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  • Extension Following Contact - Questions

    So I’m wondering about the role and method of extension of the arms following contact with the baseball. To demonstrate what I’m talking about, here is a clip of my son from a few days ago warming up with some side toss:

    https://youtu.be/jzzeFv3KgVg

    You should be able to see that he does mostly extend his rear (top hand) arm, but he does so around his body, rather than out toward the pitcher (which most seem to advocate). In addition, it’s rare for him to fully extend his lead (bottom hand) arm, with the exception of pitches that are pretty far outside. I do realize that the direction of extension will depend on the location of the pitch. On an outside pitch, he will extend more toward the pitcher, and his lead arm will also mostly extend. But even then, he will finish has swing and extension around his body, as he continues to rotate, more toward the shortstop or even third base. The third toss in the clip above appears to be somewhat outside, so you can kind of see a little more forward extension and some extension of the lead arm, but he still finishes way around his body.

    I’ve been looking at this for several days and have found a few threads in the forum addressing this topic. I have linked those below for anyone interested. The most detailed one is 10+ years old, apparently during the hitting wars. There’s some very interesting stuff in there. I have also included some videos of MLB hitters who appear to be doing something similar to what my son is doing (usually on middle/in pitches, as far as I can tell). Now some questions/observations:

    - Does anyone see this method of extension as creating problems? If so, what are those problems?
    - It seems to me that the purpose of extension is for the creation of bat whip. The rear arm is thrust outward (or around in my son’s case), in conjunction with twisting/turning the top hand wrist, in a manner necessary to violently rotate/whip the bat around the bottom (lead arm) hand, which is more or less acting as a fulcrum/hinge. Does it matter whether that process happens more toward the pitcher vs. around the body of the batter as he/she rotates?

    As usual, my general inclination is not to mess with my son’s swing unless I’m virtually certain that there is a major problem. Even in the warmup clip I posted, where he’s not swinging anywhere near max effort, he is pretty well hammering the ball. Given the way he’s hitting, I am not inclined to mess with him at the moment, but I always value the input from the knowledgeable folks on this board. Any and all comments welcome.

    MLB HITTERS:
    Pete Rose (at 0:52 sec): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B323INtTb3U
    Bonds: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2SyC7Ca9_zU
    Trout: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=22Hn4R4ZKGc
    Prince Fielder: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SLZ6dmURbsE
    Bonds (at 3:03 sec): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9WvK...z174dw&index=2
    Beltre: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VWreNZaGokY

    OLDER THREADS FROM THE BOARD:
    Most detailed: https://www.baseball-fever.com/forum...in-like-a-gate
    https://www.baseball-fever.com/forum...r-v-at-the-poc
    https://www.baseball-fever.com/forum...-after-contact
    https://www.baseball-fever.com/forum...-hand-dominate

  • #2
    I don't have time to review the linked threads or watch the MLB videos right now, but I can tell you that extension/follow-through is a result of proper mechanics upstream, and isn't (shouldn't be) a necessary separate teachable event. IOWs it's an "effect" not a "cause".
    In memory of "Catchingcoach" - Dave Weaver: February 28, 1955 - June 17, 2011

    Comment


    • #3
      IMO, until you learn how to connect early and turn the barrel you will never get the correct extension. A lot of kids think extension is pushing through the ball. Extension is connecting early (turning the barrel) and the whip from releasing the barrel will cause the arms to extend naturally. So, as Mud said, if you don't have the proper mechanics upstream then you won't have proper extension.
      Instagram: gavin_thereal34

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      • #4
        Originally posted by coachrjb View Post
        IMO, until you learn how to connect early and turn the barrel you will never get the correct extension. A lot of kids think extension is pushing through the ball. Extension is connecting early (turning the barrel) and the whip from releasing the barrel will cause the arms to extend naturally. So, as Mud said, if you don't have the proper mechanics upstream then you won't have proper extension.
        I think that all makes sense from a logical perspective. In terms of application, do you think extending around vs. extending more forward is a flaw?

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        • #5
          One culprit upstream is how the front foot and left hip pull the bat off path by being excessive. One indication of good bat path downstream is ball flight and direction. If Johnny is being fed down the middle front toss and Johnny is consciously trying to hit the ball to center field but "hooks' the ball to the left of that line, even if he hits those balls with authority it is an indication of suspect bat path. Proper extension is closely related to bat path.
          Major Figure

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          • #6
            Hmm, maybe I should ask this a little differently. Can a batter have proper upstream mechanics and still extend more around than forward?

            For example, if two different batters are hitting a pitch in the same location and with the same trajectory (e.g. a 92mph fast ball down the middle, belt high), is it possible that (i) both batters have proper upstream mechanics, AND (ii) one batter extends more forward and the other extends more around? Or does the forward vs. around extension necessarily indicate that one of the batters used improper upstream mechanics? Or possibly that both batters have proper, but slightly different, upstream mechanics?

            Is it safe - or not - to say that some MLB hitters, with sound mechanics, swing more around than others do? And if so, does that have any implications of any kind?

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            • #7
              It all depends and there are all kinds of variables. At some point after contact the hitter will obviously come "around": the arms are attached to the body.

              An experienced hitter will counteract the natural tendency to come around before contact. Even a minute amount (and it's usually a minute amount) is the killer. So guys let go with the top hand, adjust their grip, scissor lick, close their front foot, swing inside more, flex their arms.....the cause could be anything and the remedy could be anything. All good hitters fight it to varying degrees and all are unsuccessful to varying degrees. Thus, shifts in mlb.
              Major Figure

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              • #8
                Originally posted by omg View Post
                One culprit upstream is how the front foot and left hip pull the bat off path by being excessive. One indication of good bat path downstream is ball flight and direction. If Johnny is being fed down the middle front toss and Johnny is consciously trying to hit the ball to center field but "hooks' the ball to the left of that line, even if he hits those balls with authority it is an indication of suspect bat path. Proper extension is closely related to bat path.
                What you're saying makes sense. I can definitely understand the left hip and front foot pulling the batter too far. At the same time, consciously hitting to a certain part of the field is fairly difficult, even with easy front toss. Johnny could use his left hip and foot correctly, and frequently hit the ball in the wrong direction due to incorrect timing. Conversely, Johnny could incorrectly use his left hip and foot and hit the ball to the correct field, again due to timing. Is it safe to postulate that (i) some hitters (MLB included) generally extend more around than others, and (ii) those hitters are able to hit to the correct field/location based on timing? Maybe it's safer to say that any specific batter may extend more around than forward in a given situation, depending on the circumstances.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by omg View Post
                  It all depends and there are all kinds of variables. At some point after contact the hitter will obviously come "around": the arms are attached to the body.

                  An experienced hitter will counteract the natural tendency to come around before contact. Even a minute amount (and it's usually a minute amount) is the killer. So guys let go with the top hand, adjust their grip, scissor lick, close their front foot, swing inside more, flex their arms.....the cause could be anything and the remedy could be anything. All good hitters fight it to varying degrees and all are unsuccessful to varying degrees. Thus, shifts in mlb.
                  Ah, you posted this while I was writing the response above. It seems we're thinking along the same lines. Good MLB hitters are experts at making on-the-fly adjustments. It's one of the things that gets them to the MLB in the first place.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by jamesd1628 View Post

                    Ah, you posted this while I was writing the response above. It seems we're thinking along the same lines. Good MLB hitters are experts at making on-the-fly adjustments. It's one of the things that gets them to the MLB in the first place.
                    I'm not talking about on the fly adjustments. I'm talking about conscious in advance adjustments. Consciously hitting to a certain part of the field when practicing is a cornerstone of training and is not unreasonably difficult against front toss with most average hitters.
                    Major Figure

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                    • #11
                      Your son has nice elements to his swing in this clip. Do not practice extending your hands/arms away from the torso.

                      Per the Conservation of Angular Momentum (think ice skater, dancer, diver - see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oGzQflqf1VA skip to 1:00 mark), in hitting it is most efficient to keep the arms/elbows/bathead as close to the torso as possible in order to have the fastest swing/rotation.

                      The instant you push the elbows away in a 'push/extension' you are by definition SLOWING the bat head.

                      The optimum swing keeps the BICEPS close to the torso through to and at contact.

                      Of course, anyone has to reach for balls they misjudge. Of course, some are able to do well without an optimum swing.

                      Here is Trout from your clip above. Notice both biceps very close to his torso.
                      erase4.JPG
                      Here is your son
                      erase5.JPG
                      Last edited by songtitle; 01-17-2020, 08:05 AM.
                      efastball.com - hitting and pitching fact checker

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                      • #12
                        I don't have anything to offer - it looks like a swing which is giving good results! My son's coach does talk about keeping the body, hand, and knee connected during rotation, which is what OMG and Song are discussing.

                        I don't want to co-opt your thread. I am curious what the bb-fever hive mind thinks about the pelvic hinge and torso tilt? To me, young Jamesd is pretty upright in his swing. What do you all think?

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by baseabllmom View Post
                          I don't have anything to offer - it looks like a swing which is giving good results! My son's coach does talk about keeping the body, hand, and knee connected during rotation, which is what OMG and Song are discussing.

                          I don't want to co-opt your thread. I am curious what the bb-fever hive mind thinks about the pelvic hinge and torso tilt? To me, young Jamesd is pretty upright in his swing. What do you all think?
                          I believe the tilt makes it easier to handle pitches in different locations. If they're leaning like trout, high pitches might be a bit difficult, so when they recognize the high pitch, they won't tilt as much to a pitch down by their knees. If a hitter doesn't tilt, it becomes harder IMO to hit liners into the gap and results in hotshots landing into a fielder's glove.Think Ichiro Vs Chris Davis. The amount of tilt varies on stances/hitter's strength etc... However, JD's swing is working and doing a fine job. The season is almost here and I think any drastic changes might not be good. Once the season's over, I think incorporating his backside to have some tilt after loading and initiating his swing will improve his slugging percentage naturally.

                          The smooth extension and high finish is from the backside working down to up and the bat coming along for the ride. Think golf, where there's a tee at the end. Of course the club will come over the shoulder, the hips have to come down and scoop it up. No imagine if the hips had a pitch down middle, ready for a bomb. The hips are going to lift up and let the shoulders and arms come along for the ride and finish through.Would it be a severe scoop? No, but a high finish will happen if the mechanics were proper.

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                          • #14
                            For me, one of the hardest things about analyzing video is taking camera angles into account. Things can look vastly different from different angles. I have videos from behind where it looks like he's not leaning back at all; and others from the front (in the same hitting session) where it looks like he's about to fall over backwards. The still shots that songtitle posted are a good example. I wouldn't be surprised if he's leaning back as far as Trout is, or close to it - just different camera angles.

                            I also have videos from the side where he looks like he's barely tilting; and others from the back where the plane of his shoulders tilt to match the plane of the bat at contact. That's the case in every video I've ever taken of him from the back, but it is much more difficult to see from a side view. And it's not just the position around (like a clock, with 12 being where the pitcher is and 6 being the catcher); it's also height. If I'm behind him at say 5:00, videos will look very different if I'm standing vs. sitting. The speed of a swing can also make analysis difficult. You can clearly see tilt in a full-speed clip, but it happens so fast - coming and going - that it can throw you off until you see it slowed down. I know I'm stating the obvious, but analyzing video can be some damn tricky business, at least for me.

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                            • #15
                              That's why comparing with the exact angle and swing will be very telling to how they compare to the great. The swing comparison doesn't have to be exact, just show there's enough similarities and a chance to improve once puberty is over and there's no more room for muscle growth without taking weight lifting into account. Next time, fine a angle of a gif you want to compare him to of any player, and match the angle with the player in question with your son. Will be good to see what's there and isn't.

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