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Posted by: Jack Mankin (MrBatspeed@aol.com) on Sat Jan 13 22:34:41 2007


>>> The barrel turns about the hands in a plane different than what you describe.

You describe a swing plane that is centered by the spine. Or, said another way, the body is inside the swing plane. I believe today's hitters stand next to the swing plane as the barrel is turned in the hands in a diagonal plane out over the plate. See the hitters shown in the clips below.

Your model describes a mostly horizontal swing plane which IMO, doesn't match today's high level hitters.

www.teachersbilliards.com/hitzone/dortiz.gif
www.teachersbilliards.com/hitzone/delgado5.gif
www.teachersbilliards.com/hitzone/bonds4.gif

I will say, that at or near contact, the lead upper arm, lead lower arm and the bat can seem to line up. Form a line. But the path they took to get there is far from in the "shoulders momentum plane" and is not produced by shoulder rotation. And, because of this fact, the entire launch of the swing is misunderstood. And only a handful who play at the highest level know this.

At launch, the barrel is torqued immediately by the hands (forearms) and rotates in a plane roughly 90 degrees to the lead forearm. An immediate launch and spend of energy. And, as a hitter approaches contact, that angle approaches 180 degrees (lead upper arm, lead lower arm, bat seem to get in line). When a hitter hits the ball in the perfect spot deep in the zone, with perfect timing, it is hit before this allignment.

The hitter does his best to hit the ball before the swing rounds off and pulls the hands out of the hitzone.

It is my opinion, that teaching a circular hand path is a mistake. It is my opinion that hitters resist the circular path but lose. They attempt to keep the hands out over the plate as they rotate the barrel, but because of the body's rotation and their timing on any given pitch, the rotation will eventually win and round off the swing. That is far from an attempt to "create" the circular hand path. The circular hand path is inevitable. The body's rotation will win. But, the hitter, by jutting his lead elbow upward and rotating the forearms, does his best to keep that rotating barrel, that barrel that is rotating roughly 90 degrees to the lead forearm, out over the plate and in line with the ball. The hands must stay out over the plate, in line with the ball AS THEY ROTATE THE BARREL.

See the overhead Rose clip with the lines drawn on it. Everyone says "see....circular hand path." Well, study it a little closer. The lines are not drawn as accurately as they could be. If you used the same spot on the hands for each frame and drew a line connecting the spots, the initial move of Rose's hands is very, very straight to the ball. Then, as the rotation wins, the hand path rounds off.

This Second Engine upper body mechanism has several outstanding qualities. But, probably the most important (if I can say one is more important than the other) is.....the hands/forearms turn the barrel rearward at launch and this rearward movement of the barrel creates resistance that is used to break the upper and lower body apart. It is a mechanism that creates separation. The barrel loading, as Swingbuster calls it, the barrel going rearward, keeps the hands at the armpit while they turn the barrel. Guru after guru seek a method to keep the hands back. To keep the hitter from thrusting his hands forward. Well, high level hitters don't thrust and they use this mechanism to make it easy. It is automatic with the Second Engine. High level hitters use the barrel's weight and the resistance it's rearward movement creates, to keep the hands at the launch position and to break apart the upper and lower body. The hands are busy torquing the barrel rearward...therefore they don't go anywhere. And, finally, this barrel movement backward gives the hitter what DMac calls a running start. A huge advantage. The hitter starts the barrel in its arc rearward prior to any committment to the pitch. Then, when the decision is "go", he simply fires the forearms and continues the barrel in it's rearward path and it turns the corner and hits the crap out of the ball. The Second Engine will consistently square bat and ball because of the path of the arc. Shoulder momentum swings, lead shoulder pulling the bat around, double pendulum type swings have a sloppy arc and consistently slice the ball.

That's a lot of words to simply say.....Create the arc rearward....keep the arc in front of the ball. <<<

Hi Teacherman

We may agree on the need for early bat speed. Other than that, I can only say once again that I disagree with your description of the swing plane and your version of swing mechanics. My description of the swing is in the post below. I would also say that Paul Nymanís animated swing plane does a better job of illustrating the plane than I can describe with words. I have read your disagreement of Paulís animation and find them groundless. Your disagreements are due to your own misunderstanding of the swing plane.

You can have the last word.

Jack Mankin
##

Posted by: Jack Mankin (mrbatspeed@aol.com) on Thu Aug 28 23:04:29 2003

Question/Comment:

>>> First time posting. Followed discussions for couple years. Purchased Final Arc II about three months ago.

Situation: HS coach told my son to drive his front elbow "down and in." Now he has a downward bat plane as he makes contact with ball.

Question: What is proper position of front elbow in launch position, as back elbow enters slot, and as shoulders turn for contact? Equally important, how do I describe this to me son? Are there any drills that will help him get front arm in right place? <<<

Jack Mankin's reply:

Hi dmaddox:

Think of the plane of the swing as being a flat disc that is tilted down toward the plate so as to intersect the path of the ball in the contact zone. The bat, lead-arm and shoulders should all be in that plane from initiation to contact. You may have the bat more vertical while in your stance, but the bat must drop into the plane of the lead-arm when shoulder rotation begins.

Since the shoulders are rotating on a tilted plane (not horizontal to the ground), the back-shoulder will begin (from the inward turn position) higher and rotate to a lower position as the lead-shoulder starts lower and is rotating upward. You should not have to think about lowering the back-shoulder, it should happen automatically as you rotate if your launch position is correct.

Keeping the lead-arm (including the elbow) in the plane of the swing is an absolute MUST. That means the lead-elbow MUST always remain pointing into the plane of the swing. If the lead-elbow lowers (or drops) down out of the plane before contact -- the swing is ruined. The wrist will start to roll too soon and the bat-head will come out of the intended plane. This will normally cause inconsistent contact and usually results in weak grounders or pop-ups.

Jack Mankin


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