Last week, we launched a new platform that I’ve personally been building for about 10 months. Within this platform, I can process assessments, video analysis, and a lot of data in new ways. Part of that launch was our partner program (True Grind in Austin, TX) providing video of a bunch of video and data for their summer program. With new hitters, there is a huge educational process and these kids are receiving emails with content each day of the summer.
The SwingScore system is something I developed a few years ago to start compiling data on hitters. It is a series of questions and measurements that ultimately lead to a score for the hitter’s mechanics. The scoring system is similar to grades in school. Swings in the 90s are very good while swings that creep down into the 70s or 60s will have mechanical deficiencies. This scoring system doesn’t measure whether or not the hitter can hit – it just looks at movements and positions.
Over the last few years, I’ve measured a lot of swings. One of the positions I look at is head positioning relative to the front foot at contact. This measurement iS an indicator of the body tilt and shows some correlation to swing plane. (There are so, so many variables in the swing so you can’t look at this position exclusively.) The further forward a hitter is, the more likely they will swing down. The more they lean back, the more the swing will be likely to go upward.
The best hitters are usually around 65 degrees. They will range a few degrees up and down, but problems really start showing up when you go up or down 5 degrees. Check out this GIF to get an idea of what these angles look like:
Here are two examples of hitters who are getting into positions that are outside of ideal ranges.
The forward head positioning here is even more abnormal and this usually shows up when the hitter is pushing the arms forward. Being too far forward is much more common.
The head back, here at 58 degrees, is much less common. Usually these hitters are hanging back too much and can have stability issues where they lean back to create rotation.
This is very simple to measure. I draw the line through the middle of the ankle through the middle of the head. It isn’t perfect, but it is a low-tech way to identify problem areas to address with a hitter.