Is A Biomechanics Certification All It's Cracked Up To Be?
By Ken Cherryhomes
It is common, intuitive, to think and then initiate a first move in a forward direction, since we are told to drive weight forward. However, either by subconscious or intentional instruction, we are also taught to “rotate” our weight forward, as OnBaseU suggests, as do I.
The result of a linear move transitioning into a rotational one is usually demonstrated by a rear foot dragged forward, which is very common, or a “scissor” like kick. The reason for both is they are compensatory moves, a way to remove a block or obstruction to a rotational turn.
Was Edgar a worse hitter because he moved his back foot forward when he swung? No. It was probably inconsequential to his hitting success. Here we have a team of biomechanical experts, led by a doctor in this field, who assert the movement forward of the rear foot is a key indicator of maximizing rotational energy. Let’s delve a bit deeper into this.
- Rear Foot Movement: The movement of Edgar’s rear foot towards the pitcher is indicative of a linear initiation. This forward movement is not necessarily an efficient, “clean” way to generate rotational power. Instead, it is a compensatory action due to other biomechanical inefficiencies, intentions or habits developed over time.
- Center of Mass (COM): Edgar’s COM remains centered. This is crucial because, even with the forward movement of the back foot, he maintains rotational efficiency by keeping his COM centered over his base. This allows him to maintain balance and still generate force without dissipating the angular momentum as his swing accelerated. Had he moved his COM forward, linearly, this would impart a linear influence, which would impact his swing force negatively, diminishing the angular momentum (rotational) of his swing. Since his COM is stable, the rear foot moving forward has no impact on his weight shift into rotation, positively or negatively.
- Hip Rotation: The dragging or “scissor kick” of the back foot is a compensatory action for a linear initiation. The hips lead the way in the swing, and if the back foot drags forward, it is due to the need to displace the obstruction limiting the pelvic rotation.
Now let’s observe the swing of the godfather of rotational hitting, the great Ted Williams.
Ted Williams’ Swing:
- Clean Rotation: The semi-circular movement of the rear knee, as seen in Ted’s swing, showcases efficient energy transfer. This rotational movement is optimal as it keeps the kinetic linking intact without introducing unnecessary linear movements. Moves like this are what enabled the “Splendid Splinter”, so called for his long, slender physique, to maximize his swing’s force.
- Rear Foot Stability: Ted’s rear foot remaining stationary (though rotated) is a testament to his ability to generate torque without any forward motion of the back foot. This allows for a more controlled and efficient rotation, maximizing power.
Here, Dr. Greg Rose, a golf expert, explains a foundational tenet of their training at On Base University, the forward movement of the rear foot at weight transfer. In his demonstration, unlike Edgar, has him moving his COM off its axis, his body moving over his front foot, exactly like a golfer.
Above, I easily demonstrate how to move rotationally, shifting weight efficiently, evidenced by my top of toe finish, while still remaining back, in the proper context of what “staying back” means, not shifting my body forward while shifting weight.