Tips For Correcting an Upper Cut Swing
By guest author: Jim Bain
I have witnessed coaches, who I thought were going to have a cow, in their reaction to a player having an upper cut in their swing, but one must realize there are times an upper swing is quite appropriate and possibly the proper swing.
When a pitch is low in the strike zone, and the situation requires a fly ball, such as trading an out for a runner scoring from third, the hitter wants an upper cut in order to lift the ball into the air.
Historically, Left Handed Batters' Power Alley, ball location where the hitter can utilize his entire core strength when swinging, has been low and inside using an upper cut swing.
So just to set the record straight, there are times a hitter using an upper cut swing is beneficial. However, to have a permanent upper cut motion in every swing, regardless of ball location, will only lead to high strike out numbers and easy fly ball outs.
The reason for a high strike out ratio is simply, it's difficult enough to solidly strike a baseball when the bat is traveling on the same, level plane as the ball, much alone the bat traveling in an upward motion, which totally throws eye to bat to ball timing in the waste can.
Secondly of course, if the hitter is successful at making contact, the baseball comes off the bat with a back spin, which not only creates lift, but also restricts distance, as the ball is essentially Clawing its way back towards the plate, which normally results in a high fly ball to the shallow outfield.
More than likely, somewhere along the line, the batter developed a hitch in his hitting mechanics, which is producing the repetitive upper cuts. The batter is not consciously swinging upwards, but rather the muscle memory responsible for producing the swing is the culprit. These muscle memories must be re-programmed, which can be a tedious and time consuming project, or a change of one part of the mechanics may have near immediate results. Plan on a lengthy project and be overjoyed if it happens quickly.
We are not concerned with creating power or bat speed or anything else other than flattening the swing and there's no substitute for taking hundreds of correct swings in order to achieve that purpose. That's exactly why the use of a batting tee is an excellent method in eliminating an upper cut.
Set the batting tee at slightly above belt height, anything higher will create a handcuff effect and will do more harm than good. Using a whiffle ball and bat, remember we're changing mechanics and actually the lighter weight of a whiffle ball bat allows more swings without fatigue than a regular wood or metal bat, a practice swinging Down on the ball.
The downward swing will produce ground balls, so the hitter is able to immediately know if the swing was proper, if it wasn't the ball will be hit into the air. When the batter can successfully drive ground balls off the tee, the next step is to hit a moving ball.
We then move to the batting cages and while using a regular bat and a moving baseball, see if we can continually hit ground balls. Should the batter fail to hit ground balls, it's back to the hitting tee for more practice.
Bear in mind, when hitting, whether off the tee or in the batting cage, you will hit an occasional fly ball, which doesn't mean you're failing. Set a goal of hitting 2 ground balls for every fly ball, then increase to 3 ground balls for every fly. Also, don't become frustrated if your ground balls are not hit with authority, that will correct itself as you become more efficient at hitting the ball on a level plane.
Jim Bain - Former Minor league baseball player, who since retiring has dedicated his life to teaching baseball to youth. Visit his exciting info packed website: http://www.Learn-Youth-Baseball-Coaching.com
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The BatAction Blog presents baseball batting training tips, baseball hitting drills, and other information to help Bat Action owners produce unbelievable results from working out on the BatAction Baseball Trainer. Baseball coaches, players and parents will find this information very interesting and extremely useful. The Regular posts include new and innovative training drills and techniques to increase bat speed, improve power, improve hitting skill, and increase batter confidence.