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Re: Re: SKIPPER, question about timing

Posted by: Jeff (kidd@islc.net) on Sat Jan 8 22:26:10 2000

Hi Skipper,

Man, skip a few days on this board, and the place goes nuts. Seems my question sparked quite a debate.

Skipper, I'd like to draw your attention back to my original question because I have a few follow-ups regarding your first response.

First, I think you're quite right -- your approach must change according to your role and the game situation.But I'm not sure bat speed is solely responsible for an inability to adjust. Rather, some of the frequent byproducts of "muscling up" make it more difficult. For instance, you cite Klesko, who often pulls off the pitch surrendering both balance and vision. Rarely will you see him check a swing or attempt to alter the swing plane in mid-pitch. You WILL see him take a gargantuan cut and swing right through or two feet above one, though. I could be wrong, but this suggests to me the root of his problem isn't that his bat speed makes it too difficult to adjust; it's that over-swinging caused him to lose sight of the pitch and never attempt an adjustment in the first place.

Don't get me wrong. I don't think there are many hitters who should swing from the heels on every pitch. Seek maximum bat speed, but only within the parameters of proper vision and balance. That doesn't mean you still won't have to make concessions (with two-strikes, for example), but I don't think Jack's objection to the fence drill is that it doesn't allow you to take a Kelsko-esque cut, and I know that's not my objection to it. In my estimation, it robs you of bat speed that could well take while still ensuring good vision and balance.

I also believe that if your stroke is tuned to the pitcher's delivery and you're developing a kinetic chain that sets your lower body about the job of generating power before you commit your hands to the swing, any adjustments once the bat approaches contact would be both minor and virutally subconscious.

Which leads me back to one question and one observation regarding your response.

The observation first -- It's the weight of the bat, not its velocity, that will get you. As such, the benefit of the fence drill you describe seems to me to treat a symptom, not a problem. You're concerned about increasing the relative weight of the bat by casting, which makes the bat "heavier" and thus more difficult to control (it also slows down the swing, via law of conservation of angular velocity.) This is definitely a legitimate concern. A tight, ciruclar hand path eliminates this problem and has the added benefit of beginning angular velocity sooner. The fence drill might encourage the circular hand path. Then again, it might not. It might force a more linear path, which does not initiate angular rotation and thereby robs you of bat speed both early and late in the swing. (By late, I mean as you approach contact.) Which brings us back to Jack's argument -- the fence drill corrects for casting, but it doesn't necessarily encourage the circular hand path. Therefore, performing it correctly doesn't mean you're swinging correctly.

(For the record, I wouldn't eliminate the fence drill from my bag of tricks, but I would sure as heck make sure no hitter of mine performed it without supervision. I'd want to ensure he wasn't "cheating" by either using a linear hand path and late wrist roll or by pulling off the pitch. The latter problem is ironic, since it compromises vision and balance that allow you to make the late adjustments in the first place.)

Now, for my question -- I agree in principle with the premise that not every cut will be perfectly timed and that the body must sometimes make late adjustments. But what, physiologically, about the pursuit of bat speed (within the parameters of vision and balance) precludes a muscle from also making the late adjustments?



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