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Get/Stay on Top of the Ball

One day, early on in the 2013 season, I was watching the Giants play the Dodgers. During that game, Pablo Sandoval hit a home run to right field. When discussing the pitch and the swing, the color commentator remarked on how good a job Sandoval did of getting on top of the pitch despite its location at the top of the strike zone.

Pablo Sandoval Home Run Swing

Pablo Sandoval

As I discuss in my pieces on the A to C Swing and Keeping the Barrel Above the Ball, many people, including major league hitting instructors, teach a swing that you will not see in the clips of the swings of the best hitters.

This is a problem because it is systematically ruining the swings of players who otherwise show great talent.

Joe Mather Batting Practice - Batting Tee

Joe Mather
Getting and Staying on Top of the Ball

The clips above show Joe Mather working on getting and staying on top of the ball. The result is a hard ground ball into the netting just in front of him.

Why does anyone think that practicing hitting balls into the ground will yield anything other than ground balls during a game? Do they think that, during the game, those ground balls will be magically transformed into home runs?

I discuss what the best hitters actually do at length in Truth in Hitting.

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