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Coil - Timing Mechanism

The Timing Mechnaism
The Timing Mechanism is fairly subjective, so we won't spend much time on it. You probably already have one weather you realize it or not. I noticed mine by watching videotape of my swing. I had never really thought much about it before that. I push the bat head toward the pitcher as he is about to release the ball. The Timing Mechanism should only prompt the start of the swing. Adjustment to speed and arc of the pitch is handled in the stride.
The only reason I even bring it up, is that you should know what your Timing Mechanism is. As long as you know what it is, it shouldn't become a problem. However, if your timing mechanism is more than one quick movement, it can interfere with your timing.
Coil - Stride

The Stride
The stride is much more complicated. Its main job is to get your weight moving forward. Since you start with your feet close together, you can take a fairly large stride. I teach a high leg kick, becaues it generates more power.
As you lift your front foot, your back knee should bend a little, causing your shoulders to drop (but keeping them parallel to the ground). Your hands should drop, bringing your front elbow closer to your front knee, which should be coming up and in front of you. Your front knee should come almost directly in front of your back knee, which will turn your hips in. This will cause you to start 'falling forward.' Here is where you adjust to the speed of the pitch. With your front leg up in the air, you will start to slowly fall forward. You can keep the fall slow by keeping your front foot back longer, or speed up your fall, and subsequently your swing by swinging it out in front of you sooner. The advantage of allowing yourself to start falling forward, is that you are already moving forward, and you haven't even pushed with your back leg. That means that you can generate more forward momentum when you do push with your back leg. Remember, you only have enough time in your swing to fire each major muscle one time. So if you can cheat a little and get some forward momentum before you push with your back leg, then do it.
You are now in a position where your hips have turned in, but your shoulders are still square to the plate. As you fall forward, You will be leading with your front hip. It is now time to fire off of your back leg, but keep your hips turned in. As your lower half moves forward, due to the push from your back leg, you should step forward and slightly toward the plate with your front foot. Remember in the Stance section where I had you back off of the plate an additional 4 inches? Well here is why. I firmly believe that you will get more power in your swing by stepping into the plate. By starting an extra 4 inches off the plate, you give yourself room to step in about 4 inches. The stride is the only part of the swing that should change depending on the pitch. If the pitch is outside, then your stride takes you closer to the plate. If the pitch is inside, then stride directly back at the pitcher. If it is a short pitch, you chase it with your front leg. By 'chasing it with your front leg,' I simply mean that you go down and get the ball by flexing your front knee enough to get you lower. Never chase a low pitch with your back leg, that puts you into a Dip position, and you will lose power. Just as your front foot hits the ground, you should be in the Launch Position.
Coil - Draw

The Draw
The Draw is the upper body's version of the stride. They take place at the same time. While in the Stride, you are building power by reaching your lower body forward. With the Draw you build power by reaching your upper body backward. Think of this, after the Stride and Draw, you are in the Launch Position. From here on out, your only movements will be straight to, and through the ball. So it stands to reason that the further back your hands are, the more time you will have to generate bat speed. In other words, if your hands are 18 inches from where they will be when you make contact, you have 18 inches in which to generate bat speed. But, if they are 30 or 36 inches from where you will make contact, you have much more room to generate bat speed.
There are three ways you can load up during the Draw. The first and worst, is to dip. We have all had someone come up to us at some point and tell us that we are dipping. We all know that dipping means that our back shoulder is lower than our front shoulder. As soon as you dip, you have given up power. The main reason that dipping is bad is that your hands are lower than the ball when you are in the Launch Position. This does three really bad things. First, because your hands are below the ball, you will be lifting the bat up to the ball, meaning that as you swing, you will be fighting gravity instead of using it. Think about chopping down a tree. You get the ax above your shoulder, and then you swing it down at the tree. This allows you to use gravity to build speed. If you started with the ax low, and had to lift it as you swung it, you would not be able to strike the tree nearly as hard. Second, you will not use your Lats in your swing. This is important, because your Lats are large muscles that pull down. If you don't use them, you won't be maximizing your power. Third, If you are swinging up at the ball, because your hands start below the ball, you are much more likely to lift the ball instead of driving it. Remember that you don't have to swing up to hit the ball in the air. To see why that's true, Click Here.
The second way you can load up during the Coil is to bounce. This is kind of hard to explain, and it is not something I teach, so I will kind of gloss over it. Basically you do a plyometric bounce to load up your legs, right before your front foot touches the ground. You keep your legs bent, and your shoulders slightly lower. You then lift back up as you swing.
The last, and correct way to load up during the Coil is to turn. As your front foot reaches forward during the stride, your shoulders turn slightly inward, and you reach your hands back until your front arm is straight. This puts you into the optimal Launch position when your front foot touches the ground. You will have your lower half turned slightly in, and reaching forward. Your upper half will also be turned slightly in, but reaching backwards.

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 SwingMechanics - Todd Graham
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