Part 2: Baseball Hitting Instructions Working Wonders for Troubled Swings
Welcome to baseball hitting instructions Part 2 in a Series of correcting swing fault pieces. In this article we're going to address the following 5 hitting flaws:
- Swing is too long,
- Hips don't rotate,
- Hands extend too early,
- Dropping hands or "hitching," and
- Stops swing.
As you may have read from Part 1, most of these hitting faults can be focused down to swinging too hard, being too anxious, and holding too much tension as being the culprit for putting a player in a slump.
Often times the best baseball hitting instructions to give an intermediate level player (i.e. middle or high school) suffering from the above maladies is to relax, take a few deep belly breaths, and swing at a 60-70% speed. By doing this the player will naturally put their body in the right hitting position.
Let's get started...
Swing is Too Long
This means the hands and/or the barrel of the bat are taking too long to get into the hitting zone, which slows down bat speed, and ultimately makes a person's swing virtually ineffective.
The first part of Swing Smarter's motto is "Short to it...," and in order to do that we have to get back to the drawing board by working on a hitting tee. Get into the habit of taking the knob of the bat DOWN to the incoming baseball...two good drills to take care of this problem, and will develop more of an inside-out approach are the 2 Tee Drill and Fence Swing Drill.
The 2 Tee Drill is found on the Top 5 Drills article in more detail, but the Fence Drill we need to detail. Stand facing a chain link fence, get a bat's distance away from the fence by holding the knob of the bat against your belly button and touching the end cap to the chain link. Now, get into your stance and start off by swinging slowly and with correct hitting mechanics, don't hit the fence!
The fence can be intimidating, so stress slow swings early with this one until you get comfortable with having the chain link there. The tendency for hitters is to pull the front shoulder and hip out, and to bring the arms in (alligator arms) to compensate for not hitting the fence.
Hips Don't Rotate
Baseball hitting instructions to remedy this one are pretty easy, use the Balance & Reach and the Bat Behind the Back drills. We lose lots of power without our hips rotating like they're suppose to.
Hands Extend Too Early
This swing parasite is related to the Swing is Too Long one above. This is also called "Arm Barring" because the front arm gets extended in the launch/load phase prematurely. In the stance phase of the swing, we have to relax the front arm and bend it.
Once they begin the launch/load phase, a separation occurs between the hands (going back), and the front stride foot (inching forward). The front elbow should never straighten, until contact.
The 2 Tee and Fence Drills teach great baseball hitting instructions fixing this issue.
Dropping hands or "Hitching"
There's two trains of thought working here:
- Hand dropping, to me, is where the hands go down but never come back up, and
- "Hitching" is a form of load where the hands drop but then come back up to the final launch position.
We'll address both...
Hand dropping is a NO-NO. The baseball hitting instructions to correct this is to set the bat on the rear shoulder in the stance phase of the swing, then pick it up to where the hands are above the back shoulder and both elbows should be below the hands.
Unfortunately, it will take a full 21 days to kick this nasty habit depending on work ethic. Start off with slow dry swings, then work to the tee, and when they're doing well with that, then progress to live pitching.
Hand dropping makes you vulnerable to higher strikes, and will have a hitter returning to the bench, from the batter's box, before Clint Eastwood can say, "Make My Day."
"Hitching" on the other hand comes natural for some hitters, it's in their DNA swing code. I tried it for a short amount of time but it never worked for me. I've seen some outstanding hitters use this as a timing mechanism and have success (i.e. Mark Grace, Ted Williams, Andre Dawson, etc.).
"Hitching" isn't necessarily bad, but if a Hitcher is behind on a pitch they need to start it sooner. Remember, the hands must come back up after going down, and if they stay down, then that's a problem.
This is wrong on so many levels, but I see it especially in youth players. Proper baseball hitting instructions need to key in on the player to relax and just let it go. This most likely happens when a player has been given too much swing correction information, and swing paralysis occurs.
Without a follow through you might as well be hitting with a wetnewspaper. To remedy this, drill the player by having them holdtheir follow through and balance. Also, give them a place to finish with their hands:
- High - next to the opposite [front] ear, OR
- Over the opposite [front] shoulder.
Above all else, work on 1 thing at a time per week, and try not to make the perfect hitter in one setting. It takes lots of reps and muscle memory to create a workable swing. There are no get hits quick schemes out there unfortunately.
Thanks for taking the time to read the 2 Part Series on curing swing parasites with the right baseball hitting instructions. Please read through Part 1 in this Series if you haven't already by going back to the Top 5 Hitting Tips tab on the navigation bar above.
Return from Part 2: Baseball Hitting Instructions back to Top 5 Hitting Drills