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Re: Fastpitch Softball - Bat Angle

Posted by: Jack Mankin (MrBatspeed@aol.com) on Sat Aug 31 14:33:45 2002

>>> John,
When 'preloading', I have always taught my fp players to have the butt of the bat, pointed slightly towards the catcher, with the elbows down. But I have been challenged, stating that this will not work for girls, and that the butt of the head of the bat should be angled towards the catcher, almost flat. This was stated because their upper body is not as strong as a boy, so they need to have the bat head angled back, so it is a flat swing. HELP!!!! <<<

Hi Little Miller

I assume that during “ pre-loading,” you mean “having the butt of the bat, pointed slightly towards the catcher” is the same as cocking the bat-head toward the pitcher. --- I find little value in cocking the bat-head forward unless the batter is well versed in the proper execution of pre-launch torque. This is an advanced mechanic that offers great rewards to those that successfully master it. However, most batters either (1) bring the bat-head back to a static (stationary) position before initiating the swing, or, (2) start the hands forward as the bat-head accelerates back toward the normal launch position.

The number (1) movement is meaningless. The batter would have been served just as well starting with the bat in the normal launch position, about 45degrees above the shoulder. For pre-launch torque to be effective, the bat-head must be continuously accelerated from pre-launch right into launch. Starting and then stopping (or slowing down) the bat-head is of no value.

The number (2) movement is a serious fault that hampers the swing of most hitters trying to perfect both pre-launch and top-hand-torque. ### The hands (as a unit) cannot move forward away from the shoulder as the bat-head accelerates back toward the catcher ###. Wrist-binds and an inconsistent swing plane will result. The direction of force of the hands must be coming back toward the back-shoulder as the bat-head accelerates behind the batter.

Getting the batter to perform this mechanic correctly is very, very difficult. For years they have been taught to keep the bat-head back while accelerating the knob. Now, we must teach them to keep the knob back while accelerating the bat-head into the arc of the plane. ---Should you attempt to teach it? Yes, but I would suggest that you learn the feeling of performing it correctly yourself so you can relate to your players problems.

PS You stated “with the elbows down.” We have discussed the back-elbow, but why would you want the lead-elbow down.?

Little Miller, I wish nothing but the best for you and your players,

Jack Mankin


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