Cross pollination 'tween golf and baseball

Thanks, makes sense now.

I don’t know if this vid of Pete Rose was posted here before, but this looks like as pure ABS action as it gets…430 line, soft left arm, hard cut left, firing of hands in the end. Beautiful stuff.

Cool thoughts and insights, man. I keep wondering how they haven’t come up with some sort of carbon plastic type composite bat that performs the same as wood in terms of power, but is a ton stronger. This doesn’t seem like something that would be all that difficult to do- we have been flying to the moon for the last 50 years, after all!
I’m intrigued/confused by the closed bat idea so it would be cool to get your thoughts. Hogan talked about rolling the face as wide open as he could in the backswing and when he was accelerating he was rotating the club like a baseball bat, and that the harder he tried to rotate it, the less chance he had of hitting it left- it seems his sole goal in life was not to hit it left. It must be nice to have such a specific and clear goal. What do your think he meant by that baseball bat reference?
In my own observations, I see a lot of the strongest hitters come into impact with what appears to be a high lead elbow, or ‘open’ arm, which then appears to rotate around and down in sync with their overall rotation, flattening the lead wrist as a sort of final link, and then hitting the ball. Similar to golf. Do you think this is an intention vs. real situation?
The other thing is that I found a photo a while back of Manny Ramirez playing cricket, and what stuck out a mile to me, especially in relation to a standard cricket stroke, was that the bat is wide open prior to impact. To me, this seemed to back up Hogan’s assessment of how that was happening. It could well be a photo glitch, but it would be cool to get your further thoughts on some of that particularly how you see the role of intention vs. reality in hitting.
I’ll try to dig that Manny photo out and post it later…


Thanks for gettin’ me into head scratchin’ mode. Which lead me to restumble upon your Small World post, what with all it’s baseball pix, and poof, there was a two-frame series of Hunter Pence, pre and post impact.

No vapour trails or smoke ‘n’ mirrors. In golf terms, he has a closed club face goin’ into compact, and closed comin’ out. Tain’t alota pronation happenin’ there, folks.

And then I came across this little gem:

It’s a page by a former major leaguer, and I find the similarites to ABS striking (lol).

The other thought that popped into my head while reviewing your post was swinging an axe.

Hittin’ a baseball always felt like swingin’ an axe (yes, I am a hoser, and yes, I did chop down trees with an axe when I was a young buck).

BELIEVE ME, you do not want an axe head to open, or lay off, or come off plane. EVER, EVER, EVER. Yes, you want the plane to slant (to create the notch, the V-shape hole your are chopping in the side of the tree) but to do that, the whole swing plane shifts, not the axe head itself. I suppose, you could lazy and cheat, changing the angle with wrist pronation, but that’s how heads bounce, and bounced axe heads tend to produce lethal accidents.

Seriously, don’t try this, ever. But if you swing an axe, and the cutting edge is more than a few degrees outa line with your swing plane (PLEASE, TRUST ME, THIS IS ONE LIFE EXPERIENCE BEST LEARNED VICARIOUSLY) you’ll get a result that is equal parts richouchette and texas chain saw massacre.

And a seriously sore wrist to boot.

So, when ya learn to swing an axe, ya learn to never open or close the club face. Not even a wiff.

In baseball, it’s an easy transition. The weight transfer is the same, only the timing element, and the variation up and down the strike zone changes.

When I mentioned earlier that I could teach anyone how to belt a ball in T-ball, I woulda taught 'em pretty much an axe swing with a bat.

Now, along comes golf, and well, in comes the monkey wrench. That lever arm (aka the club face) out there, well, we can rotate it, and thus impart energy on it. Took me nearly four decades to grok that. Up until ABS, it would be safe to say my golf swing pretty much was an axe swing, aimed at a tree trunk growing outa the ground at a 30 degree or so angle.

As for your question about Mr. Hogan, I’m in guess land at best. My gut tells me the rotation element you referenced is on an axis running more or less through the top of his head, his center of mass, and midway between his legs. But that’s just a best guess.

But my cornerman assures me, and he seldom missteps, that a baseball swing does not employ forearm pronation / suppination to any appreciable degree.



Thought provoking and enlightening posts. And they rung a bell with me, as I remember when I was about 8 years old, and starting to play baseball, I heard a talented athlete say " baseball will ruin your golf". Well, it didn’t totally ruin it for me, but I will never forget the surprise I felt when I saw my shots slice as a result of an OTT move that coincided with playing more baseball. And the talented baseball player I knew, could never come close to me at golf.

The rotation of the clubface is one I’ve pondered for long whiles also. And as you say…you’d never do that with an ax…so why the heck do we often see that image( ax) in golf books and magazines?? Same with a sledge hammer. My thought is one can hit a golf ball well without clubface rotation, especially putting, chips, short shots or punches, but you won’t achieve your maximum on long shots without it. And on the long shots , the opening of the face if done properly at the right time and sequence, can be an anti-OTT maneuver.

I’m pretty sure Hogan was referencing his arms or hands here…and maybe even just a portion of one arm. Maybe he didn’t know how to swing a bat…anyway, something worthy of contemplating. He didn’t do it in a way to fan the clubface open from the get go however. So it can be confusing when trying to match what he said with what we see. Maybe we are looking in the wrong place. Or maybe it was just what he “felt.”

An aside, others have noted that after Ted Williams met Hogan, he said " I fell like I just shook hands with 5 steel bands".

Great stuff. So interesting. This stuff sparks a lot of thoughts for me, but I’m just going to post that photo of Manny and another of a cricketer- they hit a lot more sort of block shots in crickets with the bat relatively closed in the machine. A key guide for this is the fact that not only are they trying to hit a fast bouncing scary spinning leather rock, they’re also protecting the wicket, so the more bat area they have covering that around impact, and the longer it’s doing it, the better. They also use their legs, but that’s not allowed.
I’m also going to cut and paste a piece from that link, Hawg1, because they could almost be talking about hitting fairways vs the long ball in golf. It is definitely a small world!

Manny Cricket.jpg

If you look at an axe, you make contact with the thin part while the heavy part backs up the strike. A golf club is bascially the anti-axe, in that we lead and strike with the heavy part. Though at the same time, the mass in a golf club and the axe are both located close to the shaft. With an axe, I speculate that we’re swing the mass, and it just so happens that there’s a sharp point out in front of it. Any thoughts on that area? It’s ‘on-set’ as opposed to ‘off-set’. It’s more like a baseball bat in that it has a ‘sharp’ leading edge, but with the axe, you only have one point on the ‘up and down’ plane to use. On a golf club, the leading edge, or the point that contacts the ball, is the whole face, so we actually have some ‘up and down’ plane leeway. We actually rotate the face on that ‘up and down’ plane, even if we feel like he rotate it on the flat side of that plane, it’s still going away and coming back on an angle.
This conversation is actually close to the area where I think I part ways with ABS thinking, and also some of Hogan’s thinking. There are some aspects of the open face idea that I don’t really like, or at least, can’t really relate to, and it has a lot to do with the point I make about the game being primarily about direction or propulsion.
There are different ways that we react, we can react to reality or we can react to feelings. Our reactions to feelings are just as strong, and regardless of whether or not those feelings are right, we still react to them. Over time, our bodies, or our motion sensing systems, tend to react to reality, regardless of what we feel. For example, in golf, I can feel like I’m getting the club laid down onto my spine in a perpendicular manner, but if I’m not actually doing that, then my body will react as it needs to, and stop moving through impact. if the club is steep coming in to impact, and out of sync with my body rotation, my body just won’t rotate because it knows that the ball will go left if I do, and it takes the best course of action available to it, which is to stop, and try and push things down the target line. This is a case of reality overpowering feelings.
For me, the feeling of being wide open coming down, is not a good one for me, and from an athletic perspective, I don’t have a case where I can justify that feeling. I think the face can ‘look’ open, and not ‘feel’ open. For me, the bottom line in that journey down, is the position of the shaft in relation to my spine, or in relation to my rotation. If the shaft is laying flat, or is relatively perpendicular to the spine, then you can try as hard as you like to have that face ‘closed’, but it’s still going to ‘look’ open. I think the challenge that we create on the way down between the centre of the face and the centre of our body, is the thing that forces the face ‘open’, or in my mind, the face or the sweet spot is ‘stretched’.
I can relate more athletically to that feeling, and I can go hard at it that way. In my mind, there’s a delay and a catch up between the inside and the outside. For me, the feeling of open feels like something is broken that needs to be fixed, which is why I prefer to see that relationship as stretched. I’ve got an attachment disorder, what can I say :unamused:
Part of the thing is that I’m not a big fan of independent hand action, I don’t like any independent action really. I like to feel that everything drives from everywhere, and I don’t like sudden movements or ‘events’ in my swing. So the feeling of being wide open creates, for me, the feeling which is a reaction to that feeling, that of having to get the face super closed, and I don’t like that feeling. But this is how my mind works. I’ll hit super flat clubs left ALL DAY, because I look down at it and think that it’s going to go right, and I don’t like that. I’ll also pull 99 out of 100 side hill lies even though popular wisdom says they should fade to the right. Though, I don’t really understand that popular wisdom because if the ground is sloping away from you, then the heel side of the club is going to hit ground before the toe, which should close the face, and if your balance is good and not compromised by the slope, then left it is in my view.
Psychology does play a big part in these things, but I also think reality does. For me, for the purposes of propelling the clubhead, the shaft needs to get as close to perpendicular to the spine and as far down the spine as it can in order for it to be accelerated rotationally by the body through impact- that’s a non-negotiable for me. In the process of doing that, I think the face gets into an open looking position, but I don’t know that it has to ‘feel’ that way, or that it actually ‘is’. Well it is in that it has sequentially left the middle like everything else, but, but, but…
Pictures and feelings play a big part in this in terms of how you want to get it done, but what you’re getting done, in my view, isn’t directionally motivated for the most part, so ‘open’ isn’t really the point.
I’m not sure if I got anywhere with this post, I know I started out with great plans. There’s still a lot to be said about this subject…

You won’t believe how much I’ve learned just from your posts Bom. The last one was world class. Just excellent stuff!


Your words brought back the image of a thundering Moose.

Not Alces alces, but my little league coach of the same name, who went positively apoleptic when he found out a group of us were heading to the driving range.

My experience is very similar to yours, and almost certainly the same as anyone else who ever went down the road; somehting about the baseball swing fubars the golf swing, and vice versa. My athletic mind reels at this, as the two should be complimentary, but whooo eee, are they not.

And as I’m slowly learning, that “keep it open until the last moment” move helps with the OTT gremlin at Bay.


When I got back into golf about 10 years ago, The salesguy tried to push on me a putting aid that was more or less a golf ball glued onto the end of a golf shaft. It struck me as kinda flakey, but let’s resurect the idea for a moment. Instead of a goofy toy, let’s posit for a moment a colision-resistant sphere mounted concentricly on the end of long golf shaft; the exact antithesis of a frying pan driver.

Now lets build some three foot tees, gather up a shag bag, and head to the range with our tees, an axe, a baseball bat, and our goofy new ball-on-a-stick tool.

The swing we use for hitting all three of these off a waist high tee will be the same.

The axe will have by far the most mass, and unless you are superman, or a professional lumberjack, will have the slowest swing. But even us regular dudes will be able to get a consistant swing. We will now doubt destroy a few dozen Titleists en the way, but with a bit o’ practice, most folks will hit the ball pretty much midline, on most swings. For a RH swinger, the right hand is pretty much palm up, the left hand palm down. The right hand is providing support and a fulcrum for the left hand to push against, and it’s way easier than it would seem to swing an axe on a flat plane, and hit a golf ball size target.

But it does demand a huge energy output, so you will get dog tired WAY quick.

With the baseball bat, well, you should be crushin’ it every time. You can swing from your heels, and have fun tryin’ to smoke one off the picker cart’s roof.

Now with that ball on a stick tool, all bets are off. It should be the same as the other two, but I’m guessin’ it wouldn’t be.

The dynamics should be the same, but what is it 'bout golf… .

Anyway, lets say we get our golf stick thingy grooved. Now let’s change our three foot tees to normal ones.

Wow. Get everyone else off the range, we are in full on spray mode now.

So, in comes our intrepid team of propeller heads again. They quickly remove the sphere from the end of the shaft, and glue on (using an uber top secret kinda epoxy, that has all the strength of day set, but cures as fast as cyanoacrylate) a special golf club head; it is a rectangle, and the hosel is not on the end, but exactly in the middle of the head, very much like an old Bullseye putter.

Can we continue to hit balls with this new tool?

For most of my golfing life, the swing you would use to hit that tool was the swing I swung a real golf club with. And I’m guessin’ a vast majority of Joe Golfers out there do the same thing.

ABS changed that.

In golf, we really do have to consider the counterclockwise (for us RH golfers) rotation of the club face around the shaft axis. And it’s not just a passive thing, keeping the relation to the ball and the shaft more or less square at impact.

We really can put some athletic moxy into snappin’ that club head around. I ain’t got all the way there yet, but there have been moments when all this comes together, and schwing, do we ever hit the ball pure this way.

It’s a similar, but different, feel to timing the snap of the axe head into the tree, or the bat’s barrel into the ball.

As for the open feeling coming down, I have to agree. At first, it felt like I was gonna slice the ball like crazy, much like a back spin shot in table tennis.

But at some point during the bag drills, a pathway back to when I was a wee lad opened, and it made sense.

It doesen’t feel open, as much as “Loaded”. Maybe this is lame, but when I’m doin the Mod 1 drills, I often get a sense of swingin the worlds biggest fly swatter.

And that is most def a different feel than swingin’ and axe or a baseball bat.

Cheers, and thanks for reading / commenting.


This is exactly why you would want to have the face as open as possible. The open clubface allows you to rotate the shoulders flat or level, and feel a hold off release which magnifies the pressure in your hands immensely.

I have not ever seen your swing, but I would guess your shoulders are fairly steep through impact. Because if they are, then the feeling of an open clubface would be just as you describe… not a good feeling.

An open clubface is nothing more than rotated forearms really, and you can super-size it with a bit of cup in the wrist if you get into that feeling.
A laid off clubshaft at the top is nothing more than fully rotated forearms also. It’s a very miss understood concept that gets a bad rap also.

The reason I am so big on this concept is that it really wins the war on both fronts. It’s a huge power move, because the left shoulder moves away from the ball so much faster allowing the pivot to really power the swing… and it wins on the accuracy front because you are severely limiting clubface rotation post impact.

A clubface that is closing rapidly through and beyond impact is going to take a lot more feel for timing the golf swing. Most will have to beat balls, and constantly be concerned about rhythm and tempo.

I think Hogan was spot on when he said if you swing the club correctly you take timing out of the golf swing. I’m not sure you take it totally out… but you sure can take most of it out.

From my own swing journey, I simply hit the ball better and better progressively moving in this direction for these very reasons. I was increasing rotational speed, and limiting clubface rotation at each hurdle… more and more… little by little. This method is really nothing new, and it is clearly supported by some of the greatest strikers of all time.

I’m not trying to be argumentative here, just explaining why you might not be relating to a lot of the concepts floating around here. It’s not the only way to hit a golf ball, but knowing what I know, I find it to have very tangible advantages.


hawg 1 said:

This is just a question. If the batter is in the ready position, once the pitch is thrown, the he will stride towards the pitcher with his lead foot, and the bat will drop from vertical like a flagpole to horizontal like lying on the table. The right elbow comes in and down towards his naval a bit I think. Won’t action cause the trademark(clubface) to “open” somewhat ?

Another aside, we have mentioned before that Sam Byrd, “Babe Ruth’s legs”, made a very successful transition from major league baseball to professional golf, and Bobby Jones said he had one of the best swings, and apparently Hogan spent time with him culling some swing thoughts. (see below) So it can be done…but it apparently is not automatic.

Finally, do Rats even play baseball??? :laughing:

More thoughts:

I think the reason this is such a brainteaser is that the opening and closing of the clubface can be influenced by TWO things:

1 the elbow/inner right forearm (critical) . As the elbow seeks the naval on the journey down, the inner right forearm will face skyward.

2 the wrists( noncritical).

My thought is Graeme McDowell and Dustin Johnson have a shut clubface at the top due to the left wrist being curled under (not critical), but their inner right forearm faces the sky coming down, and the shaft is thus flattened on the journey downward…and this is critical.

The inner forearm can face skyward at the end of the free ride, but the clubface may be shut if the wrists are twisted counterclockwise ( left wrist curled under).

How you initially grip the club is going to affect this also.

I remember playing with Corey Pavin and the first thing I noticed was how weak his grip was with both hands. I have never seen a top player with such a weak grip in both hands. We see a lot of weak left, strong right… and strong left, weak right, and of course a lot of strong left and right, but you we don’t see a lot of double weak grips.

No surprise that Pavin also is about as open at the top as anyone I have ever seen. If he were double weak and shut at the top, this would put him virtually void of forearm rotation. But instead he fully rotated it open and cupped the wrist, and this gave him full range of motion to work his hands and forearms through the impact arena. He learned to curve and shape the ball better than anyone I have ever seen play the game hands down.

It’s interesting with Pavin because he does this with a huge shoulder rotation, but very low rotational speed. This allowed him to really feel what the clubface was doing at all times with a maximum range of motion and the slower rotational speed then allowed him to use his hands more steering away from forward shaft lean which gave him a higher trajectory shot that had more time to shape itself in the air. Obviously a great way to play golf.

If you look a Pavin stills, you might think he would be a very long hitter, with this massive turn, and tons of leg action… but in person watching him, you see all that but at very slow rpms.

I can only speculate here, but I suppose that when Corey experimented with rotating faster, the weak grip became an issue and wouldn’t support an increasing clubhead speed to his liking… and the idea of changing his grip I’m sure felt too extreme to go down that road. He would basically have to revamp the whole thing… and why mess with success? I wouldn’t.

To keep this on topic… who might be the Pavin of baseball?
Rod Carew?

Hey Eagle…Of course rats play baseball. Where do you think the phrase “digging for home” comes from!

Interesting topic going on. When I am motoring the ball to my liking, it sort of feels baseballish in a way. Holding shaft flex past impact in some ways is like a bunt…in which there is no wrist roll over. In baseball, or hitting a Titleist, the flattening of the bat or club is really an attempt to not have the shaft/bat follow the directional rotation of the body to soon…to give it space to get through from the inside. The shaft does follow to the left after impact but is due to the strong pull of the rotational action, which counters the feel of the shaft wanting to go away from us during firing. For me, it all boils down to how one uses and/or harnesses opposing forces present in either baseball or golf.

Interesting visual…rats in stirrups! :laughing: RR

As ever, lots of thoughts, and I know I’m not going to get to all of them but I’ll get to some of them. Cheers, Nick, I’m glad that some of the chat has helped- it certainly helps me to get thoughts out there to see them in the light of day. There are such fine lines between feelings, concepts, and reality, that it’s important to see similar views put into different words or formation. Sometimes there’s a danger of going down the road of semantic argument, but I really do believe in the value and importance of words and the pictures they create, which is probably why it takes so many of them to try to capture the ridiculously short periods of time it takes to actually move a golf club from shoulder to foot level, or wherever else. There’s a madness to it all that I’m not unaware of :confused: But it’s so much fun!

This is a key element of what I’m talking about Hawg1, and this ‘feeling’ is different than it just ‘being open’, this might be close to the ‘stretched’ feeling I’m talking about. It’s a question of pressure and where the pressure is applied. If there’s no pressure then it’s disconnected and it has to be reconnected. You don’t want to pressure the shaft too much as it’s dropped or placed or laid or shoved, etc. etc. however you feel it or describe it, onto the motor or rotation prior to active acceleration, but it has to get done one way or another. And if you do use rotation to accelerate the club, and constant acceleration as we all seem to be in agreement on, is the goal(though I’ve discussed some of my differing views on this before), then the reality is that you’re essentially always running away from the club face. IF, and it’s a big if, if your believable achievable goal is to maintain pressure on the shaft, then the face never closes to your rotation. My point isn’t THAT you keep it open, it’s HOW you keep it open. Nowhere do I recommend closing the face to the rotation prior to impact.

Lag, it would be a funny kind of irony if I thought you were being argumentative by disagreeing with me disagreeing with you- honest and open discussion of ideas is always good, and I’m always open to it. As I was saying to Hawg1, I’m not sure if or where you guys would read me recommending closing the face or having the face closed to the rotation prior to impact, it seems to me, like I said above, that the discussion is about how to maintain it’s open nature late into the strike, not that you do.
In my view there are always questions, and ways to improve a theory, but you do have to hang your hat on something at some point and commit to it. I think that’s how life works in it’s phases.
I obviously don’t know the modules, I’ve seen two of them that people have posted, and as you say, your commentary and assessment of them matter as the students do them, so that is what it is. I liked one of them, the one with the 430 line hand action, and I didn’t like another one where someone was dropping an open club onto a bag from the top. That’s obviously on blind viewing and I’m sure you have clarifications of intentions etc/, etc.
I don’t know specifically what you mean by level or flat shoulder turn, but to me, specifics and words are important. Level to what? I understand flat shoulder turn, obviously, and how it relates to face angle, but if it’s an honest and open discussion, and not a standard 101 version of the overall concept, then I’d have to know what you specifically mean by level shoulder turn. My further thoughts would be dependent upon clarification of that concept. It’s not that I can’t relate to some of the concepts necessarily, I’m just interested in the reality of what’s happening vs. intentions.
And I’m cool if it’s a trade secret and you don’t want to discuss some things, I absolutely understand that aspect.

It may be imperceptible the the eye, and it may not be your intention, but I think it has to. The thing is though, using a bat is like us trying to hit the ball with the shaft, it would be a different game. It’s a different ‘open’, it’s open on the flat plane, or bent back, and it’s more akin to when we actively accelerate imo. There’s a video where Hogan is showing his feeling for pushing on the back of the shaft through impact with his right hand, it’s acting as a sort of moving fulcrum bending the shaft. I find it interesting that his description of that action with the right hand doesn’t have any rotation in it.
I reckon there would be a lot more recognizable bat and arm rotation in hitters on a high pitch because it’s a purer rotation higher up.
One of the reasons I think hitters struggle with golf, is they actively accelerate too soon, before the club is hooked up. Pitchers are often very good golfers in large part because they’ve learned the art of waiting, or holding rotation until it’s needed. Hitters have to react very quickly so their motion is more immediately explosive- not great for golf. The other thing about a point you made, Eagle, good hitters tend lead towards the batter with the whole foot, or even the heel, and in a closed position with the lower body prior to acceleration, which is similar to a pitcher and a golfer, but it all happens a lot quicker.

I got a chance to play 9 holes tonight and brought out a few clubs with different lie angles. I keep thinking about this debate about open and dropping the club etc., and I wanted to see where the lie angle played it’s part.
Dropping the club deep and purposely open works very well with the flattest club I own- an old 1 iron that’s 4 flat and super stiff. As the clubs got progressively more upright, the loading could be done earlier and more as an inline sweet spot like a baseball bat. I didn’t immediately think this would be the case since the sweet spot is further away from the shaft than on a super flat club, but I’m thinking that the plane or angle of attack needing to be steeper, made up for that, and then some. I imagined the extreme end of it which would be a 90 degree lie angle and a pendulum, or vertical up and down type plane, with basically no rotation, and this seems to add up- all of the lag or pressure would be on the back of the shaft as a constant- not really golf. Anyone got any thoughts?
So I’m thinking, Lag, is your thinking and overall theory dependent upon the pretty flat lie angle? Does one require the other? It would make sense to why I can’t fully relate to the thinking since we’ve already established that me and super flat lies don’t really compute…
Interesting discussion…

Give the man a cigar, Corey Pavin is “fo sho” the Rod Carew of golf. Some might argue Wade Boggs, but for my money, it’s Rod all the way.


I’ve been wrestling with this for several days. We really have come into a Socratic debate, and that is WAY cool. Thank you.

Take a nine iron. (the following assumes a RH golfer / batter) Lay it on a table. take your golf grip, and have the head facing straight up (exaclty how you would address the ball, were it at belly button level). The club shaft looks like it’s pointing straight outa your belt buckle.

Keep your arms, wrists, and forarms in the same position, and rotate your shoulders 90 degrees to the right. The club now looks like it’s pointing outa your right hip, with the club face (and this is critical) now facing the same way as the logo on your shirt. If you were standing in front of a mirror, you would be able to see the groove pattern in the clubface.

Now put in max wrist cock, so the club shaft is straight up, like the flag pole. Again, the head doesn’t change, you can still see the groves.

Now lift both arms straight up, so the shaft is more or less horizontal, over your head, and the club head (you guessed it) is unchanged; you can still see the grooves in the mirror.

You are now in a batter’s ready position.

I can still hear Moose’s gravel voice, instructing us on how to practice, when we at recess in school, or any other time we didn’t have a bat: make a hitchhiker gesture with your left hand, grab the thumb with your right , line up the knuckles, and practice stroking at the ball.

Did that one for hours and hours in grade five and six. Hours. The back of my right hand is facing into the mirror.

The goal is to have a totally flat, as in horizontal, plane between the ball and bat at impact. Granted, pitches come in higher or lower. But when you are hittin’ it good, any ball incoming from about mid thigh to nipple level is met with the same swing; viewed from the side, you would swear the batter was swingin’ on a table top. I only saw Wade Boggs play once, but it was like watchin a magic elevator, he would raise / lower his body with leg bend, so that the contact appeared dead flat.

Pitches coming in at your knees obviously require the plane to tilt, somewhat, but that’s what tests your athleticism as a batter.

Now go back to our starting position. Rotate your shoulders / torso throught to the 90 degree part, but this this time, rotate your wrists so that the club head is facing the sky, versus facing the mirror. You will not be able to see the grooves, only the serial number stamped onto the hozel. You would be able to balance a pint on the open club face. It’s a “pregnant or not pregnant” move.

And this is the BIG difference between golf an’ baseball. I supose a hitter could make this move, and the concept of extra muscle contraction (from the forearms pronating / supinanting) would inpart extra energy into the equation. Heck, for all I know, missing out on this point was the reason I was forced off the bus when I was.

But it feels so totally alien, it rubs against all the feelings, all the coachin’ I ever got. To be in the batters box, with your left hand rotated toward your face? As I put in a previous post, if I saw you standin’ like that, I’d call for gofer balls down the middle, 'cause you would be wiffen 'em, big time.

And no, the plane of the trade mark doesn’t really change; just grab the bat, and cock your wrists up and down, that’s the way the tradmarks stays; it’s your shoulder / torso rotation that changes the angle.

My own little quirk was to angle the bat towards the pitcher, and put a bit of a cup in the left wrist. But once the swing started, the goal was (can’t say is, haven’t swung a bat in anger in WAY to long) to get it onto a flat plane as directly as possible.

And the more I study this, the more I understand why coaches would go nuts when they found out we played golf: that pronation / suppination effect, so neccesary in golf, absolutley kills a baseball swing.

Again, this wouldn’t really matter all that much, but yesterday was perhaps the best ball striking day I’ve ever had, ever. My swing thought was to have my club flat enough for that pint o’ Guinness to rest on it at the back of the backswing. And to swing straight down the 4:30 line, come hell or high water.

Sure, I hit three or four dead right pushes. But for the most part, they produced that wonderfull “snick” that means solid contact to me.

Anyway, thanks for readin’


Thanks for posting that piece from Mike Maves.

It was his video (hittin’ balls into Lake Ontario) that started my journey to ABS land.

I have great respect for the guy, both as a golfer and as a fellow Hoser. And since he could hand me my fanny in a basket on a golf course; I’d best be listenin’ when he be talkin’.

But there are a couple of points worth disecting in his post.

Point the first:

Well, I’ll settle for a pint o’ Steam Whistle. Or two Red Caps.

Lets see, I have a two iron in my left hand. I just cycled through ten reps of cup to bowed with my left wrist. There wasn’t even a pico-degree of rotation in the shaft.

I’m absolutely sure that what I’m doin and what he had in mind are NOT/NOT the same thing. But think of the classic scene of Tom Sawyer hustlin’ all his buddies into white-washing the fence for him; isn’t that a case of Tom cycling from cupping to bowing, without any shaft rotation (in this case a paintbrush, not a golf club)?

It seems that what I think cupping / bowing is (assuming it’s in relation to Mr. Hogan’s “secret”) and what Mr. Maves does are two different things. That would be cool detail to nail down, it at all possible.

Point the second:

Gotta agree with the second part. I think my first post here described the feeling of hitting a driver was exactly the same as hitting an outside slider. But I think Sevam1 and I might disagree with the arm / hand / wrist motion to get there; he posits a rotational feel, I posit much more linear feel, like swingin’ an axe into a sappling, deliberatly tryin’ to make a cut angled 30- 40 degrees past horizontal. PLEASE, NO ONE TRY THAT IN REAL LIFE, OK! it’s a deadly stupid thing to try. Just don’t do it, ok!

And believe me, you don’t “drop” the bat to get to an outside pitch, you go down and get it. Hence the reason an outside pitch so often generates contact that resembles nothing so much as a shank, socket, or, in more gentile terms, a hosel fade. But whatever ya call it, the ball starts off right, curves left to right, and bounces 90 degrees right from the target line when it hits the ground. It be spinnin’, yo.

Point the third:

That’s a piece that continues to flumox me. For those of you who aren’t up on your baseball lore, the Splendid Splinter and Mr. Hogan are approximately equal in the pantheon of their respective sports; no one has hit the baseball as well, before or since, than Ted Williams.

There is no doubt the two talked. And no doubt that Mr. Hogan’s book people would have run any ideas he had across folks who knew baseball, maybe even Mr. Williams himself.

Maybe it’s a case of the greats just get it, and can’t understand why the rest of us don’t. They lay it out in what, to them, is painstakingly clear detail.

Hey, I werk in the IT game, and that concept of greats not getting why mere mortals don’t follow is kinda like an hourly occurance.

This thread, has, of course, caused me to look up buddies from the playin’ days, and run this concept of forearm pronation/ supination by them. Who knows, they might even come back with a load of embarassing details.

But if all that helps me on my journey to shoot a par round, well, I’m livin’ proof you CAN teach an old dog new tricks.


BomGolf wrote:

Failure to learn this REAL early in your baseball career will get yer butt fulla splinters quicker than just about anything.

One of the nasty realities of baseball is, that, well, pitchers will occaisionally try and hit you with the ball. And your leading elbow is right out there, hangin’ in the wind, providing such a tempting target… .

So, mother nature being what she is, she tends to protect her flock with instinct. And your instinct is to step such that your foot goes WAY to the side, the dreaded “stepping into the bucket,” which is an EPIC fail in baseball; you totally remove your ability to hit anything on the outside of the plate.

It makes sense, you get a better view of the ball, and you protect the parts that hurt most when hit… .

But you give up all hope of generating any power, and give the lower outside quadrant of the strike zone over to the pitcher; you couldn’t get your bat in there, even if ya wanted to. The lever arm is too short.

So, when a young batter starts to step into the bucket (happens a lot about the time they first start seeing curve balls) a thoughtfull (?) coach will lay three or four bats on the ground, roughtly where he expects you to step, if you were to step into the bucket. And then commence with BP, gradually working the ball from outside to inside. And then a curve ball.

Stepping into the bucket here will be a train wreck. You will either learn to step into the pitch, or, well, find something to do besides hitting baseballs.

Kinda guessin’ that particular, uhm, drill is frowned on these days. But it was how Moose cured me of steppin’ into the bucket.

And it was that feelin’ of steppin’ into the pitch that made me jump for joy when I first discovered a wobble board training aid: a 10 x 24 inch slab of plywood, with a hockey stick or broom handle acting as a spine.

You stand on this thing, address the ball, it rocks to the back on the back swing, and when your weight transfers, it rocks forward.

I was sure, absolutely sure, this was gonna fix my slice, ‘cause swingin’ at the air balls felt so, well, like swingin’ at a baseball.

You can stop laughin’ now.

Anyway, all that to say, ya, steppin towards the pitcher is kinda like a pre-requisite to hittin’ a baseball solidly.