Baseball Swing Parasites and How to Debug Your Game – Part 2

Last update in January, 2023

If you haven’t checked the first article in this three-part series, do a quick search for it. It’s the same title, except Part 1.

When working on youth baseball drills that focus on the baseball swing, it’s important to understand the various common “parasites” that many baseball players are susceptible to. The second focal problem I’ll examine in this article is the issue of hitters beginning their baseball swing with their upper body.

Parasite #2 – Upper Body That Initiates Energy

The first parasite we mentioned was many players’ lack of understanding of how the body works while hitting a baseball. Here, we will take a look at how energy is created within a fundamentally sound approach. While this parasite is a bit difficult to explain within text, stay with it, and run through the information a couple of times to grasp the concepts.

In many sporting activities, the lower body of the athlete is responsible for creating the energy used in a quick and powerful movement. If you will study any video on hitting a baseball, pitching, javelin throwing, shot put, martial arts, ice skating, or golf, you will notice that they all have one common core movement. The lower body is used for creating energy or torque. And torque is necessary for a hitter if he is going to generate any kind of Bat speed.

When swinging, torque comes from the lower body. As the body rotates, the process begins with the hitter’s back knee and hip. If the front side of the hitter remains stable (and doesn’t open for a split second) the hitter will begin to create a whip like swing that will generate Bat speed. The hitting parasite I want to point out occurs when hitters do not create any torque within their swing.

If the hitter begins the hitting motion with his hands first instead of his lower half of his body, a variety of problems will occur.

1. Slow Bat speed will occur because of low torque.

2. A long swing will occur since there is a high likelihood that the hands will separate from the body.

3. Minimal power will be generated thus causing many weak pop-ups and ground Balls.

There are many resources that are designed to solve this problem, and this is not the topic of this article. Instead, here are a few symptoms for you to look for while trying to identify this specific hitting parasite.

1. Off balance and falling away from the pitch.

2. Back foot not being rotated upon contact.

3. Back leg strait and body forward at end of swing.

4. Hips slide forward before contact (video camera will reveal this)

5. Shallow pop-ups to the opposite field.

6. Getting continually jammed on inside pitches and missing or fouling off outside pitches.

In the third article in this series, we’ll look at the final hitting parasite, self-doubt.