Everyone Stays Inside The Ball, Silly!

inside the ball

If I were Commissioner of Baseball,  one of my first official acts would be to ban coaches and commentators who praise hitters for “keeping their hands inside the baseball” or “staying inside the baseball”. I am always both amused and frustrated when I hear this, because it is silly, and it doesn’t make and (hitting) sense.

Let’s start with the silliness of even using this phrase.  Unless the ball actually hits the batter on the hands or the lead arm during the swing, ALL HITTERS KEEP THEIR HANDS INSIDE THE BALL! I understand what is trying to be conveyed by using this phrase; I just wish those using it would find a better way to describe batters who pull their hands into their bodies to hit pitches to the opposite field.

This phrase is also code for letting the ball travel deep into the hitting zone, before using a flick of the wrists and arms to poke the ball to the opposite field. Hitting instructors who teach “staying inside the ball”  typically believe that contact is more important than power.  This is bad advice, because I know it is possible to make consistent contact AND hit with power to the opposite field.

Derek Jeter was known as a hitter who was able to let the ball get deep in the hitting zone and still hit it for power to right field.  It didn’t make any difference if the pitch was an outside or inside, Jeter’s natural tendency was to take almost every pitch to right or right-center field.  As a hitting coach, I loved watching Jeter hit and would tip my cap every time he delivered a clutch shot to the opposite field.  Derek Jeter is part of a small group of hitters in baseball history who could use this type of hitting approach successfully. Others included Hall of Famers Rod Carew and Tony Gwynn.


The name of the game today in baseball and softball is power AND consistency. Unless an inside pitch sneaks up and jams a hitter, there is no reason to bring the hands into the body after the initial set-up.  Great power comes from great extension.   Hitters who are taught to move their hands in as the ball travels deep into the hitting zone, are sacrificing precious power in order to make some degree of consistent contact. These hitters have difficulty extending their arms, which forces them to rely on their wrists and arms to generate power.

I believe the basic premise of letting the ball travel deep into the hitting zone is flawed. The ideal area to make powerful contact with the ball is out toward the front portion of the hitting zone.  Making contact in this zone naturally allows hitters to extend their arms fully at impact with the ball, resulting in optimal power.

I have written several times about the two primary benefits of lifting the front leg to begin the swing sequence.  The first is to effectively stack a hitter’s weight on the back leg and foot to capture the power that emanates from the ground.  The second, and equally important benefit, is to hit inside and outside pitches with power.

Let’s assume a pitch is tracking inside, hitters who lift their front leg are able to re-plant their front foot slightly outside of where it started in order to achieve unimpeded hip rotation.  If the hips are allowed to rotate fully, hitters will have enough room to extend their arms completely.  Hitters who don’t lift their front leg are more susceptible to getting jammed on inside pitches. Or, they have to start their swings much earlier to get any meaningful extension.

The same is true for outside pitches.  Hitters who lift their front leg are able re-plant the front foot slightly toward home plate to achieve enough hip rotation and arm extension, without reaching for the ball. Hitters who don’t lift their front leg have to awkwardly reach for the outside pitch or wait for the ball to get deep in the zone to make only marginal contact.  These are the hitters who are praised for “staying inside the ball”, which always causes me shake my head.

What most people don’t understand is Derek Jeter only allowed the ball travel deep into the hitting zone when the ball was pitched inside, like the picture above. This allowed him to drive the ball to right field.  Most hitters would turn on that inside pitch and hit it to left and left-center field. If the ball was pitched down the middle or on the outside corner, Jeter would hit the ball in the front portion of the hitting zone, so he could extend his arms for more power. Here is a video that proves my point.

I’m not sure where all this “staying inside the ball” stuff started, but I hope it eventually fades away. After reading this, hitters who pull their hands into their bodies while waiting for the ball to travel deep into the strike zone should realize they are playing right into the hands of pitchers and defenses. When I see hitters who intentionally try to stay inside the ball, I encourage pitchers to pound the inside of the strike zone to jam them.  This will induce weak ground balls or easy fly balls. It is unfortunate that even strongest hitters become very average when they TRY to stay inside the ball.

Since we now can agree all hitters stay inside the ball, there is no reason to manually move the hands at all during the swing sequence. Great hitters keep their hands still, while allowing their bodies generates power from the ground up.  The arms and hands will automatically explode into the ball after the powerful rotation of the lower and upper body.  Instead of staying inside the ball, these hitters crush the inside of the ball!

Be a Good Steward


I just returned from my second trip to the Dominican Republic.  This was a baseball coaching and mission trip sponsored by Score International. As a baseball junkie, it was great to be back in that beautiful country filled with people who share my love of the Game.

I could fill many pages with stories about the young Dominican players who endured my botched Spanish baseball phrases and my wild hand gestures as I demonstrated the simple hitting keys that I hoped would somehow be memorable. It felt like I had endless energy to work with the eager hitters who seemed to come out of the woodwork when our bus arrived at their shabby fields. Their big smiles and sincere gratitude was all the fuel I needed to maintain my focus and enthusiasm until I finished helping the last hitter.


I could also write about the afternoon service projects that had nothing to do with baseball.  Beyond the numerous baseball fields in this country are crowded cities and poor sugar cane villages. Poverty is everywhere and the hardship of the Dominican people is obvious and in some cases, tragic.  It was evident during every stop that there is more need in each community than adequate resources.

poor boy

Instead of writing about the morning baseball clinics and the afternoon service projects, I would like to describe an experience that had a big impact on me during my visit. Every morning before the baseball clinics and every evening after our mission activities, our group gathered for some fellowship time and a series of messages delivered by Walt Wiley. Walt is the former Walk Thru the Bible seminar instructor and former chaplain of the Atlanta Braves.


The topic for Walt’s talks was how to live our lives like good stewards.  He focused on three areas of stewardship which were, “Who You Are”, “What You Have”, and “What You Do”. As Walt was speaking, I began to think about how I could apply the concept of being a good steward to baseball and softball players.

Let’s start with the definition of Stewardship: The careful and responsible management of something entrusted in one’s care”. Walt asserted that none of us actually “own” who we are, or what we have, or how we act.  He stressed that we are called to manage and fully develop the gifts entrusted to us with genuine appreciation. I know this concept may be tough to grasp, so I will try simplify what I believe it means to be a good steward.

Who You Are

Each of us is blessed with a unique personality. We sometimes act like people we are not, but it is very difficult to escape our true identities. All teams are comprised of players with diverse personalities and every player contributes to the chemistry (good or bad) of the team. The delicate balance of these individual personalities is critical to the collective identity of the team. During a long baseball or softball season, each player will have an opportunity to impact this identity. The questions we need to ask ourselves are, “How can I be a good steward with my individual personality? How can I use my personality to make positive contributions to the team? How can I continue to develop my personality to reach my potential on and off the field?

It is easy to sit back and let others lead, encourage, motivate, entertain, and console.  However, good stewards know that their personalities are a gift to be shared with others in positive and constructive ways. Good stewards also know that who they are can affect the behavior and success of others. It only takes one player to act in a manner that is detrimental to the team at practice, in the dugout, or on the field, to cause the whole team to fail.  We all have our bad days, but if we consider our uniqueness a gift we are entrusted with and are expected to develop every day, we will be on the path to good stewardship.

What You Have

I am always impressed and amazed by baseball and softball players who don’t possess the same natural talents as their teammates, but turn out to be best players on the field. These players are good stewards with the abilities they were blessed with.

The best base runners are not always the fastest.  The best fielders are not always the smoothest. The best hitters are not always the strongest. The best base running, fielding, and hitting stewards are those who work tirelessly to achieve the highest level of success possible, given what has been entrusted to them.

Great base runners work hard to learn how to hustle to first without looking at the ball to save precious tenths of a second. They learn how to read a pitcher to get the best jump possible.  They practice the proper footwork to round the bases without any wasted movement, and they work hard to improve the instincts necessary to take extra bases.

Great fielders practice, practice, practice, and then practice more. Many Dominican Major League baseball players are known for their outstanding defensive skills. For them, it started in the tiny villages or the crowded streets where they grew up. On this trip, I frequently saw coaches throwing ground ball after ground ball to young players. They never seemed to be satisfied, even though they fielded each ball gracefully and effortlessly.

Here is a video of two young players who were still hungry to take some ground balls in the parking lot, immediately after spending hours on the practice field.  Notice how much emphasis they put on footwork, the angle of their bodies as they approach the ball, the way they gather the ball into their gloves, the seamless transfer of the ball from the glove to the throwing hand, and finally their cat-like transition to the throwing position.  These two young players are trying to be good stewards of the raw materials they were blessed and entrusted with.

Did you notice how one of the boys took the ball out of his glove from around his back before getting to the throwing position?  I also saw him transfer the ball between his legs before throwing. I don’t think he was showing off.  I have a hunch his coach instructed him to do this to learn how to gain even more consistent control of the ball as it is transferred out of his glove.

Finally, great hitters are relentless in their pursuit of perfection. Hitting a baseball or a softball consistently for power and a high average is one of the most difficult athletic feats. The hitting keys I teach to my hitters are relatively easy to learn.  The hard part is the process of refining each hitting key and then combining them seamlessly.

It is very difficult to be a great hitter without being a good steward. After learning my hitting keys, the burden falls to players to put in the long hours of practice to reach their potential as a hitter.  I always promise to do my part to help as they work toward achieving their hitting goals, but it is up to them to maximize the abilities they have been entrusted with.  This means many hours tee work, front toss sessions, and live batting practice to systematically improve the swing.  It also means understanding hitting situations and analyzing the mechanics and strategies of opposing pitchers.

The best hitters in the world are always working to improve their mechanics. They understand that greatness is only achieved through hard work and the acknowledgment that natural ability is wasted without a stewardship mindset. When hitters make the most of the gifts they have been blessed with, the results are always satisfying and often surprising.

What You Do

It doesn’t matter who we are or what we have, if we fail to make a difference in the lives of others. Each afternoon during the trip, small groups of faithful people would venture out to the small villages to provide food, medical care, and love to the Dominicans who were in the greatest need. We were hopeful these grateful people would understand on some level that we were not feeling pity for them.  Instead, we just wanted them to know that our goal was to be good stewards with the Spirit of who we are and what we have been blessed with, as we served them in our small ways.

ball field

The same holds true for baseball and softball players.  What they do on and off the field will ultimately define the level of their stewardship. Are they boastful when they succeed, or do they achieve and win with humility? Are they worried about their individual statistics or do they make sacrifices for the success of the team?  Finally, are they self-centered or do they encourage and support their teammates?

I believe it is what we do that ultimately defines us.  What we do is driven by who we are and what we have. Whether we are playing or coaching the game we love or serving in a village in the Dominican Republic or elsewhere in the world, we are all called and challenged to be good stewards with what has been entrusted to us.

Thanks to Walt Wiley for reminding me to continually assess who I am, what I have, and what I do. Knowing I will fall short each day, I will still carefully and responsibly strive to be the best steward of my personality, my talents and resources, and my call to serve others as a coach and as a citizen of the world.

two boys

Quiet Bats Produced A LOUD Championship For The Kansas City Royals

The baseball world marveled over the patience, discipline, and timely hitting displayed by the Kansas City Royals as they beat some of the best pitchers in the Majors on their way to a World Series Championship. The New York Mets pitching staff known for gaudy strikeout totals, was frustrated by the Royals hitters who were rarely over-matched and frequently came up with clutch two-strike and two-out hits. What was the secret to their hitting success?

The key for the Royals hitters during the season and the playoffs was their hands. Specifically, it was how quiet their hands were before they offered at pitches. Major League hitters start with their hands in many different positions, but most eventually get to the proper “launch position”. The Royals hitters wasted little motion getting their hands in the right launch position and they kept them there as long as possible!

Here is a picture of Eric Hosmer of the Royals in the ideal launch position:


Even though some Big League hitters enjoy success with very active pre-swing hand movement, I have always contended that any hand movement is wasted movement, especially for amateur hitters.

Take a look at the swing of Alex Gordon.  Notice how still his hands are until AFTER his body has already initiated the swing.

The main problem with too much pre-swing hand movement is once the hands (and bat) start to move, hitters lose some degree of control. As soon as the hands move, so does the bat. The more the bat moves, the earlier hitters are forced to commit to swinging at the pitch, no matter where it is.

If hitters get the pitch they are looking for, they may get away with some pre-swing hand movement.  However, hitters rarely get the exact pitch in the exact location they are expecting, so this unnecessary hand and bat movement makes them susceptible to good breaking balls and change-ups. Pitchers love hitters who have active hands, because it makes it easier to identify weaknesses or “holes in the swing”.

The Royals proved in the World Series that quiet hands not only enabled them to successfully hit off-speed pitches in critical situations, they were also effective against the fastballs from the flame-throwing young Mets pitchers. The harder they threw, the more controlled the Royals hitters appeared in the batter’s box. The Royals used their quiet hands to react quickly and powerfully to whatever pitches the Mets were throwing.

Here is another video of Alex Gordon’s swing. In addition to his quiet hands and bat, he has a powerful and controlled leg lift, he enjoys great extension at impact with the ball, and he maintains this extension until the swing is completed.

It is important to also notice how his hands and wrists barely move at all during the swing in both videos.  Like clutch athletes in any sport, he relies on the big muscles in his body to generate power, not the little ones. I previously wrote about the importance of keeping the hands and wrists perfectly still not only for power, but for more consistency. Small parts of the body like the hands, wrists and arms don’t contribute to real power. In fact, they tend to lock up in pressure situations. Here is the link to a post I titled “Wrist (In)Action”


I can’t prove this, but I believe if the hands move first, a message is immediately sent to the brain that the hands and arms are going to lead the swing. Conversely, if the body is the first to move while the hands remain still, I think the message to the brain is the hitter wants to use his or her body (legs, hips, and shoulders) as the force behind the swing to generate power.

The Royals used their quiet bats against the Mets to spoil great pitches and make contact for timely base hits. However, throughout the playoffs, they also displayed power when they needed extra base hits or home runs. A quiet bat does not mean a weak bat!

I know baseball and softball hitters like to develop their own style, which includes all sorts of crazy pre-swing movement. For some, it is a timing mechanism. For others, it’s just a way for them to stay relaxed. Unfortunately, all these gyrations serve as poor examples for young hitters who try to emulate the swings of their baseball and softball heroes. I have seen too many high school and college hitters suffer from lack of power and low batting averages due in large part to unnecessary pre-swing hand and bat movement.

Congratulations to the Kansas City Royals for winning the World Series and for showing the baseball world a fresh (and quiet) approach to hitting.

Great Hitting MAKES Great Pitching

rizzo and arrieta

I don’t intend to debate whether great pitching beats great hitting or visa versa. However, I will debate whether great hitting MAKES great pitching. October is a time for the best Major League pitchers to shine and show the world how dominant they can be against the best hitters in the world. I appreciate when a pitcher can shut down a prolific offense, but behind most great performances are hitters who should share in the pitcher’s success.

Every pitcher will agree that it is easier to pitch with a lead. Not only are pitchers more relaxed when they have offensive support, they also have more options when it comes to pitch selection and location.

In close games, even the best pitchers can become too conservative.  They become afraid to throw all their pitches, and they tend to nibble on the corners of the strike zone to avoid giving up the big hits that could be the difference in the game.  Frustration can also set in for pitchers when they don’t receive enough run support, leading to tension on the field and in the dugout.

Here’s what happens when hitters pick up their pitchers by scoring runs. Pitchers can…

  • relax and throw with more confidence. Confidence from pitchers becomes contagious for the rest of the team.
  • use all their pitches.  This will keep hitters guessing, instead of allowing them to “sit on” one particular pitch.
  • attack the strike zone early in the count to get ahead of opposing hitters. This will also reduce the overall pitch count, enabling pitchers to remain stronger and stay in the game longer.
  • throw unexpected pitches in non-typical situations, like a 3-1 change-up, instead of a fastball.  This will keep hitters off-balance.
  • rely on their defense to make plays, instead of trying to win the game on their own by striking everyone out. This promotes teamwork and also shortens the game.

I understand this is all easier said than done.  The trick is for hitters to generate enough runs early in the game to produce the benefits for pitchers I listed above. Here are three hitting strategies to take pressure off pitchers:

  • Focus on scoring runs early in the game by getting runners on base with base hits or walks…getting them over with well-placed hits, stolen bases, and bunts…and finally getting them in with clutch hits or sacrifices.
  • Learn power rotational hitting mechanics like the ones I have described in this blog. These mechanics are proven to increase bat speed, power, consistency, and will generate MORE RUNS. The teams I have worked who have adopted these hitting mechanics improved their scoring by an average of over two runs per game.  This increased run production can be lethal when combined with solid pitching.
  • Even the best baseball and softball pitchers will have bad innings periodically, so it is important to keep the scoring pressure on!  The objective of every offense should be to win by ten runs. Even though this goal is usually unattainable, every team should have the mentality of scoring early and often.

Casual observers of baseball and softball fail to recognize the close relationship between pitching and hitting. Not only can great hitting contribute to the success of the best pitchers, great pitching can have similar positive effects on hitters. Hitters can be more relaxed, more aggressive at the plate, and coaches can take more chances in critical offensive situations.

Pitchers and hitters combine for odd marriage, but it’s a relationship that works!

Hitting With Torque—Josh Donaldson

Josh Donaldson

Check out this ESPN Sports Science video analyzing the swing of Josh Donaldson. If you have been reading this blog, you will recognize several of the hitting keys I have written about that combine for a powerful and consistent swing for both baseball and softball players.


Here are four of my hitting keys that are clearly illustrated in the video:

  1. A meaningful leg lift for increased power and consistency. http://torque-hitting.com/2013/07/02/is-your-hitting-stuck-in-the-mud/
  2. The separation of the body and hands before rotation for greater hand and bat speed.  http://torque-hitting.com/2013/06/21/the-calm-before-the-lightning/
  3. The independent rotation of the lower body followed by the upper body for real torque.    http://torque-hitting.com/2013/07/04/independence-day-hitting-key/
  4. Great extension at impact with the ball for “lightning”!                      http://torque-hitting.com/2013/06/16/how-to-put-lightning-into-your-baseballsoftball-swing/

One Voice—Finding The Right Hitting Instructor

right voice

Baseball and softball hitting instructors are in demand today more than ever. Many parents and players hope hitting lessons will ensure success. Of course, as a hitting coach, I believe hitting lessons can be very effective, but only if hitters are committed to diligently practicing what they learn. Thanks to the Internet, hitters also have access to thousands of pages of hitting instruction, and videos on seemingly every hitting topic. All of this information can be a blessing for hitters and their parents, but it can also be a nightmare for high school and college coaches, and even hitting coaches like me.

A high school baseball coach recently wrote to me expressing his frustration with the current trend in hitting instruction…“Paul, you have no idea how many philosophical differences we have with outside instruction.  Recently, I put a study together on our current team, and found that there are a total of eleven outside instructors that I’m aware of and eight different teams that our kids play for in the off-season besides our team.  It is no wonder why we look like deer in the headlights, at times. High school coaches are often easy punching bags for outside teams or instructors these days.  If a kid has success, they take the credit, but if a kid fails, it is the high school’s fault.  With the coaching restrictions regarding contact days, we lose that relationship in regards to a consistent hitting philosophy during the off-season, and in some part, during the season as well.”  This coach wrote to me, because he liked the way I was working with his star shortstop and wanted me to consider working with other players on his team.  His goal was to install a cohesive hitting philosophy that would produce consistent results.

I am often on the other side of the table with high school and travel coaches, so I understand their frustrations. Too often, I have worked hard with baseball and softball players in the off-season, only to have their school or travel coaches alter what we worked so hard on, with little or no justification for their changes. This is also frustrating for my hitters, because it puts pressure on them to compromise.  This compromise often means adjusting or eliminating some of the key hitting mechanics I teach to avoid conflict with their coaches. My response to hitters and their parents when this conflict arises is always very clear and definitive…“You should only listen to one voice!”

Right or wrong, I require my hitters to either listen to my “voice” (my hitting keys and my overall philosophy) or I will refuse to continue working with them.  This may seem rigid and harsh, but it is in the best interests of both my hitters and me. I have great respect for high school and travel coaches, but unfortunately very few have the time to work with their hitters as effectively as a good private hitting instructor.

Refusing to continue working with hitters because they choose to listen to other hitting voices in addition to mine, is always very difficult for me. I quickly develop personal relationships with my hitters and their parents, so it is hard to draw that line in the sand. Whenever I am forced to have this difficult conversation, I never focus on the virtues of my hitting keys compared to what their other coaches may be advocating. Instead, I always focus on the benefits of listening to only one voice when it comes to hitting instruction and the importance of committing 100% to that voice.

I never fault my hitters who decide to find a new hitting instructor. I know it would be worse for both of us if they continued working with me and another instructor at the same time. The individual hitting keys I teach come together as a cohesive sequence to form a powerful and consistent swing. Any changes by another instructor can cause the entire sequence to become awkward for hitters, which will lead to unrealized potential.

My advice is to first find a hitting voice that is easy to understand. Some hitting instructors or information on the Internet can be extremely difficult to understand, even for me. Next, the personal instruction or information should be credible. If hitting instructors are unable to articulate and quantify the benefits of their hitting keys, then players and their parents should be skeptical. Finally, select an instructor with a track record of success. If possible, speak to current and past students to understand the strengths and weaknesses of the instructor’s hitting mechanics, overall philosophy, and personal approach.

When it comes to hitting instruction, a solo is better than a chorus. Find the right voice and commit to it.  If that voice turns into a duet or trio, find a different soloist!

una voce

The Best Power Hitting Drills


It was a cold, blustery day at Carthage College in Kenosha, Wisconsin.  The Wheaton College Softball Team was playing Carthage College in an important conference double-header. The wind was blowing in, so home runs on this day were unlikely. The first game was scoreless through seven innings until Ellen Radandt (pictured above) came to bat for Wheaton College. Radandt hit a BOMB—a long home run through the wind and into the trees well past the left field wall. After the game, one of the umpires was still marveling at her prodigious shot.  He was also baffled how she hit the ball so far with what appeared to be an abbreviated swing. He knew I was the hitting coach for Wheaton College, so he asked me, “Did you see how she stopped her swing half way?  Do you teach that?”  I just laughed and said, “Yes and no”.

During the many months of off-season training, Ellen Radandt and the other Wheaton College hitters worked hard to perfect their power hitting mechanics. The two hitting drills that enabled Radandt to hit that long home run, and the Wheaton College team to break single season school records for home runs and doubles, are what I call the “1/2 Swing” and “2/3 Swing” drills. I developed these two drills several years ago after it became clear to me that full arm extension at impact is one of the keys to great power and consistency in both the baseball and softball swings.


The purpose of this unique drill is to train the body to consistently achieve full extension at impact. As I have written many times, after a powerful leg lift and weight transfer, the lower body should rotate independently, followed by the violent rotation of the upper body. At some point, these independent rotations will generate enough energy (or torque) to propel the bat naturally and powerfully into the ball. This is a very critical point in the swing sequence. The best softball and baseball hitters will use this kinetic energy to create what I call “lightning”.  Hitting lightning can only be achieved when hitters have fully extended arms at impact. Without full arm extension, much of the precious kinetic energy is wasted.

The 1/2 Swing Drill is exactly what the name describes. I ask hitters to simply stop and hold the swing, with the arms fully extended in a “Power V” position, and with the bat pointing directly over the pitcher’s head. Both elbows should be locked and both wrists should be aligned with the bat, without any break. It is critical for hitters to freeze at the end of the 1/2 Swing, so they can observe whether the arms, wrists, and hands are in the proper positions.

Here is a video illustrating the 1/2 Swing Drill:

This drill will lead to more power and precision. If it is done correctly, the ball should hit the back of the net in a batting tunnel or a line drive into straight center field. As hitters get comfortable with this drill, they will hit the ball harder and harder, while still maintaining the desired finish position of fully extended arms and stiff wrists. It is also important for the hands to be in the correct position.  As I have written in a previous post, the top hand should be in a strong and stable position at the end of the 1/2 swing.  This hand position is the critical link between the kinetic energy generated by the body and the bat before it makes contact with the ball.



The 2/3 Swing Drill is merely an extension of the 1/2 Swing Drill.  Instead of ending the swing with the bat pointing at the pitcher, the bat should now stop after the full rotation of the shoulders. The purpose of this drill is to make sure the “lightning” at impact does not dissipate until the swing is completed. Like the 1/2 Swing Drill, at the end of the 2/3 Swing, the “Power V” should still be intact, with both elbows remaining locked. The wrists should still be unbroken, with the hands in the same strong position. Hitters should freeze and hold the finish to ensure the 2/3 Swing was completed successfully.

Hitters who believe the swing is over after the bat hits the ball are more likely to bend their arms and break their wrists after making contact with the ball, which affects both the speed and path of the bat. With my Swing Speed Radar or my Zepp sensor, I can prove that hitters who fail to maintain full extension after impact with the ball have lower hand speeds and bat speeds than hitters who hold the “Power V” as long as possible. These hitters are also unable to keep the bat on a powerful swing path, which is necessary to drive the ball into the outfield gaps for extra base hits or over the fence.

Here is a slow motion video of the 2/3 Swing Drill. Notice how powerfully her body rotates after a controlled leg lift and weight transfer. The bat then takes a direct path to the ball, with full arm extension at impact, and the angle of her body in an ideal leverage position. In slow motion, you can almost feel the lightning!


  • Don’t get frustrated if these drills feel a little awkward at first.  It will only take a short period of time to master these drills.
  • Hitters can use these two drills while working off a batting tee, during front toss sessions, and even with live pitching. Although, I would recommend perfecting the drill hitting off a batting tee first.
  • Hitters should work on their 1/2 Swings and 2/3 Swings during every batting tee session and periodically during front toss and batting practice sessions.
  • In batting cages, the 1/2 Swing balls should ideally hit the net at the end of the tunnel.  For 2/3 Swing balls, the target should be the upper portion of the right net, more than halfway down the length of the tunnel for left-handed hitters.  For right-handed hitters, the target should be the upper portion of the left net, more than halfway down the tunnel.


When hitters see how hard and far they hit the ball with their 1/2 and 2/3 Swings, they will want to use them in games!  After only a short time using these drills, the ball will begin jumping off the bat.  Hitters will notice this increased power and will want to duplicate it in games. I convince my hitters that the more they practice these drills, the better their extension will be during their full swings.  Hitters who train their bodies to incorporate full extension as a natural part of their swing will enjoy increased power and improved consistently, because their bat is no longer a piece of metal.  It is a bolt of lightning!

So, why did I answer the  umpire’s question at Carthage College by saying, “Yes and no”Yes, I teach the 1/2 Swing that Ellen Radandt used to hit that long home run.  No, I never tell hitters to use either the 1/2 Swing or 2/3 Swing in a game——but they could!

** The hitter in the videos is Katie Yergler, a co-captain for the Wheaton College Softball Team.