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  • Rotational Hitting Cues

    I've been working with my 8 yr old son to get him moving in the right direction as he gets older and stronger. The major issue that I'm having is for him to understand to use his lower body in an effective way. His setup is very nice at the plate and he takes a soft, short stride with good timing. However, for the life of me I can't get him to push back with his front foot/heel to open his hips, resulting in a firm/locked front leg and lowered/bent back leg. Instead, he gets a little too forward which reduces his hip turn and doesn't allow his bat to follow the correct swing path.

    Are there any cues or tips that I can use to facilitate him getting his lower body working correctly? Currently, I demonstrate the proper techniques for him and tell him to fire his hips by pushing back with his front foot while taking soft tosses.

    Zbo
    "We may lose and we may win....though we will never be here again"
    -Eagles

  • #2
    Coach,

    I would recommend using the hips differently by emphasizing "hips first" by using a combination of the pelvic muscles and a push from the back foot to turn the hips HARD and forcefully. If you rotate into toe touch and continue transferring weight and momentum into the front foot/leg, OTW known as "forward by turning", the front leg should straighten at bat/ball contact as the foot BLOCKS the momentum and transfers it up the chain.

    If you work on these things and get what you're trying to do to your son, then the cue "hips first" CAN be a simple cue that incorporates the above movements. Your son can easily learn that the cue means to move in the ways you have worked on and talked about.

    I've had a lot of success with kids your son's age using the simple cue of "hips first." But you have to do the hard work at practice with constant reinforcement for this cue to work.

    Best of luck,
    Mike
    Last edited by Slapper23; 04-10-2008, 07:04 AM.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Slapper23 View Post
      Coach,

      I would recommend using the hips differently by emphasizing "hips first" by using a combination of the pelvic muscles and a push from the back foot to turn the hips HARD and forcefully. Mike
      Make sure your hitter doesn't interpret push from the back foot as involving knee extension of the back leg to push the hip around.

      Comment


      • #4
        Yes, yes, yes, Mark. If we're talking about the MLB, no, we would not want back knee extension, but I think Coach Z already is aware of that. The hitter may still push from the inside of the back foot in combination with using the pelvic muscles. This combination results in a more forceful hip turn.

        Mike

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by CoachZbo View Post
          I've been working with my 8 yr old son to get him moving in the right direction as he gets older and stronger. The major issue that I'm having is for him to understand to use his lower body in an effective way. His setup is very nice at the plate and he takes a soft, short stride with good timing. However, for the life of me I can't get him to push back with his front foot/heel to open his hips, resulting in a firm/locked front leg and lowered/bent back leg. Instead, he gets a little too forward which reduces his hip turn and doesn't allow his bat to follow the correct swing path.

          Are there any cues or tips that I can use to facilitate him getting his lower body working correctly? Currently, I demonstrate the proper techniques for him and tell him to fire his hips by pushing back with his front foot while taking soft tosses.

          Zbo
          Z, this is the problem. The hips are firing before/into coming down on the front foot. As for cues, experiment. What ever one gets the result you are looking for will be just fine as long as you, the instructor understand the realities of the movements.

          Comment


          • #6
            CoachZ,

            By you saying your son gets a little too far forward, is he lunging? If not, he could be doing what 4X4 suggests. Otherwise, I agree with 4x4 concerning whatever cue works for you and your son.

            Mike

            Comment


            • #7
              No, his hips are closed at foot plant. It is a bit of a lunge as he moves forward more than he should after the foot plant. That's the reason I asked for a specific cue that maybe some of you used that would help in his understanding of what his body needs to do. I think a lot of it has to do with age and not being in tune with his body. I remind him to stay back and then we really concentrate on the hips....he just doesn't push back much at all with his front foot/leg and there is too much bend in his front knee and not enough tilt back.

              As his body inches forward so do his hands and he is not in the correct swing path. We work on keeping hands back, soft stride for balance, and firing the hips...but at this point it is a work in progresss, which is fine. He is still under 60 lbs and will get much stronger. I just want to avoid many bad habits for the future.

              Zbo
              "We may lose and we may win....though we will never be here again"
              -Eagles

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by CoachZbo View Post
                However, for the life of me I can't get him to push back with his front foot/heel to open his hips, resulting in a firm/locked front leg and lowered/bent back leg.
                If by push back you mean quickly stabilize the front hip joint, sure. If by push back, you mean knee extension to start rotation, no.

                Originally posted by CoachZbo View Post
                Instead, he gets a little too forward which reduces his hip turn and doesn't allow his bat to follow the correct swing path..
                Sounds like lunging?

                Originally posted by CoachZbo View Post
                Are there any cues or tips that I can use to facilitate him getting his lower body working correctly?..
                Everyone has drills to cure lunging if that's what he's doing. I recommend Englishbey.

                Originally posted by CoachZbo View Post
                Currently, I demonstrate the proper techniques for him and tell him to fire his hips by pushing back with his front foot while taking soft tosses.

                Zbo
                I wouldn't do that. If you watch ML hitters the knee straightens toward the end of rotation not at the first. Save yourself a lot of time and spend 30 bucks for Englishbey's basic dvd. You need to understand the nature of rotation.

                Comment


                • #9
                  But its obvious that there is push from the front side to aid in hip rotation, correct? And I know that the front leg doesn't "lock" until just before contact. But it isn't happening at all with my son as his upper body has drifted too far forward.
                  "We may lose and we may win....though we will never be here again"
                  -Eagles

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    CoachZ,

                    Ok, so he is lunging. And yes, the front leg can assist in driving the front hip back as rotation ensues. You just don't want the front leg being the primary driver of rotaiton.

                    I would recommend Mike Epstein at www.mikeepsteinhitting.com for a good set of drills which will work on fixing the lunging, while teaching separation, rotation, and connection. I call it SCR. Ok, I'm kidding, I'm kidding.

                    But Epstein's torque and numbers drills can be good for your young kid, especially perorming them with the bat against the back shoulder/deltoid. Like anything, Epstein has some flaws, but his stuff can get you in ball park.

                    What Marcus is saying in you needing to "understand rotation" is code for "you need to get your mind right - "buy Englishbey DVD."

                    Mike

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I guess that's part of the "ground up" or "middle out" argument, eh?
                      "We may lose and we may win....though we will never be here again"
                      -Eagles

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by CoachZbo View Post
                        But its obvious that there is push from the front side to aid in hip rotation, correct? And I know that the front leg doesn't "lock" until just before contact. But it isn't happening at all with my son as his upper body has drifted too far forward.
                        Depends on what you mean by push. The front hip joint definitely has to quickly quit moving forward. Then we have to discuss how to keep the upper body from lunging forward. We could go through a lot of discussion on here but for 30 you can speed things up a lot. Here's some visuals in the meantime. Also go through the clips put up by boardmember and Booth for some good learning opportunities. http://imageevent.com/siggy/hitting/...lcp2i01.lion_s

                        You can also go to Englishbey's site, register for free and look through the public side for a lot of help. Especially the video analysis area. In the meantime, get us a clip of what he's doing and that would help us help you.

                        Epstein's drills will stop lunging but in a sub optimal way creating future limitations IMO.
                        Last edited by Mark H; 04-10-2008, 12:06 PM.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          CoachZ,

                          Well,l not exactly.

                          Coach, I would recommend looking at different sources of learning, maintaining an open mind and independence of thought, and going with what YOU think best, regardless of the pressure you may receive from some quarters. I would also recommend looking back through the archives here for Tom Guerry and Loren Clifton posts. I think they both do a great job in describing the swing and how to teach it.

                          Mike

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            First off coach the front leg and/or legs can be used differently between hitters. And when we are talking about about "amateurs" this can be even more prevalent.

                            Many amateurs need to (or do) really push back to create any force. For them this can be a major force generator in the swing.

                            It sounds like your son is pulling to the ball. There really is no such thing as "pulling" to the ball in a good swing. Pulling to the ball creates to much back to front translation. This is the reason his front knee remains bent, or stays bent for to long.

                            As Ted and Bonds says, it's the top hand that delivers the barrel. And in this case the hips can/will turn open more naturally just like when you throw.

                            In your case, if I understand your problem the pulling motion can/will affect the bodies rotation. There is a easy way to find out if this is the problem, if most of his hits go to the right side (in a game) and many times aren't hit very sharply to the right side, then he is for sure pulling with the body/arm. Rotation is always late with someone who pulls because they must wait for the front foot to plant before they can start to use the body (or swing).

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              He's just a little kid. Let him have fun and hit how he is comfortable. According to Piaget, he is not at a stage of "operation" where he could process what you are telling him. Give him a few years and teach away.
                              See ball, hit ball.

                              Comment

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