5 Drills for Better Upper Body Swing Mechanics

 In Education, Instruction, Stories

By Garrett Gordon

The upper body in the swing is very crucial. It is part of what’s holding and ultimately delivering the bat to contact. Unfortunately, the upper body is where most hitters make the biggest mistakes.

Here at Baseball Rebellion, we have our Rebel’s Rack progression of movements that hitters can learn. As a result, this allows hitters to turn better with better posture.  Once a hitter has mastered there footwork, posture and turn it’s time to dive into the positions and movements of what your arms should do when you hit.

The Elite Upper Body Move

A lot of elite hitters get their arms in a position that resembles somewhat of a house.  As you can see there are five points of contact which makes a pentagon shape.  The main point is to help you all understand the certain angles the arms can make.

Take a look at the pictures below of Yelich, Trout, Betts, and Bonds that their “house” is shaped a little bit differently.  Just like how the architecture and shapes of the homes many people live in are also different.

Now does this something that happens every single swing? No, but I bet you that every ball these guys hit from this position at contact was crushed. A matter of fact this is something you can practice that will help you generate more bat speed and more hard contact with the ball.

When You Should Practice Upper Body Mechanics

First off if you’re not squaring the ball up and hitting the ball hard but your footwork, posture, and turn are on point then you’re going to want to keep reading.  A lot of hitters that I have trained in the past and even now are missing the “turn behind the turn”.

This is crucial for hitters if they want to hit well. I know it looks like I’m exaggerating the movement but at high speeds, this can become a reality for many hitters. Here are some examples of what not to do.

The Knob Puller

You can see in the video above I am pulling the knob of the bat across my chest.  When hitters do this they are oftentimes late on the pitch.

If they do happen to make contact it is not solid.  As a result, the ball will slice or flair to right field for right-handed hitters and left the field for left-handed hitters. All in all, this is a move that needs to be avoided. In short, this is a big no-no.

The Woodchopper

The woodchopper move right here is the worst you can do.  Hitters that swing straight down at the ball have no chance of being consistent.  They also will not make solid contact, this limits their ability to drive the ball.

Please for the sake of your batting average and slugging % DO NOT swing straight down! No matter what professional athletes may say.  This is a contradiction of what they actually did. Only here you can learn what they actually did.

The Bat Dragger

The bat drag is most common with younger athletes who have a tough time holding the correct arm position during the swing. Look at my back elbow during this video, what my elbow is doing is not right and is a weak-hitting position.

Also, athletes who lack upper body strength will suffer from the bat drag tremendously.  So please for your own sake do some push-ups and pull-ups to help yourself out! Our Bat Drag Buster is also a great tool to fix this problem. Along with the drills, I am showing you in this article.

The Barrel Pusher

Pushing the barrel to contact is a tough habit to break.  Hitters will feel the turn and then at the last moment, they throw their hands at the ball.  As a result, this will make hitters miss-hit balls and they will get frustrated.

Another reason hitters do this is that sometimes hitters stand up and out of “side bend” or they never “hip hinged” in the first place!

Get in Front of The Mirror

In my own personal experience getting in front of a mirror has always been something I liked.  For this reason, give it some time you might like the feel of mastering your arm angles. Getting to see and feel where your body has to be when you hit is crucial for your development.  Working on the angles I have talked about in this article is simple and not time-consuming.  Taking

10-15 minutes before bed or in the morning to work on your best stride, best turn and now even your best barrel turn. Those who take the time to become a master at their craft will find themselves whopping baseballs in the gap!

5 Drills for Better Upper Body Swing Mechanics

Upper Body Mechanics Drill #1MIRROR HALF TURNS WITH BALL IN BACK ELBOWKeep turning fast while keeping the ball tucked in your elbowIt’s ok to mess up, just keep tryingFocus on the rotation of the barrel and the knob upKeep the same footworkStay relaxed and let that bat orbit around your body to contactYou can take a couple to feel the move but if you don’t turn your body fast and the bat fast you won’t lastUpper Body Mechanics Drill #2MIRROR HALF TURNS WITH BAND ON FRONT ARMYou have to focus and find itKeep the movement loose and quickWeaker kids need a lighter bandSometimes the band will not fit a kids forearm so if that doesn’t work get creative and use a small rubber bandYou need to put a lot of emphasis on your side bend
Upper Body Mechanics Drill #3FRONT FACING DRIVE DEVELOPER HALF TURNSMake sure your hands don’t pull across your chestKeep the band light so you can focus on the speedJust think as your turn your legs, torso, and shoulders you must turn this position with your arms as wellKeep them high with your shoulder focus on the side bend here againUpper Body Mechanics Drill #4TILTED WALL DRILL 2.0Focus on Turing the bat up early so you can create more spaceDon’t be afraid to hit the pad hard, just don’t miss!Make sure you tilt the pad, this makes you have to swing upKeep your hands tight but in a natural position. Don’t force it, just turnMake sure you go fast!
Upper Body Mechanics Drill #5FRONT ARM & BACK ARM HALF TURNS OFF OF FRONT TOSSSide bend is so important with this drill, therefore make sure you get those anglesFocus on speed and make sure your head stays backYour body is the engine so out great emphasis on turn your trunk and hipsLet that barrel whip around to contact out front!

Final Thoughts

The key to getting better is refining and fine-tuning your mechanics.  Working on your barrel turn and the tightness of it truly creates a connected swing.  You swing like this and focus on it you can find your own Hitters House.  Therefore you can expect more extra-base hits, more line drives, and the game itself will become more enjoyable.

Questions about the Article?

Reach out to Garrett:  garrett@baseballrebellion.com 

Follow Garrett on Twitter: @Garrett__Gordon

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