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Re: Re: 2 strikes

Posted by: Mark (mjury@amgen.com) on Fri Dec 4 10:02:29 2009

Hey Jeff.

I agree that a batter should generally not choke up, but it depends on bat size,a nd the ability of te hitter. Choking up is probably more imprtant for younger kids who are primarilly relying on arm strength to swing the bat. With rotational mechanics, the power of the hips, torso and shoulder will be able to move the bat in it's arc at good speed regardless of whether or not one chokes up.

I was speaking more specifically to a shorter swing, not shortening the bat. In other words, a swing where the bat is not traveling as much from initiation to contact. Many of the big hitters seem to swing the same no matter how many strikes they have (e.g. Manny, Vlad, Utley), but many MLB guys do "shorten up" their swings to ensure they get the ball in play. Obviously it will vary by situation... for example, if you have a runner on 2nd, and a batter with 2 strikes, you would accept the batter grounding out to 1st base if he advanced the runner to 3rd with 0 outs - similar result to a sacrifice bunt - versus striking out, and the runner not advancing.

What I have taught in previous years while coaching youth ball is to lower the back elbow into the slot (or close to the slot) when you have 2 strikes, and "turn to the ball". I particularly emphasized this for batters at the bottom of the batting order, as they tended to have greater variability in their swings and bat path, so I was trying to lock their frame a bit more in 2-strike situations, with the hopes of getting the ball in play. This clearly takes some power away from the hitter, so I'm trying to understand if there is a better way to achieve the same goal of putting the ball in play with runners on.

Or, should we not even teach kids to "shorten" their swing with 2 strikes?




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