Monday, December 11th, 2017

Should a batter keep his back elbow up?

September 22, 2016 by  
Filed under Hitting, Video Posts

Elbow looks up to me!

Elbow looks up to me!

Today’s video is about the controversy over the back elbow of hitters.  It’s a longer video because there are multiple layers to this debate.  As you will see, I don’t believe the problem is with the elbow itself.

Feel free to give me your thoughts in the comment section.


5 Responses to “Should a batter keep his back elbow up?”
  1. BGP says:

    I really like your blog and you have such valuable information. But really I think you’re missing the mark with this one. I think parents mistakenly tell their kid to raise their back elbow at the wrong time. It doesn’t matter where your back elbow is in your stance up or down. However, if you execute the proper sequence of the swing, the back elbow should be lifting as you stride and land.

    Your pictures have no relevance because you are showing different parts of the sequence. You have some of them in their stance, and some of them already striding. If you teach proper sequence, then your back elbow will always go up. There is no way physically possible to hit a ball with any about of force if your elbow is down during the entire swing. Try it! Pinch that back elbow to your back hip, its not possible.

    I understand that your teaching grip in this video and it is very hard to lift your elbow in your stance if you have door knocker knuckles, but even this is debatable whether that is a proper grip.

    I think rather than still pictures, post slow motion video of 2 hitters with their back elbow UP in their stance and 2 hitters with their back elbow DOWN in their stance and then freeze the frame when they stride/load and every single hitter will lift that back elbow.. some more than others, but it will still be up.

    I love your defense videos and strategy, but we have so much technology to analyze swings. And now instead of “elbow up” we will be hear “door knocker knuckles” in a park near you.

  2. Drew Stegon says:

    Spot on. All these things are connected. A still picture never tells the whole story. Some of those guys are in their beginning stance and others are in their pre-load or load stage.

    BGP – you are quite wrong if you think that the hitting motion is carried through with the elbow up and the the elbow goes up during a swing and not downward to the hip. YOU ARE VERY WRONG. As you stride and land that trigger is for the hips to start rotating and the process of that trigger is to bring the top hand elbow to you back side hip, NOT to lift the elbow away from your body. If you are teaching that you are teaching a mechanically incorrect motion. IF you are speaking of “creating tension” in your swing as you are striding by either “rocking the baby” or moving your hands back, and thus at times lifting your elbow to assist with a hands back motion, then I will give you that, but at point of front foot landing the motion should be rear knee powering forward to get hip rotating and elbow down to hip to created a “connected” upper and lower body.

    Every single batter in the MLB, no matter where they start, has their elbow down at their hip at max rotation point (belly button pointing at pitcher) of their hips.

    “Elbow up” was taught as a way to get kids to keep their hands back. You can’t bring your hands forward of your shoulder if your elbow is up. But it improperly positions the hands as the kid “comfortably” holds on to the bat as coach points out above.

    The picture of Miggy in the video show elbow up, but that is not his starting position. Miggy “rocks the baby” in his swing as his pre-load and load motion parts of his swing takes his elbow up as he rotates his bat into and angle from over his head and pointing the knob at the catcher. When Miggy is making contact with the ball, you will se his top hand elbow locked into his back side hip to contact the mass of his body together in order to provide the force generated through his rotation into his arms and finally into the bat. He starts elbow down, raises it in his preload to create tension and comes right back down to his hip.

    Here is Miggy Mechanics –

    It is not debatable that we should teach youth players to line up the proper knuckles. Having your knuckles inline properly keeps your WRISTS from locking and allows them to “whip or break” easier. It takes massive forearm strength to hit with twisted hands and keep the bat on plane. There are many in the MLB that can do that, and Pat Boone was someone that went to an extreme lining up his “punching knuckles.” One thing to remember about the grip is that “palm up/palm down” at point of contact is impossible if your knuckles are not aligned. Not that you can’t hit the ball, as Boone proved, but we must remember that we are teaching YOUTH players in order to set the “best” foundation possible. As they grow and develop things will change, but I would never start off teaching a kid to hold the bat the way Boone did nor would i teach him to stand like Kevin Youkilis.

    Watch this video of Trout. It is slow motion at 1000fps. Watch his back side elbow move downward towards his hip and lock there (11 through 13 seconds) as rotation continues and becomes unlocked from his hip as he extends through the ball after hitting and follows through with the upper body rotation.

  3. BGP says:

    Of course the elbow eventually comes down. Again you are speaking of the wrong point in the sequence. Once the front foot lands your swing initiates and you begin to drive that back hip and slot the back elbow. But at that point of stride and land, your elbow is “up” which is connected to the front side coiling and “scap load” which is part of your rocking the baby analogy. It is not specifically your back elbow doing all the work, but the elbow is in fact up.

    So you are telling me that you can swing the bat with your elbow pinched to your side the entire swing? It is not possible.. Im not saying you have to lift it as high as harper does or just move your elbow only. But the elbow always comes up as result of the rest of the sequence in the swing.

  4. Drew Stegon says:

    BGP – evidently you didnt read what I wrote. Where did I state that the top hand elbow stays down and “pinched” (yours words because I never wrote that) in the entire swing? I state more than clearly that that the elbow can go up and away from the body and even point put two videos that clearly demonstrate such things (like Rock the Baby techniques) and even state in my comments that if you were speaking to that load or preload point of the swing as to when the elbow tends to move upward I said I agreed. Moving the elbow up slightly can help many hitters create tension in the body to allow for hip rotation and bat speed.

    As a hitting instructor I tend to study many films. Because no two hitters are the same because of physical makeup and ability I will seldom teach “one-method” to players that I work with.

    Since you point out in your last comments that it “is impossible” to swing without raising the rear elbow I can clearly see that you are not a study of the swing path. That said, here is just one person:

    If you think that there is no way that a batter can swing without a noticeable elbow lift you have never studied the swing of Willie Mays. You know him, right? He kept his elbow low, barely took his back arm and elbow away from the body and what did he hit??? Oh, just a mere .302 lifetime average with only 3283 hits and 660 of them Home Runs. But, as you say… it “is impossible” to swing without lifting that back elbow to a “up” position.

    Dont believe me… watch this:

    Oh… you may want to look at Clemente (assuming you have heard of him) because he kept a “half” up elbow ( a relaxed position where the elbow is slightly away from the body but still in a downward position from the shoulder) from stance through load to start of hip rotation.

    On the other hand, you have a guy like A Rod, who started elbow high and even went higher with his elbow, to nearly a position that his elbow was near even with the top of his head.

    So to say that things are “impossible” or and always an occurrence is to generalize to a point that your statement becomes untrue.

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