The Crucial Power Swing Sequence

By Dave Hudgens

I recently bought a car for my daughter that is a 5-speed stick shift. Teaching a teenage girl how to drive a stick has been interesting. There is a sequence to the process. When driving a stick, you have to:

  • Push the clutch in
  • Turn the key
  • Combine the clutch with the gas pedal
  • Ease into first gear

It sounds easy but takes a while to get to work smoothly. That process only puts you in first gear. You now start another sequence to get into the next gear and so on. Just as there are sequences to driving a 5 speed, so it goes also with the swing. The proper sequence is essential to having consistent success at the plate.

SWING SEQUENCE

  • When your stride foot comes down, your weight needs to be balanced to 60% back with your hands around the back foot. This is a critical position to be in to hit for average and power.
  • The stride should start early, it should be easy and your stride foot should be down by the time the ball gets half way to three quarters of the way to home plate.
  • After the stride, as the front heel lands, the back heel should start to lift off the ground. This will start the proper sequence with the lower half of the body.
  • This is not a two part movement.
  • As the back heel comes up the rotation of the hips will start.
  • You don’t want to push forward off your back foot – this will force your hips to slide forward, you want more of a rotational movement at this point.
  • Just after the backside starts turning, your hands will start their path to the ball.

PROPER TAKES
I can tell by looking at a hitter’s take whether or not he has a good approach, if he is going to over swing, or if he is going to be under control. The take is so important because it is the first sequence in the approach to the ball. If the take is hard, the swing is going to be hard and out of control. Many mechanical breakdowns occur when the swing is out of control. If the take is easy, more than likely the swing is going to be under control. If the swing is balanced and under control the sequence will work properly so you will be able to repeat your swing and have a good feel for what you are doing. As a hitting instructor, when I see a hitter that has a nice take, not too hard and not too easy, I know he has a chance of success regardless of whom he is facing.

A proper take is one with good balance and proper heel – toe action. If the heel – toe action is correct, the hip sequence is good. If I don’t see the proper heel toe action, I know the hip sequence is incorrect. If the lower half action is correct, my eyes go to the hitter’s hands. I want to see the hands start to every pitch. So as the back heel starts its turn, the hands will start their approach to the ball.

HAND PATH
Let’s examine the path the hands will take through the swing. The goal of the swing is to keep the barrel of the bat in the strike zone for as long as you can.

  • Get the barrel of the bat in the strike zone with the shortest possible angle.
  • Keep the barrel of the bat in the strike zone for as long as possible.
  • Finish with extension out front with a good follow through.

If you do this, you will have an efficient swing, one that will be consistent and repeatable. Staying inside the ball will:

  • Allow you to make adjustments with your hands on different types of pitches
  • Help you to keep the barrel of the bat in the strike zone for a long time
  • Keep your wrists cocked and the barrel back for better bat speed.


Dave Hudgens has been involved with the best of baseball for over 30 years. He is currently the Hitting Coach for the New York Mets. Prior to that he was a longtime hitting coach in the Oakland Athletics’ organization.

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One Response

  1. […] If you missed the first installment of this article, you can read it here. […]

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