“STOP DROPPING YOUR BACK SHOULDER”
No. Stop saying this, we are all better than this.
Raise your hand if you’ve heard a parent or coach yell to their athlete, “Stop dipping your back shoulder!” It seems that if we correct the back should dip then all will be okay in the world. However, there are a couple of things to keep in mind: 1. There is a certain amount of acceptable back shoulder ‘dip’ that is necessary for proper swing kinematics to fall into place. 2. Dipping of the back shoulder is sometimes due to extraneous factors such as timing or fatigue. For example: If an athlete is extremely late to contact, they will often compensate by dipping their shoulder in order to try and get their barrel to the ball. Additionally, if an athlete begins to fatigue throughout the course of a training session, it will be natural for the back shoulder to dip due to fatigue. Therefore, although the athlete is indeed dipping their back shoulder, that is not the main cause of the issue. Instead of yelling to your athlete, “Stop dipping” you should instead…well, you should instead not yell anything to your athlete during a game but the proper corrective cue would be to correct timing opposed to physical attributes of the swing.
However, if the main issue is repetitive dip due to body awareness or improper sequencing habits, then here are three quick drills to work on to address back shoulder dip.
Kneeling Tee Work
Description: Kneeling allows the body to focus and isolate the upper half. By utilizing the bad as seen in the first video above, the athlete can create opposite direction tension in order to focus solely on the one hand they are swinging with.
Description: Set up the tee like normal. Add another tee, so the top is 6 inches behind the normal tee, and about 6 inches lower. Add a ball to the second tee. The goal here is to be able to hit the top ball without hitting the bottom ball. This drill is meant for girls who drop their barrel too much. The tee will need to be adjusted based on pitch height. Keep in mind there is an acceptable and normal amount of bat drop that needs to happen.
Back elbow/Back knee connectivity
Description: Check in to pitcher, start swing by just moving elbow into the slot leaving the bat head behind. Make sure that your back hip and knee stay in line with the backside shoulder. The back heel should move off the ground without initiating any twisting motion. The purpose of this drill is to purely activate the linear aspect of the swing with proper initiation and commitment sequencing. It is important that the upper body and lower body work together. This should feel super loose, but quick. After two reps, perform a full speed swing.
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