The TRUTH About Hand Path in the Baseball or Softball Swing: Look Ma, No Hands!

Written By: Chas Pippitt

Hitting a baseball (or softball) is truly an art.  But, with the more recent developments in technology, hitting is becoming more science as well.  There are clearly defined ways to gain more power and more consistent success levels at the dish like:

  • Gaining more separation between the pelvis and the shoulders, and
  • Turning more of your mass with Super-Thrust.

This makes this article probably my most important article to date, as I think we can really show ‘hand path’ to the ball ISN’T actually a “real” thing.

How is this possible?

Well, hear me out on this, and I think you’ll figure it out.

The term ‘Hand Path’ and the things supposed to promote a proper hand path to the ball are telling the brain to do the wrong thing.

We’re all sitting at computers right now, so if I say ‘use your hands to grab the mouse’ what actually happens?  Assuming you’re sitting at a chair with your arms on an armrest or with your hands in your lap, you’d activate your ARMS to move you hands over to the mouse.  First the shoulder would lift your arm up, then your triceps and front deltoid would extend your arm out towards the mouse before lowering the hand onto the mouse.

What did your HANDS actually do?  NOTHING!

We at the Baseball Hitting Rebellion want people to have the most accurate ways to talk about, think about, and practice hitting possible.  Why waste time thinking about things counter productive to your real results?

Hands driven terms and teaching points are major problems with how hitting is taught today

The second a coach says ‘throw your hands’ or ‘hands to the ball’ or ‘knob to the ball’ the brain activates the ARMS.  Arms are swing poison…and their use is deadly to the hitter’s chances for success.

Notice how Cabrera’s hands ARE MOVED by his shoulder turn, not by his arms.

Notice how Cabrera’s hands ARE MOVED by his shoulder turn, not by his arms.

 

Activation of the front arm triceps leads to arm bar, slower rotation, and makes it much more difficult to hit the inside pitch.  Also, this action delays the ‘snapping’ of the barrel until much too late, so the barrel is NOT fully powered and sped up before contact and by the time it does speed up, the bat head is out of the hitting zone.  For a righty, that means the top speed of the bat is headed towards the 3rd base dugout.

Not a good recipe for success in my book.

So many of the kids who walk through my doors use their arms in their swings.  And ALL of my Righty Thrower/Lefty Hitters pull so hard with the front arm triceps…I just had to figure something out to correct this problem.

Look at the angle in Hamilton’s back arm, it NEVER changes. How can he throw his hands at the ball if his arm stays locked?

Look at the angle in Hamilton’s back arm, it NEVER changes. How can he throw his hands at the ball if his arm stays locked?

 

 

 

 

This brings me to my newest, and best, fix yet for the toughest problem I’ve encountered teaching hitting: Arm activation in the swing.  This breakthrough is called The Rebel’s Rack.

The Rebel’s Rack can help eliminate front arm barring and triceps activation, back arm shoulder push, improve wrist flexibility and barrel direction, as well as teach the hitter to gain more separation between the pelvis angle and the shoulder angle.

The Rebel Rack Test Group

We put our test group in the Rebel’s Rack and ran them through a few movement drills, some using Drive Developer bands and some just pure movement and barrel manipulations.

The Results were startling…

One college hitter, who was drafted out of high school, went from hitting the ball 86 to 88 consistently, to 89 to 92 with a new high of 93 that he hit 7 times.  Usually this kid hits about 10 balls out of 100 over 90mph in a session.  This day, he hit over 40.  It was stunning.

Another kid, who’s had lessons from me for over 2 years increased his max exit speed 9 mph the first day.  his average during his test, of 75 mph, was 6 mph higher than his previous max.

Another kid, who had lessons at a competing facility about an hour away, from a former professional player, improved his Max Speed by 10 MPH.  He has had 2 LESSONS in the Hitting Rebel System and only 1 using the Rebel’s Rack.  His mother’s direct quote was:

“Thanks Chas! After seeing what you have done with his hitting in only 2 lessons I cannot wait for more! Not only has his hitting improved but his confidence as well. Love it!!”

Video Proof:

(Dont Forget to LIKE the video and Subscribe to the channel to get EMAILS when I update the page with a new video or drill.  This is Chas Pippitt’s OFFICIAL YOUTUBE CHANNEL.  Please check there for the newest swing breakdowns and further videos on hitting from pros and my current students alike.)

Numerous kids (boys and girls) of all ages improved over 6 mph the first day they used the Rebel’s Rack.

Did they get stronger?

No, they got more efficient.

Wasted and misdirected energy is the problem in most swings…The Rebel’s Rack, if used properly, can solve this issue.  By deactivating and de-emphasizing the arms in the swing, the obliques, lower back and front abdominals take over to turn the pelvis before the shoulders.  Rocketing the shoulders into the swing more with impressive and amazing power.  This then accelerates the barrel of the bat instead of the knob, creating the deep Nike Swoosh bat path and instantaneous speed needed to maximize a hitter’s potential for power and average.

I am very excited to bring this breakthrough in my own teaching to the masses in short order.  Get excited because the Rebel’s Rack Drive Developer attachment is going to help your son or daughter get more separation between the pelvis and shoulders, de-emphasize the arm use in the swing, and learn to turn the barrel sideways into the hitting zone instead of at the pitcher.

Thanks for Reading,

Chas Pippitt, Leader of the Baseball Hitting Rebellion.

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Tim Mitchell
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Tim Mitchell

Great post Chas. I can tell you that as I try to teach my sons what I learn from your blog and webinars, I first try to physically reproduce what your talking about myself. There are many things I have learned from you, but two that stick out prominently are 1st) Teaching a 5 and 7 year old has its own set of challenges but the language/terms/vocabulary I use has often been a struggle. I often try to utilize terms you use in your posts. However I sometimes am stuck using the same old terms or phrases that I grew… Read more »

Nathan
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Nathan

Chas, Great news about the Rack. Recently purchased the Drive Developer for my 12yr old and 9yr old. Have been a knob to the ball guy my whole life, and taught my kids that technique. Your hitting philosophy makes so much sence. The boys are struggling with the phrase accelerate the bat head earlier from the start of the swing. (( which makes so much sence, because your swing gets on plane so much earlier in the swing. I hope that I am right about that concept…)) The Rack, in my opinion will help them with that. The boys are… Read more »

Pat Custenborder
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Pat Custenborder

Your comment about right hand thrower/left hand batter rings so true. My 13 year old struggles with barring….can’t wait to try the rack!

Tim Mitchell
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Tim Mitchell

The video clip of Josh Hamilton shows really well I think what your talking about with the hands being brought around with and by the shoulders. The question I have about the clip is in regard to the amount of hip and shoulder separation during his swing. I’m still learning how to analyze a swing on video. The other day I saw a video analyzing Tim Lincecum’s pitching motion. The video and the commentary of it allowed me for the first time I think to understand what you often refer to as having that 2nd gear. The video clip showed… Read more »

michael
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michael

Great stuff Chas. The way your breaking the swing down has made it easy to understand and easy to teach. Are you having any day long camps this summer? My 8 year would love to get some first hand instruction from you. We are out here in eastern NC so a day long deal would be awsome.

JP
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JP

This is exactly what I been trying to stress to both my boys with their hitting. Can you go in depth about the top hand taking the barrell of the bat to the ball…I am tired of hearing coaches saying swing level, instead of keeping your shoulders and hips level and your head still.

Lastly, can I get close to the same results by using a towel as with the Rebel Rack? Thanks fo your time.

Reggie
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Reggie

How can i make sure that I dont tilt the barrel?also how can i convince my hitting instructor that this is the right way to hit?
Thanks

John
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John

What do you think is more effective the drive developer or rebels rack?

Ivan
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Ivan

Chas, Great article and webinar! Interesting how difficult it is to talk to people about the hand and how it is over emphasized. It is something they learned so it is ingrain into their mind, much like squashing the bug emphasizing the ankle turning the hip not the other way around. As you know we (me and my son) analyse all things stated to understand completely. Much discussion lately around my area about the use of a heavy wood (6oz over game bat weight) bat causing a loop in the swing? Any falsities or error with that concern or thought?… Read more »

John
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John

Is the back shoulder row the same as pinching the back muscles back so you can hit with youre body? Ive tried to swing with my back muscles pinched back but its hard to sat loose and relaxed in that position.

Mac
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Mac

Ted williams supports this perfectly. He has, in my opinion the most obvious swing with large muscles like shoulders. I noticed that his hands are low when he swings. What do you think about swinging with youre hands low?

manny
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manny

Does the left hand just snap the bat into the zone. How much do you, if at all use the hands. Also,I know you have written about this but what are the main things that get you to generate good bat speed again?
Thanks

coachbrown1978
Member
coachbrown1978

can you explain deep barrel turn without arm activation, and maybe apply it to a video of someone hitting.

jerry
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jerry

HI chas >>>>>>> will the rebels rack alone teach that rowing motion you are talking about?.the reason I am asking I see that rowing motion or what others call scap loading when you hook up the rebels rack to the drive devolper and stand futher away from the wall .I

Mitch Schoenman
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Mitch Schoenman

Chas, First of all, I want to say that I think it’s awesome the way you are teaching hitting. I get fed up with the down and through teachings, because it obviously doesn’t make sense to swing down at a downward traveling object. However, I do want to get your view on something. With your rebel rack, what is your view on extension? I believe that getting through the ball is very important in creating a good consistent hitter to all fields. I love the rack until after contact. What is your view on post contact? Mitch

Brad
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Brad

How do you stop from at the baseball I alwasy try to deactivate my arms and hands as much as possible how would go about fixing this problem?

Darin
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Darin

Does it matter where you start your hands at is it better when your hands are high to start or low to start?

Sean
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Sean

Just got rebels rack what a difference it makes I used to chop and activate my arms but no longer thanks so much for creating the rebels rack

Sean
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Sean

When your foot lands on the ground where should the bat be high with your hands or right near your shoulder

Paul
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Paul

Chas what is the importance of your wrist angle? I have heard people like jaime cevallos talk about maintaining your wrist angle and not activating them because you will lose power but does not activating them also allow you to stay inside the baseball? I have noticed that if i turn while trying to keep my wrists cocked the bat seems to stay close to my shoulder which would mean im staying inside the baseball. Also, i have been working on swinging with my turn and it feels better but i get jammed a lot and i dont get very… Read more »

Paul
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Paul

One last question. When i look at guys like bryce harper, yasiel puig and pretty much any major leaguer i see as they make their positive move their front arm angle gets bigger almost barring in harper case. And then they turn. Im just wondering how on earth they stay connected with their turn when they have that action. I have tried to walk away from my hands like that and my swing got so badly disconnected i got jammed on eery pitch because my swing got so long. How to those guys stay connected so well??? I was wondering… Read more »

Bobby
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Bobby

Can you please elaborate more on the separation between pelvis angle and should angle thing you talked about? What is that and how does the rebel’s rack help with the movement?

Bobby
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Bobby

Or is it just another way of saying hip and shoulder separation?

JK Whited

Bobby,

Correct. Chas is talking about the separation between the pelvis(hips) and shoulder angle. The Rebel’s Rack will help the player de-emphasize the hitters arms to more accurately feel that separation. The hands and arms are the last thing most hitters need to spend time on.

JK-

Bobby
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Bobby

I have a very important question…If players were to swing without use of the hands,How would they get on plane with lower pitches.Great concept just really wanted to know

JK Whited

Bobby,

Thanks for the question. The hands do play a role in the swing but not in the way that most coaches talk about it. Just do some homework on our site and you’ll see that the shoulder plane adjusts so that the bat gets into the plane of the pitch. High pitch = High shoulder rotation, Low pitch = Low shoulder rotation. The hands simply turn the bat, they don’t create speed or create angle.

-JK Whited

Jason
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Jason

Awesome tool, got an eleven year old into baseball and he brings me back to my playing days. First and foremost great hitting tool. Matches hitting philosophy coach instilled in us. One distinct drill we used every day was very similar. Coach wanted us to elevate every pitch, no ground balls…ground balls equal outs at the highest level. Also, wanted pitchers to fear our hitters and you do that by dominating fastballs up and in. We used a large bouncey ball (sorry for the description), this did much of the pelvic drive you are talking about (back hip driving through… Read more »

ejgoodb
Member
ejgoodb

I’m watching the LLWS between Korea and Japan. Former major league players are doing a GRAVE disservice by talking about “throwing hands to the baseball”. Actually so far some of the kids have a great lower body move and shoulder turn to get their hands into the zone. Also drives me crazy that so many former players talk about “quick Hands” when they imply that the hands are critical to power. I am a 72 year old fart who learned from some of the guys who coached Ted Williams as a youth. We learned that “quick hands” were used to… Read more »

Admin

Joe,

Ted Williams’s book “The Science of Hitting” is a great resource even today for what actually happens in a swing. I love that you see the problem with how announcing is hurting baseball swings and I’m excited to see the continued instructional growth of baseball and softball hitters into the future.

Chas–

ejgoodb
Member
ejgoodb

Somewhere around here I have an original autographed copy. Of course growing up in rural San Diego County in the 1950’s, Ted Williams was a hero to all of us kids.

Admin

Man I’d love to see that Joe. wow!