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The Myth of the A to C Swing
Although major league hitting instructors and hitting coordinators teach a variety of different things, perhaps the best description of what is most commonly taught is an A to C (or sometimes A to B) swing. It is also sometimes referred to as being short to, and long through, the baseball.
The basic idea, which is correct, is that a swing has to be very short in order to hit a 95 MPH fastball. The problem is that hitters are taught that they must not allow the hands or the bat head to take a circuitous route to the pitch. Instead, the hands have to take a direct, linear, A to C path to the ball and not a longer A to B to C path to the ball. Similarly, the bat head must stay above the ball and not loop below it and hit the ball with an uppercut
While this idea makes logical sense, the problem is that, if you compare how this swing is taught and demonstrated to an actual game swing, you will see some significant differences.
I discuss the topic of the A to C swing, and what the best hitters actually do, at length in Truth in Hitting, my webbook in which I discuss the various myths and misconceptions that exist in the world of hitting.
Don Mattingly & Tony Gwynn
In sum, if you take a close look at the swings of Don Mattingly and Tony Gwynn, two of the biggest proponents of the A to C swing and two of the biggest haters of the loop in the swing, you can see loops and uppercuts in both of their swings.
Tony Gwynn's Swing
Don Mattingly's uppercut was particularly pronounced, since he tended to like the ball a bit lower than Tony Gwynn. Of course, Mattingly's uppercut was also appropriate since that is the only way to hit a ball down in the strike zone.
Don Mattingly's Swing
In truth, neither Don Mattingly nor Tony Gwynn actually did much, if anything, that they currently teach.
It's Not Just Academic
I worked with Andres Torres for a number of years.
He had an off year in 2011, so he flew me out to Arizona in January of 2012 to try to get his swing back on track. One thing that came up in our conversations was that, at some point after we met in 2009, Andres had been taught an A to C hand path, to keep the barrel above the ball, and to swing down on the ball.
The result was that he had a hard time covering the bottom of the strike zone because he didn't know how to cover the bottom of the strike zone while keeping the barrel above the ball and swinging down on the ball.
I discuss the A to C swing, the problems with it, and what Andres Torres and I discussed, in Truth in Hitting, my webbook in which I discuss the various myths and misconceptions that exist in the world of hitting.
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