# Linear vs Rotational Hitting | Key Difference

When debating the "Linear vs Rotational Hitting" controversy, coaches use varying criteria to classify a hitter as either a linear or rotational hitter. Most of the coaches I discussed this topic with contend that if the batter takes a long stride and transfers weight forward to accelerate the bat, they are linear hitters. All no-striders or batters that rotate about a stationary axis, would be considered rotational hitters. At Batspeed.com, we place no value on the length of stride or how much weight is transferred when classifying a hitter as linear or rotational.

Regardless of a good hitter's length of stride (or lack of it), all forward movement of the body flows to a stop before rotating around a stationary axis. This means that all forward movement and weight transfer occurs prior to the swing being initiated. From our study of how energy is transferred in the baseball swing (data from 3000+ charted swings), we could find no correlation between hitting performance and batters' length of stride or how much weight they transferred forward.

Definition of Linear vs Rotational Swing Mechanics

Mike Epstein defines a rotational hitter as a batter that rotates around a stationary axis. However, by our definition, a batter can rotate about a stationary axis and still exhibit linear swing mechanics. Batspeed.com defined the difference between linear and rotational hitting based on the batter's upper-body swing mechanics. The mechanics the batter uses to transfer his/her body's rotational energy into the acceleration of the bat.

The Key Differences

• Linear mechanics are based on the principle of a whip effect to generate bat speed. In other words, the hands extend in a straight (A to B) path.
• Rotational mechanics are based on the principle of the pendulum effect to generate bat speed. In other words, the hands are rotated in a circular path.
• Linear principles - The batter transfers his weight to a firm front side and extends his hands straight (A to B). As the linear advancement of the hands slow to a stop, the energy developed during the forward weight shift is transferred to the bat causing it to whip around - like "The Cracking of a Whip."
• Rotational principles - Regardless of the length of stride, the body's forward movement slows to a stop at heel plate. The body then rotates about a stationary axis. The hands remain back and allow body rotation to rotate the hands into a circular path, which induces angular acceleration of the bat from the Pendulum Effect -- like swinging a ball on a string.

Body Rotation vs Bat Rotation

This site has long maintained that just getting the body to rotate faster does not necessarily equate to greater bat speed. Body rotation is the engine for the swing, but we ask: "What use is a 1000 HP engine, if the transmission slips?" When the transmission slips, the power of the engine is not transferred to the wheels.

Basically, the same thing can happen in the baseball swing. Without good mechanics to transfer body rotation into bat acceleration, the hips and shoulders can freewheel open but generate little bat speed. What separated the great hitters from all the rest str the mechanics they use to efficiently transfer their body rotation into bat-head rotation.

The most talented natural hitter cannot 'will' the bat-head around. Like the average player, the bat speed he attains will be governed by the forces his swing mechanics applies to the bat. Even a great athlete like Michael Jordan could not overcome the linear hitting mechanics taught to him at the pro level.

Rotational Mechanics that Generate Bat Speed

There are two forces acting on the bat that generate bat speed. These forces are induced from a circular hand-path and torque applied at the handle. A circular hand path transfers body rotation into bat-head rotation. Therefore, the better hitters keep their hands back and allow body rotation to accelerate their hands into a CHP. Average hitters use the arms to extend the hands toward the pitcher. The straighter the hand-path - the less bat speed generated.

Batspeed.com defines any cue or mechanic that causes the hands to be extended into a straighter path as "linear mechanics." For decades, almost every film, video or book published on batting promoted a linear extension of the hands or knob. Is it any wonder that many, if not most, hitting coaches teach these linear transfer mechanics?

• (Video: Mechanics that generate bat speed)

Purpose of allowing opposing views

Do we actually teach what we see?
• The start of my study (Video: CHP & Torque)

Style vs. Absolutes in the swing
• All swings will be governed by the same physics principles (the "Absolutes)

The "Absolutes" to a good swing

• Hard work and efficient swing mechanics makes up for smaller size

B. Comparison -baseball and softball hitting

Pitching vs hitting mechanics (Video: Comparisons)

Softball swing mechanics same as baseball swing (Video: Comparisons)

Softball vs baseball hitting
• Linear MLB hitters lose in softball game against rotational Slow Pitch hitters

Differences in baseball and golf swing
• Golf grip induce wrist- roll prior to contact

Difference, golf & baseball (by Tom Querry)

C. Players/coaches/authorities

Mankin // Epstein differences
• Body rotation still requires efficient transfer mechanics to generate bat speed

Epstein torque (lower body) vs Mankin torque (upper body)
• Torque that induces hip rotation - Torque applied at the handle

Epstein's box - 90 degree elbows vs straighter arm

Yeager vs Mankin's analysis - Conservation of Momentum

Robert Adair's linear weight shift vs Mankin's rotation about a stationary axis

Bat test data and why Robert Adair may have discounted handle torque
• (Video: Physics and Acoustics of Baseball & Softball Bats)

Steve Ferroli - Ted Williams & Flattened hands

Daw - Rubber band analogy
• (Video)

Yeager's whip theory vs Mankin's rotational model

Jim Lefebvre's book - Axis, front-hip vs spine
• (Video: Giambi momentum & lead leg)

Zig Ziegler's - Segment deceleration vs Load on rotation causes the deceleration

Tom Querry - "Whipping action" vs BHT

Hudgens' knob first vs Mankin's CHP

Lau To Jack - Firm front leg discussion

Paul Nyman vs Mankin (1) (Video: Misleading THT)

Paul Nyman vs Mankin (2) (Video: Misleading THT simulation)

Dusty Baker - Throwing the bat-head; Crack-of-the-whip theory

D. Rotational Hitting Aids/drills/cues

One-handed swings - Physics Lab test findings

Motion study computer (1) - Findings verify video analysis

Motion study computer (2)

Staying inside the ball
• What does staying inside the ball mean?

Motion study computer (3) - Torque & pressure seniors

The plane & the hose drill

Bullwhip - how it works
• There is no "Crack of a whip" with a ridged bat

Power: 50% CHP & 50% Torque - Clarification

Tom Waz - KE= 1/2(MVV) - Bringing JJA up to speed on Physics Calculations

E. Linear vs rotational

Linear vs Rotational - Clarification - What constitutes

Linear = Low load to rotation
• Zig Ziegler's segment deceleration vs load induced

Linear vs Rotational - Pendulum effect vs Whip action
Problem with Linear Mechanics
• (Video: "Whip Effect" vs CHP & Torque)

CHP & Torque vs Whip Model

Linear vs Rotational mechanics
• Yeager vs Mankin (Video: pendulum effect v. whip action)

Linear Mechanics and the minus 11 bats
• Ted Williams & lighter bats effect on mechanics

Linear & Fastpitch Softball hitting mechanics - College coaches teach rotational??

"Swinging too late"
• Bat speed from linear theories relies on nonexistent whipping action

F. Video analysis

Key points I look for in video analysis
• Requires more than a single view point

Hips or hands first?
• Think of rotating hips or the bat-head rearward?
• (Video: Sosa & Strawberry)

THT & Bat drag

Once shoulder rotation is depleted
• Bat drag - Without THT, bat rotation does not stay in sync with body rotation

Front view & Side view
• Reasons for need of each view

Video Camcorder
• Recommended camcorders for video analysis with Batspeed's video analysis software - MotionView

2. ENERGY DEVELOPMENT (LOWER-BODY MECHANICS)

A. Grip & Wrist

The Grip - Tight or loose?
• (Video: Bat manufactures test results on the grip)

Wrist droop
• Does one "knuckle alignment" work

Grip & elbow to the belly button

The Grip - Bat in fingers or palm

Bonds' Grip (both wrists flex) - straighter wrist & loose grip

Separate the hands = More torque?

Wrist snap? Role of the wrist in the swing

Extension (wrist snap) vs BHT (push/pull of forearms)?

Premature wrist roll - what causes it

B. Launch position

Hands to launch position
• Hitters have many different styles in how they arrive at launch position
• (Video: Bonds, Griffey, Sosa - Hands to launch)

Is "elbow up" a flawed position?

High back elbow - good position for rotational mechanics, but not for linear

Inward-turn & PLT to THT mechanics
• (Video: Bonds/A-Rod side by side)

• (Video: lead arm of 4 good hitters)

Hands go back with stride vs. Hiding the hands

• Lead-shoulder rotates 150+ degrees while torso rotates 90

Inward-turn & pre launch torque
• (Video: Bonds/A-rod side-by-side of PLT/THT/BHT)

Inward shoulder turn hides the hands from pitcher
• Griffey Jr. and David Wright illustrate the importance of the inward turn and hiding the hands(Video)

Problems with hands creeping forward or into pitcher's view

C. Weight-shift/momentum

Pitching vs hitting mechanics - (Video: comparison clips)
• Pitcher's forward momentum after foot plant not productive for swinging a bat

Does weight shift = momentum

Weight shift - Truism or fallacy?

Weight swift & the "Conservation of Momentum
• Hip rotation attained from linear weight shift is negligible

Momentum & Gyro Action
• Weight on back-foot & discussion of p=mv (Video: Bonds & gyro)

Is linear motion transferred into angular momentum??
• Theories on forces that drive hip rotation - (Video: Pathfinder demo; CHP vs. extension)

What drives hip and shoulder rotation

Hip rotation
• Legs/pelvic momentum - Swivel chair analogy

Welded wheel vs. depleting rotational momentum model

D. Lower-body

3 camps on hip rotation - (Video: Giambi - "Whip effect" disproved)

Role of the hips - 1000 hp engine analogy

Front foot open or closed

Why Mark McGwire's lead-leg may remain bent at contact on out-side pitch

• Hip rotation straightens led-leg & George Brett & THT

Body drifting foreword
• The cure

Body tilt - Does not necessarily mean weight on back leg

Batter fully rotates, but bat drags. Why?

No THT creates bat drag

Sync body rotation to bat rotation

E. Rotation/separation

Questioning shoulder rotation & CHP
• Mechanics that generate bat speed - (Video: Griffey, Bonds & Rose analysis)

Rotation & un-shrugging shoulders

Hitting the inside and outside pitch mechanics
• Lead-shoulder rotates 60+ degrees more than back-shoulder - (Video: Pete Rose)

Hip rotation must stay connected
• Hip rotation must contribute to shoulder rotation

Kinetic chain; separation; free wheeling

Muscles fire in unison
• Is hips leading the hands due to sequential timing?

Role of hips - Does maximum separation equal disconnection?

Separation/unison - Bowling ball analogy

Pulling head out - Premature rotation & no separation

Why not maximum separation - The 3 step swing (1-2-3)

Hips lead shoulders, but then all rotate in unison
• At initiation, all the muscles in the legs and torso are contracting in unison

F. Axis of Rotation

Axis tilt vs. shoulder rotation - (Video: Bonds' tilt and rotation)

4 axis of rotation

Spinning and rotation
• Revolving door vs. swinging gate (blocked lead-side) - (Video: Rose hip/shoulder comparison)

Is there a difference between spinning & rotating?
• (Video: Giambi's lower-body mechanics)

Weight-shift - Stationary axis vs. back to center

3. ROTATIONAL HITTING MECHANICS

A. Initiation

Focusing on the whole swing - Not just forward movements

Envision the bat's rearward trajectory
• Subconscious mind will set up a motor program

Its CHP/THT/BHT - But you can't think your way through the swing

Sync body rotation to bat-head rotation
• Think: Rotate heel, rotate bat head

• The mind will provide a motor-program to accomplish the body trajectories you envision

Don't "explode" - Think smooth ever accelerating power

B. Back-arm & Extension

"L" position at contact - Few average hitters attain correct position

Elbow to the belly button - not remaining in the "slot"

"L" in back-leg and arm
• What drives back-arm -- (would you rather be hit with boxers hook or jab)
• (Video: Back arm of 4 good hitters)

Lead-arm - Should boxed elbow extend hands to contact?
• (Video: Lead arm of 4 good hitters & Pete Rose clip)

Defining "Casting & Extending

• 4 prong tire wrench analogy - (Video: Rose, Bonds & Burrell)

• Linear theme: All straight movement is good, all circular is bad

Does barring = casting?
• If so, does not "casting" = circular hand path

"Keep hands inside the ball" = linear cue?
• The 'cue' and the resulting hand-path

What cause counterproductive casting
• Extending "barred arm" without shoulder rotation

D. CHP - (Circular-Hand-Path)

Pulling off the ball
• "Bat drag" = "Pulling off the ball" - (Video: Rose example)

How to practice developing a CHP
• PathFinder & Rubber hose drill

One-handed drill for generating a CHP

Hook in hand-path & Tilt-a-whirl analogy

E. BHT - (Bottom-Hand-Torque)

"L" in back-leg and arm
• What drives back-arm -- (hit with boxers "hook" or "jab")
• (Video: back arm of four good hitters)

Lumberjack analogy - Energy expended at contact
• What powers follow-through

Rotational Hitting Mechanics that generate bat speed
• (Video: Hitters Exhibiting Good & Poor BHT)

BHT - Applying torque by pulling the bottom-hand back
• (Video: Bonds & Burrell BHT mechanics)

Tony Gwynn - Full Extension vs "L" position at contact

• Lead-shoulder rotation - torque & CHP - (Video: Griffey analysis)

Back-arm "L" position - Percentage of torque applied (BHT to THT)

F. PLT & THT - (Pre-Launch Torque) & (Top-Hand-Torque)

THT applied in 2 Phases
• Hitters like Bonds and Sosa accelerate the bat-head rearward in two phases
• (Videos: Demonstrating THT w/PathFinder & Sosa - PLT to THT)

• Shawn v. Mankin analysis - (Videos: Sosa & overhead clips)

Bat accelerating from PLT into THT
• (Videos: PLT to THT mechanics; THT w/PathFinder; Sosa - PLT to THT; 2 Bonds clips)

THT - same mechanics, different names

THT-- Key to a great swing

THT - Thumb of top-hand raking shoulder

THT & BHT - Do great hitters knowingly apply?

THT - Rotational hitting & Transfer mechanics
• When I first saw THT being applied (George Brett)
• Video:Bonds and Burrell example
• (Video: Overhead of John Elliot)

THT & PLT - Sheffield PLT to THT maintains good linkage to rotation

THT - Keeps lead-arm across chest - "A ballistic motion"

THT mechanics
• Shoulder tilt & lowering of the elbow
• (Add Video: Ryan Howard's mechanics)

THT & Wrist binds

Mechanics that can cause Wrist binds

THT - Can you see THT being applied

THT & slotting the elbow
• (Video: Bonds pre-launch torque mechanics)

PLT - Bat vertical or wrapped

PLT - Bonds mechanics

PLT - Discussing advantages of applying PLT

G. HITTING THE Inside AND Outside Pitch

Inside/outside mechanics
• (Video: Lead-shoulder rotates 60+ degrees more than back-shoulder)

Mark Teixeira - inside/outside mechanics
• (Video: Lead shoulder rotates 150 while back shoulder rotates 90)

Hitting the outside pitch

THT & plate coverage
• (Video: Reaching the low outside pitch - John & Rose overhead)

Pulling off the ball
• Little power to the opposite field are all indicators of "bat-drag"
• (Video: Rose and plate coverage)

Big Mac's front knee
• Why lead-leg remains bent during contact

The outside pitch - linear vs rotational mechanics

Outside pitch - BHT mechanics vs PFO

Ron Gant & Matt Williams - Limitations of BHT on outside pitches

H. Contact/Bat Drag/Follow-through

"L" in back-leg and arm
• What drives back-arm -- (hit with boxers "hook" or "jab")
• Insert video - 4 good hitters' back arm

Pulling off the ball not caused by shoulder rotation
• (Video: Pete Rose)

Best hit balls pulled foul
• Linear mechanics = Bat drag - (Video: Sosa)

Hitting mechanics & the Follow through

• (Video: WCWS hitters contact position)

Big Mac's top-hand release
• Conditions that make releasing the top-hand necessary
• (Video: Animation - McGwire vs Amateur Hitter)

Lumberjack analogy - Energy expended at contact

I. Linear vs Rotational Swing Plane

Swing plane like a tilted flat disc

Lead-arm plane & the swing plane

A-Rod & The Swing Plane
• Discussion of frontal and across the plate view - (Video: comparison clips)

PLT & the swing plane
• Wrist-binds & waves in the swing plane

THT & the swing plane
• Rearward force must be inline from lead-arm

"Swing down vs swing up at the ball"
• (Video: bat up slope to contact)

Swing down - But behind not in front

Looping swing - Collapsing back-side

Causes of plane flaws - Discussion of initiation problems

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