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  • Swing Plane Remedies

    What are the best drills, advice, and strategies for enhancing a "clean" swing plane? Two scenarios:

    One player is a baseball player, high school, good bat speed, decent mechanics. He tends to swing "down" at the ball at a sharp angle when I look at the film. He only seems to do this in live pitch situations. Other times, he has a pretty clean upward swing plane. He "lapses" into a downward swing off a tee sometimes. I'm a proponent of slightly upward rotational mechanics at contact.

    Also, I have a slowpitch softball player who generates good bat speed. Since this player doesn't have to worry about timing, etc, and can get away with a little more mechanical deficiency, he wants to hit particular "areas" of the softball for directional and situational hitting. He, like the player above, sometimes lapses into swinging down at the ball, which makes for difficulty when the slowpitch is coming down at a sharp angle.

    I've been a constant reader on the board, and I'm just looking for some advice. I appreciate any time you can offer up to help out. Thanks.

  • #2
    Originally posted by venterminator View Post
    What are the best drills, advice, and strategies for enhancing a "clean" swing plane? Two scenarios:

    One player is a baseball player, high school, good bat speed, decent mechanics. He tends to swing "down" at the ball at a sharp angle when I look at the film. He only seems to do this in live pitch situations. Other times, he has a pretty clean upward swing plane. He "lapses" into a downward swing off a tee sometimes. I'm a proponent of slightly upward rotational mechanics at contact.

    Also, I have a slowpitch softball player who generates good bat speed. Since this player doesn't have to worry about timing, etc, and can get away with a little more mechanical deficiency, he wants to hit particular "areas" of the softball for directional and situational hitting. He, like the player above, sometimes lapses into swinging down at the ball, which makes for difficulty when the slowpitch is coming down at a sharp angle.

    I've been a constant reader on the board, and I'm just looking for some advice. I appreciate any time you can offer up to help out. Thanks.

    Hi,

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    • #3
      Originally posted by venterminator View Post
      What are the best drills, advice, and strategies for enhancing a "clean" swing plane? Two scenarios:
      First you will have to set up an area to hit into, where you can see where the ball is going and make adjustments.

      I reccomend setting up a net and placing a tee roughly 4.5 feet away from the net, at a roughly 29.5 inches high. Then mark the center of the net horizontally, with tape or string. Vertically put reference lines at roughly 51 and 39 inches off the floor, and this will give you the optimal target area to hit into, to produce hits over a fence of 200-325 feet. This will allow you to see where you are hitting the ball, and make adjustments. You will then be able to see it and feel it, then correct it. Hope this helps.
      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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      • #4
        vent -

        I like the Williams/Epstein approach and think that following the Epstein system is a good approach.

        Even when the student learns a good swing, they are always changing and getting "outside the envelope" and have to practice to get back in the envelope.

        usually they get outside of the envelope, especially with back arm as dominant arm, by trying to lean back and hit too much with the back arm.

        Williams and Epstein's apporach is to have them move the axis more upright to level out the swing more.

        This requires keeping the shoulders up and a good forward weight shift and avoiding "top hand dominance' which means pushing the swing early with the top hand.

        Lau drills encourage the same sort of thing with weight shift and lead arm pull.


        Mankin encourages the same thing by emphasizing the top hand as pulling back rather than pushing as a key to "early batspeed".

        early batspeed is a "clean plane" with acceleration happening early in the plane/well behind the hitter via shoulder "tilt" (epstein) and handle torque (mankin) which allows hands to stay back as hips open.

        see:

        http://www.batspeed.com/messageboard/134856.html

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Lady_Knights View Post
          First you will have to set up an area to hit into, where you can see where the ball is going and make adjustments.

          I reccomend setting up a net and placing a tee roughly 4.5 feet away from the net, at a roughly 29.5 inches high. Then mark the center of the net horizontally, with tape or string. Vertically put reference lines at roughly 51 and 39 inches off the floor, and this will give you the optimal target area to hit into, to produce hits over a fence of 200-325 feet. This will allow you to see where you are hitting the ball, and make adjustments. You will then be able to see it and feel it, then correct it. Hope this helps.
          I agree with you. Instead of all this focus on up, down, level, etc. Just practice hitting a ball off of a tee and see where it goes. If it's going too high adjust your swing plane. If it's going into the ground adjust. The goal should be to hit it off the tee and make it go on a trajectory that would pass a middle infielder at the height of their head.

          If you hone in that swing, then in a game you will hit some balls on the ground, some in the air and some on a line. If you practice hitting it into the ground, you will never be any good. If you practice hitting it to the outfielders, you will do better, but unless you have the power to knock it out, you probably will just get fly outs. You need to learn to hit VERY HARD line drives off of a tee, and then go into a game and take what you get.

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          • #6
            A great drill is the "fungo" drill. Have your players toss a ball up in the air and drive it towards center field (or into a net. Many will have trouble doing this because this drill reinforces good mechanics. You have to be quick to the ball (which is already dropping by the time your throw hand gets back on the handle). That reinforces the inital and quick downward/forward movement of the hands and in order to hit it to center field, the player must come back up through it. The hips must too get involved or you will not be able to hit if very far. I heard Jim Thome say he would spend many hours as a youngsters hitting rocks with his bat in this way.

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            • #7
              As an update to this, the slowpitch player I was working with last night had a pretty rough night. The first 3 ab's, he hit the ball of the handle or taper. Then he hit 3 balls pretty much straight up in the air.

              He says that hitting off the handle or taper has been a consistent problem the last two seasons for him. I haven't looked at the tape yet, but I'm guessing it's a stride problem or him disconnecting his hands.

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