Keep 4 Things in the Swing Deep, and Watch the Balls Fly!

Written By: Chas Pippitt

The bane of many hitting instructors is preventing hitters from lunging forward at the pitcher during or before the swing.  Many attribute this to the immaturity and impatience of hitters who are taught at such a young age to ‘hit the ball’ they just can’t wait to do it!  I contend while much of the time, most hitters’ main goal is to ‘hit the ball’, they can recognize the difference between a tapper to the pitcher and a double in the gap.  However, many hitters are not equipped with the knowledge to understand the ‘why’ of their results.

While at lessons the other day, I had a few of my hitters do a drill in which the goal of the swing was to ‘get the back knee in front of their belly.’  All of them could do this, and do this easily by pushing off the back foot and onto the front leg and bringing their knee up after they swung almost like a fighter throwing a knee during an MMA event.  Many coaches call this ‘knee to knee’ drill as they are trying to get the kids to thrust properly, but in essence, the hitters are jumping forward at the pitcher either during or after contacting the baseball (both actions are bad).

I let them do this motion once or twice, then asked them, “so, does that feel like a real swing?”  The response was ‘no’, because of course it did not.  The players were almost in a standing position on a totally straight up and down front leg.

4 Things Deep Hitting, Baseball Rebellion, Power V Hitting, Linear Mechanics, Weight Forward Baseball swing

What happened was an efficient hip thrust with great back shoulder delay, with no head movement or body weight shift forward onto the front foot.  But…the hitter was early.  Why could this be?   I stopped the lesson, and asked him what he thought the problem was with his hitting.  Now, keep in mind, this hitter is a good hitter who has had over 100 lessons with me in the I.T.S. Baseball Hitting System.  His response, ‘Chas, when I stay back and swing this way, my hips are faster in the thrust.  Also, I am not forward at the pitcher, so I’m about 6 inches deeper at contact.  I just need to wait for the ball and I’ll be crushing it.’  (Like These Guys Do!)

Manny Ramirez Baseball Swing, Manny Ramirez Weight Back, Weight Back Baseball Swing, Swing up, Deep contact

Albert Pujols Weight Back Swing, Pujols Hitting Mechanics, Deep Contact, Deep Vision, Deep Weight, Deep Hands

Red Line is back kneecap in front of belly, Green line is bend in arms, indicating depth of hands. Yellow line shows depth of vision (he hasn’t pulled his head). White circle is the baseball.

Quite an answer from a rising freshman don’t you think???  Needless to say, he was correct.  He made the simple timing adjustment and began CRUSHING balls to the back top corners of the net.  Smoked rising line drives with perfect balance and head placement…This kid is a good player already, but even I was impressed and his dad was speechless.  This hitter was holding his ‘finish’ position in a ‘back knee in front of the belly position’ as well which makes the drill much harder on your back leg, but forces the hitter to check himself by his own ‘feel’ within his muscles.

I decided to do this drill with my next lesson as well, you guys know him as ‘Carl’ from the drive developer write-up at the starting lineup store.  ‘Carl’ had been cutting off his thrust and due to that, getting out on his front foot a little bit and pressing his hands forward to hit the ball.

We worked on having a ‘4 back’ or ‘quad deep’ swing…and he’s got 5 bombs in his last 4 games (2 to the opposite field and including a 3 hr game!)…up to 8 on the legion ball year.  More proof that a deep efficient swing IS your results!  Baseball, unlike any other major sport, is less based on athleticism and more and more based on pure technique and efficiency of motion.

The 4 components of a swing that must be deep are:

Weight, Hands, Eyes, and Point of Contact.  I talked about the most of these in my Lower Body Mechanics article as well as my Down and Through article.

Joe Mauer Hitting Mechanics, Deep Contact, Deep Vision, Deep Hands, Deep Weight, weight back hitting baseball, chas pippitt, baseball rebellion

Red line shows rear leg kneecap in front of belly. Green lines show bend arms indicating hand depth. Yellow line shows deep vision.

Now I will say this:  Sometimes, it is possible to hit a ball ‘out in front’ at the point of contact and still be ‘quad deep’.   When I say ‘4 back’ or ‘quad deep’ I mean that at the earliest possible strong contact point, the weight, hands went through that super power point that many elite hitters get through on a swing by swing basis.  And as long as they PASS THROUGH that point, their eyes and point of contact can go outward, as they release the barrel towards the pitcher and hit a driven ball into the outfield, into the gap, or out of the park.

The problems arise when this point is ‘bypassed’ like in a Down and Through swing or a swing where the weight shifts to the front foot due to poor lower body mechanics.

Here is Jose Bautista, possibly the best hitter not named Bonds alive right now.  He has passed through the 4 deep point to continue to a ball they crushed.  On balls that are inside, your vision and point of contact can leave your ‘deep’ position, but this is ok, as the ball needs to be pulled.  Jose has as a great visual of this ball…and it ended up in the 2nd deck…so I think it worked out ok.

Jose Bautista Weight Back, Jose Bautista Hitting mechanics, baseball rebellion, chas pippitt

Red line shows rear leg kneecap in front of belly. while he is NOT ’4 deep’ now, super deep at one point to get to that baseball on the correct path.

Thanks for reading, and keep those questions coming!

Chas Pippitt, Leader of the Baseball Hitting Rebellion

Posted in:

41
Leave a Reply

avatar
18 Comment threads
23 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
19 Comment authors
Chris PjkhittingrebelZekaiSeanJay Recent comment authors
  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
Greg
Guest
Greg

Is the back knee moving to this position a result of good hip turn or does the knee position allow better hip rotation? Does a hitter drive the knee to this position or rotate the hips more to get there? Keep this stuff coming.

Greg
Guest
Greg

Is the back knee moving to this position a result of good hip turn or does the knee position allow better hip rotation? Does a hitter drive the knee to this position or rotate the hips more to get there? Keep this stuff coming.

Ivan
Guest
Ivan

Chas, I really do appreciate the time and effort you have put in to put your thoughts out on the web being overseas it has been very helpful. These articles may be turning my thoughts, books and other things I have read and heard on there ear. It is interesting to see things I have said in the past to my son and wonder why he can’t do it instead of letting him swing naturally which appears to be a NIKE Swoosh. Wish I could translate all of these for his local team coach to understand and quit trying to… Read more »

jmyers
Guest
jmyers

@Ivan Glad you’re digging the look inside of Chas’s hitting brain, this is why I chose him to write for the Blog (or he chose me??), I think he has so much great knowledge to share with the online world! About your frustrations with coaches “doing their own thing…” This will be an ongoing frustration because this information is so counter to what coaches teach and believe unfortunately. These same coaches will be doing what they can to change your son, a lot of times, away from Chas’s system. I want to tell you to stick with it, there’s always… Read more »

Tim
Guest
Tim

Hey Chas, written and talked to you on the phone about my 6yr old. He’s a lefty(lucky kid) but mid way thru his first season last year he started on his own batting right handed. Through out his second season this year he progressed dramaticaly becoming one of his teams best hitters even though he was the youngest on the team. When his mechanics were on his swing was pretty to watch. The issue has been the consistancy of his mechanics. Long story short baseball season is over for him is over and now he has decided he wants to… Read more »

Tim
Guest
Tim

P.S. Chas, forgot to tell you I’m a life long Cubs fan. Which makes me either an eternal optomist or a glutton for punishment. Anyways you mentioned in a post your friendship with Tony Campana. As a fan I am thrilled to see players come to play everyday with that kind of desire and level of skill when it come to doing the little things that make this the best sport in the world. He reminds me of why I love watching college baseball, and why I wish the pros was not so dominated by big mashers. The game will… Read more »

Joey
Guest
Joey

Another big thing to look at even though Bautista is lunging forward he rides his front knee well. The angle of the eyes to the front foot has a lot to do with the mechanics of the swing. If you look at that in the pictures I think you may notice.

Richie Rodriguez
Guest
Richie Rodriguez

Chas – I coach LL baseball. Much of your stuff here seems a bit too technical for those kids to grasp – even me, to be honest with you. My kid seems to have a handle on this naturally, thankfully, but I’m often running into kids who are putting too much weight on their front foot for their swing. I like recommending the “squish-the-bug” technique because it helps get their hips rotating. I also like the bat-behind-the-hips drill and have them rotate their hips to hit a ball off of a tee, which is another drill to demonstrate where the… Read more »

Eric Riffice
Guest
Eric Riffice

Hi Chas, My 19 year old son (ss at a local JC in Sacramento) and I have been working on this technique for almost 2 years, we first learned a lot of it from a great hitting instructor who just passed away. We have studied Positional Hitting, by Jamie Cevallos, and numerous slow mo of modern as well as older pro hitters. (check out 2011 homerun derby slo mo on utube) We film his swing all the time, tee, cage,etc. It has been an amazing learning experience! I am consumed with learning and trying to learn and teach this technique,… Read more »

Calvin
Guest
Calvin

Chas,

One thing i’ve been talking about with my hitting instructor in regard to lower body mechanics is opening the front foot at toe touch. This allows more torque, and if you land with a soft/bent knee, hip thrust comes more easily. As the front leg straightens, the hips turn and thrust forward. What are your thoughts on these few details to maximize power?

I’ll be asking plenty of more questions because I love the principles these instructions follow.

Marcos Hoff
Guest
Marcos Hoff

My son takes batting lessons and his instructor works on this approach and I work with him at home on it. I think his best analogy is that your back hand is basically punching through – he now realizes that his hand has to be out in front of his elbow and he no longer drags the bat. Have to be patient and in some instances forgot alot of what they were previously taught. The transition was well worth the effort.

Greg
Guest
Greg

I work with hitters at the High School and 18U level and see a ton of players that never get into front heel plant. This front heel never touches the ground during the swing and they basically spin off everything. Do you have any drills or anything that will reinforce getting into the proper hitting position? Thanks I love the website and just finished my playing career and am interested in how to coach these things!!! Sometimes it’s easy to do and hard to coach!!!

Robert
Guest
Robert

Thanks a lot guys for all of this great info and for responding to all of our questions.

dalman.caleb13
Member
dalman.caleb13

Hey Chas,

I noticed in the article that you go from talking about the “knee to knee” drill that resulted in having you athletes stand straight up on their front leg then you have your first picture and then jump into this sentence “What happened was an efficient hip…” I’m not sure if I’m not understanding the paragraphs correctly or is there a small part where you introduce the drill they did to correct the issue? If you did presented could you rephrase it for me?

Thanks

Jay
Guest
Jay

Hi Chas. Thanks for the great information. My question is about keeping the weight back. When you slow down a video of the swing of almost all major league hitters, you can tell that there is either zero or no weight on the back foot at the point of contact. While the center of gravity of these hitters is not directly over their front foot, their front foot is either solely or almost solely supporting the body at that point. What cues, instruction or drills do you use to insure proper weight transfer to the front foot while also keeping… Read more »

Sean
Guest
Sean

Should I be worried that when my back foot comes off the ground it lands almost close to my front knee

Zekai Geier
Member
Zekai Geier

Ok im slightly confused on what keeping weight deep means. Does it mean keep your weight back? But doesnt’t the hitter need a good move forward before the turn? So a hitter gains forward momentum toward the pitcher, then turns. If the hitter moves forward to gain momentum, how does he keep his weight back, when he moves forward?

JK Whited

Zekai,

The weight stays behind the ball in the turn of the body. It all depends on where the ball is when your talking about moving forward and staying back.

To create maximum force, the hitter must move their body forward but when the front foot strikes the ground, the hitter’s axis is created and the hitter then turns. There is no more going forward at this point (most of the time). The hitter is still “back”, behind the ball at the point of contact rather than drifting forward more after the front foot plants.

JK-

christopher pringle
Member
christopher pringle

Chas, did you ever post the response to Greg? His was the first one in this post. I know its old but Id like to read what you think happens here with the hip and knee.