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Posted by: ray porco () on Mon May 14 19:34:46 2001

by popular demand, here is my analysis of what i think is one of the most fascinating exchanges in recent times.............ray said " i think watching the head in relation to the feet and the distance the head travels, is the key to defining weight shift and balance.
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> > > > > > > > > > > take 3 hitters (all RH). all start with their heads centrally located between their feet, which are spread apart shoulder width. the first, strides forward 6 inches with the left foot (he does not shift his head PRIOR to lifting his stride leg). as his stride leg goes forward, his head must go forward, but this hitter tries to keep his head centrally located between both feet. the second hitter DOES shift his head (over his right leg - balancing in the process) PRIOR to lifting his stride leg. now he steps. his head does not have to shift (or go forward). the third hitter shifts his head OVER his stride leg upon striding."........a most insightful experiment indeed!!!!.......and then major dan said "I'm thinking, the longer the stride, the more the head travels. A true #3 is a lunger. A true #1 is a back foot spinner/squish the bug guy. A #2, a balanced hitter."........i can tell you that in my son's experience this was exactly true!!!....coaches keep saying "keep the weight back!!!"...they said "just "reach" the stride foot forward"....and guess what?....he was a "spinner"!!!....so # 1 did not work for my son....of course # 3 was certainly out of the question, so what was left was the one in the middle, # 2............major dan contined by saying "But it is not the feet and head that we should be looking at. Where is the torso going? Do the hips/torso shift forward past the rest of the body before roatating?
> > > > > > > > > Rotational - shoulders turn arms/bat into contact. Linear - arms push bat forward away from body into contact."......and he's right....in the weightshift vs. rotation debate, i think there is too much emphasis on what the lower body is doing...i think the distinguishing chacteristics are with what the HANDS and ARMS are doing!!!!...."Rotational - shoulders turn arms/bat into contact. Linear - arms push bat forward away from body into contact."....another way of putting it: rotational = circular hand path and weight shift = less of a circular hand path....or yet another way of putting it: rotational = relying more on the lower body and weight shift relying more on the hands and arms....therefore.......rotation = more power but less accuracy and weight shift = less power but more accuracy....and correct me if i'm wrong, but with the exception of THE GREAT EXCEPTIONS such as WILLIAMS & COMPANY,(THE GREAT EXCEPTIONS were the rotaters who could hit for significant power AND average), isn't it generally true that the true weightshifters were hitters such as rose, gwynn, carew , and they did indeed rely more on arms/hands?......but finally, ray pointed out that "even weight shift hitters (and i'm starting to not like categorizing this way) rotate. what i'm talking about is DEGREES of weight shift, and to what degree this has to happen for you to be
> > > > considered weight-shift or rotational.".....and it is a matter of degrees....enough in a matter of degrees to make a difference in what kind of a hitter you are, but maybe not enough difference to always be able to really tell from a video clip !!!!....respectfully, grc......
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> > grc,
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> > sit back, relax, have a cold one. gonna be a long read.
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> > this could be a "fascinating exchange", if more people would contribute. maybe it doesn't interest them. or maybe, the topic interests them, but, they don't like me. or maybe they don't like major dan. or maybe they're too frightened to lay their reputations on the line with a definitive model (tom olsen excluded). or maybe, not even definitive, - how about vague, but containing elements we can measure?
> > isn't it funny how all the discussions on these baseball forums are bits and pieces? discussed and discarded --- next topic! what's wrong with trying to create a model? an agreed standard to take shots at. and i guess it starts with weight shift vs. rotational. i mean, don't all the discussions eventually funnel to that particular topic? why, you think? because we're all trying to relate to a standard of some sort. something for comparison.
> > jack has relayed info to us after years of research. reviewing videos of thousands of batters. categorizing batters into, what was it, 15 different types of swings. i respect that. why don't WE do that? is there something wrong or dangerous about trying to create standards for comparison?
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> > anyhow. some things i think i think.
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> > 1. tangents to discussion are distracting, and cause a loss to train of thought. grc - "...in the weight shift vs. rotation debate, i think there is too much emphasis on what the lower body is doing...i think the distinguishing characteristics are with what the HANDS and ARMS are doing!!!". if your observations are vis-a`-vis recent discussion by me, then i have to remind, that my original thoughts were prompted by "weight shift and balance before lower body rotation". since "HANDS and ARMS" occur after lower body rotation is initiated (at least forward directed hands and arms) i have to consider this a tangent to discussion. not that i disagree with your observation, just that it is a tangent. perhaps i initiated the tangent with talk of weight shift, rotational, and lunging. for that, forgive me. so to stay on course, i'd like to hear more of your thoughts on "weight shift and balance before lower body rotation".
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> > 2. weight shift connotes to me - a shift of weight. from one point - through balance - to another point. in trying to create a visual indicator of weight shift, a mirror is extremely helpful VISUALIZING, while your body is SENSING weight shift. it doesn't take a rocket scientist to see that - your head in relative position to your feet - is a very good visual indicator. if your standing with feet shoulder width apart, and your head is centrally located between your feet, this is a point of balance. if you force your head to vertical placement (plumb) over your right foot, do you not feel a shift of weight? do you not see a shift of weight? do you not see your head shift from center to over the right foot?
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> > 3. weight shift is in degrees. degrees of shifting your weight, that is. in my example, are two extremes (head over right foot and head over left foot) and one central location. there are many degrees in between (too many to catalogue). perhaps i should have included at least two more intermediate shifts, (one between right leg and center) and (one between left leg and center).
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> > 4. compounding weight shift categorization is the complex nature of our anatomy and it's use in shifting weight. a very basic description is, - four limbed with a torso and head. throw in complex structural connections with varied and independent movements for each, and specific body positions begin to reach infinite proportions. so what are you gettin' at porco? permit me to simplify things, and cut off a batter's arms (again, i am referring to weight shift PRIOR to hip rotation). what you are left with is a flexible tuning fork - so to speak. NOT an inverted "Y" - which is a big diff. where the forks connect with the handle, we have (again simplifying) a sorta universal joint (man, are you physical therapists gonna crucify me. i know there are two ball and sockets, but i don't think the oversimplification affects my point). this universal permits us to bend our torso (tuning fork handle). and this bending, permits us to modify our axis (stake through the head and out the butt) with a tilt (slant, lean, angle, what have you). this tilt changes our head position in relation to our feet. soooooo, any discussion of weight shift must include axis tilt.
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> > 5. can we change the axis of rotation? does the axis always have to remain "through the head and out the butt"? jack says that a weight shift hitter rotates around the lead hip. i don't think that there is just one axis at work here. don't know if jack agrees, - haven't asked him. i think (and am opening myself up for some shots) that there are two axis' at work, a major and a minor. one from the head through the lead hip, and also one from the head and out the butt, anus, starfish, etc. saying that the lead hip is the only axis is like saying that the body is an inverted "Y" instead of a tuning fork. making the lead hip the only axis, is in fact, inverting the "Y" and straightening the tail to be in-line with one of the branches. can you follow that? not an inverted capital "Y", but an inverted lower case "y" (like a ballerina performing a pirouette). FULL rotation (bringing the trailing hip around fully) would require your lead foot to pirouette. with the lead foot not being permitted to do so, the trailing hip can only rotate around the lead hip as far as the lead hip socket will permit. which begs the question - do we really want the lead foot to "squash the bug"? i don't think so. so to achieve FULL rotation, i think we need the minor axis, - the one that's out the butt.
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> > 6. oh doctor, my brain hurts!
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> >ray...i agree that a comprehensive model is what we could use, rather than these bits and pieces....the problem i see, though in a model is that if no one can agree on the bits and pieces, how will we ever come up with a Unified Theory of Hitting?.......but i think we should at least try....respectfully, grc....
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> > ray porco


"Unified Theory of Hitting" - has a nice ring to it, but not in my lifetime. the point was not to get everyone to agree on all the "bits and pieces" of a particular model. rather, take everyone's thoughts and use these "bits and pieces" to classify hitters. a "Diversified Theory of Hitting". A model for comparison, or i should say models for comparison.
the first thing that jack had to do when studying hitter's was classify them. can't say for sure, but he used "bits and pieces" to classify them, and then after classification, took the hitter's that were the most successful and studied their "bits and pieces" to try and determine what made them successful.
so how in the hell can we do this?
well first we must realize that it will take an enormous amount of time, energy, and most of all commitment.
we first must form an alliance, and pledge sincerity and commitment.
how do we do that? well, first i'd like to hear other voices (and their opinions)but, you could have a singular post that everyone who wishes to participate must reply (allowing a certain amount of time).
i can think of plenty of potential members, right quick - and you know who i mean.
we should/must come up with a classification system based on everyone's approval. perhaps, break down by body parts - stride leg, stride foot, stride knee, lead arm, lead shoulder, lead hip, head, etc., etc., etc. or by weight shift(dread), axis tilt, hand path, stride length or no-stride, stance, etc. a checklist, if you will.
this system (after debate and consent) would then form our criteria for classification. we would have to volunteer or if need be, delegate certain members to review assigned hitters and give a synopsis. we could help each other out with video locations, or review one specific batter per day (week) and set time for net meeting.

am i crazy? been told that MANY times? do i give a good ----? what do you think?
but i'll tell you one thing, i think it would be exciting as hell!

ray porco

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