5 Steps for a Perfect Baseball Swing
By: Sean Plouffe
This is what a perfect baseball swing looks like, demonstrated by the 4 best hitters to ever do it.
I will take you through the five main components of their swing. The mechanics listed below are the key to maximizing your abilities as a hitter.
A perfect baseball swing has common elements that all great hitter encorporate into their swing.
The image above illustrates centripetal force.
Williams tips his barrel forward, this is a cocking action to turn the barrel. Watch his barrel go from the tipped position to level with the incoming pitch.
This movement happens before the shoulders turn. By creating a running start, Williams creates elite level bat speed and adjustability, Because Williams is able to move the barrel while keeping the hands back, this allows Williams to adjust to pitch speed and location.
Elite hitters do not start from a dead stand still.
They create momentum with the barrel. Young players are taught to hold the bat at a 45 degree angle. From there, they are taught to be short to the ball and "swing down." This is incorrect.
Weight Shift/Stretch and Fire
Notice how Braun is able to keep his weight centered over the back leg while he creates momentum forward.
The stretch and fire mechanic is very important for power. The overall concept is simple, lower body before upper body. In a perfect baseball swing, the back elbow should pull back against the leg pushing forward.
This tug of war is how we can optimize our swing speed. The lower body turns forward, upper body resists for as long as possible, and then BOOM. The swing becomes a release of kinetic energy.
Ken Griffey Jr. was one of the best at using the stretch and fire concept. Notice how the hands are hidden from the pitcher.
His back elbow is pulled back. As the pitch comes, he pulls back even more!
Notice how his weight falls forward while he keeps his hands back.
Matching plane is the one concept that the majority of hitters fail to master.
99.9% of pop ups are hit because the bat path sliced through the path of the plane of the pitch.
So many hitters are taught to "swing down."
This creates more pop ups.
Ted Williams wrote about matching swing plane to the plane of the pitch in 1971.
It's important to note, the angle of the bat and the angle of the shoulders should always match up at contact.
Low Pitch, low back shoulder. High pitch, high back shoulder.
Players who are taught to keep the shoulders level often swing over the baseball. The modern strike zone dictates that you drop your shoulder to hit strikes.
Players who swing with level shoulders end up swinging around their body and lack the adjustability to drive any pitch that is down in the zone.
In this clip, Votto has tilted and "dropped his back shoulder" as much as humanly possible.
Votto is without a doubt one of the best all around hitters in the MLB.
This is how you stay inside the baseball.
This is how you hit for power to the opposite field.
This is how you swing through the baseball instead of pull off.
Adjustability is the ability to hit all pitch types and locations.
Notice how the barrel moves independent of the shoulders.
This allows for bat speed to be created without full commitment to the pitch. The hands stay back for as long as possible.
Baseball is a game of consistency. There may be thousands of players who can hit a baseball 400+ feet. Only a select few can do it consistently against the best pitching on the planet.
This is Daniel.
At 6 years old, his swing has all the elements listed above. Our bodies are naturally going to fall into efficient movement patterns.
Kids typically have a ton of great movements without any coaching required.
Daniel learned by watching. This is not a one time thing, he consistently squares baseballs.
The perfect baseball swing is not always a balanced, repeatable stroke. It is a combination of adjustable movements resulting in efficient use of the kinetic chain and ultimately square contact with the baseball, regardless of pitch speed or location.
To truly understand these movements and how they work, pick up your bat and swing.
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