Pulling front shoulder out and long swing.

by Tim

Ryan Braun leading with the hips creating Bat

Ryan Braun leading with the hips creating Bat "Lag"

My coaches tell me to shorten my swing and keep my front shoulder in.. Help?

Swing Smarter Response:
Hey Tim, great question and one a ton of other hitter's have a problem with. I'm not going to reinvent the wheel here, so I'm going to copy and paste a response Chas Pippitt of our new sponsored blog Baseball Hitting Rebellion posted by a reader with the same query...

Our reader Jerry asked:

"I coach high school girls fast pitch softball. To be short and to the point I face two consistent problems: 1) flying away with the front shoulder which leads to other problems; spinning, casting of the hands head leaving with shoulder, etc. Do you have any suggestions or drills to help correct this?"

The other issue doesn't concern your question here, so here's Chas's response:

"1: With regards to your first inquiry: make sure the girls understand that the hips turn the shoulder...not the shoulder turning the hips.

Imagine throwing a softball sidearm...this is usually not what you want your players do to...but if you have them LIGHTLY throw a few softballs sidearm towards the end of the cage, they’ll naturally lead with their hips and delay their back shoulder, then the shoulder, elbow and finally the hand with the ball whips through. (this is a tough drill with right handed throwers/left handed hitters as their back hand won’t be their throwing hand).

Now...ask them what lead? Shoulders and hands? Or hips? Hitters in baseball and softball are taught to throw the knob at the ball...or throw the hands...and this causes them to START the hands before they start the hips. If you find a girl who can throw a softball ‘hand first’ leading the shoulder and hips...then PLEASE email me a video! I’d love to see it.

Starting the hands first...or being a ‘bottom hand hitter’ can cause all of the mistakes you’re describing. Usually ‘shoulder’ and ‘vision’ and casting’ problems are all due to hips not being far enough ahead of the shoulder in the rotation of the hitter."

Get it Tim? Pulling the front shoulder out is a result of leading with the bottom hand and generally more devastating, swinging the bat with the upper body. Whether talking about the baseball or softball swing, we need to teach our hitters to lead with the hips first.

If you haven't seen our first article on Chas Pippitt's Baseball Hitting Rebellion Blog, then check it out. Please read through some of the comments, because Chas is a hitting technique "freak!" The Blog was just started, so not too much content yet, but get ready because the Hitting Rebellion has begun :D

Comments for Pulling front shoulder out and long swing.

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by: Mike

That is the first explanation of "pulling off the ball" that has made sense yet and is such a simple explanation. I've been scouring the web for the cause and found plenty of useless drills (some detrimental) that explained nothing to the root cause. Knowing the cause can lead to a solution. Thank you.

Back knee
by: Joey from SwingSmarter.com

@Leslie Wong Jr.: The back knee DOES NOT drive the hips around. 1) Spine engine mechanics do. 2) Pre-loading springy connective tissue in the torso before landing. And, 3) The front side extending and clearing amplifies the turning of the pelvis. Focusing on back knee positioning during the turn will be an inefficient transfer of energy.

Back knee
by: Leslie Wong Jr

That back knee turning down and in is what drives those hips around. All starts with the back foot contact with ground. Often you will see guys who stance is wide open, rotate on that back foot. Basically "pre-loading" the back foot

Double Knee Inside Load
by: Joey from SwingSmarter.com


You're correct! As the hips open first (Gear #1), the next link in the kinetic chain under the hips, the knee, begins to bow in under the torque. The hands should have already slotted by now and start to get whipped around into the Impact Position (Gear #2). Finally the last link under the knee in the kinetic chain, the ankle, delays rotation until the torque of the knee has built up too much "winding" motion for the ankle to delay anymore, so it pops up.

by: Keith

Hey joe that is good suggestion, however, they say to keep the hands back, I watch a lot of mlb power hitter like mcquire and pujhols and looks as if their back knee turns down and in before the hands comes forward. was wondering your thought on that.

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