Angle #5 – Front arm at 135°
Composite major league angle of front arm is 135° at launch position.
The angle of the front arm is a big indication on a players power potential. Out of all the different angles we talk about at launch position, this is one of the easier ones to accomplish at launch position… which is lucky for you because most of them can be tricky!
When making our way from stance to launch we should be making a move similar to Trout here where we go: foot forward, hands back.
At the moment our front toe touch the ground at launch position the composite major league angle of our front arm will land right around 135°.
• The rule here is the front forearm MUST BE greater than 90°.
Anything less than that and the arc of the swing (or “bat path” as some coaches say… which is not to be confused with swing plane) will be too short to hit the ball with any sort of authority.
Players you see with their front arm close to 90° will be high batting average type players with very few homeruns… these players are typically very fast, steal a lot of bags, and are great in the field. Being this type of player is all well and good but not everyone has this type of ability, and relying on those skills alone to “make it to the next level” could be detrimental to your career.
The composite major league launch position of the front forearm will be right around 135 degrees. This gives the hitter the perfect combination between power and average.
If the front arm starts going much farther past this point we are likely to increase our power because the arc of the swing will be longer, however, it is common that players can cause other issues which I have listed for you below.
Understand: While 135° of the front arm will be consistent among elite level hitters, it’s vitally important to make sure the front forearm is pointing uphill.
It is important especially is younger players when the strike zone is bigger, this way players will be able to hit higher pitches easiler. The threshold here is at level to the ground… anywhere below this and you’re in trouble!
Players typically will either begin loading downhill or creating a “beach ball” with their swing which is likely to collapse as the players begins to swing.
- Forearm is pointing “downhill.” It is common in youth players and even high school players that the angle of their front arm is around 135, but the forearm is pointing downhill.
- Beach Ball-ing. Some players will load and just push both their arms back toward the catcher and create a big space between their hands and body. If you can place a basketball or a beach ball between your arms and body… this position is likely to collapse upon swinging.
- Front arm less than 90°.
- Casting the hands out once the swing in initiated. Once we start rotating the angle of front arm should stay consistent… you don’t want the hands to push out after launch position.
The more you pay attention to the angle of the front arm, the more consistently you will see the front arm around 135°. By getting close to this angle you will maximize this angle for power and contact.
Common Flaw #1: Loading downhill
Left: Common flaw #2
Right: Common flaw #3
Below will show a range of different angles of the front arm. Griffey (bottom right) is near the upper end of the spectrum at 143°, Gordon (top middle) is on the lower end at 117°.