There are two types of coach that you, as a hitter, will come across when you…
Rotational Hitting or Linear Hitting?
As a hitting coach who has done millions of lessons for over 20 years, I choose to teach rotational hitting over linear hitting. Why? Because you have the capability to hit for power with rotational hitting. Next level hitters can hit for power more consistently than the rest and teaching linear hitting does not give most the opportunity to learn power hitting.
So as a father, I would teach my kid to hit as far as he can as often as he can and then eventually learn more balance and contact hitting later. To me, the hitter has to learn how to open up the muscles in the body and utilize his hips fully first, because hitters who learn contact hitting first may never use their body fully for the rest of their careers.
How do I know this?
Well for those who are my age, you might remember in the summers of the 70's that we went out and played lob league and tried to hit the ball over the fence. I played that game for at least 4 summers before I learned linear swing mechanics in high school. The linear mechanics definitely took away from some of my power, but I played enough lob league to gain enough memory in my back hip to keep it popping throughout my high school and college career.
Problem with Linear Hitting
The problem today is kids are going to see instructors by 9 years old and taught to swing down to the ball and to just make contact. They are told that the power will come later. Guess what? In 90 percent of all cases such as this, the power never comes!
So now rotational hitting is gaining some steam, and in certain instances I do see hitters making progress. For the most part though, the mechanics of rotational hitting has not been mastered by coaches and there are too many missing pieces to notice a real difference between rotational hitting and linear hitting mechanics.
Why? A couple reasons, but rotational hitting mechanics are being taught too mechanical and robotic, which makes it hard for the muscles to flow and stabilize at the same time. Also, good hitters actually do not start their swing in a rotational move. Yes they do use their hips, but the hips pop and do not rotate until after contact (unless it is a inside pitch). I call this poptational hitting.
Rotational Hitting Key to Success
Professionals who get this, study muscles or martial arts. Work with a personal trainer and he will show you how to pop your hips in an athletic manner because he knows the direct power of certain core muscles that help the body develop force. Go to a hitting coach and they won't know a lick about that sort of move because that is not their background. Most hitting coaches are good in teaching timing and ball contact drills.
If the combination of the training of the hitting coach gets mixed with the knowledge of the personal trainer then you got something, right? At the college, pro, and even high school levels everybody is training for strength and speed along with good hitter training. How exciting right? Everybody, including the coaching staff feel real good about all the work being put in right?
Why Most Hitters Rarely Reach Their Potential
Unfortunately, if you work with both a personal trainer and hitting coach, your muscles usually get confused as the personal trainer is teaching you how to created force with a hip popping action and your coach is not. Basically, if all the team players put in the work, the hitting numbers at the end of the season are average at best.
It would not be cool to name all the colleges I know that lift weights year round and hit below 10 homers as a team with a .270 team batting average. So is this reason most hitters rarely reach their potential? I do not have any studies on this, but I can say with all the certainty in the world, that if the mind and body are confused, then the hitter will be also, and he will never come close to his potential.
For this reason, I set goals for each of my hitters that they will hit better than 50 points over their norm while increasing the power numbers significantly. When the confusion of teaching linear, the downward swing principles decease and the real science of hitting is implemented with the proper combination of the expertise of the personal trainer and the hitting coach, then the hitter (in my experience) often reaches his goals of raising his batting average and slugging percentage. This can only happen with rotational hitting swing mechanics.