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Long detailed amen

Posted by: tom.guerry (tom.guerry@kp.org) on Sat Dec 8 15:50:05 2001

Hi All
> > >
> > > Dont we do it anyways with Rotational Mechanics?? not defending no one... Mr. Lau helps A-Rod but with weight swift Mechanics how can some one hit over 50 homeruns A-rod much be Rotational Hitter. with the Charley Lau One Handed Follow though does it take away power..???.
> >
> > Every hitter has both "rotational" mechanics and "weight shift" mechanics. The "debate" on weightshift vs. rotational is the result of each side of the debate not having a way of clearly articulating their position.If they did have a way of articulating their position better (not just with words but with frame by frames to back up their words) you would find that there is really more agreement than disagreement.
> right on target, batman.
> ray porco

Ray- Welcome back,haven't seen you around for a while.As you and Batman and others point out,it's hard to talk about this stuff with words only because the underlying model of the swing isn't agreed on,definitions of terms are lacking and multimedia/linking/integration is difficult.Jack's approach of objectively identifying visual universal fundamentals and illustrations of his model swing drawn from real clips is helpful.Perhaps in the absence of actually posting clips here,it might someday be possible for contributors to put in links or attachments.For now this can work because there are good contributors here who are enough on the same wavelength to improve understanding.

The point you and Batman are making is a good one.Epstein,for example would talk about the "lower body" swing.This makes the point that somehow the lower body is significantly contributing to batspeed.Very few hitters will get to the highest level if they haven't figured out a way to mechanically get the lower body energy into the swing.This does,inevitably, require body rotation.The case is somewhat different in fastpitch softball where bats are light and overall hitting is poor,poorly understood and poorly coached.There are a majority of softball hitters who are mainly being taught and/or are successful with an upperbody swing or slapping.The lower body is important for positioning,but is not significantly contributing lowerbody energy to turn the bat.

The large number of terms for describing or naming baseball hitting,even though most would agree that there is rotation and that it is desirable to get the lower body into it(As Ted Williams would say-get your a-- into the swing),is testimony to the fact that there is no commonly accepted model of how this is done.Adair gives it a shot,but what he describes is not what I see on video.This does not mean that there are not universals,only that no one has succeeded in discovering and simply communicating this complex event.Between Jack and Nyman and Epstein,I think a model is emerging.

Paul Nyman has explained the workings of the brain-vision-motor system.He has explained the workings of the kinetic chain and training principles and has developed training tools that work(see his website-product info and max returns).It is important to be able to think of the swing as the "top down control of a bottom up ballistic motor activity" optimized to minimize timing error without sacrificing spatial accuracy or power.Paul also points out the all important distinction between cues and reality.

In lay terms,it is really all about hand-eye coordination.The hands are a rich locus of fine and gross motor control.Jack has,among other things described how the hands are best involved as a part of "transfer mechanics".In addition he has highlighted the universal/fundamental importance of rotation around a stationary axis,maintenance of a circular handpath and the role of hand torque.As Jack has said"Full shoulder rotation supplies power for all great hitters.The lower body contributes by contributing to shoulder rotation." One of the main video features of the sound swing that Jack looks for is good connection as evidenced by powerful shoulder rotation into contact.As for transfer mechanics,"the hands stay back and the handpath is accelerated by shoulder rotation and the bat's reaction to torque,not by arm extension." The importance of adhering to these transfer mechanic fundamentals can not be overemphasized.If the handpath is prematurely extended or extended before the hands have torqued the bathead out(bathead fired before hands extend away from body/not "giving up" on swing),sequential transfer of momentum via the kinetic chain,the major source of power will not be transformed into batspeed.Without consistent and high batspeed there can be no power and no timing or spatial accuracy.

Mike Epstein has great intuitive understanding of most of these principles and is able to apply them to describe a successful method of instruction that works within the context of the traditional baseball lexicon.He makes the important distinction between universal technique and individual style and has a good handle on cues vs reality.His method for teaching body rotation and setting up the axis of rotation is the best I have seen.You are likely to be lunging if you haven't followed Mike's instruction.His understanding of the mental side of the game is unsurpassed.

The beauty of applying Jack's fundamentals is that they encourage the least amount of variation in the mechanics a hitter has to master.For example,my belief is that the Lau type hitter is a top hand torque hitter.Not surprising since Jack first made this observation in Brett,who was a Lau Sr.student.Brett described this as "We threw out everything I'd been taught about hitting and started working on his[Lau] techniques-releasing the top hand,loading up your weight on the backside,exploding through the ball and the biggest thing,extending your lead arm through the swing." Lau described this as "weight shift" because he wanted the hitter coming off the back foot a la Hank Aaron,but this doesn't mean that Brett wasn't rotational.He just did the equivalent of making everything an outside pitch.He emphasized tht with less torso turn,but with earlier and more forceful torquing of the bat head usually followed by some extension/casting of the lead arm before contact.How much the torso rotates is not what makes a swing rotational or not.Weight does need to get off of the back foot as part of setting up your body's axis and rotating,but this doesn't make it a "weight-shift" swing in the sense that it is any less rotational.Hank Aaron rotates about as much as possible and gets about as much weight forward as possible.Both he and Brett are rotational in the sense of powering the swing with the unbroken transfer of momentum from the ground up.

The value of Jack's model is that he explains a way that you can swing like Aaron for the middle/in stuff and Brett for the outside stuff without having to think about or learn this as different kinds of swings.Thinking about it the Mike Schmidt way-weight shift outside/rotational inside will confuse the body's motor learning process require mastering more and more complex motor programs resulting in consistency and reaction time suffering.Jack's description of the fundamental importance of the circular handpath and especially bottomhand torque for the inside pitch shows how to hit this insiden ball for power and keep it fair.As importantly the idea of hand torque shows how this adjustment is along the same continuum as emphasizing tht for the outside location instead of thinking about this as a different swing type.Armed with this information,a hitter can focus on perfecting the timing of a minimum number of motor programs for all locations.In addition,analysis for improvement and slump busting would be simpler.The main flaw for the Lau type outside swing will be deceleration due to giving up on the swing,hence the emphasis on extension/followthrough.The main flaw for the Aaron type inside swing will be premature hand extension,hence the emphasis on bottom hand torque/pulling back with the bottom hand to circle the handpath in front of the body.

Looked at this way,a good rotational swing will demonstrate the fundamentals Jack describes.How weight shifts or how much the torso rotates are not reliable markers for the desired swing.Linear is the term Jack uses for the swing that is not powered by coiling and uncoiling the body.Often it is flawed transfer mechanics that prevent the necessary sequential storing and release of energy that are necessary accompaniment to the body coiling and uncoiling.


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