Understanding Swing Feel And Swing Real

Written By: Luke Johnson

Understanding Swing Feel And Swing Real

Having feel for what you’re doing in the box is something I talk about with my hitters daily. Your feel is something you need to physically do or think to get your swing where it needs to be. Not everyone’s feel is going to be the same, which is why problems get created with old school coaching methods. This is because when you listen to former players like Arod and Chipper Jones, they discuss their feel as reality. Meaning they talk about swinging down like it is actually what is happening, in real time, with their swing. 

I picked those players because, in my eyes, those are the two that have been very vocal and the most reluctant to conform with the new era of teaching hitters. When I talk about the new era of teaching hitting, I don’t mean you should teach everyone to swing up. It’s not about teaching everyone to swing up or down, it’s about looking at the numbers and swing and creating the correct feel for the hitter with the right drills and vocabulary. What is correct is different from player to player. The difference is the vocabulary and the drills and how they correlate with the feel you’re trying to construct. This is why it is so important to understand the big difference between swing feel and swing real.

What Swing Feel Is Best For Me?

Many players need to feel different than what is actually happening in they swing. We see this even at the highest level with some of the most elite players in the game.

Here are examples of Bellinger and Trout. Both are great hitters, even though Trout is in a class of his own, Bellinger is still a top hitter in the league. These two have polar opposite feels that get them where they need to be. As you can tell, Bellinger’s feel is a little more realistic than Trout’s, but it shows that it doesn’t matter what you feel as long as it gets you where you need to be.

These videos show each hitters feel, then their feel in the batter's box, and finally their in-game swing.

Trout Feel
Trout Swing
Belli Feel
Belli on deck
Belli swing

How do I Find my Swing Feel?

The feel you need is personalized to you as a hitter and what your tendencies are. It takes trial and error to find what will work for you and sometimes it can change day to day. This is why working with an instructor you can connect with will help. An instructor will help you to create different feels within your swing by using different drills and vocabulary that will help you make adjustments. Additionally, when you are struggling to feel changes being made, they can help with understanding swing feel and swing real.

Not only is it about creating a feel that will help you maintain a consistent swing, but it could even mean creating a feel to make an adjustment. For example, if you’re a hitter who rips off the ball and loses posture, a good feel for you might be to hinge over the plate, uncomfortably low, and feel out your movement to the opposite field gap. So, if you’re trying to make a timing, direction, or movement adjustment, the important thing is feeling different and getting out of your comfort zone. If nothing feels different and the results are still the same, then you’re not doing anything different.

Why is Swing Feel Important?

The biggest reason for trying to create a good feel is so you know what is going on with your swing. You can start to see and feel what you’re doing right and what you’re doing wrong. If you don’t, it’s hard to understand how to fix things when it's going bad and to keep doing it right when things are going well. If you don’t know why you’re hitting well, it would be like not knowing how to add but understanding that 2+2=4. You know that you’re getting to the right answer, you just don’t understand why. Or worse, you know you’re getting the wrong answer but you don’t know how to fix it. The goal is to understand what your swing looks like and what you need to feel to get it to look like that, or to get it to look better.

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