Baseball Magazine

Lifting the Front Elbow

By Meachrm @BaseballBTYard

I received an email recently from a player who said he was having trouble controlling his lead elbow on the swing.  He referred to it

Back of the bottom hand facing forward, lead elbow under control

Back of the bottom hand facing forward, lead elbow under control

as “chicken winging” which is basically lifting the lead elbow too much before and/or during the swing. As he said, this tends to make his top hand “lazy” and hurts his path to the ball as well on the swing.

Here are the two recommendations I had for him which may be of use to you or your hitters as well.  

  1. When you are hitting off a tee, machine, or in batting practice, try placing a tennis ball in your arm pit of your lead arm.  If you swing hard, the ball should not pop out until the end of the swing.  If you lift your arm (Chicken wing it) before the swing too much, the ball will pop out earlier.  Just keeping pressure on the ball to keep it under there can give you the feel of keeping your front elbow down and “connected” through the start of the swing.
  2. Look at the photo of Miguel Cabrera to the right.  When hitters have loaded up and are about to start their swing, the back of their bottom hand should be directed at the pitcher.  Some hitters get to the load position with the knob already facing the pitcher which lifts their front elbow.  They then swing from there.  Keeping the back of your bottom hand facing the pitcher more also keeps your front elbow under control.


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