Stomach or Ribs?
When Donnie first mentioned rib orientation in hitters I realized it is something I had never dove into and looked at. However, the more he talked the more I realized I was seeing the issue but had never put two and two together.
We as male humans want to look big and be powerful. Our chests stick out and our chins are held high. It’s human nature, and for smaller athletes, the desire to look bigger is even greater.
So, when an athlete wants to be strong and put force into an object their chest/ribs rise to look bigger. However, this is where I was seeing the stomach/core extend. I thought it was a core issue where in reality it was human nature/ribs rising through the rotation. I saw the issue but wasn’t looking in the right place for the solution.
After leaving the meeting and diving into a video of hitters I work with currently and some of the best hitters in the world, the evidence was there.
The best hitters are able to keep their ribs down during the exhale involved with the swing. Their ability to keep their ribs down allows them to engage their core and decelerate rotation more efficiently.
While lack of core strength or little man syndrome may play a factor, teaching the hitter to inhale and exhale with their ribs down, will help them decelerate rotation better and in turn, accelerate the bat.
The image below is Buster Posey demonstrating how he is able to keep his ribs down through rotation allowing him to decelerate better.