Progress report on lowering the front shoulder

A couple of posts ago I talked about an experiment we’re running to try to get rid of a chronic bat drag problem with a number of our hitters. The concept is to lower the front shoulder when the hitter gets to toe touch. By doing so, it seems like it would be very difficult if not impossible to get the back elbow in front of the hands.

It’s been a couple of weeks now, and so far the results have been very good. Our hitters haven’t quite made it natural yet, but when the do get into the proper position they are coming through the ball much quicker and more powerfully, which is the point of eliminating bat drag.

Bat drag does seem to be a common problem among female fastpitch softball hitters. I’m not sure why, although it’s probably one of two things: a lack of upper body strength or the fact that a female’s shoulders are narrower than her hips. That’s just my guess, not a proven theory. Then again, I haven’t looked at that much tape of males so they may have the problem as often.

Whatever the story, it is a fact that needs to be dealt with. I think we’re on to something.

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 January 5, 2008, in Hitting. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. I was watching a Candrea hitting video yesterday and heard something for the first time. He said that the front shoulder needed to be tilted slightly downward in the stance. Just curious in your situation and asking so I can learn something…had your hitters been starting with the front shoulder tilted and then raising it, or starting with their shoulders parallel?


  2. For the most part they were starting with their shoulders parallel. Probably still do. I am less concerned about it in the stance, and more concerned with it at toe touch, which is where the real action begins. We are finding that even with working to get the front shoulder down at toe touch there can still be a tendency to drop the back shoulder anyway, which defeats the purpose. So it’s not a perfect system just yet. Over time, we expect the dropping of the back shoulder problem to go away. Once they get to the toe touch position with the front shoulder slightly down it’s then a matter of getting them to rotate and launch from there, i.e. get the back shoulder coming forward instead of dropping down first. Hope that helps clarify it.


  3. I’d guess your lower the front shoulder thought results in more tilt over the plate. More tilt over the plate often helps alleviate bat drag. Generally fanning open the front foot and dropping the hands back behind the top hand elbow are linked into one move. Break a part of that pattern and it helps break the rest of it.Bat drag is actually a very ratiional solution for the problem of how to hit the ball far…until the pitchers start throwing hard and changing speeds. Bat drag often produces great bat speed. It just takes 30% longer to achieve that speed. This is why it’s common to see a kid who has learned a better swing be early for awhile as their brain adjusts.


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