Upper Body Isolation Drill

Written By: Eric Tyler

Upper Body Isolation Drill Swings

Why Isolating Your Hitter's Upper Body Can Help Their Swing

Maintaining a side bend is crucial for the hitter’s ability to decelerate and prevent over-rotation. Yet many hitters struggle with not only creating side bend but maintaining it through the turn. While working on this skill, it can be very difficult for the hitter to feel the correct posture in a full swing.

The upper body rotation happens so fast and there are so many different factors that go into the swing that side bend often gets overlooked. However, if the hitter comes out of side bend too early, the bat path goes with them and causes over-rotation and a poor bat path. 

Helping Hitters Improve Side Bend with Upper Body Isolations

One way we have found to be beneficial when teaching not only creating side bend but also maintaining it through the swing is to isolate the upper half in the swing. By widening the hitter’s feet out just beyond shoulder width and then forcing them to not use their lower half in the swing, the hitter’s upper body is magnified.

If they don’t create side bend and then hold it properly through the swing, they will overrotate or rollover. By eliminating the stride it forces the hitter to use solely their upper body to swing the bat successfully. 

Isolation Upper Body
Better Understanding of Upper Body Mechanics

Often times hitter’s don’t understand the degree of importance posture has in the swing. When it comes to upper body mechanics, hands become the main story. However, maintaining the proper posture throughout the swing allow the hands to work properly and efficiently.


Importance of Correct Deceleration

Many youth hitters feel the need to reach full rotation in their lower half in order to swing the bat faster. Yet as we see time after time, in order for the barrel to work on plane and in the correct direction, the hips have to decelerate and stop. 

Improved Hand Path

While posture can allow your hand path to work more fluidly, oftentimes hitters don’t understand how to create the correct hand path. They are either too direct or too long and create a long, loopy swing. By isolating the upper half, they have to perfect their posture and hand path to see any success in this drill.

One Thing To Avoid When Doing Upper Body Isolations

Make sure to avoid lower body rotation in this drill. The isolation of the upper body is the key to this drill and that can’t be achieved with the lower body rotating. We want the hitter to feel the need to be perfect with their posture and hand path in order to have success with this drill.

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Coach DeLong

Looks like full rotation to me. The only thing I see is his heels stay planted. Maybe that is what you should be telling your viewers.


Coach DeLong,

Thank you for the input! We want to make sure the lower body isn’t being used as it normally would be. We want the hitter to create better side bend and not over-rotate. You are absolutely correct, this definitely could be considered full rotation on certain pitch locations.