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Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: squashing the bug again

Posted by: tom.guerry (tom.guerry@kp.org) on Wed Apr 25 13:22:21 2001

>>> I understand that you do not think that weight shift and rotation are incompatible. Neither do I. I think we both agree that you don't do both at the same time - shift then rotate, or just rotate, but no shifting during rotation (moving axis - either lunging or back foot sitting and spinning).
> I see the point you are making. I can't answer either of your questions with certainty. I need to look at some more clips to see if I can find examples of hitters using no weight shift. Can you give examples of power hitters with no weight shift?
> Shooting from the hip (sorry, I couldn't help myself), I would say that there is more energy available to the body to convert to rotational/angular momentum with a weight shift/hip slide than without one. Theoretically, a player with very strong, very quick legs could torque them from a standstill and generate considerable power / batspeed. It is not inconceivable for a Bagwell-type player to hit a ball 450'. But I think it would be harder and less efficient to do that.
> As far as golf, I am not a golfer and haven't taken lessons. Maybe its folklore, but the Happy Gilmore style does seem to produce more power. Not too good on the accuracy or consistency of contact however. And given the nature of the long, light golf club and the consistency and aim requirements of golf, players may get the best output (consistency with much but not all possible power) from a stable axis and a long swing radius.
> The nature of a baseball swing, due to reaction time, is to generate batspeed quickly while seeking a moving target collision. The pre-powering of the hip torquing motion with a hip slide/weight shift is non-committal and loosely coupled with the actual swing timing, i.e., you can use the same shift and hit a fastball, changeup, high pitch, low pitch, inside, outside, etc.
> Having the body 'loaded' with energy when the quick swing motions begin should make it easier to torque the hips, allowing for faster bat acceleration with less brute force muscling and the accompanying tension involved in forcing/powering/exploding.
> I guess, to sum up, I think many or most players use weight shift/hip slide as a tool to generate the rotation you advocate. While not, perhaps, essential, it is very common even among the elite hitters. My guess is that done correctly it is more optimal than a no shift swing. I am beginning to think of this hip motion (torso and thighs) as the key power producer - the engine that drives the rotation, if done correctly.
> You said "Many good hitters (stride or no-stride) set their axis angle and come to full balance (linear momentum at rest) and use both legs to generate rotate around a stationary axis."
> Help me understand your thinking here. Are you saying there are players who stride and then have no linear momentum at rotation time? Is this the equivalent of the "stepping onto thin ice" cue? Is this balance static (dead stop) or dynamic? Can you point me at a player example of this? <<<
> Hi Major Dan
> This is the type of discussion I envisioned when I added the discussion board to the site. Major Dan, I find your positions well thought out and persuasive. We will probably find that the major differences in our positions are more a matter definition than of substance. This is not only true for you and I, but the same can be said for many that come to the site. Frank and open-minded discussions can help provide clarity to all.
> One of the problems I have noticed with this discussion is a clear definition of when the swing starts. Grc seems to be saying the swing starts when the batter starts his stride. Others may think it starts at foot-plant. My definition is that the swing starts when the hands are accelerated by shoulder rotation. This is when the batter is pretty much committed to the swing. I consider the stride, the slide and some opening of the hips to be part of preparing the launch position.
> So, when I am asked if the hips slide forward during the swing, my answer is not if the batter rotates around a stationary axis. There is some forward movement of the hips if the batter takes a more aggressive stride and has a firm front leg at foot-plant. This causes the hips to rotate around the front leg (back to center) instead of the spine. It is difficult to complete shoulder rotation through contact with this mechanic. -- I think one of the keys to developing great bat speed is to have a lot of flex in the lead knee at foot plant.
> I would agree with you, Major Dan that most (but not all) good hitters have their hips sliding forward right up to where rotation begins. There is a very fine line between a batter coming to full balance (hip and axis slide have stopped) or continuing to slide until rotation starts. A few years ago when I was charting swings, Barry Bonds and Ken Griffey Jr. were my Poster Boys for batters who came to full balance 1 or 2 video frames before rotation. I will tape a few games and see if I can find a few examples in this era.
> I still think most coaches place far too much importance on the mechanics of hip rotation as compared to stressing shoulder rotation. Remember, nothing below the armpits has a connection to the bat only the shoulders have that link. Lower body mechanics can only effect bat speed by how much they contribute to shoulder rotation.
> One last thought I have often pondered why it would be more efficient to push off with the back leg and slide the hips forward and then convert some of that momentum into hip rotation. Why is that more efficient than just using the push off to turn the hips from the get-go. --- Just wondering.
> Jack Mankin

This is a good discussion!Sorry to chime in late,but I have been on vacation.


For some reason,I can't load the Nomar clip now,so I can't comment specifically.As Jack says,a lot of describing the axis and how stationary it is has to do with how you define the start of the swing.The toe drag of the back foot that I describe has little to do with whether or not there is a stride/linear forward motion.After the hitter has come to a balance point and started to rotate the torso around a stationary axis,the weight is off the back foot which is usually on its toe at this point.Then as rotation proceeds up the spine from the hips into the torso,there is an equal and opposite type reaction twisting the non weight-bearing back leg in the opposite direction.This works its way down to the foot and drags the toe behind the front foot before the followthrough of the bat pulls the whole backside of the body around.This toe drag is a reliable sign that the desired sequential energy transfer upward through the torso is happening.

Major Dan-

I like the way Mike Epstein explains the swing,especially the lower body.He has evolved to using many concepts similar to Jack's.One of his longstanding concepts has also agreed with Jack and that is the need for the stride to re-establish the balance point so rotation can proceed around a stationary axis.(The counterrotation idea is still a little froggy).Mike's modification of the fence drill(when CAREFULLY monitored grc!)is an attempt to teach bottom hand torque/the feel of hooking the handpath.Of course if the coach isn't vigilant or knowledgeable there is the danger of teaching poor transfer mechanics/bat dragging when intimidated by the proximity of the fence.


There are many points that could be defined as the start of the swing.One point in the swing that I have been looking at recently is the so called "lag" position-the point at which the bathead is just starting to leave the arc of the swing path.I have never liked this term because the last thing you want to be doing is letting the bat "lag" at this point.Admittedly,the bat needs to be behind the hands as the circular handpath pulls the bat into the plane of the swing as posture adjustment matches torso turn to the anticipated contact point.However,this is a very dynamic portion of the swing and may suffer from being described as a static snapshot position.It is also later than any other definition of when the swing "starts".A comparison to the golf swing does point up how important it is that the bat be on the desired matching plane when the "lag" position is reached.Golfers also talk a lot about casting as a form of rushing,but in their case it is due mainly from letting the clubhead(center of mass of club)get out of the arc of the handpath early rather than the typical form of rushing in hitting which is letting the hands extend away from the body prematurely.In golf this premature extension of the handpath is less of a problem because the lead arm is straight and most people start the swing in one piece.Getting the club head out early before arms have pulled the club into the plane of the turning torso on the downswing sets the wrong plane for the swing causing lack of power and ugly compensations with the clubhead.As much as we may think of generating batspeed and setting the plane of the swing in hitting as distinct events,they really are very intertwined.When the the bathead leaves the arc of the handpath,it sets up the "self-feeding transfer of momentum from the torso" described in Best of Max #1.Before this time,the bat needs to be in the lag position perpendicular to the stationary axis of rotation with the correct posture adjustment having been so that as launch proceeds the bat is fired in the optimum plane with respect to generating batspeed(perpendicular to center of rotation like ball on string) and colliding with the ball(matching plane of pitch).So there's another candidate for when the swing starts.

One other coment.I like the front side cues for instruction on how to use the legs to assist rotation-front heel dropping or perhaps similar to your point about the front foot squishin the bug.Being conscious of back leg actions seems too likely to interfere with winding/separating the muscles to set up rotation.


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