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Back Foot--Question for Jim

Posted by: BHL (Knight1285@aol.com) on Wed Feb 28 22:56:28 2007

> > > > Jimmy -
> > > >
> > > > Don't get me wrong I understand that the back foot starts first, but what always
> works
> > > for my athletes is the simple fact of getting the hips through. From a teaching stand
> point
> > > this automatically turns the back foot into the upright position (Heel up).
> > > >
> > > > I have clips of several big league guys and one of my college clients that plays at
> Dallas
> > > Baptist University where they are making contact, the hips are about to finish, and the
> > > back foot is only half turned. Granted it does come through after contact, but
> "squishing
> > > the bug" is a term I don't like to use because some literally turn their foot and the heel
> > > never comes up. Which causes a shortage in full hip rotation.
> > > >
> > > > I know it's right the way what you are telling me, but it's just easier to get an athlete
> to
> > > rotate his hips, correctly, than to concentrate on the foot itself.
> > > >
> > > > Coach Matthews
> > >
> > > Coach,
> > >
> > > I hear your point, but the problem that I have with having the hitter concentrate on
> > > rotating their hips is the tendancy to rotate too soon and too hard.
> > >
> > > The hips come through at different degrees depending on the pitch location. When
> the
> > > hitter puts too much emphasis on hip turn, his hips will end up working too soon, too
> > > hard, and too much. The legs help to rotate the hips and the feet help to rotate the
> legs,
> > > so this is why I would rather have the hitter work from his feet up instead of just right
> to
> > > the hips. This also helps with the natural progression of the swing in terms of rythm.
> > >
> > > Jimmy
> >
> > Hi Jimmy and Coach Matthews,
> >
> > I have read the arguments of whether one should squish the bug or just just rotate the
> hips. This proves a point of dissention between Jack Mankin and Paul Nyman. Jack, on the
> one end, believes that proper hip rotation is the cause of proper lower body mechanics.
> Paul, inversely, believes that hip rotation causes the pivoting the feet. Some may believe
> that both actions are simultaneous rather than a product of causality.
> >
> > While I believe that rotation starts from the ground up, and therefore am firmly in Jack's
> camp concerning this matter, this does not mean that all of Paul's opinion on this matter
> amount to useless rhetoric. Paul, for example, suggests one way that his credoes can be
> combined with those of Jack. If, for example, thinking "ground-up" causes the hips to
> turn, according to Paul, then that person has found "the right cue." Jack, on the other
> hand, would suggest that lower body mechanics actually enhance hip turn, and not just a
> cue.
> >
> > Personally, I like how Mike Epstein's synergy of lower body and hip movements drills
> allow an individual to use his or her hips effectively. (Please remember, though, that this
> is just my opinions.) Here are Epstein's cues:
> >
> > Here is an example of a cue that has helped me. This is taken from Mike Epstein.
> >
> > Mike,
> > I'm now on my fourth time watching the videos and you're right, I am picking up on little
> things that I didn't notice before.
> >
> > But this 1-2 heel drop is still puzzling me. I've actually tried it for myself. And I don't
> feel the heel drop making my hips turn. Is the heel drop more or less a timing mechanism?
> >
> > Mike's Answer:
> >
> > No, it is not a timing mechanism; it is a de facto mechanical movement necessary to
> initiate proper hip rotation.
> >
> > Try this. When you drop your front heel, lift your rear heel up at the same time (Do NOT
> “squish the bug”). Move your rear knee slightly down and in and then slightly turn your
> rear hip “around” the imaginary axis you have set up in your stride. Once you have done
> this a few times and feel comfortable, attempt it doing all the moves simultaneously.
> >
> > When you drop your front heel, you should feel a “swiveling” of your hips from back to
> front. Sometimes, and this may very well be true in your case, you have to “help” it along
> at first. Once the body understands its role, it will take over from there.
> >
> > Hope this helps!
> >
> > Good luck, continued success, and “get a good pitch to hit!”
> >
> > -Mike
> >
> > I hope this serves both of you well.
> >
> > Best,
> > BHL
> > Knight1285@aol.com
> >
> > P.S. In the end, the goal is hip rotation, and the goal is to get it whatever way you can.
> BHL,
> Thanks for the post. I do agree with Mike Epstien in the description of how the feet are
> related to proper hip turn. The front heel and back heel work in unison (as front heel
> lands/back heel rises). This starts the proper sequence in the lower half to maximize its
> strength.
> I have seen many hitters get hip turn without the proper start of the feet, but the hip turn
> is not maximized, nor is the strength. I guess the hips get through just enough when this
> happens but I wouldn't teach it. You can see this when the hitters back foot doesn't turn at
> all, but rather rolls onto its instep toward the inside of the ankle. (example would be Sean
> Casey).
> Anyways, thanks again for your input.
> Jimmy

Hi Jim,

Thanks again for your kind words. I do believe that pivoting on the ball of the back foot probably will yield better results than just getting on the toe.

Now I have a question for you: Jim, do you believe that back leg should be in an "L" position at contact? I do. The way I visualize the swing, the front leg should form a lower case, or miniscule "l," with the front foot open at least 45+ degrees at impact. The back leg, on the other hand, should be either on the ball of the foot or slightly on the toe, and should form an upper case, or a majascule "L," with the back calf pointing forward towards the catcher, and the back thigh pointing backwards towards the catcher. The straightening of the front leg and bending or "hinging" of the back leg causes the both hips to work smoothly around the axis of rotation set up in the stride.


P.S. I think that Jack's main contrubition to the swing is his emphasis on allowing bodily rotation to create a tight arc with the hands on inside pitches around the body. Personally, I think that Jacks's upper body mechanics, coupled with Epstein's lower body mechanics, will really help people.


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