Eric Cressey posted an article over the weekend that I wrote for his blog covering the topic of hip extension and rotation in the baseball swing. I wanted to hit on this issue because hip extension is a very powerful movement of the posterior chain, but it isn’t often thought of or taught as part of rotation, especially in the baseball swing.
Here’s a couple videos from the post that give a close up look at hip rotation from the side and front views:
The article itself describes what’s going on in the videos based on EMG research from both golf and baseball, and has some thoughts on how you can work on your hip action in the weight room as well as the batting cage.
One line from the article warrants repeating here:
Here’s the key point: good hip rotation has an element of hip extension!
Give the article a read and spend some time at Eric’s website or follow him on twitter. He’s doing a lot of good things in the world of baseball training.
2 years ago, I made a post describing how I used a weighted Bratt Bat to help some professional players improve their swing mechanics during their off-season workouts. I am still using the Bratt Bat as part of my training program to help players improve their hitting, and here is another example of how it works.
From the previous post (linked above), here were the “rules”:
What to do:
Use a weight appropriate for the strength-age-level of your player (65-75 oz. for high school, up to 100 oz. for stronger college players and pros)
Avoid a high volume of swings. 5-10 is enough to get the right feel, then switch back to a regular weight bat
Avoid trying to swing too hard. Save that for your overload-underload swings. Just get the feeling of the drill.
Focus on hitting line drives up the middle and towards the oppo gap
Remember this is just a drill and stick to the main principles of swing training for larger numbers of swings
Looking back, I still stick pretty closely to these rules. But in the upcoming example, we’re actually hitting a baseball off of a tee with a full swing (note: the Bratt Bat is not designed to hit baseballs. It’s better to use tennis or wiffle balls for higher volume or intensity of swings, as shown in our previous drill).
Now here is a comparison of a high school junior hitting off the tee with his regular bat (left side) and using a 75 ounce Bratt Bat (right side). After he took several tee swings with his regular bat, all I did was give him the Bratt Bat and tell him to try and hit it up the middle (tee is placed right down the middle, a bit forward of where the stride foot lands).
This is a nice little video from Golf Channel’s Playing Lessons with the Pros where 3-time major golf champion, Padraig Harrington, talks about creating power in his swing. Obviously, the baseball and golf swings are different, but basic principles of movement apply to both – things like stability (on the back leg), rotation, connection (although I typically think or talk about it in the forward swing for baseball rather than the back swing) and the kinetic link.
Here are a couple of links that explain how Jose Bautista changed seemingly overnight from a baseball journeyman (5 teams in one year!) to today’s best hitter.
In this video, Bautista talks about how he changed his hitting mechanics, and his explanation is fairly simple. He started his swing earlier so he wasn’t late so often.
For a more complete picture, check out this article about Jose Baustista’s transformation. One of the things I found most interesting was the insight into Baustista’s mindset:
In his free time, Bautista reads books on exceptionality. “I’m trying to understand why mediocre people become good at what they do,” he says, “and why good people become the best.” So he mixes other players’ post-career musings on success with real mental protein.
I previously posted the “Home Run Drill” that Yankees hitting coach, Kevin Long, came up with and used with Robinson Cano, and now here is a look at Cano’s hitting mechanics that were recently on display in the 2011 Home Run Derby. At the :56 mark, there is a good side view in super slo- mo:
A few things that I really like:
1. The way he moves against his back leg
2. The position of his upper body
3. How his bat gets on and stays in a really great swing path
It’s not easy to have a short swing and create bat speed at the same time, but this is a pretty good example of what it looks like.