"Short to the Ball" is one of those phrases that everybody uses but few define, I suspect because people either...

  • Don't know what it means, but say it because it's what everybody says.
  • Use it to define contradictory things.

In contrast, I use Short to the Ball to mean something very specific.

And paradoxical.

Short to the Ball, to me, means a baseball or fast pitch softball swing that...

  • Takes the minimum amount of TIME.
  • To get the sweet spot of the barrel to the ball.
  • EVEN IT it means the hands travelling a longer DISTANCE.

TLDR: TIME is the most important thing; more important than DISTANCE. And, often, that means being a little WORSE in terms of DISTANCE can be better -- shorter -- in terms of TIME.

How can that be?

How can a longer path (measured in terms of DISTANCE) be shorter (measured in terms of TIME)?

Because of the concept of Efficiency.

Short to the Ball

The shortest distance between two points is a straight line, right?

Not always.

Because of the concept of Efficiency.

One great example of the concept, and importance, of the concept of Effiiciency is the Brachistochrone Curve.

The shortest distance between two points is a straight line, right?

Not always.

In the case of the Brachistochrone curve, the outside factor that changes things is Gravity.

The force of Gravity explains why a ball that is allowed to fall farther will arrive faster.

Stretch SHortening Cycle

In the case of the hitting, the outside factor that changes things is the Stretch Shortening Cycle (SSC).

Aledmys Diaz Home Run into Big Mac Land

The SSC gives hitters an Efficiency boost; a boost that makes a slightly longer Hand Path a net gain.


This is where we get into heresy.

And I'll defend what I say by pointing you to this clip of Albert Pujols.

Albert Pujols' Swing

Is Albert Pujols Short to the Ball? In the sense of being Direct to the Ball?


That's because many of the concepts that are said to be flaws -- starting with the idea that a Hitch in the Swing is bad -- are actually NOT.

Because they improve the Efficiency of the swing.

Tommy Pham

As I discuss in Tommy Pham Lessons Learned one of the key suggestions I made to him regarded what to do with his hands.

When he came up in 2015, Pham had a problem with warning track power, and I suggested that copying Albert Pujols' Hitch could improve the efficiency of Tommy's swing.

Tommy Pham's AFTER Swing

Tommy Pham spent the time after he was sent back down to AAA to work on Loading and Loading Up, and it made a HUGE difference when he was called up again at the end of the 2015 season.

Ronald Acuna

As I discuss in my analysis of Ronald Acuna's swing, why did he struggle before he introduced a Hitch in his swing?

Ronald Acuna's BEFORE Swing

Because his swing wasn't as important as it could have been, and thus was longer than it could be.

And needed to be.


I've written about and around this topic over and over again both because it is so important and because people so often get it wrong.