Trouble Hitting the High Pitch...
(East Setauket, New York)
Albert Pujols hitting the high pitch
Your site explains the technique of hitting down and through the baseball. You explain how to keep front elbow and knob down to the ball. My experience tells me that is the best for any pitch from the waste down. Pretty much the modern day strike zone.
During high-school ball many umps call the high pitch a strike. Instead of the front elbow and knob working down do they just work straight out? Please explain the proper technique for hitting the high pitch.
Swing Smarter Response:
Hey Billy, great question. As you might have read on some of the more recent Swing Smarter submitted articles, I'm adjusting my whole hitting philosophy away from Down & Through to more of a Positional Hitting approach Jaime Cevallos has written about in his book Positional Hitting.
Recently I responded to a question about adjusting the height of an arm pitching machine because a team of young hitters were having trouble hitting taller than average pitchers...
In the article we talked about a different approach to hitting high from low pitches, here's what I said:
"I would advise adjusting the height of the IronMike, or having an adult throw BP (who's arm is NOT hanging of course). And, working on the high pitch is always a good thing. There is a BIG difference in approach between high and low pitches...
To hit a low pitch (at or below knees), the hitter needs to see the ball deeper and allow the back shoulder to dip slightly (like the Pujols pic #2 above).
With a high pitch, the dip is taken out of back shoulder by the front elbow staying down...I think Epstein calls this Weather Vanning (Pujols pic #1).
On bat path...
Think about the path of the barrel being like a Nike Swoosh sign, we have to make a smooth transition from the Slot to Impact positions with a slight upswing to the slight downward plane of the incoming baseball."
You see Billy, the trouble with Down & Through is the inability to be consistent with three different swings (1) inside pitch, 2) pitch down the middle, and 3) outside pitch).
With the Nike Swoosh swing plane and leading with the hips, we have one swing that hits all three pitches, instead of leading with the knob to three different pitch locations as is with Down & Through.
Positional hitting is both power and consistency combined. The two Pujols pics above are perfect examples as to the difference of hitting a high from a low pitch. Hope this helps!