8 of 12 – Opening of the Hips (text)

Launch Phase

Opening of the hips refers to the direction and movement that both hips turn, and eventually end up facing, when making contact with the ball which is forward, toward the pitcher, as seen in   Figure 4-9.

This motion starts out in conjunction with the continuation of the timing step seen in the previous section.  As the timing step is being placed back to the ground as seen in Figures 4-10a through 4-10c, the back right hip starts its turn, or rotation, toward the pitcher and as see in Figure 4-11.

This turning, or opening, of the back right hip toward the pitcher is caused by powerful contractions in the External Hip Rotators of this same right hip that if you recall, were previously stretched during the loading phase and identified on page 22.   Again, the names of these External Hip Rotators are Gluteus Medius, Gluteus Maximus, Superior Gemellus, Piriformis, Obturator Internus, Inferior Gemellus, Obturator Externus and Quadratus Femoris.  These muscles can be seen more clearly in Figure 4-12.

So now these same External Hip Rotators that were previously stretched in the loading phase, are now contracting here in the launching phase.

This intense muscular contraction of these External Hip Rotators, along with the continuation of the timing step, is the start of an incredible power release in the body as these muscles forcibly contract and rotate the player’s back side, or right side, toward the pitcher as seen here from across home plate in Figures 4-13a through 4-13d.

Now this rotational hitting power in the hips builds right from the start of the launching phase and it is further increased by the momentum and drive created by the pushing of this same right leg toward the pitcher.

This pushing motion of the right leg through contact involves three characteristic movements: 1) extension of the right hip, 2) extension of the right knee and 3) plantar-flexion of the right ankle.   See Figure 4-14.

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