Re: questions about my son's hitting lessons
>>> My 9yr old has been taking individual hitting lessons for a while now and I'm curious about some instruction he's received. I'm mildly familiar with the rotational discussion here and the terminology differs a little with what I've heard from the instructor.
For instance, my son is told to take the knob to the ball. That sounds linear to me. He's also told to squash the bug. He's also told to keep a slight bend in his elbows and keep his hands close to his body through the swing. I'm not sure if the instructor is trying to get him to stay inside the ball or what. What is the effect of keeping the elbows bent? What about keeping the hands close to the body? That would seem to restrict his ability to have a circular hand path. Should the elbow of the bottom arm straighten approaching contact?
The thing is, he's hitting the ball better than ever using these new mechanics. Should I be concerned? Thanks for your input. <<<
Welcome to the site. A few years ago most all batting coaches, including myself, taught batters to extend the hands in a linear (A to B) path to the contact zone. We used all the cues you mentioned to keep as much arc out of the hand-path as possible. A more circular hand-path was called “casting.”
Today, more and more coaches are coming to understand that a circular hand-path generates greater bat speed than a straighter path. However, old established cues have deep roots and many rotational coaches still prefer to keep using them by redefining their purpose. As examples, “Knob to the ball” can mean the knob is rotating toward ball, or, “Stay inside the ball” can just refer to a tight circular path.
Therefore, I can not say for sure the meaning your son’s instructor places on those cues. I can say for sure that allowing the elbow to flex and un-flex toward contact result in a straighter hand-path. Having some bend in the elbow is fine as long as the bend remains fairly constant during rotation or straightens early in the swing. As I stated earlier, it is flexing inward and then un-flexing toward the ball that straightens the hand-path.
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