By Doug Bernier
Stage 4 of sound baseball swing fundamentals is the weight shift, which will create a rubber band like torque action for your hands and will propel them into the zone as fast as possible.
Your weight shift begins after you have completed your separation. You should now be in a strong, athletic, launch position. It begins with your front heel making contact with the ground, thus starting your back knee to turn and gain ground toward your front knee. Our goal is to move our weight in a way that starts our path to the baseball in a straight line through the baseball. The baseball swing starts from the ground up, and the weight shift is where we start our movement toward the ball.
Weight Shift Breakdown.
The separation step of the swing finishes with your front toe on the ground but the heel on that foot is still in the air. Everything starts with your front heel touching the ground to start your move.
1. Back Knee
Your back knee will start to turn towards the ball and gain a little ground toward your front knee. To help with this move you should feel like you are driving your back hip into home plate. This small move allows you to use gravity by staying on top of the baseball and swinging down hill. It puts you in the optimal position to hit a baseball.
Your momentum should be going towards the pitcher, while your back knee and hip are firing towards the ground.
This is where your weight shifting and rotation start coming together.
2. Front Leg
Your front leg is firm and not allowing the weight shift to get over your front foot.
3. Front Side
You should feel like your front side is holding this motion back, so once you start your swing, you will have a violent leg drive happen underneath you. This should place you in an optimal position for the best bat speed possible. Once the action hits your front leg and creates tension your front leg will halt any further forward movement and you will start to rotate around your head.
4. Front Leg
If your front leg collapses and doesn’t hold all of this momentum back, you will lose all of the built up torque you have built up in the load and separation portion of the swing. The result is a weaker swing, with less bat speed.
Your hands follow what your base does, so if you have proper strong leg drive in your weight shift, you will have a proper bat path towards the baseball. You will actually get your bat in the hitting zone quicker and it will stay in the zone longer, which is the ultimate goal. The longer the barrel of the bat is in the hitting zone, the better chance we have to hit the baseball with authority. Your weightshift will create a rubber band like torque action for your hands and will propel them into the zone as fast as possible. By using a strong and correct shift towards the baseball with your legs, you are allowing your hands to follow the path that your base started.
The weight shift heading into rotation will allow your bat to be in the zone longer than just rotating. It is this stage of your baseball swing that allows for last-second, mid-swing adjustments to tricky pitches.
Next: Decide and Release
Doug Bernier, founder of Pro Baseball Insider.com, debuted in the Major Leagues in 2008 with the Colorado Rockies, and has played professional baseball for 13 years. Most recently, Doug signed with the Minnesota Twins in 2013, where he logged time at every infield position except 1st base in 33 Major League games. Currently Doug is with the Twins’ AAA team in Rochester, NY