Crucial Power Swing Sequence – Part Two

By Dave Hudgens

If you missed the first installment of this article, you can read it here.

Keeping the barrel of the bat in the contact zone as long as possible is what you want to do. This reduces your margin for error. Your timing does not have to be perfect. Every good Major League hitter stays inside the ball. Staying inside the ball allow you to be accurate with the barrel of the bat to the ball which will allow you to hit for high average and increased power as you gain more strength. Picture this: imagine someone driving a rod through your shoulder, through your back leg, and through the knee. The line should be straight through your body with your back heel up. You will either end up on the top of the toe, or just turning a bit on the ball of the foot. I prefer that you get up onto the back toe to make sure your weight is in the center position at the point of contact. After contact, and during your follow through, your weight will be balanced. The key here is to go from back to center.

LEVERAGE
Leverage plays a very important role in the process of hitting for power. It is one of the components of having a firm foundation. If you don’t hit against a firm front leg, you will not create the needed leverage for power hitting.
When you start your approach to the ball, the back heel will come off the ground.

  • At this point the front knee will start to firm up.
  • This will help push the front hip out to give you the correct hip action.
  • If your front knee is bent, and by that I mean not firm, (because there can be a slight flex in the knee yet still be firm) you will lose a tremendous amount of power.

90% of kids that play baseball at the youth league level have long swings. They can get away with it for awhile but it eventually catches up to them as they advance in their playing career. It’s unfortunate because with the proper instruction, many of these kids could have a shorter, more explosive swing which would lead to success.  A long swing can be a result of:

  • Using too heavy a bat.
  • Having used an aluminum bat which has such a large sweet spot that gives the appearance of a good swing which can be deceptive until you face good pitching.
  • Trying to hit the ball too far and over swinging.
  • Casting the barrel of the bat out from your back shoulder, thus forcing your hands away from your body. This action forces you to use your upper body to swing the bat and you are no longer using your wrists to their full advantage.
  • Not getting into a strong position soon enough.
  • Improper sequence of swing.

It is very important to take a proper and consistent angle to the ball; the lower half of your body is what allows you to take this angle. If the feet and hips are not working correctly, the hands and arms will not be able to take the correct path to the ball. Also mentally the hitter must not be thinking home run or have these types of thoughts in his mind. These thoughts will throw off the proper swing rhythm and sequence of the swing. The approach must be fundamentally sound from the ground up or somewhere along the line you will reach your ceiling and improvement will stop. This is why it is so vital that these mechanics are learned as soon as possible, the more time that lapses, the more difficult it becomes to overcome.

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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