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Squishing The Bug

Some people believe that it is important that hitters be on the ball of their feet at the Point Of Contact. This is variously known and taught as "squishing the bug", "squish the bug", "squashing the bug", and "squash the bug". Proponents of this idea includes some people who instruct at the major league level.

Unfortunately, this isn't what the best hitters do.

As the photos below demonstrate, at the Point Of Contact the best hitters are either on the point of their back toes at the Point Of Contact or their back toes are completely off the ground.

Albert Pujols Not Squishing the Bug

Albert Pujols Not Squishing the Bug

So why do people advocate squishing the bug if it isn't what the best hitters do?

Some people advocate squishing the bug because they don't look at high speed video. If you look at a swing with the naked eye or just look at random still photos, you will see something that looks like squishing the bug.

Albert Pujols - Home Run

Albert Pujols

Albert Pujols - Home Run

Albert Pujols

Adrian Beltre

Adrian Beltre

However, if you go through video frame by frame, you will see that this "squishing the bug" happens well after the Point Of Contact and as the result of the hitter's Center Of Mass rebounding off of their front leg.

Others advocate squishing the bug as an interim cue; as a way of introducing the concept of hip rotation. I understand the logic of this, but don't think it's necessary. In my experience, even the youngest hitters can achieve proper hip rotation and don't need to use squishing the bug as an interim step.

Back Toe Completely Off The Ground

Below are a number of photos of hitters whose back toes are completely off the ground at the Point Of Contact.

Alex Rodriguez - Home Run

Alex Rodriguez

Albert Pujols - Home Run

Albert Pujols

Albert Pujols - Home Run

Albert Pujols

Albert Pujols - Single

Albert Pujols

On Point Of Back Toe

Below are a number of photos of hitters who are on the point of their back toes the Point Of Contact.

Manny Ramirez

Manny Ramirez

Alex Rodriguez

Alex Rodriguez

Alex Rodriguez

Alex Rodriguez

Albert Pujols - Home Run

Albert Pujols

Albert Pujols - Home Run

Albert Pujols

Albert Pujols - Home Run

Albert Pujols

Albert Pujols - Home Run

Albert Pujols

A Necessary Transitional Stage?

As the word has gotten out that Squishing the Bug at the Point Of Contact is a myth, one thing I have seen is people starting to advocate Squishing the Bug as a necessary transitional stage; as the best way to teach hitters how to rotate.

Hitting Mechanics 101As I explain in Hitting Mechanics 101, coaches, parents, and hitters have to be aware of a number of gotcha's that can result from teaching Squishing the Bug, even as a transitional stage.

Hitting Mechanics 101 discusses a number of much more effective ways of teaching Rotation, which is one of the keys of the High-Level Swing.

Fixing Squishing the Bug

Squishing the Bug is a big enough issue that I have developed a number of drills that help fix Squishing the Bug and that are available as part of Hitting Mechanics 101.

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