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I am certain, by now, all of you have seen a picture of Mark McGwire hitting one of his towering home runs, right? But have you really "seen" it? If you can pull one off the internet, look closely at his eyes. They are focused on the ball. In some pictures, the ball has already left the frame of the picture, but he is still focused on the point of contact. This is what every hitter must do in order to avoid hitting little grounders to the infield. You must focus on the point of contact even after you have hit the ball. If you lift your eyes to watch where the ball goes, you will lift you shoulders and consequently will hit the ball on the top, resulting in a grounder with little speed on it.

To demonstrate this to yourself, get in front of a mirror and watch your shoulders as you take your normal swing, with eyes looking at the point of contact.(you will have to stop in mid-swing to see this) Now take another swing watching the path of the ball that was just hit. Notice that your lead shoulder has lifted along with your eyes. Your trail shoulder has dropped and your swing has become a "down to up" cut, with your hands way below the ball. This will cause you to swing higher than you want to and you will top the ball. To correct this, watch the impact with the ball even after it has left your bat.

I have found that the best time to check out this flaw is when we are doing "soft-toss drills". Watch their eyes.

Coaches, to reinforce this concept, I used to ask a player that has just singled, "Wow, what a hit. Did you see where it went?" If she answered, "Yeah It was a little blooper to left field". I gave her a lap or two to have her think about watching the point of contact. This usually put an end to this mechanical flaw.

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