Hmm – Baseball Player “Gets His Power From His Legs & Hips…”

It’s not like this is an earth-shattering revelation to me, but it’s nice to see it laid out plainly and simply from a Major League Baseball swing coach, and one for a team that has made the playoffs with big hitting the past two seasons.

I’m talking about Toronto Blue Jays hitting coach Brook Jacoby, talking about a struggling Blue Jay batter – Justin Smoak – trying to get his bat to catch fire.

And of course, you know exactly what’s going to happen – you always hear the modern golf swing gurus likening the baseball swing to the golf swing action, and yet, once again, they are either completely missing this, or deliberately ignoring the major component of a proper swing – using the hips and legs to power the motion.

Toronto Blue Jay Justin Smoak


Of course, they’ll tell you that the modern swinger is using his hips and legs – on the down swing – however if you aren’t using the hips and legs on the back swing as well (and we all know that their motto is, the less leg and hip action on the back swing, the more power you generate, which is completely bogus), then you really aren’t using the hips and legs to power the swing.

You’re using the torso and lower back, and that is just wrong.  You can do it, but it’s the wrong way to do it.

This from the Toronto Star and Rosie DiManno:

Hitting coach Brook Jacoby provides a more detailed schematic of the Smoak reboot undertaken here to shrink those strikeouts…

… Stripped of mechanics jargon, that means shortening his swing, which buys a fraction of time to make contact.

“A shorter, smaller move” to put the ball in play, says Jacoby, insisting the modification won’t cost Smoak power. “He gets his power from his legs and his hips. For him, big strong guy, it’s gonna go.”

Hmm – oh, by the way the bold and underline are my emphasis, but… hmm…

Why is it that the modern golf swing gurus are always telling us how to generate power, but that way isn’t the way that the most powerful swingers in golf swing, because those swingers do it like this:

That’s using the hips and legs to power the swing.

So, the modern golf swing guys don’t believe in having a big hip turn, or letting the leading heel detach, which is how the classic golf swing works, and how the most powerful swingers in golf do it.

They also neglect, many times, to cover the distinct and crucial difference between the golf swing and the baseball swing, as we know…

Now, we know (or knew already) that a proper baseball swing, if you’re going to listen to the authority on the baseball swing, which would be a hitting coach, is one that uses the hips and legs, and you are definitely going to get a big hip turn and non-planted leading foot on the back swing:

The only thing I’m wondering at this time, really, is why anyone is still listening to these modern golf swing guys.

It’s very discouraging, having competed in sports my entire youth, and having experienced very competent coaching in technique from hockey to basketball to track and field, to see what’s going on in golf.

It’s eventually going to go away, but until it does, I’m just wondering how many golfers are going to suffer needless injuries from simply swinging a golf club improperly.

I’m waiting for that day.



10 thoughts on “Hmm – Baseball Player “Gets His Power From His Legs & Hips…”

  1. Mike Divot

    “I’m just wondering … what the gurus are going to say”

    Don’t worry, they will have an excuse lined up. It’s the equipment. It’s the ball. It’s the courses. It’s Jupiter moving in conjunction with Mars.

    It doesn’t even have to make sense. They’ll stare down the barrel of the camera and spout their bulltish, with 100% confidence, and suckers out there will believe them like they’ve been believing them this last 20+ years.

    What I want to see is an MLB hitter … 3 4 or 5 hitter … with restricted hips and jumping off the ground at impact, dinking out to second base every at bat ……….. except I’ll never see it, because those guys won’t get out of A league.

    (Actually I don’t want to see that.)

    1. D Watts Post author

      This is what I’ve said, MD – in any other sport, the Modern Golf Swing principles/concepts/blather would never get past the presentation. Anyone trying to spread that garbage outside of golf would be ejected and banned, and I’m serious, from the training facilities in short order.

      And as you say, no baseball player trying to swing like that would make it past the minor leagues, if their back even lasted long enough for them to get to the minors at all. I will go as far as to say that you wouldn’t get out of Little League tryouts.

      Unfortunately, the modern golf equipment allows people who don’t have any natural power to get the ball out there far enough to get it on the greens and use their skill in the other parts of the game to score.

      The problem is, tee shots account for 1/4 of the par strokes in a round. So with the modern equipment, you’ve negated a good deal of required athleticism and skill in swinging a club in order to compete. Now, you can just plunk it out there with the shoe-box driver heads and get on with the rest of the game.

      Something about that strikes me as wrong.

  2. Laser

    “dinking out to second base every at bat”

    –I suggest that modern golf instruction would produce that, if followed. The reason that we don’t always observe that is because some unaccounted-for athleticism is sneaking in, though hampered by the modern theory. Charles Barkley had the right idea: he tried to save it…but the instruction was so poor that he couldn’t overcome it, most of the time.

    Perhaps the gains from modern clubs actually come from longer snappier shafts and high-performance balls. In theory, bigger heads would add air-resistance and make it harder to determine the center of mass. If someone misses the sweet-spot, they’re going to lose distance.

    1. D Watts Post author

      In theory, bigger heads would add air-resistance and make it harder to determine the center of mass. If someone misses the sweet-spot, they’re going to lose distance.

      Well, there are a couple of things here, Laser:

      1. We know that time (our notion of it) slows down with traveling at high speeds (proven, by the way, before anyone objects to the analogy), however the difference is so small as to be imperceptible to humans.

      I would submit that, in that same regard, I don’t think anyone can swing a club fast enough that a larger face would cause a perceptible decrease in speed compared to a smaller face.

      2. The modern clubs are not longer on the sweet spot than the older clubs were. The larger heads and faces allow longer distances on mis-hits (missing the sweet spot) than the older and smaller clubs.

      So, it is the modern larger heads and faces that allow today’s players to get the ball in play off the tee even when they can’t hit the sweet spot every time. With the persimmon clubs, if you didn’t get the ball on the sweet spot, the ball went nowhere, and sideways to boot.

      In this regard, if you made today’s players switch overnight to even the smaller headed stainless steel drivers of the early 90’s… you’d see very quickly who was a “true” player versus one who has survived with the aid of modern equipment.

      Check out the size difference:

      1. TaylorMade RBZ – 2012
      2. Titleist 975D – 2000
      3. Callaway BB War Bird – 1995

      Tiger won his Tiger-Slam with the Titleist 975D

      I began my research (in 2005) hitting a Callaway Big Bertha War Bird stainless steel , circa mid-90’s… I didn’t get a modern “big-head” driver until 2010, and only then because I broke my KZG PFT300 driver, which is 300 cc’s in head volume. That was the driver with which I hit my first 350 yard drives.

      That’s basically where I stand. If you can’t hit a home run in the Majors with a wooden bat, you don’t get to bring out the aluminium. We should be saying the same thing about the pros playing golf at the highest level – no crutches or enhancers, and that includes the equipment.

      1. Laser

        Great info. And, like Nicklaus mentioned, they should have done something about the ball. So manufacturers wanted to make amateurs longer (club & ball), and they wanted pros to endorse these products…so tournament sites ended-up having to lengthen golf courses. Nice going, rules-makers.

        1. D Watts Post author

          The rule-makers have completely failed the game in this regard. There should have been strict ball and head size specs for the pros, instead of the arms race we witnessed from ’95-’05. Now, the genie is out of the bottle, and it is what it is…

          1. Jess LEUNG

            In case if you don’t know, some drivers now has exceeded the limited head size (not by much, but you can see that they are pushing the limit).

            A Japanese golf magazine (Golf Classic, August 2016 issue) make all measurements to all of the driver heads all that time, and a good deal of them actually exceeded the head size limit, including, Taylormade M2 (469.7CC), PING G Series (469.8CC, LS 468.2CC, SF 467.7CC), Titleist 915D2 (466.9CC), Cobra F6 (467.1CC), Callaway Bug Bertha Alpha 816 DBD (461.8CC).

            1. D Watts Post author

              Can’t say I’m surprised, Jess – there is a Wild West aspect to golf right now, where there are no standards, no real rules (there’s no rule if it isn’t enforced, let’s face it), except squeezing ever more money out of its customers.

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