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The follow through takes us from the contact point with the ball to the natural ending of the swing. It involves the continuation of all the rotation taking place in the hips and spine, along with the continuation of the pulling and pushing actions of the arms on the bat, and it also involves a roll-over of the forearms. Each of these movements will be discussed here in this chapter starting with the hips.
At contact (Figure 5-1a), we see that both hips are visible, or open, to the pitcher. If we compare them to the end of the swing (Figure 5-1b), we can see they have rotated all the way around until they can no longer go any further as long as both feet remain in contact with the ground.
Now interestingly enough, at the end of the follow through both hips end up in medial, or internal, rotation.
Looking at the player’s right foot and thigh in Figure 5-2 on the next page, notice how his right foot is turned in toward his body. This is made possible by the right thigh turning inward, or medially, at the hip joint.
Likewise, notice the left foot in Figure 5-2 is also turned inward toward his body. This is made possible by the left thigh turning inward, or medially, at the hip joint.
This medial rotation of both hips, and consequently both thighs and feet, is caused by the medial, or internal, hip rotator muscles which we first identified during the launching phase on page 39. Again, the names of these internal hip rotators are the Gluteus Minimus, Gluteus Medius and Tensor Fascia Lata muscles and the can be seen in Figure 5-3.
We also learned during the launching phase that the player’s front left leg stiffens during this process where the left knee starts to extend or straighten out seen in Figure 5-4a. This stiffening and straightening of the left knee and leg produces a force in the left hip acting in the opposite direction as the right hip. See Figure 5-4b. As a result, this further assists the hips to open completely toward the pitcher.
The muscle in the left leg that helps straighten or extend, the knee is the quadriceps muscle which was previously identified on page 17 and shown again in Figure 5-5.
Now let’s take a look at the player’s spine or perhaps an easier reference point for us to focus on here would be his abdomen and chest. Just like the hips at contact (Figure 5-6a), the chest is visible to the pitcher, and as we follow it through to the end of the swing, we can see the player’s chest completely turn and rotate around to the point where it is now facing down the third base line and cannot go any further. See Figure 5-6b.
If you recall during the launching phase, the lateral rotators of the spine on the player’s right side were responsible for this movement and were identified as the External Abdominal Oblique, Multifidus and Rotatores Spinae. These muscles continue to contract after contact to the end of the swing and are shown for you again in Figure 5-7.
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