Front Arm NOT Staying Flexed at Times
by Todd Henderson
Bat Drag - BAD
Hello, my son (14), has ok balance (I think), but his swing seems to have gotten a bit long and his front arm at times seems to not be staying flexed to point of contact. I think his back arm is ok (close to the body on the swing) but his back side seems to be collapsing (I think). I attached a few pics, hope you can see them.
In the back yard when hitting off the tee and doing soft toss drills I don?t notice him doing this, just seems to be in games vs. live pitching.
One drill I started doing with him was setting the tee at a letter high level. My thinking is this would force him to keep more flex in his lead arm. Any advice/drills you can suggest would be much appreciated.
Thank you very much for your time.
Swing Smarter Response:
Hey Todd, thank you for your question and the pictures (so much easier to see what's happening than trying to explain it in words ;). This is something I've been working with one of my hitting students on as well.
Your describing what I like to call Bat "Drag," NOT to be confused with Bat "Lag," which is actually a good thing.
Bat "Lag" is being long with the barrel in the Impact Zone, typically starting off the back hip engaging in a long Area of Impact (AOI) through extension using mostly a palm up top hand.
Bat "Drag" is when the front elbow straightens (picture #2 above) during the Slot Phase of the swing, the back elbow travels faster than the hands, and the hands drop down towards the hips to accommodate the stiff front arm.
What should happen is...
The distance between elbows should NEVER change. Bat "Drag" is almost always caused by an over active backside, mostly the rear calf, try to push the back hip through.
You see, good hip thrust technique requires the front leg to go from a bent position in the Cushion Position (when stride foot lands), to a straightened position during Impact.
The straightening of the front leg pushes the front hip back towards the catcher, which aids in bringing the back hip through towards the baseball. The back leg doesn't push through, it whips through because of the torque build up from the upper body untwisting around our center axis.
Most of the time Bat "Drag" can be stemmed back to a negative "throw the hands" or "knob at the ball" queue.
I know, I know, this contradicts the Down & Through mantra on Swing Smarter, soon enough, you'll be seeing some changes to our UPGRADED & IMPROVED hitting 2.0 philosophy, but for now, please put D&T aside for now and listen...
What your 14-year-old needs to do is run away from the "throw your hands at the ball," and embrace more of a "throw the barrel at the ball" mantra. He needs to think about empowering the barrel, NOT the hands (or knob).
Empowering the barrel will get the big muscles in the legs involved...you see, the problem with aluminum is it's so light, our upper bodies can get away with swinging the bat, instead of the big strong muscles in our core.
A good low cost drill you can have your son do is swing a broomstick. This will activate the big core muscles to swing the stick instead of the arms because the long stick produces a ton of wind resistance and Bat "Lag," the good stuff.
This should help, please let me know how things turn out Todd :)