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Re: Re: A REAL Swing Review -- (From 2011)

Posted by: Jack Mankin (MrBatspeed@aol.com) on Sun Jan 1 18:18:57 2012

>>> Hopefully this will help,

I play college baseball in the highly competitive Peach Belt
Conference, NCAA Division 2. I've played summer ball in the Coastal
Plains League and faced pitchers from some top notch D1 schools and
have been able to perform very well, hitting .343 throughout my
college career with respectable power numbers. I believe the swing
must be THOUGHT as purely rotational to be able to compete against 90
MPH fastballs that are complimented with above average breaking balls.
Whether or not this is what actually happens in slow motion is irrelevant. Yes, the more powerful hitters probably do a little bit of
everything. Bryce Harper is a perfect example, he shifts his weight
back and "pushes" forward, then rotates with all of his might. He
pulls his hands through and then throws them out. Whatever it may be,
all he is showing is an ability to swing very very HARD. There's
nothing really mechanical to it, all he does is swing as hard as he
can. He is also an exceptional athlete and probably a freak of nature
with super human hand eye coordination. A player like me can't get
away with that stuff. If I were to push forward AT ALL it would move
the position of my head and my eyes forward, making the ball appear
faster than it already is. I load my weight on to my back leg but I
must stay there to be successful, so basically all I think about after
I load is to spin my hips in the direction of the pitch. Everything
else takes care of itself. I believe this is the reason Josh Hamilton
is so successful. The very last swing of this video
(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jWhYhrK1kr4&feature=related) clearly
shows he is very stationary after loading and that he whips open his
body. The stationary rotation gives his the ability to see pitches
better and make solid contact which is why he can hit .350 against
Major League pitchers. He is simply just strong enough to send the
ball 450+ feet. I would bet a million dollars that if he wanted to, he
could swing it like Bryce Harper and probably start flirting with the
550 mark. But that would mean he would have to sacrifice his eyes for
more power (also write this down, Bryce Harper will be eaten alive for
at least 5 years if he doesn't get rid of all that extra movement.
Spring Training last year meant nothing, it's a long season, plenty of
time to find a way to get a guy who is moving back and forth like that
off balance.)

I have done my fair share of video analysis for almost 8 years
constantly trying to find ways to better myself. To be completely
honest, I have come to the conclusion that there are far too many
factors for slow motion video analysis to bring light to this on going
arguement. In the Swing Review from above every single clip is of a
different location. How can you possibly analyze something when the
most influential variable is constantly changing? It's not logical in
my eyes. And asking an MLB player wouldn't help the cause either. I
doubt any of them actually know exactly what they do when they perform
at game speed. 1) Thinking about mechanics while a 90 MPH fastball is
coming at you will result in failure 99.999999% of the time, they must
focus on the moment and The fact that this pitch is coming at them
right this instant and it is the single most important thing in their
lives for that moment. 2) The true swing, the swing at game speed, is
very athletic and VERY NATURAL. The body is on autopilot at this point
and almost non-existent. It is very much like going for a 8-10 minute
drive. You'll arrive at your destination and it's like waking up from
a trance, you know you were driving the entire time but you don't
really remember it like it was a dream from a few days ago that you
can only pick out bits and pieces. I have film of myself hitting home
runs and I can only remember certain details, the follow through not
being one of them. I always finish with one hand in BP because I feel
like it looks cooler, but every single home run I have on film I
finish with two. I don't even realize it, it just happens.

If you want to teach proper mechanics, teach the rawest most basic
forms (balance, confidence, and calmness) and allow the body to find
it's own way. Information overloading like this causes confusion and
turns ballplayers into worriers and most definitely leads to failure.
Let their inner greatness shine on it's own. No mechanical analysis
can beat that. <<<

Hi Ian

Welcome to the site. Your post has many valid points. I'm sure we all agree a batter should never be thinking about his mechanics in a game situation. As you point out, he should only be thinking of killing the next pitch in his zone. However, there is more a batter can work on in practice other than balance, confidence, and calmness.

Video analysis has been successfully used in golf to perfect a player's swing for over 20 years and is now used extensively by pitching coaches. I think one of the reasons golf and pitching coaches use video analysis more constructively than batting coaches is because they have identified certain biomechanical principles that must be adhered to for a player to reach their potential.

Although video analysis is being used by many batting coaches, most of the students find little benefit from their analysis. One of the main reasons for this is because few coaches have a good understanding of the forces acting on the bat that generates its angular velocity (bat speed). Without understanding these forces, they do not have a good understanding of the mechanics that most efficiently produces those forces.

Ian, above I stated, "is because they have identified certain biomechanical principles that must be adhered to for a player to reach their potential." Since you played college ball, I will give you an example from hundreds of college games I taped from TV. From those games I charted the swings of 436 players (most were D1 hitters).

I found I could predict, in a fairly narrow range, the 'Slugging Percentage' of a batter by charting the trajectory of their lead-elbow --- the farther back toward the catcher the lead-elbow was pulled by the rotation of the lead-shoulder, the higher the slugging percentage. -- Buster Posey and Gordon Beckham had over .950 percentages with around a foot of rearward elbow trajectory. All batters in the .700+ range exhibited very good trajectories.

Conversely, most of those with little or no rearward elbow trajectory were in the .350 to .400 range. --That may be information overload to some but it may also be something batters with little rearward elbow trajectory should consider working on.

Jack Mankin


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