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  Don't Get Caught Following Bad Hitting Advice!
Dave Hudgens Hitting Article


 
By Dave Hudgens

Product Code: ART7
 

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Don't Get Caught Following Bad Hitting Advice!
by Dave Hudgens

Improper hitting instruction can stop a promising athletic career dead in its tracks. This article will expose some of the most damaging BUT widely taught hitting misinformation that is used today.

I have the greatest admiration for parents and volunteer coaches, but it frustrates me to see wrong information being taught that can destroy a player's chance to have more fun, get more hits - or even get a college scholarship. Let's look at two of the worst hitting fallacies in detail, and then look at the long term consequences of repeating these mistakes.

Hitting Fallacy #1: "Get Your Back Elbow Up!"

I cringe every time I hear these words. Every little league coach I have ever heard at one time or another has told his hitters to do this. I asked my friend Chris Bando, a former Major League Coach, what the worst advice he ever heard a little league coach say. Chris is a great person to ask since he has had five boys in Little League. The first thing he said to me was, "The absolute worst thing I hear all the time is, 'Get your back elbow up!'" He's right. This is the worst advice around, but you hear it everywhere. How many baseball scholarships do you think have been lost just because players blindly followed this one fallacy? This one statement has hurt more young hitters than anything else I've ever heard.

The idea here is to get on top of the ball and hit line drives, but just the opposite occurs. During the swing, the back elbow should come close to the rib cage and the barrel of the bat should stay above the hands. With a high back elbow, the elbow has to travel a much greater distance and at a much faster rate of speed. When this happens, the barrel of the bat will drop below the hands, the front elbow will rise, and you will have a long swing. If this goes on for very long, you have created a habit - a very bad habit.

What about Griffey?

I get asked this question all the time -"What about Griffey, his back elbow is up?" Most coaches and kids don't understand the fact that the elbow can be up in the stance, for that matter the elbow can be anywhere. However, when good Major League hitters with high back elbows in their stance take their stride, their hands go back into a Position of Power. At this point in the approach, their back elbow will relax just before they start their hands.

Unfortunately when unknowledgeable coaches tell young kids to put their elbow up, the kids do not know what this means and generally they do not take their hands back into a good position from which to hit. They also fail to relax the back elbow just before they start their swing. If kids don't relax their back elbow slightly before they start their swing, the back elbow has so far to go that it puts the top hand in a weak position and creates a long swing. 99% of coaches don't know how to put a kid's hands in the correct position nor do they know the correct placement of the back elbow. They just tell kids to get their back elbow up yet they don't have a full understanding of what the hands and arms should be doing at this point.

Long Term Effects of Practicing With Your Back Elbow Up

A 15 year old who started practicing with his back elbow up at age 10 has been practicing 5 years with the improper hitting principles. Some of the consequences are as follows:

    You'll develop a long swing......so you will have difficulty adjusting to different types of pitches.
    You won't be able to get the bat around on an average fastball......having inconsistent at bats.
    You'll hit too many long fly ball outs.......decreasing your batting average.
    You won't adjust well to a curveball, making it hard to succeed against good high school pitchers.
    You'll be inconsistent at making hard contact, making it hard to impress college recruiters or scouts.

Fallacy #2: Your Top Hand Should Roll Over At Contact

This is a very detrimental teaching. Coaches who say this totally misunderstand what part the wrists play in the swing. The common thought is that the top hand rolls over the bottom hand at contact. This is not true. Rolling your top hand over prevents you from taking advantage of the power that explodes through your wrists. Whatever you do, don't roll your top hand over your bottom hand until well after contact is made. At contact, your top hand should be facing up, and your bottom hand should be facing down.

Long Term Effects of Rolling the Top Hand Over the Bottom Hand

    You will hit with less power....creating less bat speed.
    You will hit more weak ground balls....hitting into more double plays.
    You will not make consistent contact....destroying your chances to impress a college scout.
    You will not be able to drive the ball to the opposite field....making you a limited offensive player.

If you are following either of these fallacies, then your hitting career could be in trouble. There is good news - you can now recognize and correct these bad habits and learn the correct swing mechanics.

Dave Hudgens has been involved with the best of baseball for over 30 years. He is currently the Minor League Hitting Coordinator for the Cleveland Indians. Prior to that he was a longtime hitting coach in the Oakland Athletics' organization.

Be sure to check out Coach Hudgens'
Hitting for Excellence DVD Series
:


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