It is common for people to think that every time a hitter pulls a ground ball that the batter rolled their wrists early. A good baseball swing analysis shows that rarely is that the case. When a players wrists roll early in the hitting zone, the bat actually cuts down, and as often underneath the ball, resulting in popups and fly balls, and in any direction.
Players with good swings, have their bat in the hitting zone for a long time, because their wrists do not roll until the bat is out of the zone, before finishing it high at shoulder level, or above. However, these players with great swings often pull groundballs and not because of an early wrist roll. The reason is that they are hitting the top half of the ball out in front of home plate that is all.
With the correct baseball swing analysis, one notices that the lower the swing, the sooner the bat reaches the desired palm-up, palm-down position, but the bat begins to rise up quite soon, thereafter. The more the batter hits the ball out front of home, the more likely the bat has begun to rise up, leading to striking the ball on the top half. This is most common on pitches in the lower parts of the strike zone, as it is difficult to get the hands and bat barrel to that level pitch, but can also happen on pitches up in the zone also, especially with sinkerball pitchers.
In illustration 1, the bat will begin to rise the more the bat reaches the ball out front. This rising bat could be a good thing, when striking lower part of the ball, but not good, when batters swing over the top of the ball. The pulled ground ball is common on pitches in the lower parts of the strike zone, as it is difficult to get the hands and bat barrel to that level pitch because batters hands begin at the top of the strike zone.
Of course, occasionally pulled ground balls are the results of the early roll of the wrists, especially on outer half and off-speed pulled pitches, but that is not nearly as common as most think. This may sound complicated but it just takes a little study of the baseball swing to understand.
With that in mind, how do players avoid hitting pulled ground balls? The best solution is to let the ball get deeper in the hitting zone and by hitting the ball through the middle, or to the opposite field. Because the swing begins to travel on an upward plane the more out front contact comes, the best chance is making contact deeper in the hitting zone. The other solution is for batters to maintain posture as long as they can throughout the swing, by keeping the bat on the same plane, accomplished by keeping their head down, so the hands do not rise, and by maintaining a flexed back leg, as seen in illustration 2. Finally, with the correct weight shift, batters front shoulder does not pull away prematurely, a common reason for the early wrist roll.
After playing major league baseball, Jack Perconte has taught baseball and softball since 1988 and offered valuable coaching training too. He has helped numerous youth players reach their potential, as well as having helped parents and coaches navigate their way through the challenging world of youth sports. Jack is one of the leading authorities in the areas of youth baseball training and coaching training advice.All Jack Perconte articles are used with copyright permission.
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