In the last Core Savvy Baseball article we talked about a deadly lower body hitting flaw called hip slide. This is a short article that is the next part of the equation. I want to introduce our readers to an upper body hitting flaw that most often makes hitters feel like they cannot square the baseball up. This upper body mechanical flaw is called bat drag and it can single handedly destroy your bat speed no matter how strong you are.
Along with bat drag is bat lag. Bat lag is what great hitters possess. Before I say anymore lets break down the two concepts.
Bat lag is what we want to have as hitters. Bat lag occurs when the hands begin to move into the hitting zone. When the hands begin to move they lead the barrel slightly creating whip and a tremendous amount of bat speed.
As you can see in the picture of Barry Bonds above, his hands are linked with his hips and his hands are leading the barrel. Bonds' hands are in front of his elbows which makes this a fantastic example of what good mechanics look like. Barry has perfect bat lag. He accomplishes this by linking his hands with his back shoulder and keeping his hands in front of his back elbow. I cannot stress enough that the hands must be linked with the back shoulder when rotation begins and that the hands must be in front of the back elbow to create whip.
Now that we understand what bat lag looks like we can talk about it's negative counterpart, bat drag.
Bat drag is something that is most common in youth baseball. This is because that a big reason for bat drag a lack of strength. Bat drag is extremely easy to spot unlike some of the past concepts that we have covered at CSB™. A lot of professionals call this flaw "hitting with your elbows" because that's exactly what it looks like. When a hitter has bat drag his elbows will drag his hands and barrel of the bat into the hitting zone.
Bat drag can be clearly seen in the picture above, although its grainy. The hitter's elbows are far in front of the hands. This is going to create a long, slow hand-path and absolutely destroy his bat speed. No matter how good a hitter's lower half is, until he turns bat drag into bat lag his maximum bat speed will never be reached.
Here is about the best example visually that I can give you to understand bat drag vs bat lag. On the left we see Pujol's hands infront of his back elbow which is going to create a ton of bat speed through whip-like torque of his upper half. On the right side above, we see a picture of a young player who like a lot of young players leads with his elbows in front of his hands. Pujols has bat lag, while the young player has bat drag.
Hopefully this short article helped you understand how to create a more torque and bat speed in your swing. At Core Savvy Baseball, we have innovated specific upper body hitting drills to completely fix bat drag. "Lag, don't Drag"
CSB Key Points
Bat Lag: (hands in front of the back elbow) is good, and is a sign of a good swing.
Bat Drag: (both elbows in front of the hands) is bad and will destroy your bat speed.