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Bat Drag is one of the most common and deadly swing flaws. It's the main reason why once good hitters stop hitting, usually in middle school or, at the latest, in high school.
Bat Drag results from the hitter trying to power their swing with their arms and hands rather than the Core. That's a problem because, as the back elbow leaks forward, dragging the bat behind it, it keeps the barrel from being able to Whip on time. As a result, a swing with Bat Drag unfolds too far out front, and takes too long to develop for the hitter to be able to catch up to a good fastball while also protecting against off-speed pitches.
What's tricky about Bat Drag is that the extra distance it takes the swing to unfold will give the barrel more time to get up to speed and will result in a greater Exit Velocity.
Which will usually result in more power.
But, at the cost of (increasing) strikeouts.
In rare cases -- such as Mark Reynolds, Mike Olt, and Brandon Moss -- hitters with Bat Drag don't stop hitting until they reach the major leagues.
But they will stop hitting.
At least for average.
The symptoms of Bat Drag include...
Both of my boys had serious problems with Bat Drag -- as a result of my following some well-intentioned but ultimately problematic advice about how to fix Bat Drag -- and my efforts to help them drove the research behind this piece. I then turned that into a webbook that describes, in detail, what I did to help my boys and their friends and classmates.
Fixing Bat Drag costs just $29 and is GUARANTEED to work. If you don't solve the problem, you don't pay anything.
Fixing Bat Drag is also available, for FREE, as part of my hitting & pitching bundles.
After getting my daughter hitting lessons with no success I finally decided to take it upon myself to correct her bat drag.
After trying everything that I knew, I decided to pay the 29 bucks and get your information. I thought what do I have to lose. After working with your program for only a couple of weeks my daughter had a scrimmage game. She is a 10th grader and plays outfield for the high school team. On her first at bat she hit the ball very hard in the gap for a double.
I want to thank you personally for helping me remedy the bat drag. It is the best information I have come across by far. I have attached a picture of her swing which is remarkably better. Her hands are in front of her elbow.
We have used the George Brett drill with great success. Her power has doubled and is pulling the ball sometimes.
Thanks again for your help. We are gonna continue to work to get her the best swing possible.
Bat Drag results from an effort by the hitter to power their swing with ther hands and arms -- usually their dominant arm -- rather than their hips and core.
Consequently, in hitters with Bat Drag, on video you will see a back elbow that...
...as the barrel is about to release into the Point Of Contact.
Bat Drag causes problems by...
In the best case, that means power to the opposite field.
For a while.
However, due to the way Bat Drag causes the barrel to drag behind, rather than whip around, the hands at the Point Of Contact, it eventually means lots of foul balls to the opposite field, balls pounded into the ground in front of the pitcher and, eventually, lots of strikeouts.
The reason you don't see (much) Bat Drag in high school hitters isn't because it doesn't happen to them. Rather, it's because most hitters with Bat Drag simply can't hit high school pitching.
Or, too often, middle school pitching.
Based on the large number of young hitters I have seen or worked with, I would estimate that upwards of 80 percent of young hitters have some degree of Bat Drag in their swings.
The signature of bat Drag
What happens during Bat Drag is that, fairly early on in the swing, the hitter's back elbow gets ahead of their top hand.
As a result, at contact, the hitter will exhibit the telltale stacked elbows, Sideways V position...
...with the back elbow under the front elbow and the forearms parallel, horizontal, and level to the ground into and at contact.
In the worst cases of Bat Drag, the hitter's back elbow will slide well forward of their top hand, causing the barrel to drop.
As a result, at the Point Of Contact the hitter's back elbow will be well forward of their back hip, their back upper arm will be more horizontal than vertical, and their swing will unfold well out in front of them.
Why Bat Drag is Problematic
Bat Drag creates a swing that is sometimes very powerful but that is always very long; typically too long to catch up to a good fastball or to adjust between a fastball and a quality off-speed pitch.
Bat Drag changes where, when, and how the bat head starts to whip. As in the case of Mark Reynolds, that forces the hitter to make contact with the ball farther out front than is optimal, which hurts their ability to read the pitch and adjust to the ball.
In Mike Olt's case, his back elbow slid well forward of his back hip, causing him to consistently hit the ball well out front.
As players get older -- usually older than 11 or so -- the result of a swing with Bat Drag is occasionally lots of powerfully hit foul balls and/or hits to the opposite field, and sometimes doubles and home runs, but typically lots of swinging strikes.
Grand Slam Home Run
I have seen Bat Drag turn 5th grade, .500-average power hitters into 6th graders who struggle to get one weak hit per game (or season).
Bat Drag vs. Bat Lag
Many people use the terms Bat Drag and Bat Lag interchangeably when, in truth, they are opposites.
As I explain in my piece on Bat Drag vs. Bat Lag, Bat Drag is the sign of a serious, but common, problem with the swing while Bat Lag is a normal and necessary component of a swing and the sign of a powerful swing.
My Experiences with Bat Drag
A while back I was cleaning up my web site and stumbled across the video below of my older son playing Home Run Derby in our side yard in May 2006. This video was taken back before I knew much about hitting. I hadn't had to put much thought or time into his swing because he had hit quite well up until that point, hitting for both power and average.
The thing that is really prominent in this video is significant Bat Drag, which explains why he started to struggle that year.
Notice how, as he starts his swing, his front arm bars and his back elbow slides forward of his back hip. This lengthens his swing and moves the Point Of Contact forward.
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