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Thursday, April 8, 2010

The Proper Baseball Swing - Swinging on the Pitch Plane

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By Todd Thomas

What should players, baseball and fastpitch alike, be focusing on improving going into a new season? I say it should be on the key element to the proper baseball swing and the proper fastpitch swing which is to match their swing plane with the plane of the pitch. Swing the ball. The BALL, not to the ground. You know, like the best players in the game do?

If you swing down on the ball, then you are "intersecting" the path of the ball giving yourself a small window of timing for contact. A more productive swing would be to attempt to match the plane of your swing to the plane of the pitch. Having the bat on the same plane as the ball as long as possible opens up your window of timing for making contact. Why would any hitter consistently give themselves the smaller window of contact? It simply makes sense to swing on the pitch plane.

Swinging on plane IS the proper baseball swing. Albert Pujols, one of the games great hitters, has shown he is on plane on many of his swings for up to 5 and 1/2 feet. That's awesome. Being on plane that long gives Albert or any hitter a much larger window to make good contact with the incoming pitch.

Can you be on plane perfectly every time you try? No. That's why you see various types of hits. But attempting to swing level to the ball increases your line drive rate which in turn raises your batting average. Line drives equal a high batting average.

How do you teach players to swing on the pitch plane? You have to understand and show them how to put the bat on the pitch plane. Take a rope and secure one end. Stretch it out and teach players to put the bat on it in their swing and swing along the rope. You should hold the loose end slightly lower than the secured end in order to more closely simulate the high to low path of the ball. Take a 3 to 4 foot piece of PVC pipe and hold it where players can put their bat on it and swing along it. If you are holding the pipe, I don't recommend letting them swing at full speed.:-) It should be a slow practice swing. Get creative and teach your players the proper baseball swing and the proper fastpitch swing by teaching them to swing on the plane of the pitch.

Play Ball!

Todd Thomas is a Baseball Coach and Professional Hitting Instructor for Mike Epstein Hitting. Coach Todd's personal hitting website is Coach Todd also enthusiastically endorses as a place where baseball and softball hitters can master the Confidence, Composure, Focus and Consistency of their game so they can reach their full potential.

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