Loading up.

Load up.

Those are phrases that many people use.

I also use them, but quite differently than most people do.

This piece overlaps with a number of my other pieces.

Loading Up

The conventional usage of the phrases "Loading Up" and "Load Up" refer to the stride; often, a linear rearward movement that precedes a linear forward movement.

However, as I explain when I talk about Coil, I'm not an advocate of large linear movements because that's not what I see in the best hitters.

Yes, there's a Linear component to a high-level swing.

But not a big one.

So what do I mean when I talk about "Loading Up?"

Tommy Pham 2015

HSSU

I first noticed the difference in Loading patterns when I was working with one of my HSSU hitters.

Albert Pujols 2009

I was having some trouble seeing the problem, and explaining it, until I went back to one of my favorite clips of Albert Pujols.

Pujols

Watch how Pujols LIFTS his hands into Heel Plant.

Albert Pujols 2009

His hands go UP and not BACK.

Albert Pujols 2009

When I talk about "Loading Up" or "Load Up," I'm talking about the hands.

See how, as his front foot drops, Albert Pujols loads his hands UP.

And not BACK.

The problem with Loading Back is that it can put the hitter in a mechanically weak position.

It can create Arm Bar.

In contrast, by Loading (his hands) Up, Albert Pujols is able to maintain flexion in his front arm.

Acuna

The problem with Ronald Acuna's swing, prior to maybe the All-Star Break 2018, was that -- if he loaded (his hands) at all -- he loaded his hands BACK and not UP.

Ronald Acuna

That created Arm Bar which, while it boosted his power, also increased his Swing Length.

Ronald Acuna

What's interesting about Acuna is that, over the All-Star Break, Acuna did EXACTLY what I said he should do.

He introduced a Hitch into his swing.

Ronald Acuna 2018 November

Suddenly Acuna's Leaky Hands were replaced with a tiny little, but pretty well timed Lift of the hands.

Not perfectly timed, but good enough.

Lift to Load.

You don't have to move a LOT if you move WELL.

Pham

WATCH. PHAM'S. HANDS.

How, as he goes into heel plant, he LIFTS them UP.

Tommy Pham 2015

He LOADS (his hands) UP.

Not back.

That way he...

  • Helps hold his shoulders back. And creates Separation.
  • Without losing flexion in his front arm. And losing Adjustability.

Tommy Pham 2015

Lift AND Separate.

Lift TO Separate.

Lift THE HANDS to separate THE HIPS AND THE SHOULDERS.

HITCH