9. Note: You can probably think of some more

However, a video analysis of the game’s best hitters reflects just the opposite. Their mechanics exhibit the “Don’ts” rather than the “Do’s.”

Jack Mankin


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