Re: Re: Re: Re: Gwynn's hitting advice

Posted by: Jack Mankin (MrBatspeed@aol.com) on Tue Jul 10 11:00:24 2007

>>> I started playing slow-pitch softball last year, 10 years removed from playing high school baseball; I had never played slow-pitch before but came across this site and am trying to change my mechanics to more rotational principles because when you have to provide all the power to hit a softball, the linear theory of using mostly hands doesn't cut it. I'd imagine the only way to use the whole field in softball is to let the ball get "deep". I was a pull hitter in baseball, am even more so in softball, and since I started incorporating rotational mechanics, I've been pulling the ball way foul quite often. I would guess that I'm still struggling to teach my muscles this new way, but with a 25 mph softball pitch, you can almost wait until the ball is right in front of you to even start the swing. Anyone have advice on how to better use the whole field in softball? <<<

Hi Chris

Without seeing your swing I can only speculate. But from my previous analysis of hitters who consistently pulled balls foul, I find that although they get good body rotation, they are still using linear upper-body transfer mechanics which leaves the bat-head dragging behind the hands in the optimum contact zone. – Below is part of a thread I wrote on this topic. It may contain the root of your problem.

Jack Mankin
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Re: pull hitter

Posted by: Jack Mankin (MrBatspeed@aol.com) on Sat Sep 10 14:23:12 2005

>>> what can you do to correct a hitter from pulling the ball. She pulls the ball 9 out of 10 hits/contacts with the bat. Help. <<<

Hi Jerry

Welcome to the site. – To pull a ball just means the bat-head is out in front of the hands at contact. If the batters is pulling the ball foul to often, we normally think of it as a timing issue and advise the batter to let the ball get in deeper before initiating the swing.

However, this advice does not always work because many times it is not solely a timing problem. Much of the problem is often rooted in the batter’s swing mechanics generating bat speed to late in the swing. – I will place below a post from the Archives I wrote on this topic that might help you correct her problem.

Jack Mankin
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Re: Re: Re: Initiation, Jack?

Posted by: Jack Mankin (MrBatspeed@aol.com) on Thu Aug 4 13:04:33 2005

>>> My son had surgery on his glenoid labrum two years ago. For the last year he has been pulling the ball to his dominate side (he's a lefty).

What can he do to correct this. Does he need to strenghten his opposite shoulder? He has been grounding out quite often lately.

Please help.

Puzzled <<<

Hi Cynthia

I have seen the problem you describe in the swing of many young hitters. Most of their best hit balls are pulled foul and keep a wary third base coach watching him instead of the runners. One of the Dads of a recent Swing Review I analyzed, stated that if the foul-line was just swung around another 30 degrees, his son would have hit over 600 and led the league in home runs. – His son was right-handed.

Although the surgery may play a role in your son’s case, linear mechanics is most often the problem of generating bat speed too late in the swing. Linear mechanics leaves the bat-head dragging behind the hands too far into the swing. The bat-head is well past the normal contact point before it really takes off. This leaves the batter with little power to the opposite field and most of their best-hit balls are pulled foul.

Since we can’t swing the foul lines around 30 degrees, the batter must develop mechanics that accelerate the bat-head 30 degrees farther back in the swing. To accomplish this, I have found that working with a heavy bag to be most helpful. I have the batter move forward in the box so that at “foot plant,” the lead-knee is even with the bag. From this position, the bat will be about perpendicular (hitting straightaway) to the flight of the ball as contact with the bag is made.

I explain to the batter that the bat is in contact with the ball for only 1/2000 seconds and the bat only moves forward during contact about ¾ inch. Therefore, it is pointless to continue applying force to the bat after contact. It is just wasted energy that should have been used to accelerate the bat-head farther back in their swing. By contact, the batter should have expended all his or her energy, and allow momentum of the bat to pull the arms through the follow-through – if the bag was not there.

Cynthia, it is beyond the scope of this one post to cover all the mechanical principles necessary to attain maximum acceleration of the bat-head from the launch position. We have been discussing them here for six years and there are many articles on the Swing Mechanics page that describes them. However, I will outline a few points for your son to keep in mind as he practices.

The bat-head travels about 180 degrees from the launch position around to contact – about 90 degrees to the lag position and then another 90 degrees on to contact (perpendicular). When the batter extends the hands during initiation, he accelerates the knob but the bat-head just slides over to the lag position and trails behind the hands. There is no way a batter can attain good bat speed with a static bat at the lag position.

In order for a batter to attain maximum bat speed earlier in the swing, his mechanics must accelerate the bat-head around the entire swing plane (180 degrees). This means that from his launch position, he must first accelerate the bat-head rearward to (and through) the lag position and then around to contact. It may be helpful to understand what I am talking about by studying a rear view of this Bonds clip - http://www.youthbaseballcoaching.com/mpg/Bonds01.mpeg . Note how his mechanics first accelerates the bat-head rearward to and through the lag position before he directs his energy toward the ball.

Jack Mankin

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