“Hitting is all in the wrists.”
– Willie Mays, Baseball Hall of Fame Out-fielder
Ladies and gentleman, welcome to Seam Reader’s eleventh blog of all time. Last week we really got to see the passion of the baseball world when it came to the best way to hit a baseball. From the novice of the art, to those who are making a living teaching the art, and those who have never stepped into the batter’s box claiming the ones who are making a fortune, do not know exactly how they are doing what they do. We told you that the most debated half-second in baseball was how to get the barrel of the bat to the ball in the quickest and most powerful way possible. That debate did not disappoint, and is still on fire. People from all over the world reached out to Seam Readers and shared their opinions and stories. Some rather loudly, some vividly, but all passionate about an aspect of our American pastime. We enjoyed almost every moment and responded to as many folks as we could. Please keep the comments and questions coming. We had so much fun that this week we are going to continue looking at the “swing through contact.” Let’s have some more fun. Here we go…
Last week, you learned the differences between the two swings that are used in the Big Leagues today. One swing that is direct-to-the ball is called the Power-V. The other called the Power-O swing is a little longer because the front elbow raises and allows the barrel of the bat to go backwards and down before moving forward to the baseball. We believe in a short compact-swing slightly down to the ball which promotes contact as close to the middle of the baseball as possible to create the backspin necessary to lift the ball. Hall-of-Famer Frank Thomas, of the Chicago White Sox says in a video with Pete Rose that he splits the ball in half to get the backspin he wants for lift. The O-swing promotes contact with the baseball below the middle of the ball which results in more pop-flies. Because the wrists play a prominent role in this moment and the O-swing proponents say they are taking the hands and wrists out of the swing. We will continue with our topic this week, “It’s All In The Wrists” with the V-swing in mind.
Assuming you are gripping the bat with the knocking knuckles lined up with one another, each hand/wrist in our swing plays an important function through contact with the baseball. Have you ever heard the saying: Palm up/Palm down? That is the goal of our hands at contact and it is the wrists that take them there. It is also the breaking of the wrists right before contact that create the sound of the crack of the bat on the baseball that turns a scout’s head to see who is swinging. It is precisely at the breaking of the wrists that lets an umpire know if the swing was attempted or not. The wrists are also the final say so when it comes to the follow through of the swing. Instantly after contact the wrists roll to start the follow through process up and out of the zone.
In conclusion, as a hitter, please do not take the wrists for granted. What they do are the extension of your eyes, shoulders, hips, legs, forearms as you come to the culmination of the swing process. Wonder what “The Say Hey Kid” says about a swing philosophy that takes the hands and wrists out of the swing. Have a great week!
At Home Drill: The drill this week is all about the wrists and to get the most out of them, to do that we will be on the tee. First we are going to start with only using our top hand to swing with, taking about ten cuts. Following this we will use our bottom hand do the same amount of reps. It should be noted that for the top and bottom only swings it is recommended that the player use a smaller bat like a tee ball bat or they choke up about half way on their bats. Lastly the hitter will put both hands together and will take ten cuts just like they normally would, guaranteed they feel more wrist action in their swing.