Linear vs. Rotational hitting

Tuesday, Jan. 29th 2013

As promised from yesterday we will discuss the difference between a linear and a rotational hitter. The purpose of this distinction is to come to a conclusion about what type of a hitter your daughter/son is, and what drills best fit their type of swing. When you have a rotational hitter and try to do a drill that is meant for a linear hitter, you are trying to fit a square peg in a round whole. The key difference between a rotational and a linear hitter, as described by Chris O’Leary, is the hand path that each hitter takes to the ball and the area from which they try to generate power.

The linear hitter looks to take the shortest rout to the ball with their hand path, and generates its power from their arms, hands, and wrists. The linear swings hand path is characterized by phrases like “throw the hands at the ball,” or “the shortest distance between two points is a straight line” in an effort to place the emphasis of the swing on the hands.

Unlike linear hitting, rotational hitting has more of a curved hand path and looks to generate its power from the entire body, in particular the upper legs, hips, and torso. Linear hitters sacrifice much of their power because of the size of the key muscles—hands, forearms—that are meant to generate power, especially when you look at the muscles that generate power in to rotational swing. Consequently the linear swing is not taught anywhere except the lowest levels of baseball because of its inability to generate power, and it’s inability to translate to higher levels of baseball.

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