One of the best things we can do as a hitter in order to increase our bat speed and increase our power production is to make sure that we get hip separation when we swing. This aspect of the swing is often over looked as most hitters believe that if their hips are rotating this is sufficient enough to generate the bat speed and power necessary to hit.
The idea that simply rotating the hips generates the power necessary is limiting because it doesn’t allow the hitter to maximize bat speed or to take the shortest possible route to the ball.
After the hitter lands their stride foot and begins their rotation toward the ball the hitter must have their hips rotate first. That is the hips must begin their rotation prior to the hands delivering toward the ball.
Ideally when a hitter begins their rotation toward the ball there should be separation between the back hip and the hands. This movement clears the hips and allows the hands and the bat to have a clear, unobstructed path toward the ball. This enables the hitter to take the shortest path possible to the ball and allows the hitter to keep the barrel above the ball as long as possible. When the barrel stays above the ball as long as possible it allows the hitter to have good posture and be in their strongest position at the point of contact. In addition it allows the hitter to generate backspin on the ball which aids in the carry of the ball.
Hip separation also allows for the build up of torque in the core of the body. When the hips separate from the hands there is a build up of energy that is stored in the core of the body (think of the stretching of a rubber band). The greater the separation of the hips the greater the amount of stored energy in the body (stretching the rubber band farther and farther). When the hands finally begin forward that stored energy is then released into the hands and the bat allowing for greater and greater bat speed (letting go of the rubber band). This energy is then transferred into the ball causing the ball to travel farther.
Too often hitters rotate their hips with their hands together. This looks as though the back hip and the hands are connected by a string. When the back hip begins to rotate the hands move with it. This limits a hitter in two ways: 1) when the hips and hands rotate together the barrel of the bat must travel out and around the hips in order to get to the point of contact. This lengthens out the bat path which doesn’t allow the hitter to have the short compact swing. It also drops the barrel, making it more difficult for the hitter to generate backspin which is necessary for maximum distance. 2) when the hips and hands go together there is no build up of torque. Therefore there is no additional energy transferred into the ball so that hitter will be limited in the results that they can produce.