Josh Donaldson 2013.09.20 Home Run to Left Field

This clip is one of my favorites because I have a high-resolution still image of the Point Of Contact taken from a different angle. That gives us a multi-angle view of a home run swing by a guy who is, pound for pound, one of the best power hitters in the game.

Josh Donaldson Home Run to Left Field

Flipscreen Swing Analysis

The animation below will auto-play or you can control it with your keyboard.

  • While the animation is playing, you can use the left and right arrow keys on your keyboard to fast-forward and reverse between frames.
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Frame 10 Frame 11 Frame 12 Frame 13: Josh Donaldson’s knee and front foot have reached their highest point. Frame 14 Frame 15 Frame 16 Frame 17 Frame 18: As his front foot drops and his strides into the ball, Josh Donaldson’s hands go up and back. Some would call this a hitch but, in truth, it’s an essential part of how Josh Donaldson loads. If he were to eliminate this ‘hitch,’ his swing would be much less efficient and less powerful. Frame 19 Frame 20: As his front foot drops and his strides into the ball, Josh Donaldson’s hands go up and back. Some would call this a hitch. In truth, it’s an essential part of Josh Donaldson’s Loading process. If he were to eliminate this movement, his swing would be less efficient and less powerful. Frame 21 Frame 22 Frame 23 Frame 24 Frame 25: One concept that Josh Donaldson talks about is loading his right scap. You can see him set this up in this and the surrounding frames, as his back elbow moves up and back and then locks in place through the start of his Rotation. I would argue this helps keep his hands from getting trapped behind his back shoulder as he rotates. Frame 26 Frame 27 Frame 28 Frame 29 Frame 30: As he strides forward toward the pitcher, Josh Donaldson does so while still keeping his hips closed. Frame 31 Frame 32 Frame 33: While his front knee extends a bit as he comes out of the top of his leg lift, Josh Donaldson's front knee stops extending in Frame 33. This is important because it enables him to land with his front knee flexed, not straight. That in turn enables him to finish the Rotation of his hips. Frame 34: Josh Donaldson's hips are finally starting to rotate open. At the same time, his back knee is start to come around and the heel of his back foot is just starting to lift off the ground. This is important because there are people who teach that the hips need to stay closed into contact. That is clearly not true in the case of Josh Donaldson. Frame 35: Although it’s hard to say exactly how open or closed Josh Donaldson’s front foot lands, notice that it starts relatively open and then opens up even more as he goes into foot plant. Frame 36: While Josh Donaldson’s hips are opening up, if you watch the letters on the back of his jersey, you can see that his shoulders still have not start rotating yet. Frame 37: Up until this frame, Josh Donaldson has kept his front shoulder closed. In this frame, you see the first hint of movement as his front shoulder starts to react to the Rotation of his hips underneath them. However, this first movement of his front shoulder is more up than back, suggesting that he employs a Resisting Movement to keep his shoulders closed. Frame 38: If you watch Josh Donaldson’s back foot closely, you can see evidence of what is referred to as The Move. However, because he does a good job of planting and stabilizing his back foot, there is just a hint of this. Frame 39: Six frames after his hips started rotating, Josh Donaldson's shoulders have finally started rotating. By loading his hands and his right scap, and holding his shoulders back while his hips start rotating, Josh Donaldson dramatically increases the efficiency of his swing. Frame 40: As his front foot plants, Josh Donaldson is still pointing the knob of the bat at the catcher. While some would worry that this puts him in a problematic position of Bat Wrap, in truth this is part of how he loads. Frame 41: Josh Donaldson's front knee is bent when his front foot lands. This enables him to finish the Rotation of his swing. I would argue that one of Brett Wallace's problems is that he lands with his front knee almost straight, which keeps him from being able to finish his Rotation. Frame 42: Josh Donaldson's front foot is fully planted. Notice how he does what Matt Holliday does until his front foot is planted. Frame 43: While he tips the barrel forward as part of his Loading process, Josh Donaldson still gets the barrel into the Swing Plane by Heel Plant, avoiding an increasingly common problem with  how  many hitters launch their swings. Frame 44: Josh Donaldson's front knee is extending, helping to finish the rotation of his hips. Also, while his head does move some due to the Rotation of his shoulders, it is relatively steady, not moving forward or backward but just a bit up, letting him watch the ball as long as possible. Frame 45 Frame 46 Frame 47 Frame 48: Rather than keeping his front elbow and his front arm down, Josh Donaldson’s front elbow has instead risen up into  a position of Alignment. The knob has also moved up in this frame, causing the barrel to fall below the ball and his hands, creating a Slight Uppercut. Frame 49: Josh Donaldson is in the process of Stopping the Knob, which is causing the barrel to rapidly Whip around his hands. Frame 50: Rather than Squishing The Bug, you can tell from how it moves in this and the next frame that Josh Donaldson’s back foot is completely un-weighted and up in the air in this frame. Frame 51: At the Point Of Contact, Josh Donaldson’s hands are still rotating in sync with his back shoulder. Rather than being at full extension at contact, his back elbow is still bent 90 degrees and making the Power L. His front knee is fully extended, having helped to finish his hip rotation. At the Point of Contact: 1. Josh Donaldson’s back elbow is bent 90 degrees, not fully extended. 2. The barrel has rotated around his hands and is moving perpendicular to the path of the pitch. 3. Rather than lunging forward, his spine is upright. 4. He has braced and fully extended his front leg. 5. His back knee has been pulled around by the Rotation of his hips and he has been pulled up onto his back toe. One of the cues that Josh Donaldson uses is 'I try to bring my rear shoulder to where I want to hit the ball.' This picture shows what this looks like. Notice how, rather than throwing his hands at the ball, or pulling the knob to the ball, and leaving his back shoulder behind, Josh Donaldson’s back shoulder has rotated 90 or so degrees to deliver his hands and the barrel to the ball. Frame 52 Frame 53 Frame 54 Frame 55 Frame 56 Frame 57 Frame 58: Only now, seven frames after the Point Of Contact, has Josh Donaldson reached full extension.


Free Flipbook

I am in the process of developing a new version of the flipbook version of this swing analysis. As a result, I have decided to make the earlier version of it available for free...

In the interest of making sure that everybody who wants to play the game has access to quality instructional materials, and because Josh Donaldson shares his thoughts for free, I have decided to make this flipscreen, and older versions of the corresponding flipbooks, available for free. However, putting flipbooks like these together takes roughly a week of work, so I would appreciate it if you would consider buying access to the full, most recent PDF version of this flipscreen if you have the means.

It's only $5.95

What's more, the PDF flipbook version of this flipscreen is printable, making it a great tool to use when talking to and working with a hitter or group of hitters.