3 Things To Improve Your Swing
The swing is a chain reaction with lots of links that must occur in a specific sequence. Let me say that again. CHAIN REACTION. Starting with pushing the inside ball of the back foot into the ground (not rotating) pushing the back knee toward the front knee sending energy up into the legs and then rotating through the hips, continuing upward through the core and then through the shoulders down through the arms into the hands and finally into the bat head. Like I said before, that is a lot of links. Let’s get to the list of 3 things I promised.
1) Stride Length –
How long should it be? Simple. If your inseam (the seam in a pair of pants from the crotch to the bottom of the leg) is 30 inches then your feet should end up approximately 30 inches apart after you take your stride. This makes an equilateral triangle as demonstrated in the picture of Troy Tulowitski below. Easy to remember, right? I see way too many young hitters take too short of a stride. To work on this simply get in front of a full-length mirror push off of the back-foot striding into an equilateral triangle with your weight balanced between both feet and repeat until it becomes a natural movement for you. You don’t even need a bat. The reason we need a longer stride leads me to my next item on the list.
2) Don’t SQUISH THE BUG!!!
Sorry Coach. I used to coach this too and I understand why it’s used but unfortunately it’s wrong. Here is why. The back foot starts the chain of events that makes up a good swing much in the same way it starts a good throw. With a push into the ground with the inside of the back foot. We push to the ball which leads us into our stride and in order to use the power generated by the push the stride needs to be a decent length. We push our back knee towards our front knee by using the inside of our back foot as leverage to create power. Once we have started our back knee forward that will drive our back hip forward. As the back hip drives forward the back foot heel will start to rise straight up off the ground and then begin to follow the hip to the pitcher. So you see the back foot pushes then lifts to follow the hip as a result of the hip rotation. The hip does not follow the foot. Check out this picture perfect swing by Carlos Correa on youtube CLICK HERE and watch the sequence starting with the push off of the inside of his back foot. This is a great video not only because it is one of the best swings in the league but because of where his back foot is in the picture frame. It proves a point. When you spin your back foot (squish the bug) the heel actually travels backward away from it’s original position. If Correa did this half his foot would disappear off of the screen. Instead because he pushes toward the oncoming ball notice his heel comes straight up off the ground and then the foot turns toward the pitcher slightly after the hips turn toward the pitcher. Now go back and look at his stride length and notice the equilateral triangle he makes with the distance between back foot, crotch and front foot. The next part of the sequence leads us to our 3rd and final tip. Here is the link to Correa’s swing of beauty! Carlos Correa Swing
Keep the Bat Vertical to Fix Bat Drag Immediately!
3) Keep the bat VERTICAL as long as possible – This allows you to stay away from the number one swing flaw of young hitters. BAT DRAG. In my experience 99% of young hitters have BAT DRAG. This is where a back elbow or top hand elbow beats the hands to the ball as demonstrated in the image below. The elbow should stay behind the hands to and through the ball. Go back to the Correa swing and watch his back elbow. Compare that to this photo. At no time does Carlos’ back (top hand) elbow beat the hands to the ball.
You can clearly see this young man’s back elbow way in front of his hands. Classic bat drag. We see it in both baseball and softball players. How do we stop it? Have your hitter start with a contact drill. Use some kind of a pad that won’t damage the hitter’s bat. Heavy Bags work great for this. The new technique will make for a shorter swing and staying on the plane of the ball longer. As they get better at that they can increase the speed of the swing but make sure they freeze when they strike the pad or bag. There is a progression to the steps and drills to break this habit but it would simply take to long to go through in this blog. I have attached a video by Rich Lavelle who is an Epstein Certified Trainer like myself. He is going to show you the impact drill with some extra tips not discussed in this blog. Click here for video. IMPACT DRILL VIDEO. Thanks for reading my blog. I am sure you have a lot of questions. I am always here to help. Call to schedule a consultation and a video swing analysis or private lessons. Hope you all have a great off-season!