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Re: Cross pollination 'tween golf and baseball

PostPosted: Sun Jan 09, 2011 8:01 am
by aldear
Mornin' fellas,
Thanks to Bom's original posts, I have been researching a lot of baseball hitting theory, and it seems the more I learn, the more similarities I find. Interestingly enough, like golf, there are two divided camps regarding how to hit a base ball....linear vs. rotational, very much like the hitting vs. swinging debate. Anyway, here are some links to some things I found not only interesting, but really, really insightful and helpful. BTW, I would be interested to know how much Hogan and Ted Williams corresponded....everytime I watch Hogan it seems I see more of Ted Williams. ... heBall.htm
I just love the swing thought of being "short to the ball, and long through the ball" ... tting.html
Just fantastic stuff
I love #4 and #5


Re: Cross pollination 'tween golf and baseball

PostPosted: Sun Jan 09, 2011 3:13 pm
by rduhrin
I have been meaning to post here for quite some time. Now that the thread is active again, I figured now is the time.

I coached baseball for about 8 years and when I do something, I try to research the hell out of it. That promo video on ESPN showing Fred McGriff always caught my attention. I ordered the video and here are some of my notes from Tom Emanski and Baseball World. I think he did a great job of explaining commonalities of major league hitters while still allowing individual styles.

• Narrow or wide
• Hands low or high-loose
• No correct way-comfort
• Get relaxed & look at pitcher
• Knees must be flexed-important

Stride- as the pitcher reaches top of delivery, start to stride & cock wrists --> gain momentum, wrist cocks backwards- radial deviation as wrist moves to radius bone, from behind the bat is in the middle of the helmet=the slot, be careful not to sweep--> do not allow the bat to flatten-keep in slot

Power position- lead elbow down, wrist cocked to radius and bent onto itself (cupped), wide base, head and eyes on the ball

The approach- lower body and hips start the swing, upper body holds back creating resistance, lower back leg points down and inward with the heel slightly off the ground

Explosion point- head of bat above hands, lead arm flexed

Contact- thumb up/ thumb down at contact, do not swing level (head of bat below hands), right ear is in line with back knee, try to hit back half middle of the ball to hit line drives

How does all of this relate to the golf swing? First the cupped left wrist. Take a bat or a golf club and stand perpendicular to a wall about 6 inches from it. At the top of the backswing (initiation of the baseball swing), if the left wrist is cupped, you can make a swing w/o hitting the wall with the head of the bat. If the left wrist is flat, the head of the bat will hit the wall. What does this mean? The swing arc to the ball will be longer and slower. I was always trying to figure out how this related to the golf swing and ABS has helped to clarify the matter. Slow starting down with a cupped left wrist and then hard to the ball.

2nd- Address position- knees flexed

3rd-Power position-->wide stance with left wrist still cupped

4th- The approach- the lower body leads with ground forces from the feet, especially the rear foot. The rear elbow remains close to the body.

5th- Explosion point- maintain the angle between the shaft and the arm. Do not allow the shaft to get on the same plane as the arm.

6th- Contact- again an angle between the club and forearm, head behind the ball and hit the ball on a lower trajectory.

Thus golf and baseball have many similarities with regards to body motion but golf is played with the spine on a more inclined plane.


Re: Cross pollination 'tween golf and baseball

PostPosted: Sun Jan 09, 2011 4:24 pm
by Range Rat
It was always my understanding that the great hitters, beyond natural talent, were cross dominant visually. Ted Williams, for example, ...batted "left" but was right eye dominant- therefore seeing the ball quicker out of the pitcher's hand versus other "lefties" that were left eye dominant. Any truth to that? :) RR

Re: Cross pollination 'tween golf and baseball

PostPosted: Sun Jan 09, 2011 5:46 pm
by hawg1
Ah, rdurin, you made my day. Anytime reference to Crime Dog prompts the baseball gods to smile and high-five each other.

@ Range Rat: cross eye dominance means your lead eye has just that little bit of extra time to see the ball into the contact zone. Subtle, to be true, but as we've all learned, the higher up the food chain one gets, the more subtle matters. So yes, there is high correlation between MLB batting champions and cross eye dominance.

@Twomasters, that last post with Ray Floyd and The Titanium Man was excellent. Those four frames illustrate unambiguously why baseball players tend to suck at golf.

Notice frame three. Cal has that bat in absolute max lag pressure. It's unlikely he could get anymore into it; he is at the upper limit of the equasion.

By frame four, he has dumped it all. On purpose, by design. And he hasn't hit the ball yet. Again, on purpose, by design.

Notice the similarites in the hands / arm alignment in frame four for both athletes. Both show skilled athletes resisting (and thus generating) fairly strong centrifigal forces on their clubs / bats.

But also notice (and this is the real money shot) that the golfer's position is well past impact, while the baseball player's is pre-impact.

And also notice that the baseball players contact point is a full 10 inches "into the field" or "down the fairway" from the golfer's.

Baseball players who achieved any sort of skill at the plate developed a swing feel that is fatal in golf. Yes, we get the rotary motion bit. And yes, it's a pivot driven swing (you ain't gonna swing a 34 ounce bat any other way. Sorry). And yes, we feel mega lag pressure.

But we dump our lag early. We don't want to hold it. Holding the lag genearlly means striking out. Or, at the very best, a foul ball.

When we bring this feel to the links, it generally manifests in two ways: Drainage-ditch sized divots, or truly spooky pulls.

The biggest divots you've ever seen are likely from baseball players. In order to hit the ball in a conventional address ( say, inside your left foot) your jock brain knows to trigger the lag dump somewhere around your right knee. And that leads to Fatty McFatterson EVERY TIME.

But because that inner jock is kinda competitive, it slowly learns to compensate for the extra swing arc. We turn sooner (the exact opposite of pivot stall) to change the swing plane and give your hands / arms enough room to dump the lag early.

When it works right, whoo eee: shots that are two - three clubs longer than normal, dead straight, but with a "holy cow, you gotta be kiddin me" amount of pull. (and if you somehow manage to roll the clubface closed, you can get truly wicked pull hooks, landing in tee boxes two fairways over)

I am by no means the only former ball player to hit a balatta ball with a persimmon driver a genuine 285 carry, dead straight but 50 degrees left.

We TOTALLY GET that we need to work our bodies into the swing. But we also totally DON'T GET the proper swing intentions (holding lag until impact) until someone shows us how.

Before ABS, I truly thought a golf swing was supposed to have the same feel as pulling a "down and away" slider. Nope. Not at all.

Instead, what we want is swing that sends a banana ball into the dugout.


Re: Cross pollination 'tween golf and baseball

PostPosted: Sun Jan 09, 2011 11:23 pm
by hawg1
you actually made me giggle.

A first: George Brett's swing listed in the "doing it wrong" column.

Granted, in context, it makes sense, and the reference is certainly germaine to the guy's article.

But making fun of kids swangin' just like St. George? Hmmmm.

That said, those links have some solid, solid info.

That pix of Pete' Rose's hands? Kinda guessin' lag would give him 10/10 for cuttin' it left. For the exact right reasons.

Remember, the gremlin of a ball swing is you gotta be out in front of the pitch, or you lose.

That's why we dump the lag pressure when we do, to buy (in energy terms) a bit of quickness. Timing is the variable we can't control (messing with timing is a pitcher's job description) so we have a swing that maximises velocity at the expense of energy; any microsecond shaved in signal processing pays off here: you really do want the bat going quicker. The shorter the time it spends in space, the better your outcome.

It's a totally uneccesary trade-off in golf. Hence, golf swings are built to not spend energy on speed, saving it all instead for impact.

The playes listed on those sites, especially the second one, don't need that. They are natually quick enough to lay back and hold the lag pressure into impact. That's an incredibly hard thing to do, seein' as the actual impact postition is a fluid variable (unknown, and unknowable) when you intiate the swing.

And yet, you would thing that folks who generate Galaxy class lag pressure could be somehow taught how to dial it back just a notch, groove that contact point, and crack, let'er rip.

But it never works out that way in real life.

Instead we have to learn a new focus point for the swing, and a new way to move the hands, and thus the arms, to get there. And thus the point of Mod 1 bag practice drills; one finds the first, and perhaps most fundmantal difference between the two swings: being that laid off, that late into the swing is not an epic fail in golf, it's in fact a gold star.

Oh yea. And to not hit off the front foot.

But that's a whole new can of worms.


Re: Cross pollination 'tween golf and baseball

PostPosted: Fri Jan 14, 2011 7:27 pm
by hawg1
Ah yes, the front foot.

When a baseball player swings, there is a definite step into the ball. Quiet feet = strikeout.

Have you evern seen the cleats on a baseball shoe? They are designed to permit rotary motion, but to resist forward and lateral motion.

This is a big deal when kids first switch to steel spikes (vs. injection molded rubber or plastic, which have a bit of give), there always seems to be one who sprains or breaks an ankle learning how to slide with them. They simply will not slide sideways, or front-back.

But you can turn on your heel, and you can turn pirouettes.

If you examine the batter's box after an at-bat, you will often notice circles in the dirt. These are the rings left by the cleats doing their job: allowing the toe and heel to rotate.

This is pretty much the exact opposite of how golf shoes, which are designed to suppress rotary motion at all costs.

There once was a major league player (I'll vote for Ty Cobb on this one, but I'm not sure the exact player) who tried golf spikes on his baseball shoes; he wanted an intimidation factor, as sliding often involves the sole of your shoe coming into contact with the other player, and golf spikes will generate maximum damage to the opponents body whey used this way.

Trouble is, he couldn't hit well enough to get on base enough to make the expirment work.

Notice also Mr. Ripken's front foot in frame four. He looks like he is up on his toes. That's because he is. Remember, that's not some dude sellin' snake oil, it's Cal Ripken. He was the very best in the world at his job for a long, long time.

He is up that way because he is pivoting. On the ball of his foot. After he's dumped the lag pressure. And all on purpose, by design.

Can you come up with a better recipe for an epic fail in a golf swing? But in baseball, it's a formula for induction into the Hall of Fame.

And from the "joe golfer" perspective:

Long par five, water guarding the green. Anything short or right is a splash. It's a "no forgivness" kinda hole.

My first shot (from about 150 back) found the water. Buddy threw a new ball down, said try again. And took the pix of me swingin'.

Sploosh, wet again.

He threw another one down. And got his camera ready. This time I pulled it way left and burried it in the bohica 10 feet past the green. But my buddy got the pix.

It looks like I'm steppin' on a bug with lead foot. Seriously, the heel is off the ground.

That was one of the moments where "feel and real" parted ways.

Anyway, thanks for readin.


Re: Cross pollination 'tween golf and baseball

PostPosted: Sun Jan 16, 2011 1:19 pm
by Willow
I just found this thread after a small absence from the forums...

It caught my eye because I recently posted on my site (HERE) about a woman I taught who has played softball at international level. She had basically never played golf before but wanted to take it up. The easiest way I could help her was to not talk about a golf swing but talk about how to use her softball swing to play golf. I believe it made a big difference by applying something she already knows how to do instead of building a golf swing from scratch.

Happy to hear your thoughts....

Re: Cross pollination 'tween golf and baseball

PostPosted: Sun Jan 16, 2011 5:37 pm
by hawg1

it's a two-edged sword; the elements that make baseball /fastball swing both help and hinder a golf swing.

And all that stuff I said about trading (potential) impact energy in a baseball swing goes double in a fastball swing.

For those of you keeping score at home, fastball (as used in willow's post) is fast pitch softball. It's played on a softball field (where the pitcher stands essentially 1/3 closer to the batter's box).

The reaction time required to get the bat from the ready postion to contact is right on the upper limit of how fast nerve impulses can be processed in the human brain.

To get the sense, at the elite level in baseball, pitching a no-hitter is a rare thing indeed (the 2010 season being the exception to prove the rule).

At that same level in fastball, though, you sorta expect to pitch a no hitter. A game ending 2-1 is considered a high scoring affair.

Your student will understand the pivot rotation needed for an effecient golf swing. But she will likely stuggle with timing.

If you go one route, you learn to roll the club face over, like a slap shot in hockey. Ball players grok this feel this pretty quick, it's just like pulling a ball between third and short.

But, as we all know, the timing on that can go haywire in the beat of butterfly's wing.

A better feel is hitting foul balls into the dugout (for a RH batter, it's hitting them into the first base side dugout) and holding the clubface open.

That was my "you gotta be kidding me" moment from ABS.

The first couple of swings feel awkward. But once your /her / our jock brain catches on that we can vary the angle of the club face, and that a "foul ball" swing, combined with active hands, gives the best chance of flushing the ball with power.

Oh yeah, active hands. These don't exist in baseballl / fastball /softball. There is no need for them whatsoever.

But once you realize that active hands are what your body was gonna do ANYWAY (the scene with sevam1 and elk discussing a slap to the face pretty much contains it all) it all comes together.

Hope that makes sense

Re: Cross pollination 'tween golf and baseball

PostPosted: Sun Jan 30, 2011 7:21 pm
by hawg1
There's an expression in baseball which posits "ya can't get the cheese by the Rat."

Well, it seems Range Rat has proved this yet again.

RR has demonstrated, in one elegant diagram, the real difference 'tween golf and baseball.

Kudos, Sir Rat.

Take a look at his diagram in the Rat Droppings post. (I stuck it in here hawg for you..TM)

screw.JPG (10.1 KiB) Viewed 3408 times

The arrow he depicts for the right foot action is both simple and epic.

Bottom line: no baseball player, or at least, not one either throwing or batting effeciently, has ever done what that arrow shows. Ever.

The big arrow is the same. Heck, for a low outside pitch, the swing planes for golfer and ball player might in fact be identical.

But the small arrow? In baseball, the small arrow would be going in the opposite direction. And it would not be rotary, it would be linear.

To follow the Rat's imagery, in baseball we are TRYING to get the screw driver to spin out, we WANT to strip the head.

In baseball, you push toward your target, either batting or hitting, with the trail foot. That's what a pitching rubber is for, that's what digging into the batters box is for.

Baseball cleats are designed to deny lateral motion, but permit unhindered rotary motion, Golf cleats are not. The intentions are exact opposites.

RR's elegant diagram shows, with zero ambiguity, why a golfer keeps his/her right foot down until impact. At least if you are following an ABS protocol.

It also answers, with zero ambiguity, why the Happy Gilmore swing doesn't work, and never will.

Thanks again, RR, that one simple post changed the way I think about the golf swing.

A very gratefull hawg1

Re: Cross pollination 'tween golf and baseball

PostPosted: Mon Jan 31, 2011 10:13 pm
by BomGolf222
Do you mind talking a bit about the role of the thumb in the throwing action of the pitcher? Does it do anything? It being on the front/side of the ball I'm wondering does it apply any force? Spin? Pressure? Any thoughts on this?