Isaac Newton said, “ The first law of motion, also known as the law of inertia , states that an object at rest will stay at rest and an object in motion will stay in motion with the same speed and direction unless acted upon by unbalanced force.”
Hitters of the past might not have known about Newton, but they sure knew about inertia. When I was in the minor leagues, I had a “hitch” in my swing. I dropped my hands a little and tipped my bat toward home plate before I swung.
Our batting coach told me that I couldn’t hit by tipping or tilting my bat toward the plate, so he completely changed my swing. The results were not good. He moved to another team and I went back to my way of hitting. I finished the season at .368. Let’s look at this.
I've studied this for a long time, and as far as I’m concerned, tilting (or tipping) your bat toward the plate will make you a better hitter.
This is my drawing of Henry Aaron. He started with his bat vertical. As he began his swing, he "tipped" his bat toward home plate at approximately a 45 degree angle. Then brought it back up before the swing. Some call this a hitch, some call it bat tipping.
I have looked at hundreds of videos of great hitters who tip their bat. As they begin their “load”, which is a "coil" back toward the catcher, they tip their bat either forward toward the plate or halfway between the plate and the catcher.
As a right hand hitter, in your stance, your belt buckle is facing the left hander’s batter’s box. Think of a clock in that batter’s box.
Your bat should “tip” forward between twelve o’clock and two o’clock. The opposite for a left hander. Your bat would tip between twelve and ten o’clock. After studying this for a long time, I have seen very few great hitters tip their bat forward between nine and eleven o’clock. (Right Hander).
To be quick with the bat a hitter must be loose. Tense muscles fire slower than relaxed muscles. Muscles that are moving tend to be more relaxed. By tipping your bat, you will be looser because the bat is already moving. This overcomes inertia and the bat will fire much quicker.
But this bat tipping has to occur before your front foot hits the ground in your stride. The bat is tipped during your load. As your front foot hits the ground, your bat should be in the launch position.
This creates a “buggy whip” action in your swing.
I read an article recently that explained how this bat tipping action actually un-weights the bat. Which explains how all those old time hitters could use forty ounce bats.
By watching many You Tube videos, I’ve noticed more and more of today’s hitters are doing this. But nearly all great hitters from the past did it. But not all to the same degree. Guys like Mel Ott, Rogers Hornsby, Ty Cobb and Lou Gehrig exaggerated it. They REALLY dropped their hands and tipped the bat.
Babe Ruth, Ted Williams, Stan Musial very obviously did it. With some it was a more subtle movement.
Babe Ruth started with his bat over his back shoulder. He tipped his bat a little more than 45 degrees toward home plate.
Notice. also, that by cocking his front knee, his hips and upper body coil back toward the catcher. His weight is clearly on his back leg during his "load".
As I said, I always had a hitch in my swing but I never realized that I was “tipping” my bat. The reason is because when I was a kid, I idolized Roberto Clemente. I mimicked his swing and he tipped his bat. The last few seasons in our Men’s Senior Baseball League, I’ve been consciously gripping the bat very loosely and tipping my bat again. The results have been impressive.
I recommend that you go to you tube and check out slow motion videos of these players from the past. There was a TV show in the 1960’s called Home Run Derby. Henry Aaron was on quite a few of the shows. You can really get a good idea of how he tipped his bat. Also, look at you tube videos of old time hitters like Ruth, Rogers Hornsby, Jimmy Foxx, Lou Gehrig, Barry Bonds. They all tipped their bats.
I suggest you try it in batting practice. I think you'll see some good results. Tipping your bat creates a "buggy whip action that increases your bat speed which means you will hit the ball harder.
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