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Follo up for Jack,Shawn,RQL,Coach,et al

Posted by: tom.guerry (tom.guerry@kp.org) on Sun Nov 4 09:43:55 2001

>>> Watching videos I see a lot of pro's stride as their hands go back. But many hitting instructors teach bring the hands and the front knee back, then stride.
> Which do you believe in? Is one method better for power and the other for average? Thanks in advance as I really appreciate your answer. <<<
> Hi Coach
> Both methods can work well for both power and average. The important point to remember is that the hands should be coming toward the shoulder as shoulder rotation starts. Some batters have their hands above the shoulders (Jeter, A-Rod) and some low and away from the shoulders as they stride (Eric Davis, Bonds), but they all will have their hands (especially the top-hand) coming toward the back-shoulder as they initiate the swing.
> Another important point to remember, as the swing is initiated, the first movement of the hands (as a unit) is NOT toward the pitcher. In order to develop a circular hand-path, the first movement of the hands should be perpendicular to the flight of the pitch (or more inline with the catcher’s shoulders). So it is also best to bring the hands toward the shoulder (perpendicular to the flight of the ball) as you prepare the launch position. As long as the batter performs a good inward-turn and the arms keep the hands the back, shoulder rotation will propel the hands into a circular path.
> Stepping away from the hands (striding while keeping the hands stationary) or extending the hands toward the catcher cannot produce as good of a launch position for generating a circular hand-path as described above. We do not want the hands to be a “sling-shot” back toward the pitcher.
> Jack Mankin

I can't remember where RQL's post was,but he described the basic sequence as back,step(stride),swing.This is the basic sequence I prefer after experimenting with various alternative hitting and golf styles.There are hitters who step,then turn the torso back,then swing.One fastpitch example Shawn would know is Toni Mascarenas.This is a result of a variation of "no stride" .In this case she strides to a 50-50 weight distribution direction,then pauses,breaking the swing into more discrete parts than I like(I think a smooth unbroken transition is necessary).To get going,she then rotates the torso back then forward.As Shawn says,an infinite number of style variations can work,but I think this is making it hard on yourself.

The learning from golf(where the back swing is much more pronounced)is that the back swing is initiated/controlled by the upper body and the forward swing is initiated/controlled by the lower body.First the torso rotates back,then separation occurs as the lower body starts forward with the hands continuing back.No stride is fine in golf because the long back and forth swing creates plenty of time for acceleration(not worried about reaction time).

In hitting it seems much easier for most to learn the basic sequence as back,step(some stride or up/down of the front foot as opposed to a pause),swing as RQL mentioned.The hand/launch position is very important as stated by Jack in getting the proper transition from backswing to forward swing or you will get "loose connection"/premature extension.The launch happens at about front foot touch or heel drop.Jack's work goes into great(necessary)detail about the launch to contact portion of the swing.Depending on location,you have what Jack describes as the "low load"/bottom hand torque "turn on the ball" situation,or you have the "high load"/top hand torque throw the bathead for the outside location situation.


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