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The Plane of the Bat

May 15, 2008
477
28
Eastern Long Island
I hesitate to bring this up but here goes.

I see that the term 'plane of the bat' is used quite often in hitting discussions. To me this is a very complicated subject, not well understood, and difficult to explain. It is often confused further by the idea of a 'level swing' in which the bat is parallel to the ground. The only time the plane of bat is level with the ground is if you are swinging at a neck high pitch.

To use an illustration from golf (Ben Hogan actually) the plane of the bat can be visualized as a giant CD which is placed over one's shoulders (your head goes through the hole). The plane varies with the height of the pitch/contact point. The lower the pitch the steeper the plane of the bat. Ideally the plane of the bat is set at 'launch' after the brain has computed the contact point.
 
May 7, 2008
977
0
San Rafael, Ca
arm whip -

Plane is very complex. Golf is a good place to get familiar with the concept, but in hitting the reaction time requirment puts the premium on timing aspects of the bathead acceleration in the plane with the spatial aspects less important as compared to golf/hitting off the tee.

Probably the single greatest description of how this applies in hitting is Williams SCIENCE OF HITTING. Williams describes using the same type/pattern swing for all locations which he described as a "slight upswing" with matching the plane to the pitch being essential.

This means using a "low ball" or swing down/resist type swing pattern capable of lifting the low ball/squaring the dropping ball for all locations as opposed to the alternative (PCR/MarkH type swing) where everything is a highgh ball swing around body type swing, bending over more or less to match location. This becomes very problematic when facing reaction time limits because the adjustor is much earlier in the swing sequence (bending torso a waist) forcing premature committment.

Illustrations on pp. 61-3 explain the spatial aspects of the concepts and some mechanical keys such as top hand as power hand/etc,BUT, do not disregard his earlier timing related illustration on p 54 where getting the joy spot on the ball squarely is described as making contact in a zone 15 degrees before or 30 degrees after perpendicular.

So not only does the arc of the plane need to be lined up well, the timing has to be such that you can accelerate around the arc well back in the swing plane to give you maximum read time as well as controlling plane matching with the hands which are committed last.
 
May 7, 2008
442
0
DFW
Probably the single greatest description of how this applies in hitting is Williams SCIENCE OF HITTING. Williams describes using the same type/pattern swing for all locations which he described as a "slight upswing" with matching the plane to the pitch being essential.

This becomes very problematic when facing reaction time limits because the adjustor is much earlier in the swing sequence (bending torso a waist) forcing premature committment.
Gee Tom you were doing so well till you put that last paragraph in there. ;)

Elliott.
 
May 7, 2008
977
0
San Rafael, Ca
ken-

my experinec is that HOW the shoulders get involved is part of a big difference here.

in the mlb pattern swing, the hands set up a rotation/turning of the bat around a center between them on the handle while at the same time, the hips stay coked/loaded into back hip as hips turn open.

this coils torso by hands staying back while they turn the bat which reactively also assists in keeping the shoulders closed while you are reading the pitch.

the hands are then assisted by TILTING the shoulders to accelerate the bat turning arund the center on the handle.

the hips/lower body slave/synch to this creting a late/adjustable stretch and fire. upper body resists turning open better and controls bathead trajectory for late adjustment as coil is created beyween upper and lower body overlap/turning in different planes (2 plane swing)


this is a very different body sequence/pattern from the sequential middle out TURN of the shoulders then bat that Elliott and Mark prefer.
 
May 12, 2008
2,217
0
The mechanics I talk about are certainly very different from what Tom talks about. No doubt.
 
May 15, 2008
477
28
Eastern Long Island
Tom,

According to the diagrams which you directed me to on pg 61 in Ted Williams book it is clear that his understanding of the plane of the bat is wrong. I know that this may be considered blasphemy but it is not uncommon for athletes, even those who are very accomplished, to be mistaken about how they perform the actions in their sport. The diagram shows that a slight upswing is better than a level swing. The problem is that he is depicting the bat as level or parallel to the ground, this is just plain wrong. There are many other places in the book where the plane of the bat is shown correctly but he is not talking about plane in these instances. The pictures on pgs 40 and 41 contradict what Williams says on pg 61, and these are pictures of his actual swing. Williams says that he does one thing and in actuality does another. On pg 61 the head of the bat is level with the hands/handle, in the pictures on 40 and 41 the head of bat is below the hands and the bat is on plane with the lead arm and the shoulders, this is how it should be. In reality there is no such thing as a 'level' swing because the plane of the swing is always tilted, unless you are swinging at a shoulder high pitch. The diagram that Williams uses depicts a position that I frequently see coaches use when demonstrating the 'level' swing using a batting tee.
 

Ken Krause

Administrator
Admin
May 7, 2008
3,448
48
Mundelein, IL
Definitely different

ken-

this is a very different body sequence/pattern from the sequential middle out TURN of the shoulders then bat that Elliott and Mark prefer.
I tend to be more of the same school with Elliott and Mark. I don't see a lot of hand activity until after the shoulders begin to turn.

I see the swing starting with the hips and core, transferring up into the shoulders (with the back shoulder firing forward and then down toward the ball), then the hands doing their work to convey the bat head to the ball. That's the simplified version.
 

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