What cracking a towel can teach us about hitting & pitching

Let’s think about something.

If you were in the locker room and you wanted to imprint a wet towel on your buddy’s chest, how would you do it? Would you focus on accelerating the towel forward, or would you focus on pulling it back?

If you’re like most people, you’d say pulling it back. There’s a reason for this…

The “snap” of the towel that leaves a big red mark on your friend’s chest doesn’t happen because you’re focused on pulling the towel through. It happens because you’re trying to pull it back quickly. The hand has to come to a stop in order for the towel to go forward. It’s a deceleration move. In order for the secondary mover (the towel) to accelerate, the primary mover (the arm) has to decelerate.

So why are most baseball coaches focused on pulling the towel through? 🤔

Is Yusei Kiukuchi focused on pulling the towel forward here, or… is he focused on pulling it back?

In Bridge the Gap 2020, Eugene broke down misconceptions when it comes to our understanding of sequencing in hitters and pitchers. While we know certain segments need to accelerate and pick up speed for force transmission, how they pick up speed is just as important.

Picking up speed isn’t just about learning how to go fast. How fast you go depends on how fast you stop. If your coaching focuses on:

  • Getting the hips through
  • Increasing your bat speed
  • Turning the back foot
  • Rotating as hard as possible

you’re not focused on pulling the towel back. Your focus is on pulling it forward.

If you want to crack the towel, you can’t just focus on pulling the towel forward. You need to learn how to pull your hand back so the towel can go forward. Hitting and pitching are no different.

Interested in more? You can watch the rest of Eugene’s presentation and 27 others from BTG20 using the button below.