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Victor Martinez & Mike Trout head movement during stride

Victor Martinez & Mike Trout head position at stride forward. Camera angle is different, but watch videos below and note how V-Mart’s head doesn’t move with the front foot. Pictures courtesy: PastimeAthletics.com

Hint, hint…it has to do with balance!  This is a bonus to our Why Your Balance Fails series on balance.  I will be discussing:

  • The balance of pyramids,
  • The lateral movement of dancers, and
  • Mike Trout Slow-motion perfect balance during the stride…

 

The Balance of Pyramids

Pyramids have a capstone that is centered over the base.

Pyramid

In baseball, good balance occurs when the head is centered between the feet.

 

The Lateral [to the side] Movement of Dancers

I asked a woman who was a modern dancer for several decades who is making a film on movement,

What is the proper way to move to the side?”

Her response was,

The body has to move with the foot.

 

Mike Trout Perfect Balance During the Stride

Hitting requires balance…

But the stride requires dynamic balance, or balance while in motion.

A couple things I want to point out in the following slow motion swing of Mike Trout…notice how:

  • Mike Trout’s leg moves forward, so that the head is centered between the feet during the stride,
  • His body moves with his front foot, and 
  • Efficient his swing looks….

To Contrast and Compare, here is Victor Martinez. An extremely successful hitter, with a gift of incredible hand-eye coordination and strength…

Let’s compare them both at the moment the front foot touches the ground:

  • Trout- Head between the feet.
  • Martinez- Head closer to the back foot.
  • Trout-Shoulders angled down.
  • Martinez-Shoulders angled up (or level).

However, they both reach perfect position at the moment the bat hits the ball. And they both have the same backward lean with the head in line with the front leg…

Who has better dynamic balance?

Mike Trout.  To move more like him, the cue is move the body with the foot”.

(Note from Joey Myers: the camera angles are a little goofy, but I urge you to look at other “chest view” video of Victor Martinez, and you’ll see the same result.  Like Dr. Stanley said, he’s got SUPER hand-eye coordination!  BUT here’s the thing, he doesn’t angle his shoulders down, show his numbers to the pitcher or hide his hands as well as Mike Trout does before landing.  And as a result, his front shoulder has a tendency to “peel out”.  Adding these ingredients into V-Mart’s swing could have won him the 2014 AL MVP ;-))

In case you missed Parts 1-3 of the Why Your Balance Fails series, then here they are:

Dr. Stanley Beekman

I graduated from Podiatric medical college in 1976 and then finished a surgical residency and a biomechanics fellowship. I have recently retired as a practicing podiatrist treating sports medicine since 1978. I also was an Associate Professor at the Ohio College of Podiatric Medicine where I taught Sports Medicine. I have run marathons, competed successfully in Olympic lifting, power lifting and karate in the master's age groups. Along the way, I became a licensed massotherapistand graduated as a mechanotherapist (similar to chiropractic). They eliminated licensure for mechanotherapy, but it opened my eyes to other therapies. I have taken 500 hours of applied kinesiology and combined that with fascial therapies. As a result I treated the body as a Biotensegrity structure and reset sensors and change processing to make immediate postural and functional changes via acupressure and other manual means. I have also coached little league for the last four years.
Dr. Stanley Beekman
4 replies
  1. Joe
    Joe says:

    Appears Victor got an off speed pitch and kept his head (and body back) while waiting but stride leg continued to reach out. At contact he was still early and probably hit it foul.

    Reply
    • Joey Myers
      Joey Myers says:

      Hey Joe, great point. I understand we have to account for pitch height and speed, as well as camera angles in analyzing video. But at the “fall” or stride part of the swing, physical adjustments are near impossible. These happen closer to landing and beyond. Before you yell at me, let me explain…

      How consistent a hitter is with their power has to do with how consistent they can get into their Fight Position, or landing the same way every time. For most players, the brain hasn’t calculated the unknown pitch before landing, so a physical adjustment here would slow down the swing process. Most players haven’t recognized the pitch till the ball is 25-50% to home-plate. Sure, you have mutants who may be able to pick up release and spin out of the pitcher’s hand, but very very rare.

      Consider this, if it were easy to make physical adjustments to pitch speed, type, and height before landing, then why wouldn’t we teach hitters to stride towards the plate on an outside pitch, and away on an inside pitch? 99% of hitters cannot recognize pitch parameters before landing to make that kind of physical adjustment.

      Reply
  2. Kim Eppard
    Kim Eppard says:

    Joey and all,

    I definitely believe balance is the key. However getting to a “perfect” balance is not an easy thing to perform. Dr. David Wright, a golf teaching professional in Southern California ( Golf Magazines #1 Golf School in America) , has developed a series of measurements and tests to determine your “perfect” balance at stance and a stride. The results have been outstanding in my application over the past four (4) years. The effects are as follows: A faster and more efficient swing, Less hand rollover in swings (when hips get “stuck” the arms will disconnect from body and roll over – Reggie Smith), More power. Dr. Wright has shown that being off “balance” in your stance or stride by just 1/2 of an inch can significantly slow your bat and increase movement in your head during a swing.

    Reply

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] CLICK HERE for a BONUS Part-4 post to this series titled: What Do Pyramids, Dancers, and Mike Trout Teach Us About Hitting For Power. […]

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