Fix the Hitting Habit of Dipping Under the Ball
Baseball and Fast Pitch Softball
Philosophy can be defined as “a set of ideas about how to do something or how to live.” (Merriam-Webster, 2015)
As the developing hitter progresses through the construction of their “Rome,” Philosopher Lessons provide ideas for making improvements.
Roman citizens line up outside our renowned Philosopher’s villa. They have not seen him emerge for days. The large gathering of young citizens and their anxious parents are tired of repeatedly striking out due to “dipping.” They are finally rewarded for their long wait.
Huge Upper Cut (Dipping)
After a couple of years of trying to hit a pitch, which is traveling slowly and dropping steeply as it crosses the plate, many young hitters develop a substantial uppercut (as well as bat drag). The hitter intuitively feels the necessity to swing up to match the pitch’s dropping plane if they want to make contact consistently and hit the ball further.
But, as the hitter gets older and faces faster and flatter pitching, habitual dipping results in missing under the ball, especially on waist-high and up pitches. The extreme uppercut swing path no longer matches the trajectory of the now faster pitch.
The mechanics of the dipping swing path are:
- The young hitter collapses or drops their rear shoulder and hands before stride foot lands.
- The barrel of the bat “dips” too far under the level of the hands.
Tips for Fixing the Habit of Dipping
Tip 1 – Routinely ask the hitter to hit a line drive with the tee positioned at the top of the strike zone.
Tip 2 – As the stride foot lands, shoulders should be level or slightly sloped forward (see Tool XI: Universal Stride and Approach Drills, Drill IV – Shoulders Level Drill).
Tip 3 – As the hands load rearward, ask the hitter to maintain back elbow parallel to the ground (see Tool XIII: Universal Loading Hands Drills, Drill IV – Rear Elbow Angle at Launch Drill).
Tip 4 – Routinely practicing a level follow through helps the hitter “stay on plane” with faster pitching.
Externally thinking about the barrel’s path on follow-through is an effective method to adjust the swing plane that comes before.
Ask the hitter to swing hard and follow-through to shoulder height or just below. Use a noodle to set the level of follow-through, where the hitter finishes beneath the noodle. To execute a level follow-through requires the hitter to maintain the barrel level earlier in the swing.
Tip 5 – Practice the two-tee drill.
Put two tees about one foot apart, one in front of the other. The top of the ball on the back tee should be just below the bottom of the ball on the front tee. Ask the hitter to hit the ball on the front tee and miss the ball on the rear tee.
Building Rome Series Books: Building the High-Level Swing Series
See Building the High-Level Swing for a detailed and comprehensive description of 100 hitting fundamentals and 140 step-by-step drills that efficiently construct the batting swing from the ground up.
In the Building Rome Series of books, the construction of skills are in functional order, providing a “roadmap” to becoming a great hitter.
All baseball and fastpitch softball players can “climb the Roman Coliseum steps” to become a powerful and productive hitter.
Enjoy the quest!