Getting rid of bat drag

A while back I wrote about a condition called bat drag. It’s a problem caused by the back elbow getting ahead of the hands during the swing. This causes the hitter to have to literally drag the bat (usually late) through the hitting zone. It creates a very weak hitting position, robbing the hitter of power.

I see this a lot with female hitters for some reason. What I haven’t seen much of is a way to fix it. At least nothing that has been very effective. It’s something that has been on my mind for a while.

I think I may have the cure. I say I think because I’ve just started experimenting with it. So far so good, but you never know until you’ve had a chance to try it on a variety of hitters. But here’s where I am so far.

One of the key points that’s often listed in discussions of hitting mechanics is having the front shoulder lower than the back shoulder at toe touch. It’s something you’ll see in all good hitters. I got to wondering why, and decided to try moving into that position. That’s when it occured to me — I wonder if it has an effect on bat drag.

It does. If you lower your front shoulder, and keep it there, it is pretty much impossible to get your back elbow ahead of your hands. Even if you can, you have to work so hard at it that you’re unlikely to do it.

After toe touch, if you drop your heel and launch from that position the bat will come from the top and you will come through in a powerful position.

We are still experimenting with it, but it seems to be working. I’ll keep you posted, and will try to post a couple of photos to help illustrate things better.

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About Ken Krause

Ken Krause has been coaching girls fastpitch softball for nearly 20 years. Some may know him as a contributing columnist to Softball Magazine, where he writes Krause's Korner -- a regular column sponsored by Louisville Slugger. Ken is also the Administrator of the Discuss Fastpitch Forum, the most popular fastpitch discussion forum on the Internet. He is currently a Three Star Master Coach with the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA), and is certified by both the Amateur Softball Association (ASA) and American Sports Education Program (ASEP). Ken is a private instructor specializing in pitchers, hitters, and catchers. He teaches at North Shore Baseball Academy in Libertyville, IL and Pro-Player Consultants in McHenry, IL.

Posted on December 28, 2007, in Hitting. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. Just make sure you aren’t encouraging rotating the upper torso back toward the catcher. I completely disagree bat drag robs you of power. Bat draggers often display great power. What they don’t display is quickness so they disappear against good pitching while they tear up mediocre pitching. The kid who has great success against second tier pitching is hard to convince of the need for change.Case in point. http://home.mindspring.com/~rmk/fall03power.mpgThis is a seven frame swing. That’s seven frames on a standard 30fps/frames per second video. Great hitters are four to five frames from first move of the bat head into the swing plane till contact. Ball bounced off the fence on this swing. Common result for this kid.

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  2. No, no upper body rotation as part of the load. I’ve never been a fan of the whole counter-rotation idea. I prefer a linear movement back. You could be write about maintaining power with bat drag on second-tier pitchers. I’ve certainly known some kids who kid. But I’m talking more about hitting better pitchers. You’re just not going to get the bat to the ball on time with bat drag, and that means more weak contact — if you make contact at all.

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  3. If you said bat draggers are not going to get to the ball consistently against good pitchers I could agree. Every now and then they hit the snot out of them. Just often enough to make the parents think Susie has great natural power, doesn’t need her swing messed with and the only reason she’s not hitting good pitching is because Ken is confusing her with swing advice. 😉

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  4. LOL. Yeah, there’s always that factor. Fortunately, it hasn’t been an issue lately.

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