What is the Right Hand Path During and After Hip Thrust??
Jeff Kent in Slot Position
Hey i know the swing is more "hip thrust" important than hand path, but when the thrust does finish and the hands start whipping through what are the hands or top hand's job at that point thanks.
Swing Smarter Response:
Great question JB, and one that can merit a 2,000 word essay. I'm not going to reinvent the wheel here...quite a bit of the information below comes from Chas at I.T.S. Baseball & The Baseball Hitting Rebellion Blog, so feel free to CLICK HERE and read this Down & Through Myths article. I personally think the Comments at the bottom of the article are SUPER-priceless, so please check them out as well.
Regarding proper "Nike Swoosh" swing hand path...I agree, hip thrust is "the" most important part of the swing in generating consistency and power, but also one of the hardest hitting concepts to unlearn if a hitter isn't doing it correctly.
My QUICK answer to help fix hip thrust and keeping a great palm up/down hand path??
My best suggestion to learn a great 2-geared hip thrusting swing is swinging with a 6 foot garden utility thick handle you can purchase at Home Depot located in the Garden shovel and rake area (this is for older players...younger ones need a slightly smaller and thinner handled one).
This keeps a great palm up/down hand path through the zone, forces the hips & core to "lead" the shoulders and arms, and if you hear a long whooosh sound behind the hitter, over the impact zone, and through contact during the swing, then you're on the right hand-path.
Now, that's the short of it...technically,
Hand path starts after the Slot position, where the knob will be pointing at the opposing batter's box and bat shaft hugs tight to the rear shoulder with barrel pointing same direction as hitter's back, and begins it's descent down to the Area of Impact (AOI).
From the Slot Position to the start of the AOI, the barrel is "accelerating," and once it enters the Impact Zone, the barrel will already be "accelerated."
This is reverse is true with Down & Through...hand path is "accelerating" through impact...don't we want to be at top speed when we hit the ball, NOT just getting there?
Once the hips begin to clear, at the beginning of the Impact Zone, the slotted back elbow will resemble that of a one arm (palm up) rowing motion, almost similar to an outward uppercut, away from the body and towards the pitcher.
The sooner we can get into the palm up/down hand position the better, after Slot.
The bottom hand stays slightly bent and snug to the rub cage...this is for any late adjustments the body must make if it gets fooled by a cutter in or an inside fastball the brain miscalculated. You see this bent front elbow on a lot of Big League inside pitches.
The tighter we keep the elbows to the body, the faster the rotation, similar to an Olympic ice skater spinning in place.
Adjustment cannot be made to a D&T swing during the Impact Zone because the body is focusing on acceleration still...with the "Nike Swoosh" swing, we've already accelerated to that point, so we've built in a little margin for error.
At Impact, the following information flies in the face of all conventional wisdom (I actually got into a hitting argument recently with one of my best buddies and Fresno State teammate about this), the barrel drops below the hands behind the back hip and gets on the pitched baseball plane.
This is where Chas's (and my own) hitting philosophy differ from "Rotational" styles...
From there, as a result of the top hand's sweat, we keep the barrel on plane significantly past contact (top hand rowing motion mentioned earlier).
So, bottom line JB?
Between the core and hip thrust doing most of the work getting the 2-ton fly wheel turning, the top hand is just a guide through ball to barrel Impact.
I hope this helps, and any questions, please feel free to respond in the Comments section...