Proper swing path
Alright, let the debate begin. How do you swing to the ball? Do you teach swing down? Do you teach swing level? Or, do you teach swing up?
With the increase of technology making its way into baseball, we now have a lot of tools that will help us understand proper swing path during a baseball swing. We are able to slow down videos at the tips of our fingers, as well as utilize cool tech products, such as the ZEPP, to analyze a swing.
If you watch all the videos you want to watch of big league hitters, you will see that pretty much nobody “swings down on the ball.” I may have found one person who marginally swings down on the ball.
You will see TONS of statistical data represented in graphs that prove this point.
I think it is safe to say that you do not want to physically swing down on the ball.
BUT, the only aspect that these technologies cannot quantify is what the hitter is thinking, or actually trying to do.
We know good hitters “swing up,” and hit the bottom half of the ball (meaning barely). They get on plane to the ball and have a slight upward path to and through contact. But, what are these hitters trying to do?
I have been lucky enough to talk to a bunch of hitters: some Hall of Famers, some soon to be Hall of Famers, and the rest just normal hitters both in the Big Leagues and Minor Leagues.
And here is my conclusion on this matter:
Everyone thinks differently
I have heard two Hall of Fame hitters completely contradict each other on what they “try” to do at the plate, or better yet, how they swing. You want to talk about being confused?
I had a conversation with one of the best hitters in all of baseball while we both were rehabbing. I was lucky enough that he genuinely cared and would have talked to me for another five hours if we didn’t have to go eat. This gentleman talked more about what his thinking was when he was hitting rather than what his mechanics were.
His thought process and what he “tried” to do made his mechanics “THAT DAY” where they needed to be.
What the heck does that mean? For instance, he told me that sometimes he thinks swing above the ball. On some pitchers he would try to hit higher on the ball, or like some say, swing above it. Now, do you want to swing and miss above the ball? Obviously no. What he was saying is that by thinking that, it would give him the most chance of success in the game, or against that specific pitcher. In other words, his thought process gave him the proper swing path.
The only common denominator I heard when I talk to successful hitters is that the vast majority of them focus on the top and inside half of the ball. I have never heard anyone say they focus on the bottom half of the ball, except for some serious men’s league softball hitters. Maybe I haven’t talked to enough hitters, but I am sure there are some out there that focus on the bottom half (I wouldn’t imagine many). Again I have to say this, but no one physically hits the top inside half of the ball unless you want to pound the ball into the ground to the opposite field. It is merely a thought process. (Members only video)
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The point of this post wasn’t to go into in-depth mechanics of swing path, but rather to have you understand that:
You have to find what works for you.
We know the mechanics. We know what the most successful hitters actually do when they swing. We just need to find a thought process that generates the proper swing path in our own swing (or our players’ swing). That might be thinking: Swing up, swing level, or even “swing down.”
There is only one way to tell what works for you:
Practice them all and see which gives you the proper swing path.