Tim’s Tip: Moment of Truth #2-The First Domino to Fall in the Swing Sequence
The “Brewers Baseball Academy presented by Kwik Trip,” 10 separate weeklong baseball/softball camps that will be held in various cities across Wisconsin this summer for kids ages 6-14, will be back for its second season and so is Tim Rappe. In addition to putting on the camps, last summer executive director Tim Rappe provided some baseball tips here on John and Cait…Plus 9 as well. Read on for more from Coach Tim!
“MOMENT OF TRUTH #2”:The First Domino to Fall in the Swing Sequence
In my last post I discussed the importance of starting in the optimum stance to generate bat accuracy and power at the point of contact. I labeled that MOMENT OF TRUTH #1. Today’s topic is a bit more controversial. I say “controversial” not because hitting experts don’t recognize that it happens; but rather because some may not give it the same emphasis as we do at the Brewers Baseball Academy. This single move can set up the hitter’s lower half for success or it can betray the entire swing…and it doesn’t come naturally for hitters so we need to teach it. That’s why I think it’s critical.
So, exactly what is MOMENT OF TRUTH #2? So many times I’ve heard baseball people debate regarding the first thing that moves when we launch the bat. Invariably, there is a group that believes that the hitter “just throws his hands” at the ball. Yes, the hitter does do that…but it is by no means the FIRST thing. In fact, it’s the last thing the hitter does prior to contact.
So what’s first? Drum roll please…The inside of the back knee pinches forward and down toward the inside ankle of the front foot. It’s the Knee Pinch that keeps the hitter from spinning on his back foot. It’s the Knee Pinch that launches the back hip, which is the power center. It is the Knee Pinch that prevents the hitter from rising up on his back leg. Yes, it’s the Knee Pinch that launches the hitter’s momentum into the baseball. Important? You betcha.
Take a look at former Brewers sluggers Robin Yount, Ben Oglivie and Geoff Jenkins. Check out the knee pinch.
This next shot is a great overhead of Ryan Braun. If Ryan hadn’t pinched his knee in the way I described, he will spin on his back foot (we used to call this “squishing the bug”) and the back heel will retreat toward the catcher. Clearly, that’s not what’s happening here. Why? Because this is the way it supposed to be done!
The Knee Pinch is difficult to teach in the context of this blog. But go ahead and use your DVR the next time Gomez, Braun or Lucroy launches a moon shot. Focus on the back knee and I think you will see exactly what I mean and exactly why I respectfully submit the Knee Pinch as MOMENT OF TRUTH #2.
In my next post I’ll focus on MOMENT OF TRUTH #3…”Bend Your Wrists and Wave Bye-Bye to a Good Swing.” Until then, if you’re gonna swing might as well swing hard.