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Coach Andy's Hitting E-zine, #39 - Hitting Answers
April 03, 2007
Hitting Answers to Your QuestionsSeems like I hit a nerve. I like giving hitting answers, but I received more questions on this one newsletter than any of the prior 37 newsletters.
It sounds like this is still a very controversial topic and is creating problems for coaches, parents and batters alike.
Maybe some of my answers to the questions will help you where you are with your hitters.
Question: To be honest I don't see a whole lot of difference between the 2 styles. I know the rotational has the hips going 1st & the hands stay on plane with the ball trying to hit it over the pitcher's head. But doesn't a hitter need to have proper mechanics before they can decide which style is for them?
Answer: For the most part, you might be correct, but there are a couple of areas that are included in their mechanics that are significantly different so you have to decide before.
The 2 significant differences are 1) you swing slightly up vs. swinging down and 2) the other is the way the hips turn. One pulls from the front and the center axis moves, while the other turns around a stationary axis pushing from the back.
Those are 2 very different methods that need to be determined up front as to which you'll practice or you'll get a mish mash of the two and not have a good swing of either style.
Question: Your information is very helpful...but what about the fastpitch softball swing? What do you have for that?
Answer: My pages are full of information about both swings, which I mention are used in fastpitch softball and that it could apply to baseball as well.
If you don't like the rotational swing for fastpitch softball I have a whole page on the linear swing, which many consider a fastpitch swing.
Question: What do you mean by a "rotational" hitter and such? What do you mean by "linear"? I have never heard those terms before and I have been playing a long time.
Answer: Go to my web page on hitting for both styles. http://www.theinternethittingcoach.com/linear-hitting.html and http://www.theinternethittingcoach.com/rotational-hitting.html and if you still need more help see http://www.theinternethittingcoach.com/hitting-video.html
A final thought about learning a new hitting techniqueI received a letter from Mike Peppers in LaFayette, Georgia that sums up some good thoughts if you're taking kids from a swing they knew to a new swing. Here are his wise thoughts:
You helped my daughter with her change from linear to rotational swing mechanics over the net and phone calls. I wanted to make a few comments on the letter from John in reference to poor hitting when changing over.
First is to be patient. When you teach the kids in the beginning, do not insist that they change over all at once. Give them the basics and encourage them to practice. Remember that in order to burn in new muscle memory it takes from 1500 – 2000 repetitions. (I saw an article which advised that a female takes twice as many repetitions to burn in muscle memory, but I think it all depends on the individual).
Tell your players to swing their normal swings when they go to the plate as they burn this new swing motion in. If they practice, their muscle memory will at some point begin to influence their game swing.
I’ve been doing it with our team and in our first tournament we scored a total of 96 runs and allowed only 11 while going undefeated and coming in first place in the tournament (11 and 12 YO girls).
More Hitting AnswersQuestion: My 11 yr old daughter seems almost afraid of the ball and seems to step back each time she is pitched to. Any tips to stop the stepping back?
Answer: I do a number of things, with varying degrees of success with various kids.
A simple approach is to throw soft things at her to hit so she doesn't bail out of the pitches. Things like marshmellows, the softee balls used at the lower levels, nerf balls, etc.
I've used putting a 2 X 4 behind the batter so they feel when they are bailing out. This can be a little dangerous, so you have to know who to do this with.
Maybe it's as simple as practicing the perfect swing over and over again off a tee (and toss) until the old habit is practiced out of her.
Question: I am a high school Varsity Softball coach. I have a SS who is a very good athlete but is having difficulty hitting. She is late and not driving the ball. My assesment is that she is rotating her shoulders rather than driving her bottom hand to the pitcher. Nothing is working. Any suggestions?
Answer: That sounds like a tough problem. Without seeing the swing it's really hard. It sounds like she might be pulling her head.
A couple of things we do is tell her about Ikey and Mikey. If you put Ikey on your lead shoulder and Mikey on your rear shoulder you begin to hit by going into your stance which will place your chin on Ikey. As you rotate, seeing the ball to the bat, you'll end up on Mikey. You won't end up on Mikey if you pull your head.
Another thing we do for the extreme cases is to have the girl bite on her jersey, thus giving her a feeling of pulling, when she pulls away from the ball.
Question: After teaching my 9-yr old rotational hitting last year, he really started hitting. This year, however he is having trouble making contact(especially on pitches up). When he does, he pops up. It looks like he is collapsing his back leg and swinging with too much of an upward arc. Do you have any advice or drills that may help?
Answer: The best drill I know is to find someone with a batting cage and get a 50 ft. piece of twine, string, or rope and attach it to the back side of the cage at a height about where the average size pitcher's release point would be and extend it all the way to the other side where a strike in the middle of the plate would be.
Then have them take their swings along the rope. Then change the rope from the middle of the plate to one through the armpits (letters) and show them how the swing plane changes (but only slightly, not on a huge upward plane). You can change it through the knees.
This is a great visual reminder to them how it should be done.
Hope that was all clear and works well for you.
More Rotational InfoThe hitting instructor who started a lot of talk about rotational hitting was Mike Epstein, who learned his hitting techniques from Ted Williams, himself.
I have 4 of Mike Epstein's books discussing his thoughts on rotational hitting for those wanting more. If you want one of these, you'll need to check out http://www.theinternethittingcoach.com/mike-epstein-on-hitting.html
Again, if you have any questions or comments you can write to me via e-mail.
To see other hitting tips in past newsletters, go to the past issues of my hitting newsletter page.
Welcome to you who are new to my hitting e-zine.
Thanks for reading and talk to you next time.
6801 Dove St. Ventura, CA 93003
Coach Andy Collins has been helping players achieve their goals in softball and baseball for over 30 years. He's an advisor to national teams and can help you be a better hitter. He offers free information on his website www.theInternetHittingCoach.com and through free e-mail hitting lessons and has just introduced a new hitting video discussing and demonstrating how to hit great with either the rotational or linear hitting methods. http://www.theinternethittingcoach.com/hitting-video.html
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