We’ve often heard baseball coaches tell their players, “Trust the hands!” Is that a good coaching concept? No, I say. It’s the opposite. In fact, here’s one of the most important lessons I teach players during baseball hitting drills:
“HIPS TAKE US TO THE BALL.
HANDS TAKE US THROUGH THE BALL.”
Our hands are auto reactors, providing some of our body’s quickest muscle reaction. If we hold our hands up and pop our wrists, we can do that repeatedly very quickly. If someone were to throw a punch at us, our hands would quickly and automatically pop up in defense.
As an infielder, we don’t have to think about a ball thrown to us. Our hands react to the direction of the ball and make the catch without having to think about it. Think of the catcher after he gives the sign. He is taught to frame the pitch. His hands automatically go to the pitch without any thought or direction.
Yes, the hands are auto reactors. Is this good for the hitter? “No!” When the hands move too early, this is when we hear the coach yell out, “Wait on the pitch!” Good coaches know that a hitter who allows his hands to react automatically as his first movement towards the pitch will never have full body support.
Now, let’s apply this to our baseball hitting mechanics.
Here are the steps:
1. Coil (Load): The hitter collects his weight on the backside.
2. Stride: a linear step towards the pitched ball (30-40% of weight transfer).
3. Body Rotation: Hips rotate toward the ball.
4. Hands will then, and only then, execute the stroke.
Repeat, “hips take us to the ball, hands take us through the ball.” Don’t trust the hands . . . yet. Discipline the hands to wait until we get into launch position—hands inside the ball and hips rotated—then turn to the pitch and initiate the stroke.
They travel in rotation with the pivot, but they do not commit to the pitch until the rotation is complete. This rotated position with the hands still back is what we call the “drive” position. It is at this time that the hands will launch.
“Now” we can trust the hands. Try it, and watch the ball explode onto the bat.
Coach’s Corner Extra Tip: Remember that when we hit, the hands are in a double lever system. That is, they don’t personally go to the ball. They are holding the bat, which goes to the ball. The hands always end up in front of the body. They are responsible for directing the bat to the proper cut line on the pitch.
More tips and drills can be found in our Super 8 Hitting System.
Received a great question from a customer this morning. Here it is:
Q – Coach: I got your $57.00 dollar DVD and watched them and they are great. A couple of questions are I believe my son has a loop in his swing he is eight years old. I believe the fence drill will fix that. That will also fix the dropping of the hands correct? The guide stilck drill is AWESOME ALSO. Which knuckles get lined up. He is left handed so his left handed knuckles are lined up with his right hand top knuckles not the knuckles on the fiingers of the right hand but the hand correct? Also the rocking step. When the front heel comes up you want the hips to urn in correct. orry for the questions just want to make sure that I am doing this right. Thanks Joe
A – Hi, Joe
Glad you were able to find my video helpful for you in instructing baseball hitting drills eight year old son. This is a great time to help him to develop good habits that he can build on as he grows into the game.
Knuckles of his top hand should be up when he is in his stance, and they face the pitcher when he is in contact with the pitch. Remember, they never face down or away as he goes to the pitch. The knuckles of his bottom hand actually line up little between first and second knuckles of the top hand. Remember when he is in the contact position, his knuckles top hand knuckles never face up. They always face the pitcher.
All of those baseball hitting drills are good. Be sure that he practices what we call the “A, B, C” drill. “A “ is his position after he makes his stride. Keep in mind that in his stance, the bat is at the point of the shoulder, with the percussion slightly cocked toward the pitcher in a 2 o’clock position and remains in this position while he takes his stride. The “B(Drive)” position is when he makes his pivot toward the pitch, still keeping his bat on his shoulder. The “C” position is his contact position. In this position the top hand must be under the bat, and the bottom hand is over the bat. You can check this out by having him open his hands while in the contact position. And the bottom hand remains under the bat until after first extension. Then he can roll the bat at that point.
Be sure to focus on keeping his bat on his shoulder throughout the pivot process and only leave when he goes to contact the pitch. This will help to insure that he does not drop his hands in a loop. All of our drills are designed to reinforce this concept. For pitches down the middle or inside, make contact out in front of the plate (90 degree pivot). For outside pitches, contact is made a little deeper in the strike zone with only a 45 degree pivot. We call this a hip flex. A good way to remember this is “square to”…”go to”.
You can reinforce all of these concepts with the mat drills and also during his batting practice. He can actually practice the “A-B” and then hit the pitched ball to help reinforce this and carry it over into live pitching. We illustrate all of these drills in our Hitting Agenda Video from the Super 8 Hitting System 8 DVD set.
Hope this helps, Joe.
Keep up the good work and best of luck,