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Posted by: Troy () on Mon Feb 11 05:33:18 2002

troy....since you have a background with pros, not to mention your background in kinesiology, i would like to pose the same question to you as i recently did to charley lau jr (he has not yet responded).......
> my question: when people at your level talk about a "long swing" this terminology filters down to the lower levels....every coach from mustang (pony league) to college not only want to eliminate the "long swing" but every coach has his own idea of how to fix the problem...yet no one can explain what it means.....sure, at the lower ameteur levels you can find kids who have an extreme case of "casting", but i assume that at the major league levels you don't see this particular problem......could you explain in the most graphic and descriptive terms possible what a "long swing" means at the major league level?.......and as you said, the swing happens so fast that sometimes it's hard to detect what is happening that is right or wrong unless it's something really obvious....how do you evaluate the player's swing?...for example, do you use frame by frame analysis?.......respectfully, grc.....

I will try to answer your question as best I can but stay with me, this may get long.

With younger athletes and especially hitters that use metal bats, many times their strength and the weight of the bat can balance huge flaws in the swing.

As hitter progress and pitchers get better at locating pitches, it is imperative for hitters to be in a positive power position when the ball is being released from the pitchers hand. This enables the hitter to have a short path to the ball with the bat and also creates a bat path that stays longer through the hitting zone. This means that a hitter can have less than perfect timing on that pitch and have a good result. Hitting is timing and pitchers are trying to disrupt timing.

To me "casting" happens when your body begins rotation while your hands are trailing too far behind. Because of the amount of force that your body during rotation creates, if your hands are too far behind, it is impossible for your hands to stay inside the ball and on the correct path. They will cast away from your body too soon and create a long arc, like a golf swing on a flatter plane. Get in your hitters stance, lock your front arm straight and try to keep your hands close to your body. This is death as a hitter. If you look a some hitters,Griffey for example, they have great uppper body flexibility and are able to have their front arm almost straight and still keep their hands working inside the ball. You have to remember the professional hitters see live pitching everyday, they develop a swing that complements their strengths.

If you are watching the Olympics, watch the skaters when they go into their spins. When their hands are far away from their body their body rotates slower, they are casting their hands away. When they want to get into faster rotation, they gradually move their hands closer to their body hands inside.

The way that I work on a short inside path with my hitters, is to give them a short underhand frontoss (from behind an L screen). I will throw the pitch down the middle of the plate and have the hitters hit the ball up the middle or the other way. I also want the hitters to watch the ball to contact. This enables their hands to stay short to the ball, have and inside path and extend through the ball.

I am very fortunate to have at my training facility weight training equipment. This is where I teach young athletes how to recruit the appropiate muscle groups in the appropriate sequence to enable power and balance with their body with linear weight shift and rotation. When you get this movement stronger and more balanced, the swing is easier to learn.

I hope this was helpful. It is so hard to tell someone how you teach without showing them. I am getting ready to send my players to spring training and I will be checking in. If you have any more questions, I will try to answer them as effectively as I can.

One last thing. If you remember the world series watch the bomb that Jetter hit. Middle inside running fastball that beats him bad. He stays inside and behind the ball and hits it out around the fair pole in right field. If you look at impact on that pitch, his hands are almost touching his body.




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