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Re: Re: Re: Is "Plane of the pitch" the best phrase to use?


Posted by: Steve (steve@legendsoftexas.net) on Tue Feb 15 07:19:50 2011


> > > Hi Jack,
> > >
> > > I'm trying to create a graphic which shows how the phrase "match the plane of the bat
> to the plane of the pitch" can cause confusion in the mind of the reader or a hitter.
> > >
> > > My question is: If you are playing a game of catch with someone and they throw a
> baseball to you -- and for sake of the discussion we will say it's a fastball and gravity has
> no effect on it -- what is the "plane" of the pitch?
> > >
> > I agree it's hard to get young hitters to understand that the ball is coming downward,
> and to hit it hard consistently they've got to square it up. Most of them think it's level, like
> if there was no gravity AND the pitcher wasn't on a mound. Then the plane would be much
> less slanted and would only go down from the pitcher's release point to the strike zone a
> couple of inches, appearing flat to a hitter.
> > One idea we try to put in their mind is "get the hands above the ball and bat head below
> the ball" when they swing. Thoughts on that?
>
> Hi Steve,
>
> Yes, I like "get the hands above the ball and bat head below the ball". It's a short and
> snappy and does not seem to be something that would be open to misinterpretation. It is
> my understanding that with this approach, its possible for the bat to travel along the flight
> line of the ball longer than with other types of swings. On a low pitch the swing plane will
> be tilted/angled more diagonally and with a high pitch less diagonally.
>
> I asked Jake at the Mike Epstein Hitting website about this the other day, and he basically
> said when he does video analysis, he traces the pitch on a "line" as it enters the hitting
> zone -- then he looks to see how long the bat stays on that line.
>
> Thinking of the ball as coming in on a string, angled from pitcher's release point to the
> catcher's mitt makes sense to me. The longer the hitter can keep his bat traveling along
> this line, through the hitting zone, the better the batter's chances for solid contact.
> (Contrast this swing to the "chop style / A to B / shoulder strap" swing, in which the bat
> goes directly down to POC and continues through the flight line of the ball).
>
> Back to the original point about "matching the plane of the pitch to the plane of the swing".
> This phrase, (in comparison to your "hands above/bat head below") is short and sweet, but
> is open to misinterpretation (Does a moving sphere or ball create a plane?/ What does
> "match" mean exactly?) Of course, the line of flight "could" exist on a plane, but rather than
> telling the batter to match two different planes -- why not tell them to make sure the line
> of the ball is on (or contained) in the bat's swing plane? Is there is a simple phase that says
> that?

Haven't found a simple phrase or cue for swing plane. One thing I think is that the back elbow must start to lower into the slot upon initiation for the hitter to have any prayer of getting on plane. Your post raises the point that its hard to teach rotational hitting without a hitter's understanding of the whole concept, as traditional cues don't work. My son is told to "get wide, get your back knee down, finish high" and for lower strikes, "lower body rotates the same and upper body goes down to get it", meaning the tilt. But he didn't understand it till he saw video of hitters hitting low strikes anyway, so usually whatever cues are used with him (as long as they support solid mechanics) I make sure he understands the mechanic first through video or photo.


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