There is one best way to swing the bat, and that is driven by two things...

  • The laws of physics.
  • The realities of baseball and fast pitch softball.

The goal of hitting instruction should be to move your hitters in the direction of The High-Level Swing.[1]

Concepts

The way to understand The High-Level Swing, and learn how to develop it in your hitters, is to first understand the concepts that define and describe The High-Level Swing. I break these concepts up into a number of levels.

  • Why Rotation?
  • Truth in Hitting
  • Hitting Mechanics 101 - Hitting for Average
  • Hitting Mechanics 200 - Hitting for Power
  • Hitting Mechanics 300 - Secrets of the Pros

Why Rotation?

Why have I embraced the term Rotational Hitting when it is so often misunderstood, if not maligned?

Contrary to what many believe and teach, the engine of the high-level swing is the large, powerful muscles of The Core, not the much smaller muscles of the hands, wrists, and arms.

Rotation lets hitters (and pitchers) tap into and extract the most power from The Core.

But what about the hands?

The hands have a critical role to play in a high-level swing; they help the hitter adjust to the pitch. However, in order to play the role of adjusting to the pitch, the hands cannot power the swing.

As I discuss at length in Ruined, I have learned from my experiences with major league hitters that, when they succeed, it's because they let the rotation of their hips power their swing. When they fail, it's because they try to power their swing with their hands.

Truth in Hitting

Cues like keeping your front shoulder in and/or your hips closed into contact work well for many people when they are used as just that.

As cues.

However, if you want to understand how the high-level swing works, you have to understand a number of critically important concepts.

Loop

Reverse C

Chicken Wing

Hitting Mechanics 101

Athleticism & Posture

The concept of Posture reflects the fact that a hitter must get into a balanced, athletic position by the time their front heel plants and they are ready to start their swing.

Bounce

Ready

Swing Plane

The Swing Plane is the plane -- or more accurately the disc or even the doughnut-shaped area -- in which the barrel of the bat rotates. While what happens to the barrel before the start of the swing is relevant -- see, for example, my piece on Launching the Swing from a Vertical Barrel Position -- the swing plane is most relevant from the start of the swing through the Point Of Contact (POC) and the follow-through.

Compactness

In order to simply hit a good fastball, much less hit it hard, a hitter must ensure that they maintain their Compactness for as long as is appropriate.

Whip

Whip involves learning how to build up energy in the barrel so that it moves through the Point Of Contact at maximum velocity.

Lag

Core

SSC

Hitting Mechanics 200: Power

Coil

Coiling is the process of striding toward the pitcher while maximizing the force with which the hips will pull the shoulders around.

PC-C-P

The best hitters follow a very specific sequence, that I abbreviate as PC-C-P, to start, sustain, and finish the Rotation of their hips.

The Move

Just as a car can't achieve it's maximum performance if its tires are slipping, a hitter can't achieve their maximum power if they aren't able to take full advantage of The Move.

Adjustability

Adjustability is exactly what its name implies; the ability to adjust to the type, movement, and location of the pitch.

Efficiency

Hitting Mechanics 300: Pro

Connection

Connection is the process of -- as much as is appropriate given the speed and location of the pitch -- linking up and synchronizing the movements of the shoulders, arms, hands and bat and moving them as a coordinated whole, not a bunch of independent parts.

Alignment

Alignment ensures that the forces generated by the muscles of The Core and the rest of the body are quickly and efficiently transmitted to the bat head.

Separation

Another key to hitting for power is powering the swing with the entire body by creating Separation.

Loading

In most cases, the way that hitters create Separation is by Loading.

Overlap

Is easiest to teach the high-level swing as a series of stages. However, in order to maximize the efficiency, and thus the power, of the swing, one must learn how to Overlap those stages.

Timing

A hitter's Timing determines whether they are ready to hit the ball when it crosses the plate.

Resistance

Stretch

Loop

Notes

[1] Unfortunately, and as I discuss in my pieces on the Myths About Hitting, Misconceptions About Hitting, and Phony Flaws, too many hitting instructors, and perhaps even most hitting instructors, don't understand what a good swing looks and are not moving their clients in the direction of The Swing.