Baseball Hitting Elbow Position Debate Rages On
As I have written about before, I often find myself saying opposite things to different players. One batter I may say “Let’s lower your back elbow a little,” and to the next, “Let’s get that back elbow up a little.” Every player can have their own style but that does not mean their style helps them reach their hitting potential. Until they experiment some, they may never reach that potential.
There was a time, years ago, when I first began baseball hitting instruction classes, when every coach seemed to say, “Get that back elbow up,” when batting. Things changed and everyone seemed to say that those, who preached that the back elbow should be up, knew nothing of what they were talking about because that was so old school. Now, it is back to the get the elbow up again because that is the way so and so does it, and the debate cycle continues.
The truth is that no right way or wrong way exists, until the hitter takes their stride. At that point, it is mandatory that batters be in the optimal position to swing the bat with bat quickness and bat speed, two separate but necessary ingredients to a successful swing.
Often, whether the back elbow should be up or down is talk about nothing, simply semantics and interpretation. What seems to be an “up elbow” to some is not to others and the debate rages on. The key is to be in optimum swing position when the stride foot lands, with starting position a matter of style. With that in mind, my interpretation of the correct back elbow position involves the following things.
Baseball Hitting Elbow Position should be:
- Trouble when hands beyond back elbow, locked lead arm
- The furthest thing back when looking from the side view, so the batter’s lead arm is not locked out, creating a long arm swing.
- A comfortable height to the particular player, as long as number one above is correct.
- When ready to swing – the bats is back of the rear shoulder at least two inches, and at approximately shoulder height, once again, to a comfortable position for the player.
- For young hitters, the closer they start to the correct position, the easier, as expecting them to load correctly is asking a lot. Even experienced hitters may be best off with that too, as too much movement of any kind may lead to timing issues.
- The most important thing is that the back elbow moves into the body in the correct manner, leading to the power position at contact. For that reason and for young hitters, it is often easier to keep the rear elbow low and close to the body, as long as the above positions occur, even with risking giving up a little power.
- A good way to teach the correct attack and elbow position is with setting a fielders glove under both armpits before swinging, as this forces the hands to work and a direct swing to the ball, as the gloves correctly fall at about contact.
Finally, after all the talk of the back elbow being up, down, whatever, the position of the lead elbow is even more important to hitting success. The best position for the lead elbow is of most importance is where the front elbow sits.
Elbow too high here