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Oct
21
2009

How to Hit a Baseball: The Coiling

http://www.cobrabrigade.com/img/ichiro.2009.jpgI don't think you can pitch him one way. You can go in and out, up and down, and he makes the adjustment. You can get ahead in the count, and Suzuki still seems relaxed. He doesn't seem to have any weaknesses. - former Yankees and current Dodgers Manager Joe Torre on Ichiro Suzuki

Every week I get ready to write up the next installment of this series and I really just feel like quitting. Then I think of some 6-year old kid sitting at his computer trying to figure out how to hit and I feel guilty for wanting to give up. So, onward we go. 


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http://www.cobrabrigade.com/assets_c/2009/10/glavine.2009-thumb-200x272-11030.jpgHitting a baseball all about timing. They've actually been talking about this quite a bit during the Yankees/Angels series as Mark Teixeira has struggled and his timing looks off. If your timing is off then your swing is going to be out of whack and you are going to struggle to get hits.

At this point in the series I have you standing in the batter's box with your focus on the area where the pitcher is going to release the ball.

The next thing that you want to do is to establish some rhythm in your stance. This doesn't mean that you are up there snapping your fingers or singing a song. A gentle transfer of your weight to and from your front and back feet will suffice. This is going to help you A) stay loose, B) establish timing and C) help you build up the momentum needed to drive the ball. Watch any hitter in the batter's box and you will see this tiny movement.

http://www.cobrabrigade.com/img/strawberry.2009.jpgThe pitcher is now going to start his wind-up and the hitter should do the same. When the pitcher begins his movement you should start to slowly 'coil', or transfer, your weight from your front side to your back side. This is similar to pulling back the hammer on a gun. As you can see in the above picture of Tom Glavine, there comes a point where you can see the back pocket of the pitcher. When the pitcher has reached this point you should have coiled enough that the pitcher can see the hitters back pocket as well, as evidenced by the Daryll Strawberry picture to the left. You'll see some hitters such as Alfonso Soriano with an exagerrated coil and for hitters with an open stance their 'coiling' takes place when they close their stance while the pitcher is in his windup. Please notice that while Strawberry has coiled at this point, all of his weight is not on his back foot. You do want to transfer your weight towards your backside but you also want to stay balanced in the batter's box so that you aren't caught offguard by a breaking pitch. This is another one of those things that easier explained by showing someone how to do it rather than writing about how to do it.

Nevertheless, this coiling is going to help Strawberry generate the force needed to drive the ball as far as possible. Without 'coiling' or the weight transfer, a hitter is going to have to be extremely strong in order to drive the ball with force so most times the hitter will be left hitting a lot of singles or poorly hit balls.

Ok, short and sweet this time. Next time we tackle where your front foot should be landing while you hit. If you have questions or comments throw them down below or shoot me an email.  

 


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