Rotational, Linear, Both, or Neither

While the state of the art of hitting instruction is slowly improving, one thing that we can't seem to get beyond is the question of whether the high-level swing is rotational or linear.

I say it's both.

But not in the way that some people do.

The High-Level Swing is Rotational

The primary characteristic of a Rotational swing is that the swing is powered by the Rotation of the hips and shoulders.

If you look at clips of the best swings of the best hitters, is that what you see?

I think it clearly is.

Albert Pujols

If you look at the clip above of Albert Pujols, you can clearly see his hips start rotating before his shoulders and his hands start moving forward. That means that he is powering his swing with his entire body and not just his arms.

The High-Level Swing is Linear

If you look at the swings of the best baseball and fast pitch softball hitters, you will also see linear components to them.

The Stride is a Linear Movement

The biggest problem that people have with Rotational Hitting -- or really with the way that Mike Epstein and his disciples teach Rotational Hitting -- is that many of the swings that result from his instruction, and the instruction of Epstein-certified instructors, bear very little resemblance to the swings of most major league baseball players.

Bat Drag

Instead of taking a stride forward toward the pitcher, many Epstein-training or influenced hitters tend to have little to no stride.

Instead, they just spin in place.

In contrast, the vast majority of hitters take a stride toward the pitcher. That stride is, which is a linear movement that generates energy that helps to power the swing.

Jim Edmonds

Even hitters like Jim Edmonds who don't take much of a stride at all still shift their weight forward toward the pitcher.

The Hand Path is Not Linear

As I discuss at length in my piece, The Myth of the A to C Swing, the direct, A to C hand path that people like Don Mattingly advocate is a myth. If you look at Don Mattingly's swing, you will see that he used a hand path that is very different than the one that he now teaches.

Albert Pujols

What's more, if you look clips of swings that are shot from above the catcher, you will see that the hitter's hand path is anything but linear. Instead, and due to something called Connection, the hand path is curved.