Understanding the Baseball Swing
By Nate Barnett
If I asked you to give a five minute lecture on hitting mechanics start to finish, could you do it? If the answer is yes, then you've undoubtedly done some research on the baseball swing. If the answer is no, then there is some work to be done, and you'll want to read on, especially if you're in a role where you provide any type of baseball instruction.
Coaches must be continual learners if they are going to stay in this game for long and attract some success. The most dangerous attitude anyone of influence can obtain is an attitude of arrival. Therefore, be a constant learner.
The baseball swing can be broken down into various parts and movements. The key for any good coach or athlete is to understand first what these parts are, and secondly, to understand the sequence of these moving parts throughout the swing. Without getting into depth on the specific parts in this article, my purpose in writing this is to introduce how energy is created within the baseball swing.
Much like other athletic activities the energy created to produce a quick swing comes from the back side of the body. The lower half of the back side of the hitter's body is responsible for generating momentum directed toward the pitch. This movement does not happen automatically, unfortunately. Most hitters begin their swing with the front side of the body or their hands which greatly reduces the speed of the baseball swing.
The two most common and incorrect swing starters are the hands and the front hip. Here are the drawbacks for using those parts to begin the energy creation process.
Hands: The baseball swing is a movement where energy is created from the ground up. The back knee turns first, back hip second, and hands third. While this sequence happens very quickly, it's important that it remain consistent. The reason is because this process creates torque. It is a core body movement that creates a whip action and propels the bat into the zone. If the hitter's hands are responsible for generating power, little power can be generated comparatively.
Front Hip: As explained above, the back side of the body creates energy. Therefore, if the front hip of the hitter begins to rotate at the same time of the back side of the body, momentum begins to move away from the play instead of being directed at hitting the baseball.
Consistent drill work should be focused on minimizing the above two movements. While Little Leaguers can get away with some of these mistakes and have relative success, athletes in high school cannot. Therefore, the best time to correct these incorrect movements is between the ages of 10 and 15.
About the Author
Nate Barnett is owner of BMI Baseball http://bmibaseball.com and is based out of Washington State. His expertise is in the area of hitting, pitching, and mental training. Coach Barnett's passion is working with youth in helping expand their vision for their baseball future. After finishing a professional career in the Seattle Mariners Organization, Nate pursued his coaching and motivational training career. His instructional blog is located at http://bmibaseball.com/blog
His new FREE ebook, Toxic Baseball: Are you polluting your game? can be found on the main BMI Baseball website. Hitting 101, an ebook on complete hitting mechanics will be released by June 1st, 2008. Features include numerous illustrations, video clips, and a special offer to discuss your hitting questions over live on the phone strategy sessions.
Baseball 2Day Coaching Journal