777-D Elmira Road
Vacaville, CA 95687
Linear hitters do not use their total bodies in their swings. Rather, it is a “hands and arms"-type swing. As a rule, linear-type hitters have become the foundation for describing one of my three hitting types: the Singles/Contact-type hitter.
Before talking about linear hitting, it is best to define it. “Linear," by definition, means “Of, relating to, or resembling a line; straight." A linear hitter starts with his weight over his rear leg and transfers his weight to a point over his front leg as he swings. It is a straight-line, back-to-front movement.
For many reasons, the linear hitting approach was the technique of choice before 1920; the singular, most important reason was that there were no outfield fences at that time.
When studying the historical transition of hitting techniques over different time periods, one thing becomes increasingly evident. Any changes made were simply “cycles" during which smart hitters adapted to playing conditions the best they could. As an example, the “Dead Ball Era" was, in reality, just a period during which field design and “dead" baseballs did not reward the batter who drove the ball a long way in the air. Thus, linear type hitters thrived.
However, the dominant hitters of that era, Ty Cobb (photo, left), “Shoeless" Joe Jackson, Sam Crawford, Honus Wagner, “Home Run" Baker, et al, clearly used rotational mechanics. As you look at Ty Cobb to the left, this is an action photo as he is at toe touch, just before heel plant and the beginning of his swing-technique. The hands depict a “hitch” he had, but he returned to the universal launch position like 95% of HOF players did.
While the concept of hitting “level to the ball" was not in vogue because there were no fences, the dominant hitters, i.e., those that generated the highest number of total bases, did use “torque" and hip rotation to generate their power. The swings of that era were “flat" to “down"—on occasion, even a “chop"—to better take advantage of large outfields and porous infield defenses.
Hitting balls in the air in those days was tantamount to failure. It was near impossible to hit one over an outfielder’s head. Most home runs in those days were “gap" line drives which got past the outfielders and just keep rolling.
Today, those hitters of yesteryear with their “level" shoulders hitting approach, would be classified as “linear" hitters. Top linear hitters of this era included Nap Lajoie, Eddie Collins, Tris Speaker, and “Wee Willie" Keeler.
The game of baseball in those days was one of strategy, centered on bunts, hit-and-run tactics and base stealing. Not to mention field managers that would water down the area in front of home plate. Most runs were “manufactured" and every run was critical.
In 1910, the cork-centered baseball was introduced and the game became livelier and the pace quickened. Babe Ruth came on the scene and single-handedly introduced a whole new style of play with the home run. Fenced-in ballparks took the place of the large open fields. The change in venues helped seal the demise of linear hitting.
Starting in 1920, the game would change forever. Or, at least until 1975.
777-D Elmira Road
Vacaville, CA 95687
• Personal Instruction
• Awareness is the first step; let's take it together
• “I realize that we live in a “microwave society" where everyone wants everything “yesterday.” Unfortunately, Mother Nature makes no allowances for hitters in this regard. Becoming a good hitter takes time—and patience. Believe me, talking with many players who have been there and done it at baseball’s highest levels, everyone agrees that there are no shortcuts-None.
• Teaching hitting should be presented in a logical, progressive, and straight-forward manner to the student. It should also make sense. There is little to gain from a haphazard, non-structured approach to the learning process. It's a waste of time and money.
• In sports, players rarely get a second chance to make a good first impression. Taking the time necessary to choose a hitting instructor and the philosophy you can live with, is very important to their continued advancement."
• Take the first step…
• Our individual and group lessons typically last 70-90 minutes and always include full use of theEpstein Swing Analyzer motion analysis computer with a 32" flat screen display. Parents are welcome and encouraged to attend, watch, and learn with their son/daughter to make this a one-of-a-kind learning experience.
• For local players, we offer no-risk swing evaluations to determine the player's current mechanics. The evaluation typically lasts 75-90 minutes and encompasses the player's swing analysis, mechanics review and history, as well as frame-by-frame on-screen synchronization with current MLB All-Stars. The evaluation is a wonderful way to not only see one's swing compared to MLB players, but also former Epstein and Baseball Barn hitters of the same age and ability level.
• Awareness is the first step; let's take it together. I urge you to contact us today to find the right program for your son or daughter.
Hitting a baseball and teaching the major league swing have been an endeavor I have taken to heart over the past few years. Being mentored—and certified—by Ted Williams has given Mike Epstein insights into the science of proper hitting technique that very few have ever had access to; For baseball or softball. They continually upgrade their products and teaching instruction methods to keep you on the leading-edge of what is being taught in today's hitting community. As a Certified Epstein Hitting Instructor let me put these techniques to work to help your son or daughter improve.
Our hitting tunnels easily retract to create over 4,500 SF of open infield turf suitable for nearly every baseball/softball activity:
• Infield practice
• Speed & Agility Training
• Base running drills
• Catcher’s drills
And so much more.
Are you a manager/coach of a team? Please call us at (707) 564-5010 or email to email@example.com to discuss a custom team practice package that suits your needs.