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Batting & Pitching Blogs

Batting & Pitching Blogs

Why Major League Hitters Averages And Power Are Going Down part 2

Posted on July 22, 2016 at 12:15 AM

Originally posted August 19, 2012

I wrote a few weeks ago why Major League hitters averages, power and production were going down in each of the last six years.  I talked about how Major League hitters are getting worse because more and more of them are swinging mainly with their arms and not using their body like they should.   I talked about a couple bad habits this will start.


One is they now will have their bat going slower into the hitting zone with less power.  They will then pull the bat faster to try and gain more speed and power but this will just pull the bat out of the hitting zone too fast.  Also with the bat going slower they will start their swing earlier which means they will swing at more bad pitches than they need too.  They can't be patient and relaxed at the plate.


I started writing about this because it doesn't need to happen.   I keep hearing the pitchers are getting better, no they aren't.  The hitters are getting worse and that makes the pitchers look better.


When you watch a game almost every hitter during their at bat doesn't look like they are over matched at all.  They watch the pitches and swing at the ones they think they can drive.  They usually get at least two pitches in an at bat that they can drive.   The problem is when the average Major League hitter swings at a pitch they should be able to hit hard, they swing as fast as they can mainly with their arms.  When doing this they tighten their hands and the rest of their body.  They end up pulling the bat out of the hitting zone way too quickly and because they swing so hard they will often lose their balance.   It is so difficult to hit the ball hard when your body is tight and also trying to stay balanced. This is what causes good hitters to go into slumps and stay in them until they relax and start using their body again.


When you see a player consistently hitting the ball hard, they almost always look so loose, effortless and they stay balanced throughout the swing.  They are using their body to bring the bat forward and this enables them to put much more force into the ball, called effortless power.  Your body needs to be balanced to consistently hit the ball hard.   This is much easier to do when you are letting energy go forward into the ball.


When you see a hitter in a slump from Little League to the Major Leagues they are swinging completely different.   They are mainly hitting with their arms, swinging out of their shoes.   If the hitter tries to hit it harder with their hands they will pull the bat faster in (right handed hitter will pull to the left) and it will become more of a slap, called powerless effort.  This is what most hitters do because 99% of what is taught by instructors and coaches in baseball and fastpitch softball make a hitter use mainly their arms.


A great concept is short to the hitting zone and long through it.   The problem is swinging mainly with their arms hitters do the opposite, longer to the hitting zone and short through it.   Hitters will then need to have almost perfect timing or the bat will not be in the hitting zone at the correct moment.   This is why hitters at every age, including the Major Leagues, are getting worse because they are not taught how their body can add more force and help them hit the ball much better.


You want to correctly learn as a hitter how using your body correctly can help you:

 

  • Increase your bat speed into and through the hitting zone
  • Add so much more force forward into the ball
  • Keep the bat in the hitting zone over a much larger area, three to four feet
  • Allows your bat to go through the middle of the ball much more often (line drives)
  • When you are swinging mainly with your arms you are doing almost the opposite with the bat:
  • Bat speed is slower because of tight hands and a longer bat path (out then pull in)
  • When pulling in you pull force away from the ball making the bat weaker
  • Because of the bat path, the bat is in the hitting zone up to only one foot
  • Your bat will move up and down when you roll your wrists or pull to add more power

 

Every hitter from Little League to the Major Leagues could make hitting much easier if they learned how to use their body correctly.   Great hitters use their bodies completely different when they are hitting the ball well than when in a slump.   Examples are Alex Rodriguez and Albert Pujols who listened to their hitting coaches.  Instead of taking a step and using their body they were told to put their front foot up then down (no step) so they could use their fast hands.   This led to disasterous results with Rodriguez losing his power and production for the next 6 years and Albert Pujols going from the best hitter ever his first 11 years to an average hitter.  MVP level hitters were average hitters only because they used their arms more in their swing.  They had much less power and production because they took their 230 pound bodies out of their swing which completely changed how their bat was going into and through the hitting zone.  If they would have kept stepping forward and using their bodies like they had for so many years they would have been just as productive today. 


If Major League hitting coaches could better understand and teach proper mechanics, how to use the body and not fast hands, hitters wouldn't go into slumps with no idea how to get out of it.  Hitters need to be taught the correct way to use the body and learn how effortless and powerful it feels.  They could then immediately tell when they used their arms more than the body, feeling much more effort with less power.   This would allow a hitter to feel the difference and know how to make the correction immediately, even make the adjustment back to using their body in the next at bat, not going two months or more with no idea what is happening.  Hitters don't all of a sudden stop seeing the ball well, lose their bat speed or power.  They just started swinging more with their arms and that, like I said above, makes your bat come into and through the hitting zone doing almost the opposite of what it was before. That is what makes a player go into a slump.


If you have any questions or want more information on how you can learn to use your body much better in baseball and fastpitch softball call Mike Sedberry at 304-722-6393.

Categories: Baseball hitting