3 Most Common Kinematic Sequence Flaws in Baseball Swings

Having assessed hundreds of hitters at RPP, we have been exposed to all types of athletes and swings. As a part of our hitting assessment, one area we focus on is the player’s kinematic sequence and how energy transfers up the chain.  Generally, we look for an efficient transfer of power up the kinetic chain in the following order, pelvis, torso, upper arm and hand.  Although we have observed a large variety of different sequences, here are the 3 most common flawed sequences we observe among young hitters on K-vest:

    • Sequence 1: Gate Swinger
    • Sequence 2: Rotational Swinger
    • Sequence 3: Upper Half Hitter

Let’s review each and go over how you can potentially address it with specific hitting drills.

Sequence 1: Gate Swinger

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We call this sequence a “Gate-Swing” due to the fact that two components of the swing are moving at the same time. This sequence has the Torso and Lead Arm moving simultaneously, however, any adjacent body part peaking at or close to the same time would be considered a gate swing (pelvis / torso or torso / lead arm).

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As you can see from the chart above, the torso and the upper arm reach peak angular velocities at the same time, while beginning their decel at the same time as well.  This can make it difficult to stay linear with your direction as you tend to pull off and force your barrel out of the zone early. In relation to energy transfer, this lack of separation robs the swing of speed and power.

A gate swing that has a “1-2-2-3” sequence, many times is due to the hitter having a hard time getting into his scap load. Because the hitter is not loading into his scap properly, the lead arm goes along for the ride with the torso, and the sequence of his swing is compromised.

The following drill, Scap 3 Series, can help the athlete focus and better feel the scap load.

Scap 3 Series

Sequence 2: Rotational Swinger

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As the name states, a “Rotational Swing” is overly rotational – forcing the hitter to pull off resulting in a smaller margin for error. The sequence in this movement is pelvis first, then the upper arm, torso and the hand. Although this sequence allows hitters to hit the ball harder, it is at the cost of putting the ball in play consistently partially due to not allowing more time for adjustability to certain pitches.

It is important to understand that although this swing is considered a flawed sequence, this could be an efficient sequence depending on how you move. For tight moving power hitters like Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge for example, this is an efficient move. However, for young hitters who do not fall into this category due to body composition and strength issues (particularly core strength), it is important to transition your sequence to a traditional “1-2-3-4” sequence.

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This sequence is efficient for guys like Stanton and Judge as they can produce high levels of upper body power. While strikeouts tend to be higher, the upside is that they hit tons of homeruns. The “Rotational Swing” is efficient for these higher level guys, however, be cognizant of potential problems that may occur.

This drill is the foundation of how to understand your swing. This drill allows you to feel your body moving efficiently, along with the ability to both create and maintain hip-shoulder separation.

PVC X-Factor with Hands

Sequence 3: Upper Half Hitter

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An “Upper Half Hitter” has deficiencies using their lower half as well as upper body strength/power to better hold rotation until later. Specifically, the hitter is initiating his swing with their torso where an efficient swing is initiated from their pelvis. Simply put, a “2-1-3-4” sequence is using all upper half, with little-to-no power generated from their lower half.

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If you want to have a proper sequence, it is a necessity to begin from the ground and work your way up the kinetic chain. In relation to energy transfer, you will simply have more angular velocity at contact after generating and transferring energy efficiently from the ground (1-2-3-4) in comparison to just the torso (2-1-3-4).

The following drill (along with some upper body / core training in the gym), focuses on initiating the swing with your back hip (pelvis). By starting in a semi-launch position, it allows you to isolate your back side to help you slot your upper half.

Anchor Drill

By Evan Klugerman (BA, Director of Hitting at RPP)

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2 Replies to “3 Most Common Kinematic Sequence Flaws in Baseball Swings”

  1. How about a hitter with proper sequencing and relatively fast hips but not enough jumps in each of the subsequent chains?

    1. Hey Jim, Train eccentric strength. More than likely the athlete is not strong enough eccentrically to efficiently accept force. This will cause poor deceleration and leaks to adjacent metrics up the chain (Pelvis to torso /torso to arm/arm to hand), Hope this helps, Nunzio

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