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Re: Re: ..one more thing

Posted by: tom.guerry (tom.guerry@kp.org) on Thu May 23 11:49:26 2002


Thanks for participating.My nonprofessional personal opinion is that the rotational swing if optimized(adhere to underlying mechanical principles described here)is best for power and average and less strikeouts.The problem is that it isn't widely understood enough for it to be optimized.

This statement is in danger of being a self fulfilling prophecy,because the methodology is to examine in visual/video detail what might be different about the great hitters who hit for power and average.Strikeouts may be even more related to the mental side than these.My opinion is that this is an accurate statement and not a bias of how things are studied,however.I believe this because what is described is what has evolved over a century of major league experience and is now more open to analysis because of video.What has evolved is the best human biomechanical solution to the problem of hitting the baseball,and human biomechanical solutions tend to be self reinforcing/everything gets better together sort of things or they don't survive,just like evolution.The key is understanding what it really is that someone like Barry Bonds is doing to hit for power and average and on get on base and avoid strikeouts.

Once you come up with a theory like Jack's,then you have to re-evaluate what you are doing and make sure you aren't violating any principles that might be holding you back.

Certainly you can be more certain of good contact if batspeed is low.You can almost always get a piece of something if you are bunting for example.But how effective is this at generating runs?I no longer believe generating maximum batspeedrotational mechanics) means a tradeoff resulting in low average/high k's.I believe if you have low average/high k's it's because mechanics are suboptimal or mental approach is lacking.Certainly,some players will be great because of level of talent/hand-eye coordination/strength,etc.,but power and average for a given individualcan both peak if one's potential is reached with good rotational mechanics and a good mental approach.

Here are a couple of interesting hypotheses/principles that seem to hold up.Hitting is primarily a timing task.Timing error must be minimized.For human biomechanical ballistic(acceleration to release too quickly for conscious control) motions,timing error is minimized by shortening the path of motion(path of sweetspot from launch to contact)and by traversing this path as fast as possible(?counterintuitive).When you execute the given path with maximum effort/intensity/batspeed,the duration of the swing from launch to contact is easier for the body to predict when it sets it's automatic/subconscious muscle actions in motion to make contact.Thus timing error is minimzed and power and average are maximized by "shortening the swing" and maximizing batspeed.

You maximize batspeed by generating power with the body and efficiently transforming this into batspeed/turning(not dragging) the bat/creating angular displacement of the bat.Power generation is via summation of velocity/kinetic chain/transfer and conservation of momentum/hips leading the hands/rotation around a stationary spinal axis.The result of this is to energize the torso.

You transform this into batspeed by what Jack calls good "transfer mechanics" -driving the hands in a circular path by connecting the hands tightly to torso rotation and applying torque by turning the bat about a point between the hands.The bat will drain energy out of the torso in a way that translates into turning/batspeed(not dragging)only if the handpath remains circular or tightening/connected to the torso.The bat must also be swung out in the plane perpendicular to the spine to permit good transfer.This plane needs to match the contact zone of the pitch which needs to be set by posture correction before the bathead fires out(goes ballistic).Hence:

The hips lead the hands

The plane of the swing matches the plane of the pitch

The hands stay in.

Furthermore,it is desirable to make contact in all cases roughly perpendicular to the flight of the ball resulting in hitting up the middle or to the pull side to maximize the chance of good contact producing a fair ball.

So how might some traditional baseball coaching advice be improved to optimize rotational mechanics and improve both power and average?

Don't push the hips open from the back side.This is not the way the body likes t have the hips lead the hands.This changes the way the muscles stretch to generate power and messes up timing.Think of encouraging separation and stretch by pulling open with thr front side triggered by front heel drop.

Don't try to hit to the opposite side.This cue probably helps by encouraging a circular handpath/keep the hands in,but it can cause bat lagging and just the opposite by extending the hand path and pushing the swing causing great batspeed variability.

Don't literall "let the ball get deep" for the outside pitch.This cue works by delaying torso turn for the outside pitch,but ideally you want less torso tuen but the bathead further out so you get maximum batspeed by hitting the outside pitch up the middle or to the pull side.Trying to go with it will cause too much variability.Each swing should be as similar as possible.Always maximum effort and intensity or the body gets confused/can't predict swing duration.You can shorten the swing for two strikes by how you set up,but still swing all out.See Epstein's thoughts on swing planning consistent with these type mechanics.

See Jack's truism page for a bigger list.


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