Analyzing Dave Hudgens'
Views on Hitting
Dave Hudgens is one of more prominent names in hitting
instruction. As a result, I thought it would be interesting to examine
some of his beliefs about hitting and the baseball swing. I
will do this using two pieces that Hudgens published on
hittingworld.com, entitled "50/50 Hitting" and "Don't
Get Caught Following Bad Hitting Advice!"
In "50/50 Hitting," Dave Hudgens discusses what
he feels are some of the differences between
Linear Hitting. Right from the start of this piece, Hudgens says something
that reflects a common misconception
about Rotational Hitting...
Some hitters may be more weight transfer then rotational.
Many people equate Rotational Hitting with a lack of a weight
shift and no stride. I assume that is because that is how Mike Epstein
teaches Rotational Hitting. However, that's not how I teach
Rotational Hitting or how the
works. I teach that every good swing has at least a
weight shift, if not a stride, because that is what you
see in a High-Level Swing.
Hudgens then goes on to say...
However hitters who are rotationally dominant will
generally have a longer swing, pull off the ball more and be
more inconsistent. Therefore they will have more holes in
their swing. They will not be able to use their hands to
react to different locations and types of pitches.
First, it's questionable whether a Rotational swing is actually
longer than a Linear swing. I say that because, while a Linear
swing sounds good in theory, as I discuss in my piece on
The Myth of the A
to C Swing, I have yet to find a major leaguer who actually
does what is advocated by the proponents of the A to C swing.
Second, there's no reason why a properly-taught Rotational hitter
will pull off the ball. As I
discuss in my
Hitting FAQ, good hitters know how to keep their hands back
and their shoulders
closed while their hips open up underneath them. They also know
how to make what I call a
Adjustment. This allows
them to make the
adjustments that they need to cover the entire strike zone but
still hit the ball hard.
Hudgens then talks about Charlie Lau and Ted Williams and
the differences in what they taught...
I frequently am asked questions about the all time great
hitter, Ted Williams and the late Charlie Lau. Williams is
thought of as being a pure rotational hitter, while Lau was
a pure weight transfer teacher. Both are misconceptions and
misrepresenting the swing. Percentage wise, Ted teaches more
rotation but if you look at his old videos and still shots,
you clearly see his weight going from back to center which
is weight transfer.
Again, although Rotational Hitting is taught
without a weight shift by Mike Epstein and his
disciples, in truth most good swings have a weight shift, if not
a stride. The big, and true, difference between the two
approaches is that Linear
hitters will tend to hit more over
their front foot while Rotational hitters will tend to hit
more against but behind their
I'm not sure what picture Hudgens is talking about when
If any of you have Ted William's book, The Science of
Hitting, turn to the very last page and you will see a
perfect swing. However, look closely. Ted has gone to the
center position, with his back heel in the air, and his toe
- NOT the ball of his foot - on the ground. This clearly
shows you the weight has transferred to the center position
and therefore, it is not a pure rotational swing. A pure
rotational swing would involve no weight transfer and would
consist of the weight spinning on the ball of the back foot.
...but I will say that, again, this quote is more a reflection of how some people
teach Rotational Hitting than what good hitters actually
Some people teach that the way to get good hip rotation
is to crush or squish the bug with the back foot. I assume
they teach that because you can find pictures of good
hitters who appear to be squishing the bug. However, and as
I explain in my piece on
The Myth of Squishing the Bug, the idea that good
hitters squish the bug through the Point Of Contact is a myth.
With respect to the hand path, Hudgens says...
The proper hand path will start out linear or straight to
the ball. On the finish or follow through, the swing becomes
more circular. In other words, the swing is more linear on
the approach to the ball, and more circular on the follow
While many people teach this and say this, it's very easy
to find video evidence that disproves this idea. Instead, video
shows that good hitters actually use a Curved Hand Path
through the Point Of Contact.
Albert Pujols' Curved Hand Path
In fact, Hudgens has the hand path backwards; sometimes the hand path may start out more linear, or elliptical, but it will
generally have a pronounced curve in it through the Point Of
Don't Get Caught Following
Bad Hitting Advice!
Hudgens has more to say about the hand path in "Don't Get
Caught Following Bad Hitting Advice!"
During the swing, the back elbow should come close to
the rib cage and the barrel of the bat should stay above
the hands. With a high back elbow, the elbow has to
travel a much greater distance and at a much faster rate
of speed. When this happens, the barrel of the bat will
drop below the hands, the front elbow will rise, and you will have a
long swing. If this goes on for very long, you have created
a habit - a very bad habit.
This paragraph is riddled with myths and misconceptions
related to the supposed A to C Swing.
For instance, if a high back elbow is so bad, then
why do you see a high back elbow in the swings of so many good hitters? There's also the question of the proper positioning and movement of the
back elbow, the front elbow, and the barrel. I discuss the myths
related to the idea that you need to keep the barrel above the
hands through the Point Of Contact, and not swing with an
uppercut, at length in my piece on
The Myth of the A
to C Swing. However, all you have to do is look at a few
video clips of good hitters to see that good hitters frequently do the
things that many people say that one should never do.
Albert Pujols' Swing
Chipper Jones' Swing
Alex Rodriguez's Swing
Don Mattingly's Swing
For instance, notice how, in each of the clips above — all of which are of home
runs — how the hitter's front elbow rises and the barrel drops below their hands.
That is commonly referred to as a loop in the swing and it's
supposed to be deadly. Perhaps a loop in the swing, a high front
elbow, and an uppercut aren't as bad as people think.
Dave Hudgens and Andres Torres
As I discuss in
experience with Andres Torres, Dave Hudgens did tremendous
damage to Andres' swing and career. Hudgens (like Hensley
Meulens) wanted Andres to do things that were the opposite of
what I taught Andres, that worked in 2009 and 2010, and that the
best hitters (actually) do. By the end of his time with the
Mets, Andres was deeply confused and he and his swing never
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