Welcome to Discuss Fastpitch

Your FREE Account is waiting to the Best Softball Community on the Web.

Register Log in

Help for hitters who are dropping the back shoulder

Ken Krause

Administrator
Admin
May 7, 2008
3,461
48
Mundelein, IL
In science, the proper way to conduct an experiment is to limit the number of variables to one. In other words, all else is the same except for one thing that changes. That way you know whether the one variable that changed was the cause of the success or failure of the experiment.

We had that opportunity earlier today. We were working with our 18U hitters, which is our usual routine on Sunday mornings. Today was a machine day. We had the Jugs Jr. cranked up to 100%, and as it turned out we were shooting balls from about 30 feet. We actually had planned on going from 35, but the plate was moved up in the cage and we just left it there.

In any case, most of the girls were doing fine, but a few were having some trouble. Mostly, they were swinging under the ball. So we told them to lower their front shoulders as they went to toe touch. This was a point we learned from Deb Hartwig at the National Sports Clinics. She showed how all top hitters have their front shoulders lower than the back at this point. It's something you don't hear about in even the latest hitting videos, but it seems essential to great hitting.

Lowering the front shoulder was the only change we made. Yet in every case the hitter went from missing completely to hitting the ball solidly. At this point it was more of a reminder than a real change -- they all know they need to be in that position. But sometimes they forget, especially in the heat of high-speed BP.

If you have hitters struggling with swinging under the ball, or just with dropping their back shoulders to go into launch, have them work on lowering the front shoulder. It works!

More...
 
May 12, 2008
2,217
0
Depends on how they lower them. Tilt toward the pitcher to lower them, that's a problem. If the tilt toward the plate combined with loading the shoulder in toward the sternum with a very slight counter rotation of the upper torso causes the lowered front shoulder, that's fine.
 

Ken Krause

Administrator
Admin
May 7, 2008
3,461
48
Mundelein, IL
Nah, nothing so complicated. This was in the real world. I simply told them to keep the front shoulder lower than the front until it was time to rotate the shoulders and they started hitting better. The object was to prevent tilting the back shoulder toward the catcher.
 
May 12, 2008
2,217
0
My post was not so much for you. I assume if some of your hitters misinterpeted your intent, you could easily deal with it by demonstration. My post was to help the average parent interpret your words.
 

Ken Krause

Administrator
Admin
May 7, 2008
3,461
48
Mundelein, IL
Gotcha. Truth is, I do tell them to lower the front shoulder toward the pitcher -- sort of like looking over the front shoulder. When that happens, they start to hit better. It's a subtle move, and may wind up doing all the other things you say. But I don't really focus on that, or even look for it.

But yes, you're right, I do demonstrate what I'm looking for, and it's not a huge drop or tilt. I'd say it's more of a "rebalancing" if anything, although it has nothing to do with balance. Dang it's hard to describe with words. Guess that's why I use as few as possible!
 
May 12, 2008
2,217
0
Probably what you are talking about. Photo 1 of 16, ULL vs. UNT

Gomez drops the front shoulder a bit while she's loading the pelvis and, as some call it, making a negative move. By heel plant of course she's back to a good position to swing from.
 

Ken Krause

Administrator
Admin
May 7, 2008
3,461
48
Mundelein, IL
Yes, that's it exactly. Thanks.

The issue I see is that hitters will immediately drop the back shoulder as they try to take the bat down toward the ball. This puts them in a bad position to complete the swing, and tends to make them swing under the ball. Lowering the front shoulder slightly and keeping it there allows them to attack the ball from above, only going as low as needed to get there.

It's not a panacea, of course. I was working with a girl the other night who was doing a pretty good job of getting into position but still swinging under. As I was explaining about lowering the front shoulder she took a slow-motion practice swing. I saw that the bat barrel was above her hands when she did it. I was shocked. I had her work on dropping the barrel below the hands, and on aiming for the top of the ball, and she started to hit better. It's always something.

I probably still have videos somewhere in the house where they actually tell you the barrel of the bat should be above the hands. I think I had a Candrea one where he said that. No wonder so many fastpitch games used to be 1-0 in eighteen innings. It probably took a hitter getting tired and letting the bat barrel down to get a hit! :rolleyes:
 
Nov 25, 2012
1,023
38
Texas
In science, the proper way to conduct an experiment is to limit the number of variables to one. In other words, all else is the same except for one thing that changes. That way you know whether the one variable that changed was the cause of the success or failure of the experiment.

We had that opportunity earlier today. We were working with our 18U hitters, which is our usual routine on Sunday mornings. Today was a machine day. We had the Jugs Jr. cranked up to 100%, and as it turned out we were shooting balls from about 30 feet. We actually had planned on going from 35, but the plate was moved up in the cage and we just left it there.

In any case, most of the girls were doing fine, but a few were having some trouble. Mostly, they were swinging under the ball. So we told them to lower their front shoulders as they went to toe touch. This was a point we learned from Deb Hartwig at the National Sports Clinics. She showed how all top hitters have their front shoulders lower than the back at this point. It's something you don't hear about in even the latest hitting videos, but it seems essential to great hitting.

Lowering the front shoulder was the only change we made. Yet in every case the hitter went from missing completely to hitting the ball solidly. At this point it was more of a reminder than a real change -- they all know they need to be in that position. But sometimes they forget, especially in the heat of high-speed BP.

If you have hitters struggling with swinging under the ball, or just with dropping their back shoulders to go into launch, have them work on lowering the front shoulder. It works!

More...
Ken,

I came across this post from years ago and going to give it a shot. Seems simple enough and needing some help with DD popping everything up.

Enjoy your weekend!

S3
 

Ken Krause

Administrator
Admin
May 7, 2008
3,461
48
Mundelein, IL
Ken,

I came across this post from years ago and going to give it a shot. Seems simple enough and needing some help with DD popping everything up.

Enjoy your weekend!

S3
S3,

It definitely works. It's been a key teaching point for me for years now. Good luck! Let me know how it works for you.
 

Latest threads

Forum statistics

Threads
34,154
Messages
496,037
Members
15,718
Latest member
Jdseams53
Top