Patent application title: METHOD FOR PIVOTALLY SWINGING AND HITTING AN OBJECT
Roger U. Hart (San Diego, CA, US)
PROCESS INNOVATION ASSOCIATES, INC.
IPC8 Class: AA63B6700FI
Class name: Games using tangible projectile playing field or court game; game element or accessory therefor other than projector or projectile, per se base for game in which play involves base running (e.g., for baseball, etc.)
Publication date: 2012-10-25
Patent application number: 20120270687
A process for more accurately delivering a hitting device to a ball,
including positioning a stiff and straight leading or front leg at the
start of and during the process (with no step forward of the front foot
or leg) until after contact with the ball, pointing and planting the
leading or front foot at least partially in the direction from which the
ball is traveling, positioning the hands and the hitting device such that
the distal end of the hitting device is below the shoulders and the
hitting device is held substantially parallel to the ground at the start
of the process, delivering the hitting device directly forward in the
same plane as the ball is traveling, and utilizing pivoting of the torso
and hips about an axis to deliver the hitting device to a ball with
little or no forward or lateral movement of the body.
1. A method for pivotally swinging a hitting device and hitting a ball
comprising the steps of: providing a hitter in a ready position before
swinging a hitting device, the ready position comprising a stiff and
straight leading leg, where the stiff and straight leading leg is
positioned toward the direction of an incoming ball, where the hitting
device is positioned at a height that is entirely below the hitter's
shoulders, where the proximal end of the hitting device is positioned
toward the direction of the incoming ball, and where the hitter is
holding the hitting device; waiting for the ball to travel towards the
hitter while maintaining the stiff and straight leading leg; swinging the
hitting device, where swinging the hitting device comprises delivering
the hitting device toward the direction of the incoming ball while
maintaining the stiff and straight leading leg; and, pivoting the hips
and torso of the hitter, where the hips and torso and shoulders pivot
about an axis that extends from above and down through the hitter's head,
through the hitter's torso, and through the leading leg and foot whereby
there is negligible head movement and no weight shift to the leading leg
of the hitter throughout the method.
2. The method of claim 1, wherein the step of swinging the hitting device additionally comprises the hitting device being swung within a swing plane substantially coincident with the movement plane associated with a projected travel path of the incoming ball.
3. The method of claim 1, wherein the hitting device is a baseball bat.
4. The method of claim 1, wherein the ball is a baseball.
5. The method of claim 1, wherein the steps of swinging the hitting device and pivoting the hips and torso of the hitter are performed simultaneously.
6. A method for pivotally swinging a hitting device and hitting an object comprising the steps of: straightening a leading leg of a hitter at the knee to produce a stiff and straight leg before commencing a swing with the hitting device; positioning the hitting device below the hitter's shoulders before commencing a swing with the hitting device; waiting for the object to travel towards the hitter while maintaining the stiff and straight leading leg, swinging the hitting device, where the hitter swings at the incoming object while maintaining the stiff and straight leading leg; and executing a pivotal motion, where executing the pivotal motion comprises pivoting the hips and torso about an axis that extends from above and down through the hitter's head, through the hitter's torso, and through the leading leg and foot, whereby there is negligible head movement and no weight shift to the leading leg of the hitter throughout the method.
7. The method of claim 6, wherein the step of swinging the hitting device comprises the hitter swinging the hitting device within a swing plane substantially coincident with the movement plane associated with a projected travel path of the incoming object.
8. The method of claim 6, further comprising the step of pointing a leading foot at least partially in the direction of the incoming object before commencing a swing with the hitting device.
9. The method of claim 6, further comprising the step of positioning the hitting device such that it is substantially parallel to the ground before commencing a swing with the hitting device.
10. The method of claim 6, wherein the hitting device is a baseball bat.
11. The method of claim 6, wherein the object is a baseball.
12. The method of claim 6, wherein the proximal end of the hitting device is positioned toward the incoming object before swinging the hitting device.
13. A method for pivotally swinging a bat and hitting a baseball comprising the following steps in order: providing a hitter in a ready position waiting for the baseball to be thrown by a pitcher, where the ready position comprises holding the bat, a stiff and straight leading leg, a back leg which is bent, hands in the vertical middle of the strike zone that are close to the hitter's torso, and the bat positioned such that its longitudinal axis is parallel to the ground and a knob of the bat is directed towards the pitcher; maintaining the stiff and straight leading leg while the baseball is thrown by the pitcher and while the baseball travels towards the hitter; starting the swing, where starting the swing comprises maintaining the stiff and straight leading leg, pivoting the hips of the hitter around a defined axis, then moving the bat and hands in a forward direction and not in a downward direction, maintaining the longitudinal axis of the bat parallel to the ground, where the defined axis extends down through the hitter's head, through the hitter's torso, and through the leading leg and foot; continuing the swing, where continuing the swing comprises maintaining the stiff and straight leading leg, maintaining the longitudinal axis of the bat parallel to the ground, moving the hitter's hands away from the torso as the bat moves towards the baseball, and pivoting the hips, torso and shoulders of the hitter around the defined axis; making contact with the baseball using the bat; and finishing the swing, where finishing the swing comprises maintaining the stiff and straight leading leg; whereby the hitter's weight does not shift forward during the swing.
14. The method of claim 13, further comprising the step of pointing a leading foot at least partially in the direction of the incoming object before commencing a swing with the hitting device.
15. The method of claim 13, wherein the hitter's head has no rotation during the swing.
16. The method of claim 13, wherein the hitter's head has no movement toward or away from the pitcher during the swing.
CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS
 This application is a continuation of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 12/753,898 filed on Apr. 4, 2010, which in turn is a continuation-in-part of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 11/541,592 filed on Oct. 2, 2006, which in turn is a nonprovisional of 60/815,450 filed Jun. 20, 2006, the entireties of which are hereby incorporated by reference.
STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH OR DEVELOPMENT
 This invention was not federally sponsored.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
Field of the Invention
 This invention relates to the general field of sports, and more specifically toward a method for pivotally swinging and hitting an object. Swinging a hitting device (a simple machine), such as a bat, stick, racket, or other elongated device, to hit an object, such as a ball, also called "hitting" or "a swing," is a process that involves a number of discrete steps or elements. Some of these steps can or must be performed sequentially, while other steps can or must be performed in parallel. If each of the steps, or a combination thereof, is not performed optimally, the outcome will be negatively affected.
 The term hitting is defined herein as any condition in which a person, i.e. the "hitter," uses his or her hands to swing a device at a ball with the intent to strike the ball. Often the ball follows a trajectory toward the hitter after having been thrown or hit by a person or another device. Examples of this condition are found in the games of baseball, softball, tennis, and cricket. Other such conditions exist. A "great hit" is a desired output, such as a line drive in baseball, and is created by the optimal connection between the hitting device and the ball. This optimal connection occurs when the center line of the bat hits the center line of the ball, producing the result of both the bat and ball, at the instantaneous moment of contact, traveling in the same plane in opposite directions, with the bat reversing the direction (changing the state) of the ball to an essentially opposite direction of its travel prior to contact with the bat. In addition to the two aspects described above with regard to the optimal connection, there is a third aspect to the optimal connection, namely that of the direction of the ball after coming into contact with the hitting device. For example, a great hit in baseball has a directional limit defined by the first and third baselines of the playing field. Other games have similar directional limitation ranges for a desired hit outcome. Although the above information regarding a "great hit" as a desired output of baseball is fully applicable to the game of softball, other games in which the ball hitting swing method is used may have a different desired output and the description of a "great hit" in each will have to be adjusted for that game. For example in the game of tennis, a "great hit" will have top spin on the ball when it leaves the racket. The swing to deliver the optimal connection in that game uses some or all of the same elements for the desired output of that game.
 Numerous studies have been conducted and several books written about the mechanics and science involved in the "optimal" baseball swing. One can observe that often, very slight differences are depicted in each of these books on the methods they propose or describe. One reason for this is that each type of baseball swing is dealing with a very difficult environment: a process that must consistently, regardless of where the ball is thrown in the strike zone, place the center line of the hitting device within three-eighths of an inch of the center line of the ball that can be moving at one-hundred miles-per-hour (MPH). This entire process must be completed within four-hundredths of a second, from the first movement of the hitter to contact with the ball. This overall environment of the hitting process clearly establishes that very small changes can result in significant improvements. Thus an improved process that gives the hitter a reduction in head movement, better balance, one-half of a hundredth of a second longer to see the ball, that same time reduction in the time it takes to deliver the hitting device to the ball, or a method that helps deliver the hitting device to the ball travelling at speeds of one-hundred MPH more accurately by one-tenth of an inch, will give the user of that process significantly improved results. This is why apparent small or subtle changes are worthy of new books to explain them. However, rarely is a new and novel process encountered that can so radically change a hitter's results. The changes involved with this new pivotal swing method disclosed herein are unique and useful. The unexpected and improved results encountered when using the current method show the importance and significance of such a method.
 Misconceptions and bad practices have been propagated throughout games involving swings, and through time. For example, head movement during a swing can have a substantial adverse impact on the desired output, such as the quality, direction, and altitude of a hit. The more a hitter's head moves, the harder it is for the mind and the rest of the body to deliver the hitting device to the precise location with the right timing to achieve a great hit. Accordingly, conventional swing methods continue to utilize techniques that, unless changed appropriately, will continue to yield suboptimal results.
 The current pivotal swing method disclosed herein has made changes that reduce head movement, in addition to other improvements mentioned below, resulting in better accuracy of bat placement to the specific location of the pitched ball and a better quality hit. It is a significant improvement over the prior art because it has been shown to improve the hitting of essentially all users. Methods that have such consistent and far reaching effects can have a profound impact in their field.
 An example of when an improved method that delivers better results for essentially all users with a profound impact in its field is the method developed at Washington State University called "crop rotation." It had been found that wheat farmers were continually getting lower and lower yields each year from their harvest. This was a large food supply issue. The university found that the cause was that the wheat plant depletes nitrogen from the soil. They found there were at least a couple ways to improve this condition: (1) add nitrogen back to the soil by fertilizing, or (2) find an alternative type of food product that adds nitrogen back to the soil naturally. Though fertilizing with nitrogen was possible, it was expensive, time consuming, and less effective. It was found the plant that produces green peas was a natural fit. That plant generates highly concentrated nitrogen nodules in their root system as a part of their normal growth process. The "crop rotation" process was then introduced to plant peas the year after wheat, and then continue this rotation year after year. The peas were a good alternative for food, cash-flow, and soil nutrient replenishment. When wheat was grown the following year after peas, the crop volume was back up to the highest levels again. This is an example of an improved method that, while simple in form, has a profound impact in its field. This new pivotal swing method, very unique and useful, provides several improvements in many aspects of its field, and as a result is expected to be adopted by most when fully introduced and explained to the users.
 Using baseball as an example, most past and recent swing development has been primarily focused on power; for example, the application of increased force through the hitting device to a ball. However, more power exerted by a hitter, or at least if power is the primary focus of the swing, typically results in an increase in head movement, poor balance, or other factors that can reduce the accuracy of the swing. This reduced accuracy is exemplified by the increase in the number of strikeouts and lower batting averages of "power" hitters. The high correlation between strikeouts and power hitters does not mean that power is not achievable without the increase in strikeouts, but rather that the design of the swing must incorporate elements that eliminate or reduce the detrimental effects of trying to generate power, such as the increased head movement and poor balance that results in increased strikeouts. In many games, such as baseball and softball, what is important is not so much the power in a swing, but the quality of the swing and the ability to hit the ball to a desired strategic location.
 Quality hits include power, but not at the expense of accuracy. Accuracy requires a much higher emphasis on a swing that is simplified and contains no or negligible head movement. Although it is still debatable, time has shown that the players and teams that generate the most hits will win the most games. Accordingly, it would be beneficial to many players and teams to adhere to a hitting technique that increases hitting accuracy, and hence, the player's or team's winning percentage.
 Simplification of the swing is advantageous when it contributes to less time required to deliver the hitting device to the ball and more accuracy of the placement of the hitting device to the precise location of the ball at the right timing. Simplifying and improving the baseball swing, if done correctly, can give the hitter more time to assess which balls to swing at and where to place the hitting device for the best quality hit. Starting and delivering the hitting device in the same plane the ball is traveling in is a form of simplification. When the bat starts in or near the plane the ball is in, the hitting process does not require additional steps or as much effort to bring the hitting device into the plane of the ball. Thus, the mind and body perform less work or fewer changes to deliver the hitting device accurately to the ball. Reduction of head movement is another form of simplification and improvement. Head movement has a huge impact on the ability of the hitter to generate higher quality hits. Therefore, the optimal hitting process (improvement over the current or conventional process) must incorporate steps that eliminate or reduce head movement. This new pivotal swing method makes a significant improvement in reducing head movement by creating an axis to pivot around with a firm foundation that improves the balance of the hitter and simplifies the swing at the same time.
 Quantitatively in baseball for an example, a five degree rotation of the head in any combination of two of the three dimensions results in about a five inch difference in distance between where the brain may perceive the ball to be compared to its actual position. This misperception can cause the hitter to misplace the center of the bat relative to the center of the ball and/or miss the ball. When one realizes there are three 2-plane combinations in which this type of rotation can occur, it becomes readily apparent that increased head movement is a crucial detriment to high quality hits. Further, the games of baseball, softball, and other games that use a similar style of hitting process are unique in that there is a greater penalty for missing the alignment of the center of the bat with the center line of the ball by a little than by a lot. For example, in baseball, if a hitter misplaces the bat by as little as 1/2 inch, it can result in a "pop-up" or slow "grounder" that are usually much easier to convert to an "out" as compared to a line-drive or high quality hit. In comparison, a poor swing, such as missing the ball by 3 inches, will typically only result in a "strike," and since it takes three "strikes" before the batter is out, the batter would prefer a strike over a poorly hit ball. Therefore, swing process elements that contribute to precision and accuracy of bat placement will result in better quality hits. These in turn, can make a baseball player a highly successful (and well paid) 0.333 hitter who gets a hit in one out of every three at bats, as opposed to a mediocre player who hits 0.250, or one hit in every four at bats.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
 This document discloses an improved methodology for a swing that is focused on accuracy without sacrificing power. In short it is referred to as a pivotal swing or a pivoting swing process. The pivotal swing methodology is directed to an improved delivery of a hitting device to a ball based on four main concepts or areas of improvement: (1) reduced head movement, (2) the hitting device starting and being delivered in the same plane of travel as the ball (hereinafter referred to as "Bat in Same Plane as Ball"), (3) better balance, and (4) simplification of the swing, which gives a hitter more time to observe the ball and decide what action to take. To accomplish these four main concepts or improvements, the hitter executes many elements that include five main positions or steps: 1) leading or front leg is stiff and straight at the start and during the swing until after contact with the ball is completed (hereinafter referred to as "Straight Front Leg"); 2) the leading or front foot is pointed at least partially in the direction from which the ball is traveling, and does not step or move forward (hereinafter referred to as "No Step"); 3) the hands and the bat are held lower than in conventional starting positions, such that the distal end of the bat is positioned below the shoulders, and the bat is held substantially parallel to the ground at the beginning of the swing (hereinafter referred to as "Low Horizontal Bat"); 4) the hitting device is delivered in the same plane as the ball is traveling, where the ball is typically traveling in a slightly downward plane and thus the hitting device or bat will be traveling in a slightly upward plane in the opposite direction of the plane of travel of the ball, and in other words, the bat moves directly forward (hereinafter referred to as "Bat Travels in Same Plane"); and 5) the swing utilizes a pivoting of the trunk and hips about an axis, with no or little forward or lateral movement of the body (hereinafter referred to as "Pivoting on the Axis"). The "axis" referred to here and throughout this application is the equivalent of a "pole" that goes down from above a batter in the ready position and down through the head, neck, torso, entire front stiff and/or straight leg and foot and continuing into the ground. In this pivotal swing process, the body pivots about this axis or pole. It is a simplification that reduces or eliminates head movement and also creates better balance in the overall pivotal swing process. The terms element and step are used interchangeably throughout.
 These new and unique combinations of elements have produced an average improvement of over 30% for experienced baseball hitters, or those with 8 to 10 years of experience. Though improvement was expected, more than 30% improvement was unexpected and greatly welcomed. Overall, hitters ranged in improvement from 20% to 40%. This is dramatic in the sport of baseball. When all players using the method improve significantly, that corresponds with a "core" level process improvement. All people working on process improvement desire to find a "core" level improvement because they can then expect essentially all users of such a new method to get improved results without changing anything else except the process they are following. These improvements are extremely useful when one understands the impact. A 30% improvement in hitting can result in a hitting average improvement of 50 to 100 points, depending on the current skill of each hitter and the effectiveness of implementing the pivotal swing process or method. Each "point" referred to herein corresponds to 0.1% batting average; thus 100 points corresponds to a 10% average. A 50-point improvement for a current 0.250 hitter would change him to a 0.300 hitter. Correspondingly, a 100-point improvement for a 0.250 hitter would change him to a 0.350 hitter and in Major League Baseball ("MLB") could result in millions of additional dollars in his contract. Similarly, a 100-point improvement of a 0.320 hitter would make him a 0.420 hitter. That is huge! MLB has not had a hitter over 0.400 in over 65 years. There are a lot of 0.320 or higher hitters so it is a very reasonable expectation that such an occurrence will happen. This too could have a multi-million dollar impact on a MLB player's contract. Even more important is the impact for a team. Over the last 20 years in MLB, which is comprised of more than 30 teams in 2 leagues, the difference between the hitting average of the lowest place team as compared to the highest place team in each league has been about 40 to 50 points. The usefulness of this improved pivotal swing method is now obvious. First, it can significantly impact the pay of a MLB player as noted above. Secondly, if a team using this method improves their hitting average by 50 points (possibly as much as 100 points) it can move all the way from the last placed team to the first place team in their league. Though these impacts were unexpected, it is easy to see their usefulness in the game of baseball.
 For a 0.300 hitter, a 50 to 100 point improvement is an increase of 16.6% to 33.3%. This increase in efficiency is astounding, not only in the field of baseball, but in many other disciplines. For example, increase in the yield of a crop by 30% would result in a significantly greater supply of that crop, and in all likelihood, significant cost savings to the consumer. The same is true for baseball. An increase of efficiency of 30% in batting average would result in more production for the baseball team. A baseball team would then win more games resulting in higher ticket sales, higher revenues, and higher profits.
 A little more explanation about the steps Low Horizontal Bat and Bat Travels in Same Plane may help create an understanding of how they contribute to the overall pivotal swing method. It is basically understood that the bat has to be in the plane of the ball in order for the ball to ever be hit. There is a huge difference in the bat eventually getting there after many elements of the conventional swing have been executed as compared to being in the same plane during the full pivotal swing process. There is also an angle of incidence that is a major cause of reduced time available to make impact. In general, two objects (a bat and ball) that are traveling in different planes will only impact each other if they meet at the same time and point of the 2 intersecting planes at an angle of incidence. However, two objects (for example: a pitched ball in the strike zone and a bat being delivered to that same strike zone) that are traveling in the same plane in opposite directions will essentially always impact each other. This is a huge issue that, if not understood, will seriously impact the understanding of how these two elements contribute to the pivotal swing process and how they are different from the current or conventional swing process. A key benefit is that the amount of energy transfer will be higher when the ball and bat, traveling in opposite directions in the same plane, collide. Another benefit is that the pivotal swing process is simpler without the added steps needed to get the bat down from the prior art starting position of the conventional swing process to where the ball is. These two elements are useful to the overall results because they contribute to the noted improvements, including reduced head movement, better balance, and simplification of the swing, and are achieved in a unique way that has not been taught or disclosed in the past.
 With the steps Low Horizontal Bat and Bat Travels in Same Plane more clearly understood, we can now expand on how they impact the simplification of the overall pivotal swing process. With the Low Horizontal Bat, the bat only needs to be brought directly forward in the plane of the ball. This simplification allows more time to ascertain the direction and spin of the ball and allows the pivotal swing process to deliver the bat directly to the ball with reduced head movement and maintaining better balance.
 It is important to note how the steps described above contribute to the improvements of the current invention and how these elements also contribute to unexpected and useful results. However, to list each element individually with all its contributions to each improvement as well as the various combinations of them and their contributions to individual and combinations of improvements would be overly redundant and repetitive. Instead, examples will be provided as representations of all the individual and combined results. One such example was discussed above while explaining some of the special aspects of how the two elements Low Horizontal Bat and Bat Travels in Same Plane contributed to three improvements: simplification of the swing, reduced head movement, and better balance. It should be reasonably clear that either one of those two steps by themselves will contribute to one or more of the improvements. However, the amount of improvement is significantly increased when multiple steps disclosed herein are combined and synergistic benefits are obtained.
 An additional example of how the various elements both individually and in combination contribute to improvements or combinations of improvements includes the steps Straight Front Leg, No Step, and Pivoting on the Axis. Each of these contributes individually to all previously mentioned improvements; however, when they are combined, they produce even higher levels of improvement when compared to each step individually. The Straight Front Leg is a key part of creating the axis upon which to pivot; it builds a firm foundation for better balance. When we add the No Step element, we are maintaining the creation of the axis and maintaining the firm foundation. In addition, it contributes to the simplification of the swing. Upon adding the Pivoting on the Axis step, we continue to maintain the axis and firm foundation while all three steps are contributing to better balance. They are also continuing to add to the simplification of the swing, which is providing synergistic benefits of enhancing the improvements. The first two elements, Straight Front Leg and No Step, are also a key part of achieving the improvement of reduced head movement. The design of the pivotal swing process then was able to add the element of Pivoting on the Axis to create the necessary power in the swing while maintaining the improvements already in place for better balance, reduced head movement, and simplification of the swing. These three steps are all synergistically contributing to those three improvements, which in turn allow the hitter to more precisely deliver the hitting device to the specific location of the ball.
 Through these thorough examples, it has been shown the linkages to the design of the pivotal swing process and how they add to the contributions and integration of improvements. All five elements are individual improvements upon the conventional or current swing process. The key, as is made evident in the previous explanations, is that each element contributes to multiple improvements thus resulting in an overall improvement that is significantly more than the sum of the separate individual improvements. There are synergistic benefits from their combinations. These five elements are key integral parts of the pivotal swing process that produced some unexpected and extremely beneficial improvements.
 There has thus been outlined, rather broadly, the more important features of the invention in order that the detailed description thereof may be better understood, and in order that the present contribution to the art may be better appreciated. There are additional features of the invention that will be described hereinafter and which will form the subject matter of the claims appended hereto. The features listed herein and other features, aspects and advantages of the present invention will become better understood with reference to the following description and appended claims.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE FIGURES
 The accompanying drawings, which are incorporated in and form a part of this specification, illustrate embodiments of the invention and together with the description, serve to explain the principles of this invention.
 FIG. 1 is a side perspective view of a hitter in a ready position for performing the pivotally swinging and hitting method in accordance with exemplary embodiments.
 FIG. 2 is a back perspective view of a hitter in a ready position for performing the pivotally swinging and hitting method in accordance with exemplary embodiments.
 FIG. 3 is a front perspective view of a hitter in a ready position for performing the pivotally swinging and hitting method in accordance with exemplary embodiments.
 FIG. 4 shows the early position of the pivotally swinging and hitting method according to exemplary embodiments.
 FIG. 5 shows an intermediate position of the pivotally swinging and hitting method in accordance with exemplary embodiments.
 FIG. 6 shows a later position of the pivotally swinging and hitting method in accordance with exemplary embodiments.
 FIG. 7 shows another view of the intermediate position of t pivotally swinging and hitting method in accordance with the exemplary embodiments.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
 Many aspects of the invention can be better understood with the references made to the drawings below. The components in the drawings are not necessarily drawn to scale. Instead, emphasis is placed upon clearly illustrating the components of the present invention. Moreover, like reference numerals designate corresponding parts through the several views in the drawings.
 This document describes a pivotal swing process or pivotal hitting technique, embodied in various methods and processes that produce an improved swing process, thereby maximizing swing quality and desired outputs. The following description relates primarily to the context of the game of baseball and softball, with a baseball or softball bat being the hitting device, a type of machine used to change the state of the baseball or softball. However this description is not limited to baseball or any particular kind of hitting device, and can apply equally to many kinds of games and hitting devices. The example illustrated by the following figures is a right-handed hitter in baseball or softball. The method is equally applicable to a left-handed hitter, but it should be understood that for a left-handed hitter the various positions and actions are the opposite as are the case, as illustrated here, for a right-handed hitter.
 In accordance with various embodiments, the pivotal swing method has four main concepts or areas of improvement: 1) reduced head movement; 2) the hitting device such as a bat is started, moved and delivered to a ball in the same plane of the ball as the ball moves through the air toward the hitter (Bat in Same Plane as Ball); 3) better balance, and 4) the swing process is simplified; the end result being that the overall pivotal swing process is simplified, from the conventional swing processes, which gives a hitter more time to see the ball. As discussed previously, to accomplish these four main concepts or areas of improvement, the hitter executes many elements, or steps, that include five main positions or elements of the preferred embodiment of the invention: 1) Straight Front Leg, 2) No Step; 3) Low Horizontal Bat; 4) Bat Travels in Same Plane; and 5) Pivoting on the Axis.
 These concepts or improvements, and the associated positions, elements and movements, will now be described in further detail with reference to FIGS. 1-7, which illustrate the techniques described herein with respect to a right-handed hitter. The technique is the same, albeit a mirror image, for a left-handed hitter. FIGS. 1, 2 and 3 show the starting or ready position for the hitter 20. The ready position is a position where hitter 20 is holding a hitting device 40 and is preparing to swing hitting device 40 to hit a ball (not shown) that travels from a location away from the hitter, i.e. where the hitter is waiting for a baseball pitch, for example. The ready position as shown in FIG. 2 defines a ready position axis 50, that extends from above and down through the hitter's head 22, torso 24, left leg 26 and left foot 28. Alternatively, the ready position axis 50 extends from above and down through head 22, torso 24, and between the hitter's left leg 26 and right leg 30, but aligned much closer to the hitter's left foot 28 than to the hitter's right foot 32. During a swing, hitter 20 pivots about the ready position axis 50, to create power yet minimize movement of head 22, while also simplifying the swing.
 FIG. 1 depicts a side view, FIG. 2 depicts a back view and FIG. 3 depicts a front view of the ready position. In accordance with the pivotal swing method for hitting a ball, many elements are executed by hitter 20, including five key elements. First, the leading or front leg (shown in FIGS. 1, 2, and 3 as left leg 26) is straight and stiff, and hitter 20 pushes against it, which counteracts or prevents lateral or forward movement of the hitter's body during the swing and also keeps the body weight more evenly distributed over both feet (Straight Front Leg). The knee 27 of the leading or front leg 26 is not bent and the foot 28 is pointed at least partially toward the direction from which the ball is coming. This will aid in the Pivoting on the Axis step of the swing later. Along with the straightened front leg 26 there is no step or forward movement made with front foot 28 or the straightened front leg 26, to generate little or no lateral or forward movement of the hitter's body and contributes to little or no movement of head 22 and simplification of the swing (No Step). Sometimes, the forward movement made with the front foot is in the form of a slide instead of step; regardless, there should be little to no net forward movement of the front foot. Pushing against the straightened front leg 26 with no step being made facilitates a full pivoting or pivotal movement about axis 50 during the swing, as well as prevents the `forward lunging` caused when the hitter is fooled by a curveball or change-up because the weight is kept more evenly distributed over both feet during the main part of the swing. Straightened front leg 26 remains straight and stiff during the ready position and for most of the pivotal swing method thereafter. After contact with the ball is made, straightened front leg 26 can then be bent or released.
 Second, the left arm 34 and right arm 36 are bent, and the left wrist 35 and right wrist 37 are cocked backward and positioned as shown in FIGS. 1, 2 and 3. Right elbow 38 is down and close to the torso 24, left upper arm 34 is against the left side of torso 24. Right arm 36 is down and tucked against torso 24. Right wrist 37 is positioned to place hitting device 40 back and down so it is close to parallel to the horizontal plane 70 in FIG. 2 (Low Horizontal Bat). In this fashion, the bat is ready to be moved forward when hitter 20 pivots the hips 39 and torso 24 about axis 50. That pivoting will deliver hitting device 40 in a plane very close to, if not in the same plane as, the ball. This pivoting, positioning and method contribute to the simplification of the swing.
 Third, right leg 30, the trailing leg, is bent with the knee 31 dipped slightly toward the ground. Fourth, the hips 39 are substantially "closed," but slightly "open" to facilitate both eyes being positioned to clearly see the full view of the pitcher and allowing for both right and left eye-dominant hitters to have full utilization of both eyes. The term "closed" as used in this context refers to hips facing away from the pitcher, while "open" as used in this context refers to hips facing towards the pitcher. Fifth, head 22 is slightly cocked to a hitting position; for example, the position the head will be in when hitting, so that no head movement is necessary during the swing. The slightly cocked head 22 is also part of being in alignment with axis 50 and stays there during the swing until after contact is made.
 Additionally, hitting device 40 is positioned and aligned in plane 70 as shown in FIG. 2, which is as near parallel with the ground as possible. This puts the hitting device in or near an initial plane that coincides with the typical trajectory of the ball. This position puts the hands and the bat significantly lower when compared to current and historical practice and theory, as can be seen by watching any major league player on the television, essentially all of which begin with the bat held completely vertical and above the shoulders.
 When the hitter is in the ready position as shown in FIG. 2, the hitting device can be moved straight forward in the plane 70 by pivoting the hips 39 and torso 24 about axis 50 without having to change planes, which is a unique simplification that reduces the steps and time to bring the bat to the ball. Comparing that with a traditional swing, we find that the first thing the batter must do upon deciding to swing at a ball is to change the location and angle of the bat from far above the shoulder level down toward where the ball will be at the time his bat crosses the projected trajectory of the ball. The positioning taught by this invention contributes to the simplification of the swing. This allows a hitter more time to watch the pitch before executing the pivot of the hips 39 and torso 24 about axis 50 for delivery of the hitting device, because the pivoting swing movement is more direct toward the ball and takes less time. With more time to watch the ball, the hitter can make a better determination as to whether the incoming ball or pitch will be a "ball" or a "strike," and will have more time to try to deduce what kind of pitch is being thrown, as a curveball will have different movement and will get to the plate in a different manner than a change-up, slider, fastball, sinker, or other pitch.
 The hitting device 40 being swung in the same plane as the ball reduces difficulties of timing (Bat Travels in Same Plane). The hitter has more time and uses less effort to implement the pivotal swing with the best timing to hit the ball. Aligning the angle of the plane of hitting device 40 in the `ready` position prior to the pivot to that of the ball's trajectory means more time for the hitter to have the bat in the right plane and overall position for a good hit. Conversely, if hitting device 40 is in a plane that only briefly intersects with the plane of the ball, as is the case with most contemporary or conventional hitters, the time available in which to hit the ball is greatly reduced, and there is a lower probability of hitting the ball which also reduces the probability of getting high quality hits. Put another way, the optimal connection occurs when the centerline of the bat hits the centerline of the ball and reverses the direction of the ball to nearly or even exactly the opposite direction it had been traveling. The greater the angle at which hitting device 40 and the ball intersect, the greater the reduction of the very small window of time in which to make a good connection with the bat to the ball. In other words, it negatively affects the timing of the swing. A very small improvement in the timing generates a huge impact on improving the desired results of high quality hits. It is important to keep in mind that the initial alignment and the delivery of the swing plane are part of the simplification of the swing.
 FIG. 4 shows the start of the swing in the pivoting swing method. The start of the swing is also the start of the pivot by hitter 20 about axis 50 (Pivoting on the Axis). Since there is no step forward with the straight and stiff front left leg 26 with unbent knee 27, there is no timing required for a forward step in the pivotal swing process. With no step or weight shifting forward, the hitter 20 will not be fooled, which causes an imbalance, by fast and/or off-speed pitches. Hitter 20 also has more time to decide what type of pitch it is and which pitch to swing at. Hitter 20 can then execute the simplified pivotal swing process keeping the body weight evenly distributed over both feet, thereby achieving better balance. The pivotal swing method minimizes unnecessary motions, including detrimental head movement, that inhibit effective delivery of hitting device 40 to the ball. These are elements or factors in the simplification of the swing. As shown in FIG. 4, left arm 34 and right arm 36 do not move significantly or change from the ready position shown in FIGS. 1-3. Only hips 39 have started to pivot about the axis 50. The position of the head 22, left arm 34 and right arm 36, and left leg 26 and right leg 30 are kept relatively the same, at least initially.
 FIG. 5 shows a mid position of the swing. Hips 39 continue to pivot about the axis 50. Torso 24 starts to also pivot around axis 50. During this mid position, hitter 20 will start to decide to drive the hands toward the ball for a pitched ball the hitter desires to hit. In this case, the arms first unbend, and then the wrists uncock in a timed fashion such that the bat meets the ball just a little in front of the hitter. The palms of the hands are essentially juxtaposed to each other (i.e. leading arm is palm down and other arm is palm up), and the arms are approximately fully extended. In this condition, hitter 20 is in a position to hit the ball.
 FIG. 6 illustrates the continuation of the pivoting about the axis 50. Stiff and straight front left leg 26 and bent right leg 30 and head 22 are not moved, thereby allowing the batter to concentrate on hitting the ball without additional confounding variables such as adjusting the swing to account for the movement of his head. As the hands reach maximum extension from the body they now start to follow the pivoting with the rest of the body about axis 50. In order to maintain or increase the speed of hitting device 40 while keeping hitting device 40 in the plane of the ball, the right hand crosses over the left largely due to the momentum of the barrel of hitting device 40. This also minimizes or eliminates movement of head 22 from the swing. Hitting device 40 is still traveling in a slightly upward plane, which is opposite of the projected downward plane of the ball. Stiff and straight front left leg 26 with unbent left knee 27 and left foot 28 are being pushed against as part of the extension of axis 50 which is being pivoted about. These forces result in the hitter's body not moving forward. The right leg 30 is bent at the knee to drive off of the foot and to keep the swing powerful without significant head movement. The fact that there is little or no head movement in the delivery of a pivotal swing results in a better quality hit.
 FIG. 7 shows another view of the intermediate position of the swing, focusing on axis 50. Hips 39 continue to pivot about axis 50. Torso 24 starts to also pivot about axis 50. During this mid position, hitter 20 will decide to drive the hands toward the ball for a pitched ball the hitter desires to hit. In this case, the arms first unbend, and then the wrists uncock in a timed fashion such that the bat meets the ball just a little in front of the hitter. The palms of the hands are essentially juxtaposed to each other, for example, the leading arm is palm down and other arm is palm up, and the arms are approximately fully extended. In this condition, hitter 20 is in a position to hit the ball.
 The speed of hitting device 40 is provided by pivoting the hitter's hips 39 and torso 24 about axis 50 along with extension of the arms and hands toward the ball and the uncocking of both wrists. When the arms (34 and 36) are extended, the wrists (35 and 37) are uncocked and the hips 39 and torso 24 pivot about axis 50; the speed of hitting device 40 is also provided by passing the hand of the back arm 36 over the top of the front arm's 34 hand. The timing and combination of these components creates the maximum impact to the ball from the hitting device 40.
 In some embodiments, hitting device 40 is positioned at the start of a swing in a plane that is substantially parallel to the ground. The hitter swings hitting device 40 with a pivot about axis 50 motion, with a stiff and straight front leg, without lifting or stepping forward with the forward leg or foot. This keeps the process simple and eliminates or minimizes head movement. With hitting device 40 already located in or close to the plane the ball is traveling in and with only a pivoting motion, the pivotal swing process is simplified from conventional swing methods to give a quicker and more accurate delivery of the bat to the ball in a shorter amount of time. This gives the hitter more time to assess the location and activity of the ball, contributing to improved results by the hitter.
 Not all of these steps or elements are required to be executed in one swing to fall within the scope of some embodiments described herein. While a method that employs any one of the elements, movements, techniques, or various combinations of them will realize beneficial results, it is the combination of these elements or steps that produced significant an unexpected improvements over the prior art. As with many processes or process improvements, the degree of effective execution by each player will significantly affect the outcome (or outputs) being measured.
 It should be understood that while the preferred embodiments of the invention are described in some detail herein, the present disclosure is made by way of example only and that variations and changes thereto are possible without departing from the subject matter coming within the scope of the following claims, and a reasonable equivalency thereof, which claims I regard as my invention.
 All of the material in this patent document is subject to copyright protection under the copyright laws of the United States and other countries. The copyright owner has no objection to the facsimile reproduction by anyone of the patent document or the patent disclosure, as it appears in official governmental records but, otherwise, all other copyright rights whatsoever are reserved.
Patent applications by Roger U. Hart, San Diego, CA US
Patent applications in all subclasses Base for game in which play involves base running (e.g., for baseball, etc.)