When we coach we must remember that there are certain elements of a good swing that must be taught and emphasized over
and over. We do not want to clone hitters but we must realize that the perfect swing has 4 basic phases that must be recognized
I am assuming that the batter has a proper stance. The stance I prefer is one with the knees inside the ankles, the bat
barrel is at a 45 degree angle, and the hands are shoulder high.
Thise four phases are the LOAD, the INITIAL MOVEMENT, the SWING PLANE, and the FINISH. The LOAD is the "triggering" of
the hands to the "Launch Position". The hands are moved slightly back, and the front side closes slightly. Both elbows should
be bent with close attention paid to the front elbow. It must be flexed and not barred. The hands should be at the top of
the players strike zone.
The INITIAL phase of the swing is the first movement of the hands and bat to the hitting zone. The barrel should not be
lifted upward or higher during this phase, but rather it should come downward never leaving the shoulder more than 3 or 4
inches. The hands are driven down with the knob going downward. We want to get the bat into a level swing plane as quick as
possible. The hands should stay inside the ball.
The SWING PLANE we want to see is downward and then level through the ball. We want the bat to stay level through the ball.
The batter must push the bat out and through the ball to maintaing contact through the ball as long as possible. The batter
will attack the balls on the inside third on the front third of the plate, the balls on the middle of the plate on the middle
third of the plate, and the away strike and off speed pitches on the back third of the plate.
The FINISH phase of the swing is long and smooth. The FINISH should be completed with one had only.
OTHER COACHING POINTS:
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- GRIP: Knuckles should be aligned. Bat is in fingers; not the palms.
- PALM-UP/PALM DOWN - Hands power position should be achived during the swing plane phase. This position should be held
as long as possible to push through the ball upon contact.
- LACES UP: Should be the movement of the back foot. This should be a quiet effortless movement that frees the back hip.
- HEAD DOWN - The eyes should be kept on the ball with the head down throughout the swing.
- STRIDE - Front foot stride will vary for different hitters. It should be shorter than longer with a quiet soft step. Longer
strides can lead to hitting flaws. The front foot must be down before the INITIAL swing phase begins.
- INSIDE STRIKES - Attacked early before the ball gets inside and pulled.
- MIDDLE STRIKES - Attacked behind the front foot and driven back through the middle.
- AWAY STRIKES - Attacked late in the zone off the back foot's instep. These ball are driven to the opposite field.
- OFF-SPEED - Pitches are attacked late and driven to the opposite field.