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Re: Mankin v. Epstein - Is there any difference?

Posted by: Jack Mankin (MrBatspeed@aol.com) on Mon Aug 6 14:55:50 2001

>>> I think that you have done a great job describing the swing mechanics and answering all tough questions on the board. Generally, Epstein diverts most questions that directly asks him to describe the mechanics of the swing, arguing that simplicity is fastest way to success, which I believe is a cheap way of saying "I don't know;" however, recently, I think that Epstein has provided more insight into his philosophy.

Could you please describe the main difference between your approach and his OR do you disfavor any technique that Epstein advocates and why?

I think many of us are interested in your answer and then maybe Epstein will go out on a limb and defend his techniques after learning of your response.

Jack (and Mike), I hope that my request is appropriate, but I think this is what the readers want and would assist them in making their decision. <<<

Hi Coach Tom

I am sure that from the viewpoint of the reader, pitting Mike's coaching philosophy against mine would be interesting to read. It assumes that we have marked differences in our approach to teaching good batting principles. And, there very well could be some areas of disagreement. But overall, I would bet that if Mike and I set down, just one on one, and discussed our theories on batting mechanics, you would find us far more in agreement than some of you might think.

I think it is important to point out that neither Mike nor I have invented any new batting mechanic or principle. Great hitters have exhibited all the principles of the rotational mechanics we teach (lowering heel initiating rotation - separation - circular hand path - top and bottom hand torque) dating back before the days of Babe Ruth. What we have done is bring to light the fallacy that linear trajectories are responsible for generating the angular displacement of the bat (bat speed) and have shown that rotational trajectories are the true source. Mike, at mikeepsteinhitting.com, has done great job of dispelling the long held theory that a forward weight-shift develops the energy for the swing. His seminars and tapes have helped players and coaches alike understand that it is angular momentum around a stationary axis that contains the real energy for the swing.

Where Mike and I may have some disagreement is, or what I perceive his belief to be, is if the batter develops the proper hip and shoulder separation during rotation, the batter's transfer mechanics will take care of themselves. In other words, if the batter rotates correctly, the arms and hands will automatically apply the most efficient form of torque and circular-hand-path to the bat. I have not found this to be true. In fact, my research shows that a very high percentage of batters with good hip and shoulder rotation still attempt to use linear mechanics to transfer the body's angular momentum into bat speed.

Regardless of how well a batter rotates, the body's rotational momentum cannot be efficiently transferred into bat speed if the batter uses linear transfer mechanics and pushes the top-hand forward at initiation. To apply the proper torque trajectories to the bat-head and develop the most productive circular-hand-path, the batter must initiate the swing by pulling back toward the catcher with the top-hand. Most of the great hitters probably developed these mechanics as a natural part of their swing. But there are a growing number of players who came to the major leagues as average hitters (280 AVE. -- 6 HR) and then years later develop into (300+ AVE -- 30+ HR) stars. Stop and consider the number of players that are having career years, such as Bret Boone. Invariably, the major change in their swings is the addition of top-hand-torque to their mechanics. They either learned it by trial-and-error or by emulating the mechanics of the better hitters. So a player does not have to be born with great mechanics. -- It can be learned - it can be taught in a simplistic manner - and it is a prerequisite to having a career year and continued success.

As far as our instructional videos are concerned, I would say that Mike spent more time and was more thorough in his presentation of lower-body mechanics. I, on the other hand, felt that in order to develop better hitters, it was important to spend time dispelling old linear transfer "truisms" and defining the mechanics actually used by the great hitters. The video is a full hour in duration with most of the time spent defining the principles of rotation, a circular-hand-path and developing torque earlier in the swing and I think that it is a great addition to every coaches library.

However, our work at BatSpeed.com is not finished. You have asked for it and by next season it will be available. A complete, professionally created, A-to-Z drills video is in the works to compliment the theory of the "Final Arc" video.

Jack Mankin


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