Why am I Collapsing the Backside?

by Seth

I am a sophomore at a successful JUCO, and I have been dealing with the problem of my backside collapsing. I dealt with this problem throughout high school, but now with facing better pitching it has become more problematic. My shoulder collapses right around foot plant and into rotation.

I can't figure out if this could be just my backside collapsing or if it is a cause and reaction from my front side flying out too much too early.

Its definitely causing me issues as I am having trouble consistently squaring pitches up. Any ideas?

Swing Smarter Response:
Hey Seth, the answer is easy, but the work you need to put in to fix the problem isn't.

This is both a technique AND timing issue.

The easy fix is you have to let the ball get to you deeper into the swing. And, you're right, being out in front is causing all those over-compensations. I would comfortably bet if we watched your swing using video analysis software, then we'd see your back shoulder and hip rotating at the same time (this is what my buddy Chas Pippitt calls a one geared swing).

Much like Joe Dimmagio's swing here in slow motion:

We want to create a two-geared swing where the hips lead and the shoulders follow. Much like Ryan Braun does in the following slow motion video:

Look how Braun's hips have already cleared before the shoulders finish the swing and contact has been made.

A good drill to help with this is swinging a broom handle without the bristles. You want to hear a big long "whoosh" through Impact.

Why do we do it this way?

You see, our body mass is made up accordingly:

  • 60% in the Torso

  • 15% in the arms

  • 25% in the legs

We have to get away from swinging the bat with the upper body arm dominated Down & Through swing. Think about swinging from your spine...rotating around our center axis and using the torso to deliver energy into the ball.

The swing is more about "hip thrust" than hand path to the ball. Look at most of your elite hitters who hit for high OPS and average, and you'll most always see the hips leading the shoulders.

So Seth, my quick suggestion for you is to: let the ball get deeper, and swing a long broomstick.

A good way to work the ball deeper off the tee is the Deep Tee Drill...

Set up the tee so it's in the middle of the plate just behind your front leg. The goal of the drill is to pull the ball to left center field (for a righty). Most Major Leaguers can do this. The object of the drill is to keep the weight, eyes, hands, and point of contact behind the baseball. Don't cheat and scoot the ball farther out front, it has to stay deep, hence the name of the drill.

I hope this helps amigo!

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Love it...
by: Joey from SwingSmarter.com

I'd love to see that Robert!

Required FtLbs
by: Robert Canary

I'm trying to come up with the correct formula to tell what ftlbs are required to to push back a baseball 300 ft. However, one also needs to consider the speed of the pitch, and the bounce of the ball. But if I can get into chart form as I did the Reaction Time chart it would be very useful. One could evaluate the size of a bat needed by the speed of the swing, until optimum power is balance between the weight and the strength of the hitter.

Great job RC, physics!?
by: Joey from SwingSmarter.com

@Robert: right on my man!! I love it, it really shows a more apples to oranges comparison between Joe D. and Ryan B. huh?

Yes, weight and length of the bat were waaaaay different back when Joe played versus today. Bigger ballparks, less games, etc. Although bats started getting lighter at this time, I think the switch to Northern White Ash was just beginning because Ted Williams started swinging a lighter bat (36 ounces??) toward the end of his career).

I find it interesting Robert, of you putting numbers to the amount of force Joe v. Braun applies into the baseball. I know, looking back on guys who put up bigger OPS numbers than Joe D., guys like Ruth, Williams, Gehrig, Mantle, Mays, etc. you see a definite distinction between upper v. lower half mechanics (two-geared swings).

Joe hit 361 career home-runs with shortened time because of the war, but so did Williams who hit 521 during the same time period, big difference in career numbers.

Joe was also a freak in that he rarely struck out, nearly had as many career strikeouts as home-runs, AND to hit in 56 consecutive games will NEVER be challenged. All with that 41 oz bat!

Also, in only 13 full seasons, his career OPS was an outstanding .977 (.398 OBP and .579 Slug%). If you're above .340 OBP in the Big Leagues you're above average, and the same can be said for above a .550 Slugging.

Now back to force on the baseball, according to your calculations Robert, Ryan Braun has to swing a faster bat (85 v. 75mph) to keep up with the force generated by Joltin' Joe's bat...and still Joe beats Braun in ultimate Force at Impact!!

This is why I actively promote kids swinging bigger heavier bats...with a heavier bat, the swing is less likely to be over-done (front side flying out, lunging, etc.), and will be smoother and more balanced.

You're right Robert, the swing must start earlier with a heavier bat, but guys like Joe, Teddy, and the Mick & Babe were SUPER at anticipating pitches, so they could get away with swinging those telephone poles ;)

Great post Robert, thanks once again!

Wieght vs. Speed
by: Robert Canary

Joey, I like your comparison between Joe and Ryan. I would like to add some seasoning to that thought.

I believe Joe's swing is good representation of the upper-to-lower force ratio. While it appears Joe's "upper" gear is coming around to earlier, I think perhaps we should think about the force being exerted. Or more precisely the "rotational inertia" (CLICK HERE for details).

Joe swings a 41oz bat, WHOOA!! thats a heavy bat!
Ryan swings a 31.5oz bat, Still a big bat, but 10oz smaller. Why would I bring that up?

Because according to the math, Joe's bat actually has more power (Inertia X velocity) at the point of impact than Ryan's bat. However, you better be on target when you pull the trigger on that big cannon, because there is no pulling back, or even trying to adjust to a change-up or a slider.

Joe has to start his upper gear earlier. As a result both gears are in-sync. In order for a lighter bat (such as a 31.5oz) to produce the same impact power, it must compensate the mass with speed. Ryan's swing has to wind the hips out first giving his upper gear something to pull aginst in order to produce the required speed. Wow, can you imagine if someone could accelerate a 41oz bat the way Ryan accelerates a 31.5oz. {mumbling to self, while staring off into the distance}....

... okay, I'm back now ....

Ryan swings a 32.5oz(2.5lb)/34in with a bat speed of 85mph (124.667 feet-per-sec), assuming max bat speed happens at the point of impact.

Now figure in Inertia.
I = mass X (Distance to center of rotation squared)
I = 2.5lb x (34" x 34")
I = 2.5lb x 1156in (convert to feet = 8.027)
I = 20.07ftlb

Thats just inertia now multiple that by the actually movement (velocity)
You get 2501.75 Square ftlbs being transferred to the that ball.

Doing the same math for Joe where Joe's swing was reported at 75mph. Gives you
Bat: 42oz = 2.62499lb
Length: 36 in
I = 23.62 ftlb
V = 75mph = 110fps
Force at impact: 2598.74 ftlbs

Hmmmm ..... that sort of throws a kink in my thought process .......

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