Hitting the ball down has nothing to do with bat path.
Hitting down means making contact with the top hemisphere of the ball.
Hitting up means making contact with the bottom hemisphere of the ball.
Line drives are centered contact.
You will transfer the most power into a line drive because more of your energy is converted to speed.
When you hit up or down, some of your energy is converted to spin. (This is actually a good thing.)
For grounders and dingers, spin is good. For a ground ball, a little top spin makes it harder to field the ball because it “hops.”
For a dinger, a little backspin actually helps the ball float and stay in the air longer, letting it fly farther.
“Shortest path between two points is a straight line… Throw your hands straight to the ball.”
The shortest DISTANCE between two points is a straight line… HOWEVER, in physics, the shortest TIME between two points is achieved by following the Brachistochrone [bruh-kis-tuh-krohn] Curve.
This curve is the fastest time from loaded to contact, which is also the fastest bat speed.
The straight line is the shortest distance but it is the SLOWEST time to contact and the SLOWEST bat speed.
Your driveway may be short, but you can’t hit top speed in your Ferrari in a driveway.
The smaller the whip, the harder to crack. The longer the whip the easier it is to crack.
A little longer bat path lets you speed up your bat effortlessly.
If you’re looking to increase your exit velocity, you should start with your bat path.
Your bat path matters…
*SPOILER ALERT* The fastest path between two points is NOT a straight line.
There are 3 common bat paths…
- Direct Line – Taught by most coaches.
- On-Plane Early – New Age / Ken Griffey Jr. swing.
- Uppercut / Golf Swing – Most coaches hate seeing this.
The Direct Line swing is what most coaches teach. If your hands start by your ear, thye move in a direct line from your ear to the ball. It’s a “chop” style motion similar to swinging an ax. This move is taught by most baseball and softball coaches at all levels.
Coaches HATE looking at the Uppercut / Golf Swing. It looks like the bat drops behind you and as you rotate you have to swing up at the ball. Many well meaning coaches even tell their players they shouldn’t play golf if they want to be good at baseball.
The On-Plane Early swing is actually the fastest swing… with the ideal attack angle.
In Math and Physics, the On-Plane Early path is called the Brachistochrone [bruh-kis-tuh-krohn] curve, which comes from the Greek translation for “Fastest Time”.
The Direct Line, what almost everyone teaches, is actually the SLOWEST with the LEAST chance to barrel it up.
Surprisingly for most… the Uppercut / Golf Swing is actually MUCH closer to a good swing than the Direct Line.
You can see in the video below Adam Savage from MythBusters demonstrates the three common bat paths.