Answered: Your Most Burning Questions About Getting A “Nike Swoosh” Barrel Path

 

Liam Case Study: Ropebat

There are 10-days between these two videos.

Here’s what I have for you…

I was recently working on smoothing out the barrel path of one of my 15 year old local hitters Liam…

He had what I’ve heard called a Verizon check mark barrel path BEFORE.  We worked on smoothing out the check mark into more of a curved Nike Swoosh barrel path.

What’s amazing about Liam’s transformation was that:

  • It only took ten days,
  • It took two total 30-minute sessions (beginning of session three was when the AFTER video was taken), and
  • Liam only had access to the Ropebat during our sessions. After session number-three, his mom went ahead and purchased one for home use.*

*Results aren’t typical. Liam has a primary “feel” learning style, so the Ropebat worked well for him – and not to mention quickly with minimal use.

In the above video, we’ll go over:

  • Question a High School coach had for me at 2017 ABCA conference about changing barrel path,
  • The Verizon check mark versus Nike Swoosh barrel path, and
  • The RopeBat cues I use in conjunction with the “feel” of the Ropebat.

CLICK HERE for the original full Ropebat post I did awhile back that shows the swing drill we used.

I use the Ropebat quite often for my hitters that need to fix the same issue Liam had.  It works.  You can order the RopeBat at my store TheStartingLineupStore.com by CLICKING HERE, or on Amazon by CLICKING HERE.

How To Use Brian Domenico’s Power Showcase To Get Seen By College Coaches & Pro Scouts

 

I have an opportunity for coaches with a hitter or two in mind you think could compete in Brian Domenico’s National or International Power Showcase Home-Run Derby.

If you remember, towards the end of 2016, I did a video post showcasing a small 14u slugger by the name of Hudson “The Hawk” White, who at the time of the 2016 National Power Showcase was 5’7″, and only 130-pound, managed to hit 11 consecutive homers averaging 398-feet.  He also came in second overall in the Derby!

Come to find out, Hudson’s father Martin said his son has been taught my system over the past 2+ years.  Mr. Martin left a fantastic testimonial in the following post, so please CLICK HERE to check it out.

Also remember, it was in the same post I talked about how 14u Blaze Jordan, 6’2″, 215-pounds, jacked two balls over 500-feet!

Here are some quick bullet points about the Power Showcases:

  • Brian Domenico is the President.
  • International Power Showcase has been around 12 years (started in 2004), and the National Power Showcase has been around for 3 years (started in 2014).
  • International Showcase has had 27 countries represented from around the world since its inception.
  • National Power Showcase (3 days – October 31st though November 2nd) & International (4 days in December and includes a Pro Scout Day).
  • Participants must achieve and maintain a high-level academic status, while possessing the redeeming leadership qualities and determination that exemplify respect in keeping with the game of baseball.
  • Notable Power Showcase Draftees: Bryce Harper, Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo
    Power Showcase: Bryce Harper

    Bryce Harper at the 2009 Power Showcase hitting a 502-foot bomb. Photo courtesy: Power-Showcase.com

  • Objective of the Showcase for the player: to promote and market each player to the fullest extent possible (Great opportunity to dramatically boost a player’s recruiting stock).
  • Age Divisions: Future Stars 10-14 years old, High School, and Brian just added College.
  • Bats used are official, and NOT “juiced” or “hot”.

What’s interesting to note, for recruiting purposes is…

Over one half of POWER SHOWCASE participants were drafted by major league organizations directly out of high school. The remaining participants go on to play for major Division I and junior college programs and were/will likely be selected in upcoming MLB drafts.

Now, a HUGE event like this does not come with a cheap price tag, so it may not be for everyone.  However, I think you can see the HUGE upside potential to get a name out there, especially if you’re a coach who enjoys marketing your players.

Please expect to pay at least $1775.00 with a $575.00 deposit due within 7 days to hold spot.  Please CLICK HERE to get more information on how to register on the Power Showcase website.  Then click on either the “2017 PSC Nationals Texas” OR “2017 PSC Miami 12th” navigation bar links.

I’ve been asked by Brian to come out, and would love to see some of my students from afar, and coaching disciples.

If you’re interested, then please reach out to Brian Domenico at his website’s contact page (CLICK HERE to do that).  Also, VERY IMPORTANT: please mention where you heard about the Power Showcase, by mentioning my name and blog.

Brian has really put together an outstanding event that is a HUGE opportunity for those hitters looking to compete and make a name for themselves.

As always, keep me updated 😀

Learn 3 Things Hitters Can Do To Make Them Irresistibly Attractive To Recruiters

(FYI: This is HPL blog post #200!!  Some people complain that I’m just trying to sell stuff online.  Let it be known that I’ve contributed A LOT of time and effort to VERY effective free information on this blog)

In this post, I have the privilege of sharing with you a FREE webinar opportunity that Matt Nokes is putting on and you’re getting first crack at it…

But before I get to that, I wanted to let you know this guy is the real deal.

I’ve had numerous hitting conversations with him in underground (and above ground) parking garages, libraries, conferences, and over dinner.

If you remember, I did three past blog posts showcasing a bit of his hitting knowledge:

And let me tell you,

He’s an ex-Big Leaguer who knows what he’s talking about.  And that means a lot coming from me because I listen to current and past Big Leaguers talk hitting with a VERY skeptical ear as most of you do.

Oftentimes, what gets lost in translation with Big Leaguers is what’s real and what’s feel.  Matt tows this line very well.  He understands the difference.

The reason I’m sharing his information with you is because he has quite a different approach than me, but yet it’s very similar when we have our talks.  His system is very complimentary to mine.

What I have for you in this post is:

  • Matt Nokes introducing himself and building a case for why coaches and parents managing High School hitters on up MUST register and attend this free webinar,
  • The Tyler Moore Nokes student case study, and
  • The Matt Forgatch Nokes student case study.

Without further adieu,

Enter Matt Nokes…

I’m a 10 year MLB Veteran, Silver Slugger Award Winner, MLB American League All Star Catcher, and I have the most successful hitting advisory program in baseball.Matt Nokes

I’m sure you’ve had some good coaches that you’ve really liked over the years!

Yet year after year the pitching gets better, and it’s easy to get caught over thinking, with your timing getting all messed up more often than not.

I remember when I was I senior in high school and I told my dad I wanted to quit baseball all together… I was going through a tough time and there wasn’t anyone around me who I felt understood what I was going through, and could get me back on track.

I don’t know about you?  But it’s easy to fall into a trap of over processing, looking for an adjustment that’ll give you that “In The Zone Feel Again”…the feel you have hitting soft toss from 12 feet, and yet in the game you’re looking at it from 60 feet…that’s what I call a cross your fingers approach.

In life, if you want to accomplish great things, you seek out someone who’s the best in the world at what they do! (Hall of Fame) Frank Robinson gave me the MLB plan and 2 years later I was in the big leagues at 21 years old! No I wasn’t just a freak hitter, before I got perspective from Frank Robinson, I was having trouble even making contact.

Are you ready to put that kind of frustration behind you?

Do you look at other players around the league or on your team for that matter, and you know you have equal ability, but you’re not producing or getting the recognition from the recruiters and scouts that you’ve set your sights on?

The frustration is exhausting and affects your home life, your social life, your school work, every part of your life and on top of that, you feel like crap as person if you’re not hitting!

Whatever your biggest challenges are, I’ve seen them, and I know how to help you overcome them.

I know you gotta be sick of the roller coaster ride of emotions, the pain and uncertainty about your future.  Inside this FREE Master Class Webinar (Sorry, this webinar is no longer offered)…There are 5 Simple Shifts you need to make to put all the talent you know you have inside you, and get it working for you again, and not against you.

It’s time for the scouts and recruiters to start pursuing you, but you gotta make a shift where you’re not hitting like you’re defending yourself with your back up against a wall, but instead you’re ready like a SNIPER, ready and you never miss your pitch when it’s in your zone.

Learning the 12 Touchstones, Simple Natural Hitting Moves that deal with the plan, your timing, mechanics and solves 99 out of 100 problems that will ever come up.

Tyler Moore Case Study

Matt Nokes: Tyler Moore Case Study

Tyler Moore, a kid I coached in the minor leagues with the Nationals, was all but buried with nearly 300 AB’s in July with 6 weeks left and only hitting .195, a hand full of home runs and 20 something RBI’s.

It’s very difficult for a player to dig himself out of a hole like that after so much of the season has passed. But like most hitters, I was sure he’d been burned by coaching in the past and felt like he was better off making adjustments on his own.

One of the many MYTHS in the main stream hitting community is that “you gotta go back before you go forward”.  Going back first is great for practice when you’re hitting off a tee or when you’re hitting soft toss, but in games if you’re going back at the wrong time, you’ll get beat every time…and that’s what was happening.  We reviewed the 12 Touchstones, the one big one was “you gotta already be back and be going forward at release”

So we finally sat down and talked…I said, “what’s there left to lose at this point, you’re hitting .195, let’s get something positive out the rest of this season and see what happens in the last 6 weeks.

Now with Tyler I was dealing with a young professional player, very in tune with the way his body feels when he moves, he can feel what his body is doing, and because of his advanced awareness of his body, we ripped through the 12 touchstones in less than an hour.

THAT VERY NIGHT HE HIT 4 SCREAMING LINE DRIVES shot out of a cannon like the pitcher was throwing front soft toss to him.

By the end of the season he was hitting:

.269   |   31 HR’s    |   111 RBI’s    |    43 Doubles

That Season – We WON the Carolina League Championship.

Tyler won player of the week 4 out of the last 6 weeks of the season, and was named Carolina League Player of the Year!

Inside this Master Class Training Webinar (Sorry, webinar is no longer available)…There are 5 Simple Shifts you need to make to put all the talent you know to get it working for you and not against you.

You’ll learn 3 things you can do to make you irresistibly attractive to RECRUITERS, even if you don’t get a hit while they’re WATCHING YOU!

 

Matt Forgatch Case Study

Matt Nokes: Matt Forgatch Case Study Webinar

Matt Forgatch came to me from a small D3 College (Denison University) and was playing football and baseball. He was very athletic but did NOT know how to use his tools and translate it into the powerful hitter he would become.

I took him through the 5 Shifts and he transformed immediately.

His first season back from training, he hit .444 and led the league in 12 of 15 offensive categories.

Matt, made the decision that baseball was important enough to fully commit to this process!

He knew he wanted a program that was organized so he didn’t have to think about his workouts day to day…he just had to follow the workout each day before he went to the ball park and it took 5-10 minutes a day to do his rehearsals and focus work…it’s simply what successful people do.

Today the modules are on your phone or computer and even easier to work with.

Since he was playing D3 baseball, he was already on a team, playing games, working out, taking BP, doing drills, all the physical “bat to ball” training…

He liked and respected the coaches, so he obviously wanted to be cool and not disrespect them in any way so he was discrete about what he was doing. It wasn’t very far into the season when he was dominating the league in hitting, that he revealed to his coaches that he’d been working with me on the side in a way that didn’t interfere with the team program.

The last thing you want to do is be the guy who’s the “know it all” and bucks the team system and workouts, doing odd drills and things that stand out in an almost distracting way.

I explained it to him like this…

Be a good soldier and follow your coaches drills and workouts, because he’s put his own time and energy into it his program and you owe it to him to follow his lead, if for no other reasons than he’s in authority and you can always learn everyone.

Because you’re going through my program, it’s an at home Tai Chi type program where you learn all the natural mechanical and timing moves, along with the plan that came from Frank Robinson himself (hall of fame).

I said…

“If I were your age and on your team, with all that I knew after 30 years of professional experience and the research I’ve done, with a 10 year MLB career, Silver Slugger Award, All-Star Catcher.”

If I could go back in time, yet retain all my memories in tact so I had all the skills of the big leaguer I was, how hard would it be to get along with a coach who see’s you’re a talented hitter, with all the high level moves and YOU DON’T MISS YOUR PITCH! He’s going to love you, especially if you respect him and thank him for the feedback he gives you every day.

You guys would just relate on a different level than the other players because he’d have more respect for your abilities…you’d have a more collaborative relationship with him…But he’s your coach and having your name written in the lineup card every day, partly depends on how you relate to your coaches, no matter how good you play.

So he learned how to apply the 5 Shifts to his Mindset quickly each day, by following simple videos in the modules every week.

You learn the 12 Touchstones (The natural timing and mechanical hitting movements with the correct technique)

You learn 6X Rules for the INSIDE PITCH (The moves you rehearse on deck to make sure you’re never get sucked into a MYTH idea every again).

The system is designed so you don’t have to think…you just REHEARSE!

Everything becomes automated and you become a hitter with natural timing and natural mechanics…AND THOSE AMAZING RESULTS ARE YOUR NEW NORMAL!

Who is this webinar for?

Mostly for those coaches and parents managing High School and College level players.

Will younger hitters get something out of Matt’s information? 

Yes.  But the information in the webinar is geared more towards those hitters getting ready for college or pro ball.

Is Matt Nokes’s information good for fast-pitch softball?

YES!!! It’s outstanding information for ALL humans.

Please let me know what you think of the webinar y’all 😀

Here’s a Quick Way to Fix the Dreaded “C-Shape Impact” Position…

 

Lauryn 'C-Shape' Impact Position Fix

Look at the difference in Lauryn’s body shape BEFORE, image on the left hand side (C-Shape Impact), and AFTER, image on the right hand side, using the Hunched Posture 24-hours later. Photo courtesy of Brian (dad).

With consent of Dad (Brian – Thank you),

I wanted to share Feedback Session #4 (of 12) of Lauryn, who’s 11 years old…oh yeah, her consent was given too (Thanks LB!) 😀

She’s been a part of my online lesson program The Feedback Lab, since October 17th, 2016.

It’s also interesting to note, her current Ball Exit Speed personal record is 66-mph at 11yo!

First, I want to say how much of a hard worker she is, and has been consistently progressing with each Feedback Session.

I also want to say how supportive dad (and mom) are in all this process, and I can clearly tell dad is instilling a “Growth Mindset” in Lauryn, which is what Dr. Carol Dweck discusses in her bestselling book Mindset – a highly recommended read by the way.

A supportive parenting environment, and a Growth Mindset make my job easy and most importantly, rewarding.

I say this because some may think these changes are ALL me, but I’m only shining a light down a dark path, it’s the player and parents who have to follow through, and God knows this process IS NOT easy.

The below video was the frustrating session #4 for Lauryn, which goes into:

  • The ‘Pat’ – “pat on the back”, or what Lauryn progressed on mechanically, and
  • The ‘Pop’ – “pop in the mouth”, or what Lauryn will be working on in the coming weeks.

PLEASE NOTE: to those fast-pitch softball coaches who take offense to me using Josh Donaldson as a swing example for Lauryn, I used Sierra Romero in the past few sessions – so get off my back! 😛 lol

In following, I only wanted to highlight one specific part of Lauryn’s hitting homework,

…the Reverse C-Shape at impact, her body illustrates in the image above.  For lefties the C-Shape Impact looks like a normal ‘C’.

This was a concern for dad before I did the above this Feedback Session #4.

CLICK HERE for a post I did on the Snapping Towel Drill, where I posted an image of one of my 13yo baseball hitters in this same position with a little more explanation of what the C-Shape is.

In the main video above and in this post, I wanted to offer up another more effective fix than the Snapping Towel Drill…

The Hunched Posture.

If you look at the above image of Lauryn on the left, her abdominals are stretching, which indicates the low back could possibly be in hyper-extension…not good.

This is not adhering to the One-Joint Rule discussed in this post.

The two problems with C-Shape Impact are:

  • Bleeding force at impact, and
  • UNSAFE for low back.

The answer can be found in what Gymnastics refer to as the Hollow Hold Position:

Here was the corrective programming homework I gave Lauryn:

  • Week 1: 1 set X 20-30 secs hold,
  • Week two: 1 set X 30-40 secs hold,
  • Week three: 2 sets X 30 secs hold, and
  • Week four: 2 sets X 45 secs hold

…Do every other day.

The keys with this move is constantly applying pressure into the ground with the low back, and rounding the shoulders forward to create a ‘spoon’ or ‘hollow’ position with the chest.

This helps with pelvic control (rotating the pelvis to posterior), stabilizes the low back, and is KILLER for the abs – in a good way.

Notice this is the same spinal position you’d take if you had to sit on a bucket for four-hours playing video games…interesting huh?!

Young athletes know this position well, but most likely haven’t applied it to the hitting stance.

Look at the following three hitters and tell me what shape their spine starts in…

Ted Williams (Watch 0:40 mark):

Pete Rose Getting a Hit off Dwight Gooden:

Sadaharu Oh (868 Career Dingers in Japanese Baseball Leagues):

The Hunched Posture Drill

The drill steps go like this…

  1. Sit on ball bucket like you were to play video games for 4 hours,
  2. Now grab your bat and act like you’re going to hit, still keeping the hunched posture,
  3. Keeping the rounded back, now stand up and apply that position to your normal stance.

Hitters that are used to the “straight back” when hitting, will find it hard to maintain the Hunched Posture when standing up in their batting stance.

Keep sitting them down, repeating the steps, and standing them back up until they get it – with your feedback of course.

Once they get it, they won’t let go of it.  My hitters report back their feelings that the Hunched Posture:

  • “Just feels better”,
  • “Helps show numbers and downhill shoulder angle”, and most importantly,
  • “My back feels nothing while swinging” (a good thing! lol).

And like in Lauryn’s case, we see a much more effective impact position less than 24-hours later.

Go easy on those pitchers out there Lauryn 😛 lol

You Too Can Get Your Hitters To Sharpen Plate Discipline, Re-Calibrate Timing, & Barrel The Ball More Often In Two 5-Swing Rounds Per Week With Distraction TrainingDistraction Training: HittersCODE.com

(SAFETY DISCLAIMER: those that have had or are prone to epileptic seizures, SHOULD NOT use these goggles)…

Ongoing studies are revealing distraction training using Strobe Goggles are giving dramatic results from little use.

Here are a couple studies that were conducted…

PLEASE NOTE: The players and coaches were reminded of individual swing issues before and after each experiment period.  During they were not.  They were reminded of breathing, composure, and head position during the distraction.  Generally and very often as encouragement and reinforcement.

A recent 6-week test was 5 swings without the goggles, 5 with, and 5 without, so 15 swings total per week. These hitters increased Ball Exit Speeds between 2 to 5-mph after the 6-week period.

Another recent 8-week study had hitters using goggles for 1-hour throughout the week, totally 100-150 swings per week.  Swings without the goggles were mixed in throughout the week as well.  These hitters averaged 14.3-mph Ball Exit Speed increases at the end of the 8-week period.

We can safely say that between those numbers we’ve seen a relative increase in positive performance output using the goggles.

My good friend Ken Carswell (KC) at HittersCode.com is SUPER busy cooking up brand new training gear disrupting how coaches practice:

  • Plate discipline,
  • Timing, and
  • Barreling the ball more often

…with their hitters.

If you remember, I did an interview with KC earlier in 2016, CLICK HERE to read that.

The Hitter’s CODE stands for:

  • Cognitive
  • Occlusion
  • Distraction
  • Environments

If you remember, video occlusion training is what Dr. Peter Fadde talked about in this interview I did with him – CLICK HERE.

Also, CLICK HERE to see how Perry Husband uses a pinch of distraction training to calibrate tracking and timing in this HPL interview.

Basically, KC the “Mad Scientist”, is putting together a “smart” hitter’s helmet that will benefit the three categories I mentioned before.

Here’s a taste of what’s coming (and is already here) with the distraction training helmet:

  • Strobe Goggles as shown in the video above (Phase-1 and is a prelude to the helmet),
  • Audio Distraction – this includes rhythm, disruption rhythm, crowd noise – boos v. cheers (Phase-1 and is coming when helmet is ready to launch at 2017 ABCA January conference in Anaheim, California),
  • Phase-2 and details are in the works…

Believe me, distraction training WILL BE the FUTURE of hitting.

KC will reserve a spot for those interested in the distraction training helmet, so CLICK HERE to RESERVE YOUR SPOT today!

…Did You Catch The Performance Of The Small Slugger That Beat Blaze Jordan?

Some of you saw this video on the socials of Blaze Jordan hitting a couple 500-foot monster shots out of the Texas Rangers Arlington Stadium during the 2016 14u/15u home-run derby power contest:

Well, did you hear about the small-bopper who gave Blaze Jordan a run for his money?

By the way, Blaze Jordan stands in at 6-Foot tall, and 217-Pounds.  And the preceding Blaze Jordan profile link may be a year or two old!

I received this email from Marty, Hudson White’s father, earlier this week:

“Hello, i just wanted you to know that i have followed you for years and teach your principles to my 14u son who just came in second place at the 15u power showcase in Arlington Texas ahead of the world champion Blaze Jordan . he also broke the world record for most consecutive home-runs in a row at 11. he was a year younger and 50-100lbs smaller than all the other contestants who were made up of the best hitters in the country. It was the most amazing thing that anyone had ever seen . i wanted to share the video with you and hopefully you can help make it go viral. all the hype is about Blaze Jordan for hitting a 503 ft home run, but for a smaller younger kid to go out and break the world record for most consecutive and beat blaze in the final round to come in 2nd place is a major feat. my son is a lead off hitter. so all hit hits were 395ft line drives. this is your student. this is the result of your teachings. i am very grateful!”

Blaze Jordan: Got beat by Hudson "The Hawk" White

You can see Hudson “The Hawk” White is exemplifying the Catapult Loading System: ‘showing numbers’, ‘down shoulder angle’, & ‘hiding hands’. Photo courtesy: Hudson’s father Marty.

Here are summary notes about Hudson “The Hawk” White’s 2016 home-run derby performance via his dad:

  • Came In 2nd place.
  • Beat Blaze Jordan.
  • Broke world record with 11 consecutive home runs in a row .
  • High school fences set up.
  • Left park 6 times.
  • Hit 390-ft average.
  • Just turned 14.
  • 5-foot, 7-inches, 130-pounds.
  • Normally a lead off 1,2 hole on nationally ranked teams.
  • Didn’t think he could hang with all the 6’2″ 180 lb 15 year old 4-hole hitters there.

But can Hudson do this in a game?  Here’s a 380-390 foot triple:

What’s even more amazing?!

I didn’t work with Hudson White…his dad did…using the Hitting Performance Lab repeatable power formula.

Why is this HUGE?!

Marty is just one of the hundreds of coaches getting the same results, if not better, than I am with my own hitters – using the same process!!

So, it’s not just me, or that maybe I’m “Tony Robbins” special.

Also, if you believe this was done with a “doctored”, “hot”, or “bouncy” bat,

Here’s a comment from Kevin Freeman on Facebook:

“I know this kid personally. if all put the work in that he does it wouldn’t be so many whiny baby parents saying his bat is altered. I’ve personally watched him hit several balls over 400 ft with an old hickory Wood bat. All excuse making parents need to let their kid follow this kids work ethic and maybe they will get the recognition he does. if he hitting a -5 that is what he is supposed to be hitting at that age.”

Also, the following MLB.com video is President of the Power Showcase, Brian Domenico, talking about the contest, and around the 5:00 video mark, he talks about the bats and balls used:

Please do Hudson, Marty, and HPL a favor and PLEASE SHARE THIS post on your favorite social media networks…Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Instagram, etc.

This stuff works folks.  We’re producing hitters that are consistently tripling their body-weight in batted ball distance.

— Joey drops the mic —

UPDATE from June 26, 2018 email from dad…

“…This year he was a freshman on varsity at Byron Nelson High School. He was starting 2nd and 3 hole. He led all north Texas in hits most of the season and finished 7th overall with 45.  He was hitting the ball hard somewhere!  Hudson was named District 5-6A Unanimous Newcomer Of The Year and All – Area Newcomer of the year finishing 7th in area with 45 hits, 25 RBI, 21 runs , 16 SB.

https://sportsday.dallasnews.com/high-school/high-schools/2018/06/21/sportsdayhs-2018-area-baseball-teams-postseason-awards

He also just got back from the Wilson Midwest wood bat championship where he was named MVP for hitting two home runs. He went 9-18 and only 1 single. The rest were doubles, triples and dingers!  Here’s his mvp interview:

He has been on a tear hitting 6 home runs in the last 3 weeks with either wood or an old rusty metal bbcor bat.  Just an FYI update to all the haters and naysayers😂 its the Indian not the arrow.  I appreciate your help and instruction. The proof is in the pudding.”

Addison Russell Grand Slam Video Analysis

Addison Russell Grand Slam Video: The Anatomy Of A Dinger

 

Addison Russell Grand Slam Video Analysis

Nike Swoosh barrel path, pitch plane, and batted ball plane in this Addison Russell grand slam video analysis (434-foot) in Game 6 of the 2016 World Series. Photo courtesy: MLB.com

I had quite a few people ask me what I thought of Addison Russell’s grand slam in game-6 of the 2016 World Series.

I had just missed it minutes before taking my family (wife, 4yo, & 7-month old) to get pizza, where not one television was present :-/

So I set out to do an Addison Russell grand slam video analysis the next morning.

Gosh I love the Playoff and World Series quality of slow motion video…

…10K frames per second, where you can see every wrinkle on a players uniform, AND face!!

And that’s saying something because these are “kids” we’re watching on TV…I can say that now that I’m older 😛

So enjoy this video analysis and please post any comments, questions, or concerns below.

In the following Addison Russell grand slam video analysis, we’ll discuss:

  • Fangraphs comparison on GB%, LD%, FB%, HR/FB%, height/weight (6’0″, 195-lbs),
  • Nike Swoosh barrel path,
  • Barrel matching the plane of the pitch – up to 91-mph FB,
  • Finger Pressure,
  • ‘Barrel chasing’ batted ball – extension (power-V): defense against being out in front on OS & CB/SL,
  • Statcast: 108-mph BES, 23-degree launch angle, 434-foot distance,
  • Somewhat hunched posture,
  • Med/High leg kick (float to fall),
  • Float barrel up (knob flashlight down),
  • Alignment of back foot and leg, and
  • Knee Action at landing and during the turn.

One extra thing I didn’t mention, look at what part of the ball Addison Russell struck 😉

#GroundballsSuck

Tim Tebow Hitting Analysis: Get To The Big Leagues Without Playing College Or Pro Baseball?

Before we get to the Tim Tebow hitting analysis…

I wanted to take you BACK TO THE FUTURE!!

We all know the quote by Ted Williams that hitting a baseball is one of the single most difficult things to do in sports.  FP Softball ladies included.

Do you remember Michael Jordan hitting a double in an April 1994 MLB exhibition game…?

Arguably the best athlete ever, summarized by the Chicago Tribune that:

“…he was quitting because he couldn’t develop at the rate he wanted due to complications caused by the baseball strike”.

Or how about one of the best cricket players in the world, Kieran Powell, trying to make it to the Big Leagues…?

Did you hear him say that the hardest thing in baseball, “is to keep the bat on plane” 😉

Or how about Shaq O’Neal’s Versus show, where he took on Albert Pujols in a Home Run Derby for charity…?

We know Jordan retired permanently from baseball in 1995…

Shaq couldn’t even beat Pujols in a home-run derby where he was handicapped with a Little League distance home run fence

…and time will tell if Powell’s determination to be a Big Leaguer will continue.

Now we have another high profile athlete jumping into the quest for the Big Leagues, but this time a football player.

The NY Mets just signed him to a Minor League deal (CLICK HERE for this Cut4 article).

Tim Tebow Hitting Analysis

I’ll say, Tim Tebow has a pretty good finish. Must be from his golf game 😉 Photo courtesy: USAToday.com

In the above Tim Tebow hitting analysis video,

  • Using recent August 2016 MLB tryout footage, I compare Tim Tebow’s swing to Victor Martinez,
  • Analyze what Tebow’s swing has going for him, and
  • Discuss what he MUST change in order to be successful in baseball…

Here’s a quick rundown from the Tim Tebow hitting analysis…

PAT (‘Pat’ on the back):

  • Athletic Position – triple flexion at the hip, knee, and ankle.
  • Head Position at Impact – no sign of breaking the One-Joint Rule.
  • Knee Action – gets and stays shorter at landing and through the swing, definitely can get under the ball.

 

POP (‘Pop’ in the mouth – constructive criticism):

  • Limited forward momentum for such a big body – too much muscle use.
  • Abbreviated barrel path – he gets decent extension post-impact, but he’s too short to the ball. This may hurt him the most.
  • Catapult Loading System (CLS) – minimal showing numbers to pitcher, downhill shoulder angle, and hiding hands.

Here Is A Formula That Is Helping Corey Seager Or Trevor Story Win NL Rookie Of The Year

Corey Seager & Trevor Story Hitting Anlysis

Corey Seager getting great knee action here, being slightly out front of the pitch. Photo by Jon SooHoo/© Los Angeles Dodgers,LLC 2016

I’ve been watching quite a bit of the Los Angeles Dodgers lately (because of my fanatic mother-in-law),

And am really impressed with Corey Seager’s swing, who’s 6’4″, 215-lbs (according to FanGraphs.com).

So I decided to do a comparison between a couple leading 2016 NL Rookie of the Year candidates, Seager and Trevor Story of the Colorado Rockies, who’s 6’1″, 175-lbs (according to FanGraphs.com).

Granted, at the time of this writing (8/23), Story has cooled down a bit, and is sitting on the Disabled List with a torn ligament in his thumb.

So, here’s what we cover in the Corey Seager v. Trevor Story hitting analysis video:

  • Talking metrics,
  • Catapult Loading System swing elements,
  • Pitch-Plane Domination swing elements,
  • Reaction Time Mastery swing elements, and
  • Adjustments to off-speed or breaking stuff.

 

Talking Metrics

First let me define a couple of the metrics we’ll be looking at:

  • ISO – Isolated Slug%, basically raw power, and
  • BABIP – Batting Average on Balls In Play, a loose measure of how consistently a hitter hits the ball hard.

Okay, so now let’s compare their lines according to Fangraphs.com…

Corey Seager

Corey Seager Metrics

Compliments of Fangraphs.com

And…

Trevor Story

Trevor Story Metrics

Compliments of Fangraphs.com

In comparing Corey Seager to Trevor Story’s metrics, you can see Seager has a bit more consistency baked into his swing, but Story has a bit more power…possibly due to the thin air in Colorado, I dunno, just sayin’. lol

And if you look at the percentages of:

  • Ground-balls (GB%, league average is 44%),
  • Line Drives (LD%, league average is 20%),
  • Fly-balls (FB%, league average is 36%), and
  • Homers to Fly-Balls (HR/FB, league average is 9.5%)…

…Between the two hitters, you can see there’s no secret to what Trevor Story is trying to do with his swing…get the ball in the air!!  The thin air!

Corey Seager

corey-seager-gb-ld-fb-metrics

And…

Trevor Story

trevor-story-gb-ld-fb-metrics

 

NOTES about Video Analysis

Trevor Story & Corey Seager Hitting Analysis

Trevor Story getting a significant positive attack angle, one of the reasons he gets the ball in the air so well. Photo courtesy: Deadspin.com

The Corey Seager homers analyzed…

Game footage was from 8/8/2016 – 2 homers:

  • 91-mph FB, down-middle
  • 75-mph CB, down-middle

The Trevor Story homer analyzed…

Game footage was from 7/24/2016 – 1 homer:

  • 81-mph CU, down-inner 1/3

The rest of the video, after discussing metrics, was looking at how well Corey Seager and Trevor Story used the following HPL formula:

  • Catapult Loading System,
  • Pitch-Plane Domination, and
  • Reaction Time Mastery.

What’s interesting to note on adjustments to off-speed or breaking balls…both hitters “get shorter” and “stay shorter” to buy themselves some time, while also trying to “stay underneath” the ball.

Both Corey Seager and Trevor Story are great examples of the formula we use at HPL to help hitters triple their body-weight in batted ball distance…

They don’t have to hit all the ‘musical notes’, but definitely a majority.

It’s a great formula for winning NL Rookie of the Year 😉

13 Josh Donaldson Gold Nuggets: You Didn’t Have To Be A Professional, To Teach High Level Baseball Batting Stance & Hitting Techniques

(I apologize in advance…PLEASE set aside about 14 minutes of reading time for the following baseball batting stance & hitting techniques post. It’s a bit of an emotional RANT 😉

 

Baseball Batting Stance & Hitting Techniques: Josh Donaldson

Josh Donaldson talks hitting with Mark DeRosa on MLB Network. Photo courtesy: MLB.com

We FINALLY have validation!!!

To have 2015 AL MVP Josh Donaldson affirm A LOT of what we teach here at HPL!

Some of you may have seen the above video already…

If you HAVE NOT seen it, then please watch.

In the following baseball batting stance & hitting techniques post, I go into more depth about the 13 talking points Josh Donaldson mentions about the “NEW science of hitting”, beginning where Ted Williams left off.

By the way, CLICK HERE to see an article where JD CRUSHES an online pseudo-science ‘hitting guru’.

After we go over the @BringerOfRain20 talking points,

I want to address the few ex-Pro and MLB player TROLLS that wrongly tear myself, my colleagues, and my readers down on the socials for bringing up things Josh Donaldson addresses in the above video.

Without further adieu,

From my baseball batting stance & hitting techniques video notes…

 

Note #1: Back knee inside foot or weight inside back knee?

Buster Posey Back Knee Position

Is Buster Posey’s back knee being prematurely shifted inside his foot in the ‘Float’? Photo courtesy: InWriteField.com

This was a question from Mark DeRosa…

Josh Donaldson responds that he focuses his weight on his back heel and back hip.

I HATE when hitting instructors PREMATURELY force the back knee of every hitter they instruct, inside the foot (even in the stance).

There are phases to the swing, and Donaldson is talking about what my hitters refer to as the ‘Float & Fall’…

Matt Nokes calls it the ‘Ride & Stride’.

During the ‘Float’ or ‘Ride’, the hitter DOES NOT have to prematurely push their back knee inside the back foot…or focus the weight on the inside of the back knee.

CLICK HERE for a baseball batting stance & hitting techniques post I did on this, dealing with a Twitter Troll.

NEWS FLASH…

Self proclaimed elite hitting instruction doesn’t rest on taking a ton of ‘quality hacks in the cage’ and/or debating over millions of hours of video analysis footage of ‘only the best hitters’.

WTF does ‘quality hacks’ and ‘only the best hitters’ mean!!!!!?

Are we suppose to take your word for it that you know what you’re doing?!

Nah.

I’d rather watch The Kardashians.

Okay, back to focusing on where the weight is in the Float…

Prematurely forcing weight on the inside of a ‘dumb joint’, like the knee, can really put undo stress on the ligament material.

Coaches…please DO NOT wear holes in your players’ knees.  This is really important for those FP softball hitting coaches.

And on that note,

FP softball coaches, CLICK HERE for a great BreakingMuscle.com post titled, “Women: Protect Your Knees With the Sprinter Stance Squat”.

 

Note #2: Not thinking about hands going towards the baseball

Derek Jeter: Hands Inside The Baseball

Derek Jeter is one of the few having a lengthy career with an extreme handsy approach. Not too many hitters could get away with how he did what he did. Photo courtesy: BaseballByTheYard.com

I totally agree!

ALL the following baseball batting stance & hitting techniques coaching cues are destructive for youth swings:

  • Hands to the ball
  • Knob to the ball
  • Be short to the ball
  • Hands inside the ball

Yes! Especially the last one…

WHY?

Like the others, it gets the hitter thinking about doing something with the path of their hands.

Some of you use this cue when instructing hitters, and may get occasional positive results…

However,

Any coaching cue that requires an extensive explanation or doesn’t get predictably positive outcomes, is INEFFECTIVE.

I’m looking for cues that with a minimal number of words, gets my hitter to do what I want them to do, even if the concept is new to them…over and over.

 

Note #3: When Josh Donaldson begins his fall forward, that’s when he goes into loading his upper half (his ‘coil’)

Andrew McCutchen Showing his Numbers

Andrew McCutchen ‘showing his numbers’ while his lower half is beginning to turn counter-clockwise. Photo courtesy: MLB.com

YESSSSS!!

I get asked this baseball batting stance & hitting techniques question quite a bit…when does the ‘load’ start?

And this depends on your definition of a load.  But in Donaldson’s context…

The timing of Donaldson’s load, or ‘coil’, isn’t necessarily the rule,

It’s one of three options…

Option #1: Some hitters start in the ‘coiled’ position (highly recommended for younger hitters):

  • Yoenis Cespedes,
  • Hunter Pence, and
  • Ben Zobrist (from the left side)…

Option #2: Some hitters move into the ‘coiled’ position similar to Donaldson:

  • Bautista,
  • Cano, and
  • McCutchen…

Option #3: Some hitters move into the ‘coiled’ position later, like Dustin Pedroia.

The objective is that at landing, or what Josh Donaldson refers to as ‘heel plant’, the hitter is in this ‘coiled’ position.

I call this the Catapult Loading Position.

And it requires the lower half to be open at landing (pelvis on down), and the upper half (above pelvis), to be closed.

Additionally, I LOVE Jose Bautista’s timing cue of loading ‘slow and early’ (CLICK HERE for a post I did on that).

More on the lower half landing open a bit later…

Note #4: Creating bat speed with shoulders, NOT hands (effortless bat speed)

Josh Donaldson: Spinal Engine

Josh Donaldson’s swing illustrating the spinal engine and Springy ‘X’ Pattern discussed in the next section. Photo courtesy: PicPlayHost

This is VERY important…

WHY?

Because EVERY human movement is driven by the spinal engine…pelvis-spine-shoulders.

According to Dr. Serge Gracovetsky in his book The Spinal Engine, the spinal engine can move in a vacuum.

However, it’s the relationship between arms, legs, and Gravitational Forces that amplify how explosive an athlete can be.

Quite a few hitting instructors talk about hip thrust or loading and exploding the hips.

But what are the shoulder’s function in all this?

Being passive?

I don’t think so.

Some would say a right handed hitter’s front shoulder at landing should be pointing at the pitcher.

This is an ineffective hitting mechanic, shown in this Zepp swing experiment (CLICK HERE) where I observed an average 6-mph boost in Bat Speed at Impact showing my numbers to the pitcher versus pointing the front shoulder at the pitcher (not showing numbers), over 200 swings.

Don’t get me wrong, YES, the pelvis does ‘lead the way’ as Ted Williams said in The Science of Hitting.

But it plays a much smaller role than coaches believe.

Think about how we walk…

If I told you to fire your hips as you walked, what do you think your shoulders would do?

They’d FIRE also!

How about if I told you to fire your hips while walking, but don’t let your shoulders move

Would that feel awkward?

Dr. Serge Gracovetsky talks about the coupled motion of the spine…

Meaning, while the hips rotate when we walk (albeit small to the naked eye), the shoulders counter-rotate the pelvis.

This is why your right arm and left leg swing forward at the same time.

To have effortless bat speed, like Josh Donaldson says, you MUST teach your hitters to take advantage of these natural laws of human movement.

DON’T use baseball batting stance & hitting techniques to coach them out of them.

 

Note #5: Rubber band effect, ‘stretching’, creating tension at the finish of his load

Another YESSSSS!

Although Josh Donaldson uses different baseball batting stance & hitting techniques terms, he’s talking about the compression/tension forces in the body via connective tissue called fascia.

Thomas Myers in his book Anatomy Trains describes, what he calls Tensegrity (Tension-Integrity), like this:

I don’t like to think of the body as a rubber band, but rather like a spring.

But what Donaldson is describing is correct.

I refer to this as the Springy ‘X’ Pattern.

CLICK HERE for this video post describing this using Adrian Gonzalez’s swing as a model.

 

Note #6: Creating the timing to hit the pitch

Most people probably missed this point in the video…Donaldson briefly mentioned it, but I find it VERY important.

TIMING FOR HITTING IS EVERYTHING.

This is why I don’t like rapid fire soft toss OR 15-pitch marathon rounds batting practice.

It’s NOT about quick hands either.

Look, a baseball player may only see one pitch every 12-20 seconds.

A fast-pitch softball player may see one pitch every 8-15 seconds.

In games, swing intensity EVERY swing matters.

I can take a hitter with seemingly slow hands, adjust his or her timing, and have them barreling the ball more.

Of course, we’ll have to address their still ineffective mechanics at some point in the future, but the point is, it’s not about fast hands.

It’s about using the shoulders to speed up the hands.

The opposite IS NOT true.

Coaches handicap hitters by using ineffective drills like rapid fire soft toss, drop toss, and/or marathon B.P. sessions.

Again,

TIMING IS EVERYTHING IN HITTING.

CLICK HERE for “The Dead Simple Guide To Optimizing A Hitter’s Timing In Games”.

 

Note #7: Front foot is open…hips can’t separate from upper half

Miguel Cabrera: Landing Closed

Miguel Cabrera is one of my favorite swings to model, except for landing closed (less than 45-degree angle). However, he’s a physical beast, and most definitely succeeds despite one ineffective mechanic. Photo courtesy: MLB.com

Another baseball batting stance & hitting techniques golden nugget from Josh Donaldson.

However, there are quite a few other coaches getting their panties in a bunch about this comment.

CLICK HERE and follow the thread of one of my Facebook posts.

CLICK HERE and follow a Facebook post thread of my friend and colleague Taylor Gardner, founder of the BackSpin Tee.  Actually a lot of really good discussion happening on this one.

They’re reinterpreting it as Donaldson is saying to ‘point the landing toe at the pitcher’.

This may be what it looks like in the video, which we also have to be careful of camera angles…

But the point of the matter is, that Donaldson is saying to ‘land open’.

And this is where, us coaches, must define terms.

I say if the landing foot is opened less than 45-degrees, the foot is closed.

If the landing foot is opened more than 45-degrees, the foot is open.

Chris Welch at ZenoLink says the front foot should land open, roughly around 65-degrees (at about 2-min mark):

And I agree.

I do think hitters like Donaldson and Bautista are more on the open side than others.

With my definition of landing foot closed versus open, I’d rather have my hitters err on the side of open, than closed.

CLICK HERE for another Zepp swing experiment where I tested this and found an average bat speed boost of 3-mph boost when landing open, over 200 swings.

Kyle Harrington, dad of one of my online hitting lesson students Stephen, who’s currently 13yo, 5’7″, 130-lbs…

Recently, increased his Ball Exit Speed 5-mph in the last 5 months off the tee, to now 77-mph.

I asked Kyle, what were the two biggest contributors to the increase…and he responded with:

“He grew about 2″ but he’s only 5’7”.  I think the main thing is that he is not stalling the bat.  In the 3D testing with Chris Welch [of ZenoLink.com] his peak bat speed slowed almost 10 mph before impact, which is common.  So he is decelerating the barrel less coming into impact.   He was blocking with the front hip and all the speed was too early .  So he’s actually  moving the bat speed forward in his swing more (where impact is)  rather behind the ball before impact.  That’s the main reason.”
This can happen for a few reasons:
  • Too much forward momentum (yes you can have too much),
  • Landing closed with the front foot, and
  • Inward turning (coiling) the pelvis towards the catcher (shifts our 45-degree optimal impact zone too deep into the swing).

When the hitter lands closed, as Donaldson said, it’s more challenging to optimize the body’s natural springy fascia.

It’s also worth noting that the front ‘foot shape’ will change depending on pitch location at impact.

For instance,

On an outside pitch, we’ll see the foot more flat, and possibly more closed, than on an inside pitch.

 

Note #8: 10yo kid told to get on top of the ball, tell them NO…don’t get paid for hitting ground-balls

Effect of Speed Fades Only When Launch Angles Exceed 10-degrees.

Ground-ball Coaches, if you spent more time instructing 10-degree launch angles and boosting Ball Exit Speeds, than you do telling hitters to always hit the ball on the ground, our hitters will be in a better position to crush pitchers.

For me, this tip was definitely the highlight of this video.

Btw, I agree…AGAIN!

And I’m not going to get into this in detail, because I already did that in “The UGLY Truth About Hitting Ground-Balls” RANT post.

What’s more,

There was a comment on my baseball batting stance & hitting techniques Facebook post that is worth noting:

Reader A: “If I’m coaching a team of 10 year olds, and either the kid (or parent) tells me no, they ought to start looking for another team to play for. If you allow a kid to tell you no at that age, the kid will become uncoachable when he gets older.”

And here was a great response from another readers to this person:

Reader B: “If a teacher tells your kid 2+2 is 5, you don’t want him to have the courage and character to question the teacher?  This society man, anyone that questions authority is deemed to be at fault…how dare they!!!”

I agree with Reader B…however, I understand there are ignorant parents, as well as players, out there as well.

However, speaking in the context of what Donaldson is saying, I agree with Reader B on this.

If you’re a coach that’s teaching hitters to ALWAYS hit the ball on the ground, you’re being ineffective as a coach.  And you MUST get educated because if you’re aren’t growing, then you’re dying.

 

Note #9: Relaxed in stance…time that arms get engaged with the body is during his ‘coil’ (mentions ‘scap load’)

Jace: Fixing Bat Drag w/ Finger Pressure

Jace, one of my 11yos, weighs 67-lbs, and hit his first homer over a 180-foot fence. We fixed his racing back elbow bat drag with connecting his hands to his spinal engine through finger pressure.

I totally agree.

There’s a time to be relaxed, and then there’s a time to connect the body (driving engine) to the “things” holding the bat…the hands.

CLICK HERE for another Zepp swing experiment that talks about what I teach to my hitters as ‘finger pressure’, and how we’re banishing racing back elbow bat drag with this technique alone.

It’s ALL about “connection” folks.  Quite a few of the young hitters I see just aren’t connected.

But when they get connected…this is when we can triple their body-weight in distance (see Jace image above).

Note 10: Hands load it (versus shoulders), then barrel tips too much…leads to getting underneath balls

Josh Donaldson is talking about getting into his load (or ‘coil’) with his shoulders and not his hands.

When he uses his hands to get there, he feels it leads to an excessive ‘barrel tip’ (click following link), and to getting under the ball too much.

CLICK HERE for an AthleticsNation.com article titled, “Josh Donaldson: Changes in Approach & Mechanics”.

In this article, Jerry Brewer from East Bay Hitting Instruction compares Donaldson’s swing and metrics from 2013 to 2014.

The one big difference being an excessive barrel tip in 2014, leading to drops in his BA, OBP, & SLUG metrics by something like 50 points EACH.

By the way, Jerry is right on with the swing as well.

 

Note 11: At landing, wants bat to be at 45-degree angle, and to split his head from behind

I agree.

I don’t really want to get into this, but I thought it was a good little baseball batting stance & hitting techniques nugget from the video.

 

Note 12: Swing down to create backspin

The Science of Hitting Graphic on optimal bat path

This is where I see Josh Donaldson picking up where Ted Williams left off. This is a well known graphic from Williams’s book The Science of Hitting.

This is something Josh Donaldson is against, and I agree.

Yes, every once in awhile, a hitter can swing down on a ball and launch one.

Did you read the keywords there…?  “Every once in awhile.”

Do you know what the majority outcomes will be doing this?

Ground-balls.

And if you read my Ground-ball RANT, then you know how inferior default teaching your hitters to hit them is, unless of course you have hitters who run like greased lightning, or in a Hit & Run type scenario.

The biggest argument here, comes from Little League coaches saying, but the ground-ball is the hardest hit ball to field, throw, and catch.

And my rebuttal is, what happens when your ground-ball hitting team meets a team that can play catch?

It doesn’t matter anyway, because a majority of pitches are taught to keep the ball down in the zone to hitters.

WHY?

Because PITCHERS WANT HITTERS DRIVING THE BALL INTO THE GROUND.

 

Note#13: Intent – damage at all times

I thought this was a HUGE baseball batting stance & hitting techniques gold nugget.

When asked if Donaldson makes educated decisions to commit on pitches or against pitchers, he says, yeah it depends…

BUT,

His intent is to do damage at all times.

“Why wouldn’t I?” He smirks to Mark DeRosa 😛

Double and Dinger damage.

That’s what the Blue Jays pay him for.

Our objective as hitting coaches should be to get our sluggers hitting the ball as hard as their physical ability will allow them…as frequently as possible.

To return this baseball batting stance & hitting techniques post full circle, let me repeat:

You Didn’t Have To Be A Professional, To Teach High Level Baseball Batting Stance & Hitting Techniques Today

You just have to understand human movement principles that are validated by science, and apply these “rules” to hitting a ball.

And I’m out…

[Joey drops the mic…]