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Re: Hitting checklist --from Feb.

Posted by: Jack Mankin (mrbatspeed@aol.com) on Mon Mar 1 10:27:34 2004

>>> How about posting an checklist that will allow the hitter to look for certain elements in the lower and upper body during specific points in the swing (i.e., launch, initiation, contact, etc.)? This would be extremely useful to individuals viewing their own swings by VCR. Just a premonition. <<<


When doing a swing review analysis, I see many different styles of how the batters prepare for the swing. I think it best not to try and get all hitters to conform to one length of stride or whether they should stand tall or crouch or where they hold their hands in the stance and etc. My main concern is the swing mechanics they exhibit from launch to contact. The time for individual styles is over and now there are absolutes in swing mechanics they must adhere to too maximize performance.

My checklist is to see if the batter strays from the “absolutes” found in all good swings. Below are a couple posts from the archives regarding “Styles and Absolutes.” --- Since this is the end of the month, I will start next month with this thread.

Jack Mankin
Style vs Absolute
Posted by: Jack Mankin (MrBatspeed@aol.com on Thu Feb 13 16:04:42 2003

Hi All:

In questioning whether or not the back-elbow should be elevated, Mikeyd’s post (below) raised some valid points. I am starting a new thread to address his last point regarding batting “Styles.”


“First of all, that information, "the hands should be 6 - 10 inches from the body" comes from Dusty Baker's book page 31. I think Dusty is refering to in "the stance" 6 - 10 inches does not seem unreasonable to me. On your website Jack you use a simulation of Sammy Sosa's swing - I guarantee you, his hands are more than 10 inches away from his body in his stance. Are you advocating that the hands need to be closer than 6 inches away? At what point does that need to occur? If you are more than 6 inches away what is the disadvantage? At launch, does it matter if the pitch is in or out of where your hands are - 6 inches or less? I think when you start mandating things like that - you are cloning hitters and more than one style can and does work. Just cause you find a 12 year old, Jack, that getting their hands closer into their body increases their productivity does not mean it is good for every hitter in the world regardless of body type, strength, arm length, height, etc. Do any of these factors matter to you Jack. Is plate coverage an issue? Big Mac for instance was never closer than 6 inches away from his body at any point - and he stood way off the plate; so does Sosa.

There are substantive issues to discuss and reasoning to support any theory and when that happens, we all get better. Thanks”

Jack Mankin's reply:

Mikeyd, you stated, “I know from watching videos and looking at pictures, Jack, that there is more than one "right" way to swing the bat - and your style is not a cure all and has some definite limitations too.”

I agree that good hitters exhibit many different Styles in how they prepare for the swing. As a hitter takes his stance in the box, some will (as you pointed out) have their hands away from their body – some close to the shoulder. Some will have their hands high like A-Rod – some low at the belt like Bonds. Some good hitters will stand tall while others like to squat/crouch. Some will take longer strides – some soft or no-stride. These are a batter’s individual Style’s and my work has not taken a position on whether or not one Style has an advantage over another.

However, once the batter has completed his preparation for the swing and has brought the bat to the launch position, the time for the batter to exhibit his individual Style is over. When the swing is being fully initiated, there are Absolute batting principles all hitters must use to generate maximum bat speed and a consistent swing plane. Therefore, the swing mechanics exhibited by all the best hitters, from initiation to contact, are basically the same when viewed frame-by-frame.

The bat speed developed by all swings will be governed by the same mechanical principles. Defining these mechanical principles common to all great hitter’s swings is what my study concentrated on. --- The purpose of batting mechanics is to apply forces to the bat that will gain maximum acceleration of the bat-head into a predictable arc toward contact. – Note: Since the purpose of batting mechanics is to accelerate the bat-head, the terms I defined, CHP (Circular Hand-Path), BHT (Bottom-Hand-Torque) and THT (Top-Hand-Torque) are to identify the forces acting on the bat.

The forces a batter applies to the bat that cause the bat-head to accelerate into its arc is torque (push/pull action supplied through the hands) and transfer of the body’s rotational energy via the angular displacement of the hands (Circular Hand-Path). The batter does not have a choice of whether or not to use these forces. The bat speed attained, regardless of who he or she may be, baseball or softball, Pro or Little Leaguer, will be governed by the angular displacement rate of the CHP and the amount of torque energy supplied to the bat during the swing by the batter’s transfer mechanics.

Mikeyd, great hitters find an elevated back-elbow a more powerful position to apply THT than starting with it low or in the slot. -- In the near future, I will write a post outlining the Absolute mechanics found by a frame-by-frame breakdown of all great the hitter’s swings.

Jack Mankin

Re: Doug Son's Swing
Posted by: Jack Mankin (mrbatspeed@aol.com on Tue Jan 6 18:13:26 2004


>>> Jack are you going to tell me Griffey swings the same way as Bonds and Bonds swings the same way as Alex? They don't 'prepare' the launch the same way, they don't swing the same way. They use their bodies differently than one another. They produce different forces preparing for launch which affects how they swing. They use their legs differently which affects the swing, they use their arms differently which affects the swing. <<<

Jack Mankin's reply:

Hi Shawn:

I have already acknowledged that batters display many different Styles in how they prepare the launch position. But as I stated, after initiation of the swing there are Absolute principles common to the transfer mechanics of all great hitters. Below are a few of the Absolute batting principles found in all good swings (with good pitches to hit).

(1) Regardless of the length of stride or how the batter uses his legs, they will all rotate around a stationary axis.

(2) Regardless of where the batter has his hands during pre-launch, they will all bring the hands toward the back-shoulder at initiation.

(3) They will all shrug the lead-shoulder (inward-turn) to “hide the hands” when viewed from the pitcher’s mound.

(4) They will all keep their hands back and allow shoulder rotation to accelerate the hands into a circular path (CHP).

(5) At initiation, they will all accelerate the bat-head in an arc back toward the catcher by pulling back with the top-hand (THT)

(6) They will all accelerate the bat into the plane of the lead-arm as the shoulders start to rotate.

(7) They will all lower the back-elbow to their side (in the slot – “L” position) during rotation to contact.

(8) They will all have their lead-arm across much of their chest as the back-forearm rotates (elbow in the slot) from vertical to a horizontal position at contact.

(9) They will all have the lead-shoulder pulling back toward the catcher (un-shrugging the lead-shoulder) to the 105 degree position at contact. This is to generate BHT and the “Hook” in the hand-path to maximize bat speed.

I have had hundreds of swings sent to me for video analysis. The farther the batter strays from these Absolutes, the poorer the results.

Jack Mankin


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