Posted by: Jack Mankin (MrBatspeed@aol.com) on Fri Oct 5 00:33:29 2001

<u>Question/Comment:</u>

>>> I got an earfull from my coach because he said the lead shouldn't be straight, and he also said that you need the bend in your arm to provide leverage to move the arms foward. He said there is no way i can hit the inside pitch. I told him that the shouler and hips rotate the arms, and he said that was ludacris, Jack, do you think that these are extension mechanics he is teaching me cause he said your arm needs bend in order to hit the inside pitches which is true, but he said having a straight lead arm is insane <<<

Hi Jeff:

Along with a raised back-elbow, another major sin to most linear batting coaches is a straight or "barred" lead arm. Yet, when we study the swings of many of the best hitters we see a raised back-elbow in the launch position and a fairly straight lead-arm from launch to contact.

Why then is a straight lead-arm thought to be such a problem when it is apparent that so many good hitters use it? --- It becomes a problem when it is combined with linear batting principles. If the batter initiates the swing with a straight lead-arm while following the linear rule of "Keep your shoulder in-there," major problems will occur. The combination of a straight lead-arm without adequate shoulder rotation leads to a weak wide-casting swing. -- Linear and rotational transfer mechanics are not compatible. Many fruitless hours of practice and unrealized dreams await those that try.

Great hitters can use a straight lead-arm because they do not "Keep their shoulder in-there" as they start their swing. Their rotational mechanics keeps the arm back close to the chest and they initiate the swing by rotating the shoulders - not thrusting the hands at the pitcher. Keeping the arm fairly straight across the chest and allowing rotation to accelerate the hands generates a good tight circular hand-path. In fact, the path is so tight that shoulder rotation must be slowed to allow the arm to cast outward for pitches on the outside part of the plate. The only time a rotational batter needs to bend the lead-elbow is when he is jammed with an inside pitch.

Some good hitters may have some bend in the lead-arm at initiation and keep it in that position through most of the swing. However, they cannot allow the elbow to collapse inward any further or a straighter hand-path (linear) will result. No great hitter has a straight hand-path.

Note: Jeff, why don't you invite your coach to the discussion board? It would be interesting to have him point his reasons for thinking we're insane.

Jack Mankin

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