Mirror, Mirror, on the Wall - Synchronizing the Hips
As we discussed in the Mirror, Mirror “Comfortable Hands” and “Find a Natural Stride” drills, an imperative component of the hitter’s approach is that they are comfortable. This is true for every fundamental imaginable in the baseball swing, including the legs, and can be practiced by analyzing your swing in front of a mirror.
Why use a mirror? So you can see with your own eyes what is happening in a live setting. When professional dancers are practicing a choreographed routine, a mirror is essential. It allows the dancers to make adjustments and corrections on the fly. I realize there aren't many parallels between dancing and baseball - but we're talking about the hips here! So lets have an open mind.
Depending on how much room you have in front of the mirror, grab a game bat (or you can simulate this with an imaginary bat) and settle into your respective batting stance. Using the lessons we learned from the “comfortable hands” drill - relaxed hands, located above the back foot and ready to strike - initiate the movement in your lower body with a stride.
The hitter should feel the upper body behind the lower body, and as they pop their hips into the power position, their hands should begin their orbit through the desired hitting zone. This synchronization between the upper body and lower body is critical to a hitter’s ability to be consistent and to drive the ball with authority.
This drill is extremely helpful in helping a hitter develop the proper mechanics in the lower body, as the legs should be strong and balanced. The speed for this drill ranges from extremely slow motion - to develop the proper mechanics - all the way to a full speed, game swing. The important thing is to complete the drill properly and develop consistent fundamentals and muscle memory.
When initially practicing this exercise, a player should envision hitting a 2-0 fastball down the heart of the plate; however, as the hitter begins to master this synchronization, they can make the drill more challenging by simulating contact in different parts of the strike zone.
This is a great drill for athletes 11 years of age and older, it can be exercised as long as the athlete has access to a full length mirror and preferably a game bat.
The purpose of this drill is to get a feeling of how the hips are responsible for a more efficient swing and to increase bat speed. A hitter generates the most bat speed when utilizing maximum torque, while the hands are carefree, quick and easy. When a ballplayer has mastered this technique their balance should still be solid despite all of the power being generated by the torque.