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  • Rotational and Linear

    Can someone breakdown in a couple of sentences how to describe each type of swing.

  • #2
    Sure, here goes

    Rotational mechanics are what professional hitters use. No one actually advocates a "linear swing" and no one actually teaches a "linear swing". It is really just a term made up by those who have tried to create proprietary credit for rotational mechanics. They then point to other instructors and say: "that is a linear concept". It is kind of like how politicians use the word "liberal". It is the "L" word of internet hitting gurudom.

    This will be proven when, despite all of the wailing that will come in response to my post, no one will actually step up and say "I am an advocate of linear mechanics". It is because, no one actually is an advocate of linear mechanics. It is just something to be accused of.

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    • #3
      linear movement is in a straight line...longer stride, knob to ball, down and hard are terms associated with linear guys.

      ***below is a great article I found on www.chrisoleary.com, sorry for the length!!


      ChrisOLeary.com > ... > ... > Hitting > Rethinking Hitting > Essays > Rotational Hitting

      Rotational Hitting
      4/4/2007
      As a kid, I loved the game of baseball but was never a great player.
      While some of my problems were admittedly due to a lack of ability (and not wanting to wear my glasses), many of my problems were due to poor instruction.
      I was never taught to do what great hitters do.
      Now that I have kids of my own, I have resolved to teach them better than I was taught.
      LINEAR VS. ROTATIONAL HITTING
      In studying hitting, I have come to find that there are two fairly distinct schools of thought: Linear Hitting and Rotational Hitting. In my experience, Linear Hitting is what most people are taught -- it's what I was taught -- and Rotational Hitting is what most major league hitters actually do.
      Linear Hitting
      While many people disagree about exactly what Linear Hitting is, I have found that Linear Hitting describes an approach to hitting that is focused on the arms, wrists, and hands. The idea is to swing with the hands to maximize the time the head of the bat spends in the contact zone. Other defining characteristics of Linear Hitting are cues like...
      • Throw the hands at the ball.
      • Bring the knob of the bat to the ball.
      • Swing down on the ball.
      The general idea behind Linear Hitting is to just make contact with the ball.
      The problem that I have with Linear Hitting is that it doesn't scale; in general it only works until 4th grade or so when infielders can make most routine plays. It worked to a degree in the big leagues in the 70s and 80s when infields were covered with slick Astroturf surfaces, but it does not work on grass or dirt infields.
      Rotational Hitting
      In contrast, Rotational Hitting is about learning to swing with the body, rather than the hands. The idea is to use the large muscles of the legs and lower torso to drive the ball. While a Rotational swing will sometimes result in Home Runs, the idea is to just hit the ball solidly and hard, since a hard-hit ball, even if it is hit on the ground, is harder to make a play on. The leading advocates of the Rotational approach to hitting are Steve Englishbey, Jack Mankin, and Mike Epstein. Rotational Hitting describes the swings of most major league hitters, including Albert Pujols.

      Albert Pujols
      PCR
      One acronym that has been coined by students of Rotational Hitting to describe the key principles behind it is PCR. PCR stands for Posture, Connection, and Rotation.
      Posture
      The idea behind the principle of Posture is that a hitter should assume an athletic stance before swinging. This enables them to swing with their entire body and not just their arms. In general, an athletic stance means...
      • Feet apart
      • Knees bent
      • Butt out
      • Hands back
      The photo below of Albert Pujols is a good example of proper posture and an athletic stance.

      Albert Pujols at Setup
      Connection
      The idea behind the principle of Connection is that the ideal swing is one that is compact rather than arm-y at the point of contact. In a well-connected swing, at the point of contact the hands are turning with the shoulders rather than flying away from the body toward the pitcher.
      You can see the principle of connection at work in the swings of power hitters like Ryan Howard.

      Ryan Howard Demonstrating Connection
      Notice how Ryan Howard's hands are relatively close to his body at the point of contact and his back elbow is relatively close to his side.
      You can also see the principle of connection at work in the better swings of contact hitters like David Eckstein.

      David Eckstein Demonstrating Connection
      Again, notice how David Eckstein's hands are relatively close to his body at the point of contact and his back elbow is relatively close to his side.
      Rotation
      The idea behind the principle of Rotation is that the swing is powered by the rotation of the body, not by the movement of the arms or hands. While the arms and hands are important, their job is to help funnel the force that is generated by the body.

      Albert Pujols Demonstrating Rotation
      The above photo of Albert Pujols is a great example of what good Rotation looks like. Notice that his hips have stopped moving forward and have rotated 90 degrees, due in part to the stiffening of his front leg. Also notice how the rotation of Albert Pujols' torso has pulled him up onto the toe of his back foot.
      WHAT A MAJOR LEAGUE SWING
      (ACTUALLY) LOOKS LIKE
      Now that you understand the basic principles behind Rotational Hitting, let me explain these principles in more detail using a number of frames from a single swing by Albert Pujols.
      Setup
      In the photo below, notice how Albert Pujols has taken an athletic stance. His feet are spread apart for balance, his knees are bent, his butt is sticking out, his torso is tilting over the plate slightly, and his hands are back.

      Albert Pujols - Frame 1
      Load
      As the pitcher begins his delivery, Albert Pujols reverse-rotates his shoulders slightly and takes the wait off of his front foot by lifting his front heel off the ground. As with a golfer's backswing, this helps to stretch the muscles of his torso and will help him to powerfully swing the bat if he decides to do so.

      Albert Pujols - Frame 13
      Shift
      In order to help maximize the rate at which his hips -- and thus his entire body -- will rotate, before starting his swing Albert Pujols shifts his weight forward.

      Albert Pujols - Frame 18
      Swing
      Once Albert Pujols has decided to swing at the pitch, Albert Pujols does a number of things to get the bat into the path of the ball.
      First, he stiffens his front knee, which causes his hips to stop moving forward and to start rotating. This then causes his torso and then his shoulder to start rotating. At the same time, he drops his back knee, which helps his hips to rotate. Notice that at the point of the contact, Albert Pujols' back knee is bent roughly 90 degrees and his back toe is actually up in the air. Rather than being on his back foot, at the point of contact all of Albert Pujols' weight is actually on his front foot (but behind it). Albert Pujols also tilts over the plate in order to be able to reach pitches that are over the outside part of the plate.
      Finally, and most importantly, at the Point Of Contact Albert Pujols' hands are still connected to, and rotating with, his body rather than being driven toward the pitcher (and his back elbow is still by his side as a result). Only after the Point Of Contact do Albert Pujols' hands start to move toward the pitcher. Albert Pujols also clearly does not make the Power V at the Point Of Contact.

      Albert Pujols - Frame 23
      Finish
      After making contact with the ball, Albert Pujols finishes his swing by letting go of the bat with his bottom hand and letting the bat come around behind him. I like that he does this because it guarantees that the head of the bat is accelerating through the point of contact. Hitters who do not finish with the bat all the way behind them often run the risk of cutting their swing short, which means that the head of the bat is decelerating, rather than accelerating, through the point of contact. This can hurt their bat speed.

      Albert Pujols - Frame 35
      PROBLEMATIC CUES
      Let's look at some common, but problematic, hitting cues in the context of the swing that I discussed above.
      Squish The Bug
      Many instructors teach hitters to squish the bug during the swing (and at the Point Of Contact). They want them to put their weight on their back foot and rotate around on their back toe. While this is a cue that can be of some value, because it helps a hitter to learn to swing with their hips, it's not what Albert Pujols does.

      Albert Pujols - Frame 23
      As the photo above shows, at the Point Of Contact Albert Pujols' back toe is actually up in the air. You will see the same thing in the swings of most major leaguers.

      Albert Pujols - Frame 30
      Well after the point of contact, Albert Pujols does assume a position that resembles what some describe as "squishing the bug", with most of his weight on his back foot. However, this is due to his momentum transfer and his Center Of Mass "bouncing" off of his stiff front leg. Albert Pujols is clearly not in this position as he rotates through the point of contact.
      Make The Power V
      As with squishing the bug, making the Power V is something that Albert Pujols does, but not until well after the point of contact.

      Albert Pujols - Frame 26
      When working with hitters, I do not teach them to make the Power V because I think the Power V is the effect of a powerful swing, not the cause of a powerful swing. The mass of the bat pulls the hitter's hands out away from his body and into the Power V, but after the point of contact.
      ROTATIONAL HITTING IN DETAIL
      Now that you understand what Rotational Hitting means, and what a major league swing looks like, let me talk about a few other important, but more subtle, concepts.
      Tilt
      In order to hit pitches in different locations, but still stay connected, a good hitter will vary the tilt of their body in order to cover the entire plate.

      Fernando Seguignol
      The photo above shows a hitter who is relatively upright due to the up-and-in location of the pitch. As a result, he is tilted over the plate slightly and his back elbow is still at his side at the point of contact.

      Carlos Beltran
      In the photo above, the pitch is low and inside, so the hitter is tilting his body more in order to be able to go down and get the pitch. His back elbow is still relatively close to his side.

      Carlos Delgado
      Finally, in the photo above the pitch is low and away, so the hitter has had to tilt out over the plate relatively more. He has also let his back elbow come away from his side (so that his back upper arm is vertical). However, the fact that his back elbow is still bent 90 degrees means that he is still connected.
      The Role Of The Stride
      One thing that people often misunderstand is the purpose of the stride. Advocates of Linear Hitting tend to believe that the stride serves as a source of power in and of itself. As a result, they want their hitters to keep moving their weight, and their hips, forward through the point of contact as Roberto Clemente does in the clip below.

      Roberto Clemente
      While this approach obviously worked for Roberto Clemente, very few people have the strength or coordination required to make it work for them.
      A strategy that works better for most people, and that is used by most major leaguers, is to stride (or in the case of Albert Pujols to shift one's weight) forward to a degree and to use the stride and weight shift to help power the rotation of the hips. This is what Carlos Beltran is doing in the clip below.

      Carlos Beltran
      Notice how he strides forward into his bent front leg and then stiffens his front knee as he starts to swing. This pushes his hips around, which then pulls around his torso, shoulder, hands, and bat.
      WHERE TO GO FROM HERE
      If you are interested in seeing some breakdowns of Albert Pujols' swing, then check out my Analysis of Albert Pujols' Home Run Swing (.PDF) or my Analysis of Albert Pujols' Single Swing (.PDF). I have also put together a page full of photos of Albert Pujols' swing.
      ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
      While I have developed some of this material on my own, I have learned most of it as a result of being a participant in the excellent Baseball 101 forum on Baseball-Fever.com.


      about | contact | copyright | sitemap | liability policy

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      • #4
        Originally posted by turnin2 View Post
        I have found that Linear Hitting describes an approach to hitting that is focused on the arms, wrists, and hands. The idea is to swing with the hands to maximize the time the head of the bat spends in the contact zone. Other defining characteristics of Linear Hitting are cues like...
        • Throw the hands at the ball.
        • Bring the knob of the bat to the ball.
        • Swing down on the ball.

        How ironic is it that some of the greatest hitters of all time (dare I say "rotational" hitters) developed their swings using these cues.

        Comment


        • #5
          ....................................

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          • #6
            i have thought the same thing many a time!!!! grip it and rip it!!

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by SimiBaseball View Post
              How ironic is it that some of the greatest hitters of all time (dare I say "rotational" hitters) developed their swings using these cues.

              This has ended many great hitters careers also.




              EL,

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Erik View Post
                This has ended many great hitters careers also.




                EL,
                Really? Who? This surprises me because it seems to work pretty well for Alex Rodriguez. Is he one of those linear hitters? Or maybe he's just an example of a rotational hitter who doesn't really understand what he's doing as well as internet experts.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by SimiBaseball View Post
                  Rotational mechanics are what professional hitters use. No one actually advocates a "linear swing" and no one actually teaches a "linear swing". It is really just a term made up by those who have tried to create proprietary credit for rotational mechanics. They then point to other instructors and say: "that is a linear concept". It is kind of like how politicians use the word "liberal". It is the "L" word of internet hitting gurudom.

                  This will be proven when, despite all of the wailing that will come in response to my post, no one will actually step up and say "I am an advocate of linear mechanics". It is because, no one actually is an advocate of linear mechanics. It is just something to be accused of.
                  This is wrong on multiple levels.

                  First, if you Google around you will find that people DO advocate linear mechanics over rotational mechanics. They think it helps you keep the head of the bat in the contact zone longer.

                  Second, one key difference is the position of the arms at the point of contact. Linear guys teach making the Power V, and extension, at the point of contact while rotational guys teach connection (back elbow bent 90 degrees) at the point of contact.
                  Hitting Coordinator for Harris-Stowe State University in St. Louis.

                  I also work with the pitchers who are dealing with injury problems.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by SimiBaseball View Post
                    Really? Who? This surprises me because it seems to work pretty well for Alex Rodriguez. Is he one of those linear hitters? Or maybe he's just an example of a rotational hitter who doesn't really understand what he's doing as well as internet experts.

                    SimiBaseball,

                    I played with a player from your area in the Red Sox organzation. His name is david milestein. David was a good player lots of respect for him.

                    One player that I saw these teachings effect was Rich Gedman. This guy could hit the ball out all fields. The hitting instructor at the time taught a swing that destroyed his natural swing. Things like take the hands to the ball and nob to the ball was taught on a daily basis. My swing was effected also at this time. I saw hitters lose power and get to much on top of the ball. The old ground ball line drive is the best way to get on base teaching. The problem is at the high levels and in the big leauges the fielders eat those ground balls up for fun.


                    EL,

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                    • #11
                      Is there a hybrid or an ability to utilize both?

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Chris O'Leary View Post
                        This is wrong on multiple levels.

                        First, if you Google around you will find that people DO advocate linear mechanics over rotational mechanics.
                        Cool. Can you tell me who? I've tried to Google them and have been unsuccessful in my search. In fact, I'm fairly well convinced that no one claims to teach or advocate linear swing mechanics. Do you have any names?

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Three A's baseball View Post
                          Is there a hybrid or an ability to utilize both?
                          I think the "issue" lies not in the swing (the result), but in the instructional method (the cause). There is no reason to want to have a swing other than that commonly defined as "rotational". The question becomes, which instructional methods should be used to achieve this result. To that end, there is no single "correct" answer. There are many who claim to have the exclusive answer, but in fact, hitters have achieved this result through hundreds, if not thousands, of teaching methods, verbal cues, trial & error, hitting coaches, instructional videos, etc. So, in answer to your question, while you probably shouldn't be seeking a "hybrid" swing, certainly most high level hitters have achieved an optimal swing through an instructional method that could be defined as a hybrid.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Erik View Post
                            SimiBaseball,

                            I played with a player from your area in the Red Sox organzation. His name is david milestein. David was a good player lots of respect for him.

                            One player that I saw these teachings effect was Rich Gedman. This guy could hit the ball out all fields. The hitting instructor at the time taught a swing that destroyed his natural swing. Things like take the hands to the ball and nob to the ball was taught on a daily basis. My swing was effected also at this time. I saw hitters lose power and get to much on top of the ball. The old ground ball line drive is the best way to get on base teaching. The problem is at the high levels and in the big leauges the fielders eat those ground balls up for fun.


                            EL,
                            Yes, Dave was a member of the 1983 Pony WS Championship team from the youth league at whcih my kids play(ed) (Santa Susana Boys Baseball). Tim Laker, the longtime journeyman catcher, was also on that team.

                            Was the instructor to whom you are referring, by any chance, Walt Hriniak?

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Three A's baseball View Post
                              Can someone breakdown in a couple of sentences how to describe each type of swing.

                              Rotational hitting works from the ground up, focusing on power from the hips. Linear hitting works from the top down, getting the hands to the ball fast.
                              The Magicman Principle

                              "Always look until you find video that can be used to prove your point, and when all else fails, bash someone"

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