• 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
• 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
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.
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
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.
When is Momentum Important
• Crow hop
• Amps up in HR derbies
• MLB hitters that can recognize the pitch speed
and quality the earliest can utilize momentum
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
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
• 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.
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
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
• Momentum is intuitive but stretch and fire
usually must be taught.
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.
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.
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
• 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.
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.
• 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.
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
• This study proved that dynamically created elastic energy in the
midsection drives the power mechanism and optimizes
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.
Weight coiled into back hip. Weight coils back and
should not slide back outside the ball of the back foot.
The weight should shift “head over belt buckle” to the
“new center balance center”.
• 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.
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.
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.
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
• Hitters with no negative loading moves will
• I have never seen a kid that had hip coil and a
good upper body loading pattern that lunged.
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
• Teach low ball power mechanics and to
practice the difficult pitch locations.
• Eliminate the standard batting tee that causes
top hand roll over.
The Infini-TEE ™ - The low ball
diagonal plane tee.
Loading the weight into back hip as the front heel
Barrel outside helmet as the hips coil and start to carry
the weight forward on the stride
The barrel returns to plane just before the front foot
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.
The Infini-TEE. The barrel is returning to plane and in this case
the diagonal plane of the low ball location.
Driving the Low Ball on the Diagonal Swing Plane requires taking the hinge
angle forward ahead of the ball and hitting the inside seam.
Creating X factor- See Shoulder line
closed and hip line open
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
• 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
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)
• 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
Top hand grip knuckles should
bend back to elbow
The Rotation Center Between the
• 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
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
• 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.
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.
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.
The top hand goes from the pronated (facing the
pitcher) to palm up when the rear elbow slots. This
accelerated the barrels.
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.
• 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 .
Bad Posture..bend at shoulder blades and hips tucked
Better posture creates a good spine angle, the bat is in the
vertical slot and the “hands set” is BHUT (bottom hand under the
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.
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
• Shoulders should be in line with the LOD of the
feet and not counter rotated in the set up as that
• Only when the lower body is in position, should
the hands put the bat into the slot.
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
• 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.
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
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
• 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”.
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
• 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
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.
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
• 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.
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”.
You can form the U in the waiting period and “rock the
U” in the preload (see next slide)
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.
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.
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
• 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.
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
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.
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
• 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.
Two Plane Swing. Barrel loads in one plane during stride and
swings and another.
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.
• 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
• 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”.
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
• 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
• 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
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
• This is a sign of good momentum transfer and should not be confused
Back foot push forward showing heel leading
Back foot goes heel to sky, laces to pitcher and can
drag with hip rotation.
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.
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.
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”.
Watch back foot action in an
improper bug squish swing
Reverse Pivot.. heel swivels behind starting line on
floor..Poor weight shift
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
• 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.
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.
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.
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
• 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.
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
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.
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
• 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
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
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.
• 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
• Maintaining the bat to forearm angle around
90 degrees to just before release is essential.
• 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.
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.
The Top Hand Drill
• The top hand drill should be executed with a
vertical barrel or tipped barrel and a pronated
• 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
• If both hand pull forward the rotation center
between the hands is not accessed.
Top hand drill with pronated top hand. Properly done
the barrel should point to the opposite field gap.
Top hand returning to plane to the launch
Top hand drill getting to the palm up position
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.
Bottom hand drill starting position; also note bat tip
direction for this drill.
Bottom hand supinates (turns palm down) and
• Bat lag is a good thing as it describes the barrel lagging behind the
• 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
• 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
• If players are struggling with weight shift timing, then ask them to
take the hinge angle to or past the lead pocket before release.
Staying above, inside, and hands ahead of the ball in
the barrel is in the LAG phase
• 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.
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.
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
• 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.
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
• The INFINI-TEE teaches the weight shift the right
• 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
• The opposite of spinning is body
Bug Squishing is Spinning with no weight transfer.
Watch the foot in relationship to the red line.
Heel swivels behind the starting line when you bug squish and
fail to shift weight and release the back side.
• 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
• We use KAAAAA-Pow to show the time relationship to
the pre-swing loading moves to the actual reactive /
• 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
The Beginning of the True Swing
• Ben Hogan said “the golf swing begins when the hips
• 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
• 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.
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.
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
• ( Pujols)
• 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
• This is why bat slots and hand sets are so important. They
effect adjustability and segmentation and top hand whip.
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
• 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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
• 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
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.
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
• 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.
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)
• This yields timing, rhythm and X factor stretch that great
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
• Great players are getting some lead arm extension AS they shift and
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
Is a hitch good or bad?
• 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
• A poorly timed hitch can kill quickness and narrow the
• 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
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.
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
• 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.
The Tilt www.mikeepsteinhitting
• 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.
Hand and elbow position changes rapidly move the
barrel into the backside of the swing arc…next
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
www.mikeepsteinhitting.com for drills and more info. This is a must learn sequence.
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.
• 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.
Additional Sites recommendations
• www.batspeed.com Jack Mankin.
• www.swingbuster.com Dr. Donny Buster
• www.baseballscience.com Dr. Chris Yeager
• www.mikeepsteinhitting.com Former MLB player and hitting
instructor Mike Epstein. Coaching Certification available