As we begin the winter months, and are working to fine tune our game, success will come from working on 2 major elements of hitting. One of the most misunderstood parts of hitting is winding and driving the hips open off the inside of the rear foot. As we watch good hitters, its such a subtle move, that it can be interpreted in different ways confusing many hitters. To do it correctly, the hitter starts in the stance with the weight on the inside of the rear foot. As the hips wind, weight is further shifted into the inner part of the rear foot and the body moves slowly forward, from the push off the back foot. Our tempo should be easy and relaxed, as we analyze and time the pitch. The thought process is not on the front foot, but rather on winding and keeping all the power loaded on the inside of the rear foot. Feel the power of the hips being loaded and wound to this pressure point. As the pitch approaches, and we see it coming into the zone we want to attack, the front foot and toe REACH ahead, we continue to slowly wind into the inner back foot…and the front foot reaches forward for the plant as our entire body continues to move slowly toward the pitcher. As the front toe hits, the wind reaches its peak with the hands pulling back in the opposite direction of the pitch, loading and winding the upper body. Rather than just land fully and just rotate the hips, much as a pitcher or ball thrower create power, the hip rotation and drive off the rear foot starts, and will actually finish the full plant of the foot plant. This allows the hitter to drive the hip rotation off the back foot and extension of the calf and foot, against the front brace leg, delivering rotational power driving the hips and shoulders drive open. Maximum power and consistency are achieved thru this rotational movement.
A side benefit of this is that the body angle is kept slightly back from vertical and it keeps the rotation tight against the front leg and allows the body to drive open in an arc at a slight up angle. When a hitter does this incorrectly, the front foot lands fully before the hips rotate, and often the front shoulder will come forward and down with it, compromising the body angle, perhaps creating a lunge forward or a downswing chase of the ball.
The second complicated motion is the snap. AS the hips drive the shoulders open, because our lead arm is pulled back, close to straight and connected to the hips thru our lead lat muscle… as the hips start open, we feel the opening of the lead shoulder pulling the lead arm and knob forward in a shallow arc. The lead arm will guide the snap to the zone we are attacking. The lead arm drill or tennis racquet drill is a great way to hit balls off the tee, using the power of the hips and shoulders, to drive the ball off the tee and properly develop a proper guide. Before impact, which comes very soon in the rotation at the proper point of contact, there is the final extension of the lead arm, and slight turn of the lead wrist to turn the knob in and allow the bathead to snap in the opposite direction cutting into the ball. At the point of the snap, the top arm will work in sync with the lead arm to extend and to hammer in a palm up position, both wrists torquing against one another in sync with the hip torque. The top arm and hammer snap, create a powerful snap and a second higher level of batspeed.
Sometimes a mental focus of cutting thru the part of the ball you wish to attack, quickens this motion and makes it more aggressive and explosive. This is a movement that can be practiced with our perfect snap drill and it needs to become muscle memory, so it becomes the natural way to most powerfully cut thru the ball. The snap is over in a fraction of a second, and you will feel it happen as you develop this skill.
Our Swing Makeover Show is ending its 4th year, is free, and easily accessed off our website at www.sportstechnique.com. These drills and other teaching methods are explained on individual episodes under the Swing Makeover tab. Bret, and I , will be instructors at the Softball Magazine Senior Camp Nov.30, Dec. 1,2nd. Contact this magazine for a spot. Rounding out our staff is Destiny, and we will also being doing 4 athlete seminar/clinics and giving indy lessons in the St. Petersburg (Woodlawn Hitting Club Facility). Details are on our website. Email Ken at email@example.com for details. We thank our partners Wilson/DeMarini, Evilsports, Shirtsandlogos, and theGtee for being partners as the show approaches 4.5 million views.