Re: Re: Comments on the Swing
> Working on bringing down the heel earlier is not going to resolve the problem of hitting a fast ball. The youngster hits with power, but can't catch up with the fast ball. This means to me he has to be getting torque from some where. I stated that this youngster had "good potential" for rotational power. I never stated he had ideal torque. The torque he gets now, based on what I am seeing comes from his head shifting back with his weight, and then coming forward, plus a long loopy swing. I would also add that the rotational aspects of his swing easily outweigh any linear aspects. The high back elbow, the knob of the bat rotating in a circular path as it comes down, the hips opening up early as they are suppose to (instead of sliding a bit as they tend to do with linear hitting), the head remaining back as does the front knee once the stride heel lands, and the slant of the front leg along with the youngster staying behind his axis. (Lau sr. who has been identifed with weight shifting and linear hitting advocated hitting up toward a near front straight postion.) All of this, including the head movement back and forward, adds up to a stretch and torquing from the middle.
> The fly in the ointment is the long loopy swing. As long as it remains it doesn't matter when the front foot comes down, which may help the bat come forward earlier. The bat still has to travel too far thus potentially throwing off the timing for both fast balls and slower pitches. T. Williams, the best of them all, stressed that the hitter should keep his hands back as long as possible and then be quick, presumably to read and time the pitch to accomplish the goal of getting a hit.
> Chuck, you (and I believe someone else) mentioned Epstein in relationship to the use of the lower body and downplayed what was happening above with the youngster. I don't think there are many,if any, 12 year olds who are having trouble hitting a fast ball who can ignore one or the other. Consider that if the youngster kept his hands below his back shoulder it might lead to correcting the front foot from not coming down at the ideal time. In this regard, I would also mention the fact that Epstein identified the armpit as the universal launching position, as Mankin does (similarly). If these two gentlemen were to advocate that youngsters were to set up as the youngster under discussion, with hands lined up with the back ear and the bat nearly flattened into a wrapped position, they would lose a great deal of credibility and business.
> If the father wants to focus on having his son bring down his front foot heel earlier he will find it much easier than having his son learn to adapt his swing to keeping his hands below the back shoulder. He will also find out that it doesn't solve the problem of not being able to hit a fast ball. Along with a well timed heel drop there also has to be the quick hands that Williams referred to. That means a short compact swing where the elbow comes quickly down and helps pull the hands back into a flattened position. (There other mental cues that can accomplish the same thing.)
> One of the things that I don't believe is necessary in the youngster's swing is his head going up as the head goes back. This is an unnecessary complication, if he does this regularly. In fact, he doesn't have to shift his head back with some of his weight and then bring it forward in his stride. This is a something that Lau sr. would have approved of because it helped to bring weight induced power of the upper body forward. (It's possible that the head movement might contribute to his high hands and reliance on his present swing. Bad habits in the baseball swing are very hard to break, as most readers probably know.
> Before closing this over long message I have to stress that the hands of the youngster need to come down. I would also like to make the suggestion that the head shifting be got rid of. Rotational hitters don't need it. HOWEVER, I would also like to state that if a had a 12 year old son and he was use to this head shifting move I would experiment with the no stride swing. Jim Edmonds of the Cards and Phillips of the Reds, both are no-striders and both shift their heads back and forward. When you raise your heel up while your toe remains on the ground its hard to be late on getting your heel down on time. (There are some little league coaches that work with their players on the no-stride with the intention that it will help then later on when they have the choice of using a stride.)
< I agree with almost everything you say. His hands are way too high and his swing is loopy. His front elbow actually starts on a slight downward path to hit a low pitch and he shows little separation of hips and shoulders. But I maintain that his weight transfer is not right. If he strode to the ball of his front foot (not to a flat foot like he does) with 50 -60% of his weight forward, with his top hand at his armpit, from heel drop he could launch his hands, front elbow going up as he sits back. For sake of discussion I will stick my neck out and say that everyone wants to hit like Pujols, and rightfully so, but perhaps his mechanics are misunderstood by some. What some people see in Pujols, even hitting instructors, is the strong push forward and this masks his rotational mechanics. If you look on chris Oleary's site he has great clips of Pujols. Pujols pushes forward so hard, and he is so big and strong, that as he is launching his hands his front knee is continuing to buckle as he tries to block the front side. I would maintain that this is in effect bleed over from a linear pre-swing to the rotational swing he has and it confuses some people. Albert does eventually get it under control as his front leg stiffens and does sit back, unlike the young hitter in the video who's back leg just flies around because his weight is still mostly forward and he never sits back. I focused on this part of the swing and you focused on other parts. As you know there are many hitters with power and production fairly comparable to Pujols, that have much calmer entries into the rotational swing. As you advocate the no stride swing, heel up heel down, this will certainly block his forward weight shift earlier in the swing and allow him to sit back as he rotates up and around, synchronizing upper and lower body mechanics. So I think we are pretty much on the same page and both disagree with those who say his swing is great leave him alone. I enjoyed your insightful comments.
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