The Power Path: Flat hands and arm extension

The hand releases after contact. To see the full swing… Login to see it In-Motion.

Stay inside the ball Take the knob of the bat to the ball and the barrelhead will follow.

  • A straight line is always the most direct and quickest route.
  • With the bathead kept close to the back shoulder, you’re staying inside the ball.
  • Keep, those hands on a direct path forward as you squish the bug and the hips start to rotate.
Flat Hands and Backspin Get your hands to stay flat (one palm up, one down) and extend through the ball.

  • The result is a quick barrelhead that explodes on the ball with backspin – to carry the ball farther.
  • Remember backspin is good, topspin bad. Rolling your wrists creates topspin and the ball simply will not carry as far.
  • Also, you want the sweet spot to move into and through the hitting area longer so keep your swing an elipse not a circle (flatten it out).
  • The ideal angle is to bring the bat through so the ball trajectory is between 15 and 30 degrees up – enough to clear most infielders without being a lazy flyball. (Some research has shown the ideal home run angle to be mid-30s, depending on wind, but the danger is it will go too high then stall and drop for a can of corn out.)
Extending Your Lead Arm You want to extend, but not roll over.

  • Lead arm extension is important for power and distance – to get the ball to carry.
  • Let the wrist roll over early and the flat swing is gone – the barrel snaps back toward your body and you’ll lose both extension and power.
  • It’s all about getting the top hand to extend every time – because otherwise it wants to dominate the swing.
Here’s a WebBall training tip that can test for flat hands vs rollover. Place a Frisbee upside down between your palms (curled edge up) and do a complete baseball swing. If the Frisbee slides off your bottom hand and launches straight at that 15-30 degree angle, you’ve done it right. Any kind of rollover and the Frisbee will tumble.
Pull versus Push Arms pull quicker than they push.

  • You want the bat going toward the pitcher with as much force as he is throwing – equal and opposite. You can’t push the top hand fast enough.
  • Let the top hand support the pulling action of your lead arm. If you try to push you might actually slow things down. (For more on this see Jack Mankin’s torque technique. Others suggest skipping this step as it is more theoretical than practical – just do what feels right.)
Clear the Zone and Finish High. Understand the forces at work.

  • At the point of contact, your lead arm (knob hand) is fully extended whereas your top hand arm is actually constricted or pinched in at the shoulder. So the knob hand has more leverage.
  • Also muscles can contract quicker than they extend so the tendancy to rollover is compounded when the hand now below the bat grips too much or too long.
  • So let the bat slide off and let the lead arm extend right around.
  • The lead arm should finish out and above the front shoulder. (If you didn’t get full extension, the arm finishes below shoulder height. This is similar to checking the finish angle whith a two-hand grip – above the shoulder, not across it.)
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