Watching good hitters with their pre-swing mechanics they start their stride before the pitcher releases the ball and they drop their front foot/heel when the pitch has travelled about 75% to the plate depending on speed, pitch.
Major League hitters with big leg kicks ala Bautista start leg kick on pitchers break of the hands. Hitters with small leg kicks appear to start when pitchers hand starts forward.
Assuming that dropping the front foot/heel initiates the swing when should the front heel drop? Please explain proper "pre-swing mechanics."
Also, should the front heel hit at the same time for a fastball and a breaking pitch (and just adjust keeping hands back for breaking pitch).
Swing Smarter Response: Billy, it sounds like you've done your fair share of video swing analysis and research on the proper "Major League Swing" for both power and consistency.
There is debate as to whether it's the heel dropping or the front leg straightening that initiates the swing. I'm a believer in the latter.
I agree with Jaime Cevallos's Positional Hitting philosophy that we cannot initiate hip rotation until the front heel drops, so why not set it down and use the front knee as a Cushion for making our adjustment on breaking or off speed pitches?
The Cushion uses bigger muscles and can make a better adjustment to off speed and breaking pitches than using the heel to initiate a one flavor swing, in other words, the heel drop (which Epstein promotes) doesn't allow us too much room (or time for that matter) for error.
I describe to my kids, the heel drop to initiate hip rotation is like the financial position of putting windshield wipers on our front headlights (ala Volvo). All they are are another expense when they break. Plus, what the heck do we need windshield wipers on our headlights for anyway?!!!
Anyway, why not put the whole foot down, get the extra milli-second for pitch recognition and adjustment, and put our mental energy focusing on the straightening of the front leg to initiate hip rotation? Which I think is way more important. See below...
Check out from 7-11 seconds of this slow motion video of Chase Utley hitting, one can clearly see it's not his heel drop initiating the swing, it's his front leg locking out.
Also, watch what happens to Utley's front hip when the front leg starts to straighten, it moves back towards the catcher. As this happens what's the opposite and equal reaction to the back hip?? It pushes forward to the pitcher, initiating hip thrust!
Great thoughts Billy! :)
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