Baseball Swing Hand Path & Is It Real?

by Jerry Boyle
(Yonkers, NY)

Albert Pujols Elbows Connected

Albert Pujols Elbows Connected

It seems to me thinking to much top hand push disconnects the rear elbow from the body at contact.


Joey i'm sure your a good hitter but your rear elbow looks a little disconnected at contact to me.

I think the reason Lau let go of the top hand was it helps to stop the wrists from rolling over to soon. It makes it easier to firm up the front leg at contact, and to keep rotating the shoulder into contact, with a firm front knee.

In his book Charlie Lau Jr wrote george brett, said charlie lau sr, taught him to control his head movement. So if im understanding it right the Laus taught to shift weight and then once the front heel goes down there is no more head movement.

So, they do teach balance in the swing, and they also teach to keep the head down.

I recently read in sports illistrated that Albert Pujols is working on a tee to practice not to dominate with the top hand because it drives the ball down into the ground. I'm also glad to teamed up with chas pippit good luck

Swing Smarter Response:


Thanks Jerry for the information. Yes, the reason my rear elbow disconnected early WAS because I was gung-ho Down & Through up until that time.

This is why I never played beyond the Division 1 College Level. Pitchers were able to better exploit the holes in my swing.

I do agree...

Pitches inside, over the middle of the plate, and from the knees to the chest we want to stay connected with the elbows to contact.

However, I don't think we can limit our young hitters to swing with elbows pinned to their ribs ALL the time...

I agree with Chris O'Leary in that the elite swing is adaptable, and we see guys like Jason Giambi and Matt Holiday disconnect their back elbow to get to the outside pitch.

Ted Williams also said there were different swings for different pitches in his book, The Science of Hitting.

Addressing Lau's Top Hand Release


Sorry Jerry, I must disagree with you there. You see old timers like Ted Williams, Mickey Mantle, and Babe Ruth twisting themselves up like pretzels with both hands on the bat post-swing and they were swinging heavier bats!

Ryan Braun, Jose Bautista, and Joey Votto (I believe) all hold on with two hands through their finishes.

I believe the biggest reason for rolling over is because we've made it easy to do...swinging thin handled SUPER light bats.

Try rolling over while swinging a thick handled sledge hammer into a tree trunk ;)

In other words, these light bats promotes an upper body dominant swing.

I think the reason for a top hand release is to help keep the shoulder and upper trapezius muscles loose through the finish.

The Hip Steering Wheel


The key to get the front leg to straighten is to have forward momentum with the hip (from the stride) until front heel drop, which (as you mentioned) the head and spine stop their forward movement, and this "braking" action with the front leg causes the front leg to straighten and back leg to "crash" up against it.

This is also where you'll see the back foot come off the ground and slide forward 3-5 inches causing the hitter to catch himself with the back leg on his follow through.

Hip thrust is this act of the front hip clearing (moving back toward catcher), and back hip coming through (forward to pitcher) to contact. Whereas this hip movement resembles a big steering wheel.

NEW & Improved Pujols!


That's great news about Pujols limiting the function of his top hand, because in a 2011 MLB Network segment Pujols said he swings Down & Through.

If we watch him on video, this couldn't be further from the truth, and further illustrates how awesome these guys are at performing, and how awful they are at describing "how" they do what they do.

Albert uses different mechanisms to activate core rotation, which helps bring his barrel into the zone, and NOT with his hands path.

I agree with Chas, hand path is a myth, and the greatest hitters DO NOT hit the ball with their hands, they hit it with their core and hips.

I'm glad you're digging Chas's stuff, and he's definitely changed my hitting life. Please keep commenting Jerry, I always appreciate your viewpoints...keep challenging the status quo brother!

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Jun 20, 2012
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SWING PLANE
by: JERRY

JOEY IM GLAD YOU HOOKED UP WITH CHAS .AND CANNED THE IDEA OF SWINGING DOWN THROUH THE BALL.I ALSO GIVE YOU CREDIT FOR BEING HONEST AND ADMITTING THAT YOU USED TO BELIVE DOWN THROUGH THE BALL WAS THE CORRECT SWING.WHEN I PLAYED I WISH THAT I KNEW WHAT I KNOW NOW . MIGHT HAVE MADE ME A CONSISTANT HITTER .ITS WHAT TED WILLIAMS SAID SO LONG AGO, THE CORRECT SWING PATH IS LEVEL WITH THE PITCHED BALL.AND SINCE THE PITCHED BALL IS THROWN FROM A MOUND AND GRAVITY IS WORKING TO PULL THE BALL ON A DOWNWARD PLANE TO HOME PLATE. TO INTERSECT THAT BALL A BATTER SHOULD SWING SLIGHTLY UPWARDS .BECAUSE A SWING DOWNWARD OR LEVEL WITH THE GROUND ISNT LEVEL WITH THE BALL.THANKS AND KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK

May 04, 2012
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hands are overated
by: Anonymous

Conscious aiming of the hands is counterproductive to the swing. I agree that quick hands are a by product of quick and powerful hip turn. Manipulating the hands leads to pushing the bat, flicking at the ball and constantly rolling over at contact. I like Pippett and Cevallos' theories of generating bat speed with core and hip turn. This can be a tough sell to a high school and college hitter that has relied on their hands to go to the ball rather than their back hip. Many times I ring my hs hitters spinning out in an effort to generate more hip thrust. They struggle to get off their back side and cut across the ball resulting in week contact to the right side. Any advice or drills to get that back hip knee driving forward?

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