Re: What leads-hips,hands or both?
I think it's pretty clear from video tape the hips lead the swing of virtually every good hitter, although I think you'll get a lot of argument about how much they should lead. I asked a similar question of Jack recently regarding his statement that the hips/torso/shoulder rotate in unison. He can speak for himself and provide a better decription of his own teachings, but what I took from his response is that he wants linkage between the hips and shoulders and that many of the hitters he works with tend to separate the rotations too much, meaning the shoulders don't rotate as forcefully as they should. I believe this is what he means when he says, in effect, if the hip rotation is made without shoulder rotation, then the hip rotation is wasted movement. Again, Jack can give you a better descprition, but you might also want to check out the thread "The Mankin Theory" started by Steve T. on Dec. 14.
I think Jack makes a valid point, although I've tended to encounter what I call "top heavy" hitters who rely too much on chest/shoulder/upper body to create bat speed and not enough on the legs and hips. A little leading from the hips generally gets these guys off in the right direction and helps them establish the kinetic chain so vital to employing a summation of forces. Steve T seems to be another good guy to talk about this aspect of the swing. I know he recently posted some incorrect data here regarding Ken Griffey Jr., but his general point was well-made -- Junior is a puny girlie man upstairs but has powerful thighs/buttocks/hips. It certainly suggests his power is derived primarily from these slower moving but more powerful body parts.
As for the hands, I've never taught a hitter to start with his hands, primarily because I think it's technically incorrect (the forward rotation of the front shoulder always appeared to me to pull forward the hands before they became active) and seemed to produce hitters like the ones I describe above (too dependent on upper body.)
Jack is changing my thinking on this a bit, although I'm not sure where he stands on the phraseology. The initial hand movement from the launching position Jack describes is intriguing and perhaps suggests the hands and front shoulder act simultaneously (I'm not sure that's exactly what he is saying.) I think the key to Jack's movement, however, is that it is first a backwards movement and then a torque movement that starts angular displacement. It is not a straight jab at the ball. That would seem to solve the problems often associated with my "top heavy" hitters.
One other note: I think "start the swing with the hands" can be effective for some hitters who have a tendency toward dead-arming through the swing. Even if it's not technically accurate, it can be a good swing thought.
Again, I'd like to hear more from Jack and Steve T. on this subject.
Post a followup: