Re: Observations from ten years of posts
> Hello all,
> My 8 year old will be attending one of the area's Epstein-certified instructors for a seven-day hitting course at the conclusion of his season before fall ball. I wanted to learn more about the rotational swing, so I checked out his work, Englishbey's, and any other study I could find about rotational hitting. I found this site just a few months ago, and have spent dozens of mornings and afternoons reading the material, viewing clips, and reading posts while commuting an hour to and from work. Jack's study represents in my opinion the absolute best combination of physics, common sense, and lucid explanation I've found.
> I've literally read every post relevant to mechanics (skipping over off-topic stuff). Just a few observations:
> 1. Old habits die hard and people see things on video to support long-standing beliefs they hold, even when the truth is right in front of them. Countless posters refute Jack, only to be shown proof in video and in physics to the contrary.
> 2. Players and coaches can be distinguished in the posts by the way they describe the mechanics. It seems the more accomplished the player, the more "feel", and "cues" (which may be linear and inefficient even though their swing is not) dominate the description, while a developing player will be more apt to seek mechanical advice. Coaches tend to be even more mechanical as we struggle to find ways to teach swings we were never taught.
> 3. What put it "all together", for me, were the 3 posts titled "putting round pegs ins square holes", or something to that effect, posted in early November 2008. In my mind the only poster through the years who successfully presented a contrary MECHANICAL view was T. Guerry, and though the differences they ultimately share now, I believe, are minor (tilting shoulders ans rotating forearms to load and aid THT and create separation vs. "pulling the strings" and turning the shoulder to do the same, and the resulting poaaible small change in the CHP caused by a more tilted rotation of the shoulder), it really helped reconcile some problems I and my son had with PLT/THT and bat lag as I attempted to coach my son with us both hitting balls. Yes, Teacherman first presented the "concept", but I felt his description was not teachable, and he'd been disrespectful to Jack, who always kept his cool. Even before those posts, just from what I'd read and taught to my son, he improved dramtically. Just getting him to explode the front shoulder solved (with lots of reps) a few years of poor instruction on my part, as I ate some humble pie. Anyway, those three posts summarized (starting and ending with Jack) in the most clear way to me what the site is all about. For anyone still confused, or not 100 percent sure that the material on the site represents the high-level mechanics, check it out.
> 4. PFO is dead (lol) but we all love BHL.
> Anyway I've rambled on a bit, but thanks Jack and all, keep up the great work!
If I may offer you some advice based upon my own experience (and mistakes), you should not assume that the "Mankin" rotational swing and the "Epstein" rotational swing are the same. Although I knew about this site first, my son worked with an Epstein instructor for about 2 1/2 years and did the 7 day program mostly for 2 reasons - because it was convenient and because I thought they were the same. While I knew that Jack disagreed with Epstein on some points, I thought they were of minor significance. They are in fact points of major significance. My son's "Epstein" swing was characterized by major bat drag as in Epstein's "Enforcer" or fence drill, and his results were nothing to brag about. What really opened my eyes was Jack's video with 4 MLB hitters, their back arm positions and THT. If you watch the video on Epstein's home page you will see a college hitter with alot of bat drag and a far different swing than the 4 MLB hitters. My son began working on correcting some of his flaws (bat drag, staying inside the ball too much, hitting by forward extension, etc.) this winter, but really began to catch on just before spring. So far, he has raised his average by at least 100 points compared to the previous couple of years. Recently, he hit a ball in a game, 75' farther than any ball he had previously hit in a game. The focus now is working on consistency and really burying the old habits for good, because they do crop up in some ab's. Part of the challenge is attempting to do this while playing for high school coaches whose concept of the swing bears no resemblance to that described by Jack or Epstein. I would love to show them some of the videos. Now that I have the chance to watch more and more high school hitters, the common flaw that I see in most of them is inefficient swing mechanics that produce bat drag. Many hitters can turn on an inside pitch and hit it decent. Very few high school hitters can drive the outside pitch to the opposite field with authority. What usually happens is their front shoulder flies open, they lag the bat, and they hit a weak flare the other way. Learning how to accelerate the bat barrel with PLT and THT before the shoulder flies open is the answer, and you will not learn this from Epstein. I will close by saying that Mike Epstein and his son Jake are very nice people (my son actually has a ball that they autographed), and very professional with great intentions. When it comes to some key aspects of the swing, I think they are simply wrong and I side with Jack.
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