In terms of "priority", I cover passing through this position when teaching the "hand path" / "barrel path". I consider it important. IMO, if a student isn't passing through this position then they didn't properly master the instruction on "hand path" / "barrel path" ... and we as instructors need to re-visit that or find an alternative approach to get this information into the student's mechanics. Like you said, it promotes a "fuller follow through" ... or "hitting behind & through the ball". Like you said, it promotes a "quicker swing" ... or a "connected swing" that is powered by the hips / thorax and NOT by the arms.
Last edited by FiveFrameSwing; 05-16-2010 at 11:41 AM.
"How important is the connection point that Slaught refers to - to get to where the hands, rear elbow and pant stripe are pretty much lined up. This in keeping with rear scap needing to stay pinched to this point."
And GUP listed descriptions of this as a key landmark from numerous systems.
All these systems are describing the HLBB swing pattern.
The "landmark" results form earlier action, so the question is what earlier actions are required to get to this landmark and what is happening at the landmark.
I find that when you reconcile all the available effective descriptions of the HLBB pattern, you get a universal sequence a follows:
-rhythmic preswing activity
-inward turn,negative move,cock hips
-positive move, forward by turning,show back pocket,cock hands,tip bat
-wind rubberband, start untipping bat, start opening front foot, then front hip
-drop and tilt/GO
The "connection point" is at the END of the drop and tilt when the torso stretch/"cusp" reverses to whip the already turning bathead.
Note:this phase is immediately preceded by the "rubberbandwinding" phase.
This earlier/preceding phase is the most poorly understood and at the same time most important preparation for the GO/Connection.
Only Epstein, of the widely available systems, emphasizes it. it is best described on the internets at H-I.com as "the overlap".
In spite of lack of description, people still learn the pattern because this is part of the overhand throw pattern which carries over to the HLBB swing pattern. Hodge describes it best in overhand throw in terms of joint action sequence and synch of front leg with throwing arm action.
This action in the HLBB swing pattern prepares with a balanced load/stretch around the rear hip while clearing the front leg and hip and getting a runningstart of the barrel.
This is where most of the "x-factor separation" is created.
The GO maxes out the turning velocity/angular momentum of the HIP segment which is resisted by the turning of the bat in the hands that keeps the hands and shoulders back.
This lets the hands be a site of control for the timing and direction of unloading. This creates "x-factor stretch" or "cusp", a last quick (and late timing/plane matching) loading "stretch" that is most efficient at boosting the bathed as it unloads.
So at "connection" the hips are decelerating and the bathed is connected directly to the unloading of the torso, and the running start/accelerating bathed is in charge of demanding a sequenced/segmented whipping acceleration.
Another factor here is the "linear momentum" aspect of the swing which requires the direction of the positive move to blend with the upper-lower body synched coil action to produce a ground up turning front the rear leg up when you wind the rubberband while at the same time keeping the center of mass of the body well behind the point where the front/stride foot will be weighted by the later GO move (center of pressure of front foot).
So what is happening at "connection" is the reversal of "cusp" with deceleration of hips and acceleration of upper torso to max turning velocity while bathead is beginning to be fired out.
for the torso to quickly accelerate, the forearm and back scap must BOTH be pinched. If the back scap is not pinched, the whole "power package" (TGM golf term for arms and bat) will get away from the torso and force drag by inertia.
If the pinch is not kept at the back elbow, the same inertia problem is caused by forearms and bat getting away.
IF the lead wrist prematurely unhinges then the same inertia problem results from casting the bat mass.
The swing at this point is pretty much on autopilot. The back scap needs to stay pinched. The a self feeding acceleration of the bathed promotes the sequential deceleration of the torso and acceleration of the handpath (to "lag" position) then unhinging of lead wrist as hands decelerated and bathed foresee for last 2 frames or so (30 fps) to contact.
To eliminate "drag", there must be adequate torso load, ending with quick stretch to enable quick acceleration when stretch (x-factor) stretch on the downswing) reverses. The bat must be turning between the hands with hands staying back and without unhinging the lead wrist as back scap and back elbow stay pinched. ground up rear leg/hip action with center still behind where stride foot lands is necessary. ongoing x-factor separation is necessary.
When this is in place, then you get the landmarks many recognize as essential: hands back, pinch in back elbow, etc.
Hansd ahead too much means push. hands too much behind back elbow means drag. Both mean no controllable whip (if any whip) and no spatially "early" bathed acceleration (lack of read time).
My DD just went through a case of bat drag. We talked about keeping the back elbow up, not dropping her hands, etc... We tried a bunch of different drills. She was trying, but not really getting it.
Someone on another thread said simply 'Keep the elbow behind the hand'. We started using the 'elbow behind the hand' cue, and she got it. She could feel the elbow behind the hand, and she could make the correction. It worked for her, and she is hitting much better.
I have her doing a lot of half swings without a ball. Just extending the bat to the point of contact, then pulling it back. I asked her to visualize five balls to each of the nine hitting zones, inside high, inside middle, inside low, etc... She can do the 45 half swings in about five minutes, while concentrating on keeping the elbow behind the hand. She does this before and after practice, so she gets about a hundred extra repititions per practice focused on curing bat drag.
Someone said it takes two or three thousand repetitions to burn in the new muscle memory, and remove the old muscle memory with bat drag. That seemed about right. SHe still had batdrag in the games even after she started hitting correctly in practice. It took several weeks of focused practice to get rid of it.
If by "keep the elbow behind the hand", you promote having a rear pinched forearm-to-bicep, then yes ... this will help. Often people speak of the importance of having a pinched forearm-to-bicep (rear arm) at the RVP connection point (Mankin refers to this as the "Power-V" position), but a few hitting systems have found value in promoting a pinched forearm-to-bicep at the launch position ... and in fact Shawn Wooten refers to this as the "Power V" in the mechanics that he promotes. It does help avoid 'bat drag' and promotes "connected swings" with a "tight HPP".
The half swings, which HI refers to as "snap stop swings", and other places refer to as "stop swings", are good for promoting a "connected swing". I have the kids I work with hit balls into an open field with "snap stop swings" ... off of a tee, off of "head-on soft-toss" and off of a pitching machine. I like to mix up "snap stop swings" and "regular swings", with the intent being to promote "connected swings".
I've also read that it can take 2000 to 3000 "corrected swings" to burn in new muscle memory. There is also a theory that this can be shortened to 800 "corrected swings" if the hitter simultaneously understands "why" they are performing the drills to "correct/modify" their mechanics. In a sense ... the belief is that the better you educate your hitters, the faster they will burn in modified mechanics.
Last edited by FiveFrameSwing; 05-17-2010 at 01:23 PM.