108 hitting Language
Generally speaking, when we discuss force production, we are referring to the exit velocity of the ball. There are a number of ways to create force, but based on the task there are particular movements that are more efficient than others. The task of ‘baseball’ creates a constraint of consistency. It’s not just about how hard we can hit the ball, but how often we hit it hard. Our program’s primary focus is on movements that consistently transfer maximal force into the ball.
Great ball strikers use limited space very effectively. In order to get our barrel to the ball consistently we need room to work. Spacing is a common subject in most striking sports that deal with a moving object (i.e. Mixed Martial Arts). There are particular movements that give us more time and space to strike the ball. More time to make decisions and the ability to get the barrel to the ball consistently correlates with higher production.
Generally speaking, hitters with good direction work through the middle of the field with their ball exiting slightly up. Swings that have good direction provide hitters adjustability out front. Direction enables hitters to efficiently transfer force into the ball compressing the cork more effectively. You’ll often notice that when hitters have good direction their barrel ‘chases the ball out of the zone.’ Just like space and force production, there are a number of ways to gain direction, some more efficient than others.
Hitting is about efficiency. After we land, we want everything we do affecting the barrel. The middle of our body should move first and create movement in the barrel. Reciprocal movement is the foundation for movement. This tells us that our spinal engine is working properly maintaining good stretch and anchor points.
We can only use the ground as long as we are in the ground. The feet therefore need to stay anchored throughout the movement. The feet act as anchor points that help allow the body reach optimal length tension relationships.The foots relationship with the floor directly correlates with the bodies ability to create maximal force. When being maximized, our body primarily develops force from reciprocal and crossbody movements. Ground force still plays a major factor and acts as an amplifier of these movements.
The bat is the sole object that makes contact with the ball. We want our bat to take the most efficient path to the ball, while gaining the most amount of speed in that short window. We want to develop a swing that’s square to the ball as soon and as long as possible. Our program’s focus is on barrel movements that our tight and compress the baseball.
“Sticking” the ball refers to a combination of decelerating the trunk and keeping the barrel square for a longer period of time. This helps with directional force production into the ball. This movement is most noticeable in players that finish with both hands on the bat, but is present in one hand finishes as well. Players that do this are often seen to be “cutting off” their swing.
Direction: The barrel is traveling in a pendulum and the ball is changing direction. “Sticking” the ball creates more consistent ball striking by keeping the barrel flat for a longer period of time allowing players to “stay through it” longer. You’ll often notice their barrel stop seemingly early and it gives the appearance that they haven’t finished their swing because of the amount of time you see the face of the bat without it turning over.
Force Production: The early decel move from the trunk helps to accelerate the barrel in a shorter period of time resulting in lower bat head speed, but a quicker time to contact. That increase time to contact helps the Ferrari get off the line faster, resulting in higher exit velocity with a slower more accurate barrel. This move also creates force by creating a better brace into the ball. Bracing turns the body into a brick wall at contact creating a trampoline effect at impact.
You’ll notice the back knee of elite hitters often works directionally towards the catcher during the forward move. At times you’ll even see the back foot point towards the catcher early and for some guys it will slip open into landing. We want the glutes to control the forward move and we want it to be a gentle swivel of the pelvis, allowing the swivel to move them forward. If we counter rotate the upper body at the same time, we can stay in the air and float our move forward rather than aggressively stepping, lunging or jumping.
Posture is about landing with a varying degree of hinge in the hips. The degree of posture is determined by the movement profile of the hitter. When we land in posture, the hinge takes our trunk over the plate providing us with space to turn through into the ball. Landing in this position provides us with adjustability because the hinge creates a more athletic and adjustable environment for the body to go get the ball away from us or out front.
Connect with our experts