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Re: Re: Re: Re: Shoulder drop

Posted by: swb (batspeed@integritycorp.com) on Tue Apr 23 13:29:29 2002

> Hi swb
> Welcome to the site. --- It is refreshing to read a discussion where differences in a batters transfer mechanics are used to determine whether he is a “linear” or “rotational” hitter. Most coaches seem to think that if the batter transfers weigh with a stride he is linear - a short stride or no-stride indicates a rotational hitter. But a number of good rotational hitters, like George Brett, that takes a rather long stride. And most linear hitters rotates around a fairly stationary axis.
> Therefore, the defining difference between a “linear” and the “rotational” hitter is the transfer mechanics used to generate bat speed. The straighter the hand-path – the more linear the mechanics – the longer into the swing before torque is applied (knob to the ball) – the more linear the mechanics. --- So swb, would you (and Dusty) agree that – the more linear the mechanics used, the less the bat speed generated? --- Or, do you believe there is some other way of transferring energy into bat speed other than by (1) a circular-hand-path (like swinging a ball on a string), (2) applying torque (hands applying force from opposing directions) – if so, please explain.
> Jack Mankin
Hi Jack,

Nice to hear from you. I've been to busy coaching baseball to respond (not that it's helped much; we're getting our tails kicked right now; Good kids, terrific talent, but they have poor mechanics, and we've not enough available practice time ).

I also reviewed your tape about a half dozen times with my kids over the weekend. I didn't understand the description of the "circular hand path" until I saw you illustrate it on the tape. The "circular hand path" starts from the "top hand" shoulder, back to the catcher slightly, in an arc to the point of impact.

I use the terms "linear" to be syntactical relevant on your WEB site, in contrast to your “rotational” terminology. To answer your questions:

>Jack: So swb, would you (and Dusty) agree that – the more linear the mechanics used, the less the bat speed generated?
swb: Can't speak for Dusty, but certainly linear mechanics in the way you've described it will not generate angular momentum.

Jack; Or, do you believe there is some other way of transferring energy into bat speed other than by (1) a circular-hand-path (like swinging a ball on a string), (2) applying torque (hands applying force from opposing directions) – if so, please explain.
swb: Agree with both those premises, as well. Rotational arc’s are the only way to develop angular energy, from the body to the bat head.

I'm still studying this, reading, and doing trial and error (my kids have about had it with being the guinea pigs, but they quiet down every time I ask about their batting average). Here's one difference in perspective.

1) Coaches don't always mean what we say. Telling a kid to "drive the knuckle of the bat towards the ball" doesn't mean we actually want them to hit the ball with the bottom of the bat. It's our communication device to get the kids to accelerate their hands towards the ball, to develop torque with the wrists. I would maintain that in fact, "linear" batters are moving their hands in a circular arc, albeit much smaller, or they couldn't generate sufficient torque to swat a fly. This is probably the only place I have a significant difference of opinion with you on “what actually happens”. I think I agree with you on most points on what an optimal swing is, but I’m still studying and learning, and coaching too.

2) The real difference between “rotational” and “linear” mechanic has more to do with event timing, and the effect that the timing of events has on the outcome of a swing. The difference between linear (L) and rotational ® mechanics can be summed up as follows:

· L: The batters first movement is with the hands, and last movement is hip rotation.

· R: The batters first movement is hip (or knee to hip) rotation, and last movement is the hand rotation (top hand rotating on the bottom hand axis).

· L: The batter must “Explode on the ball” because hip rotation comes so late in the swing. The bat head is already in the impact zone, and the batter must try to “open” in a split second to bring the hips to bear. Open too early, and the batter will give up power, ruin his timing, and probably swing the bat across his chest towards 3rd base (one reason for “pull hitters”). Open too late, and the hitter will swing with upper body strength only, resulting in short, choppy swings, and ground balls or pop-ups. Good hitters can hit the timing just right, and develop great power. Most of us are not that good. These “good hitters” will probably be power hitters who also have high strike-out-per-at-bat averages, because this method forces them to commit the hands, and therefore the bat, early in the swing.

· R: Because the batter’s momentum with his hips, the when to “open” is a non- issue. The batter can literally have his stride foot pointing at the pitchers, and it really won’t matter much. It’s still probably better to keep the “Toe in” launch position, because it’s easier to drive the hips from the ball of the feet, than the heel. Because the batter starts with the hips, and finishes with the hands, it enables him to “commit” later. The “R” hitter also has a much better chance of communicating torque from hip and torso rotation into the swing, because of his early hip rotation.

· L: Hip rotation is along an elongated arch. The hips pivot and move towards the pitcher on a dynamic axis.

· R: Hip rotation starts after all forward movement halts, which enables rotation around a stationary axis, which is one of the most compelling arguments for “R” mechanics. Linear movement of the spine during hip rotation retards development of rotational torque. It’s unarguable that more torque will be developed in the “R” method.

· L: The batter will inevitably “swing down” to create the circular hand arc, to build momentum, resulting in an unfavorable bat head trajectory (i.e. small “sweet spot”, or small potential impact zone). Very little “top hand” torque is possible, because the arc created from the hands moving “linearly” towards the ball is much smaller (and perhaps quicker) than with rotational mechanics.

· R: Because the batter starts the actual hand and bat head movement later in the swing, and perhaps because he uses “top-hand torque” to move the bat head initially, the path of the bat resembles the ball more closely. (This is one aspect that has attracted me to “R” mechanics more than any other, the potential of better bat-to-ball contact. After all, if you never contact the ball, it doesn’t matter how fast your bat speed is upon impact.. However, I’m not certain when we’re dealing with timing of 1000’s of a second, and a bat head to ball contact zone of a fraction of an inch, whether there is actually much advantage of “R” over “L”, or vise-versa. As I said, I think the hands of a “L” hitter move into the zone much quicker than with a “R” hitter, resulting in less power, but potentially better contact.). The “R” hitter has a much better opportunity of developing rotational hand torque at two points (top hand at start, and bottom hand at finish).

I’m not saying much here that you haven’t exhaustively covered, and I appreciate your work. When I teach my kids, I try to establish vivid “check points” for every drill they perform. Much as I appreciate your taped instruction, and the bag drills I observed (swivel chair, etc.), I still find it hard to communicate rotational techniques to the kids. Points you emphasized, such as keeping the bottom hand back (or stationary) during top hand movement at launch, or lining the bat up with the shoulders towards the pitcher, are “check points” I can teach one hitter to watch for while he observes his buddy. So, I’m going to re-work what I’ve learned into lesson plans I can put on laminated 3x5”cards. I’m also interested in additional drills the other contributors may have. Perhaps you can start a specific thread on an inventory of “rotational” batting drills for the contributors to add.

I also have one or two points I’m still a bit confused about, that I’d appreciate your comments on.

1) You emphasized top hand torque for outside pitches, and bottom hand torque for inside pitches. I expect that a “R” hitter should always be launching with top hand torque, and finishing with bottom hand torque, regardless of where the pitch is. I assume that the hitter will be using more of one method over another, depending upon where the pitch finishes. Correct?

2) You emphasize the bottom hand arm (lead arm) should be fairly extended (no slack) at the beginning of hip rotation, so that hip and torso rotation can pull the bat through the zone. However, at some point, the bottom hand must be pulling back towards the catcher (where the top hand becomes the stationary point, or “oar lock”) to develop the late hand torque. So it appears the bottom arm pulls the bottom hand towards the pitcher at launch, and pushes the bottom hand back towards the batter a fraction of a second later at finish. That sounds hard to do. Seems like the hitter is either going to emphasize pulling with the lead arm, or will hold it back to develop late hand torque, but not both.

Thanks for your time.



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