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Rotational Hitting. How to hit like a pro. By Coach Robert Ambrose. Coach Ambrose. Certified Epstein hitting instructor 2012 Certified NPA (Tom House) pitching instructor 2013 Coaching baseball continuously since 2008. Coach both Rec and travel teams.

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Rotational Hitting

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Rotational hitting

Rotational Hitting

How to hit like a pro.

By Coach Robert Ambrose

Coach ambrose

Coach Ambrose

  • Certified Epstein hitting instructor 2012

  • Certified NPA (Tom House) pitching instructor 2013

  • Coaching baseball continuously since 2008.

  • Coach both Rec and travel teams.

  • Played baseball, soccer, basketball until I discovered dirt bikes.

  • Raced motocross and supercross competitively 1984-1994.

  • Played Division I golf at Georgia State. 1996-1999

  • BA Computer Based Information Systems. GSU

  • BA Business Management-GSU

  • BS Professional Aeronautics-Embry Riddle

  • 6 Years in USMC 1984-1991: Operation Desert Storm

  • Day job: Delta Air Lines business process automation and software development for Technical Operations.

Rotational and linear hitting

Rotational and Linear Hitting

  • There are only 2 proven techniques used in hitting.

    • Linear Model

      • Popular among unskilled players.

      • Easy to teach.

      • Feels natural to players.

      • High ball contact but low power and low production.

    • Rotational Model

      • Popular among professional or highly skilled players.

      • Hard to teach.

      • Feels unnatural to players at first.

      • High ball contact, high power and high production.

Linear hitting model cues

Linear Hitting Model Cues

  • Fast hand>>Hands lead the hips.

  • Swing down and through.

  • Swing A to C

  • Straight line is the shortest distance between 2 points.

  • Throw you hands at the ball.

  • Roll your wrists at impact.

  • Get your back elbow up.

  • Keep barrel above the hands.

  • Squish the bug.

  • Swing down for backspin.

Rotational hitting cues

Rotational Hitting Cues

  • Hips lead the hands.

  • Feet are first and the bat is last.

  • Curved hand path.

  • Block the front side.

  • Hinge but don’t roll wrists.

  • Back elbow slots down.

  • Arms bent at impact.

  • Match plane of swing with plane of pitch.

  • Bat stays close to shoulder until late in approach.

  • Stay inside the ball.

  • Must start early.

Linear and rotational comparison

Linear and Rotational Comparison




Weight forward

Hands lead hips

Hips stop early. Bug squish. Weight on back foot. Wrist roll

Weight on front leg only. back foot off ground. Wrist hinge

Weight Centered Slightly back in this case.

Hips Lead shoulders and hands

Copy what they do and not what they say

Copy what they do and NOT what they say.

Charlie Lau and Kevin Long teach elements of linear hitting but we don’t find evidence of it in today’s MLB hitters.

This technique is not new

This technique is not new

Mickey Mantle

Joe Mauer

The epstein model

The Epstein Model

  • There is no model. We just teach the MLB swing with a series of proven drills.

  • Style is separate from technique.

  • Style is stance, and stride up to toe touch.

  • Technique begins at heel plant and ends at power V.

  • Style takes over after power V.

Epstein drill goals

Epstein Drill Goals

  • Consists of a series of drills that are proven to enable students to learn the elements of rotational hitting.

    • Hips lead the shoulders and hands.

    • Maximize torque for power.

    • Keep bat close to back shoulder into approach.

    • Swing on plane with the pitch.

    • Get weight on front foot, blocking front side.

    • Rotate hips and shoulders to target.

    • Proper kinematic sequence to maximize bat speed.

    • Adjust to pitches up and down with shoulder tilt.

    • Adjust to pitches in and out with bent front elbow.

Proper kinematic sequencing

Proper Kinematic Sequencing

Signature of rotational hitters start early wait longer swing faster

Signature of Rotational Hitters Start early, Wait longer, Swing faster

Swing starts with front foot. Pitcher has ball about waist high


Heel plant ball is only 15-20 feet from hitter.

Swing decision matrix

Swing decision matrix.


Safety first protection

Safety First!! Protection

  • Toe touch is decision point for protection.

Better hit the books kid!!

Don t turn into the ball


  • Weeks was knocked down but stayed in game with some swelling.

  • Rollins was not seriously injured and returned to win the 2007 MVP.

Protection position

Protection Position

  • 1. Turn away from the ball

  • 2. Elbows tucked in.

  • 3. Knees away from ball.

  • 4. Head away and down.

  • 5. Back angled down.

  • 6. Bat Down.

Whats wrong with this picture?

Traditional bunting danger

Traditional Bunting Danger

  • Faces the pitcher with hips and shoulders.

  • Bat angled up can deflect ball into face or chest.

  • You can bunt fine from this position but you can’t get out of the way!

  • She better hit this one!

  • You will not have time to turn away from the ball if you face the pitcher

Safe bunt position

Safe bunt position.

  • Toes pointed toward home plate.

  • Hips face home plate and not pitcher.

  • Weight more on back foot to make protection pivot easier.

  • Prefer bat level or slightly down to prevent deflection into chest and face.

Buy protection evo is best

Buy Protection!! EVO is best

  • EVO Shield offers Heart, spine and back protection.

  • Includes compression shirt and panels are flexible and form to each player for custom fit.

  • 24 hours after initial fitting panels are completely hard.

  • Available locally at Goodsports

Now the swing

Now the swing!!

  • Stance

  • Coil and Stride

  • Heel plant to impact

  • Impact to power V

Stance is style

Stance is Style

We see different styles

But the same Technique

Abreu and bonds

Abreu and Bonds

Heel plant approach

Heel Plant>>Approach

Coil and stride load

Coil and Stride (Load)

  • Hands and shoulders go back slightly while front foot goes forward.

  • Ensure head goes with front foot to keep weight centered. Don’t reach with front foot.

  • Helps create torque.

  • **Start with no-stride and will build in stride after technique is mastered.

Torque power


  • Torque is the separation of the hips and shoulders.

  • The larger the difference the more power you get.

Hips lead the hands

Hips lead the hands.

  • Hips should beat the hands to the target.

  • Plant front heel and drive back knee in and down at the same time.

  • Front leg must straighten.

  • Don’t squish!!!

Swing level with pitch

Swing level with pitch

Swinging on plane with the pitch maximizes your ability to make solid contact.

Swing on plane and not down

Swing on plane and not down.

So where is the pitch plane depends

So where is the pitch plane?? Depends…

  • Plane depends on:

    • Pitchers release point.

    • The type of pitch.

      • Fastball: swing more flat 10 deg up.

      • Curveball: swing more up 15-20 deg up.

  • Think fastball and adjust to off speed. Will need to anticipate the pitch. If you looking for fastball take the curve. If your looking for a curveball take the fastball. Until you have 2 strikes.

Depends on the pitch

Depends on the pitch.

  • Fastball is flatter.

  • Curve or change will require more up-swing.

  • On deck time and get on plane with fastball.

  • Look for tells on each pitch.

  • Look for grip during pitching motion.

You may have to swing down to swing up no matter what you must swing on plane

You may have to swing down to swing up. No matter what, you must swing on plane!!

We get upswing from backlean

We get upswing from backlean.

Backlean is backward tilt

Backlean is backward tilt

Hinge but don t roll wrists

Hinge but, don’t roll wrists

  • Wrists hinge into impact.

  • Hinging keeps bat on plane.

  • After power V there is a ¼ forearm roll.

  • If you roll your wrists the bat goes up and you hit weak ground balls.

Bug squishing only after impact

Bug Squishing: only after impact

After impact weight on back foot.

At impact back foot off ground

Drive back knee in and down and straighten front leg

Drive back knee in and down and straighten front leg.

  • Drive back knee in and down as soon as front heel plants to push the back hip forward.

  • Straightening front leg drives front hip back.

  • Back heel gets pulled up by knee drive.

  • Get all weight to front leg.

  • Drag or lift back foot.

Steady head after front heel plant

Steady head after front heel plant.

  • Fall to front foot in stride but then keep head steady.

  • No forward movement after heel plant.

  • Rotate around fixed front leg.

Eyes out front

Eyes out front

Don’t try to track ball with head or eyes, you can’t. Keep eyes out front. Brain can only process 40 frames per second. Ball disappears 8 feet or so from you.

How to teach rotation hitting

How to teach rotation hitting.

  • Break swing into small pieces in these groups and have student master each.

    • Coil and stride.

    • Heel plant to impact.

    • Impact to power V.

    • Power V to finish.

      Cycle through each position and drill until it all clicks.


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