Obviously there are a number of factors that go into creating a mechanically sound swing. Since hitting is a kinetic chain the smallest details can end up producing massive results. If you’ve had the opportunity to work with me then you’ll know that I’m very detail oriented on every facet of the swing. From where a hitter holds his hands, to the weight distribution in their stance, to even their angle of the bat in their stance. I’ve learned that these small details go a long way in either enabling or preventing a hitter from both maximizing their performance on the field and repeating proper mechanics in game situations.
With all of the changes I sometimes have to make I can see where it might appear to a hitter that developing the mechanics that are going to allow them to reach their potential is a complicated process. Yet everything I do is to allow my hitters to successfully accomplish four keys that will allow them to maximize their performance. Every adjustment I make to their swing simply allows them to execute these four keys easier and with greater efficiency.
The first thing that is vital for a hitter is their posture. In ANY athletic endeavor posture is crucial in order to maximize strength and power. If your posture is slightly off then your ability to do virtually anything physical is greatly compromised. Regardless if you’re running, throwing, lifting weights, hitting or anything else for that matter small breakdowns in your posture will breakdown the entire mechanics of what you’re trying to do. Sprinters whose hips are slightly off won’t be able to run at their peak level, weightlifters won’t be able to lift the amount of weight they’re capable of lifting, for hitters not only will poor posture compromise how strong you are at the point of contact but it will also affect your ability to execute the other 3 keys in good hitting mechanics. For that reason posture is the first thing I look at when working with a new hitter.
2. Head Stability
Head Stability and posture go hand in hand. Poor posture will have a tendency to cause poor head stability however poor head stability will certainly breakdown good posture. For that reason head stability is the second thing I look at when evaluating a hitter. For obvious reasons head stability is important. I mean attached to your head is your eyes and if your head moves then your eyes move with it, making it much more difficult to pick up the ball. Outside of that however poor head stability will cause the hitter’s posture to breakdown which as we just learned will affect strength at the point of contact not to mention the other 2 important aspects of good swing mechanics. In addition poor head stability will not allow a hitter to maximize rotational speed which will slow bat speed and affect performance.
3. Hip Separation
The third thing I look at is hip separation. The more hip separation a hitter is able to get the more power they are able to produce. Hip separation creates torque in the core of the body which turns into stored energy until ultimately the hands are released. The more hip separation a player can create the more energy is stored in the core. Once the hands start toward the ball that energy is then released into the bat and then the ball at the point of contact. In addition to the creation of energy hip separation is vital in maximizing the last key in hitting which aids in helping the hitter get into their strongest possible position at the point of contact.
4. Bat Path
The fourth and final thing I look at is making sure a hitter is maximizing their bat path. A proper bat path is crucial because it allows a hitter to transfer all of their available energy into the ball, be in their strongest position at the point of contact, maximize their extension through the hitting zone (which allows the hitter more room for error), and creates backspin which maximizes carry on the ball. Bat path is the biggest thing I see that limits hitters at every level. From high school to the major leagues there are only a few hitters who truly maximize their bat path consistently. I think that this is due in large part to a lot of misinformation out there about what the proper bat path is and a number of old hitting ideas that get past down year after year without understanding how what they’re doing is affecting bat path and how this then affects performance.
So there you have it my 4 keys to maximizing mechanics. By gaining mastery over these 4 areas you’ll be able to get the most out of your body and begin to maximize your potential.