Torque-Driven Rotational Hitting
Warning: This Information May Just Change Your Baseball Career
Look at just about any major league swing photos or video clips. Do they swing down on the ball? How about transferring their weight onto their front foot? Do they keep their front elbow down and back shoulder up? If you look, you will not see any of these things happening. Then, why do we teach these things to our young players? Folks, it’s a case of bad information being taught, learned and re-taught to successive generations.
The method from which I teach rests heavily on two individuals, Tom Robson and Mike Epstein. These former major league players and coaches highlight physically sound and scientifically studied rotational hitting techniques. I highly recommend to anyone who wants to reach their potential as hitters to research the body of work of these two men.
The swing starts with the feet and works its way up through the large muscles in the legs and hips, and is then magnified by the smaller muscles of the arm and hands, finally emerging out the bat and into the ball. Both men describe the “unlocking” of the body’s movements in a specific sequence called “kinetic linking” or “sequencing”.
Ryan Howard, like almost every successful major league hitter, displays the principles of rotational hitting.
In rotational hitting, the upper and lower halves of the body counter-rotate prior to launching the swing. This provides the power of the swing.
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Other important aspects include counter-rotating (figure, lower-right) the upper and lower halves of the body producing a tension described as “torque”. Also, matching the swing plane to the pitch plane will improve the batter’s successful contact with the ball. Finally, staying inside the ball will provide a short, compact swing that will get the barrel of the ball to the necessary position to successfully meet the ball whether the pitch is inside, down the middle, or on the outside part of the plate.
As a teacher of physical science, I completely concur with the principles listed above. They are sound and true. You cannot argue with the laws of physics and expect to win!
The various drills I perform with the student have two objectives. First, to teach the hitter the proper mechanics, step by step. Once we have mastered a series of correct steps, we then begin to merge them into one complete motion. Secondly, to build muscle-memory of those correct movements through guided repetitions.
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