How to Prevent Flying Open or Over Rotation in baseball and Softball Swings Without Special Drills.

By Ken Cherryhomes

Over rotating or flying open in baseball and softball bat swings.

There is a lot of discussion about over rotating the hips, chest and shoulders during bat swings. Over rotation of the hips or “flying open” negatively affects swing direction, so there are a lot of drills designed to prevent this. Rather than going over the many drills and theories of how to prevent this from occurring, instead I will explain to you how I teach hitters why it is happening, because by identifying the source, a simple remedy is arrived at. Since we have a specific intention when we swing our bats, that is to direct the bat toward the incoming pitched ball, our swing direction is subconsciously created. The body, through natural kinetic sequencing, naturally decelerates each of the three segments during the course of this 150ms swing event.

I like to use a sprinting analogy. Batting is essentially a 3-foot sprint. When sprinting, muscles are fired on and off to create acceleration while maintaining direction. Were one of those coordinated muscle activations prolonged, it would disrupt the direction of the sprinter. In batting, where strength is perceived as continuous muscle sensation, the batter is confused into thinking prolonging their effort will increase the power of their swing. This is an incorrect correlation on many levels. Batting is a rotating system. This requires an abrupt initiation, just like a sprinter coming out of the blocks. Then those gross muscles that initiated the rotation are relaxed, giving way to fine motor control muscles. The single gross muscle system that requires continued recruitment is the front leg quad muscles, from which the swing rotates around. If the muscles in the hands, arms and trunk of the batter continue to work, remain tightened, the acceleration as well as the direction of the swing is negatively affected.

I like to think of the recruitment and use of muscles during the bat swing as an explosion, as opposed to the continued use of those muscles, which I describe as a burn. The simple remedy that requires no special drills to maintain swing direction without over rotating or flying open, is to minimize the duration of muscle use, particularly in the chest and arms. Batters, be a stick of dynamite, not a campfire!

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