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Donny Buster's "Total Presentation"


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  • 1. Preface • The Hanson Principle. ( one to use) “Always compare what anybody tells you about the swing to slow motion clips of the best hitters in the world.” - - Mark Hanson • Hope you will take the time to study and understand…enjoy!
  • 2. THE SWING • Every great swing is the right combination of weight shift and rotation that stores elastic energy and suddenly releases it. There are no exceptions to this rule. • SwingBuster Sports makes products that help hitters and coaches training hitters to apply these forces in the right proportions and seamlessly integrate them into an efficient athletic move.
  • 3. Timing and Adjustability • If pitchers threw the exact same speed on every pitch the mechanics of the great hitters would be very different. • This is what happens at the All Star Home Run Derby every year yielding quite a show. • Momentum rules at the Home Run Derby but takes a back seat when the real game starts.
  • 4. Forces That Batters Use • Muscle contraction – pure strength helps but can get trumped by superior mechanics. • Stretch and fire – the energy stored in the torqued torso is the key to adjustability. • Momentum – cannot be delayed or conserved by itself and is less useful against great pitching.
  • 5. What Great Pitchers Do… • Pitchers are great users of MOMENTUM. They want to create it, conserve it through the kinetic chain, and use it to throw very hard. • There is no interruption of the flow from windup to delivery in pitching and no need to adjust pause, capture and hold stretch. • The best pitchers can throw different speeds from similar motions taking the batters ability to use their momentum away.
  • 6. When is Momentum Important • Javelin • Crow hop • Pitching • Amps up in HR derbies • MLB hitters that can recognize the pitch speed and quality the earliest can utilize momentum best.
  • 7. Momentum Has Its Limits • A car going down the road that lets off the gas still has considerable force called momentum. • Momentum rules in the Home Run Derby but has less application the following night when the All Star game actually starts. Why? • Great pitchers are not going to allow you to use it at the same level. • What can replace momentum forces and still create power?
  • 8. Stretch and Fire • The major muscle groups that can create and store energy are the muscles of the truck and torso that can twist and untwist like a rubber band. • In order to be an effective hitter, one must learn to stretch the rubber band and release it on the ball. • The action must have power and produce a wide timing window to handle the pitcher’s deceptions concerning speed.
  • 9. Momentum vs. Stretch and Fire • Momentum suggest that you start a motion that is not interrupted and it’s motion has a force. You cannot hit the pause button on this force and reintroduce it later. • Stretch can HOLD energy and pause it and release or fire it at the correct time. • Hitters that stay in the game rely on this stretch and fire power source as it can hit all pitch speeds.
  • 10. When is Stretch and Fire Important • Stretch is important even in youth ball as very young pitchers learn that most hitters want to use too much momentum and do not know how to create stretch and fire power production. • Momentum is intuitive but stretch and fire usually must be taught.
  • 11. Why the Hands Back Hitter • Learning stretch and fire mechanics. • Loading the torso and firing the mechanism. • Taking away momentum for a while to learn how to create torque in the midsection to allow greater adjustability to pitch speeds.
  • 12. The Hands Back Hitter
  • 13. The Hands Back Hitter • The Hands Back Hitter –Pro is the premier trainer to teach hitters how to keep the shoulders loaded until the foot plants. • When the shoulders stay back as the stride foot opens torque is created. • Training with the HBH is a vital step to learning rotary power.
  • 14. How it Works • The Hands Back Hitter is cocked and a ball placed on the popper tube. • The batter sets up about 3-4 inches from the trigger string. • The focus is on maintaining slightly closed shoulders and cocked hands until the front foot gets down at a 45 degree angle. • The ball is popped into the perfect location and the batter is in the perfect torque position to use his torso stretch to release the energy as rotary power. • By removing momentum, the player can learn to access rotary power from the hips that moves quickly up the chain and levers to the bat barrel in a flash. • It is human nature from throwing to use too much forward momentum in hitting during the formative years. • This drill station can instill confidence in the power of rotational swings.
  • 15. Getting To the Core • In order to begin the process of discovery one must ask the question; “Where does the power come from”? We can always look to golf for some answers as it has volumes of swing studies with supporting data complied by analysis of 100s of professionals. The famous X factor study removed all doubt about the power source. This study showed that the power comes from the ability to find the optimal separation between the upper and lower body . In other words, how can we dynamically bring the shoulder line in as the hips line begins to open and stretch the middle (torso) like a rubber band.
  • 16. The Goal • It is important to understand where your going before you start any journey. The goal and destination is now clear. We must learn to work the top half against the bottom half to prime the middle. The middle doesn’t exist in sports until the X angle is created and stretched creating X factor stretch in the muscles of the torso. • We must learn proper weight shift to stay in balance through contact.
  • 17. More on X Factor • This ground breaking study showed that the players that hit golf balls the longest had the greatest hip/shoulder separation at the top of the back swing just before approach to the ball. • If you stood above the player and looked down the shoulder line would cross the hip line forming an X. Hence the name X angle. • More importantly, they went on in subsequent studies to show that the really best players created their X angle and stretched it the most before approach. So X factor stretch replaced X factor as king. • This study proved that dynamically created elastic energy in the midsection drives the power mechanism and optimizes adjustability.
  • 18. Fixing the Swing • CORE Swing flaws take three basic forms. 1.Failure to rotate properly. 2.Shifting too much weight. 3.Not shifting enough weight.
  • 19. Weight coiled into back hip. Weight coils back and should not slide back outside the ball of the back foot.
  • 20. The weight should shift “head over belt buckle” to the “new center balance center”.
  • 21. Rotary Power • Rotation is generated by the batter working the shoulders against the hips to torque the body and create a circular pattern of force around the body. • This is a horizontal connection. • The Hands Back Hitter works to teach the batter how to get the front foot down early enough to turn into the path of the ball. • The forces of angular acceleration are exponentially higher than straight line forces.
  • 22. Shifting to Much Weight • This swing flaw is commonly called lunging. • Lunging is failure to control forward momentum and block it and convert that force to rotational energy. • While we do not want the batter to literally “stay back”; the Stayback Tee helps correct these batters that begin with a straight line push to the pitcher that doesn’t get blocked and turned to rotation.
  • 23. Lunging..rear leg and rear leg extension
  • 24. Rear Elbow / Rear Leg Extension • In linear hitting you will see the batter push toward the ball. The rear leg will get longer (extend) taking the batter closer to the pitcher with the head moving forward into contact. • At the same time the rear elbow will get long also extending to the ball as apposed to slotting ( staying bent and tight to the batters side) in a rotational hitter.
  • 25. Stopping the Lunge • Lunging batters have no negative loading moves. • Coiling the hips and triggering the hands as the weight is carried forward in the stride helps stop lunging. • Hitters with no negative loading moves will lunge. • I have never seen a kid that had hip coil and a good upper body loading pattern that lunged.
  • 26. The Stayback Tee
  • 27. Why the Infini-Tee • Weight shift and application of the momentum after the stretch and fire mechanics are in place. • The stage 2 tee to learn to take the “pitchers pitch” away. • Teach low ball power mechanics and to practice the difficult pitch locations. • Eliminate the standard batting tee that causes top hand roll over.
  • 28. The Infini-TEE ™ - The low ball diagonal plane tee.
  • 29. The Infini-TEE
  • 30. Loading the weight into back hip as the front heel releases
  • 31. Barrel outside helmet as the hips coil and start to carry the weight forward on the stride
  • 32. The barrel returns to plane just before the front foot blocks
  • 33. Loading the back side by releasing the lead heel and coiling as you prepare to carry the coil in the stride. Keeping the barrel loaded outside the helmet during the early stride.
  • 34. The Infini-TEE. The barrel is returning to plane and in this case the diagonal plane of the low ball location.
  • 35. Driving the Low Ball on the Diagonal Swing Plane requires taking the hinge angle forward ahead of the ball and hitting the inside seam.
  • 36. Creating X factor- See Shoulder line closed and hip line open
  • 37. Segmentation = X factor • Segmentation is breaking the body segments apart so they can have a range of motion independent of each other. • Segmentation can occur from upper half resistance as the bottom half turns. • Segmentation can occur as the upper body loading action breaks the shoulders from the hips at the first “trigger move”. • The more vertical barrel slot and the BHUT loading trigger move can counter rotate the barrel in an opposite direction from the direction the hips will turn. • While it requires timing, this mechanism can really produce a segmented swing with a whip action vs. a batter trying to turn the shoulder unit fast to generate power. • Segmentation creates spatially very early bat speed as seen on slow motion as the bat blurring behind the batter in the backside of the swing arc.
  • 38. The Set Up • Sorry, but we must digress to some fundamentals. We must get the body in the proper position. There is no time limit on this as you enter the batters box. • You can solve many swing flaws by improving the set up before the ball is pitched. • We will use – 1. Grip – 2. Bat position (slot) – 3. Posture – 4. Line of Direction (L.O.D)
  • 39. Grip • We do not use the knuckle as grip guides. We use the wrist angles and the knuckles take care of themselves. The bottom hand thumb bends to the lead elbow. The top hand knuckles bend to the top arm elbow. • Another thought is to find the barrel slot and apply the hands comfortably to that bat position.
  • 40. Top hand grip knuckles should bend back to elbow
  • 41. Bottom wrist bends thumb to elbow
  • 42. The Rotation Center Between the Hands • Knob to the ball cues can make the player fail to understand that there is a rotation center on the bat handle between the hands. The hand, arm, elbow action serves to rotate the barrel into the ball with the palm up / palm down flat hand. • Only but activating this center in concert with the turning core can the batter get the barrel out into the hitting zone. • Getting the barrel out is called “angular displacement” .
  • 43. The Top Hand • While the bottom hand is thought to be the dominant hand in the connected rotary move, it is interesting that top hand action might have more control over the proper launch. • The top hand is an important palm up power source at contact helping apply great power to the swing after the shoulder turn has almost been deleted. • The top hand can get “whipped” on the ball on away locations and learning the proper action of the top hand is essential for total power production and hitting “backside”. • The top hand “is NOT just along for the ride” but the top hand doesn’t pull forward to the ball initially.
  • 44. The Pronated Top Hand • Pronation is a term meaning palm forward and inclined downward. Baseball people call it having the top hand palm facing the pitcher. • The pronated top hand cannot go forward at swing initiation; it can only rotate the barrel backwards as the rear elbow slots. • Many great hitters pronate the top hand during the stride / load. • Interestingly, this is the same top hand position a second baseman holds the ball just as he turns toward first to turn the double play. • What is the next move of the top hand from this position as the hips open…..BACK . That can be a natural move in the swing as well.
  • 45. Palm facing pitcher and downward is pronation. A pronated top hand cannot go forward; it can only turn palm up rotating the barrel at swing initiation.
  • 46. The top hand goes from the pronated (facing the pitcher) to palm up when the rear elbow slots. This accelerated the barrels.
  • 47. The Bottom Hand • The bottom hand should start almost vertical with the thumb side almost up. • When the lead elbow goes up seeking the plane of the pitch the bottom hand palm goes palm down. • This propels the barrel backwards into the back side of the swing arc rapidly. • A small hand turn yields a big barrel move. • Mentally extend that thumb up 33 inches and imagine how far the barrel accelerated as the hand turn to flat.
  • 48. Lead elbow down and thumb UP
  • 49. Palm flat
  • 50. Posture • Good posture has an amazing effect on the swing. The athletic stance often described for basketball and football, has the chest out and the rear out setting a spine angle that connects the upper and lower body. Any deviation from this optimum position at GO! …will cause a weak connection and bleed off power. The bend in the knees and the straight back with the correct spine angle is essential to making a positive physical movement .
  • 51. Bad Posture..bend at shoulder blades and hips tucked
  • 52. Better posture creates a good spine angle, the bat is in the vertical slot and the “hands set” is BHUT (bottom hand under the top)
  • 53. Line of Direction • Wow!..... What an important subject. Failure to find the correct line of direction of the feet on each swing is the reason the average golfer cannot break 90. It has the same profound effect in baseball. The correct line of direction (target line) has the feet on a line to the throwing arm of the pitcher. All coiling and loading action must occur AGAINST this line of direction or the core move and power source will break down.
  • 54. The L.O.D in Baseball • The batter should come to the box and place the back foot square to the plate. • Look at the pitcher’s throwing arm with the head square to the release window and THEN set the front foot. • Shoulders should be in line with the LOD of the feet and not counter rotated in the set up as that limits vision. • Only when the lower body is in position, should the hands put the bat into the slot.
  • 55. How to find the LOD? • My good friend has won our State Am Golf twice. We occasionally play and I asked how he was in perfect alignment on every shot. He said “ two-eye contact on the target”. • What? I place my back foot and look at the target with both eyes equidistant to the target ( head square) and THEN place my lead foot down. • The feet stabilize the lower spine and the head position stabilizes the upper spine. • The coiling / loading occurs within their parameters • The common set up flaw is always the same. The player’s LOD is almost always “right of target” or closed stances.
  • 56. Effects of Bat Slots • It is important to understand that the positional slot of the bat barrel as the weight is shifting will determine, in part, the nature and power of the swing. • The higher (more vertical) the barrel slot and longer the barrel is maintained “out of plane” the more segmentation and X factor the batter will have. • The higher bat slots yield better low ball plate coverage and better upward adjustability. • The higher barrel is more on plane for the lower pitches.
  • 57. How Do Bat Slots Effect The Swing? • The bat slot will effect the X- factor stretch. • How is that possible? The barrel is placed or loaded into a position that allows the hips to get ahead of the hands without conscience thought of that. • No batter can take the bat directly to the ball with the barrel out of plane as the stride begins. • So, sometime during stride and before foot plant, the barrel will transition back toward the 45 slot behind the helmet . • With the barrel more vertical, the hands cannot move but in one direction when the batter starts and that is BACK. • All barrels launch from close to the same place…near the back shoulder with the barrel coming back toward the 45 slot. So why would you want to start “out of plane”? It is a mechanism to make the hands go back as the stride is underway and the hips are rotating opposite into foot plant. The load and the unload overlap increasing the X factor. • You can enter the swing plane with the barrel above it effortlessly but you cannot raise the barrel on the way to foot plant to find the plane. A flat bat in the set up is powerless against a low pitch. • Taking the hands back as the hips open is not a natural move for most players so barrel position / hand set can make it “an automatic”.
  • 58. Bat Position (Slot) • There are several bat slots seen in MLB player. • 1. 45 slot is the barrel half way between the shoulder and the helmet with the barrel behind the player. • 2. The 90 slot is a vertical slot with the barrel pointing to the sky. This is called a “weightless bat” as there is no downward pull force on the hands. • 3. The “helmet splitting slot” is seen to bisect the helmet from the catcher’s view. • 4. The “tipped slot (minus 15 slot)” has the barrel outside the helmet and pointed to the pitcher or to the oppo gap. Sheffield and Julio Frank would be examples. • 5. The “moving slot” is a player starting in the 45 slot, moving the barrel to vertical or beyond during the hip coil and having the barrel enter the swing plane as the barrel transitions back near the rear shoulder.
  • 59. O slot
  • 60. 45 slot
  • 61. Helmet splitting slot
  • 62. 90 slot
  • 63. Weightless bat. As the barrel gets higher or more vertical it is said to be “weightless”. That means it is not pulling on the hands and wrist. While it doesn’t appear to be a fast position, it increases speed through widening the torque angle getting the hips to turn to completion before the hands unhinge creating a whip action. This barrel position helps batters struggling with upper body dominance.
  • 64. Slots for Tots • The LL hitter age 7-12 will face some loopy pitches. These high arc pitches can cross the chest high making weight transfer difficult. Since weight transfer can be taken out of the equation on certain pitches, the batter is forced to hit off the back foot in certain pitch locations. The upper body mechanics are very important in this age group. • The 45 slot seems to get on plane with the big arc ball. The hinge angle must be formed and maintained until the foot gets down. • The LL player will often be forced to bend the back knee while considerable weight is still back there to get on plane with the loopy pitch.
  • 65. The U Method of Upper Body Positioning for Kids • The U is a line drawn from the point of the lead shoulder, down the lead arm, across the forearm, and back up the barrel. • One option for group teaching LL players is to form the U and then rock the shoulder unit back (rock the U) until the tip of the lead elbow is behind the belly button. • This is a position the kids can see easily and remember and is a reliable preloaded upper body. • Teaching them to cock the hands, maintain the U and rock the U to a point behind the belly button is important. • Staying in this preloaded position until the lead toe touches will insure some good pop no matter where the weight goes to get on plane with the very large strike zone and the “loopy pitch”.
  • 66. You can form the U in the waiting period and “rock the U” in the preload (see next slide)
  • 67. Good set up for Kids / Bat Slots for Tots. The barrel is splitting the helmet or more behind the body. It is best suited for young players less likely to have a optimal loading pattern in a real game.
  • 68. Tip of Lead Elbow at Foot Plant • There are three basic places you will find the lead elbow at foot plant. – 1. Barred out long on the first move…bad. – 2. Bent to 90 degrees but still over the lead pants pocket..this very bad. – 3. Bent to 90 degrees and behind the belly button. …Of the three, this is the optimal starting position at launch for the hitter.
  • 69. Loaded Shoulders to Foot Plant • An absolute for all hitters is “you must create and maintain a loaded upper body until your foot gets down. If the swing begins at lead heel drop or as Ben Hogan said about golf “the turning left of the hips”, then the upper body must have it’s levers in position to use the energy generated in the lower body. • So it is a worthy goal for the LL hitter to simply make sure the upper body is in the optimal position at toe touch. • Hitters that fail to get OR keep the hands cocked and the lead elbow behind the belly button to foot plant cannot hit very well.
  • 70. The One Plane Swing • A one plane swing starts the barrel in the 45 slot and launches the barrel in the 45 slot. The barrel stays in the momentum plane of the shoulder turn as the shoulders load and as the swing is executed. • Examples are John Olerud and Joe Mauer
  • 71. The Two Plane Swing • The two plane swing involves loading the barrel into a plane that it cannot be swung from while the weight shift begins. It creates a method that will eventually brings the front shoulder “in” to the ball in perfect time with the hip rotating out. • The two planer brings the barrel back into the launch slot just before foot plant (about 4” average). The return to slot of the barrel at the back shoulder brings the front side “in” • This forces an overlap between the shoulders loading back and the hips unloading forward. It maximizes X factor stretch and it more importantly maximizes it at precisely the correct time to capture and use the force. • It is a trigger mechanism to increase torque exhibited by many HOF hitters like Aaron, Bonds, Williams, and others like Puckett Bo Jackson and Piazza. • In golf, it is used by Raymond Floyd, Fred Couples, and Lee Trevino. • It is interesting that the ball will go in the direction that the barrel is pointed. i.e. Julio Franko points the barrel to right field and he is a RF homerun threat.
  • 72. The Gear Effect • On this next slide the batter will turn his bottom hand under the top. Basically, you could say that he is counter rotating the handle in his hands AWAY from the direction that he must rotate it to go to the ball. • What happens next is pretty amazing. The barrel will get a running start back into the back side of the swing arc. • The hands are the active part of this negative set up move and start an interesting chain reaction. • The hands are tipping the barrel forward as the stride begins. They begin to rotate back on plane as the elbow positions reverse. The high rear elbow comes down to the slot and the low lead elbow goes up. • This applies leverage to the barrel rotation getting the barrel really accelerating behind the batter. • The hip rotation that primes the torso starts turning the shoulders which levers the elbow action which levers the forces turning the barrel in the hands. • The kinetic chain acts like the gears on a bike to AMP the rotation to levels unattainable through any other method.
  • 73. Two Plane Swing. Barrel loads in one plane during stride and swings and another.
  • 74. The Secondary Adjustment • Great hitters load the upper body the same on each pitch. • Great hitters stride to a balanced position. • On many occasions the batter must abandon the core orbit and make late arm and hand adjustments to breaking balls and off speed. • Priming of the forearms and proper loading patterns can facilitate this ability to stay alive on great pitches. • The two plane swing seems to have an advantage when it comes to making the better secondary adjustments.
  • 75. Weight Shift • Balance in a player with the arms outstretched to either side would be at the line that bisects the pants zipper. • When you put both hands to the back side and then add the weight of a bat back their where is the new center of gravity? It moves to a location nearer the front inner thigh. • What happens when you do the above and then pull on the bat that has mass and inertia (resistance to movement)? You are more out of balance backwards and you have no lead shoulder leverage. • The “new balance center” at swing initiation is no longer the zipper. It is somewhere forward of that original point. • So the weight must shift to the new balance center to be “in balance” at launch. • Somebody once said, “There is a button on the ground in front of every batter. How and when the batter steps on that button has a lot to do with the quality of the swing.” • Another great cue for weight shift is “move the release point more out front” or “take the knob out in front of your lead pocket before to release it”.
  • 76. Head Over Belt Buckle • The body axis must be maintained to near vertical during the shift. The axis can only be maintained if the head moves directly over the belt buckle during the stride or shift . • If the front foot moves out and the head stays back the batter will be out of balance to the back. • If the back knee hinges with weight still on the back foot then the batter is falling backwards as he is swinging forward..reverse pivoting. • More weight is coiled into the back hip as the pitcher is releasing. • The weight is shifting (moving the C.O.G) as the ball is just out of the hand. • The front foot blocks the weight as the ball is about half way home. • At contact, more weight is against the front side and the momentum has been used to optimize the rotary power. This was made possible by establishing the optimal balance point forward from where the batter began the loading move. • John Daley said “start on the back and finish against the front” ..easier said that understood.
  • 77. Head over belt buckle shift
  • 78. Head over belly button weight shift
  • 79. The Stride • To move the center of gravity (and it must be moved) there must be some forward linear motion…fact! • Some players start wide and shift the center of gravity (COG) before launch and do not move the front foot (Pujols). • Most players move the COG by shifting the body AND by moving the front foot. • Make no mistake of this fact…failure to move the COG before launch is a huge swing flaw. • And yes…Bonds does move forward albeit well disguised.
  • 80. Back Foot Action in Weight Shift • The back foot will break from the ground initially evenly across the side of the sole of the shoe. • The heel will lead the toe at the push. • The toe will drag from the hip turning around the lead hip releasing the back side. The back side is nearly weightless at contact. • The establishment of the new center of gravity and the turning of the hips to completion will release and passively drag the rear toe in many players. • Again, we can look to golf for clues here. Golf Digest has illustrated this many times. • This is a sign of good momentum transfer and should not be confused with lunging.
  • 81. Back Foot Parallel
  • 82. Back foot sole part as weigh first shifts
  • 83. Back foot push forward showing heel leading toe
  • 84. Back foot goes heel to sky, laces to pitcher and can drag with hip rotation.
  • 85. Front Foot Action in Weight Shift • The front foot can be a no teach. I have stood behind many players and asked them to start their stride and unexpectedly pushed them from behind. • 100% of them land with the lead foot at 45degrees. • The front side knows how to accept weight in a balanced position and needs to accept weight over a bent knee to become the lower body trigger. • The upper body loads the same every pitch. The front foot becomes the trigger to adjust the body to the ball in different pitch locations. • If you coil the hips as you stride you will naturally uncoil properly into front foot plant.
  • 86. Tipped Bat Slot / Vertical Hand set See the front foot open 45 degrees and the lead knee fanning as the barrel goes from the vertical plane back to the launch slot.
  • 87. Reaching out with the front foot with all the weight back can be over done and result in back foot hitting or dead front foot hitting. This will certainly lead to “bug squishing”.
  • 88. Watch back foot action in an improper bug squish swing
  • 89. Reverse Pivot.. heel swivels behind starting line on floor..Poor weight shift
  • 90. Anti- Squish Drill • Players that fail to shift weight have their back heel pivot backwards and stay flat to the ground during the swing. The heel will end up closer to the catcher after the swing is completed. • The drill creates instant feedback to “bug squishing”. • We place a batting helmet behind the players foot. • If he rotates his hips with no weight transfer then the spinning heel will knock the helmet backwards. • With proper weight shift the rear heel is never closer to the catcher after the swing.
  • 91. Inside Seam Drill with the Infini-TEE. The inside seam is the batters “aiming point”. Attempts to hit the inside seam aid in rear elbow slotting and usually result in the ball contacted in the center.
  • 92. The upper half position at GO!. The release mechanism of the upper body involves the rear elbow slotting as the lead elbow “juts” upward putting the hands flat. The lead leg blocks weight and extends away from the pitcher.
  • 93. Inside Seam Drill - Keeping the feet lined up back to the throwing arm makes the player load against the proper line of direction. Approaching the ball to the inside seam forces the rear elbow to stay against the rear hip and makes the lead arm the connected arm to the core rotation. Aiming at the inside seam with the shoulders rotating down through the ball yield incredible power not attainable on standard tees.
  • 94. The Hinge Angle – The angle created between the bat and the lead forearm is called the hinge angle. • The most common swing flaw in youth hitters is failure to form and maintain the hinge angle to front foot plant. • Taking the the hinge angle near the lead pocket with the bat in the lag position creates power. • Moving the hinge angle such that it is maintained and released out front is a great weight shift cue.
  • 95. Weight shift helps to get inside the ball. It is difficult to get inside the ball without proper weight shift. The downward gaze at the back of the balls gives the batter the sense of going down to the ball in the diagonal plane and leading the hands in front of the ball location. Line drives are hit well in this low ball position.
  • 96. The batter is releasing the hinge angle on inside seam. The tee will tilt forward to work on getting off the back side for hitting balls down and behind runners or the tee will tilt back if you want to release the barrel on the up side for long ball trajectory.
  • 97. Knob to the Ball • The knob can go to the ball but we must define the ball location. Is the knob going toward the pitcher or toward the plate? That is an important distinction to make. • Taking the knob to the pitcher usually involves pulling both hands forward at swing initiation. This linear hand path doesn’t interface with turning hips well. • Taking the knob to the opposite batters box or “knob to the plate” is a more rotational or circular hand path that does interface with turning hips best. • Knob to the pitcher is a pull field move and knob to the plate yields the best plate coverage to all fields because the hip turn can reposition the release point. • In the best swings, the knob is going away from the players belly button on approach. • The upper body loading move should be the same against every pitch and should be occurring before the pitch location is determined. • Taking the knob past the lead pants pocket is a great weight shift cue to get players off the back side or release the back side. • Players that start the knob to the plate can rotate this body and “turn” on the inside pitch for an inside adjustment. • It is better to set the posture and upper body loading for the down and away pitch and adjust up and in.
  • 98. Maintaining the hinge angle and shaft to shoulder position. Working on the “pitchers pitch” location a couple of balls out of center and down. Driving that ball back through box or right of pitcher.
  • 99. Hitting vs. Pitching • Pitchers coil their hips, shift their weight, and have their hands going back as they land on a forward new balance center. • By doing this they segment the body. • Hitters make an identical move. If a batter can throw in a segmented whip then the batter can hit in a segmented whip.
  • 100. The Bonds Hitch • Barry does a few things people should understand. • He has two mechanisms that increases his body segmentation, increases his torque, provides his barrel and his hips a running start, and allows him to have tremendous speed quickness and bat speed. • He drops the entire box (hands and arms) and tips the barrel to the opposite field gap AS he shifts his center of gravity. He cannot load the shoulders until the box is raised and his hands return to plane. By this time the hips are already opening. • This overlap gets him to a very powerful launch position with the ability to rotate on any pitch location and drive the ball out of the park.
  • 101. Bonds drops the box in a downward hitch.
  • 102. Bonds exaggerates the tip to the opposite field gap as the box is down. Film clips will surprise you showing the number of Hall Of Fame hitters that tip the barrel to the opposite field during their hip coil / stride to delay the shoulder turn back.
  • 103. Bond’s hitch allows the barrel to return to the launch slot allowing the hips to get ahead of hands. Getting the hands to go back as the hips rotate open creates great power possible due to hip and shoulder plane separation.
  • 104. Casting • Casting is releasing the hinge angle early creating a long angle before the barrel gets into the hitting zone. • Casting is common in batters that have poor weight shift. • Maintaining the bat to forearm angle around 90 degrees to just before release is essential.
  • 105. Casting is losing the hinge angle early
  • 106. Wrapping • Wrapping the bat is breaking the hinge angle down to an acute angle early usually during the load. Wrapping is often happening in conjunction with getting the barrel too far around the body to recover or too deep in the neck slot creating a wrapped and trapped bat weakening the kinetic chain.
  • 107. Wrapping deep in the neck slot. This is an area that the bat can get “trapped” whereby the hitter cannot get back to the ball. Note the flat hands. The lead shoulder has a strong tendency to “pull of the ball” or “take a hard turn left” from this position. Batters with this set up often just stare at the low and away strike as they know they cannot pull the trigger out there.
  • 108. The Top Hand Drill • The top hand drill should be executed with a vertical barrel or tipped barrel and a pronated top hand. • The goal of the drill is to reveal to the player the fact that the top hand accelerated the barrel back into the backside of the swing arc toward the catcher vs. pulling forward with the bottom hand. • If both hand pull forward the rotation center between the hands is not accessed.
  • 109. Top hand drill with pronated top hand. Properly done the barrel should point to the opposite field gap.
  • 110. Top hand returning to plane to the launch slot
  • 111. Top hand drill getting to the palm up position
  • 112. Top hand drill getting to palm up impact
  • 113. O degree slot - flat
  • 114. Vertical weightless bat
  • 115. Flattening bat into the 45 degree slot
  • 116. Bottom Hand Drill • The one hand drills are most often misused and misunderstood. • These drills can be damaging to youth players with weak growth plates and should be done with very light bats and a padded target to decelerate the bat. • You cannot execute the bottom hand drill effectively with shifting to the new balance center. • Watch the starting barrel positions of the one hands drills. They should be done with emphasis on barrel rotation. • The barrel will go from past vertical to the diagonal plane.
  • 117. Bottom hand drill starting position; also note bat tip direction for this drill.
  • 118. Bottom hand turning palm down
  • 119. Bottom hand supinates (turns palm down) and releases
  • 120. Bat Lag • Bat lag is a good thing as it describes the barrel lagging behind the hands. • It seems that the barrel will not catch up but when players learn to stay in the lag position longer they tend to have more barrel “pop”. • It is often used to described the position on approach where the barrel is coming parallel to the plate before the hinge angle is released. • Some call this “shaft to shoulder barrel position” as the barrel is seen close to the rear shoulder as the rotation of the body is under way. • If players are struggling with weight shift timing, then ask them to take the hinge angle to or past the lead pocket before release.
  • 121. Staying above, inside, and hands ahead of the ball in the barrel is in the LAG phase
  • 122. Bat Drag • Bat Drag is considered a swing flaw. In bat drag, the player is pulling the top hand forward toward the pitched ball. • Great hitters rotate the barrel around the hands at swing initiation. • Pulling forward of the barrel with the top hand is a swing flaw. • The top hand should be torquing the barrel into the back side of the swing arc as the elbow slots. • The slotting of the rear elbow should allow the top hand to accelerate the barrel backwards.
  • 123. Shaft to shoulder position, weight shift moving the release point forward. A good weight shift cue is “get the knob past the lead pocket before you release the barrel. You will shift at the right and for a purpose.
  • 124. Stepping in the bucket • The same fix for lunging works here as well. The step to the left is an effort to pull with the lead shoulder and head to generate power. Failure to coil the hips and load the barrel in the correct pattern is the “upstream “ cause of lunging and or stepping in the bucket. • Players that hit well have a sense of “popping the whip” (the head of the barrel) on the ball. Those that don’t hit well have a sense of pulling the knob forward with the head and lead shoulder. This group has no sense of where the barrel head is during the swing. • Players must learn top hand loading action to get the top hand in the proper position to function at contact.
  • 125. Not Shifting Enough Weight • Staying on the back side and spinning is a common swing flaw of youth batters taught “bug squish” mechanics early in the career. • These hitters are out of balance to the back leg and are called “dead front foot hitters” and spinners. • When you start the rotation with the weight over the back leg you reverse pivot and fall back before impact. • The INFINI-TEE teaches the weight shift the right way.
  • 126. Keeping to much weight back
  • 127. Spinning • Spinning means the batters hips / shoulders, arms, and hands are all turning together. • It is also called a one piece swing. • One piece spinning generates a late connected swing with weakness to the opposite field. • The opposite of spinning is body segmentation.
  • 128. Bug Squishing is Spinning with no weight transfer. Watch the foot in relationship to the red line.
  • 129. Heel swivels behind the starting line when you bug squish and fail to shift weight and release the back side.
  • 130. Drills • Walk up drill. • The walk up drill helps players that cannot get off their back side and tend to stay back there and spin or “squish the bug”. • The goal is to feel the flow of weight from back to front and to be able to block the push and convert it to rotary power. • In performing this drill, the batter can take a step behind his body with the back foot, then a step forward toward the tee and hit the ball off the tee. • The first step BEHIND is important as it help the batter coil the back hip inward, and lower the lead shoulder. • We also tip the barrel opposite field gap to get more segmentation of the body and assign an “aim point” for the inside seam.
  • 131. Stopping the Bar Arm • You cannot stop the bar arm without finding a trigger replacement for it. • The bar arm is a bad trigger but gets ingrained into the batter’s loading pattern. • We have had success changing the barrel set to the helmet splitting slot or the 90 slot and changing the trigger to “just the hands” tipping the barrel to the pitcher or the opposite field gap at the first move. • Tipping the barrel (loading the hands only) as the hips coil vs. extending the lead arm is an acceptable fix. • This new first move is a vast improvement in mechanics and physics.
  • 132. Barring Beginning
  • 133. Bar arm is early lead arm extension. The early extension of the lead arm creates a long swing radius with no torque in the midsection and a slow powerless swing. Lead arm extension should occur during the stride by hip / shoulder spatial separation. The rear elbow moving “up and in” as the hips open should extend the arm naturally. It should not be a conscience or active process.
  • 134. Hips vs. Shoulder Action • The hips sockets are fused to the spine and the hip turn is “flat and in a barrel” and uniformly. The hips turn as a single unit. • The shoulders are floating in the muscles of the scapula and unlike the hips can work independently. • The lead shoulder can load down and in and the rear shoulder can continue to load back and in late in the sequence after the hips are already rotating forward. • The best hitters are loading the back shoulder late in the sequence just before foot plant maximizing the stretch in the middle.
  • 135. Internal Swing Timing • In the segmented swing, the batter must practice the synchronization of he lower and upper body working against each other creating torque and creating it and releasing it on a fast moving ball. • The ideal synchronization has the more vertical barrel returning to plane after the hips have begun rotating into foot plant and just before foot plant / swing initiation.
  • 136. KAAAAA-Pow • We use KAAAAA-Pow to show the time relationship to the pre-swing loading moves to the actual reactive / swing phase. • Bonds is loading 6-8 frames and swinging 4.5 framed from launch to contact. That is two parts KAAAA to one part 1 Pow. • A 2:1 load to fire ratio should be shown and especially enforced on tee work. • The Hands Back Hitter can help create separation and sequence the swing into the better load to swing time relationship.
  • 137. The Beginning of the True Swing • Ben Hogan said “the golf swing begins when the hips turn left”. • Batters that fail to heed this and start the hands to the balls as the first move will likely have the hands pass the hips before contact and become upper body hitters. • Getting the hands back dynamically and having the hips begin the positive move to the ball and letting the energy work up the kinetic chain takes 1000s of reps. • The lead leg should fully extend pushing away from the pitcher a few hundredths of a second before contact.
  • 138. Dead Start Hitting • Dead start hitters have no pre-swing movement and attempt to get the barrel moving quickly at GO! from a motionless start. • The lead shoulder tends to pull OFF the ball and the power side is usually the pull field. • It is desirable to have some small muscle movement in the upper body and preferably a movement that breaks inertia giving the barrel a running start.
  • 139. Upper Body Loading • Three anatomical parts or groups can be used to show a movement pattern of many MLB greats. – 1. The relative hand positional changes (BHUT) and “tipping the barrel” with a hand trigger. – 2. The relative elbow positioning. The lead elbow will come down nearer the body as the rear elbow moves up and in. – 3. Changes of the spine angle to move the barrel by postural changes. • ( Pujols)
  • 140. Pre-Launch Movement • Pre-launch movement of the barrel breaks inertia and is used to have the barrel in position to be moving to the launch slot from above it as the player says Go!. • Batters can enter the swing plane from above it better than from below it. • It is easier to have the barrel higher to be on plane for a low pitch and adjust up to a higher pitch location and almost impossible to set up for a high pitch and adjust the plane downward. • This is why bat slots and hand sets are so important. They effect adjustability and segmentation and top hand whip.
  • 141. B.H.U.T. (Bottom Hand Under Top) • When players load the barrel during their stride into the more vertical barrel position you can plainly see the bottom hand orient itself under the top hand. • The hand / arm action of the barrel can best be done with no shoulder counter rotation and it can bypass tension and too much counter rotation in the shoulders. • It is a useful cue to show hitters what the trigger move Bottom Hand Under the Top (BHUT) means and how it can replace arm barring, hitching, and set up the batter to rotate the barrel at swing initiation vs. pulling both hands forward. • The shoulders are merely a linkage in the chain and a slow source of power when used as a primary power generator. • Great hitters get the torque from the hip turn up through the torso and into the barrel too quickly to consider the shoulders as a power source. • Young players that use the slow shoulder gear as the power source are upper body hitters. • This can be seen on clips as the hands pass the hips and ball contact occurs before the lead knee locks out indicating completion of the hip turn. • Remember, the hips turn to completion .05 seconds before contact. Lead leg extension is the indicator point for hip turn completion.
  • 142. BHUT is a hand only pre-launch trigger. Notice the lead elbow comes down close to the pec muscle during the load of the barrel and coil of the hips. The hitter can get a sense of the “barrel” in his hands. Some coaches call this “finding the barrel”. This move has to be exaggerated to be taught effectively and then reduced if necessary.
  • 143. Tipping opposite gap with hip coil. This is the back view of the “tip and rip” position where the batter feels the hips coil in concert with the hands trigger forward. The center of gravity is shifted to the back foot as the hips coil and the hands cock the barrel out of plane. This is the loading action of a two plane swing. In the Inside Seam Drill you can tip the barrel to the outside seam and swing with the side seam as the aiming point on approach.
  • 144. The forward tipped barrel tipped will return to plane at launch and create a wide hip/ shoulder line difference (X –angle) torquing the midsection. If the barrel is loaded out of plane it will naturally get back on plane about 4 -5 inches from foot plant. The hips get ahead of the hands without thinking hips ahead of hands using this upper body loading pattern.
  • 145. All barrels return to the normal launch slot as the hips rotate into foot plant. The overlap of the late turning in of the shoulders just as the hips turn out give effortless power from torso stretch. Widening the X –angle stores energy in the torso that can be paused to handle off speed pitches.
  • 146. Tip and Rip • This drill can teach the basic concepts of upper body loading without any explanations as to the “why”. • If you hand cock the barrel to the outside seam as the stride begins and approach the ball aiming at the inside seam the proper loading action can occur. • A positive side effect of this drill is the uncanny ability to hit line drives back through the box. • The inside / out approach that results from this drill contacts the ball center getting maximum compression. • Opposite field power and outside plate coverage is greatly enhanced in this simple drill.
  • 147. Tip and Rip Drill • Since the perfect high level swing has some complex elements that make explanation difficult we break the process down into a simple beginning and a reactionary phase ending that gives the batter vital ball flight feedback. • The beginning is the tip of the barrel with hip coil. The tip is the forward tipping of the barrel to the opposite field gap with the hands. The shoulders stay relaxed and on the same line of direction (LOD) as the feet and the hips coil as the hands only tip the barrel. • The two negative loading moves that we want to connect in the players mind are the hand tip and the hip coil / tuck. • So the command is “coil your hips as you tip the barrel”. The hips and the hands must get behind the rotary mechanism. • The reactionary phase (swing) is “stride and hit the inside seam of that ball on the tee with the laces vertical and facing backwards. • The goal is to load the hips and the hands, carry the loaded hips and barrel position forward in the stride and then get inside the ball yielding a line drive through the pitchers mound area. • The plane transition of the barrel from tipped to opposite field gap to back at the rear shoulder as the hips open into foot plant will yield the effortless line drives . If they practice the drill with this visual feedback of the inside seam as the aiming target and the ball flight objective of a ball hit between the gaps then they can synch the weight shift and barrel movement such that the lead shoulder is coming back to the ball at launch as the hips are opening.
  • 148. Rear Elbow Slotting • In rotational mechanics, the rear elbow starts down from an internally rotated position to a position tight to the players side. • The top hand goes from palm facing the pitcher to palm facing the sky. • Top hand action from a pronated top hand to a palm up top hand is essential to develop a high level swing. • The tee position and inside seam drill makes the rear shoulder slot to get inside the ball.
  • 149. Are you a linear or rotational hitter? • This is easy… • If both hands pull the knob forward at swing initiation then you have a linear hand path. • If you rotate the barrel between the hands at swing initiation then you are a rotational hitter. • The top hand in rotational hitters doesn’t move forward at launch. • A pronated top hand cannot move forward and sets up barrel rotation at swing initiation.
  • 150. BHUT…bottom hand under top
  • 151. Keeping the Front Shoulder on the Ball • For LL hitters it might be advisable to attempt this using a preloaded upper body. • The advanced player gets more torque with a loading pattern that BRINGS the lead shoulder back to the ball at precisely the right moment. • This can be mechanized by triggering the barrel to the opposite field gap or by adopting a higher barrel set. • The return of the barrel to plane will load the back scapula late (as the front side lower body base is formed) and the shoulder returns to the optimal launch point (on the ball) dynamically. • This yields timing, rhythm and X factor stretch that great players seek.
  • 152. Lead Arm Extension • Golf is a double pendulum swing whereby the lead arm begins fully extended. The shoulder and the wrist are the levers. • Baseball is potentially a triple pendulum swing where the shoulder, the lead elbow, and the wrist are the levers. • Even in baseball, the lead arm can go into some form of full extension before contact on certain pitch locations. This lead arm extension should occur dynamically as the shoulder loading and hip unloading overlap. • “Bar arming” is when a player extends the lead arm fully and THEN shifts the weight. • Great players are getting some lead arm extension AS they shift and separate.
  • 153. Lead Arm Action • The lead arm( bottom hand) is the connection to the rotating core. The lead arm must connect to the rotation. • Since a pronated top hand cannot move the bat forward, proper hand sets can make the lead shoulder the default connection to the body.
  • 154. Is a hitch good or bad? • Depends… • A hitch that triggers loading the weight back and alternates / delays the loading of the upper body as the front side base is forming can create tremendous bat speed. • A poorly timed hitch can kill quickness and narrow the timing window. • It is good to understand what is happening physically before cloning hitters into dead start positions. • Some batters learn to use this internal timing and synchronization mechanism and abbreviate it and still have quickness.
  • 155. Early Bat Speed • Early bat speed is defined as the speed that the barrel generates into the backside of the swing arc. • Early bat speed is only possible with rotational swings that properly use the bottom and top hand correctly at swing initiation to rotate the barrel vs. pull it forward. • Upstream of that hand action is the elbow path that gets the barrel flat and on plane quickly. • The players hands have little to do with getting flat at launch. The lead elbow up and the rear elbow slotting down set the swing to the pitch plane. • The upper body spatially connects to the turning hips better with barrel rotation. Early connection allows the outside pitch to be hit deeper with great top hand action in the palm up position.
  • 156. Late Bat Speed • Hitters that initiate the swing from a dead start by pulling the lead shoulder usually have a late connecting swing that doesn’t begin to generate power until the barrel starts to release out front. • They are good pull hitters but often fail to offer (take / stare) at the away pitch as they instinctive realize that their mechanics do not favor it.
  • 157. Trajectory • The ball falls almost 2-3 feet in a downward path from the mound to home plate. To line up the swing path to the pitch plane the batter must create an upper cut without dropping the hands. • The lateral tilting of the shoulders after the hips start turning left prevents lunging and lines up flat hands into the pitch plane. • The weight should shift “head over belt buckle” to maintain the vertical axis before the shoulders tilt to line up the hands to the plane of the ball.
  • 158. The Tilt www.mikeepsteinhitting .com • The hip turn is the first move to the ball. • The lateral shoulder tilt is the next move. • The shoulder tilt connects the shoulders to the hip drive and lines the barrel up on the plane of the pitch. • The shoulder tilt is GO! for the upper body. • The weight shift must maintain a near vertical axis (head over belt buckle) and then the shoulders tilt to line up the flat hands and release the torso torque into the system. • Mike and Jake Epstein has perfected a method to teach the core move and it is highly recommended to “unlearn” bad mechanics for youth players that want power swings. • There are videos and books available at the link above.
  • 159. Foot down / block then…next
  • 160. Hand and elbow position changes rapidly move the barrel into the backside of the swing arc…next
  • 161. Tilt shoulders and relative elbow positional change at GO! The lead elbow was down and now it is up. The rear elbow was up and now it is down slotted near the right hip. This moves gets the hands flat quickly as the shoulders turn. See for drills and more info. This is a must learn sequence.
  • 162. Turn the Box to a Diamond • Great hitters can convert the barrel to instant bat speed by effective change in position of the arm levers to turn the “box” to a diamond as seen on a frontal view. • This is their mechanism to get rotary power in a flash; a sudden release of the power stored into the torso into the hitting zone in contact with the ball center.
  • 163. Shoulder tilts and diamond formation
  • 164. Product Summary • Anybody hitting poorly is likely to suffer from one or more of these three maladies. • The tools for the cure are: – The Hands Back Hitter- rotary power. – The StayBack Tee – proper weight shift for lungers. – The Infini-TEE- proper weight shift through better low ball mechanics.
  • 165. Additional Sites recommendations • Jack Mankin. • Dr. Donny Buster • Dr. Chris Yeager • Former MLB player and hitting instructor Mike Epstein. Coaching Certification available