How to Correct Stepping in the Bucket and Dropping the Back Shoulder

by Dave
(Cleveland, Ohio)

Joey Votto getting Spinal Tilt towards the Catcher

Joey Votto getting Spinal Tilt towards the Catcher

Hi Joey, I noticed my son will drop his front foot out to the side when he is swinging and then dip his back shoulder which results in a pop up or foul out or if lucky a weak hit over second base. It looks like he does it most of the time on a low pitch. How do you correct this bad habit?

Swing Smarter Response:

Hey Dave, this is the first time anyone on Swing Smarter has asked about how to correct stepping in the bucket. I have a great drill for that, video courtesy of the Hitting Yoda, Chas Pippitt:

We're utilizing a dysfunctional movement correction fix called Reactive Neuromuscular Training, or RNT.

Basically, we "feed the mistake" and the body has to counter-balance. In this case, stepping in the bucket, whereas the band helps to build the necessary muscles to remedy dysfunctional swing muscle memory.

"When I Dip, You Dip, We Dip"

As for dipping the rear shoulder, the problem there is your son isn't letting the ball get deep enough and is trying to make contact too far out front.

The back shoulder should dip, depending on height of the pitch (the lower the pitch, the more the dip), BUT the hitter MUST be patient and let the ball travel.

In order to get on plane of a slight downward angled pitch trajectory, then a downward angle of the shoulders towards the plate, and slightly back (60 degree spinal tilt) toward the catcher is natural and highly recommended.

I hope this helps Dave, if you have anymore questions, then please post below my response :D

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Top Half Heavy Swings
by: Joey from

Hey Robert,

Lots of great stuff there. Most of it related, as you'll probably agree, to upper body dominant swings. I don't think it's a heavy bat issue, it's just that these kids' arms are separating from their core.

Dipping the back shoulder is a good thing, because this is a natural motion around the spine on the transverse plane. Now, the higher the pitch, the less downward shoulder angle of course.

And, yes, on an outside pitch we do separate a bit, most of the elite swingers do this from time to time.

A great article my buddy Chas Pippitt wrote on the Baseball Hitting Rebellion website goes into a solution to this upper body dominant swing. We just launched the Rebel's Rack hitting aid...check out the article and it'll explain further. I think you'll like it...let me know what you think Robert.

To Dipp, or not to dip?
by: Robert Canary

Hey Joey, I realize there are many theories on why dipping occurs. As long as you have been into coaching hitters I am sure you have seen your favor share of causes. I think you'll probably agree that telling a hitter to "stop dipping the shoulder", is a complete waste of breath, because the extreme (or consistent) shoulder dipping is a symptom, not the problem.

As you know from our recent email chats, I have been dealing with four of my students losing power on contact. One of the first things I noticed was a low shoulder, another video examination I also noticed the bat head lagging way behind the point of contact. I also noticed the snap was extremely late, causing a crushing hit *only* out front, and always to left field. After another review, I also noticed the back elbow coming around on the belly button. The same form a hitter has when the bat is too heavy. However, these hitters are strong, 20-24oz is not a problem.

Three things I see need to be done to correct these issues:
1) Why are they dipping:
* Is the bat too heavy?
* Are they trying to lay the bat down, and then goto the ball. Depending on the pitch this is not always a bad thing. But if they are doing it everytime, then yes it is problem?
* Are they starting snap too late?
* Are they snapping any at all?
* The biggest problem I have seen ---
Are they dropping both elbows and allowing the back elbow to come out in front too much?

2) Correct the slot position. With the exception of the heavy bat issue, I see all of these issues directly related to a BAD slot position and delivery.
* My Opinion: Hands high enough so the elbow naturally raises (NOTE: Do not force the elbow up high, let it follow the hands).
* My Opinion: FronTop wrist cocked. (pronate)
3) Correct the arm and hand movement.
* This will take some time, because it will take several reps and for several days. Please Swingsmarter Articel {Joey insert link here}

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