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Going Forward…But Staying Back?!? The Role of Momentum in the Baseball Swing

Written By: Chas Pippitt

Ok, I’ve gotta come clean on a few things...first, it’s actually OK to go forward in the baseball swing!  Wait...this seems like a huge change in philosophy, but in actuality, it isn’t...it’s a small shift in the right direction in how I describe my ‘SuperThrust’ idea.

All this started with a...

Simple Jose Bautista clip. I was watching the clip and I paused it at the top of Bautista’s leg kick.  He looked exactly like a pitcher and his back leg was perfectly stiff...his body was moving forward...but not from a push, from the angle of the back leg.

The Fall...

He was relaxing into the forward move; Cevallos calls it a FALL in his book Positional Hitting.  I like the idea of a fall, but I want to control the timing of a move; this is important, so I like to control is by 'setting the angle' with a Double Inside Load.  As you can see in the clip below, I'm simply lifting my foot and turning it outward towards the pitcher.  This is the easiest way to learn this move; instead of lifting the knee in a leg kick movement, pick your foot up and turn it towards the pitcher.  Glide forward and land flexed in the front knee.  Allow your body to move, don't be afraid of being 'forward.'

When setting the angle of the back leg, the back knee should ‘stay motionless’ as the body goes backward.  We do NOT want to intentionally press inward with the back knee, this will stress the MCL.  This allows the front leg to simply lift up...and then open the toe of the front foot towards the pitcher.  This 'gliding' action is very easy and simple, even for my youngest kids to perform over and over.

Even if you can find big leaguers who get ‘over top’ of their back foot, that’s not a good thing, it’s still a flaw.  How many pitches get missed because of an improper load?  Getting to the ‘pinky toe’ of the back foot is a very unathletic position.  The only benefit I can see from loading over the foot incorrectly, is that it definitely makes it impossible to ‘push’ forward with the calf muscle and the quad muscle of the back leg.

That being said, it’s still inefficient and unneeded momentum stalling movement that can be eliminated from the swing at any level.

Coaching + Case Studies

Now, doing this at the wrong time can clearly make your way out in front, so when learning this action of 'setting the back leg angle' or 'maintaining a double inside load' you can first simply lift your front foot and open the toe, as I showed in my video earlier. Some of the great benefits of using Momentum/Setting the back leg angle are:

  • Increased ability to turn your pelvis as you are no longer anchored to the ground as your turning.
  • Later ability to decide to swing, as the new freedom in your pelvis turn allows a later 'GO' move with your sideways hand snap.
  • The barrel will enter the zone deeper...but again, later in time.  So you're closer to the catcher's mit when you get in the way of the ball so you have even MORE chances to hit the ball on the barrel with authority.
  • Momentum from Setting the Back Leg Angle coupled with Superthrust allows for even greater pelvis to shoulder separation, generating a more quickly accelerated barrel.

Check out these kids who use momentum and movement forward off of a stiff back leg angle to achieve SuperThrust and then a rearward leaning angle and a very powerful and efficient turn.  Some have had lessons in person, some have only had online lessons.  Nevertheless, all have shown tremendous improvement with this new movement and momentum.  I am proud of them.

Aiden R. 7 Years Old:

Trip B.  8 Years Old:

Grant M.  8 Years Old:

Colin B.   8 Years Old, Only Online Instruction:

Grace S.  12 Years Old:

Zach B.  15 Years Old, Only Online Instruction:

There are people around my facility locally who say we teach moves that are too high level...or that we shouldn’t teach kids to drive the ball in the air...as ‘there are no bad hops to fly balls’.

Here’s my answer:

If you’re being taught to hit hard ground balls...you’ll never make it past high school anyway unless you have a super-elite speed tool. (You need to beat out that grounder to first base, right?)  I'm talking about a 4.40 forty-yard dash time...NFL Combine Style. Probably not in the cards for 99.99999% of people.

That approach doesn’t work once anyone in the field can catch and throw.  It’s a little league mentality, and it’s not the right way to go.

When I have a child, I will not hinder their progress in anything by teaching them something that I know doesn’t hold up over time.

Some things should be introduced in life at the correct time, like the ‘birds and the bee’s talk’ or the tooth fairy’s real abilities...but hitting isn’t one of those things.

YOUR KID CAN LEARN TOP-LEVEL MECHANICS!!!

So teach them correctly the first time...and be willing to let them struggle at 8, 10, or 12 so they can dominate when they stop signing up for teams and start trying out for them.

The funny thing is...these movements generally are learned very quickly and the production improves almost always within the first month.  Some kids can even improve in a day.

Real Results...Really Quick.

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53 thoughts on "Going Forward…But Staying Back?!? The Role of Momentum in the Baseball Swing"

  1. Fred V says:

    I play a lot of softball and this is a big problem for me. I’m back, back, back all the time. I actually do press on the inside of my back knee, and then just open up without a lot of forward momentum. It just feels like the forward momentum gets me gliding to the ball and not opening up and I end up popping up so I’ve been back, back, heavy on the back leg for a while now. Opening the toe seems like a simple enough drill. I guess combining that with the rack is a good way to get off the habit of being heavy in the back and hey, maybe I’ll get this nagging knee pain to go away on my back leg MCL, huh?

    1. Chas Pippitt says:

      Fred,

      The toughest thing with momentum in softball players is the downward angle of the falling pitch. Obviously, if you go too soon or too far, you’ll mess up your bat plane vs the pitch and get in real trouble.

      Try standing almost out of the batters box towards the catcher and glide VERY VERY LATE forward. This should relax that back knee, get you moving, improve your turn and keep your bat more ready to hit.

      Chas–

  2. Bill G says:

    Question:
    With the increased forward movement and “ground gain”, how do your hitters compensate for off speed pitching?
    It does seem like their front side is down and fixed before “go” happens-
    I am open to your rebellion, but with all that weight going forward can they hit off speed with power?
    I try to reverse think the process: what would I throw this batter based on his swing? Definitely not a fastball to your style of hitting.
    Thanks for your response which I anticipate will be great- they always are.

    1. Chas Pippitt says:

      Bill,

      Thank you for the thoughtful question. My own parents and hitters have been asking the same thing.

      This might be long, so here goes:

      First, you can only ‘compensate’ or adjust to pitches that have less than 8 mph difference in speed. For instance, if you’re hitting of Steven Strausburg, and you’re looking 100mph fastball and he comes with a 90 mph changeup…there’s nothing you can do anyways. So with all great hitters, there is a certain amount of situational pitch elimination that you must be able to do. That’s why ‘pitchability’ or the ability to throw multiple pitches for strikes in any count is so valuable in the big leages, pro ball and high level college baseball.

      I have a hitter named Zach, he’s featured in the article, and he sent me other video of his ‘sitting into’ his front leg. The key with the ‘GO’ that I teach is landing with the flex in the front leg. Watch big league hitters that are ‘out in front’ of pitches, like Hamilton, or Beltre or even smaller guys like Bautista or Pedrioa, get fooled, but the just glide forward. As long as they never stop their momentum or straighten the front leg, they’re ok. They can still start the barrel with great force and have super deep whip. But again, these guys are making adjustments of less than 9 mph (Perry Husband’s Effective Velocity).

      Now, you mentioned pitches you’d throw. So most pitchers, even at high levels, don’t have the command of their secondary pitches (read non fastballs) that they do of the heater. So, you’re starting guys with ‘show me spinner’ curveballs and changes. That pattern usually (not always) leads to down counts for pitchers where hitters can even more easily look dead red and mash or hung breaking-balls and high changeups, balls you can recognize really early and crush.

      I’ll also give you some real insight into my own issues as a marginal player: All I could hit was fastballs! It’s often said that a great hitter can time up a bullet, and I was living proof of that. I just couldn’t delay my ‘GO’ as I had pushy, linear, back quad and arms driven mechanics. So, my entire philosophy is based on adjustability and hitting ‘pitcher’s pitches’. Once you master this gliding action, you can litterally just stand in the box longer before you have any movement at all. Glide out longer for anything slower than you expect, and if you’re looking off speed and get the heater, you can just take and go after the next pitch.

      I am not advocating guessing, but I am saying that most good hitters can eliminate pitches situationally based on previous pitching patterns, outs, runners, count, previous at bats…etc.

      I hope that helped, if you’re looking for more clarification, let me know.

      Chas–

      1. Steve B says:

        i have read up on james cavello book on positional hitting and basically his ” cushion position” isnt it for the off speed pitches. so your flexed front side will help read any off speed. we teach off speed foul off and fight for another pitch and hit the pitchers mistake

        1. Chas Pippitt says:

          Steve,

          The bent front knee landing is pretty much his cushion position. Sitting into the front knee isn’t a ‘breakthrough’ by any means, but you can adjust to being ‘early’ with this move. If you’re late…you’re just beat.

          Chas–

    2. BillG says:

      Chas- great details, appreciated alot.
      We are in Raleigh and I am trying to decide how to get my 10 and 12 yr olds “under your wing”. Both of them have fair/decent basic mechanics. BIGGEST flaw is the swing plane. put ball in play, but often choppers, hard grnders, or bloops with lots of backspin on the ball.

      our garage has a 12ft x 14ft net they hit tee and soft toss.

      Is a combo of web based and in person training effective??

  3. Ivan says:

    This reminds me of when I was teaching my son the concept of feeling of weight shift and being aggressive through the ball, a couple of years back. Here in Japan I see this a lot they talk about the hip and the huge step trying to activate the hip, but no concern about double load knee.

    The online only sessions, did you emphasize this movement or is it something they just started to do as result of other things?

    I am little concerned with Head movement on this, if to big of a step like you see in a couple of the case studies…

    Does this eliminates the load or becomes the load like Dustin P.?

    1. Chas Pippitt says:

      Ivan,

      The Japanese ‘Ichiro’ style is not generally a style I favor, or has proved to work very well in MLB (Ichiro is the outlier, not the rule).

      The back leg is the key, as it puts the player in the position to be successful with the front side moving, the momentum building with time/distance traveled with the front foot off the ground, and allows a free hip turn.

      In the online lessons, I did emphasize movement (Titus is next in line for the movement stuff) but the movement can start with double inside load as well.

      Head movement forward isn’t an issue. Think about how your head moves when you catch a fly ball on the run. If it’s a smooth move that’s good. The head movement at the completion of a full turn is also ok, as if your head stays as ‘turn in towards the ball’ as it can until your shoulders move it out. Head movement are problematic if the head or nose pulls out of the hitting zone towards the field of play.

      As far as elimination of the load, it can, but usually no. Grace has the best swing in the article and you can clearly see her leg kick as her ‘load’ with the setting of the back leg angle.

      Chas–

      1. Ivan says:

        Interesting looked at Bautista vid a little closer and see the load (shoulder turn back, slightly) while he strides and “Falls forward”.

  4. Sam says:

    So we start with weight on inside of back leg and as we make the stride to open foot up when Does the weight go forward onto the soft front knee.

    1. Chas Pippitt says:

      Sam,

      As soon as the front foot hits with a flexed knee, the weight should be forward…but not ALL the weight is there.

      Chas–

  5. Steve Black says:

    Chas – Just wanted to thank you for all you’ve done to help Zach – Zach has advanced greatly in power and consistency. He has been with Chas for 2 months online only and we plan on visiting NC for in person training before Vacation this summer. The Positional Hitting book is OK and where we learned the Zeros; Ones; Twos pause technique, but nothing like having Chas in your corner – if you take video of every at bat – you’ll never have a bad AB just a learning experience.

    I’m a very good hitting instructor but hiring Chas was a no brainer.

    steve black

    1. Chas Pippitt says:

      Steve,

      Thanks for the kind words, I do appreciate it very much.

      We work hard here, and you guys have too. Zach’s improvement and results are proof positive that focused training on what great hitters ACTUALLY DO instead of say they do, works wonders.

      Chas–

  6. jamie antle says:

    Chas,

    great article!!! I was wondering and maybe I just missed it but could you tell me what superthrust is and tell me more on how to set the back leg angle??

    thanks,
    Jamie A.

    1. Chas Pippitt says:

      Jamie,

      Check out our previous articles, I have one entirely on superthrust.

      Also, ‘setting the back leg angle’ is simple, and just involves taking out the negative move with the back knee, so it only goes forward with the body.

      Chas–

  7. Jack says:

    do you think stepping forward but once youre foot hits you just rotate around your axis like you have a pole thourgh youre head?

  8. Jesse says:

    Hey chas i was reading an article on natural hitting. He said there was some “secret” to accelerating forward. Whatver it is he says that the momentum to going forward doesn’t change to when you start to turn. I know he doesn’t talk about the delay of the back foot like you do with super thrust but can u explain this a little more clear. Thanks!

    1. Chas Pippitt says:

      Jesse,

      I know Sean Dixon…the reason it’s a ‘SECRET’ is he doesn’t know it.

      He can’t explain it…and the physics of what he does make no sense.

      Chas–

      1. Jesse says:

        well anyways i am on board with everything your teaching. Just have a question that when you get maximum pelvis to shoulder separation and the barrel is ready to come into the zone would it be correct if i was almost whipping my arms into the swing (well the bat head) i know u preach the wrist flick but i feel from all the momentum reached at this point it would just be easier to “whip” the bat into the hitting zone

        1. Chas Pippitt says:

          Jesse,

          Tons of people really get caught up in words when describing hitting. It’s hard for me to understand your ‘whip’ question, because you cannot ‘whip’ a stiff object.

          When you say ‘whip’ I think arm casting is almost a given, so I’d avoid the ‘whip’ and think about turning the barrel while the bat is still behind you. Almost as if you’re going to hit the catcher’s mitt off his hand.

          For as many questions as you have, and as much research as you’ve done, honestly I think you need a few online lessons to get this system figured out, it’s going to be really hard on the boards, with just written words.

          did that help?

          Chas–

  9. Danny says:

    Most hitters can’t have that much head movement and consistently square balls up. Bautista is 1. A freak and 2. A freak. Look at someone like Albert Pujols who has minimum head movement yet still produces power from an extremely stable lower half.

    1. Chas Pippitt says:

      Danny,

      I guess that’s one way to look at it. But I’ll have to disagree.

      What I want to do with our style, is allow normal sized humans (Bautista) compete with the true Freaks (500lb squatting 240 lb Albert Pujols)

      Think about this: How would someone with the size of Jose hit with Pujols’ stance and lack of momentum? Probably not nearly as well as he does now.

      Also, head movement before the front foot hits is irrelevant. Just like Pujols, Bautista, and the kids on my videos, are motionless through the thrust/turn phase of the swing.

      Chas–

  10. Rich D says:

    Question about landing with batters toes pointing at pitcher.I see that most teach side of front foot towards pitcher on big toes with baby toes off ground..Then they would have the front foot/thigh naturally rotate(like throwing)towards pitcher or what the hit/swing dictates.I see you teach front foot pointed to pitcherand flat footed.Am I correct on this, is what you correct.I agree it helps/aid clearing the way for the hips better.When I swing I feel better swingging the way you teach.Just need help on why I should teach this over what I’ve been told in the past, to my 14 year old daughter?

    1. Chas Pippitt says:

      Rich,

      Think of it this way: Anything that restricts hip mobility in a throwing motion or a hitting motion is incorrect and possibly injurious to baseball/softball players.

      Women generally have more flexibility in their hips/hamstrings, but also have differently angled ACL’s in their knees, making them more liable to tear their ACL’s with much less pressure.

      Closing off the front foot can put extra pressure on the knee and ankle and restricts hip mobility…all bad.

      Chas–

  11. Scott Felt says:

    I found this very interesting, Chas. Thanks. My son has been told to “wait” and “stop charging” and things like that for all the past year or so by various coaches and “experts”. I watched video of him taking BP last night and sure enough, he lifts his foot and falls toward the pitcher. This brings his head and his body all forward. After foot plant his head stops moving and he doesn’t continue on over his front side. I know you would need actual video to analyze specifically . . . and I’m thinking you may finally be the hitting coach I’ve been searching for . . . but just so that I’m clear . . . this sort of forward momentum is not only ok but encouraged? If so, I have to say I feel both frustrated by all the effort spent to correct a non-flaw in my son’s swing and happy that I don’t have this particular flaw to worry about any more.

  12. T says:

    Regarding head movement, I see in your chalk talk video, your head drops with the stride/step – thus moving eyes to a different plane. Are you seeing this as something to minimize?

    1. Chas Pippitt says:

      T,

      Eyes change planes all the time in athletic movements. From tennis players running as they hit a ball to cricket players doing the same thing. Outfielders running to catch a fly ball have eye plane changes even if they ‘glide’ as they run and what if they dive?

      I think in any athletic movement, vision and ‘stillness’ of the head is hoped for but sometimes, the athlete must compensate for natural explosive moves/positions and adjust to eye movement.

      That being said…once the front foot lands, there is no movement forward or up and down of the head, and that’s when the swing initiates.

      Great question!

      Chas–

  13. Don Bailey says:

    Chas,
    having a hard time getting my 14 yr old son to get forward movement from back foot during pelvis and hip turn. He is frustrated with trying to get momentum while staying anchored on back leg and inside ball and big toe of foot. Any drills or cues we could do for him to feel proper movement.? Really enjoy your site! This from a dad trying to help his son be a better hitter.

  14. jerry says:

    Chas..>>>>> I find the double inside load a great find . With out doing this move correctly I think it is very diffucult to get the rest of the swing right . ITS always been said that a batter has to go back to go foward . I belive when this move has been taught it is over done. Most people including myself thought the weight should go over, or in extreme cases behind the back leg . As far as the back leg gaining ground, I noticed this in high level swings. Thou I couldnt describe what I was seeing . I have noticed that good hitters seem to finished their swings with their knees closer together then the rest,.I have noticed with the kids above their upper bodies swings have also improved. As you pointed out with the girl her back arm is bent at contact. and with one of the boys I seemed to noticed his rear elbow isnt running under his rear arm pit as much.way ahead of his hands .Do you credit the double inside load and gaining ground with the back foot for these upper body inprovements ? Or where they some thing you had to work on seperately?

  15. Eric says:

    Love your stuff Chas. I’m a 36-yr old hitting junkie too. Literally “hit” a baseball wall as a player because of the hours and hours of tee time I spent chopping wood/throwing the knob at the ball/spinning on the ball of my back foot, etc. (not to mention developed/exacerbated knee problems in my back leg because of the unnatural movement of having back knee rotated in a coach of mine promoted) . I still play a bit (in great part just to see how the things I think I believe as a coach work/feel as a player), but am a high school coach as well. I first ran into Joey’s site, and then via that into Jaime C., and now into your stuff via the podcast you guys did (anymore coming?).

    Enough background. First off, I’m interested to hear what you would classify as any discrepancies between what you believe and what Jaime believes? Knowing Jaime’s material a bit better than yours, I have found, in particular, a couple things quite interesting: the grip (maybe the most ingenious, as I haven’t seen anyone else teach that, although it really reduces ability of a hitter to throw hands, and forces the bat getting on plane behind the body), the fall (revolutionary because it destroys the short stride/no movement argument), and the secondary cushion (which most baseball people on my level just don’t buy when told of this, despite the evidence on display in the mechanics of MLB hitters).

    What I have loved about your material among other things is the practical info (and that there is new material still around), and the pivot (not sure if that is the term you used off memory) of the hands (a la Josh Hamilton) for getting the bat into the plane (which I feel to me is much more natural than letting it more passively fall to the side as Jaime (maybe not explicitly) seems to promote.

    Finally, in addition to my few questions above, I’m wondering if you have a way of easing into drills (and which ones?) that promote this line of hitting in high school players in an environment that is skeptical of this (amongst other coaches and players). Fear obviously is that in the process of evolving these players’ swings, there will be a large drop-off in results (this would be during season), and it would discredit the whole effort (the past few years I have noticed great frustration for me, and the players with whom I have been aggressive in trying to win over; moreover, my fear about how quick results will come, and my less than 100% certainty in how to promote the changes in the short time involved have perhaps made my approach with more open players as well somewhat less than convincing). Thus far, I have just tried to use a lot of video of MLB hitters (Bautista, Jaime’s BRuth swing analysis, Pedroia (fall), etc.) in comparison to my hitters swings, and as well have employed JAime’s MP30 in different drills (actually just having it around seems to spawn a lot of conversation!).

    I know it will be nice to have some successes, and win a coach or two to my side. While some of the others I talk to buy into some of the things I tell them, none have bought in enough to completely understand it. As you must have a lot of experience with, it seems to always have me in (at least) internal conflict when we watch somebody talk about hitting/give players advice, for I seem to always disagree with something with a drill/idea from people still operating out of the old paradigm (and who likes a know-it-all!?!?) . That’s all-sorry for the rambling nature (it is kind of therapeutic!). Look forward to hearing back from you. Keep up the awesome efforts here on your site…

    1. Chas Pippitt says:

      Eric,

      First off, great comment and thank you for reading.

      I’d say the main things that I see that are different is my control of the falling action by setting the back leg angle/double inside load. And another main difference is the overall footwork especially the back foot move generated by the pelvis turn. Jamie is a good guy with good ideas. I think our explosiveness in our footwork and pelvis driven turn is revolutionary and different from anything we’ve read.

      I’d say the main thing we use to prove our way is best is the use of a Stalker Radar Gun to test before our movements and then re-test after. Sometimes our players after going through the Rebel’s Rack Progression (something I only release in person and do not allow to be recorded) can bump up 10 mph in one session. That being said, our Rebel’s Rack drills have proven to be extremely positive for teams and camps at improving kids overall bat speed and barrel entry into the zone.

      Once you know the truth about hitting, it’s hard to go back. I tend to speak when spoken to in certain situations but when asked I am ready to give logical and complete answers on almost any hitting related movement or professional hitter’s pattern.

      Again, Thanks for reading and keep up the comments!

      Chas–

  16. Caleb D says:

    Hey Chas,

    What program do you use to video tape and break down the swings? And is there a way you show or teach your students to get that momentum going forward to you students who do not have a long stride or no stride at all?

    Thanks

    1. Chas Pippitt says:

      Caleb D,

      We use Powerchalk, it’s a cloud based video analysis program. Check them out at http://www.powerchalk.com.

      Most students who have extremely wide stances, like Albert Pujols or Jeff Bagwell, are not able to really gain the needed momentum for a high level swing. In fact, both of those hitters use their body weight and strength to make up for their lack of momentum.

      Generally, we can create a ‘short stride’ momentum shift with kids who have stances slightly wider than shoulder width, but much wider than that…I’d just show them the benefits of the shorter stance and relaxing move forward.

      Chas–

  17. Caleb D says:

    Hey Chas,
    Do you find it best to teach superthrust with no stride then incorporate the momentum the best way to teach a top level swing? I find with my JV guys that showing them momentum causes them to be able to stand straight up on their front leg (which is not ideal). Now that we will be using the DD and RR any advice on the best order to present the info about the BHR swing idea? Hopefully my wording is clear.

    Thanks

    1. Chas Pippitt says:

      Caleb,

      Honestly, you can teach it either way. Most kids are really going to fight the idea of getting their back leg off the ground simply because they feel like they’re gonna fall down…

      They go too far forward because a straight and vertical leg allows the to have balance in their finish. The chest goes forward and they literally just stand up. I’d put them through some LEAN DRILLS, so they know they can ‘catch’ themselves on their back leg, that should alleviate some of the fear of falling that’s causing them to go forward.

      Chas–

  18. Shane says:

    For some reason in practice I can achieve super thrust but n ot in the game why is that?

    1. Chas Pippitt says:

      Shane,

      Your ‘superthrust’ movement doesn’t seem ‘ingrained’ into your brain yet. Keep working, it’ll happen.

      Chas–

  19. sean Barone says:

    Do you load then fall forward or just fall forward without a double inside load

    1. Chas Pippitt says:

      Sean

      The angle sets the falling in motion. My best advice to you is don’t over-think your swing to the level it seems you do.

      Enjoy the game and if you need a blueprint and step by step instructions on EXACTLY what’s happening, I’d advise you to keep reading the blog in order, and work through the information that way.

      Chas–

  20. Matt says:

    I realize there has to be a forward move, but when I use this “glide” in a game I always go too far forward and end up getting jammed, dropping my hands and popping up. Any tips/drills to fix this issue? My biggest issue is the dropping of my hands and popping up.

    1. Chas Pippitt says:

      Matt,

      You said it best yourself, you know your problem: You get too far forward.

      Now, in order to stop that, I’d tell you to work on your swing on a ‘downhill’ instead of flat ground. You’ll have to fight the force of gravity which will help you stride more accurately and drive your body back.

      Secondly, you’re only ‘dropping your hands’ if you’re swinging down. Make sure you swing up through the zone with your hands by your shoulders and you’ll see a good adjustment.

      I recently wrote an article about curing pop ups…I strongly advise you to read it.

      Chas–

  21. Blane says:

    Chas I look at your hitters and their leg kicks so would you prefer a glide like josh Horton or a leg kick like aj bumpass

    1. Chas Pippitt says:

      Blane,

      I don’t have a preference honestly, I just want guys to land with their weight forward, a bent front leg and open hips/front foot.

      Chas–

  22. Jeff says:

    Love the fall forward approach. I also teach this. Too many players are caught up in a negative move with bad time and broken down mechanics on live pitching. Although I do teach small reach and closed soft toe on front foot to advanced hitters. With all of this said everybody must understand good timing over good mechanics produce best results. So when teaching this forward movement have them go early and over exaggerate slow forward movement when tossing and target Tee work. This slowed control forward movement will create rythm, timing and have batter get to ready and be ablebto explide with increased bat speed. Also add it will slow down any pitchers fastball and a quick forward move speeds up any fastball.

    1. Chas Pippitt says:

      Jeff,

      I agree mostly with what you said but I think Mechanics are more important initially than Timing simply because if you are still making mechanical changes, your timing will always be off.

      As far as landing closed with your front toe, I’d ask you why? Please explain.

      Chas–

      1. Jeff says:

        I believe timing is so important because so many swings break down if a hitter is late. I have seen lots of hitters that look really good off Tee but can’t drive live pitching. As to why I like closed front foot is this. Similar to your student Grace who turns the front knee in. I teach front knee turn along with inside front toe. This allows advanced hitter to stay closed that much longer for outside and off speed pitches. Not so important on younger player until pitching advances. The forward fall u teach stretches and accesses the big inner thigh muscle of the back leg for hip thrust. By turning the knee in when going forward closed the initiation of swing opens the big thigh muscle of front leg to work with rear inner thigh creating maximum hip turn for power and increased bat speed. (Miggy would be my favorite example)

        1. Chas Pippitt says:

          Jeff,

          I understand your thoughts, but I don’t agree that the back leg is used in the ‘thrust’ motion at all honestly. And staying closed is what injured Ryan Howard (Lateral Meniscus Tear, out 4 months costing Phillies ownership over 4 million dollars).

          All that must stay closed is the front shoulder (on the pitcher) the foot, knee, hip stomach all fly open to create positive turn.

          I hope to continue this discussion. I’ll talk to my director of Performance, Will Fox and the rest of the guys and get back to you.

          Chas–

  23. dave says:

    Wassup guys I was looking at the video chas made on momentum questions and I wanted to know why the V shape or greater than sign is important and how do you make it? And who are some players that do it so I can have a visual?

    1. Chas Pippitt says:

      Dave,

      Just pick your front foot up and get your front hip moving forward.

      Not hard, don’t overthink it.

      Chas–

  24. Troy says:

    Chas,

    Thanks for your great stuff… But I am experiencing a forward movement issue. In batting practice, my back leg extends nicely and I land on a nearly extended front leg which does have a slight bend. I have a very good BP swing. (I could probably do better at landing flat and a little more open, thats about it). My style is similar to Bautista but slightly less complicated. I fall very well into my stride Without much thought. In games however I do not hit the ball as hard or as consistently. I tend to reach with my front foot rather than falling. It appears I start to fall but then the front foot takes over and strides an extra several inches as if I am about to dip my toe in icy water. This causes several other problems such as the back foot collapsing, the hands unwrapped at landing, not being able to hyperextend the front leg at contact and generally not contacting the ball out front. After reading this article I am thinking I should concentrate on extending the back leg and LOCKING the front leg into a BENT position and literally just falling on it to an open 45 degree position. Is this correct? What else could cause a reaching/over striding problem? I’m going to college in 1 month. I have hit 92 exit speed and know I have talent but this problem is really hurting me because I’m not sure why my swing is so different in games and is very frustrating because I know I can hit better than I am this season. I look forward to any help you have as I know you know what you are talking about.

    Thanks for your time,

    Troy

  25. Jay W Bondesson says:

    Super good article and subject for hitters of all ages. If these 7 and 8 year old LL’ers start learning these motions now, by the time they are playing varsity at 200 lbs, they will be raking. I really enjoy Chas’ articles and his approach.

    I wish I knew about landing with a more open front foot when I played. I think I woulda squared alot more inside pitches and probably been a better hitter. Now when I have a kid who wants to hit the ball well, I send him Chas’ way, because it just makes sense.

  26. Bob Mielnicki says:

    I have a 12 year old homerun hitter who I taught from age 8. I taught him a rather big load with leg lift and stride. He started hitting them
    over a 205 fence at 10. As we moved into 11-12, I wanted to start working with his timing. We toned down his load. He took off last summer culminating in a 283 shot off the fence during tourney tryouts with the USSSA Mako. He at times gets caught with his weight back, realizing he’s caught which has him more get the left leg out fast this fouling them back. So I studied and I studied and I knew what I was looking for. This lead me here. Great work but one thing you don’t bring up is the easiest way to maintain that back leg angle. Watch Donaldson, watch Bautista. If a kid brings front knee up and back towards back knee he simply can’t maintain that angle. The key is that Donaldson and Bautista bring it up and in towards stomach. That is one of the keys to maintaining that angle.

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