My 9 y.o. Daughter has a real bad habit of dropping her hands when she starts her swing. Her hands are set between her right cheek and ear. As she starts to swing, her hands drop straight down to her right chest/armpit area, then she proceeds with her swing, always resulting in a uppercut motion. She is constantly hitting fouls and pop ups. The kid has real good pop on her balls, but is cheating herself of hitting success. Thanks for the help, Jerry
Swing Smarter Response Hey Jerry, there are two things that need to be addressed here. 1) your daughter's hands are probably set too high in her stance and need to start at the bottom of her hand drop.
2) She's probably not getting any hand load pivot to get the bat momentum accelerating before impact, and she's using her arms to do it instead.
Number 1 is an easy fix, so let's address issue #2. Most hitting instructors teach "push the hands back towards the catcher" or "get separation", as the stride foot goes forward, the hands move back towards the catcher...heck there's even a hitting aid to help with this called the Pitcher's Nightmare or something like it.
You look at guys like Miguel Carbrera, Josh Hamilton, Barry Bonds, Jose Bautista, and even Ted Williams and you'll see them hand load pivot (or Pre-Launch Torque as BatSpeed.com puts it), where the top hand pivots over the bottom hand pushing the barrel towards the pitcher over the head...I teach a small hand pivot about 1 inch or so, which translates to a modest 3-4 inch barrel movement.
Watch Teddy Ballgame's Pre-Launch Torque
Look, a hitter doesn't have to have as much pre-launch torque as Ted Williams, but like I said, 1 inch movement with the top hand is more than enough.
This gets the hands to create momentum with the barrel and builds a better slot position. We want to accelerate the barrel from Cushion (stride) to Slot, so that once we're in the Impact Position the barrel is already accelerated. In other words, we don't want to be still accelerating at Impact.
Speaking of a little less Pre-Launch Torque with the hands as Ted Williams...
Check out Jose Bautista's swing, and pay close attention to his hands in the Pre-Launch Torque phase as he loads his hips and before his stride foot touches the ground (watch the barrel slightly point in the direction of the pitcher as he loads)...
Jerry, this will definitely help stop your daughter from dropping her hands, we just have to give those paws something more constructive to do...remember the phrase, "Idle Hands are the Devil's Playground." ;)
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