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  • Cause of pop-ups

    I've always been told that dropping your shoulder is what causes pop-ups to be hit. From what I'm reading in this forum, swinging so that the bat meets the ball on the same plane is the direction to head. Looking at clips of some of these types of swings, it appears that the back shoulder will naturally drop.

    Is the former just an old coaches tale? Is there a primary cause of popping the ball up?

  • #2
    There are a lot of problems that can lead to popups. Dropping the hands is one of them. I suppose that dropping the rear shoulder could as well.

    However, as you correctly note, the rear shoulder of elite hitters is always lower than the front shoulder.

    This seems to be a dichotomy, but it really isn't.

    It's probably not as simple as this for real, but this can be easily illustrated. For the best hitters, the back shoulder is largely a question of posture. If you (right now - might as well try it) stand in an athletic position, knees slightly bent, and torso tilted forward (upper body inclined TOWARDS the plate), you will be in a position very similar to the posture assumed by an elite hitter just before swing launch.

    Without changing this body posture, rotate the hips and torso. As you do this, the rear shoulder will of course be lower - it is a natural effect of maintaining the posture (torso tilt) you assumed.

    There is a more to it than that, but that gives you an idea.

    Put simply, I would say that "dropping" your back shoulder IS a hitting "no-no." However, maintaining appropriate hitting posture will in fact attain a position that looks very similar, especially to the casual observer.

    And this describes the difficulty of describing proper hitting mechanics. the differences between absolutely heinous and really good are pretty subtle sometimes. And what many folks see as causal actions are actually downstream effects of an action taken earlier in the swing.

    Best regards,

    Scott
    Last edited by ssarge; 02-25-2006, 10:30 PM.

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    • #3
      Add this to ssarges comments and test this

      Back side collapse causes the shoulder to dip prematurely.

      At contact the rear foot should be weightless. For this to happen the weight transfer /moemntum must have the weight to the lead leg/ side.

      The sequence can be like this. You must coil into the back side to transfer weight backwards as the pitcher shows his hip pocket. You must uncoil and transfer this weight into the front side at contact.

      If you don't , then the rear leg will hinge with weight still on it and your back side collapses exerting a backwards force through contact killing bat speed and eliminating any chance of makiny pitch location adjustments.

      If the pitch is up and you prematurely hinge / fail to uncoil / shift then you have no ability to get "up" to that pitch location

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      • #4
        Originally posted by dontuc
        I've always been told that dropping your shoulder is what causes pop-ups to be hit. From what I'm reading in this forum, swinging so that the bat meets the ball on the same plane is the direction to head. Looking at clips of some of these types of swings, it appears that the back shoulder will naturally drop.

        Is the former just an old coaches tale? Is there a primary cause of popping the ball up?
        There are several things that could cause pop-ups. It simply occurs when your bat contacts the ball below the center point. This most often happens when you swing down at the ball. Many people think that to cure pop-ups they need to swing down MORE, and that is backwards. You need to be sure to get on the plane of the pitch and have the bat meet the ball head on, not at an angle.

        If you're not TRYING to swing down, then usually the problem is caused by your hands going from the armpit down toward the ball, rather than staying up and rotating parallel with the armpits.

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        • #5
          I agree with all of the posts so far. Lots of things cause pop-ups, but these three are biggest in my experience:

          1. Collapsing the back side by dropping the back shoulder (either by tilting towards the catcher or too much bend in the back knee). This is usually accompanied by 2. below.

          2. Dropping the back elbow and "dragging" the bat with the arms so that the back elbow leads the hands. This causes the bat head to drop below the hands. Swinging down and keeping the barrel of the bat above the hands is a cue or strategy for overcoming this - not a good one in my opinion.

          3. Disconnection or dropping of the hands (as ssarge observes), setting a lower swing plane/path so that a pitch in the upper half of the strike zone depends on using the arms/hands to bring the bat path up to meet the pitch. This is an inefficient way to set a spatially accurate swing plane/path and often results in pop-ups because the hitter cannot get the swing path back up in time.

          4. Some combination of these.
          Last edited by fungo22; 02-26-2006, 02:49 PM.

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          • #6
            I would add that if you get the "teter toter" affect. Meaning when you load, your front shoulder goes down and your back shoulder/elbow raises up too much. If this happens, when you go to swing you have to get your shoulders back to level and somehow get the bat on plane. This drastic, down movement with the back shoulder/elbow and arms can cause one to get under the ball and pop it up, or you will have a downward swing to the ball and slice under it, casing a pop up. This I know from firsthand experience But with Steve's help,we are fixing this as we speak.

            How you might ask? Well, I'm getting in the right position from the start. Getting my front elbow/upper arm perpendicular to my spine, and my back elbow down. Using a more of scap load and tilt at the same time with level shoulders. This gets me in the momentum path of the pitch much more quickly and efficiently.

            This Scap Load by the way is really helping me to avoid the slotting of the back elbow without moving the knob of the bat. I get the feeling like I'm pulling back on a Bow string rather than pushing my hands back and being loose and dissconected.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by hiddengem
              How you might ask? Well, I'm getting in the right position from the start. Getting my front elbow/upper arm perpendicular to my spine, and my back elbow down. Using a more of scap load and tilt at the same time with level shoulders. This gets me in the momentum path of the pitch much more quickly and efficiently.

              This Scap Load by the way is really helping me to avoid the slotting of the back elbow without moving the knob of the bat. I get the feeling like I'm pulling back on a Bow string rather than pushing my hands back and being loose and dissconected.
              You d'man, D.

              I admire your willingness to take a hard look at your swing and make the intelligent adjustments necessary to optimize. We're learnin' with you. And pullng for you.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by fungo22
                You d'man, D.

                I admire your willingness to take a hard look at your swing and make the intelligent adjustments necessary to optimize. We're learnin' with you. And pullng for you.
                Actually, Steve is "d'man". Its never too late to learn something new.

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                • #9
                  Pop Ups

                  Originally posted by hiddengem
                  Actually, Steve is "d'man". Its never too late to learn something new.
                  Yes he is! Keep reporting what your doing, learning, thinking, feeling. Very cool.

                  Some great points about this subject. Couple more points/thoughts. I definitely agree with Jbooth about many popups caused by swings down. I know most of my "tee" shots that skyed, when I used to golf, were caused by too steep of an approach angle and hitting the bottom of the ball. I think it's part of the reason I see many popups on inside pitches. Hitters are late and make contact while the swing is still in a downward path before getting the bat flat. With many kid's I also believe that they will "roll" the wrists prior to contact which I think tends to move the bathead downward.

                  Jim

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