Hitting: Linear vs. Rotational
Going through early off-season work I want to talk a bit about our hitting regimen thus far and some of the techniques that we are emphasizing right now. For context the hitting concepts that we are working on right now are being executed by a 16u travel team, with players that are sophomores and juniors in high school. The team is made up of players that have been in the program for several years at this point. I say this to say that some of the techniques that we are working on right now may not be techniques that I go to right away with players that I have not worked with before.
One of my biases as a hitting instructor is that I am also an in-game coach that wants to win games. So some of the techniques that I am going to tell a player during the season may differ then what is gone over in an off-season. I think the key is finding a way to have both linear and rotational concepts work in harmony. I will typically emphasize linear hitting during a season because I feel this gives the hitter a better chance of putting the ball in play, I also feel like it is an easier adjustment. That is compared to our work in the off-season where we are very much putting emphasis on the rotational part of the swing.
Linear swing: This is the act of going back and then going forward. In the swing we call this process the load and the drive. The load is an act of timing and momentum, the drive is the act of power (weight transfer) and plate coverage (backside staying up). .
Rotational swing: The rotation of the swing will come once the hitter is in their hitting position. The hands got lag separation on the drive, which is what is going to make the rotation work seamless. The back hip will work through in conjunction with the back heel getting up and the back knee pinching in. We are going to keep the front shoulder on the pitcher as long as possible, even while the hips and legs are doing their thing, this is what creates coil in the body. From there with good upper body posture and good arm and bat angle, the swing will be fluid through the zone, with the hitter not having to do much. The bat will enter the zone early and stay in for a long time.
The linear vs. rotational talk should be a conversation about how can we get both techniques to work together. When that is the case you get a very classic well rounded swing. Two swings that I have compared is Hank Aaron's to Josh Donaldson's. I like dissecting both men's swing because they look vastly different from each other but their absolutes are the same. I think with first glance we would think of Aaron as the linear hitter and Donaldson as the rotational hitter, but both men do both. The load into the hip, the drive, the efficient 45 degree angles, exact same hitting position and rotational principles. The natural want in a swing is to do both linear and rotational concepts.