A linear hitter is a hitter who transfers their weight/balance from back to front. The front leg does not lock and the energy flow is toward the pitcher.
Linear hitting can result in great hall of fame caliber players. Ichiro, for example, is a linear hitter. There is absolutely nothing wrong with the way Ichiro hits. In fact, linear hitting is a great way to produce a lot of singles and a high batting average. Most lead off hitters, as well as your 7, 8, 9 hitters will be linear hitters.
Linear hitting is great for players that can run like the wind, but for the rest of us, and for your heart of the order players, you may need to think about teaching rotational mechanics that generate long gap shots and extra base hits.
The biggest concern in teaching linear mechanics to young players is what happens when these players grow up and do not have the characteristics of a linear hitter (great speed, lots of good contact). There are not many places in baseball for a slow right handed hitter who hits balls on the ground.
Now let’s take a look at some of the key rotational hitting mechanics of the most powerful swings in baseball over the years. Notice how these guys use rotational hitting mechanics. It’s important to talk about these three terms when teaching rotational hitting:
- Long Three or Contact
- The Finish