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Thursday, February 4, 2010

Hitting a Baseball - Finding the Root Cause of a Mechanics Problem - Owned and Operated by Baseball Coaches

By Nate Barnett

There is nothing more frustrating for a hitter than having a mechanical problem with the baseball swing and not knowing what the issue is or how to find a solution. While I don't have the ability here (nor do you have the patience to sort through it) to discuss all of the root causes to the countless mechanical failures of a baseball swing, I will give you one for today. Of course, you will need to consult with your hitting instructor for more depth and practical baseball drills to help solve the problem I discuss.

Let me point out the biggest lower body problem for hitters. I say the biggest problem in the sense that it does the most damage when trying to hit a baseball effectively.

The Problem: Hips floating forward

At the beginning of the swing, the hitter must begin to transfer some weight from the (presumably balanced) stance position onto his back leg. The weight distribution will then be roughly 60% weight on back leg, and 40% on front leg. Most hitters can do this step quite easily without a lot of baseball drills to assist.

The second movement a hitter makes is to begin to take some of the weight he has loaded onto his back leg and move it forward to create energy (this is the trigger process). At this time the back knee and foot begin to rotate towards the pitcher. This is when the hips floating forward problem begins for most hitters.

The weight that was originally placed on the back leg MUST remain there as the rotation occurs. You can see if this is happening by looking at the angle of the back leg. If there is a bend in the back leg at the knee (during contact with the baseball), there is a good chance this hitter is keeping his weight back. If the back leg is relatively straight when the hitter makes contact with the pitch, then the problem of hip floating forward has occurred. The only reason this happens is that many times younger hitters think they must move towards the baseball and begin turning their body with their rear hip and moving it forward towards the pitcher. This does nothing to create energy, and in fact, destroys the ability to create a quick and powerful swing.

Nate Barnett is owner of BMI Baseball designed to improve the mental game of baseball in athletes. Learn how to help your game by improving the skill of mental baseball

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Hello Baseball Friend,
I welcome any comments or suggestions. If you have a question or a topic that you would like to read about, please leave a comment and I will try to address that topic as soon as I can. Good luck in the coming season!
Have a great day, Nick