ChrisOLeary.com > Hitting > Extension at the Point of Contact

Myth of Extension at
the Point Of Contact

I'm watching ESPN's Sunday Night Baseball and Terry Francona and Orel Hershiser are going on and on about Mike Trout's extension at the point of contact.

And completely ignored one thing.

Mike Trout at the Point Of Contact

Mike Trout at the Point Of Contact

Mike Trout shows little to no extension at the point of contact.

At least on his best swings.

Extension in Hitting

I was introduced to the concept of Extension (at the Point Of Contact) by my father.

He had read Charley Lau Sr.'s Book The Art of Hitting .300 and saw the pictures of George Brett demonstrating what Charley Lau Sr. said was the ideal position at the Point Of Contact and what he thought he did.

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 -- a swing that Bob Brenly said demonstrated "full extension at the point of contact" -- the truth is quite different.

Matt Adams Home Run Swing

Matt Adams
at the Point Of Contact

This is due to the fact that good pitchers don't just throw fastballs.

Instead, and as I discuss in detail in my piece on Hitting Myths and Misconceptions, good pitchers change speeds in part to take advantage of hitters who try to hit every pitch at full extension at the point of contact.

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