>>> Firstly- Jack, you are the man. I discovered your site mere weeks ago,
and it has already cleaned up my swing to an amazing degree. Just
after reading through the site, letting it marinate for a bit, then
reading again and applying, I have gone through a remarkable change.
Your research and lucid explanation of the results cemented some
things that I already thought I knew and added so much more. Prior to
reading your work I had played baseball for three years in high school
and then spent several years playing recreational slowpitch softball.
Before this site, I had never hit a home run and always felt that the
ball was sluggish coming off my bat. There was one moment, in high
school, where I had the quintessential "easy swing" that produced a
bomb - but the field had no fence and the outfielder ran it down. So
to say I was frustrated with my swing is an understatement. Now, I
have hit one home run against live pitching and hit several balls 300+
feet off of a tee (with a light wind to help). In slowpitch, there is
no faking bat speed, and the ball is now exploding off of my bat. So
for all that, you have my sincerest thanks.
Now on to my question/point of clarification/what works amazingly well
for me: I understand well the PLT, THT, CHP, and BHT concepts, but
what really separates the men from the boys is the timing of those
elements together. In my mental process, following the load, just as I
start to fire my hips, I try to apply maximum THT to get the bat
moving rearward. At the exact same time, I try to pull my front
shoulder around hard - trying to "uncock" it as fast as possible. When
coupled with my body's rotation, this technique seems to get my bat
around blindingly fast. From how I understand your research, it seems
like your opinion is that most players get their shoulders turned
before they untuck the front shoulder. Can you think of any problems
with the way I'm doing it? Because I seem to be getting amazing
results any way you look at it.
Thanks once again for everything you've done. There is nowhere else on
the web with as much quality information on swinging the bat as this
I fully agree with the way you practice initiating the swing. When teaching a student how to apply THT, I also stress the importance of lead-shoulder rotation and the resulting "hard" pull of the bottom-hand on the knob end of the bat. Granted, rotating the back-forearm (thumb rotating rearward) as the elbow lowers will cause the bat-head to accelerate rearward. However, that action alone cannot supply enough torque for high level THT.
To attain maximum rearward acceleration of the bat requires the forearms to take the hands in opposing directions (torque) as well as the rotation of the back-forearm. -- I think the two videos below illustrates this principle better than I can describe it with word alone.
Good & Poor THT
I first wrote about the bat's rearward acceleration in the early 1990s. This was after viewing a good number of swings from overhead cameras broadcast from the old Astro Dome. However, until recently, I could not convince other coaches of the importance of rearward acceleration and many would not even believe the bat did move rearward.
But now, frame-by-frame video analysis has quieted most dissenters and a few coaches are starting to teach some form of THT. The major problem I find with batters learning to apply THT is they are "Top-Hand Dominate" and tend to drive the top-hand forward as they lower and rotate the back-forearm. Having both hands applying a forward force (no opposing force) does not produce sufficient torque for maximum acceleration.
I cannot overstate the importance of the top-hand not being driving forward during initiation and THT. When the batter drives the top-hand forward, the rotation of the lead-side is mostly wasted taking up the slack induced. Since during initiation the top-hand should be applying a rearward force, it is the forward force of the bottom-hand that should advance the hand-path. Bryce, this is why your statement, "I try to pull my front shoulder around hard - trying to "uncock" it as fast as possible," is so important.