Keys to pull side elevation

Pulled air balls are the most effective batted balls but they are not easy to achieve. Last year in mlb the average pull side LA was just 5.8 degrees, vs 9.2 to center and a whopping 24.4 to opposite field.

But which factors make pulling the ball in the air so hard?

One is pitch selection. https://www.fangraphs.com/community/effect-of-pitch-selection-on-launch-angle-and-exit-velocity/ Pulling outside pitches yields lower lauch, the same applies to lower pitches, especially down and away.

But also hitting the inside pitch also has some problems. One problem is simply that the body is in the way. The sweet spot of the bat is like 20 inches away from the hands and the inside of the plate is closer to the body than that.

https://imgur.com/a/yEPTt7C
Creating space
Because of this to hit the inside pitch you need to create space.

1. Create space ahead of the body
This ist he first way. Every hitting instruction, traditional or modern teaches to hit the inside pitch out front more.This means the hands are slid across the chest slightly so the hands are more in front of the belly button instead of besides the body

https://imgur.com/a/iIiQqpY

2. Create Space laterally
The out front method is good but it also has issues if overdone. First of all raking the hand across the chest is breaking the kinetic chain, it creates some kind of „push“. This is needed to hit some inside pitches but it also can reduce exit velo, which is shown even in mlb were up and in leads tot he lowest EV of all zone locations.

Also a too circular swing that is too wide around the body leads to a strong right to left component which can create top spin and roll overs (same applies to too far out front contact when bat starts to arc out of zone).
Pro tennis players actually use that across swing actively to generate topspin

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MJHTQncT-AA&t=19s

However in baseball topspin is of course not wanted unlike tennis. Because of this it can help to make the path to the inside pitch more linear. It is still curved of course, but not as big of a curve.

To achieve this you simply need to increase the distance between the inside of the plate and the body. This is achieved by maintaining hip hinge a little longer and also using side bend to pull away from the plate.

https://imgur.com/a/Am3ETQ1
Trout is excellent at this creating space under his right shoulder to create a more direct path. This means he hast o hit the inside pitch less out front and rake the hands less across the chest even allowing him to hit balls on the inside black over the fence to straight center.

If you have created space laterally and bring the hands really tight forward under the right shoulder you can bring the path a little straighter to the pitch and hit the ball straighter too.

This is an extreme case though and most hitters will need a combination of both methods to hit the inside pitch.

So to summarize to hit pull side bombs, pick the right pitches to pull (inside pitches or middle pitchest hat are slightly elevated) and create space to pull the ball without going across it too much.

A common mistake that blocks off the inside pitch is a too wide arc to it that causes to hook the ball and also the hips coming toward the plate to soon. Found this golf drill to correct that. Don’t let hip extension occur until they are fully turned.

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