Should You Swing Down or Swing Up? It Depends

Written By: Garrett Gordon

Should You Swing Up or Down? It Depends

Understanding the Difference Between a Swing Down or Swing Up Approach

One of the biggest debates in hitting is to swing down or swing up.  Each hitter is different and has a different approach in mind.  Learn how thinking to swing up or even swing down may drastically improve hard-hit balls.

Everyone in the hitting world wants the best for their hitters.  Whether you coach at a high level or just do lessons on the side for extra money.  If you are trying to help each individual hitter you're going to have to tailor your approach differently for that hitter.  Some hitters think swing up and some may think straight down.  What if I told you both work and both swing paths may turn out to be quite similar.  

“Swing Straight To The Ball”

Many great hitters such as Barry Bonds, Alex Rodriguez, and Mike Trout all claim they swing straight down to the ball.  Now for them, this is something that they feel but it isn't what is happening in reality and that's ok.  For some hitters to crush the ball consistently they have to feel like they are staying on top of the ball hence swinging down.  Each of the athletes I mentioned are strong and physical guys who can turn the bat up a little later to get on plane and crush it.  The video below is a prime example of what many big league hitters think:

When You Should Teach a Hitter to Think Swing Down on the Ball

Knowing when to say “swing down” or “stay on top of the ball”  truly depends on what the hitter may be doing.  Often cues like this are spewed out of a coach or instructor's mouth with no explanation behind it. 

Then you may get kids chopping straight at the ball and that will only hinder their development.  This cue does however have merit for some hitters and can actually help them square up the ball a lot better.

"Swing Down Cue"

3 Things The "Swing Down Approach" Can Help Certain Hitters

Posture -
  • Oftentimes when hitters want to hit the ball in the air they lift their front shoulder away from the ball and then the bat gets disconnected. 
  • When hitters have this issue they think down through the ball or staying on top of it keeps their chest down and in line with the pitcher. 
  • If you have better posture with your upper body then the bat path will get better
Realistic Swing Path -
  • Hitters who try to lift the ball too much tend to have a bat path that comes in and out of the zone mainly towards their pull side. 
  • Chances are they need to try and lift the ball less and think down and through the middle to allow the bat to release properly towards the pitcher. 
  • This flattens out their bat path and they are now actually swinging up the right way! 
Adjustability -
  • Due to the fact that hitters have a better idea of posture, swing path, and swing direction along will come adjustability. 
  • Meaning that the hitter's ability to cover the zone will be better and will also be able to adjust to pitches on the outer half of the plate. 
  • The goal with anything is to become consistent in the games. 
  • Sure you may be able to rip your bat across the hitting zone and tank a couple in batting practice by flying open and swinging up like crazy but in the game your chances of crushing the ball will be much lower.

Key Takeaway 

  • At the end of the day, every hitter and coach wants the ball to be hit hard. 
  • Whether you think swing up or swing down it does not matter if you get the results that you want. 
  • In my case, as a hitting instructor who works with all ages, I have to do what the player needs not what my personal opinion is about whether the swing is up or down. 
  • The only reality that's true is the results and if I need some of my hitters to think down on the ball then so be it. 
  • The trick is to know when what, and how to get players to do what they need to do!

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