I have been teaching baseball and fastpitch softball hitting for eight years now and still at least one time per week I am asked by a new parent or student if I teach the rotational swing or linear swing. From the very beginning I have told them neither one, I teach how the very best Major League baseball and Team USA softball hitters actually use their body when they swing the bat. For years most of them gave me a puzzled look because their coaches and former hitting instructors had taught them one or the other. Almost all hitting websites say these are the two swings that are used by hitters.
Recently I have read some instructors, even one that has taught the rotational swing for years, say they don't teach the rotational or linear swing they teach a combination of both. This is a little better but it still isn't the way the greatest hitters swing the bat.
I teach how the very best hitters in baseball and fastpitch softball actually swing because they don't use rotational, linear or the combination of both. The average professional hitter does use them. The best hitters have a different swing and that is what separates them from the average hitter. But when a great hitter starts using any of these swings they will go into a slump and become an average hitter until they go back to using the body the way they did before.
Every day we have baseball and fastpitch softball batters come in to practice their hitting in our batting cages. They are mostly between six years old all the way to playing in college. Almost every hitters (up to 99%) swing is linear, rotational or combination of both because that is what they have been taught. You can really tell this when high school baseball and fastpitch softball players come in to hit. Almost all of them average only 3 to 4 line drives out of sixteen pitches. They hit 12 to 13 weaker pop ups and grounders. Right away you can see they are using one of these styles of hitting because they are swinging with their arms as hard as they can swing. Half of the swings they lose their balance and they are not consistent. It's not that their not a good hitter it's just the way they are swinging the bat, with their arms, makes hitting much more challenging.
One reason rotational, linear hitting and even the combination of both makes a batter inconsistent is the bat will not be in a good position during the swing. The very best hitters have the bat consistently in very specific positions during the swing so they can use their body and not their arms. If it is in the correct position, hitting becomes so much easier. When looking at the very best hitters in baseball and fastpitch softball at the half way point in their swing their bat is ready to go forward every time, that is why they have good timing and are very consistent.
Almost every hitter that comes in has their bat behind them at the half way point in their swing by one to two feet from swing to swing. If the bat is not in the correct position the batter can't swing with their body. The batter will now have to get their arms involved. This is where more problems start for the hitter. Depending on how far behind the bat is at this position, determines how fast the batter has to twist and pull the bat to catch up to the ball. This is why almost all hitters don't have good timing and are not consistent.
The problem is, the teaching that is making hitters inconsistent starts at the highest levels and trickles down to Little League coaches. Major league hitting coaches and even former players on ESPN say a hitter needs to rotate and trust his hands, he needs to swing down through the ball and use fast hands, he needs to get on top of the ball and many other bad hitting cues that will make a hitter use mainly their arms. Coaches and instructors teaching these are why Major League hitting stats have gone down so drastically the last nine years. Below is the league average from 2006, 2013 and from this year 2014.
YEAR AVG HR RUNS RBI HITS DOUBLES SLUG
2006 .269 5386 23,599 22,491 45,073 9135 .432
2013 .253 4661 20,255 19,271 42,092 8222 .396
2014 .251 4186 19,761 18,745 41.595 8137 .386
As you can see averages, production and power are way down. That is because almost every hitting cue out there makes a hitter use mainly their arms and this puts the bat out of position. This makes hitting so much harder than it should be even for Major League players.
The three things I am asked for by students and parents are more power, consistency and better timing. Then they want to know how long it will take to see results. Other instructors have told them once they learn what they are teaching it will take about three to five months to see improvement. The problem was they still didn't see much improvement. I tell them as soon as they learn to put the bat in the proper position by using their body (not arms) they will see more power, consistency and better timing immediately.
When a batter learns how to get the bat in the proper position with their body during the swing, hitting becomes so much easier. The best players in baseball and fastpitch softball make hitting look so easy because they have their bat consistently in the same correct position. When they use their body the correct way this is easy to accomplish. This is why they look so smooth and effortless, hit the ball so hard and have great timing. Students that learn how to use the body to get the bat in the best position improve their timing and start consistently hitting harder line drives because the bat is where it should be, they don't have to speed it up to get to the ball.
Anyone that would like to learn how to use the body like the very best hitters in baseball and fastpitch softball can call Mike Sedberry at 304-722-6393 for more information.