“Counter rotation… I’ve heard of that!”
“Are you sure…? What is it?”
We are now ready to go over our Super 7 elements of the Launch position; if you haven’t read our LP (Launch Position) overview post you can read it here:
By now you should understand a little more about the launch position and why it is so critical that we get into this position at front toe touch.
Today we are going to talk about getting our front shoulder slightly down-and-in, counter rotation, what it is and how it will help us.
• Counter Rotation will be defined as:
The separation of hips and shoulders.
By separating our upper body from our lower body we are going to create massive torque in our mid-section… all the strong rotational muscles in the core will get loaded up.
You say you want to hit the ball hard, right?
Create some counter rotation!
Babe Ruth at launch position
There are going to be two different components to this:
1) At launch position we want to be hitting the ground with the hips square and shoulders counter rotated about 30 degrees. If you had a camera straight over head and had a broom stick going through your hips, that broomstick should be pointing right at the pitcher. Your shoulders from this top view should be pointing somewhere around where the second baseman would be playing if you’re a right handed batter, shortstop if you’re a lefty. This is going to take care of our horizontal separation.
Here are four elite level hitters at front toe touch from a top view from some different camera angles.
Stan Musial is counter rotated about 45 degrees! This is about the maximum counter rotation a hitter can get.
Notice how the hips are square to the pitcher while the shoulders point down and in down the third baseline.
Babe Ruth, Mike Piazza, David Ortiz, John Olerud
2) The second component to this is going to have the front shoulder slightly lower than the back, this will apply to more of a vertical separation. Not only is this going to make the high pitches less appealing, but it is also going to give you that last little extra bit of power, or stored energy in your core. The front shoulder is lower than the back at front toe touch. As the swing begins the shoulders are going to trade places.
Again, here we have four different former major league hitters at launch position.
Sammy Sosa, Mark Mcgwire, Mickey Mantle, Barry Bonds
As you read more of our posts you will continue to hear us reference this idea of an inverse relationship between power and average. This isn’t a very hard concept to grasp.
• Understand: “Power” is going refer to our ability to hit the ball hard and generate bat speed. “Average” will be our ability to strictly make contact with the ball.
Your main goal as a hitter should be to maximize these two relationships. In the big leagues this would be your typical Mike Trout, Miguel Cabrera, or Ted Williams type player. These types of players are going to be the guys who rank high in home runs, as well as produce a high batting average. What we want to avoid is being the type of player who can only hits singles and has no power, or the guy who strikes out every at bat and if he does hit the ball it goes a mile. WHY? Because if we are unable to do both, your chances of making it to the next level are in jeapordy.
The overwhelming majority of hitters, high school players and younger create very little counter rotation. It is very common to see the front shoulder pointing to the sky and the hands too low.
Understand: We need to be able to keep the spine angle back, with the front shoulder down and in. This can be a very tricky move…
As we make our way from stance to launch, the most major league hitters will have a positive move forward (not all) while staying back with the spine. As we are striding out slowly create torque in the mid-section by counter rotating…
Once we hit the ground at front toe touch all that stored energy we created with unload on the baseball.
Some flaws to keep in mind are
1) Don’t bury your front shoulder. It is likely to curve your spine. (notice my terminology in this post… slightly down and in)
2) Make sure the second you lift your leg to begin striding you don’t suddenly go down and in or you are likely to open back up before you hit the ground.
Jason Giambi down-and-in at launch.