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THT & Keeping the back elbow back

Posted by: Mickey (drmick3@cox.net) on Tue Apr 26 11:39:05 2011

THT & Keeping the back elbow back


I was browsing through the Archives and found the following post of
yours, that discussed "THT and the Thumb Drill."


FIRST, if was struck by the following text you wrote: "With this early
rearward acceleration, the bat-head can stay in sync with much quicker
hip and shoulder rotation." This was important to me because it seems
that "bat drag" is endemic to almost all Little League Majors players
where my grandson plays, although not as visible as the worst cases
where the back elbow is way ahead of the back shouter.

I was also reading the following post where you specifically mentioned
bat drag in connection and the importance of staying in synch:


BAT DRAG seems to be occurring at the specific time when coaches, even
two retired MLB players, are instructing hitters to get their hips
"all the way through" to finish their swings. One retired MLB player
even told the youngster that hitting straight at the ball was the old
way, while rotating through was now considered the way to hit!

All these kids came up through Pony and Minors and were told "knob to
the ball," keep you lead shoulder in, don't bail out," and "extend
your arms." What I observe is that immediately, after being told to
get their hips through, they ALL start to undercut the ball, pop up,
foul off to the right, etc. One hitter has even started to "step in
the bucket" to try and get around on the ball, but on outside pitches
his arms separate as much as is anatomically possible, going one way
while his body goes the other.

As an aside for another thread I'll post later, I was also looking at
the following clip that confirmed the importance of the back hand
continuing to pull back even as shoulder rotation forward begins,
since it insures that the back elbow will not be a wet noodle and will
stay in synch. All this goes together but I think my question about it
deserves another post.

Back-arm mechanics of 4 good hitters (http://www.youtube.com/watch?

My FIRST question is the following: At this stage of Little League
(aged 11, 12) do the kids need to be taught THT SIMULTANEOUSLY with
lower body rotation to give them a chance to hit and avoid so much
frustration? If so, which do you teach first?

My guess is THT, since everything flows from the top hand continuing
to pull back as the shoulders begin to rotate forward. Starting there
first would seem to, at least, keep their arms connected to their
torso and lower body rotation, And since most kids do get their hips
rotating (just not many have a stiff lead leg), they would at least
have a reasonable good rotational swing for outside pitches.Once THT
got groved in, it would be easier to work on equal hip rotation
around a central axis, would it not?

My SECOND QUESTION concerns my confusion in reading what you wrote in
the following: "When the force of the top-hand is pulling rearward,
the rotation of the lead-shoulder (through the lead-arm and hand)
pulls the knob around toward third base." (in THT Thumb Drill)

I can understand and agree with the BAT HEAD being pulled towards
third base, but it seems like the KNOB is moving in an opposite
direction, if we're talking about PLT, which is moving the bat from,
say, vertical to its position in line with the lead shoulder plane
where the lead shoulder will start pulling it into the CHP. I don't
see that in any of the video clips except those of Bonds where his
hands start off low, and he pushes the bat up initially. The knob
moves toward 1st base (third base if he was hitting right handed).
It's seen clearly, starting at 2:40 minutes into the following video
clip. Most MLB hitter eliminate this by holding their bat higher in
the beginning.


So, two questions:
1) should Little Leaguers who have been taught linear mechanics in
Pony and Minors, be SIMULTANEOUSLY taught THT along with "rotating
your hips all the way through," or should THT be taught first. Please

2) In your above statement about the lead shoulder rotation moving the
bat KNOB toward 3rd base should it rather be BAT HEAD rather than
knob? Please elaborate.


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