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Re: bottom hand torque/Heavy bag

Posted by: Jack Mankin (Mrbatspeed@aol.com) on Thu Jul 12 22:54:29 2001

>>> Ok, I think I have top hand torque figured out. When creating top hand torque, don't you pull the top hand back towards the catcher into the launch position to begin the swing? Is bottom hand torque when you pull back toward the catcher while the tope hand is rotating at contact? Can someone please clear this up? Thanks. <<<

Hi Kevin

You described bht fairly well. Have you read "Wrist action or torque?" If not, go to the "site map" at the bottom of the page. --- On an earlier post you asked about the "heavy bag drill." Below is some information that might help.

>>> I've seen mention of swinging into a heavy bag. At what point in the swing would you want to make contact with the bag? In relation to the plate, would it be slightly ahead or further back? Should there be any energy left in the swing so the bag would offer resistance upon further bat rotation, or should the bag act as a 'stop' and aimpoint with no energy left in the swing.<<<

Hi Franco

>>> The bag should act as a aim-point where all the body's torque and rotational energy has been transferred to the bat. --- The ball is in contact with the bat for about 1/2000 sec. During that time the bat only moves forward about 3/4 of an inch. Any energy expended after that is wasted. The energy for the follow-through should only come from the bat's momentum. --- This is why I have real problems with drills that have the batter hitting tossed deflated basketballs or similar soft thrown objects that remain in contact with the bat for an extended time. In these drills the batter must save energy back to be exerted until the object is stopped or even worse, propelled forward.

Most batters develop a good percentage of their bat speed after the bat becomes perpendicular to the ball's line of flight. With the aid of the bag and developing good rotational mechanics, the batter can train to have expended all his energies before and at contact. With full bat speed having been developed, the muscles are in a relaxed mode just after contact and through the follow-through.

One of the main problems with developing more efficient mechanics is overcoming old muscle memories. Most batters are predominately “back side” hitters, meaning they rely to heavily on the back hip, shoulder and arm to swing the bat. It is much easier to learn mechanics that utilizes both the back and lead side more evenly when the batter is concentrating on hitting a bag instead of a live ball (even soft-toss).

With average (back-side) batting mechanics, the batter develops much of their bat speed after passing the optimum contact point. They have little power to the opposite field and many of their well-hit balls are pulled foul. Placing the bag so the contact point is moved deeper into the strike zone encourages the batter to develop better lead-side mechanics that will generate bat speed earlier in the swing. -- This bag placement will also help a hitter with a lunging problem. He will soon learn to shorten his stride and use more shoulder rotation in his swing.

These are just a few reasons I find hitting a heavy bag preferable to swinging at live balls. Especially when the batter is working on developing new mechanics. Once the batter is able to attain the proper form at contact (lead knee extended, lead shoulder pulling back, back leg and arm forming the “L” position) he can start working on soft toss. But when most batters return to live balls they also tend to revert back to their old mechanics. So you must go back and forth between the bag and live balls until the new mechanics replaces old muscle memories.

Trying to replace old swing habits in the batting cage takes much longer and it requires a frame-by- frame video to gage the batter’s progress. With the bag you can easily check the batter’s form at contact. --- The soft-toss must come from the front – not a sharp side angle. If you toss the ball from the side where the batter must extend out to make contact you will be causing the batter to use exactly the mechanics we are trying to change – less rotation and more arm extension.

Below is a post I made earlier regarding a drill I use to teach rotational principles to batters.

The drill I find most effective in getting hitters to use more body rotation in their swing is what I call “The welded wheel drill.” This drill will require the use of a bag (as described in a thread below) to absorb the bat’s energy. The bag will also offer a contact point or a point by which maximum bat speed should have occurred. Any energy expended by body or arms after contact will have no effect on how hard the ball is hit. The presence of the bag will cause the batter to develop bat speed earlier in the swing.

I call it “The welded wheel drill,” because the arms remain in a fairly fixed position (as if welded to a wheel) as the body rotates. I have the batter assume the body and arm position of a good swing at contact. The shoulders and hips are fully open (lead shoulder pulling back toward the catcher) and facing the pitcher. The lead-leg is fully extended with the back-leg forming the “L” position. The lead arm is fairly straight and across the chest. When the bat is in contact with the bag the back-arm will form the “L” position.

From this contact position you have the batter use his/her legs and torso to rotate the shoulders and the bat back around until they are facing the plate. The position of the hands and arms should remain fixed as the body rotates back. The batter may add some cock to the bat by flexing the wrist but the hands should remain in about the same position in relationship to the body throughout the drill . The legs will now assume the position they would have in the launch position. Without moving the arms, have the batter use their legs and torso muscles to rotate the shoulders and the bat back around to the contact point. They should now have the good power position they started with. --- It is important that the batter transfers all rotational and torque energies by the time the bat reaches contact. Any energy not transferred by contact is wasted. Having transferred all energies, the body and limbs should be relaxed and at rest at contact.

I think your players will be very surprised at the power and bat speed they can attain without using the arms and it will definitely help them to use more body in their swings. <<<

Jack Mankin


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