The “T” and how it affects the swing
During the baseball swing, our arms and bat become an extension of the upper torso (waist to shoulders). The more they are perpendicular to the torso (forming a “T”) the faster the bat speed, the greater the resistance to the ball, and ultimately the greater the power. Knowing this, it is imperative that we try to get into, and maintain this “T” position while in the hitting zone.
Why does the spine angle change for different pitches
The angle of the spine allows hitters to reach pitches without losing the “T” and it’s benefits. What this means is that you should have less forward tilt of the spine (towards home plate) for high pitches and more forward tilt for lower pitches. A lot of people confuse this tilt with hitting balls in the air, but there is no correlation. This spine angle towards home plate simply allows you to reach lower pitches and maintain your “T”. In order to affect the launch angle, you would need to angle your spine/head towards the catcher. This angle would facilitate a more upward swing path.
What spine angle will work best for me and why?
Because the best spine angle is a moving target, setting our spine angle perpendicular to the center of the strike zone gives us the highest level of coverage to pitches in the strike zone. It splits the distance between the up & out pitch and the low & in pitch. In other words, by splitting the zone, we are reducing the amount of spine angle adjustment that is required for high and low pitches. If you start with a posture that is straight up and down, you will need to make a large adjustment to reach low pitches and vice versa. It's like returning a shot in tennis. If you have to cover the full court you want to be in the middle and then react from there. By starting in the middle you have the best chance of getting to everything on both sides of you.
When should the spine angle be set for optimum efficiency?
It can be done at setup or at the moment the front toe touches the ground. You will see both methods being used at all different playing levels. We believe that it’s easier and more consistent to take care of it at setup, especially for younger hitters. This reduces the amount of movement that needs to take place during the swing. The fewer the moving parts, the easier it is to be consistent. PSUSA is a big believer in “Less is More” when it comes to hitting. The bottom line is, you will see that most hitters get somewhere in the neighborhood of perpendicular to the center of the zone before they start their shoulder and arm rotation minimizing the amount of movement required once they have identified the pitch location.
- Hitter's arms and bat should end up perpendicular to the torso at impact forming a “T”. This is the strongest possible position to hit a ball.
- The spine angle will change based on the pitch location. More angle forward towards home plate is required for lower pitches and less for higher pitches.
- Make the swing as simple as possible by setting the spine angle perpendicular to the center of the strike zone at setup.