“Hitting is the most important part of the game. It is where the big money is, where much of the status is, and the fan interest.”
Source: The Science of Hitting
(Ted Williams, Fireside Publishers, 03/29/1986, Page 9)
Hitting a baseball is a flowing, dynamic string of steps that often must overcome the velocity of a 95 mph fastball. The batter must be able to connect power with precision if he plans to put it over the fence. It is maximum energy, minimum effort, and precision – all connected. The flow required to hit one “deep”is what we call connectivityin the adjusting and correcting process of QSM3.
There are two phases to any game. First, one must understandit and, second, one must actually play it. Being a super star requires excellence in both. One is static and the other is dynamic. There are rules in baseball; there are physical laws and biomechanics in chiropractic. There is hitting the ball in baseball and there is releasing a resistant pathway and reversing its direction in chiropractic.
Understanding the game and how to playit are the first few steps. Knowing the rules alone won’tmake you a professional player. Success is driven on the field when “playing.” The referee knows all the rules but doesn’t have the skill of execution. One of our biggest struggles is “hitting.” It seems to be a case of too many referees and not enough long ball hitters. I want to shift our focus today, to balance knowing the rules with mentoring the skills needed to execute plays. We will have real batting practices or camps that teach the basics ofhitting as a dynamic flow rather than a step by step of tension producing steps. Make those seminars…especially advanced. It is time for us to focus on the swing to balance our knowledge of our new rule book (QSM3 Tensegrity, pathways, etc.)
At times, I have been asked for insights on a case. Practitioners always think it is a biomechanics issue. Thisusuallyis not the case because the QSM3 rules work. That only leaves the swing. The question is, can you overcome resistance or can you feel it, see it, and trust it. It is the execution of our swing that warrants growth and change. Understanding this is the bridge which leads a playerfrom static (rules) to dynamic (hitter). Baseball swings, just like golf swings and eastern martial arts, are dynamic relaxed motions. So must our corrections follow this same principle.
Today, we will speak of hitting as we learn some of thebasics which will lead us to hitting resistance “out of the park”. Teaching these concepts will be in steps but it is the connectivity of them that leads to being a pro that can access the zone. It is the connection of rules that lifts our confidence. And it is our confidence that accesses the peaceful flow of the zone.
So here we go. The pisiform is like a bat and the resistance is like the ball. The goal is to hit the ball out of the park. In other words, release the resistance completely with the least effort. This is connectivity. It is the power atthe perfect sweet spot between the pisiform and the resistance. This is the precision of connectivity. The power of the batter meets the sweet spot of the bat and ball. It is these two pieces that willlift us to reach the all-star game. These two aspects must be mastered in the correction.These are the two mechanics of the perfect hit or correction:
- Full power through a dynamic, flowing swing
- Match the angle of the ball to hit it squarely
As in baseball, the swing must be dynamic. The sequence of steps creates a flowas the weight shifts from the back foot to the front foot and the mass of the body moves forward. This creates potential energy. We will practice the same flow to generate energy through connectivity and motion.
As we have mastered many new concepts in the static aspect of the correction (rules and biomechanics), it is time to move the dynamics forward as well. I left the step-by-step correction process long ago. Today we will begin the process that focuses on this dynamic connectivity. The angle, the feel, and the tone of the resistance are new concepts that will advance our abilities.
The Swing Mechanics
Step 1 is setting the underpinnings of the swing. Patience and getting comfortable are the foundation of a good swing.This is the time where we “get set” in the pitcher’s box (Figure1). It is the time tosettle in, becomecomfortable, and take some practice swings. It is the time to feel around and get acquainted with the resistance terrain while you get your feet and mass connected. A nice place to isolate the pisiform is at the C1 fossa. It is a place to get your rhythm and connect. It is a boney backstop that the largest tones are released.
Baseball swings are built from the ground up. Your feet must be positioned correctly to give you full balance during your corrective “swing.” I always start with the contact hand’s leg forward — about 16”-24” ahead (Figure 2).The feet are well planted and the practitioner has had some practice swings, gotten comfortable, and checked out the pitcher’s stuff (resistance). No full swings – just connecting within yourself and then yourself to the patient.
Step 2 is the swing. Its purpose is to accelerate the bat using the dynamics of mass and torsional advantage. We do not use a torsional advantage in the QSM3 swing. We use a linear mechanical advantage. Our arms don’t swing; theyare dynamically locked forwardin a straight-away stance. The key to this step is to end with your mass and arms completely extended at the time of contact.
The swing’s flow starts with the weight on the heel of the back foot of the non-contact hand. (For a right hand adjuster, this would mean the left foot and right back foot for a lefty.) As you push with this back foot from heel to ball, the hands come together and the elbows start their extension process as the contact hand’s foot begins to bear more weight (Figure 3). In other words, the weight starts to rock forward as the arms extend forward. The motion from back foot push-off to skin contact with the elbows at full extension must connect right at contact for the perfect swing.
Let’s review this is in greater detail. As the hands come together, the rhomboids and triceps bilaterally contract to a comfortable tension. This contraction is continuous until the arms are at full extension. The mass must be driving this motion just as you would set your mass up against a bumper of a car to push it (Figure 4). No excursion just mass. This is not an arm adjustment. Break that bad habit. This is the derivation of the power in the swing; without full extension of the arms and this dynamic swing the energy created will be negligible. Before contact, the arms must be at full extension and triceps/rhomboids comfortably taut. A sign of poor mechanics here is practitioner muscle tension that is uncomfortable or painful. The front contact hand footis bearing most of the weight on the ball of this front foot at contact. Focus on the angle of the resistance as you lean into the pathway bringing the Golgi tendon to just before threshold. Connect yourself to the patient in a relaxed yet locked mass that receives no energy push-back from the patient.
Step 3 is converting the practitioner’s potential energy to kinetic energy that reverses the fastball to a home run: this is called “contact.”It involves two integral pieces. The first is ensuring the energy created is enough to reverse the ball; the second is to make best contact. If you follow the above step [Step2], you will create enough energy through elbow lock and setting your mass appropriately. The sweet spot on the bat is where the pisiform connects in full within the resistance.The batter and bat are in unison and “perfect balance.” As in baseball, the height of the pitch will determine the knee bend through the swing. So too with the corrective swing. The angle of the arms and pisiform are adjusted through the knees to have that correct angle “sweet spot” with the mass as one. Most resistance is at a steep angle. I accomplish this by having my back foot always off the platform. (I can see that soon I will raise the table 6-12” and remove the platform. This is a big idea!)
As with a pitch, practice swings to get the stroke angle and power (as well as taking the opportunity to locate resistance on the neck) are important. This flows into the conversion of the potential power to overcome the resistance as the doctor totally focuses on the pitch at contact. As Robert Duvall directs his protégé in Seven Days in Utopia, “See it. Feel it. Trust it.”
Step 4 is the final step of this dynamic process. It is releasing the resistance with the least effort and energy. At this moment, everything is locked, relaxed and at threshold. Here you prepare the resistant pathway to maximize tension, overcome it, and release it (Figure 6.). The doctor’s incoming mass and arm extensions follow through to the wrist lever that tissue pulls through the pathway’s release.The wrist moves to full extension as the pisiform releases the Golgi tendon at a 90 degree angle. Just like a ball and bat in perfect connectivity at 90 degrees to each other.
For this step to actualize, there is a push/pull motion of the arms. The contact arm pushes forward with wrist extension. The non-contact arm pulls(triceps/rhomboid) at the same time the contact hand pushes. This push/pull motion at contact is a relaxed, taut motion that utilizes swing mechanics to releasethe most controlled energy. This push/pull swing, with elbows in full extension, creates the perfect relaxed and balanced swing. Upon contact (hooking of the pisiform and the resistance at the sweet spot angle), the practitionerstays with the pitch to maximum tension where the wrist lever overcomes the threshold of the Golgi tendon and releases it.
This time period from contact to threshold is where the practitioner will lock the pisiform and wrist lever at 90 degrees to the pathway. At threshold, the final release comes from the wrists – as in baseball and so with us. The wrist lever releases the resistant pathway.
The process starts on the back leg of the non-contact hand side and ends on the contact hand side ball of the foot. The motion swings through the contact foot. Your mass drives the ball. With the arms extended at contact, the push/pull, along with the wrist lever, overcome any resistant pathway. Until this pattern of a flowing zone motion is realized, the practitioner will be unable to overcome the multiple resistant layers. And, until this resistance is overcome, he or she will be unable to feel and hear the varying release tones of different pathway layers.
A new pitch or pathway brings us back to the original stance. This is the basic swing that will open the next phase… different swings for different pathways. Don’t get stuck trying to shortcut the perfect swing. It will send you back to the minors.