WARNING!! Down & Through Hitting Mechanics EQUALS Down in the Lineup

Written by on May 27, 2011 in Hitting Methodology - 67 Comments

The Myths of Hitting

It is often said that swinging “down and through” the ball generates backspin.  Coaches for years have been telling hitters to hit the top of the ball to make the ball go farther.  Another common queue from coaches is to ‘go to the ball’, or ‘hit it out front.’  These statements are false.   They are myths, and they ruin hitters.

The argument goes like this.  “What’s the shortest distance between two points?  A line.”   So if you swing on a line down to the top of the ball, and then continue through the ball, the ball will spin backwards when it leaves the bat.”   This is nonsense.  Hitters who swing this way will fail.

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Black line is Barrel Path. Green line is path of pitch. Yellow lines show ‘Power V’ and ‘A to C’ mechanics at their worst.

Look at the photographs above and below.  Two players with ‘down and through’ mechanics, attempting to hit the top of the ball and hit the ball out in front to create backspin.

Swing down softball swing, A to C Mechanics, Linear Mechanics, Knob to the ball, Backspin, hitting drills, baseball hitting, softball hitting

Black line is Barrel Path. Green line is estimated path of ball. Purple Circle is estimated contact point. Yellow lines are indications of down and through mechanics. Power V is shown here, and ‘A to C’ mechanics as well.

Well, no one can argue that the shortest distance between two points is NOT a line, but I’m going to argue that a pitch is not a point…but a moving object, much like a comet, that has a leading point and a tail.  The swing also moves, and there are many possible points of impact along the path of both the pitch and the swing.  That is if the swing is done properly.

The ‘line’ or, in most cases, ‘arch’ of the pitch is drawn from the release point of the pitcher all the way to the catcher’s glove.  Would you rather have one point to hit the ball that has an area of only a few inches?  Or…would you want something better like a bigger area that is feet instead of inches?

In Jaime Cevallos’s Positional Hitting book he describes what I am talking about as Area Of Impact (AOI).  The reason Down & Through makes a hitter so inconsistent is because of the reduced AOI.  The AOI is about 8-14 inches with D&T, and the Baseball Hitting Rebellion way is more like 4 feet!  Think about the path of the barrel as being like the NIKE Swoosh sign…this is connecting the dots from A to B to C.  We at Baseball Rebellion are greedy, we demand both consistency and power with our swings, like every truly great player.

 

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Which bat path would you rather have your swing have? Which bat path gives you the largest chance to hit the ball hard?

ThePTMethod.com

The problem is, a hitter can’t create this ‘upward’ swing without dropping his back shoulder or  dragging his barrel.  So, you can imagine these hitters in the dreaded ‘B’ position or hitters who have ‘dropped their back shoulder’ or who are ‘dragging their bats through the zone’ must be bad hitters right?  I don’t think so…but you might be unsure.  Let’s see what the Pros do:

Kevin Mattison, Baseball Rebellion, Hitting Mechanics, Pro Baseball Hitting Mechanics

Kevin Mattison, AA player for the Jacksonville Suns (Marlins) has raised his batting average over .110 points this year. Look at the barrel deep in the zone, behind the path of the ball. Red line is barrel path, green line is ball path, purple is estimated contact point, and yellow box is area of impact possibilities.

Now, you might say, Chas, that’s only a AA hitter.  To that, I’d say ‘True, and one of the best 3000 players in the world’…and just to be clear, Kevin is NOT a power guy…he’s a 6.4 runner in the 60 yard dash and a GREAT fielder.

Now, lets look at two of the greatest MLB power guys, Albert Pujols and Arod.

Can we all agree that Arod is/was a great hitter?  How about Albert Pujols? Arod is a 600 homerun hitter, absolute monster of hitting and Pujols is arguably the best right handed hitter ever.  These guys MUST have ‘good’ mechanics…they MUST hit down on it…they MUST go ‘A to C’…and reach out in front of them to ‘create backspin and lift’…RIGHT???

Albert Pujols, Swing Mechanics, Baseball Swing Mechanics, Pujols Swing Mechanics

Yellow lines show deep contact and heavy bend in elbows (this pitch was hit to the pullside gap). Red line is arch of the barrel. Green line is pitch trajectory, and Purple is the contact point.

Alex Rodriguez Texas Rangers Mechanics, Baseball Hitting Mechanics, ARod Mechanics

Arod, about to crush a homerun for Texas. Bat lagged back in ‘B’ position, swinging up at an incoming pitch.

WRONG!  They are the best in the world at what they do…and they hit the ball deep and on an upswing!  So how do mechanics like down and through, and hit the ball out front permeate the coaching field?  Well, I’ll put it this way…it’s not ALL the coaches fault…

Extra Young Hitters and The Well-Meaning-Parent

Remember when your son or daughter was very young…I mean so young they were using the giant barreled plastic bat and the Whiffel Ball.  So young you stood like right in front of them so they could hit the ball, and were never worried about getting hit, because mostly they weren’t hitting…they were swinging wildly and going to get the ball they missed…then throwing it nowhere near you…so you could retrieve it and the process started again…

Now….think back…what did you do when they hit that first ball?  I don’t mean crushed it…I mean the first foul tip?  Remember?  YOU WENT CRAZY!  You were so proud, and so was the child, and you couldn’t wait to walk towards them…give them a high five…and then pick the ball up that went backwards so they could hit it again.

Does that sound familiar?  Of course it does, because every single parent of every player I’ve ever had at a camp or lesson tells the same story, when I ask about the plastic giant barreled bat and ball.  Now they might remember that once the child got better…they could hit it over some fence, or into a pond, or off a building (not grounders I will quickly point out)…but they also remember those formative swings…when the child is rewarded for ‘hitting’ the ball.

Lets fast forward on that same kid’s journey:  Onto T-Ball!

Now, if a young kid is playing T-Ball, the goal is really just to ‘hit’ the ball.  I’m not even sure they should keep score at that level, because really isn’t it about learning the game and the kids having fun?  But this is where the problems get even bigger!…you get that one excited dad who just wants to WIN BABY, and he’s all over the kids, telling them all kinds of ridiculous things like ‘just make contact’ and ‘nice easy swing’ and ‘you don’t have to try to hit the ball hard, just hit it on the barrel and that’s all that matters’.  Then that dad talks to a high school coach…or reads a youth hitting book, and sees the ‘A to C’ approach.  This makes sense to him, because, like we said before, ‘the shortest distance between two points is a line’.  So he has the kids raise their hands, slam down on that stationary ball, and, as we all remember, chaos ensues.  Grounders are turned into homeruns, the pitcher has some sort of timeout circle that causes all runners to have to stop, and the games, mercifully, have a time limit.  The kids love it, everyone gets ‘hits’, and by the 3rd inning, the kids are more worried about the snack after the game than the score.

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This is a common sight, a well meaning father spending time with his son, but unknowingly teaching him to be unsuccessful in the process.

Little League and Travel Ball

The field is still small, hard grounders zoom into the outfield, the best pitchers in the league throw curveballs but really is more gravity than spin that makes that ball move (and that crazy dad is still coach…and there are MORE OF HIM).  That same kid is a normal sized kid, faster than most but not the quickest kid.  He still loves the game, and he’s being taught, and rewarded, for swinging down on balls, hitting hard grounders, and making contact.  He makes the Little League All Star team, but he bats 7th…a new experience for him.  Some of the other kids hit the ball a little harder, are a little bigger, but he’s an all star nonetheless.  He gets on a travel team, and his grounders start getting caught a little more often…He isn’t a starter anymore…but he’s playing against good players…Still, he’s frustrated that his grounders aren’t working…he’s not used to this much failure…However, he is still excited about middle school.

Middle School Ball:  Trouble in Paradise

So here’s that kid, getting ready for tryouts…In NC where I live, middle school rules dictate a minus 5 bat, (my kids swing minus 3’s)…so he grabs his buddy’s 31 inch 26 ounce bat and it feels HUGE.  The minus 12 he’s been using in little league and the big barrel in travel ball are a thing of the past.  He can barely swing this thing, but he’s got his hands high, just like his coach is telling him….but he can’t get it out of the infield, and the curveballs are really starting to show a weakness now…He can’t stay back and his off balance forward lunging towards the pitcher more and more often…In the batting cage, he struggles with the weight, but he hits hard grounders and soft line drives towards the back of the cage, something he’s used to but the ball doesn’t ‘jump’ the way the bigger kids can…Maybe he makes the middle school team but maybe he doesn’t.  Let me tell you who did make the middle school team…The kids who hit it the hardest and farthest.

The coaches in middle school and high school are confusing…they’re teaching ‘A to C’ down and through mechanics.  They put the tee way out in front of their hitter’s front foot, where the ‘line’ from ‘A’ to ‘C’ is the flattest, the kids hit line drives.  The game comes, and those same kids are rolling over grounders and hitting weak fly balls… The coaches are confused…and don’t like these results…So now the players are at fault, and here comes the coach speak ‘why are you dropping your shoulder?’, ‘why are you swinging up at the ball?’, How did you get that lunging long swing?’, ‘Why won’t you wait for the ball?’.  Watch how the lineup forms itself over time, the best hitters are the ones who hit the ball the hardest and farthest…and I bet, if you had video of those kids, they aren’t taking a ‘direct’ bath to the ball.  They are taking a path that accelerates the barrel into the path of the ball.

Here’s another drill:  put the tee out in front of your child’s foot.  This is the position that is easiest for them to hit, then watch them hit.  Do they lean forward and reach for the ball?  Pay attention to how long their stride is.

Bad Coaching, Baseball Hitting, Swing Up, Swing Down, Linear Mechanics, Rotational Hitting, Pro Hitting Mechanics, Baseball Drills, Hitting Drills

What are we working on here? Hitting mistake pitches? Ok, I’m good with that, but shouldn’t we be able to crush those automatically? Most hitters can take terrible paths to that ball and create a ‘false positive’ result of success.

Now, put the tee behind the back of their front knee…can they hit a hard line drive from that tee position?  If so…how did they do it and where did it go?  And can they do it again and again?  Try a very low pitch from that deep position?   Can they elevate and drive a low pitch or do they beat that into the ground backside?  Remember, this pitch is middle…not outside.

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Now HERE we are getting somewhere. Edited picture is the same as above but the tee is deeper in his stance, and lower, forcing a better, more quickly accelerated swing, with a longer area of impact.

Let me ask you a question:  what percentage of groundballs turn into outs in the major leagues?  What’s your guess?  50%?  65%?  Nope, the answer is .74 percent!  Knowing that, does it make sense to teach our kids to hit the top of the ball?  If someone can PLEASE show me how to hit down on a ball to make enough backspin to carry that ball out of a ballpark in a game, I’d pay to see it.  I am not advocating fly balls over grounders, trust me, but fly balls do have a chance to become extra base hits, while grounders very rarely do.  *statistics taken from CrawfishBoxes.com*  Don’t we want our youth players, our sons and daughters, to have the highest chance at a top level swing that we can?  How much better does a ball driven to the fence feel than a seeing eye ground ball single?  Do we ask our children to get C’s in school because ‘C’s get degrees’, or do we push them to be their best?  Would you only teach them to do math or reading at a 6th grade level?  Of course you wouldn’t, but if you’re teaching down and through, back to front mechanics, you’re limiting your child’s progress and forever putting a ceiling on their upward potential.

About the Author

Chas has done over 11,000 hitting lessons since 2006. He is the sole owner of ITS Baseball, Baseball Rebellions research facility. Chas is a Hitting Theory Innovator and the author of Baseball Hitting Rebellion Blog. He invented the Drive Developer and Rebel’s Rack, which are sold around the world. Chas played Division I Baseball at N.C. State and UNC Asheville where he contributed to the winning of the Big South Conference Championship in 2006.

67 Comments on "WARNING!! Down & Through Hitting Mechanics EQUALS Down in the Lineup"

  1. Tim May 31, 2011 at 11:40 am · Reply

    Hey Chas, Great posting. I have to tell you what you have put down seems to me to be so much more instinctually and intuitively spot on. The longer potential area of impact obviously gives a batter a much greater chance at making quality contact. The path of the swing as you describe also I believe greatly increases a batters chance of making quality contact with lower pitches. Now coming from the Dark Side (former pitcher) I know pitchers and more importantly most pitching coaches of at least the last two generations preach down,down, down in the zone. I was exposed to a wily old pitching coach that stressed not only inside and outside, but down and up in the zone. Going up in the zone for a pitcher against a hitter swinging with the Down and Through method is giving the pitcher more often than not Vegas house odds in my humble opinion. learning to pitch to the holes in a hitters swing was something I learned to do with the help of a couple of great coaches. The longer area of impact of your described swing gives the batter an advantage on a higher pitch, but I was wondering if you think the flattening out of the Nike Swoosh as the posting calls it will result in a noticable drop in power at contact or bat speed.

    • Chas Pippitt May 31, 2011 at 1:59 pm · Reply

      Tim,

      Thanks for the kind words Tim, I do appreciate it when a pitcher can understand what I’m trying to do. My goal as a hitting coach is to talk to pitching guys and take what they ‘teach’ their kids and learn how to make my kids beat it. Now that I have disclosed this, I wonder if some of those coaches will be less giving with their information…:)

      Changing the ‘eye level’ of hitters is talked about a lot by the pitchers and pitching coaches I talk to. That seems to be what you’re talking about. I agree that is one way for a pitcher to try to get a hitter off track…but honestly it shouldn’t really change the hitters’ mechanics…but I know it does. As hitters and those who train hitters catch up to pitchers in training practices, Eye level changes will be less and less effected as hitters will become more disciplined and less easily fooled.

      The I.T.S. Baseball Hitting System is geared to accelerate the swing BEFORE the barrel even enters the hitting zone. Try something for me. Get in your stance, and take your hands forward and down to the ball (traditional mechanics) and stop. Don’t snap your wrists…what moved? Your hands and the knob moved and the barrel pivoted…

      Question, don’t we want to accelerate barrel of the bat and not our hands?

      Now, Tim, try something else: this time, slot your barrel and snap your wrists without moving the pivot point of the bat. What moved? Correct! The barrel.

      This ‘Nike Swoosh’ action is like being a car on the highway…it’s going fast already. The down and through method is like being on the onramp…

      If a car at the top of the onramp and a car at the same spot on the highway are racing…and top speed is 70 mph…the car on the highway is ALREADY GOING 70…the one on the on-ramp has high RPM’s (is inefficient) and is accelerating as fast as it can get so it can merge…The one on the highway is already going 70, is going faster with less effort, (is efficient) has low RPM’s and uses less gas (energy). That’s why you see these silky smooth big league swings (Buatista, Pujols, Hamilton, old school Griffey) dominate and hit with amazing ball exit speed and power. The mechanics of these hitters’ swings ARE their results…their strength only helps it. These swings are mechanically so elite they literally seem and look effortless but really they are just totally efficient.

      Chas -

      • Mike Byrns May 9, 2012 at 7:58 am · Reply

        Chas,
        So, is there a point where this turns into an uppercut, and not a great point of impact? Where is this fine line, and by watching myself swing on video, at what point do I know if I’m uppercutting, or having a great hand path? Thank you.

        Mike Byrns

      • HIT DR June 12, 2012 at 8:26 am · Reply

        YOU GOTTA BE JOKING BUD… ALTHOUGH YOU MAY MEAN WELL I HAVE HEARD GUYS LIKE YOU…. SAY ROTATIONAL HITTING IS THE ONLY WAY TO HIT.. I WORK WITH MAJOR LEAGUE PLAYERS CURRENTLY PLAYING AS WELL AS AMATEURS AND SO ON.. NOT TO MENTION I PROMISE YOU THAT AT 37 OUT OF SHAPE I CAN STILL HIT BALLS OUT OF ANY FIELD AS WELL AS MY STUDENTS FROM JR HIGH UP.. I TEACH DOWN AND THROUGH AND IT WASNT UNTIL I LEARNED THIS TECHNIQUE THAT I STARTED DROPPING BOMBS.. THAT I KNOW YOU CANT DO IF YOU SWING LINEAR ,FLAT, ROTATIONAL FROM YOUR BOTTOM HALF .. ETC……. I HAVE ONE OF THE EASIEST SWINGS AND I PRODUCE MASSIVE POWER / REASON: LEVERAGE AND BACKSPIN SIR!! I SAID BACK SPIN !! TOO FLAT MEANS UP THATS WHY YOU SEE A LOT OF PRO HITTERS WITH A DROPPED BARRELL COMING THREW THE ZONE… NOW YOU WILL SAY ( YEA BUT HERE PRO HITTERS SO IT MUST WORK) RIGHT!! LET ME ASK YOU WHY DO YOU THINK BASEBALL IS RANKED AMONGST THE TOP OF PERFORMANCE ENHANCEMENT DRUG ABUSE IN ALL OF SPORTS.. BAD SWINGS .. I PLAYED THE GAME AND SAW IT FIRST HAND AND KNOW THE MOTIVATION IS TO USE DRUGS TO ACCOMIDATE YOUR LACK OF SWING TECHNIQUE… I DONT KNOW YOU DONT KNOW YOUR BACKGROUND BUT WHOEVER YOU ARE OR THINK YOU ARE CHILL OUT YOU ARE AT THE BEGINNING LINE AND IM LAPPING AGAIN MY FRIEND.. IM SO TIRED

        • Chas Pippitt June 12, 2012 at 8:50 am · Reply

          Hit Dr,

          First, LOVE THE CAPITALS! Very cool.

          Second, I’m so impressed with your ability to hit at 37, that’s great. Everyone is proud of you.

          Third, I hope to someday reach the status of you as a hitting coach. I think it’s great you’re reading my blog, that’s a huge feather in my cap.

          We love backspin here at BHR, it’s the same spin as a fastball, which makes the ball fly true and straight. Maybe you’ve heard of Ted Williams? He was pretty good in his day and he was a big proponent of what I’m teaching now and I’m sure he’d like the advances we’re making daily at BHR.

          Please direct me to your studies/writing so I can continue to learn from you. I googled “Hit Dr” and I guess I just couldn’t find anything on you as the only one I found was a much older gentleman and a professional softball coach. If you can please send me one video of a professional hitter swinging down in a game on a pitch they’ve timed correctly, I’d really appreciate it.

          Chas–

          P.S. are your articles in ALL CAPS?!?!? I sure hope so.

          PPS. The physics of what you’re saying are incorrect and flawed. I hope you can keep reading and learn more about what the best players in the world do. You’re a victim of 30 years of bad information thanks to metal bats, so this isn’t your fault. Take the easy way out, teach down and through, and we’ll keep making amazing adjustments and improvements in our guys. Every single guy like you makes every single guy that we teach that much further ahead. Thanks for reading.

  2. greg June 1, 2011 at 7:27 am · Reply

    How does this change the list of drills posted on your wedsight?

    • jmyers June 1, 2011 at 9:35 am · Reply

      Haha Greg, I knew this was coming :D Changes are coming soon to the TOP 5 Drills section of SwingSmarter.com, and about a half dozen articles will be replaced with Chas’s Hitting Rebellion ones. It’s been a slow change over because I’ve been so busy with getting Chas set up with the blog, and fulfilling orders on The Starting Lineup Store. Rest assured, it’ll be worth it, more great content to come!

  3. DOUG June 1, 2011 at 7:54 am · Reply

    Hi Chas,
    My comments are not coming from someone who is a sold down and through coach but someone who is asking these questions to challenge you. I have found baseball hitting instruction is largely theory, copying other so-called experts and a heavy load of salesmanship to support a belief system. Currently, I try to believe what I see rather than see what I believe.
    I don’t believe anyone anymore until I take their theory to my special group of hitters and we find out whether it works better or not.
    I work with a lot of teenage hitters. I would describe their approach as poor hip drive with an uppercut and longer swing (often dropping their hands). They can golf lower pitches but really struggle with velo up in the zone. They generate top spin and their line drive or home run hits die prematurely? When they move up a level they will not be able to hit the higher velo fast ball up in the zone for a month or so until they adapt their timing. How would you convert an 17 year older upper cutter to a nike swing without having them go back to their old swing shorterly into the playing season?
    It seems to me that there are hitters under 6′ and taller larger hitters over 6′. I find that the taller boys employ more of an upper cut swing than the shorter players who it sems to me will need to generate bat speed more through hipdrive than the forces generated by looping your barrel?
    I have heard from a teammate of Albert Pujols that he spent many hours of practise time hitting off a tee setup on the inside of the plate and at the very top of the strike zone and that he then tried to drive these balls back up the middle or away as a low line drive. He called this his win/win approach – miss under and it becomes a great line drive HR.
    I often look to the many great hitters before the 70′s. They were not big strong men like today’s pros but hit just as well for both power and average with a much better walk to strikeout ratio? I have spent many hours watching video of their swings.
    I have taken countless kids to the park and helped them to generate backspin. They are all amazed at the increased carry of the ball.
    Jose Bautista for the Blue Jays is having another great season. How would you describe his swing? It doesn’t look jammed back like pujols to me?
    Last question: Today I see tons of video analysis of a good hitter’s mechanics. I believe that great hitters actually don’t use only one set of mechanics but vary their approach to the ball depending on the location and type of pitch? I would much rather know what Albert Pujols is trying to accomplish when he swings at a pitch rather just analyzing his mechanics and trying to guess what his goal was on that particular swing. But I find that those secrets are very hard to get.
    I am absolutely curious to know how your approach of the nike swing will help them to wait back better on slower pitches, not dropping their shoulder, or looping their hands and to hit away?
    I have asked you a lot of questions, but I am very willing to change to your system.
    Doug.

    • Chas Pippitt June 1, 2011 at 11:31 am · Reply

      Doug,

      What an impressive email!

      There’s so much there, its going to take me some time to respond…and probably in a few different posts/replies.

      I’ll try to go in order of your questions: Here goes!

      Players with improper hip drive (thrust) are unable to support the barrel with their shoulders. This leads to ‘dumping the barrel’ down to the catcher and will lead to this uppercutting, wrist rolling, top spin generating swing that you’re describing.

      ‘Velo up in the zone’ is an interesting phrase with many meanings. First, if it’s truly ‘up’ meaning above the belly button…don’t swing. It is very rare that an umpire gives pitches caught above the catcher’s head as strikes so my real advice is not to chase those bad pitches.

      Now, if you mean pitches at belt high, then I agree that you can get away with any type of mechanic you want (linear or rotational or any rolinear variation combination of the two) as your barrel path is much straigher and easier to get to much like the drawings made in the post above of the kid in red hitting off the tee. Fastballs belt high must be crushed, we agree, I just want the greatest chance of doing that. The Nike swing allows for that, as depicted in the ‘rotational’ vs ‘linear/down and through’ methods.

      To be clear, I don’t teach a pure rotational swing, but that diagram was a great illustration of the barrel path that i’m looking for…

      You asked about changing a hitter, that’s a tougher question. Honestly, it depends on what they’re doing. I can tell you this: You can’t ‘wait back’ and ‘swing down’ on a ball at the same time…it’s not possible. So, you must either start the hands/knob of the bat down with the hip rotation (not advised) which will push the body forward and the spine angle more vertical OR you must stay back on that back foot, wait longer for the ball to travel and hit the ball deeper in the zone by thrusting the back hip inward and forward, the front hip outward and back, slotting the barrel to get it on plane with the pitch and snap that barrel through the zone (what you should do).

      I have lessons, and I must go, but I will respond more later ok? Doug, I hope to hear back from you. Feel free to check out my website and call me during my office hours with any further inquiries and we can hash them out on here for all to see.

      Chas -

      PS I also know a teammate of Albert Pujols…small world, and am familiar with his training habits as well.

      • Chas Pippitt June 1, 2011 at 4:10 pm · Reply

        Doug,

        Had a break from lessons, lets see if I can bang out more answers…

        Short hitters VS Tall Hitters:

        Short hitters are lower to the ground and therefore have an easier time getting to low pitches and a smaller strike zone. Taller hitters have more natural leverage and length and therefore can uppercut more, and still be successful.

        One of my main problems with many youth and high school coaches is they coach what ‘wins’ instead of what ‘works’. My life is literally devoted to finding the best possible way to smash a baseball, and this is what I’ve come up with so far.

        Each pitcher across the country is taught throw the ball down in the zone…all of them…bar none. Why? Because it’s the hardest pitch to wait for, get behind and drive. This is due to the pitches location (low) and the angle of the pitch (downward at about an inch per foot of horizontal distance). The Nike swing is an accelerated swing that is already at top speed and maintains that speed while in the hitting zone. Pay attention to the ‘blur’ of the bat of the video you watch, you will see the bat blur downward and backwards towards the catcher and then once the bat gets into the hitting zone (B position) the ‘blur’ of the bat within the swing stays the same. This ‘blur’ of the bat due to slow cameras shows that the swing is already accelerated as opposed to ‘down and through swings’ where the bat is blurring on a downward line towards contact and continues to blur more after the ball is hit. (does that make sense)?

        Doug, if you have a broomstick with no or a Lax stick with no head and you swing it, WHERE is the sound? More than likely, the sound of a down and through swing is in front of a right handed batter going towards the 3rd base dugout. If the Nike/I.T.S. Baseball swing is done properly, the sound will be from behind the batter, over home plate, towards the pitcher (on a middle pitch).

        You want the ‘whoosh!’ of the bat to be before, at and after contact…from the catcher, over the plate, to extension. Instead, most down and through guys make that sounds in the wrong place, again proving their swing is ‘accelerating’ instead of ‘accelerated’ before and at contact.

        Now, onto Pro hitters:

        Newsflash! Most pro hitters have no clue about what they’re doing and why! Tony Gwynn, in his hitting video says (I’m paraphrasing) ‘with 2 strikes, you gotta look soft away, but when that pitcher tries to sneak 95 down and in on the knees…just drop the head on it and hit it off the wall’…I’m sorry, but the only guys I know who can do that…are the ones making 10m plus…and they aren’t coming to see me for hitting lessons!

        Many hitting coaches preach ‘get to the high pitch’ while the pitching coaches preach, ‘throw the ball low’. Many hitting coaches preach ‘hit the ball on the ground’ and the pitching coaches preach ‘make the hitter hit the ball on the ground.’…Someone is wrong…and it’s NOT the pitching coaches!

        Chas -

        • Chas Pippitt June 1, 2011 at 4:35 pm · Reply

          Doug,

          LAST ONE! My wife is gonna kill me!

          One last thing on pro guys…Do you realize how few pro guys, coaches or players, go to college? Not that colleges makes you ‘smart’, but it does teach you how to think more clearly and logically. There are not any doctors with only high school educations and signing bonuses doing surgery/teaching surgery…Many of the guys I talk to in pro ball can tell you what they want to do…but few can tell you how they’re gonna do it with real terms that have meaning. For instance, they’ll say, ‘I want to keep the ball out of the air, and hit the ball low and hard.’ and I say ‘How?’ and they say, ‘You know, just stay on top, short to it.’ Then you see a picture of them, and their barrel is down back behind them pointing at the catcher…(Like Kevin Mattison in the article). Now, Kevin knows a lot about hitting but he’s the exception, not the rule. As many guys go in the off season to work with their high school coach, simply because he’ll throw them BP for nothing for hours.

          Truly physically talented people like the ones we’ve discussed can survive on talent alone, like my friend Tony Campana of the Chicago Cubs, who runs a 6.2 60 and and beat out grounders at the MLB level. Does it make sense to teach kids who can’t run like that to hit grounders? Nope, because you put a ceiling on their career.

          Now you mention ‘waiting back’ and ‘not dropping your shoulder’…

          Here’s the problem, to hit a low pitch, EVERY hitter drops their back shoulder…and guess what…to hit a mid leg and belt high pitch…they do as well. They want your backspin…but they want to hit the ball DEEP in the zone, or have their bat pass through that DEEP spot to ensure they have a large AOI.

          As I said before, you can’t wait back and not drop the shoulder…because you either jump at the ball and swing down like Joe Thurston

          or you wait back, and get behind the ball like bautista (you mentioned him, so I used him)

          Jose Bautista Bat Lag

          Jose Bautista Impact Position

          I know those are still photos, but you can see his hands above the ball (and barrel) and the barrel below the ball (but in line with the ball) in the first picture. Also, you can see how it’d be impossible for him to be ‘swinging down and through’ that ball in the second picture with the angles in this arms and the true depth he’s hitting with at contact. Right?

          Video of Bautista is hard to find…side views anyway… but you can see video of a pulled homer where he finishes so far back he must catch himself or he’d fall into the catcher here:

          Bautista Pulled Homer

          The key to this style of hitting is that the hitter must learn to ‘trust his thrust’ meaning his eyes will say ‘SWING NOW’ like his old swing, but with the new I.T.S. Baseball swing, he gains an extra 2 feet almost in depth of contact and efficient bat speed which keep his head still and makes pitches easier to take/judge.

          Doug, I hope think I got most of your questions answered…but as you can see, we take this hitting thing very seriously at BaseballHittingRebellion. Enjoy!

          Chas -

  4. jmyers June 2, 2011 at 9:52 am · Reply

    Great stuff Chas!! See, I told you guys Chas is a technique nerd, 3 SUPER Charged responses in a row!! Pictures and video speak volumes for what is “actually” happening during the swing. There are just too many holes in a Down & Through swing, it’s difficult to hit with any consistency. I can tell you pitchers hate guys like Bautista because they keep their barrel in the zone so long, it makes it hard to deceive that kind of a swing. Even if you don’t time the pitch right as a hitter, you have a lot of margin for error to work with, and can still pull off a line drive.

    • Chas Pippitt June 4, 2011 at 5:19 am · Reply

      Joey,

      NERD? more like Savant.

      Chas -

      • jmyers June 5, 2011 at 3:06 pm · Reply

        Haha Chas, I stand corrected :D

  5. Ivan June 2, 2011 at 10:06 pm · Reply

    Chas,

    Thanks for taking the time to explain the points in so much detail. For me, as a rookie to the whole hitting mechanics it is difficult to follow the jargon and need things spelled out for me from time to time. So I understand it, with getting the bat in the zone sooner (the Swoosh) and being long through the ball you will still create backspin? Or is backspin not really required at the point?

    Thanks again for the time you spent put this articles together much appreciated.. even when it confuses me…

    • Chas Pippitt June 3, 2011 at 10:10 am · Reply

      Ivan,

      My answer to the ‘backspin question’ is 2 fold.

      first, if you are hitting the ball hard and on an elevating line…you want backspin.

      HOWEVER, if you mis-hit a ball, and are hitting the ball hard in a downward trajectory (a grounder) you want topspin to shoot that ball through the infield.

      Think of a tennis player. when they hit a dropshot slice shot (backspin) the ball hits the surface and dies….slows down.

      when they hit a topspin winner shot, the ball hits the ground and shoots forward (yes, friction still slows the ball, but the topspin gives it that little burst at contact that backspin wont.

      in baseball terms…think a hard roll over grounder between 3b and SS vs a chopper or a one hopper that’s easily fielded. Neither are what we wanted to do…but one allows us to go over our swing in our minds at first base with a hit…and the other has us getting water in the dugout.

      Chas -

  6. Doug June 3, 2011 at 7:15 am · Reply

    Hi Chas,
    Thank you so much for your extensive reply. You have really challenged me and I am really trying to get a full understanding of your system and how it is different and most importantly how it will help my hitters.
    It seems to me initially that you are using the nike barrel path to the ball as a means to accelerate the bat head?
    If I might explain my personal experience. Mine son always hit with a slight upper cut swing and was a consistent 310-320 hitter with no home runs. However, at age 17 my son completely revolutionized his hitting when he learned to generate backspin line drive cannon shots which would slow climb out of parks. He was 5’10″ and weighed maybe 170. He could hit balls that almost cleared parking lots outside of Division 1 ball parks. He generated bat speed in a different way than what you adhere to. My son’s barrel was in the strike zone a long time and he had great extension.
    The trajectory of most of Jose Bautista’s hits are very similar. He hit a blast 2 weeks ago in Minnisota that went straight out to hit the second deck and that was straight into the teeth of a wind blowing the flags almost straight out. The colour commentators describe Bautista’s hits as getting straight out of the park in a hurry. Now, contrast those hits with say Jason Bay’s, or Ryan Howard’s or David Ortiz’s.
    My son in his final year before college would average a HR about every 18 at bats with a 420+ batting average and an outstanding slugging % and this was accomplished playing in some of the best wood bat 18u summer tournaments in America against legit pitching.
    But, then he went D1 Juco in the south and began almost immediately to copy the upper cut swings of his teammates ( who, unlike my son, had spent years in hitting facilities with big name instructors). My son’s hitting went down in both average and power, and had it not been for the fact that he was swinging tin I doubt that he would have hit many home runs again.
    When I coach a hitter now we go to the diamond and I help him learn to hit a slow climbing backspin line drive which will carry (maximizing the principles of physics which give maximum lift to the ball). I also teach them to work with the sound of their bat/ball collision. I don’t care as much how they make this event happen. I guess I work backwards from results.
    However, my hitters do struggle with one area of the strike zone and this why I am fascinated with your system.
    Ted Williams preached the axe chopping wood (in the diagrams in his book) but planed the bat on the incoming trajectory of the ball as your diagrams illustrate?
    To me a larger uppercut swing is as bad as a tomahawk. Maybe Chas it is a question of degree?
    I am struggling to resolve your swing approach in your diagrams where the bat head approaches in a slighly up angle to the bat ball collision where I think my way is an ever so slightly down angle (almost level at no more than 10-15 degrees or less angle to the trajectory of the incoming ball). In otherwords, my guys might swing up at a rapidly dropping higher hanging curve or change but their contact angle is through the ball not under it up through it. We learn to be under lower pitches through the middle of mid height pitches and above the middle of the ball on higher pitches.
    I would give anything to see your guys hit and especially slow motion video.
    Regards,
    Doug.

    • Chas Pippitt June 3, 2011 at 10:46 am · Reply

      Doug,

      I’m glad you’re enjoying my responses as much as i’m enjoying your questions.

      Let me be clear, I was trained as a ‘down and through, top hand snap backspin generator’ as a hitter throughout my career. Feel free to check my stats (or some of them) at baseballcube if you need validation of my own struggles.

      I had massive power in batting practice once i added considerable strength and size due to NC State’s excellent training table and strength and conditioning coaches. But at State, there were just studs everywhere hitting 450 foot bombs like it was nothing. (back then, state was top 10 and made a super regional in back to back years after I left, but with the same players I played with).

      The problem was…that power wasn’t translating…at all. As i was constantly fooled by the better pitching i was facing.

      It sounds to me like your son got to college, after being a monster in high school, and hit the same wall that I did. And while your son is considerably smaller than I am, it sounds like his wall wasn’t an athletic one, but a technique wall.

      Long in the zone with extension is only relevant if your deep in the zone with your barrel as well. If your son is ‘above’ the path of the ball…on a given pitch, then he’s not in the ‘zone’ of that pitch.

      Remember, the ‘hitting zone’ changes based on the path of the ball. It is not a static unmoving area. It is simply where the bat barrel CAN intersect the pitch path.

      the Nike swing that I’m talking about also produces big time backspin if used properly, matter of fact, I had a 15 year old sophomore hit 8 home runs for his varsity team this season alone…up from 3 as a true freshman.

      Next year with the BBCORE bat, I expect him to climb to 10 or more.

      Doug, refer to my reply to TIM above on backspin/topspin.

      Also you mentioned Ted Williams’ book, The Science of hitting…page 47 illustrates my ‘nike’ swing with beautiful array of drawings. Page 62 also shows the ‘planing’ of the bat based on the angle of the pitch and what not.

      Now, you asked about Bautista vs Ortiz and others.

      My answer is this: ALL of those hitters are trying to, and have in the past, hit like Bautista is now. He’s just better than they are at this point in his career. I can guarantee you this: no one is hitting ‘topspin’ homers that travel like those guy’s longest blasts.

      Miguell Cabrerra hit a top spin ball that got out probably 5 feet over the fence in left the other night, and he was probably upset about his hit until he saw it go out…as he knows he ‘missed’ it and could have had an upperdecker!

      It is paramount in a top level swing for the ‘top hand to become the bottom hand’ on all pitches. meaning, to keep proper ‘palm up palm down’ mechanics, the top hand works UNDER the bottom hand from slot to snap, to contact, to extension from as soon as possible to as long as possible.

      The top hand cannot become the bottom hand early enough in a down and through swing to get on plane with the pitch to deliver maximum force. Think of it this way Doug, whats going to deliver more force? and glancing blow or a square shot? And, what path gives you the best chance at said square shot?

      Manipulating the barrel as late as you describe in your last paragraph can’t be done with the wrists at a high level. and If it can…that carriage turns into a pumpkin very shortly after midnight.

      Doug, in closing, as someone who has literally dedicated his life to hitting instruction, I can honestly tell you that I used to think what you think. I even taught it for a while. But, bottom line, I can’t in good faith let these truths I have found out about hitting go untold. That is why Joey and Swing Smarter trusts me with this forum to get the world out about a better way. I don’t miss playing. I love coaching hitting, but the only thing I wonder about is what could have been had I used these mechanics from the beginning.

      Thanks for writing, and If you like, email me some more info about your son or some video and we can talk further.

      Chas -

    • Chas Pippitt June 3, 2011 at 11:00 am · Reply

      Doug,

      I forgot your JUCO example of your son’s BA and power drop. Remember, it’s not just the pitching that changes in college…the defense does as well. Balls that used to fall…don’t anymore. Pitchers are better than good high school pitchers (not all, but most).

      Also, these coaches have more influence on your son than any coaches he’d ever had. Mostly, because he lives there (I assume) and the practice hours are insane i’m sure. These guys (college coaches) can control anything they want…attack a hitter’s mechanics for no reason, just because he’s a ‘freshmen’. Then the hitter struggles and the coach says ‘see, we gotta change what you’re doing’ when in fact it’s more than likely that he messed the kid up in the first place!

      You know what I’m most excited about with the BBCORE bat change in college and high school? Bad hitting coaches being exposed for what they are. Many college coaches don’t have the time (or the interest) to really break a swing down to understand that movements (or single move) that IS the baseball/softball swing. They are regurgitaters, not innovators. They are ‘coaches’ not ‘teachers’…At small programs, there is no secretary…there is no grounds crew…it’s just the undermanned, and underpaid staff doing the best they can. What I am hoping comes out of this power outage…is that some of these coaches open their minds and allow people like me to help shape their programs for the better. I don’t want their job, I just want their kids to hit better! Once college coaches see that the right hitting and pitching instructors are part of the solution, instead of part of the problem, everything will get back to normal again.

      Just see how many college coaches are screaming about homeruns dropping…and slugging percentages falling, and how the new bats are ‘killing the game’.

      Sorry Charlie…I’m pretty sure truly efficiently powerful guys don’t need a fancy bat to hit a ball out…all they need is someone to pitch one at them and their swing does the rest!

      Sean Dixon told me a story the other day about Ron Polk, the famous Miss State coach, who had Rafael Palmeiro and Will Clark on his team at the same time. His coaches were instructed only to say ‘good hit’ to those guys…no technique changes at all…cause they had it…and boy did those guys turn out ok!

      Polk new what he had in the swings of Raffy and The Thrill…and he also knew…if any of them messed with their swings…they’d only mess them up!

      • jmyers June 5, 2011 at 3:12 pm · Reply

        Your point about Division I college coaches was right on, especially with my experience. I had decent success in high school, and my frosh fall at State, I tore it up against guys 4 years older than me, then the “changes” started to happen. It finally took me a summer of ball before my sophomore year to get a handle on my swing and I hit over .400 with a handful of doubles that year, then I got injured. After that it was “change” after “change.”

        The information Chas is letting out is the future of hitting. JOIN the Rebellion!!!!!

  7. doug June 8, 2011 at 10:10 am · Reply

    Hi Chas,
    It seems to me that each hitter has areas which are referred to as holes in their swing (referring to how Ted Williams illustrated his own batting average on pitches in different locations in the strike zone). Are you saying that ‘down and through’ will create areas in the strike zone which will be problematic for a hitter using this approach? If so, which areas? Or are you saying that ‘down and through’ will reduce a hitter’s power as well as create more holes than your barrel-path approach to the ball?
    I would like to see some video of your hitters?

    • Chas Pippitt June 8, 2011 at 5:26 pm · Reply

      Doug: Are you saying that ‘down and through’ will create areas in the strike zone which will be problematic for a hitter using this approach?

      Chas: YES!

      Doug: If so, which areas?

      Chas: There is no area where a ‘down and through’ approach is superior. Low pitches especially will be an issue, to all plate locations.

      Doug: Or are you saying that ‘down and through’ will reduce a hitter’s power as well as create more holes than your barrel-path approach to the ball?

      THAT IS EXACTLY WHAT I’M SAYING!

      Doug: I would like to see some video of your hitters?

      Chas: I don’t feel comfortable posting them on here without parental permission, I will get back to you. There is video content on my hitting lessons website, you can see that by clicking on my name.

      Chas -

  8. Preston June 8, 2011 at 2:33 pm · Reply

    Hey Chas, great article. It now makes alot more sense about how you are accelerated whn you hit instead of still accelerating when you make contact. Look foward to our next lesson and putting some of these things into action

    • Chas Pippitt June 8, 2011 at 5:27 pm · Reply

      Thanks Preston!

      Bring your friends and JOIN THE REBELLION!

      Chas -

      • Jay October 14, 2011 at 12:57 pm · Reply

        Hey Chas,
        great stuff I just found your site and I’m really loving it, I’m a long time reader of swingsmarter.com. I have a question; I am a dad of a 4 year old boy so you described it best in your article about getting excited hitting with a plastic ball and plastic bat. I don’t know too much about baseball technique/analysis. I am just a dad trying to help my boy out as best I can. I was wondering if you could give a timeline/outline of what should be taught at what age. What are some specific items that should be taught and what age range should you work at teaching them each item. I don’t want to teach something that he cant understand but at the same time I don’t want him to have to unlearn bad habits as he gets older. I know kids all develop at different ages but I was just kind of looking for a guideline. thanks again!

        • Chas Pippitt October 16, 2011 at 9:10 am · Reply

          Jay,

          Above all else, I think three things:

          MAKE IT FUN FOR YOUR SON! We know we’re working on something…but he shouldnt. Make up little games that are SKILL BASED instead of results based.

          2: try to hammer home that he must keep his head still (good luck with a 4 year old) :)

          3: This is the hard one…only praise him for HARD HIT BALLS…I don’t want to sound mean, but kids learn that ‘hitting the ball’ is the goal when they’re young. They ‘fear’ missing the ball, and get happy about tapping it back to the pitcher because ‘they didnt strike out’ or ‘at least i hit it’

          I hear this all the time: “johnny, how’d you do that your tournament?” Response: “i did great, i didnt strike out once!!!”

          Then I push a little further and I find out he’s hitting 8th and only had one hit out of the infield…but his dad will tell me, ‘he did great, he hit the ball every time!’

          crazy!

          Chas -

  9. Phil January 21, 2012 at 7:15 pm · Reply

    So, you had how many hits in the Major Leagues???

    • jmyers January 21, 2012 at 8:29 pm · Reply

      @Phil: as our comments rules say:

      “Remember what Fonzie was like? Cool. That’s how we’re gonna be — cool. Critical is fine, but if you’re rude, we’ll delete your stuff. Please use your PERSONAL name or initials and not your business name and do not put your website in the comment text, as both come off like spam. Have fun and thanks for adding to the conversation!”

      I’ll let your “rude” comment slide because I’d like to hear Chas’s take on what you just said. If you’re one of those fanatical hitting forum people who like to get into “pissing” contests, then I’m going to ask you to leave.

      Otherwise, give some kind of “real” content here for Chas or myself to work with. Just a thought…with that comment, are you saying we should all be learning from the Tony Gwynn, Cal Ripken’s, and Fred McGriff’s of the swing teaching world?

    • Chas Pippitt January 22, 2012 at 7:16 am · Reply

      Phil,

      I had exactly 0 hits in the major leagues, or any type of professional baseball.

      I wasn’t a great college player, and never claimed to be, as I’m sure my statistics are online somewhere.

      What I am is a person who continually searches for ways to make hitting easier to understand and improve at. We at BHR and I.T.S. Baseball are proud of what we do, and how we do it.

      I welcome any advice you can give on hitting if you think I’m wrong or that linear hitting/swinging down is the way to go. Enlighten us. Better yet, show us what you know so we can all improve.

      Just like Stephen Hawking, a world leader on black holes, i’ve never been to outer space.

      Just like Bill Belichick, I have never played in the NFL.

      Idan Ravin works with Chris Paul, Lebron James, Melo on basketball skill training…and he’s never even played COLLEGE ball.

      Just like Rudy Jaramillo, one of the top hitting coaches in the bigs ever, I have no MLB playing experience.

      Dave Duncan, widely considered one of the best pitching coaches ever…was a catcher.

      I’m going to keep working on my craft, and I welcome you to the discussion. Thanks for reading.

      Chas Pippitt

  10. Jay April 30, 2012 at 3:19 pm · Reply

    My hitting instructor keeps telling me to swing down and through and I know that is wrong. He keeps on saying I am dipping and that is his reasoning for swinging down and through. I talked to him about how I want to swing the way you guys teach it but he wont listen. How can I stop from dipping so he shuts up?

    • Chas Pippitt April 30, 2012 at 4:50 pm · Reply

      Jay,

      I hate to say it, but you gotta fire the instructor. If he’s telling you down and through, he’s NOT showing you video or comparing you to the best players in the world side by side. The toughest thing for people in your situation is standing up for what you can SEE is accurate information.

      Down and through breaks down, it always will.

      I would personally love to help you, and if I can’t face to face, I can via online lessons. They’re probably cheaper than what you’re paying for and at least you’d be getting great, provable information.

      Chas–

  11. Matt June 25, 2012 at 8:11 am · Reply

    Chas,

    I love this line of conversation as it is a testiment to whats been going on in youth baseball. You are 100% right, their continues to be a belief among coaches, that down and though, linear hitting, squish the bug, all of the problematic approaches to hitting are the right way to hit. None have ever been able to truly explain why they work.

    I see this from coaches who grew up in the 80s who, like myself ,were taught to hit the ball on the ground, the artificial turf rules!! High School and College offensive output went down dramiticall in this era. Thats why there is such as debate. Coaches who are brought in this era fail to look at hitting mechanics the right way.

    For example, My sons both attend a great rotational hitting instructor and he says by far the most difficult thing to teach is the proper load of the hands. Its amazing how few coaches pay attention to this and by default a poor load of the hands results in a downward swing with high pitches being the excpetion. I challange these coaches to see what pitches kids actually hit well, and you will find only the high strikes are hit well. Players who have a linear approach and/or poor loads can hit these as they really dont have an opportunity to swing down. Anything down, in or outside they have challanges with.

    Keep up the fight, we will turn the tides of poor hitting ever

    Matt

    • Chas Pippitt July 12, 2012 at 5:02 am · Reply

      Matt,

      Thanks for the encouragement! This boulder is rolling downhill FINALLY! Those in the old way are going to get crushed…

      Chas–

  12. Gary August 21, 2012 at 6:31 pm · Reply

    Chas,
    Awesome. Love the conversation. Love guys who shout their points in CAPS, no matter how foolish their chatter is. I love that people want to simplify such a difficult task, give it a name and bottle it. Linear, rotational etc. I’d love to hear a guy with natural skills who just…figured it out…Babe Ruth, I’d love to hear his answer to these overly analyzed notions. While I love the analysis and I love your take on it all, and I love how completely wacky so many “gurus” are, it gets crazy looking at every move along the way and giving it a name and a purpose. Babe figured out what worked and, “voila”, he did it. He swung on plane, NOT (caps intended) down and thru. He simply figured out how to whip the barrel on plane. All hips and barrel. I’ve seen plenty of Pujols off a tee and it certainly is NOT how he hits when a pitch is coming. Same with ARod. Someone is giving them terrible advice and they happen to have awesome instincts that take over when it counts. ANYWAY, a long-winded speech to say, keep it up. You have a better “feel” than most clowns out there..

    • Chas Pippitt August 22, 2012 at 7:47 am · Reply

      Gary,

      Thanks for the compliment! I work hard to make these articles easy to understand.

      We take pride at Baseball Rebellion in that we show RESULTS of our actual clients instead of just defining what players do and labeling their moves.

      Have a great day, and keep reading!

      Chas–

  13. Steve August 23, 2012 at 11:42 am · Reply

    Chas,
    Great site and great reading. I coach 7 & 8 year olds in East Cobb, GA and up to now have been teaching a linear swing… squish the bug, putting a higher tee behind a lower one, etc. Your Robby Cano (my favorite player) analysis has won me over. The fall season is just starting (first cage practice this weekend) and I would love to begin teaching my kids the swoosh path. Can you recommend a few good drills for young kids?
    Also do you happen to know any instructors around this area teaching a similar approach? Would also be interested in finding out more about the online instruction you mention in one of your posts.
    Thanks,
    Steve

    • Chas Pippitt August 23, 2012 at 12:36 pm · Reply

      Steve,

      My best advice is keep it simple and fun. Don’t overwhelm them with angles and terms like ‘superthrust’…just help them understand the idea of ‘hips’ and ABOVE ALL…NEVER…talk about the hands.

      ‘hands’ means ‘arms’ to kids and they’ll go downhill, and swing downward, if you talk about the hands.

      Chas–

      PS I sent you a personal email, so check it and get back to me.

  14. George January 18, 2013 at 4:08 pm · Reply

    Hi guys,

    I’m a big fan of the rebellion — really enjoyed the row til you go stuff, which was several months ago.

    Not sure this is on topic “exactly”, but it does pertain in an overall sense to how to clearly show barrel path when adding them to photos. Illustrations / graphics depicting barrel path are frequently been done with a simple line. Using a line rather than a ribbon shape is NOT TERRIBLE — but it can ( if my own experience is any indication) lead to misunderstanding of how things move in 3D space. For instance, if you we’re using a line to show the path that a airplane takes when it is flying straight — that would be OK — but, if that plane was doing a barrel roll – it would not be very informative.
    The other day I was looking at a drawing of TW’s swing sequence — it used a line to show the bat path.. Having spent some time looking at how he tended to swing — I thought, “wow, from this graphic, you don’t really get a sense of what is going on with the bat”. You would not get that TW torqued the bat behind him as his hips began — or how that initial movement on a separate plane, combined with the horizontal rotation to creat a powerful combined movement. ( much like “funneling” the two forces into a very concentrated single force at impact).
    The other thing that makes it difficult for average guys to grasp when looking at what the bat really does, is due to the shape of the bat it self. Since it is a cylinder, it’s hard to tell if it rotates/twists at all, unless you look at hand positions. How much clearer it would be if the bat had color stripes going the length of the bat. I bet that would be eye opening to many. I need a name for the rainbow like bat though… Wait! That’s it… (Ever heard of such a thing?)
    Anyway, if you know what I’m getting at in terms of showing bat path, I can work up a couple of samples. Let me know.

    • Chas Pippitt January 18, 2013 at 5:13 pm · Reply

      George,

      Thanks for reading and I’m glad you like the Rebellion. We’re making headway now.

      I agree that using a line to show barrel path is not optimal, I’m just not a graphics artist. What the topic truly was about was the cues that people use and the general idea that cutting the ball or swinging down on the ball elevates the ball and causes backspin and therefore more power and distance.

      I wanted to show that the general idea of keeping the barrel above the hands and snapping ‘at’ the baseball late in the swing causes major issues with planing the pitch.

      Chas–

      PS I’d love for you to email me some examples of your graphic, may be very informative and interesting.

  15. ed kovac April 8, 2013 at 3:35 pm · Reply

    my grandson is 6 and in t-ball.. where iis the best location of the tee . I have him practicing at the belly button to encourage getting to the path early and inside the front foot for the game

    • Chas Pippitt April 8, 2013 at 4:01 pm · Reply

      Just in front of the middle of the front foot, off the toes after his step.

      Then tell him to pull the ball hard over the ss or 2nd baseman’s head.

      Chas–

  16. Steven Mays April 11, 2013 at 2:14 pm · Reply

    I wasn’t able to complete all of the comments here, so forgive me if I discuss something that has already been established. One major aspect of this argument that I have not heard much discussion about is what affect the linear down swing path vs rotational up swing path has on timing. And not just timing, but the subsequent muscle memory that is developed based on the success and failures of each swing path.

    I will try to keep this short, but I believe this is probably the most important aspect of success of rotational mechanics.and the failures of down linear mechanics. The argument that matching the bat path to the pitch path increases your chances of hitting the pitch is a sorely inadequate understatement. It is so much larger than that simple statement. With the perfect up swing path, the hitter only has to train himself to locate the pitch elevation and drop his bat to that plane and then bring his bat through the zone relatively on time.

    Now with the down linear path, things become significantly more complicated and the problems that arise compound. The batter is swinging down toward a moving missile that is traveling down toward him.. The batter must have perfect timing and must slice the ball perfectly at contact. Where do I begin here. Apart from the obvious that the physical size of the target is significantly reduced by the necessity of a perfect slice, I want to discuss how all this reeks havoc on a batters timing and hand eye or muscle memory, and how these problems compound themselves. Depending on where the batter makes contact or should I say when he makes contact(they are one and the same with this swing), he may hit the ball on a higher elevation which would be a little earlier in his swing or on a lower elevation which would be a little later in his swing. The problem is that this predisposes that his timing is exactly the same in each scenario. The problem is, the batter will be constantly adjusting his timing depending on his reward or failures in previous at bats. Thus the batter will always be making swing elevation adjustments to correct his timing and timing adjustments to correct his swing elevation.

    Yes it is obvious that slicing the ball causes a lot of pop ups or grounders hard into the dirt, but the true underlying cause is that the batter can never develop a consistent swing elevation or consistent timing.

  17. Goody May 6, 2013 at 7:20 am · Reply

    I think we are talking abount semantics here in our word choices in describing the hitting process. Some coaches might interpret that “down and through” means to swing down on the ball while others may interpret it as swinging the barrel “down” to the area of impact and then pushing the barrel “through” the pitched ball in a linear action such as I do. Would you not agree there is a down part of the swing? How else would you get the barrel of the bat to go from facing upwards to downwards? Let’s begin with what I see as obvious. The barrel is facing up in the stance and down at impact. Question, how does that happen, how do we take the bat that was pointed up and now we have it pointed down? Did we flip the bat over? No. The end of the bat or barrel was moved downward and forward. Another point I would like to add on this part of the swing is the fact that most of us would agree that a hitter’s hands are above the ball so therefore the barrel is below our hands, which is the opposite of where we started in the hitting process. So again, at some point, there is a down part of the swing. Here is where it becomes a matter of word choices and defining those words and movements. I prefer the word(s) “through” the ball. Through is a linear type of action as I describe/define it to my hitters. We want to be long through the ball, don’t we? So my cue is swing “down” to the impact zone (area of impact, your words, good ones I agree), hit “THROUGH” the ball which my hitters know means to swing and push the barrel through the ball. The goal is to squarely hit the bottom half of the ball to create line drives and fly balls into the gaps. If you hit the bottom half of the ball, that in and of itself will create backspin. We don’t hit the ball on the down part of the swing. That is just plain slap hitting balls on the ground. And if you were to hit the bottom half on the down part of the swing. this type of contact with the ball, I can’t help to think, would only create fly balls that don’t travel very far. So the cue for my hitters is such: Swing down to it (area of impact), HIT THROUGH IT! We DON’T hit on the DOWN part of the swing, we hit the ball on the THROUGH part of it. Words that we use are only as good as how we define them. Down and through as you have defined it, Chad, is not the same as how I would define it. So, in some way, if some of my hitters came across this article, they might be confused and maybe you might even suceed in placing a seed of doubt in what they have been taught. But in reality, we are probably teaching the exact skill set, just using our words differently. That is semantics.

    • Chas Pippitt May 6, 2013 at 12:47 pm · Reply

      Goody,

      First, I can assure you we are not teaching the same thing as you’re telling hitters to “Push” through the baseball, which is not possible in a high level and properly accelerated barrel.

      Secondly, You illuminate a large issue that Justin and I have with your emails to him and this comment to me. You’re stuck in “Semantics” and “Defining” of words. Get past the words you have use and use words that are accurate. Think about how long your comment just was and how long your emails to Justin are. It doesn’t take that many words. Justin and I are fluent in “Baseball Technique” the language. It shouldn’t take us 3 times re-reading what you write to get it.

      You’re making it too complicated. You Define. We Simplifly. We Create. We Explain.

      Our videos of our players do all our talking for us.

      Thats the real difference in what we teach, not semantics.

      Chas–

  18. Goody May 6, 2013 at 9:07 pm · Reply

    Chas:

    I never was very good at 20 second sound bites, lol. And I work with lots of females so I tend to have to get a bit detailed with them. But my baseball hitters will look a lot like yours as will the softball players. I have swung a bat myself many times and there is a swing aspect (bottom hand) to the swing and a push aspect (top hand) to the swing. Extending the arms is a pushing action. When the ball hits the barrel, the hitter has to fend off that blow just like an offensive lineman has to fend off the defensive lineman. That’s why you guys teach your hitters to let the ball get deep and I do as well. The arms are in a much better posture to fend off the force created by the pitch when the arms are flexed at the point of impact. Go slow motion on a resistance bat, you will feel that pushing action. I call it pushing you can call it whatever you like, but both of our hitters are going to get to extension. Both of our hitters are going to hit in what I have called the power Vee flex because the arms are flexed at impact especially the top hand arm.

    I should be able to get technical about the swing with coaches and those who want to teach others. I don’t do that with my hitters. I do a simple 1,2,3,4,5 drill. I’ve been using motion analysis software (JC Video versus Dartfish) since 2006. I think my word choices are very accurate. I live in a small town, we don’t have a lot of Albert Pujols walking the streets.But when they leave, they look more like him than when they showed up and that is your goal also. I am trying to learn as I educate also. That’s why I enjoy your website so much. I like what you guys do, Chas. I am a fan.

  19. Steve June 13, 2013 at 10:01 am · Reply

    Dear Chas,

    My 14 year old son has been taught to hit, I believe, using more of a rotational approach. to hit the lower inside 1/4 of the ball. Looking at your diagrams, they match how my son has been instructed to hit. He has been told he has a very good swing.
    However, he is also not hitting for any power. He is not driving the ball. He hit the ball harder, two years ago, than he does now. He is only 102 lbs and he gets frustrated when bigger kids just stick the bat out there and get hits.
    He does look like he is lunging a bit. However, when we do soft toss he usually hits the ball hard and a line drive. I do toss the ball on the outside of his front foot. Also, he has a wide stance, well outside of shoulder width apart, and does not stride much if at all. But he says he feels comfortable.
    Most of his hits are weak and to the left side, he is a right handed hitter.
    What is he doing incorrectly, what does he need to do to change, and how can I help/

    Thank you,

    Steve

    • Chas Pippitt June 13, 2013 at 11:22 pm · Reply

      Steve,

      Here’s the tough part about hitting instruction: Teaching and Telling are markedly different things.

      If your son’s teaching ‘matched’ what we do…Power wouldn’t be his issue, trust me. If anything, We at Baseball Rebellion are constantly referred to as Power Mongers, meaning, we only teach a power swing.

      I don’t agree with that…but hey, I’m more than a little biased…

      If you’ve been getting instruction…and after two years…you’re worse…that’s a sad indication of the quality of instruction you’ve been purchasing.

      To the idea of “comfort” in his swing…please refer to my swing change curve article…I’d advise your son to get outside his comfort zone as what he’s comfortable with clearly, based on your description, is not working.

      Wide Stance, Little to no Stride…sounds like a ‘just hit the ball’ goal to me…Do the best players in the world ‘Just Hit The Ball”? Nope, they destroy it.

      Small or large, Tall or shirt, Boy or Girl…if you’ve been getting YEARS of instruction…with poor results…stop evaluating your player’s comfort or his/her relationship with the instructor, and evaluate the quality of the instruction you’re getting.

      We’re in a service business…but service with a smile isn’t what you’re buying…you’re buying results. And after 2 years, those results are in…

      Chas–

  20. Tom T August 23, 2013 at 4:39 pm · Reply

    OMG! You just described our last year of travel baseball. My Son is 15 and has always been the big hitter on the team. 2012 season he hit in the 3 hole and batted .475 with 8HR and 57RBI (in 62 games). This year he was delighted that he made a very elite travel team in the area. Our new coach was a self-proclaimed hitting “expert” who preached the down and through hitting mechanics. In his own words, there is no other way to hit a 90mph fastball the to take a direct 45 degree path to the ball and extend at contact. We practiced for 5 months, 12 hours a week getting the entire team re-trained on this new swing. Everything you said here: high hand set, hands load even higher, then hit DOWN on the ball to creat backspin and extend through contact. A – C hitting, or Nike Shoosh path.

    Well let me tell you, my Son hit UNDER .200 0 HR and only 1 double this year and was dropped to 10th in the order. Well maybe that’s just my kid, you say? Well he team batting average was a mere .210. These were hand-picked kids from the top programs in the area! not scrubs. Every hard hit ball was a grounder, and I can’t even tell you how many infield pop ups we hit. Nobody could hit a curveball and every hitter seamed to be out on their front-side (especially on off-speed pitches). Then your right, here comes the coaches ridicule “I just don’t get it, you guys aren’t working hard enough” or “why can’t we wait back on balls”

    I looked at video after video of MLB hitters and couldn’t find one that hit this way. .. Not one. My Son did learn a lot about setup, balance, bat angle etc, but took a huge step backwards with this instruction. Needless to say we are going to a different team this year and throwing that “down and through” stuff out the window. That old coach was let go, and not one kid came back to the team..

    BTW: when I read this page to my Son, his mouth dropped! He said he feels like you wrote this about our old team.

  21. Don Ervin September 26, 2013 at 1:08 pm · Reply

    Hey Chas.
    Great informative site here.
    I am really enjoying the various questions and comments here on your site, especially your insight to the different questions. One confusing question I hear from numerous people is, why do so many great hitters tell how to do it and then do it quite differently? The great one Mr. Ted Williams was one of those who done so. His swing video’s do not show his swing as he expresses and demonstrates in his photo’s illustrated in his book which is very technically written, and easy to understand , a lot of learning and teaching aspects within it’s pages.
    As Ted Williams stated, take the barrel down into a level plane with the downward app 5 degrees flight of the ball led by the hips coming around and up puts the ball flush in line with the path of the ball for a 12 to 18 inch impact zone.
    Torque is executed at the handle by the push of the top hand and the pull of the bottom hand, two forces working in opposite directions led by hip to shoulder separation initiated from the ground up.
    Yes, {TEACHING and TELLING} certainly are totally different also telling one what one may or may not be doing wrong and not being able to help one how to make necessary adjustments is most confusing to any player/ athlete.
    Batters need to learn about and how to execute proper weight shift, squishing the bug is totally detrimental to executing weight shift due to the fact that when squishing the bug one collapses the knee which causes their hips to move straight down disallowing the body to move forward into weight shift.

    It makes absolutely no difference whether one has played years of baseball, major league or other wise, what is important is whether one is and has studied and has learned to be a keen student of the game and can proficiently convey his/ her experience and knowledge to others.
    There are as many college coaches etc griping about the bat rule changes as there are those who are capable of teaching how to hit without those crutches, aluminum bats now that those crutches are gone.
    What I say is, coaches learn how to teach your players how to use their body’s, how to focus on applying the sweet spot of the bat to the sweet spot of the ball, it is now time to apply the thinking and focusing process to the barrel to ball contact thinking as we learned during my playing days.
    A very interesting site.
    Don Ervin

  22. Shane January 8, 2014 at 8:47 pm · Reply

    I have a question about fastpitch. I see it being very effective for baseball, my question is fast pitch against the rise ball? Have you ever looked at it from that angle. seeing a rise ball that truly jump would to me seem to b impossable to hit with the swoosh! Thanks for the feedback

    • Chas Pippitt January 9, 2014 at 9:29 am · Reply

      Shane,

      Many people ask this, and while I’ve addressed this before, I will again for you.

      Riseballs that are strikes only RISE if thrown faster than 68mph and stay in the strike zone.

      Every other softball pitch goes down, so the swoosh is a huge advantage for hitting strikes in softball or baseball.

      Chas–

  23. shane January 9, 2014 at 6:28 pm · Reply

    Thanks for the answer. My daughter is 14 now and I had sat and watched allot of tevoed baseball and softball games 2 years ago. And had taught my daughter to hit that way just from watching the hitters in slow motion, for hours and hours! Had tought it to her through the winter. She has a batting cage in the basement, and had her very close to that swing and was crushing the ball at 12 the following spring. But being the idiot that i am I let the team coach change her simply because he didnt like it. Numbers plummited, i mean massive loss of power, average, and increased stike outs. Then when the numbers fell I got blamed for changeing the perfect swing he had taught her. From the previous fall! I do not remember the little women from allabama that was swinging that way and crushing the ball, massive home runs for the size and bombs, but saw her stuggle against the rise and was concerned that if I went back to that swing my daughter would have a huge hole in the zone. Didnt realize it took 68 to make it jump. knew I hadnt seen it truly jump at 16 u! But was concerned about later in life! For a young 14 she has massive leg and core strength as she does flutter kicks for about 5 minutes every day, and simply still was not getting the power I wanted. She is back to batting with a good average and more good gap shots now but know she still has a massive ceiling with the proper swing that she is currently not getting now. I have fired about 5 hitting instructors in 2 years. Think I found what I was looking for thanks!

    • Chas Pippitt January 10, 2014 at 9:35 am · Reply

      Shane,

      I’m glad you like our free content.

      You should see what our lessons are like…

      Chas–

  24. Shane January 10, 2014 at 6:41 pm · Reply

    Im going to!! By the way the girl from Alabama was Whitney Larson which I saw the short video of on your website, in a youtube video.

  25. Anthony Rogers March 16, 2014 at 2:22 am · Reply

    Hey Chas don’t be so quick to bad talk the “go and get it” technique or the “hit it out in front” technique, because those terms are not always meant the way you have explained them on hear…I have many years of hitting experience and having won some batting titles. Now nothing at your level but I’ve always been taught both those sayings but they are different….Mine is as follows, “hit it out in front” and” and get it’ are sayings to not let the ball get to the plate and attack it right in front of the plate. Don’t let the ball reach the plate theory. If you look at some of the greatest hitters or Albert Pujols the picture you posted is exactly what reference I was taught under those same sayings or “attacking the ball and go out and get it”. So rapping up some of those terms can mean the correct things. Thanks for reading. I do like how you explain some of the wrong things I see every day as a youth baseball coach…..Hope this didn’t offend you in any way..

    • Chas Pippitt March 17, 2014 at 11:47 am · Reply

      Anthony,

      No offense taken! We just think that those cues, that you figured out, are often NOT understood by the hitters (or people who say them) and can be taught differently.

      If it works for you, it works for your. Just be careful what you say to kids…they might actually listen.

      Chas–

  26. Rich May 8, 2014 at 9:24 am · Reply

    My daughter (8yrs) is having great success with the lower body mechanics. Thanks for all of the great free video content and breakdowns!!! However, I can’t seem to convey the message regarding not swinging down and through. She’s the victim of 3 years of horrible instruction (from myself). How do you explain getting the barrel in the zone quicker instead of chopping at the ball. She’s able to do it on about 1/3 of her swings but I can’t seem to replicate it with consistency.
    Thanks again!!!

    • Chas Pippitt May 8, 2014 at 9:44 am · Reply

      Rich,

      Thanks for reading and I’m glad your daughter is getter better using just our articles and free information!

      Do you have a Rebel’s Rack or Drive Developer? There are some pretty simple things you can do with those to get her on plane much more often than 1 of 3 pitches.

      Let me know,

      Chas–

      • Rich May 8, 2014 at 2:00 pm · Reply

        I will order one right away. I assume it comes with instructions…LOL.

        • Chas Pippitt May 8, 2014 at 4:16 pm · Reply

          Rich,

          of course they do! but nothing is better than our online lessons….HINT HINT

          Chas–

          • Rich June 5, 2014 at 2:16 pm ·

            We’ve used the Rack only a couple of times and am already seeing returns. The first day my daughter was able to feel the turning action vs. me trying to explain it for two weeks. Thanks again!

  27. Darren Tracy May 19, 2014 at 11:06 am · Reply

    Chas,

    Thanks for the info….I have seen many a player with the rotational hitting techniques have great success with it, my son being one of them. They just seem to have better bat speed and consistently hit balls harder….I used this page and your theory in an article i wrote here:

    http://www.examiner.com/article/hitting-myths-and-the-correct-way-to-hit-with-good-swing-fundamentals?cid=db_articles

    I was never a big fan of the “chopping wood” type teaching method, and find using rotational hitting gives a kid more “quiet” movement in his or her swing..

  28. Jimmy May 20, 2014 at 12:28 pm · Reply

    you dont try and hit the top of the ball when swinging down and through, you hit the bottom to create backspin which pretty much invalidates much of this article.

    • Chas Pippitt May 21, 2014 at 9:26 am · Reply

      Jimmy,

      You’re grabbing at straws. Don’t try to be RIGHT, try to evaluate the information.

      Tennis players ‘create backspin’ by chopping down at the ball. it’s called a ‘drop shot’ and the ball hangs in the air and dies.

      I’m an advocate for backspin, but my players also have a much larger area of possible hard contact than anyone taught to swing down. They also are able to create backspin needed to hit the ball up and out of the park.

      I hope, for your player’s sake, that you stop teaching down and through…it’s just wrong, and totally unsupported by video evidence of MLB players swinging in games. Good luck Jimmy.

      Chas–

      P.S. My favorite part of this comment is that I tried to email “Jimmy” to thank him for his comment and to ask him to continue our discussion…and his email was fake. Nothing like an unfounded and incorrect comment supported by a fake email. HA.

  29. Derek July 27, 2014 at 3:33 pm · Reply

    Hey guys,

    I love your site and all the great things you teach about hitting. Keep up the good work! I’m glad someone is exposing all this bad hitting instruction that youth hitters have been given for so long.

    You guys have probably already seen it, but the other day I came across a video by Mattingy speaking at some coaches convention or something. It looked kind of old. Anyway, he gives the typical “swing down” and take the hands directly to the ball” junk that he always teaches. Then at the end of the video, he actually says “if you swing almost straight down the barrel stays in the zone a long time.” I was like “WHAT?!” Is this guy serious? Unbelievable. If you swing down the barrel gets in the zone barely any if it does at all. And I wish they would explain what they mean when they say “zone.” What zone? The strike zone? Becaus the strike zone is way bigger than one baseball. I don’t want my bat just anywhere in the “zone,” I want it on the plane of the pitch. Geez.

    As if that wasn’t bad enough, he said the best thing you can do is teach kids to hit ground balls. To teach them to hit ground balls right at second base or short. Why? So they can get thrown out?

    I know you guys have seen all this and I’m just preaching to the choir, but it just made me so mad I had to rant somewhere. Keep up the good work, and keep teaching the truth!

    Derek

  30. Sully September 22, 2014 at 6:51 pm · Reply

    The only thing about rotational hitting is that it’s pretty darn hard to do! If you have a kid who can learn to do it then that’s clearly the way to go. But I think that is the minority of the kids out there that can actually pick up on rotational hitting. For the majority of kids I still think linear is the way to go. It’s just easier to learn for the majority of youth hitters that will never play past 9th grade.

    • jkhittingrebel September 25, 2014 at 1:33 pm · Reply

      Sully,

      I just have to disagree. I am amazed every day with what kids can do, talented or not. Majority of kids never come to full potential because dads and coaches think that they just can’t do it. Wrong, they(dad or coach)don’t know how to teach an explosive rotational movement. So inevitably dad/coach makes baseball easier for the young player with a lighter bat and “knob to the ball” type of approaches and forever cripple good hitters. When you say “It’s just easier”, you summed up why most kids never play past 9th grade.

      JK-

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