What Starts The Swing / When To Start
by Tim Cole
Is it the hips or hands? Do you start your stride as soon as the ball leaves the pitchers hand? I have heard so many different people say this or that. I think I read somewhere in your numerous articles (which I love by the way)that the bat doesn't come off shoulder until the hips clear, is this correct. If so what does that mean. If you can tell I am baseball swing junkie, I really believe in your system. You can use my previous question for your site as well. Still trying to send video. Found out camera not compatible with Windows Vista at least software not. Thanks Tim
Swing Smarter Answer:
Hey Tim, glad you like the site information and the kudos are very much appreciated. I feel like there's so much misinformation out there, somebody had to set the record straight (not saying my way is the highway, but it does make the most sense to me and apparently others).
Also thanks for the previous email, I'm going to put it in the swing training section, and if & when you can get the camera/software thing (I hate what Microsoft did with Vista by the way) fixed, then I'll add it to that post.
Answering the questions of a fellow baseball swing junkie, the hips start and tempo the swing, we can clearly see this in Ted Williams's The Science of Hitting, one of the baseball hitting bibles of our time. We also have to be careful, because if rotated too hard or too much, the hips can get us into trouble. Check out this less is more Swing Smarter article.
As for when to start the stride...it's funny you asked these questions because I'm working on a series of articles going over Swing Smarter's version of the 5 swing phases...the Stance, Load, Launch, Down, and Through.
The stride should initiate just after the pitcher's stride foot hits the ground (generally speaking of course); we want to have the foot down and out of the way as soon as possible, so our eyes and brain can concentrate on committing to the pitch or not. The stride gives no power to the swing whatsoever (contrary what some hitting pundits believe), it's merely a timing mechanism.
After the stride, we're in the Launch Phase of the swing, and then begin the Down part, which is when the hips lead untwisting (back hip to the ball), the hands are taking the knob down to the incoming pitch and keeping the barrel over the back shoulder. This keeps us short to the ball and inside-out (like Derek Jeter)...
The bat then drops down below the hands into the hitting zone where the Through phase of the swing takes over. Short to it, long through it.
The hips do clear (although not completely) while keeping the barrel above the shoulder in the Down Phase of the swing, but don't get there 100% until the Through Phase.
I hope this helps, and please keep in touch as too how your 12-year-old does in the coming weeks=-)
All the best in Swinging Smarter,