I tried just the new bat grip this past week you outlined in the book with the top pointer finger off the bat and the bottom hand holding like a butterfly. Saw results immediately. One of my weakest hitters hit his first HR and it was a grand salami! He was so pumped. After the game he said he focused on that grip and it worked! Thank you so much for the detail. You have gotten my attention.

Thank you so much for your help through your book T.C.L.S. I am 13 and weigh around 105 and I finally hit my first home-run! (The field I was on was 226 in center and 175 in left and right). It went about 240+. I think it was going to go further but it hit the the fence on the field in front of it. It was the first time applying the new hitting mechanics when hitting live pitching and front toss. Though it was my only home-run that day, I had a few that hit the fence that were mainly line drives. I was mainly focusing on “showing the numbers” and ” hiding the hands” and then a few times trying a downward shoulder angle and hunching over during my swing (I think when I hit the home-run I had a downward shoulder angle).

I read the first edition of The Catapult Loading System a couple years ago. The only reason I did is because I have a Kindle Unlimited membership and the book came up in a search I did for baseball instruction or something. I have been coaching youth baseball since 2003, and I’m always looking to improve, gain knowledge, etc. I had zero expectations for this book. I actually thought I’d read a chapter and move on to another book. I figured this would be just another hitting book with all the same stuff. Instead, I couldn’t stop reading. For me, this book was packed full of great stuff that was new to me. I loved the links included in the Kindle version. I really enjoyed the stuff in the book that was not hitting related, too. I recommend this book all the time. It’s totally worth it even if you learn just a couple things or discover a few different ways to teach players.

I purchased this book last winter not only to teach myself but also my 5 year old son. I also purchased a Zepp’s Swing Tracker at the same time. While I read and began to understand the principles of this book, my son was in the basement establishing a baseline with the Zepp’s. His swing at 5 and 46 lbs was in the mid 20’s, good, bad, don’t know, don’t care. One month into utilizing the techniques in this book, his bat speed climbed to 42mph. True speed comes with consistency and continued practice will make it perfect, if there is such a thing. Now at 6 and and 47 lbs his bat speed is around 48 mph. Thank you for this book, I truly do believe it can give anyone a path to success, as long as they are open minded, read, and believe.

I read your book the other day. I have only been using some of your Facebook posts to help my daughter with her swing, without understanding the CLS. She used to squish the bug, but had a ton of bat speed and power. She now weight transfers but lost bat speed and power. Can’t figure out why. Well I read the book and we tried it today. Holy Sh!t!!! She was hitting around 68 EV with he squish bug, and jumped up to 75-78 regularly with weight transfer, but still felt like less power. I don’t have the tools to measure it anymore, but it has to be in the low 80’s. She used to be able to polish off 2 buckets of balls in a short time, 80-100 balls. Now after several swings, she needs to stop to recoup her energy, but says it feels like she’s not even swinging hard at all, and the ball is jumping. She did about 40 swings and was done. Made a believer out of me real quick. And she understands the technical terms and understands the concept real well.

My son is 12 and I have used some of the teaching the Hitting Performance Lab are posting on here and my son hit the ball over 280 feet several times already in the game not just practices and also hit the fence on the fly on 300 feet field, so what this guy is teaching works, a least for my son…He weighs about 110 now, but what I have noticed is how consistent his power has become thank you so much for your help, I played 10 years of professional baseball and I wish I could of used some of this advice.

I’ve Lied To You For 5-Years Now About The Best Hitters Baseball Bat Path…

Breaking down Khris Davis

Khris Davis is 5'10" with a ton of power. How does he generate it?Sean Casey shows how his back elbow and bat path help him get it done.

Posted by Diamond Demos on Tuesday, September 18, 2018

 

…And I’m sorry.  But I will say this, most are being misled on the best hitters baseball bat path.  The principle you’ll discover shortly also apply to fast-pitch and slow-pitch softball.

In this best hitters baseball barrel path post, we’ll look at:

  • How the best hitters are using the Catapult Loading System,
  • WHY current one-size-fits-all SUPER deep barrel path approaches are losing, and
  • Hitting different “catcher’s glove” examples of inner, middle, and outer third of the plate pitches…

 

How the Best Hitters are Using the Catapult Loading System

…according to Diamond Demo video above: “Breaking down Khris Davis”.

We published last week’s Khris Davis swing analysis post because of the Diamond Demo “Breaking down Khris Davis” video.  The overwhelming response I received from readers sharing this video with me truly validates the Catapult Loading System seen in the best hitters.  Don’t think so?  Take a look at the following split screen snapshots from the above video (recognize ANY of the hitters??)

Best Hitters Baseball Swings: JD Martinez, Aaron Judge, & Jose Altuve

Observe stride landing positions of JD Martinez, Aaron Judge, & Jose Altuve – ‘showing numbers’, ‘downhill shoulders’, & ‘hiding hands’. Photo courtesy: Diamond Demo video “Breaking down Khris Davis”

And,

Check out stride landing positions of Mookie Betts, Nolan Arenado, & Mike Trout – ‘showing numbers’, ‘downhill shoulders’, & ‘hiding hands’. Photo courtesy: Diamond Demo video “Breaking down Khris Davis”

We won’t spend a lot of time rehashing last week’s post, BUT I do want to bring up an important point that was talked about in the above Diamond Demo segment.  And it has to do with best hitters baseball barrel path…

Starting at about the 2-min, 15-second video mark, and continuing to the end, they talk about this idea of Khris Davis getting his barrel in the zone early, and keeping barrel in the zone late.  And this is where I’ve lied to you for the last 5-years!  I used to teach my hitters this same one-size-fits-all SUPER deep barrel path.  But what I found was this IS NOT true of the best hitters baseball bat paths…

 

WHY Current One-Size-Fits-All SUPER Deep Barrel Path Approaches are Losing

Let me tell you a story of how I stumbled onto this principle…

In January of 2018, I was working with one of my hitters, who has been working with me since he was 7 years old.  He’s 15 years old now, in the 8th grade, and consistently hits with a low to mid 80’s Ball Exit Speed off the Backspin Tee, using a wood bat.

His mechanics are pretty clean compared to my other hitters.  At the time, I was teaching my hitters the same one-size-fits-all SUPER deep barrel acceleration path, as many of you are now.  One day, we were working on hunting pitch zones, inner third pitches specifically, and he responded,

“Coach, I don’t feel like I can get to that inside pitch effectively.  Am I showing my numbers too much?”

This got me thinking, so I jumped on Twitter to look at the best hitters baseball bat paths.  Specifically, I was looking for hitters, like the ones on the split screen images above, crushing 94-mph+ on the inner third of the plate, and guess what I saw??

The ones who demonstrated the Catapult Loading System principles well (namely ‘showing numbers’), still did so at stride landing on inside heat! Did you catch that?!  ‘Showing numbers’ was irrelevant to crushing the inside pitch.  CLICK HERE for a post I did debunking that.  So what were they doing different on the inner third?

It had to do with what we call hitting a different “catcher’s glove”.  I won’t go into the details of that here because I already did at the following post titled: “Accelerate Barrel Rearward Like Mike Trout”.  The best hitters baseball barrel path isn’t about a one-size-fits-all approach to all pitches and timing.

Here’s the DANGER for hitters using a one-size-fits-all SUPER deep barrel acceleration approach…

Signs that pitcher’s are smartening up to countering this seemingly effective low in the zone barrel approach?  Pitchers are now using this, which Perry Husband calls Effective Velocity (EV), to exploit hitters with longer barrel paths.

In short, 2018 homers are down, in addition to having a few months in the season where overall offensive strikeouts outweigh hits in the Big Leagues.  This is troubling.  To give a clue, check out Perry’s video explaining why Chris Davis (Orioles) is having issues with this one-size-fits-all barrel path…

 

If hitting coaches don’t smarten up to this soon, then they’ll be rendered obsolete, irrelevant to the hitting community, and ultimately out of a job.  That’s not an exaggeration, and is where the puck is going, believe me.  Now, let’s look at the behavior of different “catcher’s glove” approaches on inner, middle, and outer third of the plate pitches…

Hitting Different “Catcher’s Glove” Examples of Inner, Middle, & Outer Third of the Plate Pitches

Inner 1/3 Pitch Barrel Path (“Belly Button” Catcher’s Glove)

Mike Trout Homer #38 – 88.1-mph Front View

Chest View

Mitch Haniger Homer #26 – 95.9-mph FF Front View

Chest View

Trevor Story Homer #34 – 93-mph in Front View

Chest View

Middle 1/3 Pitch Barrel Path (“Back Foot” Catcher’s Glove)

Matt Carpenter Homers #36 – 84.9-mph Change-up Front View

Chest View

Javier Baez Homer #33 – 87.4-mph SL Front View

Chest View

Khris Davis Homer #42 – 93.9-mph FF Front View

Chest View

Outer 1/3 Pitch Barrel Path (“Real” Catcher’s Glove)

Mookie Betts Homer #31 Front View

Chest View

Christian Yelich Homer #32 – 88.7-mph Slider Front View

Chest View

Michael Conforto Homer #27 – 94.4-mph FF Front View

Chest View

Now, how do we train this?  I’m going to give you two complimentary drills we use to sync the optimal “catcher’s glove” with the proper direction of force (See – aren’t you glad you read my post to the bitter end!?):

  1. “Shorten Swing” Like An Elite Hitter (Not What You Think), and
  2. How To Optimize Directional Force Using The “Pounding Nail” Drill.
Khris Davis Swing Analysis

Ball Exit Speed & Launch Angle Hacking With Khris Davis [Part-2]

 

Khris Davis swing analysis, and not to be confused with “Chris” Davis, the 1st baseman for the Baltimore Orioles! …they’re having two COMPLETELY different years 😛 lol

Khris Davis Swing Analysis

Khris Davis swing analysis stride landing position photo courtesy: MLB.com

This Khris Davis swing analysis is Part-2 to our series looking at one my 9yo online lessons, Ethan.  In case you missed it, here you go:

  1. Ethan case study The Feedback Lab online hit training video,
  2. Khris Davis swing analysis video [YOU ARE HERE],
  3. How to drills to fix (COMING SOON).

In the above Khris Davis swing analysis video, we’re going to look at:

  • Khris Davis stat analysis comparing 2015 & 2016 seasons to 2018,
  • Khris Davis swing analysis comparing 2015 & 2018 swings (when things seemed to have changed), and
  • Human movement principles 9yo Ethan is working on that Khris Davis does well.

 

Khris Davis Stat Analysis Comparing 2015 & 2016 seasons to 2018

I wanted to share a recent and insightful Beyond The Box Score post on Khris Davis’s 2018 season titled: “Khris Davis is swimming against the current: As home runs continue to decline this season, Davis has counteracted the trend”

From the article, and since 2016, Khris Davis has improved tremendously, and here are just a few highlights:

  • 2016 avg. Launch Angle = 12.9 degrees…2018 avg. Launch Angle =  17.7 degrees, and
  • 2016 avg. Ball Exit Speed = 91.7-mph…2018 avg. Ball Exit Speed = 92.7-mph.

I think everyone understands how important hitting the ball hard is, but a lot out there are rejecting Launch Angles!  They matter, check out this “Parabolic motion – range of a projectile” video (thanks Lee!)

 

Optimized is key!  Goldilocks golden rule, not too high, not to low…just right!

Furthermore,

Khris Davis is someone who has been good at hitting despite, as some will say, being poorly built for it – he’s 5-foot, 10-inches, 195-pounds. Compare him to Aaron Judge who’s 6-foot, 7-inches, and 282-pounds.

What’s also telling, according to Fangraphs.com, Khris Davis has steadily moved away from hitting ground-balls, pulling the ball less, and built a more frequent opposite field hitting approach.  Compare 2015 to 2018 (stats experiencing most significant impact):

  1. 2015: GB% = 42.5%,
  2. 2018: GB% = 36.1%
  3. 2015: Pull% = 41.4%
  4. 2018: Pull% = 36.1%
  5. 2015: Oppo% = 20.1%
  6. 2018: Oppo% = 24.5%

 

Khris Davis Swing Analysis Comparing 2015 & 2018 Swings (when things seemed to have changed)

PLEASE NOTE: very similar pitch type, speed, location, and swing timing in above video:

  • 2015 (w/ Brewers): 96-mph middle/middle, and
  • 2018 (w/ A’s): 94-mph middle/middle-slightly in.

Mechanically speaking, here are a couple things I noticed:

  • Seems to be “stepping out”, slightly opening hips more at stride landing, while keeping shoulders “blocked”,
  • Slight difference in back foot behavior (could be a timing thing),
  • Back knee angle (about 10-degree difference),
  • Head in circle just after impact, could be direct result of change in back knee angle, and
  • Getting shorter from start to the turn (camera angle could be slightly different).

 

Human Movement Principles 9yo Ethan is Working on Khris Davis does well

If you remember in the Ethan case study The Feedback Lab online hit training video, his hitting homework was to work on the following positions at stride landing:

  1. Showing numbers, and
  2. Slight downhill shoulder angle

In the above Khris Davis swing analysis video, we covered:

  • Khris Davis stat analysis comparing 2015, 2016 seasons to 2018,
  • Khris Davis swing analysis comparing 2015 & 2018 swings (when things seemed to changed), and
  • Human movement principles 9yo Ethan is working on that Khris Davis does well.

Stay tuned for Part-3, where we discuss drills…

How Did The Trevor Story 505 Foot Homerun Happen?

 

Was it because of Coors field?  High altitude is part of the equation, adding about 5% to batted ball distance according to bat-ball collision expert Physicist Dr. Alan Nathan.  CLICK HERE, scroll down, and read under the subhead, “Effect of Altitude on Batted Baseballs”.  So the Trevor Story 505 foot homerun at Fenway would have landed about 480-feet from home plate. Still, not bad.

Trevor Story 505 Foot Homerun

Trevor Story 505 Foot Homerun: check out him ‘showing those numbers’ & ‘hiding those hands’! Photo courtesy: MLB.com

Corked bat? CLICK HERE for a paper Dr. Nathan wrote studying the effects of corked bats on batted ball distance and concluded:

“Although the present study shows that corked bats do not result in longer home runs, it makes no statement about whether home runs might be hit more often with a corked bat.” – Top of page 577

Body mass?  According to Baseball-Reference.com, Trevor Story is 6’1″, 210-lbs.  The Trevor Story 505 foot homerun is the longest dinger in Statcast history, at Coors field, surpassing Giancarlo Stanton’s (6’6″, 245-lbs) record by 1-foot at the same ballpark.  Bat speed is a better indicator of batted ball distance than body mass…Dr. Alan Nathan said this to me over the phone.

Any other excuses out there besides good effective hitting mechanics? 😛  ANY hitter with the optimum launch angle, and hitting the right part of the bat is one of the best starts.

Hitting Guru #57 will have a hard time explaining some of the things in the above Trevor Story 505 foot homerun video analysis.  We’ll be answering the question of how the Trevor Story 505 foot homerun happened:

  • Trevor Story 505 foot homerun (and the other 2 other dingers he hit in the same game),
  • Legs v. Spinal Engine – legs not necessary for locomotion, they’re an enhancement,
  • Locomotion of a quadriplegic,
  • Water Polo throw, and
  • Anthony Rizzo homer falling down.

Here are some Hitting Performance Lab posts mentioned in the video:

Hit Training: What Your Hitting Instructor Won’t Tell You & How It Can Save You Time And Money 

 

Before we dig into 9yo Ethan’s hit training case study 3-part series, I wanted to RANT on something that transpired this past week…

Where does the MAJORITY of power come from?  I recently posted this on Facebook:

Where does the MAJORITY of consistent power come from in the #Baseball and #Softball swing?A) Legs,B) Hips…

Posted by Hitting Performance Lab on Tuesday, August 28, 2018

The comments under this post were a little confirmation bias because my readers – who know my hit training teachings – not shockingly responded with “C”.  Please note: the keyword is “majority” in that question.

Unlike my readers – who know better, in the social media reality I can tell you the majority teach the legs and/or hips (pelvis) to be the main driver of power.

This is what your hitting instructor won’t tell you and can save you time and money: Legs and/or hips aren’t the main drivers of power.

The hips (or better yet – the pelvis) are a start, making up 1/3 of the spinal engine.  And I can prove it with REAL science!  If you haven’t already, then please check out the following two posts, and you’ll see my reasoning:

The following video is the first link in “video” form, in case you want to “watch” the gist in 4-mins and 30-secs…

 

The week prior, I debated with a few “leg/hip drives majority of power” hit training gurus on Twitter, and I posed this question,

“Do legs drive the spinal engine, or does the spinal engine drive the legs?”

(CLICK HERE for a conversational t-shirt I made on this shortly after – and use Coupon Code: GET15OFF at checkout to get 15% OFF)

And I followed that question up with the following statement:

“The answer to that question will determine credibility in hitting mechanic circles” (something to that effect)

That caught some off guard.  Bold statement another well known said.  “Yes. It is,” I responded.  Tis’ the facts.  Some ask me, aren’t you afraid others will take this information, claim it without attribution, and take all the glory?  I say no, because Hitting Guru #57 is too stubborn to listen and learn.   They clutch to their hitting dogmas like a rich woman and her Prada walking through the “ghetto”.  And last time I checked, opinions ARE NOT facts.

Do you know how many Physical Therapists, Doctor MD’s, Physicists, Chiropractors, Engineers, and other Body Workers follow me?  A LOT!  If I was full of it – as my wife says – do you think THEY would be following me and offering kudos to what I’m doing?

Okay, RANT over.  Let’s move onto a young 9-year-old hitter, Ethan, that I’m VERY proud of.  He’s put in so much hard work, bought into the process (which is key), and has made fantastic strides with his swing in less than 6 short months…pun intended 😛

In this 3-part series we’ll be covering:

  1. Ethan case study The Feedback Lab online hit training video [YOU ARE HERE],
  2. Khris Davis Swing Analysis: Ball Exit Speed & Launch Angle Hacking With Khris Davis [Part-2],
  3. How to drills to fix (COMING SOON).

In Part-1 (tippy-top video above), Hit Training: Catapult Loading System Like Andrew McCutchen [9yo 6-Month Case Study], we’ll be discussing:Hit Training: 9yo Ethan Case Study

  • How far Ethan’s swing has come,
  • What he’s working on next, and
  • Follow up notes about Ethan’s progress…

PLEASE NOTE: Ethan is still on the journey, his swing isn’t perfectly clean yet.  This is only a 6-month snapshot of how far his swing has come.  Don’t be that “guy” and judge his swing at this point in time, celebrate it!

 

How far Ethan’s Swing has Come

I keep notes on all my online hit training hitters at The Feedback Lab.  Here are a few things Ethan had working well for him before we started (Thanks Peter! – he’s dad btw):

  • Forward Momentum,
  • Good space between feet before the turn, and
  • Decent barrel path, not extreme down or up.

In Ethan’s first online hit training with me, I wanted to start working with him on:

Fast forwarding over the past six months together (six total online hit training sessions), our working strategy methodically moved to other human movement principles such as:

By the way, I don’t typically cover this much in such a short period of time with a 9-year-old, but Ethan was ON IT!!  Diligent with getting in his 4-5 days per week, for at least 5-mins per day.  He worked the process like a ROCK STAR, and is one of the many reasons I’m so proud of him 😀  Ethan is a coaches dream client!

What’s that famous quote…? “Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t show up.” Yah, that’s Ethan.

Now, let’s move on to…

 

What Ethan’s Working on Next…

As many of you coaches or instructors who do hit training for a living, every hitter has one or two things their brain/body doesn’t want to give up easily.  These stubborn challenges don’t go away without a fight.  Here are Ethan’s:

  • Showing numbers to the pitcher at landing, and
  • Taking Slack Out of the System to landing.

You’ll see in Part-2 of this series when we look at high level MLB hitters, the key to these two human movement principles is to get that “shape” at stride landing.

Okay, so let’s move on to…

 

Follow up Notes about Ethan’s Progress…

Here’s some of the hit training dialog over the past few months between Peter (dad) and I via email…

“Joey, hope all is well and you’re enjoying the summer. Attached is Ethan latest video from this weekend. We took a week off while on vacation at the end of June, but Ethan’s been great the last three weeks getting in 5-6 sessions a week. He really likes these round of drills and tells me he’s feeling more power. You’ll see he’s changed up his stance a bit. He made that change naturally while working through the drills.  Thanks Joey looking forward to your feedback!” – Peter (Mon, Jul 16, 2018)

After sharing these particular hit training “marching orders”, Peter said this…

“Thanks Joey, great feedback and analysis as always. The great part is that I’m also learning from you as we continue along. As I was getting ready to send you the last video I was seeing a lot of what you discussed in your analysis; keeping the shoulder angle and showing numbers to landing, and the top hand coming off way too soon. But I was struck by the consistency with his swing, every one had good barrel angle at landing, head movement after landing is way down and as you mentioned you can really see a much more confident swing!  Thanks again Joey, we couldn’t be happier! Looking forward to getting back at it! Talk again in a few weeks!” – Peter (Thursday, Jul 19, 2018)

And finally, after sending the most recent “tippy top” hit training video analysis above to Ethan and Peter, and after asking permission to share that video with you all, Peter said this…

“Joey, absolutely, we’d be honored and he’ll be so excited. It’s funny because I was also going to send you a note today. We did the taking the slack out drill for the first time yesterday, ran through it doing break it apart and then we always finish up our sessions with about 30 soft toss balls. The first soft toss ball he did it beautifully and he just says “oh wow”, I asked him if he felt the difference and his eyes light up and he says “oh yeah, I crushed it but didn’t even feel the ball it just jumped off the bat.”  Thanks for everything Joey! Looking forward to seeing the blog post!” – Peter (Wednesday, September 5, 2018)