Ted Williams Swing | The Science of Hitting
Ted Williams dominated his era like no one else. The true measure of a dominant hitter is the ability to hit for power AND average.
Williams was a dead pull hitter, but because of his ability to create bat speed deep in the swing, he was able to adjust to off speed pitches.
The image above illustrates centripital force. Williams was able to use this to his advantage in his swing.
Watch his barrel go from the tipped position to level with the incoming pitch. This movement happens before the shoulders turn. This movement is the swing. Without it, we lack the adjustability needed to hit all pitch speeds and locations.
Elite hitters do not start from a dead stand still.
They create momentum and give their barrel a running start. Young players are taught to hold the bat at a 45 degree angle. From there, they are taught to be short to the ball and "swing down."
How are we supposed to hit the best pitchers on the planet if we have to start from zero? Needless to say, it's very difficult. That won't stop traditional hitting coaches from limiting all movement, creating "short" swings and robbing players of their potential.
The Opposite of Linear Hitting
One school of thought in the baseball community is a set of principals called Linear Hitting.
1. Knob the the ball
2. Push hands forward or throw the hands
3. Get extension through the baseball
4. Shift forward
While the weight does need to shift forward, the hands should stay back and counteract the movement forward until it's time to launch the swing. If you push your hands forward, you will end up on your front foot too soon, limiting your ability to adjust.
When the hands come forward, you lose the power of the kinetic chain. Energy should flow from bottom to top. Once the hands push forward, you are out of sequence. This is inefficient for power and adjustability.
(Hank Aaron, Babe Ruth, Ted Williams, Barry Bonds)
I always back up my analysis with video proof, so here it is, the 4 best hitters of all time all displaying the barrel turn. Notice how the barrel is allowed to get even with the shoulder plane before the hands ever move forward. The barrel turn is done from back behind them. Need more proof? Read my article "The Moneyball of Swing Mechanics."
Great Hitters vs Average Hitters