One of the most common flaws with a baseball swing at all levels of the game is “flying open” or “pulling off the baseball”. Flying open or pulling off the baseball occurs when the front shoulder releases too early during the initial stages of the baseball swing. There are many reasons why flying open is detrimental to a baseball swing — and they include:
The following is a quote from our article The Top 10 Batting Average Killers
#1- Flying open: Flying open too early with the front shoulder is a guaranteed batting average killer, releasing the front shoulder too early will likely result in a swing and miss, foul ball, weak ground ball or pop up! It is vital that the hitter lets the ball travel deep in the hitting zone before he releases his front shoulder to attack the baseball.
Rotational hitting, linear hitting — who cares! Unless a hitter is able to stay closed and keep his head on the baseball, then it doesn’t matter what hitting school, he subscribes to — he will not succeed.
Pulling off the baseball is still the number 1 cause of outs in baseball at all levels of the game… period!
If you ever watch a major league hitter get out, the majority of the time he will be rolling over on a pitch on the outside edge of the plate — this is considered, pulling off the baseball. And it happens all the way from little league to the big leagues!
Now that we have your attention — we hope that the following hitting tips and hitting drills will help you to stop flying open when hitting.
THE HIPS CONTROL THE UPPER HALF: There is too much focus on the upper half when hitting. The engine room is the core, more specifically the hips. If a hitter can get into a good lower half position then this will have a positive influence on the upper half of the body and the overall swing. The Laser Strap forces the hitter to use the hips to generate the swing, thus taking the weight off the back foot via momentum.
This is a great baseball hitting drill for training kids to stay closed with the front shoulder, to stay back and in the legs, to prevent lunging out at the baseball and the stay through the baseball. View the full 12 minute version today when you join TheHittingProject.com
The following video highlights core/lower-half hitting mechanics and the affect this has with pulling off the baseball.
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The back foot can be a great indicator for a hitter that is pulling off the baseball, dipping or late with his swing. If a hitter is not getting onto the balls of his back foot as the front foot lands then this will cause issues with the rest of the swing. It’s vital that a hitter understands back foot rotation is initiated from the hips.
It is very difficult to break down this aspect of a baseball swing with isolation drills as it occurs dynamically within the constraints of a real time swing. That’s why TheHittingProject.com created The Laser Strap Program (part of The Complete Hitting System) that isolates the foot down position of the baseball swing and forces the hitter to swing from the hips. The hips then rotate the back foot and drive the back knee into the front knee (refer to the image below).
Two things, which is one thing… Hit through the ball and stay in your legs. Young hitters can’t hit THROUGH the ball without an athletic, balanced base (lower half). Anybody can make contact, but to maximize your opportunity for success a hitter must drive the barrel through the ball, not just to the ball but through it. Good leg positioning will allow the barrel to travel through the zone better.
High legged hitters (those that rise up and lock out their knees) have a tendency to really come off the ball and mis-hit balls too often. The swing becomes loopy, they have a hard time keeping their front shoulder in the swing, which directly affects their head, which really flies off and they end up looking into the pull side dugout. Not sure how you are supposed to hit a ball that is coming from the pitcher’s mound when you are looking in another direction. Yet hitters do it all the time. I truly believe that good leg positioning (staying in your legs) can solve many mechanical flaws in a hitter’s swing.