I have Trouble Pulling my Head Out

by Oscar Tramontano
(New York)

You can see the 60 degree spinal tilt in Ryan Braun

You can see the 60 degree spinal tilt in Ryan Braun

You can see the 60 degree spinal tilt in Ryan Braun
Albert Pujols getting MAX hip thrust and the front leg straight

Hey i'm a lefty and i'm fifteen and recently i've been pulling my head out and striking out. But, my swing is really good its just my head is not on the ball for the ball the go anywhere. Any advice?

Swing Smarter Response:
Hey Oscar, we definitely can't hit what we can't see, right?! And if we're pulling our head, or bringing your eyes up too quickly to see where the ball is going, then we're way too susceptible to ANY pitch besides the inside fastball.

I'm wondering if this is just happening when you're facing a lefty pitcher? Or does it matter which side of the mound the ball is coming from?

Typically lefty hitters have a hard time keeping the front shoulder and head in while facing lefty pitchers because they don't see enough of them early on in their baseball careers. But, even more critical...

The reason for the front side, including the head, pulling out is because we're too dependent on the upper body for power. As my buddy Chas Pippitt puts it, you have to think of the swing as 2 gears: Lower and Upper.

The lower body is purely rotational generating torque with the upper...the upper body and primarily the top hand helps guide the barrel in the direction we want the ball to go, giving us that "through" part of the swing past impact.

Imagine what you do when trying to throw sidearm, you lead with the hips, pull the throwing arm in close to the body, and follow the hips with the whip in the shoulders and arm. 1 gear (hips), 2 gear (shoulders and arm).

Hip thrust is limited in a pulling-off-the-ball swing, and the best way to increase hip thrust is to practice swinging a broom stick without the bristles. The "whoosh" sound should be long through the impact zone, starting off the back hip, and ending about 1-2 feet past contact.

Swinging the broom stick will create wind resistance making it difficult for the upper body, alone, to swing it. Also, a heavier training bat, like the "Heavy Swing", will help to improve your hip thrust as well.

The Drive Developer Baseball Hitting System will improve proper alignment of the body before, during, and after impact as well.

Another drill helping with hip thrust is focusing on straightening the front leg after the stride foot lands to initiate the rotational part of the swing.

You can try this swinging off a tee by breaking the swing into 2 parts: pausing after the stride foot lands, then focus on straightening the front leg and swinging. Hold your swing finish, so that your spine is angled at 60 degrees toward the catcher.

We call this recoiling (you see this on slow motion video with the head), and is crucial to leveraging power into the ball...all consistently powerful Major Leaguers do this...Pujols, Longoria, Braun, etc.

By straightening your front leg, this moves the front hip back towards the catcher, and most importantly, moves the back hip forward towards the incoming pitch. One of the rules of the universe (and physics) is for each action, there's an opposite and equal reaction. The front leg straightens pushing the front hip back, which brings the back hip forward. In THRUST we trust!!

Check out this YouTube video of a lefty, Chase Utley, and watch what happens to his hips as the front leg straightens up (second 9 through 11 of the video)...

Oscar, this should help, please let me know how it goes amigo!

Oh, and one other thing...

Try not to look up to soon to pick up the ball, hit the ball first, then pick up your eyes to see where the ball is going ;)

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Straightening the front leg
by: Joey from SwingSmarter.com


Good question...you'll see the front leg straightening at impact, or maybe just before, on elite hitters. This is the final push for super hip thrust that gets the front hip moving back towards the catcher and the back hip forward towards the pitcher.

front knee extending
by: jerry

joey at what point when hitting live pitching , would you suggest the the front knee straighten or extends? at heel plant, just before contact or right at contact.

back arm in the swing
by: jerry

joey im glad you mention to keep the back arm tight .when your describing the back arm motion like a side arm throwing motion . I first learned of that idea from a on line from a hitting instructor named jack mankin then I read it again in cevallos book postional hitting .but for a long time I wasnt teaching it correctly . I wasnt keeping the back arm tight enough . that why I think that drill you do is very vauable . the one where you stick the ball in between the bicep and forearm of the back arm and swing I guess you can do this drill with one or two two hand

Keeping the head still
by: Anonymous

I agree with Joey.

Here's a couple of other ideas:

1. When hitting off of a tee, continue to keep your eyes on the tee tip even after you've hit the ball.

2. When doing tee work or soft toss, put your baseball glove on your head. (usually over your cap) If it falls off when you swing, your head is moving too much.

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