Wednesday, November 22, 2017

A Coach’s Perspective

May 27, 2010 by  
Filed under Vol #3, Publications


1960’s Hitting Records – Who had the most hits (1,877) Who had the most home runs (393)? 

Frank Howard, Brooks Robinson, Hank Aaron, Roberto Clemente, Maury Wills, Carl Yastrzemski, Harmon Killebrew 

 One of the most confusing aspect of the hitting process is wading through the concepts that surround the styles and how they are defined. Every coach has a slightly different interpretation when it comes to hitting; some are quite similar yet others seem to be light years apart. All I can do is what I know to be true for me as a coach and hitting instructor. Your job is no different. You have to think and you have to do what makes the most sense for you and your players.  

The following is my interpretation of hitting mechanics and what I believe to be true, and as a life-long learner I will continue to grow, challenge myself and ask the tough question, do I believe what I am teaching. 

Lets get to it. 

The way I view hitting is simple, there are two primary hitting styles with a third that has been tossed around: rotational, linear and weight shift or weight transfer.  

For those of you that are familiar with my material you already know how I define rotational mechanics: Weight Transfer, Hips Lead the Hands, Leveling and Ideal Impact. Rotational mechanics derive from Ted Williams and the work Epstein has done in designing a teaching system that promotes the use of these mechanics. Now, with that said, I also believe that weight transfer was not addressed as a major element in Epstein’s system and is an absolutely vital part of the swing process. Which is exactly why I made it my very first principle of hitting.  

The notion of players swinging from the rear-ends and swinging for the fences is the image that many coaches get hung up on when they are referring to rotational mechanics. Example, I posted a video addressing weight transfer on You Tube and I received a comment stating that the video clip was not rotational mechanics and that really very few players use rotational mechanics. In fact, Reggie Jackson is one of only a small handful of hitters that are true rotational hitters and the others are all weight transfer hitters. 


So, I took a couple video clips of Reggie Jackson and what do you know, Reggie was using the exact same mechanics as every player that I have ever written about and studied. He has great weight transfer, leads with the hips, levels with the ball and when his timing was on made ideal impact. To me, that is rotational mechanics. 


The break down is simple. Rotational mechanics with poor weight transfer is just that, poor mechanics if you need to call it something else and label it something different that is perfectly fine by me, all I can do is what I believe to be true and what makes sense to me as a coach. 

Rotational mechanics are designed to maximize a players potential and teaching players the core principles of hitting are the essence of a great hitter. 

In the Epstein system players are taught to “sit” this for me did not go over well and was counter-productive to what I wanted my players doing. Players that sit or squish the bug restrict their backside and will cause a separation between the upper and lower body to occur, and that is not good.  

As for the rest of his training material you will have to decide on your own. 

How I view the linear approach is as follows: The linear approach is just that, linear. Straight down to the path of the ball hitting the top third of the ball. The hands led the hips and their is a large emphasis and thrusting the hands towards the ball. 


Where as with rotational mechanics I teach leveling, meaning getting the barrel level to the ball meeting it directly square on the nose. Ted Williams referred to this as lining up the “joy spot” of the ball to the “joy spot” of the bat and coming from the greatest hitter to ever play the game, that has an impact on me as a coach. 

 It is this very concept of leveling and the approach to the ball that clearly defines the difference between rotational and linear mechanics. If you look at the body angles and see what is happening in the swing process you will begin to get a sense of what is really happening in the swing. This to me is more powerful than anything that I have ever read and is precisely why I teach and believe in rotational mechanics. 





As for the weight transfer theory of hitting, I think it is great as long as you are following great weight transfer with the “hips leading the hands”, “leveling” and “ideal impact” or what I like to refer to as rotational mechanics.  


Meet Kate, a great young player from the Oregon area I have had the pleasure to work with and get to know and let me tell you she gets it… Rotational Mechanics in fastpitch. 


1960’s Hitting Records – Who had the most hits (1,877) Who had the most home runs (393)?

Frank Howard, Brooks Robinson, Hank Aaron, Roberto Clemente, Maury Wills, Carl Yastrzemski, Harmon Killebrew


Most Hits – Roberto Clemente – 1,877

Most Homeruns – Harmon Killebrew – 393

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