Troy Tulowitzki Stride Length Experiment

 

Question: Does Stride Length Kill Bat Speed?

Troy Tulowitzki Stride Length Killing Your Bat Speed?

Photo courtesy: MLB.com

Using the Zepp (Labs) Baseball app, I wanted to use the Scientific Method to analyze whether Troy Tulowitzki’s longer stride increases or decreases bat speed.  Not just a longer stride, but I want to see the torso moving forward as well.

Background Research

Troy Tulowitzki had a wider stance in 2013.  In 2014, he’s adopted more of a narrow stance and a longer stride length.

Forward Momentum may be a new concept to hitting, but not to other explosive rotational athletes.  It’s also known as the Conservation of Linear Momentum and the Un-Weighting Principal.  The idea is that the hitter is getting a “head start”.  Other high level athletes using Forward Momentum:

  • Olympic Throwers (Discus, Javelin, and Hammer)
  • Olympic Shot Put
  • 4 X 100 meter relay sprinters
  • Circus Trapeze Artists
  • Lacrosse Players
  • Hockey Players

Hypothesis

I think the addition of forward momentum, or a longer stride length, will contribute to more bat speed because this gives the hitter a “head start”, making the body feel lighter while moving.  This allows the body to turn harder, and ultimately increase bat speed.

Troy Tulowitzki Experiment

Equipment:

Setup:

  • Feedback markers = my bat length, plus two baseballs
  • Distance from plate = end of the bat touching inside corner of plate, and knob of bat touching my mid-thigh
  • NO-stride stance was width of feedback markers
  • Forward movement stance was open, and feet set a little wider than shoulder width
  • Tee was set a baseball or two behind the front feedback marker, and tee height was about mid-thigh
  • 101 baseballs were hit using both the NO-stride and longer stride sessions

Data Collected:

Results of Tulo Stride Length Bat Speed Experiment

Pay particular attention to the bold typeface

 

Data Analysis & Conclusion

Last 6 Swing Zepp Baseball app

NO-stride: last 6 batted balls (Zepp Baseball app)

  • 0.624 mph average bat speed increase with a longer stride.
  • Apex of bell curve for NO-stride swings ranged from 77 mph to 83 mph*.
  • With a longer stride, you’ll see the bell curve shifted, 81 mph to 85 mph*.
  • Three more 90 mph+ swings using a longer stride, in addition to increasing my Personal Record 2 mph.

*Based on six or more batted balls repeated in specific mph (bold typeface in the chart above)

 

Notes

Longer Stride: last 6 batted balls (Zepp Baseball app)

Longer Stride: last 6 batted balls (Zepp Baseball app)

  • Before the experiment I did a 7 minute Dynamic Warm-up.
  • I didn’t just increase my stride length, I moved my whole torso forward.
  • I began the experiment with the NO-stride swings.
  • I took a 20-30 minute break between the two sessions.
  • During the last twenty swings of the longer stride session, I hit five-of-eight 90 mph+ balls.

From the Zepp Baseball screenshots to the right, it’s interesting to note, my bat speed kept up, even increased with forward momentum and a longer stride.  In other words, I wasn’t as tired at the end of hitting over 200 baseballs.

Now that Troy Tulowitzki is using a more narrow stance and generating forward momentum with a longer stride, he’s able to increase his bat speed.  This may explain the surge in opposite field home-runs in 2014.

Does Chris Davis Hit Backwards?  Common Mistake #4 (of 4)…

 

Chris Davis Deep Barrel

Chris Davis deep barrel photo courtesy: MLB.com

The last installment to the Hitting Backwards: 4 Common Mistakes Hitters Make video series, looks at the swing of 2013 MLB home-run leader Chris Davis.

“Being short to the ball” is disastrous to repeatable power.  We can be ‘compact’, but ‘swinging down on the ball’ in order to be ‘short to the ball’ is NOT what the best do.

Get “on pitch plane” with the barrel as soon as possible is what I tell my hitters to do.

In this Chris Davis video, we’ll look at:

  • The science of barrel path,
  • 5 Problems with being “short to the ball”, and
  • When the barrel should accelerate.

 

The Science of Barrel Path

  • Center spinning axis (the spine and torso)
  • Centripetal Force = center-seeking (arms and hands)
  • Centrifugal Force = center-fleeing (barrel)

5 Problems with “Being Short to the Ball”

Some write off what Chris Davis does here as being above average in size and weight, in other words, “he’s just strong and can get away with doing it like this.” I beg to differ…Aaron Miles told me that a downward traveling barrel (to impact) hitter doesn’t last past AA-ball.

Here are 5 PROBLEMS with ‘being short’:

Ryan Braun Deep Barrel

Is Ryan Braun ‘being short to the ball’ by today’s conventional standards? Photo courtesy: MLB.com

  1. Jab v. Knockout punch
  2. Rather get hit by a train going 30mph, or motorcycle going 60mph?
  3. NOT in hitting zone very long
  4. Weakness to off speed and breaking balls
  5. Focuses barrel acceleration at the wrong time

 

When the Barrel Should Accelerate

Here’s how Chris Davis transfers energy and uses Centripetal and Centrifugal Forces in his swing:

  • Potential Energy – made up of his height, weight, joint mobility and stability, bat length and weight.
  • Kinetic (moving) Energy – he un-weights the bat with forward momentum, then transfers that into angular (turning) momentum…
  • Barrel – because of the barrel’s moving inertia, Davis fights center-fleeing Centrifugal Forces early by keeping his front arm slightly bent to increase the speed of his body’s rotation, AND to accelerate the barrel.  Then as his barrel “turns the corner”…
  • Ball – …it gets on plane early, body to barrel to ball energy transfer is almost complete…Chris Davis finally gets long through contact with his arms (center-fleeing Centrifugal Forces).

If after reading this Chris Davis video post, you missed Parts 1-3, here they are:

  1. Ryan Braun: Common Mistakes Hitters Make #1 (Sitting Back)
  2. Adrian Gonzalez: Common Mistakes Hitters Make #2 (Walking Away from the Hands)
  3. Miguel Cabrera: Common Mistakes Hitters Make #3 (Timing of Torque)

Does Miguel Cabrera Hit Backwards?  Common Mistake #3 (of 4)…

 

Miguel Cabrera REVEALS Torque Timing

Photo courtesy: MLB.com

The third installment to the Hitting Backwards: 4 Common Mistakes Hitters Make video series, stars 8-time All-Star & 2-Time AL MVP Miguel Cabrera.  I’ll show you how hitting instructors get torque timing wrong, causing reciprocal inhibition to occur in reverse.

In this Miguel Cabrera video, we’ll look at:

  • Why walking mechanics hold the key to repeatable power,
  • Whether we should land front foot closed or open?  And
  • Why the timing of torque is important.

Thanks to Bob Hall from Canada for the subject of this video blog article.

 

Walking Mechanics: Key to Repeatable Power?

The following “compression signal” sequence is according to Dr. Serge Gracovetsky’s spine engine mechanics:

  1. Left front leg heel strike – compression signal travels up the leg into the pelvis telling it to open to the right,
  2. The signal continues up the spine into the shoulders, telling them to counter-rotate (left), and
  3. This is why your opposite arm and leg come forward at the same time.
Walking Mechanics

Photo courtesy: WalkezStore.com

Land Front Foot Closed OR Open?

Ryan Braun Front Toe Open

Photo courtesy: OnMilwaukee.com

Big guys like Barry Bonds and Miguel Cabrera land closed (less than 45-degrees). Small guys such as Ryan Braun and Jose Bautista tend to land open (more than 45-degrees).  Which way is the right way?

4 reasons to keep the front toe open (minimum of 45-degree angle):

  1. Joint Connection – Toe closed? So is knee and pelvis.  The compression signal travels fast after heel strike, so pelvis must be in neutral (or parallel to the plate) in order to open without friction,
  2. NO Separation – If toe, knee, and pelvis are closed after compression signal, then front shoulder has to compensate by flying open the same time as the pelvis.  This doesn’t engage our elastic energy systems.
  3. Compensation is Inevitable – We find the closed toe in hitters like Barry Bonds and Miguel Cabrera just end up peeling or jumping open anyway at or shortly after contact.  So why not get the toe out of the way to begin with?
  4. Pitchers Land Open – And also if you look at Olympic Throwers and Shot Putters, they all land open before they throw or “put” their objects.

 

Why the Timing of Torque is IMPORTANT

Jose Bautista Front Toe Open

Photo courtesy: OttawaLife.com

Torque timing in the swing, also known as shoulder-pelvis separation, is often cued wrong.  Instructors often yell, “Fire the Hips!”  In high level swing mechanics, we find the hips (or pelvis) does fire first.  But, the timing coaches cue on is all wrong.  Shoulder-pelvis separation occurs before the front heel touches down, NOT after.

If you missed the following parts to the Hitting Backwards: 4 Common Mistakes Hitters Make video series:

  • CLICK HERE for Common Mistake #1 featuring Ryan Braun
  • CLICK HERE for Common Mistake #2 featuring Adrian Gonzalez

Stay tuned for Common Mistake #4, where we debunk whether the friction-free swing is pushing or pulling the backside through

Does Adrian Gonzalez Hit Backwards?  Common Mistake #2 (of 4)…

 

Adrian Gonzalez: Power Secret You Are Missing?

Photo credit: MLB.com

In the second installment to the Hitting Backwards: 4 Common Mistakes Hitters Make video series, starring Adrian Gonzalez, we discuss why “walking away from the hands” doesn’t make sense.  A-Gon is a bigger hitter (*6’2″, 225lbs) who uses human movement science correctly to generate explosive rotational power.

*(According to Baseball-Reference.com)

We’ll use Adrian Gonzalez’s swing to talk about:

  • The simple science of loading,
  • How big hitters get away with ineffective mechanics, and
  • The power secret you are missing.

Contrary to popular belief, “walking away from the hands” is NOT how we load properly.  It decreases turning speed by arm barring.  In the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, if controversial gold medal winning ice skater Adelina Sotnikova could turn faster by barring an arm out, then don’t you think you’d see her do that?

 

The Simple Science of Loading

Cotton Candy Fascia

Photo credit: Thomas Myers

According to the book Anatomy Trains by Thomas Myers, the human body is loaded by connective tissue called Fascia, which is:

  • A cotton candy-like material,
  • To the body, like steel is to the building industry,
  • Connective tissue your bones and muscles float in,
  • Gives muscles their shape, and
  • At a constant battle to balance compression and tension forces within the body…Thomas Myers calls this Tensegrity (Tension-Integrity)

Big Hitters Get Away with Ineffective Mechanics

We’re studying the wrong hitters.  Pujols.  Hamilton.  Griffey Jr.  Paul Goldschmidt.

Ken Griffey Jr. was the perfect example of “walking away from the hands”.  People don’t realize, he succeeded despite ineffective mechanics, not because of them.  Here are some other notable athletes getting away with ineffective mechanics:

  • Kevin Durant, NBA’s leading scorer, succeeds despite flawed shooting mechanics.  His knees crash in, which is called Knee Valgus.
  • Tiger Woods succeeded despite being ineffective mechanically, later in his career (4 knee surgeries, in addition to numerous Achilles and back issues). CLICK HERE to read this “Muscle Power Golf, Not!” post about this.
  • Numerous pitchers throw 95+mph despite career shortening flawed mechanics (Kerry Wood and Mark Prior just to name two)

Spend more time analyzing hitters like: Braun, Cano, David Wright, Jose Bautista, McCutchen, Hank Aaron, and Sadaharu Oh (Japan’s career home run leader).  These small-sluggers have to move friction-free (or nearly) to compete.  Big-sluggers with friction-free swings include: Miguel Cabrera, Adrian Gonzalez, David Ortiz, and Chris “Crush” Davis.

 

Power Secret You Are Missing

Of the nine fascial lines mentioned in Thomas Myers’ book Anatomy Trains, the Spiral Fascial Line (SPL) is very important to hitting…according to Thomas Myers:

Science of Loading the Body

Photo credit: Thomas Myers

“The overall movement function of the SPL is to create and mediate spirals and rotations in the body, and, in eccentric and isometric contraction, to steady the trunk and leg to keep it from folding into rotational collapse.”

I call this the ‘Springy X Pattern’.  Imagine an ‘X’ on the front and back of the torso.  When one leg of the ‘X’ shortens, then the other stretches.  Golf training expert Jason Glass of Jason Glass Performance calls these Rotational Power Slings.

Adrian Gonzalez “spring loads” his swing using what I call the Catapult Loading System (CLS).  It takes the Stability ‘X’ Pattern or Rotational Power Sling concepts and applies them to hitting.

Here are a few other world-class spring loaded athletes who’s movements are very similar to a hitter’s:

  1. Golfers,
  2. Olympic Shot Putters
  3. Olympic Throwers – Javelin, Discus, and Hammer
  4. Lacrosse

CLICK HERE in case you missed Part-1 to the Hitting Backwards: 4 Common Mistakes Hitter’s Make video series.  And CLICK HERE for Common Mistake #3, where we look into why a friction-free hitter SHOULD NOT land with the front toe closed

Does Ryan Braun Hit Backwards?  Common Mistake #1 (of 4)…

 

In the first installment of the Hitting Backwards: 4 Common Mistakes Hitters Make video series, featuring Ryan Braun, we’re analyzing why “Sitting Back” isRyan Braun: 4 Common Mistakes Hitters Make Part-1 so destructive to friction-free mechanics.  The WHY boils down to a strange word…

According to IdeaFit.com,

Proprioception is the body’s ability to transmit a sense of position, analyze that information and react (consciously or unconsciously) to the stimulation with the proper movement (Houglum 2001).”

The brain does whatever it needs to balance physical movement.  Let’s discuss the following compensations caused by “Sitting Back”:

  • Eyes and head shift forward during Final Turn,
  • Lunging, and
  • Front shoulder flies open.

 

Eyes and Head to Shift Forward During Final Turn

Ryan Braun’s friction-free swing is like snapping a towel.  Throw the towel end towards the intended target, then quickly snap it back.  We’re getting eye-head movement out of the way early, then shifting our spine up and back towards the catcher –  snapping the barrel into the impact zone.  Ryan Braun does this!

Sitting back makes the hitter do the opposite…

  • Keep the hitter back till the last possible second, then
  • The hitter has to shift their weight forward to counter-balance because of proprioception, and
  • As a result, shifts the head and eyes forward.

 

Lunging

What’s your definition of lunging?  When Ryan Braun lands his front foot, his knee virtually floats above his ankle. My definition of lunging is when the front knee continues to float over or passed the ankle during the Final Turn.  It’s a very ineffective position to hit in because the head will continue moving forward.

Here’s how sitting back causes lunging:

  1. Hitter shifts weight to back leg,
  2. Reaches out softly with the stride foot, like a cat (and oftentimes too early)
  3. Waits till ball is on the way, then
  4. Because the body isn’t balanced, the brain shifts the hitter’s weight forward with no hope of getting back,
  5. So the hitter continues forward until he or she hits (or misses) something.

 

Front Shoulder Flies Open

Unlike Ryan Braun, most ‘Sit Back’ hitters:

  1. Have hand dominant swings.  Since the shoulders are closest to the hands, they have to start earlier to get the hands working.
  2. Don’t set up the natural rotation counter-rotation relationship of the pelvis and shoulders* before the front foot hits the ground.  This causes the shoulders to compensate and open prematurely.
  3. Open their hips and shoulders at the same time.  If this happens, a hitter will max out at 60-70% of their ability to transfer energy efficiently from body –> to barrel –> to ball.  This put smaller hitters at a disadvantage by dramatically decreasing power output.
  4. Have a difficult time keeping the front shoulder in with off speed and breaking balls.  It’s easy for pitchers to disrupt a Sit Back hitter’s timing.  Their brain is focused on too many things at once: timing, proprioception, and pitch speed/location (because of late head-eye movement).

*CLICK HERE for an in-depth look at spine engine mechanics according to Dr. Erik Dalton.  Read below the subtitle, “The Spring-Loaded Spiraling Spine”.

CLICK HERE for Part-2 to the Hitting Backwards video saga, where we’ll analyze Adrian Gonzalez and Common Mistake #2: loading the swing incorrectly…

Matt Holliday Part-3: How to Optimize Vision, Tracking, and Timing

 

…In this Matt Holliday video we’re mourning the loss of plate discipline in today’s youth game.  World renowned motivational Matt Holliday Video: The Death Of Plate Disciplinespeaker Tony Robbins once said,

“If you want to be successful, find someone who has achieved the results you want and copy what they do and you’ll achieve the same results.”

In his 11-year career, 6-time All-Star Matt Holliday has amassed an On-Base Percentage of .387 (according to Baseball-Reference.com).  This is impressive, considering the league average is .340.

Plate discipline is critical, and in this video, we’ll discover How-To:

  • Fix common mistakes at practice,
  • Develop a solid plate discipline strategy, and
  • Strengthen your eyes in 30 days.

 

How-To Fix Common Mistakes at Practice

We have to make batting practice as “game-like” as we can.  The THREE worst mistakes are:

  1. Rapid-fire batting practice,
  2. NO home plate for pitchers to throw over, and
  3. NO plate discipline strategy.

 

How-To Develop a Plate Discipline Strategy

Guys like Matt Holliday ABSOLUTELY have a strategy at the plate.  Coach Mike Batesole at Fresno State showed me this in 2003.  His 2008 Bulldogs won the College World Series.  For younger hitters, use this strategy in practice ONLY.  It doesn’t work as well in games until about High School, when pitchers get better with their accuracy and their own hitter game plans.  Check it out:

  • Cut the plate up into 2/3 and 1/3.
  • Hitter focuses on either the inner OR outer 2/3’s.
  • If the pitch crosses inner OR outer 1/3, then they take it.
  • In games, only use approach with zero or one strike.
  • In games with two strikes, a hitter will cover the whole plate.
  • In games, look fastball with zero or one strike.  At higher levels, like college and professional, hitters may need to look breaking ball with zero or one strike.

Be flexible with the plan if the pitcher’s stats show otherwise.

 

How-To Strengthen Your Eyes Better Than 20/10

According to a Yahoo Health article, the ULTIMEYES interactive game app improves vision by training the brain.  According to the article, the app “even improves vision in athletes who already have excellent eyesight, according to a new study published in the peer-reviewed journal Cell Biology.”  

The article summarized the study:

“University of California Riverside researchers tested the perceptual learning app on 19 baseball players from the school’s team, then compared their results with a control group of 18 untrained pitchers. On average, the trained players achieved a 31 percent improvement in visual acuity.”

The players used the app for 25 minutes a day for 30 days.  CLICK HERE to get the app.  Right now, it’s only available on PC, MAC, and iPad.  Coming soon to Android.

Any questions about this Part-3 Matt Holliday: The Death Of Plate Discipline article?  Please post below.  In case you missed Part-1 and 2 to the Vision, Tracking, and Timing video series, then CLICK HERE for Part-1, and CLICK HERE for Part-2.

Josh Hamilton Part-2: How to Optimize Vision, Tracking, and Timing

 

Josh Hamilton Video: Coaches Don't Tell You This (About Timing)

…In this Josh Hamilton video we’re focusing on what most coaches don’t tell you (or simply don’t know) about calibrating the timing of a hitter.  You can have the best hitting mechanics, but if timing is off, results can be frustrating.

In this video, we’ll analyze:

  • When does a swing start?
  • Leg kick or slide step? and
  • How to practice timing?

 

When Does a Swing Start?

Short answer?  About when the hitter picks the front foot up.  When walking, you can’t take a step forward without picking up your foot and putting it back down.  This is why I hate “no-stride” coaching cues.  Here’s how walking bio-mechanics work:

  1. Front heel hits the ground signals pelvis to open.
  2. Same timing signal travels up the spine to the shoulders, telling them to counter-rotate the pelvis.
  3. This is why your opposite arm and leg come forward at the same time.

This simple timing mechanism is important to hitting.  Hitting experts call this torque, but really, it’s how humans are designed to move against gravity using the spine for locomotion.  CLICK HERE for a more in–depth study on walking bio-mechanics according to Dr. Serge Gracovetsky.

 

Leg Kick or Slide Step?

It ALL depends on a batter’s moving parts…

  • Leg Kick a-la Josh Hamilton forces the hitter to start the swing sooner.  Hamilton starts his when the pitcher breaks the hands.
  • Slide Step a-la Mike Trout can start their swing later.  You’ll see these types of hitters picking their front foot up when the pitcher lands and/or begins forward movement with the arm.

 

How to Practice Timing

SEVEN ways a hitter can practice “collecting data”:

  1. LIVE arm: whether seated – on a bucket, kneeling, or standing.
  2. Soft toss or LIVE: throw baseballs, whiffle, dimple, tennis, golf, or dried pinto beans.
  3. Broad focus: have hitter pick out a point in the pitcher’s delivery to start the swing.
  4. On-Deck circle: work on when to pick front foot up.
  5. Sit in on Bullpens: hitter passively (no swings) sits in on pitcher bullpens (with a helmet on of course).
  6. Pitcher’s BP: have pitchers trade off throwing batting practice (advanced).
  7. Intra/Inter-squat games.

Above-all, be safe.   The truth about Josh Hamilton timing?  It takes reps, reps, and more reps.  CLICK HERE for Part-3 Matt Holliday: The Death Of Plate Discipline.  In case you missed Part-1 Mike Trout: Why Your Consistency Won’t Improve, CLICK HERE.

Mike Trout: “You’ve Got To Hit It First, Then Look Where It Goes”

 

Mike Trout: 3 Reasons Why Consistency Won't Improve

Posted to Hitting Performance Lab’s Facebook page…

…This three-part video series will analyze how to optimize vision, tracking, and timing.  This Part-1 video, featuring Mike Trout, will be unwrapping how the best mechanics in the world mean nothing without proper vision.  In this game, we live and die by how consistent we are.

In this post, we’ll go over:

  • Physically impossible to keep eyes on the ball,
  • How much and when head movement is okay, and
  • Building consistency with vision.

CLICK HERE for an interesting academic study on six elite female shot putters.  Results found head movement during rotation can influence the movements of the limbs and trunk.

Physically Impossible to Keep Eyes on the Ball

In a study by A. Terry Bahill, titled “Baseball Players Cannot Keep Their Eyes on the Ball”, his findings say this:

“We have shown that no one could keep his eye continuously on the ball as it flies from the pitcher to the plate.  For our professional athlete, the ball was always more than 2-degrees off his fovea before it came within 5-ft of the plate.  However, when the ball is off your fovea, you can still see with peripheral vision.  However, with peripheral vision, the ball would only appear as a white blur, you would not see details.”

The finding that was most interesting in the study, using University students as a control for the study, was:

“Most of our student subjects tracked the ball with either head movements alone or eye movements alone, but not both…After the ball crossed the plate, the students usually made large eye or head movements, whereas the gaze of the professional athlete was quite steady…The stance of our professional athlete was very repeatable.  At the beginning of the pitch, his head position was the same (within 1-degree) for each of the three experimental pitches we recorded.  When he was looking at the ball in the beginning of the experiment, his eyes were rotated 22-degrees to the left; his head was rotated left 65-degrees (yaw), was bowed down 23-degrees (pitch), and was tilted right 12-degrees (roll).”

The professional hitter in the study was right handed.

What’s interesting with hitters like Mike Trout, is that they have to use a bit of head and eye movement when tracking the incoming pitch.  Not one or the other. However, nobody on earth, EVER, has been proven to keep both eyes on a pitched ball continuously to home plate.

In the study, A. Terry Bahill said, in order to do that, the ball would have to be traveling at around 25-mph, in which case, it would NEVER reach home plate in softball or baseball.

 

How Much and When Head Movement is Okay

Olympic throwers move their heads forward (including Javelin, Discus, and Hammer).  Lacrosse players do too.  And so do Pitchers!

For a hitter like Mike Trout, forward head movement, dropping the “eye-line”,  are okay…until landing.  I say, get head movement out of the way early.  Mike Trout does strikeout quite a bit, which may be attributed to the dropping eye line.

The hitter told to “Sit back”, keeps the head still early, but moves it after the landing position and during the Final Turn.  This is not good for improving consistency.

 

Building Vision Consistency like Mike Trout

How-to improve consistency with vision:

  • Understand the swing is a “snapping towel” (forward first, then back),
  • Keep head in-line with spine,
  • Use the study finding parameters above, to know how much head and eye movement keeps consistency, and
  • Maintain a moderate swing tempo and relax the jaw (not over-swinging).

CLICK HERE for the Josh Hamilton Part-2 Video: Coaches Don’t Tell You This (About Timing)…

In This Softball Hitting Drills: Andrew McCutchen #1 Fix Video (4 of 4),

 

…of the Do This For Longer Drives softball hitting drills series, we’ll talk about:Softball Hitting Drills: Andrew McCutchen #1 Power Fix

  • #1 Fix to consistent power,
  • Science of compressing the spring, and
  • How Andrew McCutchen and others get springy…

 

#1 Fix to Consistent Power

According to Thomas Myers in his book Anatomy Trains, consistent power doesn’t come from conventional softball hitting drills teaching:

  • Load hands back towards catcher,
  • Pull front arm,
  • Fire back hip,
  • Push back knee forward and/or down, or
  • Pull knob straight to the ball.

According to Dr. Erik Dalton in his collaborative book Dynamic Body, the brain-body connection doesn’t work in this way:

“Modern Science reveals the brain does not recognize individual muscle activities due to lack of practical purpose.”

 

Science of Compressing the Spring

The secret to consistent power lies in springy connective tissue called Fascia…Cotton Candy Springy Fascia

  • Cotton candy or spider web-like material,
  • The bones and muscles float in it,
  • Is made up of mostly stiff collagen…which to the body, is like steel to the building industry,
  • Compression and tension forces are acting within the body at all times, and
  • Compressing the spring happens in an “X” pattern across the front and back of the torso.

I call it the Catapult Loading System.

 

How Andrew McCutchen and Others Get Springy

Watch how similar the following athlete movements are…front shoulder down and back to back hip…

Andrew McCutchen – 2013 NL MVP:

Andrew McCutchen Gets Springy

Paul Rabil – USA Lacrosse, fastest throw on record:

Paul Rabil Springy Lacrosse Throw

Jurgen Schult (German) – Discus World Record Holder (since 1986):

Jurgen Schult (German) - Discus WR Holder

So, when doing softball hitting drills, charge the body’s springy fascial tissue.  This is the #1 fix to consistent power.  CLICK HERE if you missed Part-3: losing force transfer with a bad head-spine connection.

In This Andrew McCutchen Baseball Hitting Drills Video (3 of 4),

 

…of the Do This For Longer Drives series, we’ll talk about:Andrew McCutchen Baseball Hitting Drills Video

  • Breaking the One-Joint Rule,
  • Whether Cutch is ‘kinking the hose’, and
  • How-To re-pattern the impact position.

 

Breaking the One-Joint Rule

From the book, Becoming a Supple Leopard: The Ultimate Guide to Resolving Pain, Preventing Injury, and Optimizing Athletic Performance, Dr. Kelly Starrett (KStar) says:

“The musculature [in the spine] is designed to create stiffness so that you can effectively transmit energy to the primary engines of your hips and shoulders.  If you don’t preserve trunk stiffness while moving from your hips and shoulders, you will lose power and force.    The is the basis for the one-joint rule: you should see flexion and extension movement happen at the hips and shoulders, not your spine.”

 

Is Cutch ‘Kinking the Hose’?

Just as kinking the hose while watering the lawn stops the flow of water.  Bending at the spine halts the transfer of energy at impact.  KStar says this about losing head-spine alignment:

“Hinging at one of the segments [vertebraes in the neck]…when we put a hinge across the central nervous system, the body recognizes that as a primary insult, or threat to the body, because you’re basically guillotining or kinking the nervous system.  You’ve kinked ‘the tube’, so it [force production] just drops off.”

 

How-To Re-Pattern the Impact Position

Follow this 12-week exercise progression (at least five days per week):

  • Super plank – week one: 1 set, hold for 30 secs, week two: 1 set, hold for 45 secs, week three: 2 sets, hold for 45 secs
  • Loaded super plank – week four: 2 sets, for 30 secs, week five: 2 sets, for 45 secs, week six: 2 sets, for 60 secs
  • Hip hinge with stick (patterning) – week seven: 2 sets X 12 reps, week eight: 2 sets X 15 reps, week nine: 3 sets X 12 reps
  • Loaded hip hinge (dead-lift) – week ten: 2 sets X 12 reps, week eleven: 2 sets X 15 reps, week twelve: 3 sets X 12 reps

Maintain head-spine alignment.  Perfect reps.  Use Coach’s Eye or Ubersense phone app (free) for feedback.   CLICK HERE for Part-4 for the #1 power fix…also, CLICK HERE if you missed Part-2: the faster turn.