Hitting Down on the Ball AND the Secret to YOUR Success
ATTENTION!! Some of this hitting down on the ball links on this page are outdated (I've labeled the ones as such)...I DO NOT subscribe to the true-blue-Down-and-Through swing philosophy anymore. For more cutting edge hitting technique information, please visit The Truth About Explosive Rotational Power. Thank you so much for reading :)
Hitting down on the ball has apparently been a thing of snowballing controversy with lots of misinformation spewing around the internet. Unfortunately, thanks to games like "telephone" where one person tells another person their
story, then that person tells their story to someone else, and so on, until the end reflects something of a deranged ugly monster.
The solution to all this tangled hubbub is simple really...
Today we're going over how hitting down on the ball will boost your average, and why it's only half the answer to Swinging Smarter. Essentially cutting your hack down will STOP from:
Dragging the barrel through the hitting zone (AKA Casting), and
Decrease the likelihood of getting jammed or hitting with a wet newspaper.
We'll even reveal one of the Top 5 Swing Smarter drills that is perfect for developing a shorter approach and keeping the hitter's hands inside the ball.
My top assistant coach to Bob Bennett at Fresno State, Mike Rupcich, often described dragging the barrel through the strike zone as "wading through water," because that's how the sensation feels when your swing is too long: slow motion = NO power, NO bat speed, nothing but a steady diet of jammed sandwiches!
Enter: Hitting Down on the Ball...
What do you mean by taking a down approach to hitting the baseball?
Swinging Smarter is taking the knob of the bat DOWN to the incoming pitched baseball [like the photo above right], thereby keeping the barrel above the back shoulder after the load phase of the swing.
Once the hands come forward (following behind the hips), the barrel then drops into the hitting zone actually dipping below the hands. In other words, the down part of the swing is in the initial stages of launch to keep the barrel up.
If the knob goes up [like in the photo to the left of this paragraph] in the beginning of the launch phase, then the barrel drops, and we Cast the bat through the hitting zone. No bueno.
Therefore, by guiding the knob DOWN to the pitched baseball we keep the barrel up, and as a result we avoid the Casting effect, or the feeling of wading through water.
Our bat speed should be speeding up through the contact zone, NOT slowing down. When we drag the barrel through the zone, we decrease economy of motion, which diminishes all the energy our hips originally created. So, in order to Swing Smarter, we have to be short by hitting down on the ball.
Please note: this is NOT a chopping down motion prescribed by other hitting pundits...
"Why can't I just chop down on the baseball," you ask?
Taking the knob down to the baseball is only half the reality of an efficient powerful swing, and by only chopping down on the ball, we set ourselves up for failure.
The other half to Down is THROUGH. By imagining three consecutive baseballs after contact, using the top hand (palm up), we want to push through as long as possible (like an uppercut straight out from the body), staying tall with your torso while keeping a vertical line from the crown of the head down through the rotated back knee.
We send the barrel out in a linear fashion without the upper body following, this is crucial because players will let their upper body drift forward thinking that helps to push the barrel through the three consecutive imaginary baseballs, but it doesn't.
Hitting down on the ball isn't a chopping motion, this is one of the misconstrued stories coming out of the online hogwash; and not just online, but in popular published media also; believe me, I know, I tried the chopping technique my beginning years of high school...sure, it got me a shorter swing, but I became so dependent on wrist action (rolling over too soon) my barrel was only in the zone for a short amount of time, which is the exact opposite of the way it should be.
The complete unabridged story is...
We want to be short to the baseball, and long through it. So, in order to Swing Smarter by hitting down on the ball correctly, check out the 2-Tee Drill video below.
But remember, this will get you only half the way there, the other half is using the imaginary three baseballs technique mentioned earlier.
(The object is to NOT hit the ball set up on the back tee, or else the swing is too long)