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pulling the front shoulder drills

May 7, 2008
i have a couple players who are pulling their front shoulder open too soon and getting long swings. I'm looking for some drills to help them. I have seen the "rag under the armpit" drill and have spent some time with a bat and a rag trying it out myself and I seem to be able to be able to keep that rag inplace and pull the shoulder early!

I'm open to ideas.........


Ken Krause

May 7, 2008
Mundelein, IL
The front shoulder pulling out early is usually a sign of a confused technique. The hitter wants to get her body into the ball, but starts at the upper body/shoulders instead of lower body/torso.

One thing to try is have her face a backstop and grip it with both hands. Then have her focus on rotating her hips, using her grip on the backstop to keep her upper body in place. It's all about achieving the right sequence of events. As she gets the feel of what it's like to start from the hips you can progress to the tee.

If you haven't done it already, also try having her go in slow motion to make it easier to start the lower body first. Then build speed. It's the way musicians learn to play complex passages.

One other thing to do is video her. She may hear you saying she's pulling the front shoulder out, but she may not realize how much -- or how early. When I video players, often their first reaction is "whoa." The second is improvement.

Just a couple of thoughts. I'm sure there are others.


Softball fan
Feb 28, 2008
Montreal, Canada
That might sounds silly... but often I fix that problem with a simple cue:

"Wait for the ball longer" or "let it come deeper" or "wait, wait, wait, go" or during a practice session, tell to hit balls only to the right side of the field, or opposite field (even on inside pitches *just for the sake of practice*) but it's funny how quickly the "open too soon, pull everything" problem can be fixed with a simple cue or hard focus on waiting a bit longer.

Over time, they become more aware of it and how important it is to wait and explode into the ball when a good inside-out swing.

May 15, 2008
Cape Cod Mass.
I think that in many cases pulling the shoulder out early is really a case of 'collapsing the box'. If a hitter does not have enough tension in her left arm (also to some degree in her right arm) to maintain the proper space between her left arm and her upper chest, when she rotates she leaves her hands behind, some people use the term pulling out the front shoulder to describe this. When the shoulders rotate the hands have to come with them, if the shoulders rotate and the hands lag too far behind the box collapses or the front shoulder is pulled out early.

Ken Krause

May 7, 2008
Mundelein, IL
One other thing I thought of to help a hitter learn what to do is tell her to keep the front shoulder in until the back shoulder knocks it out of the way. Stand behind her (without a bat in her hand) and put one hand on each shoulder. Start by pulling the front shoulder out to get the shoulders to turn. Then start from square again, push lightly on the front shoulder to keep it in, then push the back shoulder in and down. She should feel the difference.

I've used that explanation many times and it seems to be one they can relate to.

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