The rotational hitting
philosophy of instruction
Rotational hitting is a relatively "new" philosophy of hitting instruction that has caught the attention of many players and is somewhat debated due to its difference from the conventional linear hitting instruction of old. Promoted more heavily and brought to the attention of more little coaches by former Major League ballplayer, Mike Epstein, the rotational swing is supposed to produce more bat speed as opposed to the more traditional "linear" swing.
The whole theory behind all of this is that what the majority of amateur coaches are teaching and what all successful hitters are actually DOING is something completely different. Basically it is a way of teaching that closely analyzes the way the pros swing, and attempts to mimic that as much as possible.
So what is linear hitting??
The linear swing is the way of teaching that has hitters taking the hands and feet straight to the ball in a "linear" fashion. Here are some popular sayings used by the more familiar linear philosophy.
Stride toward the pitcher
Swing down at the ball
Squish the bug
Form the power V at contact
These are some of the teaching methods that the rotational hitting philosophy debunks. As the linear style of teaching says to get your hands and feet moving in a straight line toward the pitcher, the rotational style is very different.
How is rotational different??
The rotational method of teaching says that you will generate more bat speed and therefore more power, not if you stride, but if you use more of your hips and legs generate more TORQUE. This involves beginning the swing already in an athletic stance with the legs somewhat spread, so that the swing involves more of a weight transfer, rather than a stride.
Just take a look at the batting stance of Albert Pujols below. His stance has his legs spread and somewhat squatting in an athletic position before the ball gets there. That way when he starts his swing, he's already in a position to generate lots of power. He never strides. He just lift the front foot a little, and powerfully rotates.
Rotational teachers say that the swing should lead with the hips, and that the shoulders and hands follow, allowing the batter to generate a high amount of torque with the swing. When this happens, the batter actually ends up with most of the weight on the front foot, and his back foot is almost lifted off the ground. This also debunks the "squish the bug" theory.
They also say that if the arms are completely extended at the time of contact, as to form the "power-V", they cannot be generating the maximum amount of bat speed possible. And you are actually hitting with more power when you hit the ball a little further back in the strike zone and the arms will not be fully extended, but the back arm will be at a 90 degree angle when contact is made.
Those who embrace rotational hitting believe that the whole philosophy makes sense. The subscribers believe that teaching hitters to do something that the best hitters in the game aren’t even doing doesn’t make much sense. However, this approach does go against many of the things today's coaches were taught about hitting when they were growing up and playing.
This blurb was meant only to introduce you to rotational hitting. It only scratches the surface on the subject. The internet is full of great sites on the topic, including Chris O'Leary's site and Mike Epstein's site which you can reach by googling their names.