Misconception - A Hitter Should Break their Wrist at Contact
A common misconception is that a hitter should break their wrist at the point of contact while swinging a bat. This concept is completely false and will only lead to frustrating performance and poor results.
When a player makes contact with the ball their wrists should be firm. A baseball (or softball) is a dense object, therefore an athlete should be geared for the collision course of “bat meeting ball.” This isn’t badminton after all - we’re not swinging at a shuttlecock.
As we discussed in “Misconception - Line up the Knuckles when Gripping a Bat,” at the point of contact the top knuckles of a hitter’s top hand should be lined up with their middle (door knocking) knuckles on their bottom hand. The wrists should be firm, not loose. Hitters who break their wrist or roll over at the point of contact will have a difficult time hitting the ball out of the infield. They won't have the ability to drive the ball and will likely find themselves situated at the bottom of the batting order.
The only time the wrists should “break” during the swing is after contact. This only pertains to a hitter with a two handed follow through, like a golf swing. It is very important for this style of hitter to turn their wrists over during the follow through process. This will protect the shoulders and prevent a “wear and tear” type of injury from unorthodox mechanics. A player who represented this hitting style beautifully was hall of famer Mike Piazza.
Hitters who utilize a one-handed release should never break their wrists. In this style of hitting the athlete will release the top hand from the bat after contact and during the follow through, finishing with one hand. Two hitters who used the top hand release to perfection were Ken Griffey Jr. and Will Clark.
By letting the top hand slip away from the bat and finishing the swing with only the bottom hand, an athlete is essentially accomplishing the same thing as the wrist “break.” They are protecting their bodies from potential injury by using proper biomechanics.
For a player to develop their “true swing” it takes years of diligent practice and experimentation. Very rarely will a player fall in love with their stance, stride or follow through from the outset of their training. It takes time, and many adjustments, for a hitter to develop a swing that is fundamentally sound and “feels right.” However, for players who stick with it, that day will eventually come. Something will click, and they’ll have their own work of art, in the form of a baseball swing.
If this sounds like a lot of work - it is. That’s why very few players accomplish this remarkable feat. But, is it worth it? Take a few minutes and watch some highlight videos of Piazza, Griffey Jr. and Clark. That should serve as some quality inspiration for the long and fulfilling road ahead.