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Re: Re: Re: Re: Circular Hand Path

Posted by: Curt () on Wed Feb 9 22:07:13 2000

>>>A former player of mine (at the high school level) is now playing in the San Diego Padres farm system. When he comes home during the off-season, I pick his brain to see what the professionals are teaching, hoping that I can learn something new. A major point of emphasis (as far as hitting goes) is what type of spin is imparted on the ball when it leaves your bat. Does it hook, slice, fade, or travel in a straight path? They discourage a batted ball that hooks or slices. They emphasize keeping your hands "inside" the ball, as opposed to taking your hands towards the ball. By keeping your hands inside the ball, you should produce a ball that travels straight or slightly fades. If you take your hands towards the ball (hitting around the ball; possibly just terminology), you will hook or slice. In my mind, the angle and trajectory of the bat, at contact, would vary, depending on which approach you take. The hooking/slicing ball will not carry as far as the one that travels in a straight path or slightly fades. I wish I had seats behind the Cardinal's dugout (Busch Stadium) when McGwire hit home run #62 in 1998. I am curious as to whether that ball had a hook or a fade. It definitely had topspin.<<<
> Hi Curt
> I think it would be a mistake to develop batting mechanics based on the type of spin that would be imparted into the ball. To hit the ball hard and consistently, good mechanics should deliver the bat inline with the pitched balls line of flight. Since an 85 MPH fastball is angling downward at about 11 degrees, the bat should be angling upward about 10 to 15 degrees. If the swing was a little high on the ball it will leave the bat with “top spin” making the ball dive. A little low on the ball will impart “back spin” and the ball will carry farther. --- So Mark’s ball must have had “back spin.”
> Good mechanics should also bring the bat perpendicular to the ball’s line of flight at contact. The “hooking or slicing” of the ball is determined by the bat head being ahead or behind at contact. --- Yes, an “inside out” swing will deliver a ball that slices, but the power and bat speed you give up makes it not the best choice.
> Jack Mankin


I really enjoy your site. Sharing our ideas and beliefs is thought provoking and I think about our discussions daily. I wish we could all be in the same room together so we could demonstrate these ideas in person. It's much more difficult to get a point or mental picture across (with me anyway) with words than with a visual demonstration.

With my previous post on imparting the correct spin on a batted ball, maybe we could think of it in a different context. I am a terrible golfer. I feel like I am swinging at a low fastball. I don't know what a proper golf swing feels like (never had golf lessons). My tee shots produce a horrible slice. Depending on wind conditions, I may not only end up one fairway to the right, but sometimes two. This brings a new meaning to the word "FOUR!!!!". Some of my partners are just as bad, only they produce the hooking ball to the left. A good golfer can impart the type of spin where he can "fade" it to the left (not a hook), "fade" it to the right (not a slice), or hit it straight (true backspin). Which one he chooses would depend on the lay of the fairway. These three types of hit balls will carry farther and straighter (more backspin than side spin) than the hook or slice (more side spin than backspin). If we correlate this concept to the batted baseball, the direction and distance of it would compare favorably. Even if you hit the ball with topspin, the same characteristics would still hold true.

How this is achieved (in my mental picture) has to do with the path of the hands; whether they leave the correct launch position in a somewhat vertical plane and circular path (which you promote) while staying "inside" the ball (between your body and the incoming ball), or travel in a somewhat horizontal plane and circular path (hitting around the ball). I think this concept is separate from getting the bat head in-line with the flight of the ball (10 to 15 deegrees) as you have discussed above. I also think this is separate from achieving bat speed and power, which comes from the torque and rotational forces that are required. Even though all three of these concepts are vital to proper swing mechanics and they must all work together, they seem to me, to still be three totally separate components.

As for Big Mac's homerun, that was one of the nastiest, sinking line drives a human being can hit. It disappeared over the wall in the blink-of-an-eye. Think about how many homeruns we witness that have topspin. Again, I wish I could have been sitting in-line with that ball. Did it "hook" left or "fade" left?



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