There are 2 major parts in the swing — getting ready to swing, and the swing itself. A proper swing is made up of these key mechanics: stance, negative move, positive move, toe touch and heel plant.
We talked about stance in a previous hitting mechanics article, which you can find here. In today’s article, we continue to discuss other important elements of hitting and the swing.
You have to be able to go back before you can go forward. This is the negative movement, or a move away from the pitcher. A negative move is sometimes referred to as your pre-set, load or trigger. For some players, their negative move may just be a knee cocking, while some will have the entire torso and body lean backwards or go in a negative direction. A negative move for some other players may just be moving their arms and their elbows back as they load up.
But if you have negative move, you have to have positive move. When transitioning between the negative and the positive, it is important to never stop and come right back into the movement towards the pitcher. This is often referred to as the stride phase.
The key throughout all of this is to remain balanced in the swing. A good way to remain balanced is to have a slight amount of movement so that the body is aware of your balance. Then, as you move from your negative move and you stride to your positive move, there is very little motion forward. It’s a rhythmic movement back in the negative and a rhythmic movement forward in the positive.
As you complete your positive move, this is when your “toe touch” should have occurred. Upon the toe touch, this is where the coach can see if the player is properly readying themselves to swing.
It is important to see that the head is in alignment with the belly button and the weight is centered in their body.
The next important point is the heel plant. The heel plant is important because this is what tells the body that you are ready to swing. The swing cannot occur until that heel plant has happened. This is the linear move in the swing.
Here are a few more key hitting mechanics to make sure that you are performing in your swing:
Posture is very important, so as your player gets to the toe touch, make sure they still have a flex or a bend in the knee, are bent at the hip, and that the shoulders and torso remain flat to the plate. Many times, at this point in the swing, a player will either firm up or collapse the front side, which takes the body out of good posture and you are not strong when you are ready to swing the barrel.
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