The two types of baseball hitters

Hitters can be grouped into two buckets, linear and rotational.
The linear hitters can be great hall of fame caliber players (for example Ichiro is a linear hitter).

There is absolutely nothing wrong with the way Ichiro hits. In fact, linear hitting is a great way to produce a lot of singles and a high batting average. Most lead off hitters, as well as your 7, 8, 9 hitters will be linear hitters.

Linear hitting is great for players that can run like the wind, but for the rest of us, and for your heart of the order players, you may need to think about teaching rotational mechanics that generate long gap shots and extra base hits.

The biggest concern in teaching linear mechanics to young players is what happens when these players grow up and do not have the characteristics of a linear hitter (great speed, lots of good contact). There are not many places in baseball for a slow right handed hitter who hits balls on the ground.  But a young hitter who is taught rotational mechanics can easily be used as a lead off type of hitter by just putting the hitter more on his axis rather than behind his axis.

Rotational Hitting mechanics: a brief glimpse

Lets take a look at some of the key rotational hitting mechanics of the most powerful swings in baseball over the years.  Notice how these guys use rotational hitting mechanics.

Torque: a rotational hitting mechanic

  • Hitter’s bottom half is going to pitcher
  • Hitter’s top half of the body stays back
  • Back foot does not squish the bug–when back foot does rotate around it rotates as a result of other actions–not the cause and therefore should not be taught.   On high pitches the back foot will actually come off the ground!
  • this is known as torque
  • torque is responsible for rotation of upper body which happens just after these frames
  • torque is a very important component of a powerful swing

Long Three or Contact: another rotational hitting mechanic

  • back elbow in
  • shoulders dipped
  • bat head below hands
  • back knee hinged
  • front leg locked
  • front elbow up

The Finish

  • back knee hinged
  • front leg locked
  • front foot may flop
  • hitter still behind axis
  • lower pitch higher finish

Questions you can ask your hitting instructor:

Do you use video and computer analysis in the teaching process?

Is the instruction done in a group or individual?

What are the 3 or 4 simple core concepts that you teach?

Is there a difference between style and technique?

Where does the power in the swing come from?