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The Crucial Power Swing Sequence
recently bought a car for my daughter that is a 5-speed stick shift. Teaching a
teenage girl how to drive a stick has been interesting. There is a sequence to
the process. When driving a stick, you have to:
the clutch in
Combine the clutch with the gas pedal
into first gear
sounds easy but takes a while to get to work smoothly. That process only puts
you in first gear. You now start another sequence to get into the next gear and
so on. Just as there are sequences to driving a 5 speed, so it goes also with
the swing. The proper sequence is essential to having consistent success at the
your stride foot comes down, your weight needs to be balanced to 60% back with
your hands around the back foot. This is a critical position to be in to hit
for average and power.
stride should start early, it should be easy and your stride foot should be
down by the time the ball gets half way to three quarters of the way to home
the stride, as the front heel lands, the back heel should start to lift off
the ground. This will start the proper sequence with the lower half of the
is not a two part movement.
the back heel comes up the rotation of the hips will start.
don't want to push forward off your back foot- this will force your hips to
slide forward, you want more of a rotational movement at this point.
after the backside starts turning, your hands will start their path to the
I can tell by looking at a hitter's take whether or not he has a good approach,
if he is going to over swing, or if he is going to be under control. The take is
so important because it is the first sequence in the approach to the ball. If
the take is hard, the swing is going to be hard and out of control. Many
mechanical breakdowns occur when the swing is out of control. If the take is
easy, more than likely the swing is going to be under control. If the swing is
balanced and under control the sequence will work properly so you will be able
to repeat your swing and have a good feel for what you are doing. As a
hitting instructor, when I see a hitter that has a nice take, not too hard and
not too easy, I know he has a chance of success regardless of whom he is facing.
proper take is one with good balance and proper heel - toe action. If the heel -
toe action is correct, the hip sequence is good. If I don't see the proper heel
toe action, I know the hip sequence is incorrect. If the lower half action is
correct, my eyes go to the hitter's hands. I want to see the hands start to
every pitch. So as the back heel starts its turn, the hands will start their
approach to the ball.
Let's examine the path the hands will take through the swing. The goal of the
swing is to keep the barrel of the bat in the strike zone for as long as you
the barrel of the bat in the strike zone with the shortest possible angle.
the barrel of the bat in the strike zone for as long as possible.
Finish with extension out front with a good follow through.
you do this, you will have an efficient swing, one that will be consistent and
repeatable. Staying inside the ball will:
you to make adjustments with your hands on different types of pitches
you to keep the barrel of the bat in the strike zone for a long time
your wrists cocked and the barrel back for better bat speed.
Keeping the barrel of the bat in the contact zone as long as possible is what
you want to do. This reduces your margin for error. Your timing does not have to
be perfect. Every good Major League hitter stays inside the ball. Staying inside
the ball allow you to be accurate with the barrel of the bat to the ball which
will allow you to hit for high average and increased power as you gain more
strength. Picture this: imagine someone driving a rod through your shoulder,
through your back leg, and through the knee. The line should be straight through
your body with your back heel up. You will either end up on the top of the toe,
or just turning a bit on the ball of the foot. I prefer that you get up onto the
back toe to make sure your weight is in the center position at the point of
contact. After contact, and during your follow through, your weight will be
balanced. The key here is to go from back to center.
Leverage plays a very important role in the process of hitting for power. It is
one of the components of having a firm foundation. If you don't hit against a
firm front leg, you will not create the needed leverage for power hitting.
you start your approach to the ball, the back heel will come off the ground.
this point the front knee will start to firm up.
will help push the front hip out to give you the correct hip action.
your front knee is bent, and by that I mean not firm, (because there can be a
slight flex in the knee yet still be firm) you will lose a tremendous amount
of kids that play baseball at the youth league level have long swings. They can
get away with it for awhile but it eventually catches up to them as they advance
in their playing career. It's unfortunate because with the proper instruction,
many of these kids could have a shorter, more explosive swing which would lead
to success. A long swing can be a
too heavy a bat.
Having used an aluminum bat which has such a large sweet spot that gives the
appearance of a good swing which can be deceptive until you face good
Trying to hit the ball too far and over swinging.
Casting the barrel of the bat out from your back shoulder, thus forcing your
hands away from your body. This action forces you to use your upper body to
swing the bat and you are no longer using your wrists to their full advantage.
getting into a strong position soon enough.
Improper sequence of swing.
is very important to take a proper and consistent angle to the ball; the lower
half of your body is what allows you to take this angle. If the feet and hips
are not working correctly, the hands and arms will not be able to take the
correct path to the ball. Also mentally the hitter must not be thinking home run
or have these types of thoughts in his mind. These thoughts will throw off the
proper swing rhythm and sequence of the swing. The approach must be
fundamentally sound from the ground up or somewhere along the line you will
reach your ceiling and improvement will stop. This is why it is so vital that
these mechanics are learned as soon as possible, the more time that lapses, the
more difficult it becomes to overcome.
- 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
hitting coach in the Oakland Athletics' organization.