Re: The Fulcrum
Jack, et al:
> We've been incorporating your rotational ideas into our 12u kids training program and recently have advanced to the point of defining where the fulcrum is when generating torque with the hands...and of course we're trying to figure out how to do it.
> We understand bottom hand torque and have made the lead arm and wrist adjustment so the swing is initiated with shoulder rotation. What we are now fiddling with is the top hand. The only way we can see the top hand functioning is with the hand loose in the fingers so that the bat actually twists inside the hand. What we have done is have the kids start with their top hand thumb and index finger in an "O" with the other fingers cupped so that only the middle finger tip is in contact with the bat (ring and pinky are free). From this position they initiate the swing with a gentle rearward pressure applied to the bat by the top hand using the index finger of the bottom hand as the initial fulcrum. As the lead shoulder rotates and the hand path gets on plane, we have the kids "squeeze the O" with their top hand which shifts the fulcrum up several inches from the bottom hand index finger to a point on the "V" made by the thumb and index finger of the top hand...thus creating your oar-lock effect with the top hand. By squeezing the top hand fingers, we think we get additional leverage against the top hand "V". For example, if you hold a bat in your top hand with the bat resting on your shoulder and your elbow at your side straight down, and the handle flush in the "V" but fingers cupped open...you can make the bat jump up and down off your shoulder by squeezing your last three fingers (pinky, ring, and middle) open and shut. We think this demonstrates where the fulcrum is when the bottom hand is pulling the handle back as the lead shoulder rotates. We have them also trying to hit the ball much deeper in the zone or "over the top of the plate or inside the lead knee...which forces them to really get their hips and shoulders rotated around.
> Anyway, this stuff is really hard to talk about, but I thought I'd throw our observations out for comment. Since a lot of discussion has to do with the hands...but we've been able to get results by focusing on what the fingers need to be doing...any thoughts?
Also check out Charly Lau's open tophand drill or Jack's golf club drill(?for the crosssover sports kids).
My preference is to work on bottom hand torque because it promotes the feel of loading and rotating the body which is what most kids have the most difficulty learning.Rotation is also promoted by learning how to position the body for the low location and by using the heavy bag so you are coasting by just after contact.This allows you to get close to the plate which is important to help with plate coverage for the young ones.At the younger age,most pitchers are used to having command inside,so if you can handle this location you are usually quite an asset to the team.
Tophand torque gets at the timing and shape of the handpath with respect to torso turn.It is most important for the outside location.In this case ideal contact perpendicular to the flight of the pitch requires less torso turn and more extension(think of how extended the back arm is).This is a more difficult timing maneuver to get all the energy transferred from the torso to the bat without losing "connection".Top hand torque proceeds relatively sooner than torso turn(as compared to the inside/bottomhand torque location).The bathead swings out further before contact so the top hand pushes the bat around a fairly stationary bottom hand with the "L" coming out of the back elbow to some degree before contact.It is most important as this is happening that the front upper arm stay tight against the torso or connection is lost.The "swing thought" of "extension" is often necessary to prevent "giving up on the swing" or decelerating prematurely.The right kind of extension comes from the right sequence of motion which is that the hands torque the bat to extension before the front upper arm(and hands)cast away from the axis of rotation.Connection can be maintaines while allowing whatever degree of flex there is in the front elbow to come out as long as the front upper arm does not "cast" before contact.This combination of flex coming out of the front arm,more bathead extension and less torso turn gets the sweetspot on the outside location,however,to get great batspeed the bathead has to swing out farther and faster with less room for timing error(torso has full energy for less time) so the learning curve is longer and more exacting.
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