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The Myth of Extension
at the Point Of Contact

This piece was prompted by an episode of ESPN's Sunday Night Baseball in which Terry Francona and Orel Hershiser went on and on about Mike Trout's extension at the point of contact and completely ignored the fact that Mike Trout shows little to no extension at the point of contact, at least on his best swings.[1]

I discuss the topic of extension at the point of contact at length in Truth in Hitting, my webbook in which I discuss the various myths and misconceptions that exist in the world of hitting.

In short, I was introduced to the concept of Extension (at the Point Of Contact) by my father. He read Charley Lau Sr.'s Book The Art of Hitting .300 and saw the pictures of George Brett demonstrating what Charley Lau Sr. thought was the ideal position at the Point Of Contact.

George Brett Demonstrating Extension and Power V at the Point Of Contact

George Brett
Extension and the Power V
at the Point Of Contact

Notice the level swing -- the barrel level to the ground at the Point Of Contact -- and the full extension at the Point Of Contact.

Consequently, he taught me that I needed to look like that at the Point Of Contact. While I couldn't make that swing work, I assumed it just meant that I wasn't meant to play baseball at the higher levels.

However, as I coached my sons and their friends and taught them what I had been taught, I gradually realized that what I had been taught didn't seem to work for anybody.

After studying the swings of the best hitters, what I found was that, even on swings like the one below of Matt Adams hitting a home run that are said to demonstrate full extension at the point of contact...

Matt Adams Home Run Swing

Matt Adams
at the Point Of Contact

...the truth is quite different, and for reasons that have to do with the fact that good pitchers don't just throw fastballs.

Instead, and as I discuss in detail in Truth in Hitting, good pitchers change speeds in part to take advantage of hitters who try to hit every pitch at full extension.

Notes

[1] I know they were talking about extension at the Point Of Contact because they showed, and talked for a few moments about, a still frame that showed Mike Trout at the Point Of Contact.

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