Kind of a drag

One of the most common problems I see with hitting is an affliction called “bat drag.” It occurs when the elbow on the back arm gets ahead of the hands during the swing. This puts you into a weak position, with the bat flat and stuck way behind. As the body turns, the bat has to be pulled from that back position all the way to the front. As you might expect, this makes the bat late getting through the zone.

It’s not that difficult to cure. It just takes a little time. Step one is to maintain the “box” that is formed with the shoulders and the elbows. Bat drag usually begins when, on the beginning of the turn, the hands push back and the lead arm straightens out. As the shoulders begin to turn the hands remain back. But the hitter knows she should be moving forward, so the back elbow starts moving forward instead of the hands. At that point it’s going to be tough to get a good, quick, compact swing.

To fix it, set the bat down and grab your shirt by the back shoulder. Practice taking “swings” by striding and turning while hanging on to the shirt. Be very aware of what your back elbow is doing. Once you start getting the hang of it, move to the bat. Go slowly at first, then gradually pick up speed. If you can do it in a mirror, or video yourself doing it, it will help you check to make sure you’re on the right track.

From there, move to the tee, then either to soft toss, the pitching machine, or live pitching. Feel the back elbow come more into the side than past the hands, then extend through.

It may take some work to get it fixed. But it’s worth it. You’ll pick up bat speed, shorten your swing — and most importantly start hitting the heck out of the ball!

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