Objective: To put the hitter in the proper position with their arms and core just prior to contact with the ball
Often when watching young hitters they will be too active with their arms during the swing. The worst being the back arm. The first move they will make is to drop the elbow to the side and at contact the elbow will be in front of the hand. The first move they will make is to drop the elbow to the side and at contact the elbow will be in front of the hand. Looking something like this:
This position is referred to as “Bat Drag” Often when this happens the hitter will pop the ball up in the air. The reason is the elbow being inside the hand at contact. More often than not her coach will yell at her “Hey your dropping your back shoulder”. It’s not the shoulder that is causing the pop up. It’s the back elbow. If you look at pictures or video of any high level hitters they ALL drop the back shoulder.
Even if the hitter makes contact with the ball and hits it down on the ball due to a miss hit they will not hit the ball with any authority. This position is very weak coming into contact. The closer the elbow is to the body the weaker the swing will be in terms of power. It is very easy to test this when doing the drill I am about to explain and provide video demonstration of with the link below.
This drill is done without a bat and the hitter being in the hitting position. The coach will position themselves in front of the hitter. The coach will then place his/her hand just below the front elbow of the hitter. The front arm/elbow will be in a raised position. You then tell the hitter “Where the front elbow is I want the back elbow to be when you swing” The hitter will fire the hips then the coach will catch the back elbow in their hand. If the hitter moves the elbow correctly the back elbow will come directly into the coaches hand. The hand should be right over the top of the elbow at contact with the hand. This promotes bringing the elbow around the back and creating as space of 3-4 inches between the body and the arms on the back side.
To test this position vs having the elbow come down and around the body place your hand inside next to the belly button and have the hitter place the back elbow into the hand when they swing. Then ask them which swing was a stronger swing. The one with the elbow away from the body, or the one with the elbow next to the body. If you test this on yourself you will find the stronger position is the elbow away from the body. Your hitters will hit the ball harder in this position coming into contact.
Here is the link to the video demonstration http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h_TJ_0ApDJw