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Posted by: Teacherman () on Tue Oct 29 20:30:47 2002


The swing should obviously be initiated by the body and not the arms or hands. But, what part of the body should the batter think about moving first? Should it be the pulling back of the lead shoulder or the driving through of the back side?
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> > > > > > > > The bad news is that it is virtually impossible to make the lower body "think" it should start first. You don't hit the ball with your hips, you hit the ball with the bat, which is being held by the hands.Therefore any "thinking" is done with the hands.
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> > > > > > > > The good news is that if everything is done right, everything will be done automatically, in the right sequence and without having to "think" about it. I won't rehash my prior posts in detail, but here is a brief summary:
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> > > > > > > > If the bat is cocked sufficiently, when the time comes that the hitter "thinks" swing, his hands will start the swing and the rest of the body will follow suit. Once the hitter "thinks" swing, the bat will start uncocking because the bat can not go anywhere except in the uncocking motion in order to ultimately head toward the target. The natural uncocking motion is causing the hands to head toward the catcher, while simultaneously the hips are starting to open.
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> > > > > > > > It would be futile and unnecessary to try to make a conscious attempt for the hips to start opening first. They WILL open as I described and without thinking about it if there is suficient bat cock.
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> > > > > > > I disagree. All the hands do is hold onto the bat. The body "is" the swing. Show me a guy who starts his swing with his hands/bat and I'll show you a guy who can't catch up to a good fastball and a guy who can't adjust to offspeed pitches, breaking balls and pitch location. Start the swing with the belly button. Why? Because you can move your hips without the upper body moving (not good) and you can move your shoulder/hands/arms without the lower body moving (not good). It's hard to move the belly button without everything moving as a unit. Everything moving as a unit (as one package, not as individual parts) is critical.
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> > > > > > "All the hands do is hold onto the bat". If this were true the bat would stay in a more-or-less vertical position the entire swing.The hands have a major role and that is to provide direction. Direction of the sweet part of the bat as well as direction in getting the bat from the launch position to the lag position to contact. People can disagree on how much or how little POWER is provided by the arms/hands in relation to the lower body, but to say "All the hands do is hold onto the bat" is just plain rediculous.
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> > > > > > "Show me a guy who starts his swing with his hands/bat and I'll show you a guy who can't catch up to a good fastball". That depends on your definition of when the swing starts. I assume the swing starts at decision, not launch position. If, at decision, the bat is not cocked, then yes, the natural direction of the hands would be forward. If, on the other hand the bat is cocked at moment of decision, then as the hips are simultaneously starting to rotate, the bat is uncocking & the knob is heading toward the catcher (nowhere the knob can go except toward the catcher).
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> > > > > > "Start the swing with the belly button."...Try teaching any player, regardless of level of play to think "Start the swing with the belly button." Good luck. That's not how the body & mind work. It's perfectly natural for the body to want to initially move the part of the body that is holding the striking instrument. But, I repeat, "the bat is cocked at moment of decision, then as the hips (belly button) are simultaneously starting to rotate, the bat is uncocking & the knob is heading toward the catcher (nowhere the knob can go except toward the catcher). The point is, with sufficient bat cock, everything will fall into place without having to think "belly button first".
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> > > > > >Bart,seems to me that the bat is cocked with the knob at the catcher ,the uncocking is when the rear elbow comes down and the chp begins.Where do you see the knob during cocking rql
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> > > > RQL...You are right. At bat cock the knob already is facing the catcher, so during the uncocking phase it is the bathead that is moving toward the catcher. A very important detail I might add. And yes, another important detail: the rear elbow does start coming down during the uncocking phase, so that by launch position it is down where it should be. Opponents of the high elbow argue that the high elbow is bad, but usually their argument is that AT LAUNCH it is bad, which I agree. However, ithe rear elbow should come down naturally during uncocking phase, so therefore no problem, right?
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> > > In addition,I believe that cocking and uncocking with the big muscles asoociated with the back elbow going up and down is preferred,as opposed to the bat being wagged back and forth with hand/wrist action.The latter seems more like the undesirable type of"wrapping" that makes good timing difficult.
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> > To All,
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> > I would like to point something out. From watching many tapes, it is very difficult to tell which part of the swing moves first when you see someone swing at the ball. It's almost impossible to tell with the naked eye.
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> > After you look at enough tape you learn that you can tell what part of the body moves first on the pitches that batter does NOT swing at. In the upper levels the pitches are fast so the batter does not have time to wait to decide if he is going to swing. Batters start their swing on every pitch by making their initial move but do not follow through when they decide not to swing. Batters do not decide to swing, they decide not to swing.
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> > When the batter holds up, for an instant, they are standing still with their hips open and the rest of the body in the stance position. At this point it obvious that the hips move first.
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> > Incidently, it is very difficult to teach hitters this as they get a little older, say 16 and older. This is because at the lower levels the pitchers are slower and the batters do not need to start the swing on every pitch to get around on the ball. After a few years they develop habits that are hard to break, though some drills that have been effective in changing this habit.
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> > This is a common reason for batters to be late on the ball even if they have good mechanics.
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> > S. Procito
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> Sam, I agree with much of what you said , except for 'is very difficult to tell which part of the swing moves first when you see someone swing at the ball. It's almost impossible to tell with the naked eye.". With clips and a GIF Animator program, you can indeed tell what moves first. This is how it became obvious to me that the hips strat rotating as the bat uncocks. This freeze frame capability enables one to confirm much of what Jack teaches.


The problem I have with considering the "bat uncock" as the first movement is it isn't really a move to swing. It is an uncocking not a movement to the ball. If the bat uncocking is considered the beginning of the swing then what about the stride, or the hitch, or the inward turn, or any other movement a hitter might do prior to swinging. Yes, I understand that it is very close in time to the swing, but I can stand here and cock and uncock my bat continuously and never approach a swing. And, I can swing without a cock or uncock of the bat. I can also rotate my hips without swinging but I can't swing without rotating my hips.

What's important is what is the first thing that moves as you make an aggressive move to the ball. I believe it is the rotation of the body which is then followed by the hands. That's why I believe the belly button is a good point to focus on. And Bart, I have taught several young players this technique without any trouble at all in fact it is very easy for them to understand. The belly button is always connected to both the upper and lower halves. You can't hardly move it without moving both the torso and the hips at the same time and the hands fire after the torso's rotation. Yes, Bart, the hands do provide bat head direction but if they move before anything else you'll never be able to make adjustments to offspeed, breaking balls, and pitch location. The committment of the hands (forward to hit the ball; not the uncocking) ahead of the lower half rotation is a formula for disaster.

And, so everyone understands, when you say the hands move, are you saying the wrist joint is moving the hands, the arms are pulling the hands forward, or the torso's rotation is moving the hands? (I'm not talking about the uncocking here, I'm asking about their movement to the ball in the swing.
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