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Monday, July 15, 2013

Top baseball coaching tip: good or bad idea to keep the back elbow up when hitting?

Several years ago while traveling in Missouri with my son, we stopped off, as we often do, to take advantage of a commercial batting cage to get in some strokes. We soon learned the entire facility was rented to a youth baseball team so we sat to watch them in action, comparing notes on what was and wasn't working for the hitters. Meanwhile, the youth coach busily walked from one end of the cages to the other shouting baseball hitting tips and instructions to his players. We were in our glory watching from the bleachers.

"Get that back elbow up!" was the coach's main cry—a very common batting instruction heralded by coaches around the globe. But just exactly what does it do for the hitters? And why do coaches feel it is so important? We stuck around to found out.

Later, I asked the coach directly, "Are you getting ready to play a game?"

He answered, "Yes, when they finish practice."

Then I asked, "Coach, why do you tell your players to get the back elbow up?"

And he answered honestly, "I really don't know why. But everyone teaches it. So it must be right."

Okay, this was definitely going to be a teaching moment.

Let's explore some basic baseball hitting mechanics. What happens when the back elbow is up as the hitter goes to the ball? Many students who come to me will have their elbow up, and we will immediately adjust it to a position about 45 degrees from touching the backside.

By raising the elbow to 90 degrees, we change the grip on the top hand (making the knuckles over-rotated) and unless the hitter makes an adjustment prior to contact, this grip will cause him to roll his hands, losing club head accuracy to the ball.

What about the pros? Why do some of them have the back elbow up? Pros who start with the back elbow up in stance make an adjustment as they go to the ball. What should be the responsibility of the back elbow? It is to support the top hand on the bat. The elbow cannot do this if it is as high as the hand. It gives much better support to the grip and to the top hand by being under it—not equal to it.

When checking a hitter as he approaches the ball the elbow should be under the bat in the formation of a "V"—which we call a "Power-V". This keeps the grip correct and the hands in a state of strength.

Coach's Extra Tip: The role of the top elbow is to support the bat. When it is up, this support is lost, and the grip is changed. This is not what we want. "Get the Back Elbow Up" is one of the worst things that you can tell your players.


Coach Joe Brockoff

Coach Joe Brockoff, a Division I Head Baseball Coach for Tulane University for more than 19 years, and former minor league player for the New York Yankees, has sent 45 baseball players to the pros and coached thousands of college level and youth players using his proven Super 8 Hitting System. Coach Brockoff's unique drills, tips, and techniques have increased many players' batting average by more than 200 points.

To learn more about our proven baseball hitting system, complete with instructional videos, visit Our unique approach to increasing bat speed and power, improving batting averages, and improving overall performance has sent 45 baseball players to the professional leagues, and inducted Coach Joe Brockoff into the baseball Hall of Fame.

To learn more visit the Super 8 Baseball Hitting System web site at and then check out our free baseball instructional videos here.


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Hello Baseball Friend,
I welcome any comments or suggestions. If you have a question or a topic that you would like to read about, please leave a comment and I will try to address that topic as soon as I can. Good luck in the coming season!
Have a great day, Nick