Fix bat drag

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More clues on getting rid of bat drag

About Ken Krause

Ken Krause has been coaching girls fastpitch softball for nearly 20 years. Some may know him as a contributing columnist to Softball Magazine, where he writes Krause's Korner -- a regular column sponsored by Louisville Slugger. Ken is also the Administrator of the Discuss Fastpitch Forum, the most popular fastpitch discussion forum on the Internet. He is currently a Three Star Master Coach with the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA), and is certified by both the Amateur Softball Association (ASA) and American Sports Education Program (ASEP). Ken is a private instructor specializing in pitchers, hitters, and catchers. He teaches at North Shore Baseball Academy in Libertyville, IL and Pro-Player Consultants in McHenry, IL.

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#1 Youth Baseball Swing Fix To Deflating Bat Speed



Awhile back I posted the following youth baseball post to my Hitting Performance Lab Facebook fan-page (CLICK HERE if you haven’t “Liked” my fan-page yet…new content daily):

[fb_embed_post href=”” width=”″/]

This video blog post will target one of the worst youth baseball swing offenders to deflating bat speed…bat drag.  In this article, we’re going over:

  • What is Bat Drag?
  • The science of Bat Drag (to hitting an unknown moving pitch), and
  • One way to fix Bat Drag.


What is Baseball Youth Bat Drag?

#1 Youth Baseball Swing Fix To Deflating Bat Speed

Notice the difference in Charles’s barrel angle.

This is when the front arm “bars out” before the Final Turn.  Also known as “Casting.”  And it’s an oftentimes frustrating youth baseball hitting fix.

I received an email awhile back from James Brown (NOT the singer), that said:

…”I watched a video that perry husband had at the hitting hot stove at the abca in Dallas that showed analysis of the Homerun derby, and the furthest home runs by each individual competitor happened when their lead arm was extended early.  I think swing mass and leverage has a lot to power to the ball…  Think about having your hand slammed in a door.  Would you want a door with a short distance from hinge to knob, or a long distance?  Short would close faster, but do less damage.  Long will impart more force at a slower speed.”

James Brown’s email response was after I produced this youth baseball Shin-Soo Choo: Can Front Arm KILL Bat Speed? video post.

Here’s how I responded…


The Science of Bat Drag (to hitting an unknown moving pitch)

…”I see what you’re saying and agree…to hit the ball the farthest, a straight front arm would be ideal. Look at golfers for instance. But here’s the problem…a hitter in a game doesn’t know with % certainty: pitch location, speed, and pitch type.

So a hitter needs to turn quicker for the first half of the Final Turn, to get the barrel on the plane of the pitch as soon as possible.  Then extend on the pitch plane, depending on pitch location and speed.”

In the home run derby, hitters know the pitch speed, type – and for the most part – location.

I agree with Perry Husband in that hitters should make it a goal to get to impact with a long front arm.

However, I don’t agree in getting a hitter to bar that front arm out early on, pre-turn.

It’s a simple Conservation of Angular Momentum issue.  CLICK HERE for a short 2-minute Circus Physics video from PBS on this movement Principle.

An ice skater speeds up by tucking her arms in towards her rotating middle.  She slows down by extending her arms away from her rotating middle.

What’s going on here?

Rotating speed goes up when the rotation is tighter (bending the arms), but inertial mass decreases.  Inversely related, when the arms go out, her inertial mass increases, but her rotating speed decreases.  This is how Angular Momentum is conserved.

So, unless like Perry teaches, Pitch Recognition and Strategic hitting game plans against specific pitchers is supplemented, I don’t see the logic in teaching hitters to early arm bar, pre-turn.


Because barring the front arm out early will slow rotation down (think arm extended ice skater), and on higher perceived velocities to the hitter, high or inside the strike-zone, why would we want our hitters to turn slower at the beginning of the turn?

The bottom line? Youth baseball (or softball) swing game mechanics are slightly different than in batting practice.  “Five-o-clock” hitters typically aren’t very effective in games.  And let me tell you, all my pitching friends LOVE pitching to early arm bar hitters because they have a weakness to exploit.  Just like hitters that swing down on the ball and extreme upper cutters do.

One Way to Fix Bat Drag

Youth Baseball ALERT: Stop Arm Barring

See Cutch pulling his top hand, while bottom hand restrains that pull forward (look at muscles in left forearm and triceps). Photo courtesy:

Typically, I have my youth baseball hitters practice the Catapult Loading System when we have an arm barring issue.  The finer points before a hitter lands in the Fight Position are:

  • Showing pitcher your numbers,
  • Hiding hands from pitcher, and
  • Slight downhill shoulder angle.

Another piece I’ve just added to the puzzle comes from Homer Kelly in his book The Golfing Machine.  The following quote may shed additional light on “educating the hands” to combat arm barring…

“Power Accumulator #1 (for right handed golfer) – is the bent right arm. Even though the right biceps is active, the backstroke is always made with the right arm striving to remain straight. But the straight left arm restrains this continuous extensor action of the right triceps with an effortless checkerin action. Consequently , during release, the right arm can straighten only as the left arm moves away from the right shoulder.”

You see, the problem with bat drag at the youth baseball level isn’t the move itself, but how the compensation is triggered.  What’s happening before the front arm bars out?  Is the hitter properly activating the springy fascia within the torso?

If you “Click here to ‘Get Instant Access'” button below, you can get a free video that explains:

  • Why the following advice: “Power is all in the hips”, “Load and explode the hips”, and “The hips lead the way” won’t produce the repeatable power you’re looking for…

  • Where power really comes from – the answers to how the body actually loads are validated by science…

  • The 3 Do’s & Don’ts that will help you execute this simple strategy without any hitches in swing quality…
'Add Feet' Of Batted Ball Distance Video

Zepp Swing Study reveals how some of my hitters are adding feet to batted ball distance by using one simple tactic. Click the button below to access the FREE video that's been downloaded over 10K times!!)

Click here to 'Get Instant Access'
Joey Myers

Joey Myers

Author at Hitting Performance Lab

Founder and author of over blog posts at Amazon Bestselling author of the book: "Catapult Loading System: How To Teach Pound Hitters To Consistently Drive The Ball Feet".Sold over 27,+ online course, books, hitting lessons, and hitting aids to coaches, instructors, & parents just like you.
Member of the American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA), the International Youth and Conditioning Association (IYCA), and the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR).I’m also a HUGE supporter of the Positive Coaching Alliance (PCA).
Spent 15+ years in the corrective fitness industry, and have too many alphabet-soup certifications to bore you with.I also played four years of Division One baseball at Fresno State from
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Originally Posted by Kman9:

make sure that the knob of the bat is in the direction of the pitcher once he gets his hands turning. The second pic of his swing(from left to right) is what I am talking about.


Good point, but I don't think it provides a good "teach" for kids 12 and under, which is the group that typically has this problem.  By 13U kids who drag the bat are usually out of the game.


The "teach" for this I see is "keep your hands inside the ball"  or "throw the knob of the bat toward" the pitcher, plus tee work on hand path, either two-handed or one hand at a time, with emphasis on the bottom hand.  The "fence drill" is very simple and can be helpful too.  It's more for casting, but that's a similar problem.


Coaching Baseball: Eliminating Bat Drag

Bat drag examples

Bat Drag Examples

How To Identify & Eliminate “Bat Drag”

So what is bat drag? Bat drag happens when the player “pulls” his hands through the hitting zone with the barrel dipped below the hands. One thing to look for when identifying bat drag is the back elbow. It will lead to the ball at the approach position and the bat lays down behind the hands. To see better pictures of bat drag, check out Chris O&#;Leary&#;s study HERE.
Furthermore, players that have &#;bat drag&#; are having a problem synching their upper and lower body. To put in other words, their hips may fly open too soon.

This causes the hitter to try to generate power with just their hands and their swing becomes too long.


  • Slow bat speed
  • Timing is off: Most bat draggers lunge to the ball instead of letting the ball get to them
  • The distance of the ball does not match the effort of the swing
  • Hits the ball weak to the pull side
  • Gets beat inside
  • Hits the ball on the handle a lot
  • Hitter will set up their stance far away from the plate.  They will hit outside pitches better.
  • Cannot catch up with high pitch


  • Uses top hand too much to start swing which creates the pulling motion.  This is generally due to the fact that this is usually your dominant hand.
  • back elbow comes underneath lead elbow
  • Hitter&#;s hands loses connection with body
  • Bat may be too heavy or end loaded.
  • Lead arm bars
  • Casting hands away from body
  • Back shoulder dips
  • Lunging at the ball


If you are interested in a training aid that will absolutely clean up your player&#;s hitting mechanics (to include eliminating bat drag) check out the Swing XP. Check out this quick video below.

    • I highly recommend checking out He has great hitting advice and tons of drills to help eliminate bat drag&#;like the &#;Open Top Hand Drill&#;.
    • Hit off a Tanner Tee in the low and away position. This is the only tee that will adjust low enough to reach knee high believe it or not. Place the tee directly off the back knee on the outside corner
    • Use the Advanced Skills Tee by Muhl Tech. This tee will STOP the player from upper-cutting if it is used enough to store that muscle memory.
    • Increase core strength to recruit core muscles during the swing and decrease the dominance of the hands in the swing.
    • Increase forearm strength with forearm roll exercises
    • One handed soft toss (use top hand only and choke up)
    • Correct grip…line up your “door knocker” knuckles
    • Get your back elbow down in the slot&#;not letting it pass your hip prematurely
    • Connection Drill Check out this video.

Stay on plane&#;


Bat drag fix

UpdatesRelated Topics

Bat Drag is the #1 Hitting Flaw

Bat Drag is the #1 hitting flaw in the world. I have been studying and commenting on kids' swings for over 20 years. Based on my observations, I would say that 99% of youth hitters have bat drag, and most have it at the very beginning of the swing.

Severe bat drag is a fatal flaw that will end most kid's baseball/fastpitch hitting careers before they get to high school. It results in serious power loss, reduced ability to hit off-speed pitches, weak opposite field ground balls, and loss of confidence.

Most instruction provided to fix 'bat drag' or swings generally, exacerbate bat drag problems because of a fundamental misunderstanding of what bat drag is. So let's begin.

What is Bat Drag?

Bat drag is created by using poor leverage with the arms, resulting in 'dragging' the bat around to contact.

In other words, it is a bat speed killer and it usually inhibits early bat speed. Most of the bat drag battle is lost from the very start of the swing - at toe touch.

Bat Drag usually begins at Toe Touch

  1. Having the hands behind the back elbow at toe touch. [This is both a leverage problem and a tight turn problem] The rear forearm is not horizontal, thereby losing critical initial leverage on the bat.
  2. Having the bat head not in an upright position [leverage]
  3. The back/rear forearm is not close to flat/horizontal [leverage]
  4. The rear elbow starts out tucked at the side of the body [leverage]
Bat drag will occur during the swing forward phase if these positions are not achieved.

This is the problem that most kids have with their swings today.

Bat drag can also begin after Toe Touch, when the swing forward phase starts

  1. Bat drag can initiate if you do not use the built-in leverage of the rear arm and bat, and you drop the back elbow to hip slot with taking the bat head down in unison. [leverage] Any leakage/slack in this phase is bat drag and loss of early bat speed.

    [fig][fig][fig][fig] Many times this is caused by one or more of the following: improper grip, loose back/top wrist/action, or opening the hips too early (this causes the swing to begin)
  2. From toe touch to hip slot, if you don't bring the back elbow all the way down to the height of the belt, you have not used the leverage of the downward turning body/torso to get the bat around [leverage]

    [fig][fig][fig][fig] Note that this will cause one of two things to happen: a) the hips will freeze, and the arms will push away from the body
    [fig][fig] or b) the hips rotate but the body lunges forward

Bat Drag Continues to Contact

Bat drag once initiated continues unless overcome using other techniques or leverage.

What Bat Drag Is Not

Bat drag is not a strength issue. It's a leverage issue. Anyone at any age can improve their leverage and improve their swing.

What are Telltale Signs of Bat Drag?

  1. Generally, from toe touch forward, the hands should never be behind the back elbow at any point in the swing forward phase to contact.
  2. At hip slot, if the bat has not gone slightly past vertical so that the bat head is toward the catcher, you have introduced some bat drag [leverage]
  3. You had to push the rear forearm and hands toward the plate and away from the body, too early (before hip slot) in order to get the bat head around (even with the hands) to contact [bad initial leverage causes a loose turn]
  4. At contact, the bat head should be even or slightly ahead of the hands, and the bat should be lined up with the front forearm
  5. You typically make contact inches ahead of your front foot, thereby pulling most hard hit balls

Bat Drag Results In

The results of not using the optimal leverage with your arms (bat drag) are:
  1. Reduced bat speed
  2. The bat head generally will not be ahead of the hands at contact and/or the bat won't be lined up with the front forearm (it should be a straight line)

    Note: The bat head may be ahead of the hands if ball contact is made inches in front of optimal position (hitter has less/little ability to adjust to off-speed pitches)
  3. The back elbow may push away from the torso (breaking CAM)
  4. Foul balls on faster pitches
  5. Strongest hits are mostly made to the pull side
  6. Weak hits oppo, especially on pitches outside, and even down the middle of the plate

Understanding and fixing the DRAGGING BACK ELBOW!

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