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The Major League Swing - Explanatory Document

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  • The Major League Swing - Explanatory Document

    Earlier this morning Jake suggested that someone put together a document that contains photos that demonstrate what great hitters actually do. Well, I thought that was a great idea so I decided to do it myself...

    - The Major League Swing

    It's a printable PDF document that you are free to give to or e-mail around to people.

    I would appreciate comments and feedback on this document.

    I have included the photos that persuaded me that this was the right thing to do. Do you have any photos that you found particularly eye-opening?

    Also, my goal was to create a document that a parent or coach could give to another coach, who they thought was well-intentioned but ill-informed, and say "I came across this document the other day that talks about hitting. What do you think." Hopefully this may open up some people's eyes. I try to be observational and not preachy and not (obviously) push an agenda.

    Let me know what you think.
    Hitting Coordinator for Harris-Stowe State University in St. Louis.

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

  • #2
    This is great. Thanks for all the hard work and thoughts that you have put into this.

    I almost feel guilty because it's free.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by J-MAC View Post
      This is great. Thanks for all the hard work and thoughts that you have put into this.

      I almost feel guilty because it's free.
      You are free to e-mail me an amazon.com gift certificate if that would ease your guilt. ;-)
      Hitting Coordinator for Harris-Stowe State University in St. Louis.

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

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by J-MAC View Post
        This is great. Thanks for all the hard work and thoughts that you have put into this.

        I almost feel guilty because it's free.
        Chris great start. I'll try to pen a short note explaining to parents and players how to use.
        "He who dares to teach, must never cease to learn."
        - John Cotton Dana (1856–1929) - Offered to many by L. Olson - Iowa (Teacher)
        Please read Baseball Fever Policy and Forum FAQ before posting.

        Comment


        • #5
          As a new poster, I would like to thank you for all the

          hard works you have done and wonderful information you offered. I found this board from your rotational hitting 101 site and it has been almost a daily visit for me since then.

          One thing I hope you can help us to understand, an area that I'm not sure while working with my son's hitting, is that how to clearly define the internal energy flow just like what the martial artists focus so much.

          We have seen a lot of videos, pictures of how the major leaguers swing and hit, just like we have seen a lot of martial artists perform their forms. However in order to really hit like the pros I think we also need to understand how the internal energy/force is loaded, stored, transfered and released. For instance, that famous Pete Rose's clip to demonstrate the circular hand path, the triangle maintained. that is good for maintaining the proper form, if someone can explain what is happening internally, the energy flow, the point of explosion then we will have a whole picture for how the thing is done.

          Is what I ask for reasonable?

          Again, thanks for the great information and works.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Jake Patterson View Post
            Chris great start. I'll try to pen a short note explaining to parents and players how to use.
            Please do this! Anxious to read it.

            Chris,

            Thank you for putting this together.

            Have you ever considered contrasting with a swing analysis of someone like Ichiro?

            Comment


            • #7
              Great job Chris. This is a great place to start for those looking to attain a true understanding of what is happening during a high level swing.

              My only criticism would be that there continues to be a misunderstanding of the usefulness of certain verbal cues. Cues such as "hands directly to the ball" and "level swing" or "swing down" are not meant to result in a linear hand path (which is pretty much impossible) or in actually swinging down on the ball. They are meant result in adjustments that correct inefficiencies and faults. These are verbal cues that have been used to produce major league swings for a hundred years. There are similar verbal cues for coaching pitchers such as "release the ball in front of you" that are not meant to achieve the literal result, but only to change the thinking.

              It's OK that a hitter understands that he will have a circular hand path, but the verbal cue "circular hand path to the ball" would probably achieve undesirable results for most hitters. Even though there is not full extension at the point of contact, THINKING "full extension" tends to achieve desirable results for many hitters. Even though the hands do not take a linear path to the ball, THINKING "hands to the ball" tends to have desirable results for many hitters. By THINKING "throw the bat at the ball", Henry Aaron became a pretty decent major league hitter. I'm sure videotape analysis would prove that he didn't actually throw the bat at the ball, but does that really matter?

              Of course, every hitter is a unique individual who may or may not benefit from any given adjustment to thinking. It's all about seeing what they are doing, finding the inefficiencies and faults, then finding the verbal cues that get them there one component at a time. Understanding what should be happening during a high-level swing is important. Understanding the thinking process that hitters go through to achieve that end is a completely different subject and is largely misunderstood by the "hitting intellectual" community.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by SimiBaseball View Post
                Great job Chris. This is a great place to start for those looking to attain a true understanding of what is happening during a high level swing.

                My only criticism would be that there continues to be a misunderstanding of the usefulness of certain verbal cues. Cues such as "hands directly to the ball" and "level swing" or "swing down" are not meant to result in a linear hand path (which is pretty much impossible) or in actually swinging down on the ball. They are meant result in adjustments that correct inefficiencies and faults. These are verbal cues that have been used to produce major league swings for a hundred years. There are similar verbal cues for coaching pitchers such as "release the ball in front of you" that are not meant to achieve the literal result, but only to change the thinking.

                It's OK that a hitter understands that he will have a circular hand path, but the verbal cue "circular hand path to the ball" would probably achieve undesirable results for most hitters. Even though there is not full extension at the point of contact, THINKING "full extension" tends to achieve desirable results for many hitters. Even though the hands do not take a linear path to the ball, THINKING "hands to the ball" tends to have desirable results for many hitters. By THINKING "throw the bat at the ball", Henry Aaron became a pretty decent major league hitter. I'm sure videotape analysis would prove that he didn't actually throw the bat at the ball, but does that really matter?

                Of course, every hitter is a unique individual who may or may not benefit from any given adjustment to thinking. It's all about seeing what they are doing, finding the inefficiencies and faults, then finding the verbal cues that get them there one component at a time. Understanding what should be happening during a high-level swing is important. Understanding the thinking process that hitters go through to achieve that end is a completely different subject and is largely misunderstood by the "hitting intellectual" community.
                In your world that may all be well and good and any given cue can be golden any given day. I understand all these cues are understood in a good way by many. I also understand many do not understand the difference between cues and reality and in this, much damage is done to young swings. Case in point, these people really mean it when they say hands to the ball. http://www.quickhands.net/pics.html The Big 12 college coaches really meant it too when I sent my son years ago to their baseball camp. The local high school coach really wants his hitters to strike down on the ball for back spin. You discuss such with many instructors in Houston and I promise you will get some bizarre explanations of reality that in no way resemble what they do when they actually swing or throw themselves. I fully understand that telling a high level hitter to throw his hands will get an entirely different response than telling a 10 year old to throw his hands. Cues, historic or otherwise are all well and good but the instructor better understand the difference between cues and reality. Too often they don't IME and you need look no farther than the thread on here where the hot shot team coach is screwing up his kid's swing.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by mightylakers View Post
                  hard works you have done and wonderful information you offered. I found this board from your rotational hitting 101 site and it has been almost a daily visit for me since then.

                  One thing I hope you can help us to understand, an area that I'm not sure while working with my son's hitting, is that how to clearly define the internal energy flow just like what the martial artists focus so much.

                  We have seen a lot of videos, pictures of how the major leaguers swing and hit, just like we have seen a lot of martial artists perform their forms. However in order to really hit like the pros I think we also need to understand how the internal energy/force is loaded, stored, transfered and released. For instance, that famous Pete Rose's clip to demonstrate the circular hand path, the triangle maintained. that is good for maintaining the proper form, if someone can explain what is happening internally, the energy flow, the point of explosion then we will have a whole picture for how the thing is done.

                  Is what I ask for reasonable?

                  Again, thanks for the great information and works.
                  Below is some text from Dr. Coop DeRenne who has a PhD in human performance and studied, and analyzed the baseball swing. The results of his study are almost identical to the conclusions of another PhD in Human Performance, Dr. Chris Yeager.

                  Here is the summary of what you asked about, with some of my comments at the end.

                  "During the swing sequence as the front foot plants down, the ground sends the reaction force to the body, setting off the kinetic link process. The body's system of links behaves in a manner similar to a flexible chain of links likened to the motion of a fisherman's fly-fishing rod. With the Earth and base segment acting like the handle of a bullwhip, the tip of the whip can be made to travel at supersonic speeds. Similarly, the hand/bat can be made to travel extremely fast during the sequential acceleration and deceleration of the body segments or adjoining links.

                  Specifically, during the swing at front foot plant in which the ground's reaction force is applied to the body, initial rotation (acceleration-deceleration process) occurs in the base segment and is followed by the forward rotation of the next distal segment. Each body segment in the link accelerates and decelerates and comes forward as the movement of its proximal segment reaches its greatest angular velocity.

                  Simply stated, the kinetic link and kinetic energy (KE) process in the swing is as follows;

                  stride to front foot plant, initiates the ground reactionary force, which increases torque and rotational acceleration, which moves up the body's chain from the lower body (ankle, legs, hips/pelvic girdle), to the midsection (spine-abdominals, lower back), to the upper body (shoulders, arms/hands).
                  "

                  As I have previously stated; the muscles in the pelvic area that attach to the upper leg, create the initial force upon the legs, which then creates a ground reaction force through the legs, which turns the torso. The oblique muscles in the mid-torso stretch and contract to accelerate the shoulders, and then the upper arm and shoulder muscles pull the bat.

                  Of course, you want to tell the student to use the muscles in the hips and upper leg to make the move, and not to push off the ground, but the force goes through the legs.

                  DeRenne says that it is not a good cue to say to use the back knee, or back leg, but the kinetic link is from the ground up.

                  We have two guys with PhD's in human performance, (Yeager and DeRenne) saying that the forces go from the ground up, and executes like cracking a whip, yet some people who post here seem to know better and think that the arms get the hands moving first.

                  As I have also said many times; keep it simple. Turn the hips first, bring the handle around with the shoulder rotation, lagging the bathead, and then throw the bathead at the ball. Which is pretty much what DeRenne and Yeager say.
                  Last edited by jbooth; 04-02-2008, 01:59 PM.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by BamaYankee View Post
                    Have you ever considered contrasting with a swing analysis of someone like Ichiro?
                    I'm trying to find a good clip.
                    Hitting Coordinator for Harris-Stowe State University in St. Louis.

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

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by SimiBaseball View Post
                      Great job Chris. This is a great place to start for those looking to attain a true understanding of what is happening during a high level swing.
                      Thanks.


                      Originally posted by SimiBaseball View Post
                      My only criticism would be that there continues to be a misunderstanding of the usefulness of certain verbal cues. Cues such as "hands directly to the ball" and "level swing" or "swing down" are not meant to result in a linear hand path (which is pretty much impossible) or in actually swinging down on the ball. They are meant result in adjustments that correct inefficiencies and faults. These are verbal cues that have been used to produce major league swings for a hundred years. There are similar verbal cues for coaching pitchers such as "release the ball in front of you" that are not meant to achieve the literal result, but only to change the thinking.
                      I hear you.

                      Lots of people say "Swing level" but then demonstrate the swing by tilting.

                      The only thing is that many coaches and students interpret them literally and end up teaching some pretty bizarre stuff. In part because people come up with odd ways of figuring out how to both swing level and adjust to balls up and down in the zone.

                      Thus the "Taking a dump in the woods" school of postural adjustment.


                      Originally posted by SimiBaseball View Post
                      Even though there is not full extension at the point of contact, THINKING "full extension" tends to achieve desirable results for many hitters. Even though the hands do not take a linear path to the ball, THINKING "hands to the ball" tends to have desirable results for many hitters.
                      I know when I was a kid a was taught Power V at the point of contact, tried my best to do it, and drove myself crazy as a result.


                      Originally posted by SimiBaseball View Post
                      Of course, every hitter is a unique individual who may or may not benefit from any given adjustment to thinking. It's all about seeing what they are doing, finding the inefficiencies and faults, then finding the verbal cues that get them there one component at a time. Understanding what should be happening during a high-level swing is important. Understanding the thinking process that hitters go through to achieve that end is a completely different subject and is largely misunderstood by the "hitting intellectual" community.
                      One reason why I think this is a big deal has to do with debugging and troublehsooting. How are you supposed to debug and troubleshoot a swing if you don't understand how it really works?
                      Hitting Coordinator for Harris-Stowe State University in St. Louis.

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

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Nice Chris!

                        Jbooth,

                        I sure like reading your stuff in all your posts; you re-enforce most of what I’ve been teaching for 30 years.
                        I do have a problem with giving the ground any credit for being anything but static I hope the good Dr.’s don’t think the ground adds any force by using the term “ground's reaction force” when it should read ground reaction force. By also saying “the ground sends the reaction force to the body” makes me think they believe the ground possesses connective tissue, muscle and bone? I expect that they do not.

                        SimiBaseball,

                        Cues and analogies work differently with every player at all ages, the way different people process info is so wide spread that I never bash weird ques anymore because some of the things that I’ve had to say just to get a particular kid to understand where your trying to get them. Some kids are so radically messed up that you have to over emphasize some ques. Some will if you ask them to swing initially down will swing straight down. I find that probing with words and finding out what they react to is much more productive.
                        One analogy that I have been using on young kids is landing your F-14 (barrel) on the deck of a moving aircraft carrier (ball line) and if you hit the back of the ship the Admiral is going to be very upset. The kids love the military Jargon. One kid I was having trouble with getting him to pivot more than half way could not process normal ques and only until I said turn your shoe laces towards the pitcher did he get it, Go figure?

                        How about that Ishiro Question?

                        Would any of you teach a different swing if there was no MLB with it’s 3 –run HR mentality. Or is the term MLB swing intangible. Many MLB swings incorporate mechanics different than the “Classic Power Swing” yet they are MLB players. Does this mean Ishiro has less of a technique and not MLB because it is more towards slap?
                        Primum non nocere

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Nice effort Chris. I think that what you've put together is a nice primer for younger kids. A couple of things I noticed: most of your photos of are of swings on inside pitches...just as many (probably more at the mlb level) are on the outside corner) which will result in a different hand pattern...probably a little more eliptical than circular. I believe the focus should be on rotating the hips and shoulders into contact not a circular hand path.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Dirtberry View Post
                            Nice Chris!

                            Jbooth,

                            I sure like reading your stuff in all your posts; you re-enforce most of what I’ve been teaching for 30 years.
                            I do have a problem with giving the ground any credit for being anything but static I hope the good Dr.’s don’t think the ground adds any force by using the term “ground's reaction force” when it should read ground reaction force. By also saying “the ground sends the reaction force to the body” makes me think they believe the ground possesses connective tissue, muscle and bone? I expect that they do not.
                            I think they were using layman's terms there for teaching purposes. What they are referring to is similar to what is explained at the link below;

                            http://moon.ouhsc.edu/dthompso/gait/...s/GRFBKGND.HTM

                            Cues and analogies work differently with every player at all ages, the way different people process info is so wide spread that I never bash weird ques anymore because some of the things that I’ve had to say just to get a particular kid to understand where your trying to get them. Some kids are so radically messed up that you have to over emphasize some ques. Some will if you ask them to swing initially down will swing straight down. I find that probing with words and finding out what they react to is much more productive.
                            One analogy that I have been using on young kids is landing your F-14 (barrel) on the deck of a moving aircraft carrier (ball line) and if you hit the back of the ship the Admiral is going to be very upset. The kids love the military Jargon. One kid I was having trouble with getting him to pivot more than half way could not process normal ques and only until I said turn your shoe laces towards the pitcher did he get it, Go figure?
                            I agree. Each student has his/her own individual way of understanding the words that you use. I try many different words, phrases, analogies etc to get them to move the way that I want them to, and for them to sense what it feels like. Once they do it right and remember how it felt, they can repeat it, and then make up their own cue to help re-inforce it and remember it. That's why group lessons aren't as effective as private. You could have 12 students and only 2 might understand the cue that you gave the group, and the other 10 each need an individua cue. You just don't know how a student is interpreting what you said, until you get one-on-one with them.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Nice work Chris. I would also like to see the following explanations and examples of good/bad:

                              Stance
                              Posture
                              Connection
                              Rotation--starting from the middle
                              MAXX Training - the latest on sports training & athletic performance! www.maxxtraining.com

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