Daily Archives: March 18, 2008

Understanding the weight shift

Back when I first started getting into all of this, there were two distinct schools of hitting — weight shift and rotational. There were all kinds of debates and arguments over which was better, with many heated flame wars erupting.

These days, thanks to high speed video, the two schools have converged. The current state of the art starts with a weight shift, setting a new center point ahead of the center in the stance, then goes into a rotational movement with the hips leading the hands.

We’ll talk about the latter part some other time. Right now I want to go a bit into the initial weight shift. It starts from the stance, goes into a negative (backward/loading) movement, and then into the forward movement that ends when the front toe touches down.

Sometimes players have a hard time grasping this weight shifting. They might push back a little at the start, but only come back to center. Or they may move very mechanically. Neither really accomplishes what you want.

The movement has to be more flud, like a dance movement. It’s a little push back of the hips (toward the catcher) that rebounds like a slingshot and then goes forward.

The object is not to move the front foot forward. It’s to move the center of gravity — the balance point — forward. Generally speaking the center of gravity resides in the butt, or between the hips. If you think of a little circle with a plus sign in it, it sits in the pelvis. You should see it move forward of where it started. Otherwise you’re not getting the full benefit of momentum into the pitch.

This is very different than the old school of the sport. We used to teach that the stride should be short and soft. Not anymore. That’s not to say you should stomp forward and get all your weight over your front foot. Instead, you should move that center of gravity forward, landing on the toes/ball of the front foot, then drop the heel to initiate rotation.

Hopefully I can upload some video stills or video to illustrate this point soon. In the meantime, hopefully this description will suffice.

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