October 12, 2011 by Gary McCoy
Hitting a baseball- (without question given multiple studies that support this)- is the toughest skill in any sport.
From the moment the ball leaves a pitchers hand- to the visual registration of the release point- flight recognition- the CNS process that “predicts location” to the moment the swing begins…all occur in milliseconds.
Once the swing begins, the musculoskeletal system kicks in and this is where we see success and often, failure.
Power production is simple Physics in hitting.
Most good hitting coaches teach players to hit down through the front leg- providing an axis for the body to rotate against. Hips rotate- shoulders and hands follow to provide an “elastic” contraction that produces bat speed. The faster the bat- the harder the ball is hit- the harder the ball is hit- the greater the opportunity for success, and the greater measurable value a player has in the game today.
From the Strength and Conditioning Performance support- it’s important to understand the physics of the swing- and we can see the muscular dynamics needed to optimize player performance.
The front leg must be stable…but how? Flexion of the hip girdle and maintenance of the rotational position is a function of glute (medius) and piriformis strength. Rotation is a function of the ability to sequence the muscular action through the core, and may account for up to 80% of the bat velocity created.
Stabilization drills and sequencing drills are extremely valuable to hitters, and these “transfer” to game success more closely than anything else.