Hitting Drills for Baseball: SWING DOWN…….GOOD OR BAD?
We have heard for years, that for a player to be a good hitter, he must swing down on the ball.
While there is some truth to this, young players totally misinterpret what swing down really means.
First, let us understand the direction the ball comes to us. A pitcher pitches off of a 10 inch mound and because he is elevated when he pitches the ball, the ball will come to the hitter diagonally down. If you we can visualize a ball coming to a hitter on a downward plane and the hitter also swinging on a downward plane, the hitter has only one chance to intersect with the ball on contact.
When hitters hear the term “swing down”, they will almost always swing on a vertical plane. Perhaps coaches teach this because in their minds, this would be a short stroke. However, while swinging down would be shorter, which would be beneficial, this action does not place the bat in alignment for the best contact with the ball.
Swinging down is also popular with coaches because they feel it will hit ground balls in little league and youth baseball, where fielders struggle to make these plays. In other words, more chances for errors give them a better chance for getting on base.
This is a negative way to think about learning how to hit in baseball because it does not maximize hitting ability. As a player grows in the game, there will be other players who will be excellent in fielding and throwing out grounders.
Here is another important point, and we have tested this time and time again with our hitting drills for baseball. Swinging down hits more pop-ups than ground balls. We identify the action of “swinging-down” that hits a pop-up as a “scrape”. The ball counter acts the downward swing and can actually hit a pop-up each time.
So where is the adjustment? We do not swing down. But we do go down. By driving to the ball diagonally down, keeping our hands above the ball, and the bat head above the hand as we pivot (drive), this puts us in perfect position to make the best contact. We then invert the bat so that the top hand goes under the stroke, then goes diagonally up. This perfectly matches the pitch.
We go to the ball diagonally down, and our stroke goes diagonally up. NEVER do we want the bat head to point to the ground after contact.
If that happens you will usually see a pop up because the bat will hit the face of the ball rather than the core of the ball.
Techniques that show how to hit in baseball are fully explained in our baseball training web site for the”Super 8 Hitting System“, completely demonstrated in a series of baseball hitting videos, which includes many baseball coaching tips and baseball coaching drills.