Baseball Hitting Lessons Near Me

Baseball Hitting Lessons Near Me: “I Don’t Use A Glove When I Throw BP, So I’ll hold Curveball Like This.  I’ll Hold It.  I Want to See If They’re Smart Enough to Look at My Hand”

 

 

In this baseball hitting lessons near me interview with Ray Camacho from Fat On Fat Academy, we go over… (about 34-minutes reading time – PRO TIP: use “gear” on YouTube video settings to “speed watch” to 2X, so you can watch in half the time!!)

  • Tell me a little bit about your baseball hitting lessons near me nonprofit, where you guys are and what it’s about,Baseball Hitting Lessons Near Me
  • Who are your top one or two follows for strength and conditioning?
  • “It’s ever evolving with me because one kid teaches me how to do something for another kid…”,
  • “It’s extremely tough as a parent to watch our kids struggle, fail, and be rejected. But if we don’t let them experience it, while they’re young, they’ll have no idea how to handle it when life shows up later down the road. Our job is to love them and teach them how to work through it.”
  • “I like to pride myself in not being just like a scratch a surface guy. I get deep.”
  • I think hitting a baseball and softball consistently hard is the hardest thing to do in any sport,
  • The toe tap to me is the most adjustable swing that I’ve ever had,
  • I don’t use a glove when I throw BP so I’ll hold curveball like this. I’ll hold it. I want to see if they’re smart enough to look at my hand,
  • Where can people find you, talk about the social media platforms…

Click short link for transcribed baseball hitting lessons near me interview in pdf format: http://gohpl.com/rayctranscription

Here’s the full transcription of the interview…ENJOY!

Joey Myers  00:06

Hello, and welcome to the Swing Smarter Monthly Newsletter. This is your host, Joey Myers and on the call here with me, I’m honored to have Mr. Ray Camacho. He is of a nonprofit called Fat on Fat, or fat off the bat on fat on the ball. And we had a nice, interesting baseball hitting lessons near me conversation recently and there’s some cool little nuggets here.

Joey Myers  00:29

First, I want to welcome you to the show, Ray.

Ray Camacho  00:32

Thanks for having me.

Joey Myers  00:35

We’re going to dig into some stuff, I think the 30 minutes goes quick. I’m sure there’s going to be plenty, plenty to talk about in future stuff. But first question I want to ask you, tell me a little bit about your baseball hitting lessons near me nonprofit, where you guys are and what it’s about.

 

Tell me a little bit about your baseball hitting lessons near me nonprofit, where you guys are and what it’s about…

Ray Camacho  00:51

I started off a Fat-on-Fat Baseball Academy. But then recently, I started doing softball, so I changed the name to Fat-on-Fat Academy. The name came about when I was growing up, my dad was trying to think of something nice and easy for me to remember and something that rhymed.

Ray Camacho  01:07

He was like, son, fat of the bat, fat of the ball. That concept is something I grew up chasing my whole life, because I was just trying to square the ball up with fat on fat and is just a catchy phrase that everybody would use.

Ray Camacho  01:21

My dad would just be quiet and simple with it, fat on fat, son, watch the ball fat on fat. I had that concept, and as I grew up, I thought it was kind of cheesy, honestly a little bit. I felt embarrassed a little bit to talk about it to some of the guys, and then I started coaching and they started really liking it, like the young guys started liking it and said, What’s fat on fat coach? They wanted more stuff.

Ray Camacho  01:44

I ended up needing an outlet for myself because I was coaching a baseball hitting lessons near me organization. I was working at another organization; I was doing things for everybody else. I needed my own passion in my own lane.

Ray Camacho  01:57

What ended up happening was, I created my own college team, and I needed a name. My dad was like, you got to go fat on fat. I was like, Dad, these college guys are going to laugh me, everybody’s going to talk mess, they’re going to clown me.

Ray Camacho  02:12

I still felt like I was a college guy as well as trying to coach and I just didn’t believe in it. I shared it with a partner. I shared it with a couple of people my idea. They kind of was like, dude, that’s awesome. I love that name. I shared it with the Commissioner of the CCBL League that was playing in the summer. He was like, that is the best name ever.

Ray Camacho  02:35

He coached me when I was in high school, in college. He was like, I love it. You need to go with the name. When I got that feedback, as cheesy as it may feel for me, because it’s something my dad gave me, and sometimes he says, Son, you think your dad’s cheesy or corny, but everybody loved my dad, everybody thought my dad was funny, but of course, as a son you think he’s lame.

Ray Camacho  02:58

I’m going to run with it. I wanted to turn a negative into a positive because fat is a negative word. We think it’s a negative word, I feel like I have enough energy to turn it into a positive word. I’m from San Antonio, Texas, my company is based out of San Antonio, Texas.

Ray Camacho  03:17

I’ve lived in San Antonio, Texas my whole life. I love San Antonio, everything I do is for the city. Everything I do is for the kids in the city. We have an obesity problem here, and so when I started doing fat on fat, I was 50 pounds heavier at the time. I had a lot of backlash, a lot of people talking, Oh, your company’s fat on fat, because you’re fat, bro.

Ray Camacho  03:40

I was going through a lot of personal things. They said some uglier stuff too. I always tell these guys, my biggest teaching to the kids is, if you’re going to be good, you’re going to have to be ready to accept what comes with being good. Because there’s going to be snakes in the grass, there’s going to be your own teammates trying to go against you, there’s going to be a whole bunch of negativity that being the dude in titles.

Ray Camacho  04:03

If you’re not ready to accept that, then you can’t be the dude because you’ll fall short, as a lot of mental stuff. I just really wanted to be a forefront in this for fitness, for obesity in San Antonio, I wanted to bring awareness.

Ray Camacho  04:20

Five years ago, when I started it, I really didn’t have a lane. I didn’t know what I was going to do until I really started doing my first video of showing my training.

Ray Camacho  04:29

Five years ago, I was nothing compared to who I am now. I look at those old videos and I look at myself like you’re a chump. How can you let that kid get away with that movement? How can you let him do that? It makes me angry in the sense at myself that I couldn’t figure out my philosophy and my lane faster because I could have helped so many more kids.

Ray Camacho  04:51

That passion drives me today to not let anybody have bad movements when they come into the RPO which stands for Real Players Only. I have fat on fat baseball hitting lessons near me Academy and it stands for real players only.

Ray Camacho  05:03

Real players know who real players are. Real recognizes real. You can’t fake being real. Because once you step on that line, between those lines, you know who you are. I just love everything that baseball and softball brings to the table. I always talk about it. I’m going to do this till the day I die.

Joey Myers  05:21

I love it. That’s what really came out and struck me in our initial baseball hitting lessons near me conversation was the fact that you’re training baseball and softball players. But it’s not to be baseball and softball players, it’s to be better in life, right?

Joey Myers  05:34

You’re teaching life through baseball and softball, and that’s what I really love. The other thing is, and we can get into that a little bit, but I really wanted to jump into the baseball hitting lessons near me training side of things. Strength conditioning, and I asked you a question. I said, who are your top two follows for strength conditioning? Who do you say, who was your first one?

 

Who are your top one or two follows for strength and conditioning?

Ray Camacho  05:53

Paul Chek.

Joey Myers  05:54

Those out there, Paul Chek is no joke, go out and check out the Chek Institute. What brought you to Paul Chek? How do you feel Paul Chek has helped your hitters, the baseball hitting lessons near me information that has helped your hitters?

Ray Camacho  06:09

I got introduced to Paul Chek. Just going down a worm hole of different trainers and instructors, I’m sure you went down the same path because we’re men and we’re baseball players.

Ray Camacho  06:21

Everybody’s trying to be the biggest, fastest, strongest, and it’s all about information. Well, how much information can you input in your head? How much can you process and how much can you actually apply?

Ray Camacho  06:30

I feel Paul Chek has indirectly mentoring me every day, I listen to his podcast, it feels like he’s speaking directly towards me. I got introduced to Elliott Hulse, a long time ago, and his stronger version of himself.

Ray Camacho  06:46

I’ve really followed his transformation. We all have our transformation as men. I was into the bodybuilding scene and all that stuff, try to be the biggest, strongest dude. That was a toxic mentality for a baseball player, because I ended up messing my body up senior year, I may say mess up, but I had the best year of my senior year ever, and I set records and stuff like that, but I’m saying, I always wanted to be the best.

Ray Camacho  07:12

I’m always going to critique myself if I mess up. I will always put myself down if I do mess up because I’m just honest. I messed up a lot of my mobility aspects by just bodybuilding and doing a lot of hypertrophy training, and not focusing on strength and speed.

Ray Camacho  07:28

I got two tenths of a second slower on my 60 time. I was running a six-eight and so I run a seven-one because I wanted to drop bombs. I didn’t realize I didn’t have a mentor. I didn’t have anyone in my ear saying, you got to stay fast. If you lose your speed, you are nothing.

Ray Camacho  07:44

They have big six foot three guys that mash. You’re not that guy. You must be a fast infielder like you’ve always been, and I lost sight of that. I lost my chance to get drafted when it came down to it because of the speed and I never got officially said that. But I know deep down in my heart that’s what it was, you know, because nothing else held me back.

Ray Camacho  08:02

I’m still a dude, I’m 36 I still can play, still hit bombs, hit a bomb Sunday, and that was the first time I ever did that. I can tell you the training works because I’m doing everything I teach and preach myself at 36. If my mobility helps me, it’s going to help a 10-year-old.

Ray Camacho  08:19

If my strength conditioning helps me it’s going to help a 13–14-year-old. I try to empower these guys to really do that. Elliott Hulse came from a strongman competition. He was big and swoll.

Ray Camacho  08:33

I used to love listening to his rants because he always spoke intelligent. I always wanted to be a meathead, but an intelligent meathead. A best of both worlds. I can go in and out of bodybuilding, powerlifting, I can go talk to a physics major, a teacher.

Ray Camacho  08:50

I can talk to anybody, I can walk in any circle, because I love that I have the social awareness to be to be flowing in those circles and talk to anybody because if anybody can teach me anything, like you’re worth something to me, because I love knowledge and wisdom.

Ray Camacho  09:05

It’s one of the biggest things that Paul Chek put me on in his book. It was maybe like six months ago, I wrote down my goal was to have knowledge and wisdom and to be able to apply it to my sport, and just keep learning every day and growing.

Ray Camacho  09:20

Honestly, that’s what’s really happening every day because I tell parents my baseball hitting lessons near me training may switch up from next week to the next week, because my training like we talked about, it’s ever evolving.

 

Baseball hitting lessons near me: “It’s ever evolving with me because one kid teaches me how to do something for another kid…”

Ray Camacho  09:30

It’s ever evolving with me because one kid teaches me how to do something for another kid. It’s all the same mechanics, if he has bad ankles, this guy has bad ankles. If I see it, we’re going to do ankle mobility stuff.

Ray Camacho  09:42

If he can’t go up on his tippy toes because his feet are weak, we’re going to work on feet for 20-30 minutes because that matters. Not getting in the cage, not warming up and just swinging, we must change the culture.

Ray Camacho  09:54

These kids just want to get in there and move and their bodies not primed up and not ready to rock and roll. They don’t understand the mechanics of a movement. I get kids as young as four and as old as 22. I’m teaching them all the same things.

Ray Camacho  10:07

I talk to them all the same way. I know those little kids, they’re going to be dudes when they grow up, and the girls are going to be studs, because the girls, they listen the best obviously.

Joey Myers  10:16

They do.

Ray Camacho  10:18

That’s been awesome with me. I never thought in a million years, I’d be doing softball, they’ve really accepted me, and local coaches have liked what I’ve done with hitters and I’ve had kids that shouldn’t hit home runs that are hitting home runs.

Ray Camacho  10:34

I don’t take any baseball hitting lessons near me credit for it because it’s hard work and they are doing all the work. I’m just showing them the way. The biggest thing is I want to give direction because if kids and parents don’t know direction, they don’t know where to go.

Ray Camacho  10:46

They think anything they do is good. No, the right stuff is good. The right way is good, the most functional, the strongest way to be a healthy individual is the right way.

Ray Camacho  10:57

Elliott Hulse is the one responsible for putting me on Paul Chek. Listen to Elliott Hulse in his podcast, I started finding my direction because Elliott Hulse is big into masculinity and building men up and keeping men strong.

Ray Camacho  11:12

I’ve been blessed with a facility like this, because a man took a chance on me and he believed in me, and he said, I wanted to give you the opportunity to pay it forward. I’ve been very blessed to have a gym and two cages and my own little place to call home in the RPO.

Ray Camacho  11:31

Now that I’m kind of getting a little baseball hitting lessons near me momentum and things are going well, now I’m giving back because everything I do is going back to the kids. I have a lane now. I keep creating new logos and new things. I have fat on fat and fit on fit.

Ray Camacho  11:45

Actually, two days ago, I’m working on another logo flat on flat, because I have flat feet. I have probably like 20-30 kids that have flat feet. The first time I heard I had flat feet, the doctor was like, he’s going to have hard time with the ankle, he started saying all these negative things.

Ray Camacho  12:01

I had two or three ways to think about it. I was like, you know what, I don’t feel anything he’s saying. My ankles hurt a little bit, but I warm them up, I’m good to go. All those exercises he prescribed, I did them every day. I did them every day because I’ve always wanted to be the best at everything.

Ray Camacho  12:17

I was a football player at the time, I was the quarterback, I knew my feet needed to eat. I just worked out hard to grow my legs and my whole life I’ve had huge legs.

Ray Camacho  12:27

People have always talked about my legs, and I’ve always had my pants tighten up, always been a leadoff batter, I’ve always showed that physical strength that people can just see looking at my legs, and could tell that he might be good, he might be able to run a little bit.

Ray Camacho  12:42

I’ve taken pride with that, but that was instilled by my dad instilling those morals and those ethics. He really put a lot of good groundwork in myself, it’s kind of hard to go against some of those things sometimes.

Ray Camacho  12:55

It’s one of the reasons why I have a big heart. I just love hearing people’s stories; I’ve always been a good listener. When I hear an intelligent man speak, you shut up. That was like the number one rule my dad always said, you’re going to hang out with adults, you’re going to hang around grown men, shut up until they ask and talk to you if you’re a little boy.

Ray Camacho  13:15

Or if you don’t know what you’re talking about, you just listen. Listening taught me a lot of things. It’s right there in front of you if you listen in and aware of stuff.

Joey Myers  13:23

I love that man. I learn more about you the more we talk and that listening part as an advice, you have to know when you’re a teacher, you got to know when your student, and sometimes you got two teachers talking to each other. But sometimes even in that conversation, one teacher might know more than the other teacher.

Joey Myers  13:43

The teacher that doesn’t have quite the knowledge needs to, like you said shut up and listen, and not try and fight the other guy when they don’t have all the baseball hitting lessons near me information. It’s this kind of liquid relationship that happens between student and pupil, or pupil and teacher.

Joey Myers  14:01

I got on your Facebook page, there’s a cool quote, I’m thinking retweet. We’re not on Twitter. Here’s the quote, “It’s extremely tough as a parent to watch our kids struggle fail and be rejected. But if we don’t let them experience it, while they’re young, they’ll have no idea how to handle it when life shows up later down the road. Our job is to love them and teach them how to work through it.” Talk about that a little bit.

 

“It’s extremely tough as a parent to watch our kids struggle, fail, and be rejected. But if we don’t let them experience it, while they’re young, they’ll have no idea how to handle it when life shows up later down the road. Our job is to love them and teach them how to work through it.”

Ray Camacho  14:35

I told you this a little bit about last time what I do in the sessions, it’s because a lot of times, parents are hovering over and watching you move and work and talk. They’re watching everything and I’m very analytical myself, I may not see it.

Ray Camacho  14:49

I wear sunglasses all the time because I don’t want people to know where my eyes are going. It’s a coaching thing as well, but I understand the physical appearance, as you’re a coach and you’re sitting there like this, you look like you’re doing something.

Ray Camacho  15:03

If you’re staring at a kid, and he knows he’s messing up, he’s going to feel that energy. I’ve always done that. When I first started out, I was nervous about what people thought about what I was saying, I’m like, they think I’m messing their kid up.

Ray Camacho  15:16

Or maybe they’re not emotionally woke like me, or maybe they don’t understand some of the things. I got nervous speaking, but then I started realizing the kid is only going to be as good as the parents.

Ray Camacho  15:31

What I started doing was I just start sharing stories. As I continue to talk to other kids, and opening and motivate them, I always share my baseball hitting lessons near me life stories, because my life stories teach me a lot about things. I know the way I am because of my dad.

Ray Camacho  15:45

One of the best things my dad ever did, he coached me till I was 12, but he always let me play. He never over coached me; I don’t think I ever heard my dad yell at me on the field. He never told me to go warm up, he never told me to do anything, as soon as we got on the car, he already knew.

Ray Camacho  16:01

We were talking about that stuff of what we’re going to do and how we’re going to do and how you’re going to show up, how you’re going to look, who you are. He laid the platform for me when I was a little kid. This is what I do now, I just took it 100 million times more, because I went farther than him.

Ray Camacho  16:19

At age 12, he was always telling me that you’re better than ever I was, and he was my hero, my idol. As I started realizing interaction with parents, that parents are sabotages, as well. My big thing is, I need to make them understand whether you need to peel back or whether you need to be involved more.

Ray Camacho  16:39

My thing that I tell every parent is, especially the dads, because sometimes the dads have egos. Sometimes the softball dads are the worse. That’s their little girl, and I’m teaching their little girl. They get all huffy puffy, sometimes, but I just show them love and break them down and show them what I’m trying to teach.

Ray Camacho  16:59

My thing is, I teach the parents. I always tell the parents; your kid is only going to be as good as you. If you reiterate what I’m saying, and you back me up, because I’m always going to back you up, I am never going to say, I’m never going to disrespect you, your kid, I’m going to only help your relationship out.

Ray Camacho  17:17

We are a team, and it’s all about your kid. Obviously, parents love their kids. They’re going to understand that yes, you’re right. We’re not working against each other. Because if we do, now, the kid doesn’t know what the heck to do.

Ray Camacho  17:29

Now he’s always going to follow the parents’ lead. If I can have the parent buy in to baseball hitting lessons near me, I know it’s only a matter of time that kid buys them because now the kids are accepting. I always tell the story when I was 12, my dad sat me down and said, look, I’ve taught you everything I know, you’re better than me, I don’t know how to get you to that next level anymore, you must be looking for something else now, and learn from other people.

Baseball hitting lessons near me: “I like to pride myself in not being just like a scratch a surface guy. I get deep.”

Ray Camacho  17:54

I can honestly tell you, I didn’t learn from any other adults. No, all my coaches, maybe like one little rinky dink thing, but it was very generic. I like to pride myself in not being just like a scratch a surface guy. I get deep.

Ray Camacho  18:11

I always say breaking it down to the single digit. Like you got a million, I’m going to break it down all the way to the simplest form to get you to understand that if you don’t understand we’re going to keep doing it. I keep talking, I’m going to do some physical with you, because I need you to understand. I have simple goals when I get in the cage.

Ray Camacho  18:30

My dad released in me, and him being a big man and saying he can’t take me anymore, helped me take ownership on myself, because my dad had a bad back and he was in a bed for like a year. He was never supposed to ever walk again. He blew some disk and stuff like that.

Ray Camacho  18:48

I remember him being in a bed in the living room, just lying there all the time. And he showed me how to fold towels. He showed me how to do stuff. I was so literal, he would show me how to fold towels laying down in his bed, and I would lay down on the ground and fold towels.

Ray Camacho  19:05

I understood that kids mimic movements. I always prided myself in being healthy and in shape and showing kids and not just sitting on a bucket and getting up and working out and challenging the kids. I work out with the kids sometimes, I run with the kids sometimes.

Ray Camacho  19:21

I have a senior that’s coming to work out with me on Sundays, and I’m not charging them. It’s we’re working out together because I want to show them how it’s supposed to be done and how I work. I put my head down, I don’t see nothing, I just go to work. This is what I’m doing. I’m serious about it still because I want to be the best.

Ray Camacho  19:40

I’m playing in a World Series in Arizona for men’s and senior baseball league. I got stuff to prove. I haven’t played in a long time. I just want to give one last hurrah. I love learning so as I’m in this journey as well, I’m continuing to learn and I feel like if I’m learning, I’m growing and I’m going to pass it on to the kids. As I enhance my threshold in my knowledge, I’m bringing everybody with me.

Joey Myers  20:06

I love that. The idea that these kids nowadays, and I’ve heard this from multiple coaches, this isn’t just me, and I’ve not just heard it from you, but that players are soft. I think when you have these athletes in multiple sports, whether it’s soccer and football and whatnot, is people don’t realize when they get into baseball and softball, you and I could get into probably baseball hitting lessons near me arguments with other sports people about this, but I think hitting a baseball and softball consistently hard is the hardest thing to do in any sport.

 

I think hitting a baseball and softball consistently hard is the hardest thing to do in any sport

Joey Myers  20:42

I went into basketball for three years, and Michael Jordan was playing in the mid-90s, because I love Michael Jordan. I never played organized basketball, I did soccer, organize it in baseball, and I did martial arts for three years. But I did basketball just with some buddies on my street and did that. It was hard, but it took me I don’t know, six months, eight months, so I could finally figure out where I needed to shoot and things like that. They come into this sport and expect to hit .800 and .900.

Ray Camacho  21:13

It’s very disrespectful, honestly.

Joey Myers  21:17

It is and to have that kind of baseball hitting lessons near me mentality coming into our sport and thinking things are just going to be easy. I even have parents that it’s pitching versus hitting, what’s harder, and I always say that hitting is harder.

Joey Myers  21:30

I have a buddy that teaches pitching, he’s the guy I send my hitters to go learn pitching. Hitting is harder than pitching, I pitched all the way through my sophomore year in high school until I went full time outfield and hitting.

Joey Myers  21:46

The thing was, is I knew where I was going to throw the ball, what kind of pitch I was going to throw and in what location and speed. I knew all that beforehand, right? Whether it went there or not. Who knows? But hitting I don’t know any of that stuff and when they say well, there’s a mind game that the pitcher must play against a hitter. Well, doesn’t the hitter have to play mind game against a pitcher?

Ray Camacho  22:06

That’s what I teach, bro. That’s what I teach. I don’t film it because I don’t want to share it with people, but my feel work, my live at bats, that’s what the high school guys come for, because I did it better than anybody.

Ray Camacho  22:20

When I hit that homerun on Sunday, this guy was a nobody, and I’m not disrespecting him. But I know he was a nobody, he wasn’t throwing hard, just throwing like 70-75. I know who I am. Full count, he goes like this, to show me that curveball.

Ray Camacho  22:33

Right away, just to who I am. I never really paid attention to those things because I just saw the ball hit the ball at time. But I saw that, and I remember thinking curveball, and then as soon as it released, I saw that bad ass backspin and then I just crapped on it.

Ray Camacho  22:49

I was like you think you’re going to trick me with like JV tricks. Because for one you don’t throw hard, I’m not scared of you. Two, I know that if I sit back, you’re not going to blow anything by me.

Ray Camacho  23:01

I try to teach kids out because I do the same thing on the pitching. I wouldn’t call myself a pitcher, but I could pitch. I pitched a little bit in college, I pitched in high school, but they couldn’t take me out of shortstop because we didn’t have a shortstop.

Ray Camacho  23:12

When I pitch, they had the ball at shortstop. It’s frustrating because I used to be that guy making errors. Now somebody else is making errors for me. I call myself a competitor. I know how to play the game. I was never good paper guys.

Ray Camacho  23:27

One of the reasons why I feel like I didn’t get drafted. But you put me in a game I do all the right things I get on base; I steal the base. I read the ball. I see the pitcher.

Ray Camacho  23:36

I always liked hitting off big, big, tall pitchers because they always thought that they’re better than me because it’s physical. My dad was talking about it yesterday, and I can hear the anger in his voice how I got shortchanged from my size.

Ray Camacho  23:48

He goes I must tell everybody, I put you against anybody. I put you against anybody.  I remember sophomore year in high school, we were placed in Austin Buoy, and they had three dudes and we played them three games, we had three dudes, they’re all six foot plus, doing upper 80s lower 90s.

Ray Camacho  24:05

The first game I went for five off that guy’s a leadoff guy. Because they didn’t respect me, you’re trying to drive till mid upper 80s fastball is by me, I’m a fastball hitting son of a gun. I’m jumping on that. I just beat you, beat you, beat you guess what, next at bat curveball I sit on it. You can’t throw it because you’re trying to throw it, you’re already spinning on the ground.

Ray Camacho  24:23

I had an elimination process at age 10. I tell people I manifested and prayed to God for all these things that I had each night not knowing that I was doing this stuff. I taught myself how to keep two hands on the bat, there’s no tricks or gimmicks. Simply every night, told myself you hit the ball very good every time but you’re breaking apart.

Ray Camacho  24:44

Let’s just swing with two hands, see what happens. I would tell myself every night until it started happening. Of course, I practice it and I try to apply it and put it in my head.  My feel work was immaculate. Anytime I took a pitch, I always took it correctly. I was always on time. If I wasn’t, that’s a negative one in energy. So, I get out, I do two feel work.

Ray Camacho  25:05

I go one, two, or whatever I felt like I needed to do to get back in the box and get that back. I never understood it, but I was always going in the box plus one, or plus two, especially if I won that pitch. That means you didn’t buckle me; your curveball isn’t crap. I stare at it and I look back at you. I go yes, you got to throw me a fastball, let’s go.

Ray Camacho  25:24

I’m ready to rock and roll.  I was always ready to hit. I got my batting stance from Chipper Jones; he was my favorite player. His dad was out of Stetson University and he created the toe tap.

 

The toe tap to me is the most adjustable swing that I’ve ever had

Ray Camacho  25:36

The toe tap to me is the most timing the most adjustable swing that I’ve ever had.  I’ve dabbled in other things, I listened to other guys, and they’ve all ruined to me, and they took my time in a way my weight shift.

Ray Camacho  25:48

The biggest thing when it comes to pitching and hitting, they’re both rotational movements, you both must read energy. I literally move just like the pitcher when I hit. That’s why I’m superior in timing. I always tell pitchers this when you’re throwing, if you throw hard, or if you got gas, you’re trying to throw it down their throats every time most time unless you have a different mentality of maybe just don’t strike, you can’t throw strike.

Ray Camacho  26:14

When I got up there, I’m throwing my heart and soul every pitch because we’re competing. And I can do that, I always prided myself in being a 90% and 95, on everything I can do.

Ray Camacho  26:25

Now, I would never say 100, who can be 100 all the time. But I would say A plus student on the field. As far as I could, I could run as hard as I could because I had control. When I move to load back, that guy’s doing the same weight shift as I’m doing.

Ray Camacho  26:40

Of course, I have my strong legs and everything else they go with the timing, but I try to tell guys this because I show them right away from soft toss to the front toss to live, if you do not have a weight shift, you have no timing, and they don’t understand it. Someone along the way, told them not to move. My biggest thing is, this is how you tell if you have a good instructor a good coach or not.

Ray Camacho  27:02

If your coach limits your movement, if you’re Aaron Judge, you can limit movements. He’s Aaron judge, and he’s hella strong and badass. If you’re a JV guy that hasn’t gone on varsity yet, and if you’re weak, you limit movements, you’re not good, you’re not going do anything to the ball, because it’s strength and rhythm.

Ray Camacho  27:23

When a coach is telling you to get your foot down early, when coaches tell you to go to a two-strike approach, they’re taking your rhythm out, they’re taking your weight shift out, they’re not even teaching it properly. Or if they tell you to go oppo, and the guy throws you an inside pitch, you’re screwed.

Ray Camacho  27:38

Those are sabotage advice, and I talk about it openly. I don’t even care if the high school coaches hate me, because I care about the kid. If you tell him this, now he shut down and now he’s dumbed down. Now he cannot focus on practice and go as hard as he can.

Ray Camacho  27:57

I try to enhance everybody with balance and rhythm. That is it. It’s your balance and rhythm. It’s only a matter of time, and how do we know that? We watched your takes, because whether you like it or not, there’s a pitching coach who didn’t hit. I’m confident about this. A pitching coach who didn’t hit watching your feel work like a dumb pitcher, notice that like a pitcher.

Ray Camacho  28:20

I’m a hitter, a pitcher, a first baseman, a catcher, a right fielder, a third baseman, I’m everything. I’ve done everything. I think from those perspectives, but I think more like a pitcher and a catcher and a shortstop when I see hitters, and I’m like, am I scared of this guy? Or what am I seeing?

Ray Camacho  28:34

I can go to any high school game right now and call pitches and tell you exactly what’s going to happen? Because the coach is on level one, they’re on level one, until you start beating them or start sitting on pitches understanding that, then they’ll switch up, they’ll switch it up just like the game, right?

 

I don’t use a glove when I throw BP so I’ll hold curveball like this. I’ll hold it.  I want to see if they’re smart enough to look at my hand

Ray Camacho  28:48

That’s what I do with the high school guys, because I don’t use a glove when I throw BP so I’ll hold curveball like this. I’ll hold it.  I want to see if they’re smart enough to look at my hand. If not, then I just keep breaking them off. Keep breaking them off.  Then when I start seeing sit on it. I’m like, hey, what are you doing?  They’re like, Oh, I see it in your hand coach. Awesome.

Ray Camacho  29:08

Now I can manipulate you because now I hold it like that. Then I’ll throw a fastball because my fastball curveball.  I know how to compete. If you’re guessing you’re not ever going to beat me. I can do 30 minutes of fastball and curveball round with guys, I’m talking about varsity guys, and just beat them because they’re trying to guess.

Ray Camacho  29:30

I say you don’t guess if you guess I will blow a fastball by you because I’m reading your energy. I’m reading your movements, just like any coach would right now. The younger kids, I tell the dads and the moms, whoever’s helping them, whether you like it or not the kid is competing against an adult.

Ray Camacho  29:47

There’s a coach watching what he does, if he steps out, he’s going like this to the pitcher. Now the pitcher throws strikes. Now your kid doesn’t have a chance because he’s not understanding how he’s moving. He’s not understanding what he’s presenting to the whole baseball community when he’s doing that.

Ray Camacho  30:02

I’m trying to really get the guys to do field work. That means I really must control my sessions. If a kid takes a bad swing, if he takes two in a row, I have to stop and tell him to get out of the box and do feel work. Then I watch his feel work.

Ray Camacho  30:17

If his feel work is bad, then I got to stand up and go back over there and talk to him about it. Because the feel work matters what you’re going to do in the box. Sometimes they’re too immature to understand it. I got to keep talking about it and keep talking about it. My biggest thing is making them aware. My big varsity guys like to dive in.

Ray Camacho  30:35

I have this big thing of reading that energy and going back and forth, stop angles of feet, hips and shoulders, we’re not manipulating those right now, especially if you don’t need to understand how to hit. The balanced approach is just staying square.

Ray Camacho  30:49

Now that’s outside, you close up, go to right center field, and it’s down the middle or if you want to pull it you go left centerfield. Shoulders and hips. That’s it. That’s how the elite hit with our back hip.

Ray Camacho  31:03

I literally show the guys and then I go in there. If they don’t believe me, I show them how to hit where you want me to hit it, boom, I hit their left center, we want to hit right side, and boom, this is how we do it.

Ray Camacho  31:11

I’ve always had back control, my dad just showed me off with a five-year-old. I would just mechanically sound. That’s it. I was connected, the term connected, right. I try to show those guys how to be properly connected with their core, their breathing their chin.

Ray Camacho  31:26

Your head doesn’t matter if your feet suck, because the little kids, if their back foot never rotates properly, you don’t exist. Because you cut off all the power, you cut off that right eye or your left eye whatever way you’re swinging, and you don’t rotate properly. That’s the biggest thing.

Ray Camacho  31:42

Now if the back foot sucks the front foot is usually the culprit because the front side leaves the backside more ground up. That’s something that I figured out, but I don’t know if it’s out there already, but I don’t try to worry about everybody else. I know what I’m doing here, and how I speak. I try to make them understand that your head doesn’t matter. Your hands don’t matter if your feet are bad.

Joey Myers  32:03

I love it. Well, hey, I want to be respectful of your time a lot. A lot of great advice there. I love that, Ray. Glad that we did this. I’m sure we can do some part twos. Before we go, where can people find you, talk about the social media platforms. I know you got a website, but it looks like it’s a little under construction right now.

 

Where can people find you, talk about the social media platforms…

Ray Camacho  32:25

I’m big on social media. I got Snapchat, it’s RayCam4, just the number four. My Instagram is raycam4oe. I have fat on fat baseball on Instagram, fit on fit fitness on Instagram. I also have fit on fit fitness on Facebook as well.

Ray Camacho  32:45

I’m on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram all the big social media sites I have, fit on fit fitness, fat on fat baseball and my own personal page account. I just try to give information out to as many people as possible. I do a lot of free work because I feel like this stuff is so hard. That if you can do it, awesome.  It’s no secret. There’s no secret. I’m an open book. I’ll tell anybody anything. People reach out to me all the time in DMs and messages and I love my job.

Joey Myers  33:16

I love it. What are the one or two that you’re on most?

Ray Camacho  33:21

I would say Facebook and Instagram. I’m actually on tik tok as well, Ray Camp4oe

Joey Myers  33:27

I was going to say that was in there.

Ray Camacho  33:31

I did a video. Like two days ago and I’ve gotten like 100 followers on tik tok recently. I’m really surprised because I see a lot of baseball coaches getting roasted on TikTok. These kids are unrelentless.

Ray Camacho  33:47

I was telling a friend; I’ve been ready for a little kid to come talk smack to me. I can just get them, but it hasn’t happened. The only thing I can think of is I’m doing it right. They understand what I’m saying. I had a kid reached out to me say Hey, where’s part two? Hey, it’s one fan, right? I posted two. I was like, Alright, here we go two and three, because I’m willing to teach anybody who wants to learn because we’re all learning.

Joey Myers  34:13

Cool, dude. Thank you so much for your time again. Like I said, we’ll be in touch. I’ll get you all your stuff. We’ll kind of go from there and maybe do a part two, part three in the future.

Ray Camacho  34:24

Awesome, man. Thanks.

Joey Myers  34:25

Thanks for your baseball hitting lessons near me time, brother. Keep up the good work there.

Ray Camacho  34:28

You too, man.

Joey Myers  34:29

Alright, see you.

Mental Game Of Baseball

Mental Game Of Baseball: Anxiety Disorders Seen With Young Athletes Today & How to Fix?

 

 

In this mental game of baseball interview with Coach Derek Mayson, we go over (Estimated reading time: 26 minutes):

Mental Game Of Baseball

  • Give us a Little Background from where you Started – you have a Great Story…
  • When it comes to the mental game of baseball, What Anxiety Disorders do you see with Young Athletes Today and How to Fix?
  • What’s your advice to a young player that is putting a lot of pressure on themselves and is almost given himself deadlines if this doesn’t happen?
  • Contrarily, what is your advice to parents who have kiddos that don’t have motivation or inspiration to practice?
  • What was the one big thing or was it a few other factors that helped you to break out of your anxiety disorder?
  • Explain just a little bit about what the product is and walk us through that, where we can find your website, any kind of social media, YouTube, all that kind of stuff?

Click short mental game of baseball link for transcribed interview in pdf format: http://gohpl.com/derekmtranscription

We don’t go into the mental game as much here at HPL, but when we do, we do something like this post titled: “Mental Approach to Hitting: Failing Forward”

Here’s the full transcription with time stamps of the above video interview with Derek Mayson … ENJOY!

Joey Myers  00:06

Hello, and welcome to the Swing Smarter Monthly Newsletter. This is your host, Joey Myers from hittingperformancelab.com.

Joey Myers  00:11

Today, this is actually our first-time meeting in person, Derek Mayson. Welcome to the show, first of all.

Derek Mayson  00:19

Thanks for having me, Joey. This is great. Looking forward to it

Joey Myers  00:22

You got it. I’m going to let him go into a little bit more on what he does, but Derek teaches the mental game of baseball. In particular, with these, our group we talked about hitting, and we’ll be talking about the mental side of hitting in this program.

Joey Myers  00:39

What’s interesting about Derek is he’s our northern ally up in Canada. Anytime we can promote Canadians and get Canadians out there, showed up on the complete sports podcast, Darren runs that, he’s a Canadian, fellow Canadian. It’s kind of cool.

Joey Myers  00:55

We had a little conversation, hour and a half, and talked a lot about some of the challenges with getting more Canadians recruited in playing Major League Baseball and things like that, like Justin Morneau, Larry Walker, and some of the very big ones out there. Anytime we can promote Canada, we’d love to do it.

Joey Myers  01:17

First question, Derek. Just give us a little bit of a background from where you started in the mental game of baseball. You have a great story. Go ahead and just give us that elevator pitch there.

 

Give us a Little Background from where you Started in the Mental Game of Baseball – you have a Great Story…

Derek Mayson  01:31

I’m from North Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. I’ve grown up playing fastpitch softball, actually, pretty unique. These days, the men’s game has dwindled off and don’t see a lot of male participants in the sport anymore, but it still has an international competition.

Derek Mayson  01:57

I grew up playing fast pitch from five years old, sprinkled a little bit of baseball in there, but that’s really been my focus. Growing up here playing on provincial teams, first got noticed into the national team conversation around the age of 19 or 20 and made my debut with Team Canada at a Pan American championship in Mexico in 2006.

Derek Mayson  02:22

I’ve been with the national team program since then, I’ve played in four World Championships, I’ve won a gold medal at Worlds and three bronze, also won the Pan Am Games in 2015.

Derek Mayson  02:35

I’ve been really fortunate to play at the highest level of competition in our sports and travel the world playing in Australia and New Zealand couple of winters down there. As well as done some coaching with the Team Canada women’s Olympic team prior to the Beijing Olympics of 2008.

Derek Mayson  02:56

As I said my international career started around 2006-2009 was my first world, leading into that, just having some uncertainty in my life coming back from some travel after finishing my university degree.

Derek Mayson  03:10

I started to experience an anxiety disorder which really you know, kind of rocked my life but as well in tandem with that my performance on the field. I feel like I didn’t bring my best self to that 2009 Worlds which was my first debut at an international major event like that.

Derek Mayson  03:33

From there brought my play down, brought my quality of life down to the point where for the 2013 Worlds, I was cut from that team, that was the first time I’d ever been cut from a ball team in my life and kind of faced the Crossroads where I had to consider. I was 28-29 at the time, happy with having played at Worlds and kind of move on or am I going to sink my teeth into this and figure it out and get my game back, get my mental strength, mental capacity back essentially.

Derek Mayson  04:11

I chose the latter fortunately, I continued to educate myself with quality coaching and counseling on that side. I really sunk my teeth into different areas around the psychology of sports and of life.

Derek Mayson  04:27

Learning about sports psychology, dedicating myself to mindfulness meditation practice and for me as a jock coming up, when it was first introduced to me, it was like wow, this is like for monks in the Himalayas or dudes wearing robes off in the Alps or something like that, this is not me.

Derek Mayson  04:48

But I read Phil Jackson’s book 11 Rings, and he spoke a lot about how we brought the Zen tradition but more so just it’s a focused practice to the Bulls then to the Lakers of the 90s and early 2000s. Being an athlete, I really connected with that.

Derek Mayson  05:07

Follow that up by reading George Mumford book, The Mindful Athlete. Again, just seeing how to see the mind from a different perspective and better understand what it’s doing, why it’s doing, especially when you’re struggling, when you’re facing all sorts of challenging thoughts or tense feelings and stuff like that, how to navigate through that and rather than fight against it, but work through it, and be able to put it aside and focus exactly in that moment where you need to be.

Derek Mayson  05:42

I got back on the team in 2014, my play much improved, regain my starting spot for 2015 for the World Championship win, and the Pan Am Games win. Since then, I played in two Worlds, I’ve continued to broaden my knowledge in this area.

Derek Mayson  06:01

I’ve always wanted to share this information with individuals or young athletes who are coming up in A, they may be experiencing similar challenges, or B, they’re just looking to get their game to that next level by strengthening their mental skills.

Derek Mayson  06:20

Rather than taking the one-to-one consulting approach, I’ve developed an online mental training program, which is a six week daily guided program for athletes and coaches to follow, which follows the path of short, two-to-four-minute audio lessons with some video lessons mixed in and some exercises each day to start by just better understanding how the mind works.

Derek Mayson  06:50

Introducing some of those focus practices that it’s just like learning any other skill where we’re trying to adjust our swing in a particular way, or learn to hit an off-speed pitch, we have to do repetition and work on drills and stuff like that.

Derek Mayson  07:05

These are skills, they can be taught, and they can be learned. Working through exercises in that sense, taking it from these practices outside of the game and bringing them onto the field, and how we can incorporate those into building more presence and focus into our game.

Derek Mayson  07:27

Looking at how to deal with those challenging thoughts and thought patterns that creep up for all of us. Sometimes they just take up too much real estate in your head and inhibits our ability to focus.

Derek Mayson  07:38

Looking at some common obstacles like fear of failure, fear of what others are thinking, how do we approach being in a slump, and how can we work our way through that mentally to get through successfully.

Derek Mayson  07:52

It’s been a passion of mine to talk about this, to teach others and getting some great traction in both the baseball and fastpitch side of things, it’s a unique opportunity for an individual to go through, but also, I’m getting a lot of teams. It’s a cool team bonding experience that they can collaborate for.

Joey Myers  08:15

Cool, you shared a lot of mental game of baseball info, and we’ll deep dive into some of that. I love that. I wanted to start with, if you don’t mind me asking, you mentioned anxiety disorder. I know you were going through if you don’t mind, I understand if you don’t, but I’m sure there’s plenty out there, like you said that are probably dealing with the same thing.

Joey Myers  08:36

If you can go into maybe a little bit more detail what that was for you. Do you see some of the challenges, maybe the top two, when it comes to those different anxiety disorders, thank you to the 2020 stuff. Maybe what you had to deal with, a little bit more in depth, and maybe how you got out of that, what was the aha moment? Maybe what you see the top two things from 2020 that are going to come up.

 

When it comes to the Mental Game of Baseball, What Anxiety Disorders do you see with Young Athletes Today and How to Fix?

Derek Mayson  09:05

As far as my experience with it, it’s kind of different for a lot of individuals who experience this, and unfortunately, they say this is the most anxious generation to date.

Derek Mayson  09:20

For me, I had some insomnia troubles, which goes without saying is going to affect your performance as far as being sharp and just where your mind is. Overall, with that, the line of thinking that I was under, it was creating a lot of tension in my body.

Derek Mayson  09:45

Definitely didn’t have that relaxation feel to be able to come onto the field and just let it flow. A lot of worry type thinking that was quite pervasive. I think the biggest thing that I realized over time was fighting against those types of feelings and those thoughts.

Derek Mayson  10:09

What I mean by that is, for any individual, if you just pause, and it’s quiet and just try and listen to sounds for a second, within about half a second, one or two seconds, thoughts just going to pop into your head, whether it’s what you got to do next, maybe it’s something silly.

Derek Mayson  10:30

Or if your mind is stuck in this habit of negative pervasive thoughts, they may be something that’s self-critical or judging against yourself. The realization that these thoughts that just pop into our heads, we don’t really have any control over that, they’re called automatic thoughts.

Derek Mayson  10:51

When they’re negative, they called automatic negative thoughts or ANTs for short. So, the realization that I don’t have any control over this, if I’m beating myself up over these thoughts popping into my head, or from my body feeling tense for a particular reason, I’m really just kind of adding to the tension and angst within my mind or within my body.

Derek Mayson  11:16

By understanding that those are automatic, it’s based off of however my previous experiences, or maybe some hardships I’ve undergone in previous years. If I don’t fight those, and don’t give my mind the trigger that is saying, “That’s bad, I need to fight against that”, essentially the mind is saying, “Oh, you gave me some attention, I’ll send some more of those types of thoughts”.

Derek Mayson  11:47

If we kind of just notice it, and let it go, over time, the mind figures out that okay, maybe these aren’t very useful tight thoughts, I don’t need to keep sending thought that what if I strike out, everyone’s going to laugh at me, or who’s in the stands, or the scouts in the crowd or anything like that, whereby we can let those go and stop fighting against those.

Derek Mayson  12:12

The other thing is learning how to become present on the field. When I was first introduced to mental training, when it comes to sport, it was often said, you got to be fully present, you got to be fully present on the field. I kind of took that to be, Okay, well the game is two or three hours long, I got to be focused for two or three hours.

Derek Mayson  12:35

That’s just not how the mind is made. The mind is made to focus in short stints and then wander off. We just learn to notice that, and then bring it back gently, and wanders, it comes back, wanders, come back.

Derek Mayson  12:48

To understand A, why the mind does that, but also B, how do we bring it back? We can do that by utilizing our senses. If that’s on the field, rather than thinking about the ball, we throw away two innings ago, we can notice that our mind has gone off there, and I can reconnect with my breath, I can reconnect with the feeling of the dirt under my cleats, connecting with our senses, they are inherently present.

Derek Mayson  13:15

You can’t hear something 10 minutes ago; you can’t taste something two days from now. They happen right now. By connecting with those senses, you’re able to bring yourself back to the present moment. It’s better to just let go of those challenging thoughts.

Joey Myers  13:32

Very cool. I love that. That was one thing, I was at headspace, the headspace app, and I did that for a couple years and learned that whole idea of you don’t fight the thought even when it’s negative. The natural tendency is to say that’s ridiculous, that’s not true.

Joey Myers  13:51

Like you said, it’s almost like the mind goes, Oh, there’s some attention, let’s do more of that. I have a hitter, I have a young online hitter right now, fairly young, and he is a hard worker. For his age, he’s got a black belt, I think it’s in Taekwondo, which is pretty impressive.

Joey Myers  14:09

But the swing, he seems to be having a hard time, he’s putting a lot of pressure on himself to the next month, I better do well or else I’m going to quit. He puts his work in, he’s working half hour a day.

Joey Myers  14:24

I usually recommend to my hitters at least five minutes a day, four days a week. I don’t say thousands of swings and all that kind of stuff. You know how it is with some players, they shut off. They’re like I’m not doing that, and we try and start short.

Joey Myers  14:37

This player is on the other side of the spectrum where I have to almost tell him to take days off. For his age it’s pretty crazy. He puts a lot of pressure on himself. What’s your mental game of baseball advice to a young player that is putting a lot of pressure on themselves and is almost given himself deadlines if this doesn’t happen?

Joey Myers  14:54

We’re talking about hitting here, hitting is a very challenging skill in probably, arguably, any sport, you could probably agree with me on that, maybe more so than pitching. What advice would you give him?

What’s your advice to a young player that is putting a lot of pressure on themselves and is almost given himself deadlines if this doesn’t happen?

Derek Mayson  15:09

When it comes to better understanding that belief system that he’s working through. Essentially what his mind is telling him is, if I don’t get this by next month or if I’m not the best, then what’s the point? You kind of have to dig a little deeper into the thought patterns and understand where they’re coming from, and potentially it is to that root belief of, I got to be the best or it’s not even worth it.

Derek Mayson  15:43

We kind of peel back the layers of the onion, to get to that core belief that is coming through, and breaking that apart a little bit, almost how a lawyer would break it down very objectively.

Derek Mayson  16:00

Let’s look at that, that belief of if I’m not the best, it’s not even worth it. How many people are the best hitter in the world? There’s only going to be one and there’s a lot of other hitters in the world, too, it’s very objective as to what is the best hitter in the world.

Derek Mayson  16:22

Breaking it down and being able to see that there’s this belief that has built up, it’s not necessarily true. Now, every time he sees a thought along those lines of, I must get it done by next month, he could step back and go— you know what, that’s not actually true. Just because my mind tells me that it doesn’t mean it’s true.

Derek Mayson  16:46

What we do in the program is work through developing some affirmations against that. Rather than letting the mind continue to tell you that I must get this done next month or there’s no point, could create an affirmation in the opposite effect.

Derek Mayson  17:04

As far as I’m working hard, and I’m improving every day, and my skills are going to develop over time. Rather than having a strict schedule towards it, softening that approach, like we talked about a double-edged sword sometimes, where we need that drive, to push us, to put in the work, to practice. Otherwise, we’re going to be on the couch and not working on your skills.

Derek Mayson  17:35

But the other side of that sword is pushing ourselves too hard, putting too much mental strain on. I think understanding that just because your mind tells you something, it doesn’t mean it’s true, that you can challenge that, and plug in some more affirmations that work more in your favor, as opposed to just going with whatever your mind tells you.

Joey Myers  18:03

I love that. Thank you, Derek, for that. On the opposite side, this particular hitter is, I don’t want to call him an anomaly, because it’s not like it’s super rare, but there are hitters that work almost too hard. I was one of those.

Joey Myers  18:17

I learned throughout my career that I had to take time off. When I was really frustrated, or I was really just disappointed in my play, that I would skip out on the extra BP or I would come to the ballpark, I wouldn’t come early like I would before to try and put some extra work in and I would take those breaks.

Joey Myers  18:33

How about the hitter on the other side, some of those parents out there, I get emails and when I put out surveys, they’ll say the biggest frustration is actually getting their kid boy or girl to actually do the work. Inspirational side or motivational side, what’s your mental game of baseball advice for those parents working with those kiddos?

 

Contrarily, what is your advice to parents who have kiddos that don’t have motivation or inspiration to practice?

Derek Mayson  18:58

Again, that is a tough one because usually when you see athletes who rise to the top of their group, their sport and that sort of thing, a lot of that is intrinsically motivated, they are the ones who want to go to practice. They are the ones who want to put in that work.

Derek Mayson  19:21

Especially when it comes to youth sports, I’m very much an advocate of focusing on the fun aspect of it, not focusing on what could be with college scholarships, or what could be with pros if you just listen to me. In that essence you can turn off a kid by pushing them too hard, if it’s just not theirs, but by focusing more on the fun elements and letting them figure out what drives them to play the sport, that’s going to be much longer lasting than just going about it in practice, because mom or dad told me to, or because it’s a chore.

Derek Mayson  20:05

I think it must come from that joy of the sport and lessening that pressure, understanding that maybe they’re avoiding doing extra work, because maybe there’s some fear involved that they might not be living up to some expectations that we may or may not know that we’re putting on the kid. Again, coming back to the fun and taking that pressure off that. Let it be their drive to do it.

Joey Myers  20:35

Great advice. I think that worked both ways from the hitter that’s not as inspired and the hitter that’s almost overly inspired. I think that fun element and relationship is a big thing. That’s great advice.

Joey Myers  20:48

On the hitting side, you mentioned slumps. What’s your mental game of baseball advice when it comes to hitters that are in slumps? Like you said objective, it could be 0-for-30, it could be an 0-for-10 0-for five, it just means whatever slump is to the hitter, what are some of the things, maybe the top two things that you recommend that they do to help them transition out of it?

Derek Mayson  21:11

First thing is having that perspective, you talked about 0-for-30, 0-for-10, whatever it is, typically, in a season, you’re going to have four to 700 at bats or something like that, it’s a small segment of that entire season of your entire career.

Derek Mayson  21:32

You also probably have been through a slump previously, and it did come to an end. Sometimes when we’re in slumps, we figure, there’s no way out of this. But understanding that you’re in it right now, forcing your way out of it isn’t the way.

Derek Mayson  21:51

The other thing I like to think of is, when we think of bringing a slump with us to the plate, we’re carrying that baggage of that 0-for-10 up to the plate. But when we’re up there, we can’t do anything about those previous at that, they’ve already happened.

Derek Mayson  22:08

Essentially, as much as we can, bring in that 0-0 mentality to the plate, that this is a brand-new opportunity, brand new approach. As much as we can bring that presence practice, onto the field.

Derek Mayson  22:23

What I mean by that is, the mind is going to revert back, you’re going to be on deck going, it’s going to save you, you’re 0-for-10. You need to get ahead here, you got to bust out, we can notice that our mind is trying to do that, we don’t have to necessarily just go with that.

Derek Mayson  22:40

Notice it, let go, get back into the feel of our swing, get back into the dirt feeling under our feet, get extremely present and break it down very individually, sense to sense, step to step, get into the box, and then break it down into what I call “what’s real moment”.

Derek Mayson  23:01

As opposed to thinking, three pitches ahead, and if he paints the outside corner with this, I got to be ready for a down and in, everything like that, breaking it down to what’s real.

Derek Mayson  23:13

I’m standing here with a bat, the pitchers out there with a ball, and my best chance here is to rely on my natural abilities. And to just rely on your reaction and instinct, rather than thinking your way through that, rely on your instinct and just let your talents flow.

Joey Myers  23:31

That’s great one. Yeah, relying on your instinct. Usually, because I was more of a thinker. It would usually get me in trouble. It was a blessing and a curse, right? Don’t need to think ahead and do things ahead of the game, be ahead of the game.

Joey Myers  23:45

Especially in times of slumps, you tend to overthink and overanalyze. I used to look at some of my teammates who seemed to be like cavemen more than over thinkers.  I used to just think, I wish I could be like Brian more, I wish I could think like him, when you have the attention span of a gnat, where something’s in front of your face, and once it’s gone, and you forget all about it. I wish, at some point, I could do that.

Joey Myers  24:10

I like how you gave that bit of advice. Before we get to a little bit more of what you’re doing. I know you touched on that a little bit on your programming and stuff, and we’ll ask you where people can find you.

Joey Myers  24:23

One of the one of the questions I had, when you talked about that you pretty much transitioned out of that anxiety of insomnia. You mentioned a few things, I think you mentioned meditation and trying to be more present in the moment.

Joey Myers  24:36

What was the one big thing or was it a few of those mental game of baseball factors that helped you to break out of that? Was there one thing that really transitioned you out and some of the other things helped climb up that ladder? Or was it just a group of different things and what were they?

 

What was the one big thing or was it a few other factors that helped you to break out of your anxiety disorder?

Derek Mayson  24:53

I think the biggest thing for me and whether it’s achieved through meditation, it was meditation, others it can be just a just a realization and more presence of mind of having that separation between mind and self.

Derek Mayson  25:14

There is a reason that headspace is called headspace, it’s being able to see the mind doing what it does separate from myself. What I mean by that is, my mind may tell me that we haven’t got to hit off this picture in six tries. I don’t want to look like a fool today.

Derek Mayson  25:41

I know there’s some scouts in the crowd, and the mind may be doing all this. Essentially, understanding why the mind is doing that, it’s trying to protect us, it’s trying to prepare, it goes way back to how the human brain has evolved over time to protect us and keep the species alive. It’s always kind of looking out for us.

Derek Mayson  26:02

It will ping these thoughts and over time, if we give those thoughts a lot of attention, like we said, it’s going to keep spiraling. To be able to understand that, it’s just the mind trying to protect me, I can put that aside. Like we said, bring our presence to the field, and let her natural abilities flow as much as possible.

Derek Mayson  26:25

When I was having my hardest times, it was that overthinking state of getting into the box and trying to predict what the next pitch was, at the same time it’s trying not to, whether it was built up in the mind of don’t embarrass yourself here or don’t waste your at-bat because you’re supposed to be this type of player.

Derek Mayson  26:53

Getting caught up in all those habitual thoughts, being able to separate from those, that’s just the mind doing its thing. I don’t have to buy into those, I can let go, and just be with what’s here. It’s me, I’m on a ball field, I got a bat, there’s a pitcher with the ball. Let’s do this.

Joey Myers  27:11

I love that. With my hitters we work mechanical stuff, and I tell them, there’s certain things that we work with that you can bring to the field today. We talked about something like finger pressure, where it’s just squeezing tight, but it’s nothing like some of the other things we teach where it’s a little bit more cognitive load, and tell them, when you get into the box, all you’re thinking about is just competing.

Joey Myers  27:36

I think that’s basically what you’re saying— work based off of instinct. You must trust the work that you put in outside of the box, and once you get in, like you said, it just you, you got a bat in your hand, you got a guy that’s got a ball, and you’re not even really paying attention, that’s the other thing causes anxiety.

Joey Myers  27:50

You think, this guy, he’s one of those above average velocity guys, and he’s really good. He’s being scouted. He’s verbal to a big-time college school and all that. Like you said, it’s that forward, that future thinking or we’re bringing past in, and it’s just become so heavy that it almost paralyzes you. Particularly good. Awesome.

Joey Myers  28:12

I want to be respectful of your time. You talked a little bit about what your product is and what you’re doing. Explain just a little bit about what the mental game of baseball product is and walk us through that, where we can find your website, any kind of social media, YouTube, all that kind of stuff.

 

Explain just a little bit about what the product is and walk us through that, where we can find your website, any kind of social media, YouTube, all that kind of stuff?

Derek Mayson  28:35

The mental game of baseball program is called the Locked In Mental Training Program, it can be found at lockedinmentaltraining.com. It’s a six week daily guided online program that users access through whatever device, typically a mobile phone.

Derek Mayson  28:52

Each day, users will have a two-to-four-minute audio lesson, along with some daily guided exercises to run through each day, to reinforce the learnings. Rather than just kind of passively sitting back and listening to something and thinking that it’s going to be absorbed again, this is a skill that has to be practiced.

Derek Mayson  29:16

Each day, about 5-10 minutes of practice, which varies between some focus practice to bringing some more presence into your day. I like to talk about how the mind itself, we’re not just training it to be a better ballplayer because we bring our mind everywhere, we go.

Derek Mayson  29:37

This mental game of baseball training, it’s training for life skills, better presences as an athlete, as students, as in your relationships or career, with those exercises, there’s focused practices, some journal exercise, exercises to do to break down some of those thought patterns to better understand how to work through those challenging thoughts.

Derek Mayson  30:06

Over those six weeks, students often come back to me saying they have a much better attention to where their mind is at any time. As opposed to just writing off some of those more challenging thought patterns.

Derek Mayson  30:23

Coaches enjoy it, because we all know the mental game is a huge part of sports, but the hard part is how do we bring that in a program, in a guided process to athletes, a lot of times, we bring in a guest speaker or say, read this book. That’s the end of it.

Derek Mayson  30:44

This is a guided day by day process that builds up through an understanding of how the mind works, and specific exercises that we can bring onto the field of play, to get us in that great mindset to be present and ready to compete.

Derek Mayson  31:01

Again, lockedinmentaltraining.com, you can find me on social @lockdownmentaltraining on Facebook, and Instagram, @DerekMayson on Twitter. I love to talk to some coaches or players out there about the mental game or we’re setting it up for their team for a cool team bonding experience.

Joey Myers  31:25

Cool. Well, thank you for your time, Derek. And again, like I said, this is the mental game of baseball, or just even playing in general. I love how you how you transition to that.

Joey Myers  31:37

It’s not just baseball or softball that you’re learning, but it’s you’re learning life through baseball and softball, and I’m all about that, and anybody that can put something together that’s going to help both of those two things, and not just the baseball, softball, because someday that career will end, whether that’s going to be after Little League or high school, college or professional or Olympics.

Joey Myers  31:59

At some point, that career is going to end, and you got to have those skills, you develop those mental game of baseball skills to be able to apply to life, wherever that takes you. So, I appreciate your message, Derek, and I’ll get everything together for you send that over and then you can do with it how you will, but thanks again for your time, brother.

Derek Mayson  32:16

Glad to, love what you’re doing, Joey and let me know how you want to continue to connect in the future.

Joey Myers  32:23

You got it. Keep up the good work up there in our northern border.

Derek Mayson  32:28

You got it, I appreciate it.

Joey Myers  32:29

Softball Practice Drills

Softball Practice Drills: “What Are You Looking for When Recruiting Hitters?”

 

 

In this softball practice drills interview with Justin Lewis, Softball Hitting Coach for the Fresno State Bulldog softball team, we’ll be looking at…Softball Practice Drills

  • How did you get to being the hitting coach for Fresno State softball?
  • What do you do when you come into a new program?
  • What are you looking for when recruiting hitters?
  • Do you guys do game planning?
  • Do you have your girls hunt the rise ball?
  • Softball practice drills: do you do pitch recognition stuff with the girls?
  • You’re getting ready in a short amount of time? What’s high priority right now?
  • Anything else that you’re working on?

Coach Justin and I ran into each other a few years back when he was doing his Coaching Minds podcast.  Justin is a good friend of mine, so I think you’ll enjoy learning about softball practice drills and many other things a coach has to deal with coming into a program during COVID…

Below is the audio transcription of the interview.  CLICK HERE to download the transcription PDF. This is one of 24 expert interviews included in my new Swing Smarter book.

Enjoy!

 


Justin Lewis  00:00

I think she hit two home runs off those, she was like four for four with two jacks. Yeah, she was incredible.

Joey Myers  00:09

Wow. Well, there’s a bunch that opted out last MLB season two. I don’t know who really, but I know there were a few. Are you ready to get started?

Justin Lewis  00:20

Yes, whatever you need, brother.

Joey Myers  00:22

All right, let me do an official role here.

Joey Myers  00:25

Welcome to Swing Smarter monthly newsletter. This is your host Joey Myers from hittingperformancelab.com, and I have the pleasure today of returning the favor, Mr. Coach Justin Lewis.

Joey Myers  00:34

He had me on his softball practice drills podcast a few years back, and he has just moved here to California actually, specifically Fresno, he just got the hitting instructor job for Fresno State softball.

Joey Myers  00:48

I want to first welcome you to the softball practice drills show, and welcome you to California, Justin.

Justin Lewis  00:51

Yes, brother. Thanks for having me. I appreciate it, and yes, the tables have turned here.

Joey Myers  00:58

Well, in those days, you were still doing the firefighter gig and you were looking to start to get your foot in the door for coaching and things like that. Now, you’re the hitting coach for Fresno State softball.

Justin Lewis  01:10

Yeah, it’s kind of been a whirlwind last three and a half years. I was driving a fire truck three and a half years ago when we last chatted. What’s funny about that podcast, I loved doing that podcast, and I actually miss it a lot.

Justin Lewis  01:23

I miss having great conversations, with people like you, but I started it because I wasn’t having any luck getting back into the game. It was like, well, let’s start this little journey and then I got the opportunity to kind of get back in. This is my third school and three and a half season goal, and my fourth season now.

Joey Myers  01:46

So, Tracy’s back there, you started the softball practice drills podcast to try and get your foot back in the door in the game. How did you get to where you are now? How did that domino help you to get to where you’re at?

 

How did you get to being the hitting coach for Fresno State softball?

Justin Lewis  01:58

Yeah, I don’t know that the podcast really helped me that much. Basically, Mike Kandrey at University of Arizona is one that really helped me out the most.

Justin Lewis  02:07

I was living in Tucson, driving a fire truck, but I was working on Mike’s camps. That’s really what helped me get in. Then, Craig Nicholson was out of coaching and was looking to get back in and he took a Division Two head job at Texas A&M Kingsville.

Justin Lewis  02:27

I had known him from we were both at Central Arizona College together. He was the head softball coach, and I was coaching baseball there. We had a relationship and that’s kind of how it worked out.

Justin Lewis  02:39

I went to Kingsville, took a team that hadn’t been to the conference tournament in 10 years. We went to the conference tournament the first year, and then the second year, went all the way to the DII World Series and finished second.

Justin Lewis  02:51

We got double dipped on the last day to lose it. It was kind of a rough one. But D2 right, they’re going to make you do a doubleheader in the championship game.

Joey Myers  03:03

Yeah. Right. Like little league?

Justin Lewis  03:07

Yes, and so then a friend of mine got the head job at Texas A&M Corpus Christi, which is a D1 school down there. I was already living in Corpus Christi, so it was an easy transition, I got to sneak into division one ball and didn’t even have to move.

Justin Lewis  03:23

Then this opportunity came along, and it was just too good of an opportunity to pass up, being able to join a program that’s firing on all cylinders. They had a great run before COVID hit last year. I can join them, and hopefully, coming here will not screw things up.

Joey Myers  03:44

Was it just one of the few openings that came up, Fresno State? How did you land here?

Justin Lewis  03:58

It came open. They kind of went through the hiring freeze with COVID, after the Coach Lisle left. It was just kind of a timing thing, and I had some people reached out to me and asked if I would be interested in it.

Justin Lewis  04:16

I hadn’t even really thought about it, I wasn’t planning on leaving where I was at, we were building, we took over a team that had only won eight games the year before we got there. We were kind of in our complete rebuild.

Justin Lewis  04:29

I was really looking forward to going through that journey because we brought 13 new kids into Corpus this year, and then had an amazing recruiting class coming in 2021. I was super excited because that team is going to be nasty.

Justin Lewis  04:45

I was looking forward to being part of that. I wasn’t planning on leaving until I could get a head coaching job, it was kind of my goal.

Justin Lewis  04:54

I wasn’t really looking to leave for another assistance role, but again, just the opportunity to come join a top 25 program, with the facilities that we have here.

Justin Lewis  05:05

As a hitting guy, they got everything in the world you could want here. I haven’t been to a school yet that had any more technology than my cell phone. Having an indoor hitting facility with hit tracks, K motion, blast, and everything we got, it was just kind of an ideal situation for us.

Joey Myers  05:27

What do you do – softball practice drills – when you come into a program? Like the last couple ones you talked about, they only won eight games. As a hitting guy, where do you start? That’s a big challenge. Where do you start with that?

 

What do you do – Softball practice drills – when you come into a new program?

Justin Lewis  05:42

Just start with the basics, if you don’t even know where to sometimes, it’s so overwhelming, because you didn’t recruit any of those kids, right? When I recruit, I try to recruit swings that I already love, because they limit us in time so much that we don’t have time to do complete rebuilds of swings, it’s just unrealistic.

Justin Lewis  06:04

That’s even if the kids want to. It’s a lot of just band aids and try to make them as good as they can possibly be with what they’re already working with.

Justin Lewis  06:17

At the end of the day, one of the reasons I recruit swings that I already love, besides the timing factor, is I don’t want to take something away from a kid, even if you make a change, you still kind of took something from them, right?

Justin Lewis  06:29

To me, mentally that does something to them. Luckily, we’re in situations where those kids were hungry for any kind of knowledge and work ethic. It was just kind of lucky that when I was at Kingsville, there were some really talented pieces that were in place, and we kind of fell into a great situation. That was nice.

Justin Lewis  06:55

The last year was a little rough just because there wasn’t a whole lot of talent there, but just great kids that wanted to work. We were better, we were 6 and 16 when COVID hit and kids were gelling and starting to really buy in.

Justin Lewis  07:14

We probably would have won about 20 games is my guess, which doesn’t sound great but compared to eight the year before. I was kind of sad for those kids to not get to finish off showing that we were better.

Justin Lewis  07:30

The teams that we played could tell that we were better. We were competing in games that they had no business competing in the year before and snuck a couple of sneaky wins in over some teams that we had no business beating.

Justin Lewis  07:45

You miss it for those seniors that didn’t get to finish it. As far as just the hitting goes, it’s just tough, it is just putting in the reps with the kids that want to work and just trying to put it all together.

Joey Myers  08:00

It makes it nice when they actually want to learn and want to get better at softball practice drills. I always tell my dads or my buddies “hey, do you want to get into college coaching or high school coaching? I’m doing a little league thing by default because my son’s eight now”. We’ve been doing that, you know?

Joey Myers  08:19

I always tell him, well, it’s nice with the private small group stuff we do because all those kids want to be there. They all want to get better and the parents want that as well.

Joey Myers  08:29

When you say that it makes it easier when you walk into a facility or softball practice drills program even if you didn’t recruit those hitters. You mentioned the kind of swings that you’re looking for, what are the top, maybe one or two things, say like Fresno State moving forward, when you get to start recruiting bid? Or maybe you guys are still doing that now? What are you looking for?

 

What are you looking for when recruiting hitters?

Justin Lewis  08:54

A couple things, the biggest thing I look for is, I look for kids that are already naturally keeping their barrel in the middle of a field. It’s like the recruiting velocity for pitchers. It’s just more room for air.

Justin Lewis  09:10

Kids that already naturally do that, that’s like number one for me. Are we swinging the bat hard? Are we trying to do damage? It may look pretty but there’s no juice behind it. Kids that are real spinning, I try to avoid even if they look the part.

Justin Lewis  09:33

A lot of times in travel ball you get these kids that are 5’9″. Big strong kid, they’re on the right travel ball team, and they get enough bad pitching in high school and travel ball that they can make that swing work.

Justin Lewis  09:47

You better understand that swinging will translate to this level where kids are upper 60s and painting corners like crazy and 80% of our pitching is probably on the outside part of the plate and it’s there for a reason, it’s all these kids come in.

Justin Lewis  10:03

As they’re growing and getting older, they are getting stronger, they realize that if I get going this way in a hurry, spin it in one direction, I got a little bit of juice. That just doesn’t translate when you get to this level. Naturally, I just look for those kids that naturally just keep their barrel in the middle of the field.

Joey Myers  10:23

The other thing in softball, you have the high fastball and baseball but on the big field, 60 feet six inches to see that ball come and travel. But in softball, it’s 43 feet, right? You have less time, so the rise ball comes in, and when you have that spinny swing, typically what follows is that barrel gets in the zone way too early and drops because the minute that barrel leaves the shoulder, gravity starts taking over and rotational forces start taking over and drag the barrel down.

Joey Myers  10:51

That rise ball becomes a challenge. The past school, was that baseball or was that softball?

Justin Lewis  10:58

I’ve been in softball ever since I got back. I played men’s fastpitch for 15 years. That’s kind of where I fell in love with the game. You look at it as like a business move if you looked at just that way.

Justin Lewis  11:17

Softball, to me, is the way to go. I talked to baseball guys all the time, like you got to get into softball. There’s so much room for growth, and there’s so much dominant coaching, just excellent coaching, and all levels of college baseball.

Justin Lewis  11:32

I was getting in as a 40-year-old assistant, starting from the bottom. I wasn’t 23 or 24 right. I had to make a business decision as well. It wasn’t just that, I love softball, after playing it, and you see how fast the game is compared to baseball.

Justin Lewis  11:52

I have a hard time watching baseball anymore, it’s just so slow and dry. It doesn’t even hold my attention. I grew up with four older sisters, I got a wife and a daughter, like I should have known, it should have been foreshadowing years ago that I was going to end up coaching females, but I absolutely love it. I wouldn’t trade it for baseball in a heartbeat right now. There’s no way, I absolutely love it.

Joey Myers  12:22

I love my boys. I love working with my boys, but the girls are a little bit more fun. Boys are sponges, they want to soak it in, they want to learn, they want to get better, and some more than others. But it just seems like every girl that I’ve worked with doing softball practice drills, they just want it a little bit more sometimes.

Justin Lewis  12:42

I was nervous about it. I’ll tell you a funny story. My first road trip and Kingsville were kind of letting me know that there’s not a whole lot of difference between them either. We’re driving, we’re not 30 minutes down the road and I hear this man who farted, and I was like, they’re the same.

Joey Myers  13:05

They’re humans.

Justin Lewis  13:09

There’s some obviously particulars where we got to be careful touching and hand placements.

Joey Myers  13:18

Yes, no more butt slaps.

Justin Lewis  13:21

Yes, none of that. No grab ass at all. You must be particular where you stand, especially once the relationship gets built, they understand that you’re just there to help them but I’m very particular and make sure I keep my distance.

Justin Lewis  13:36

I stand in front of them, “Hey, is it okay if I touch your shoulders?”, if I want to try to manipulate them a certain way, the same with their hands. I got about a three-foot-long PVC pipe for one, stand that back hip, it’s like that right there.

Joey Myers  13:55

Instead of using your finger, you’re poking them with it.

Justin Lewis  13:59

I grab them if their hips are going a certain way, I grab their hips and manipulate them the way you wanted to, but that’s just not an option.

Joey Myers  14:06

Exactly. Yes, that’s a good point. I think you coming from a female background family wise, you understand that, and that’s good for others to hear, too. Especially those that have daughters that are getting into softball practice drills, like the little league version of softball and stuff. It’s good to know.

Joey Myers  14:24

On game planning, do you guys do game planning? Do you have a strategy that you help the girls with? Like you hunt? Do you have them hunt in certain softball practice drills? How does that go?

 

Do you guys do game planning?

Justin Lewis  14:36

I try to look at what the other pitchers are trying to do to us. Most of them are trying to throw strike one, let’s find out, can she throw a strike one? If she can, is that our best pitch to hit?

Justin Lewis  14:54

If it is, to me we got to go bang strike one. If they have proven through scouting whatever, they’re not great at throwing strike one, we can be a little bit more patient.

Justin Lewis  15:05

I battle with these kids a lot because no one wants to hit down and away curveball running away from you at 68 miles an hour. That might be legitimately your best shot. If you’re 0-1 now because you didn’t want to go attack that pitch, now most of them are just going to try to throw rise balls above your hands. Good luck with that.

Justin Lewis  15:33

Let’s find out if strike one is an option for us, and if it is, we got to drop our egos and we got to go attack it. I’m also real big about the 1-1 count, it makes a big difference in that -pitch, are we going 2-1? Or are we going 1-2, and that’s just vastly different scenarios there.

Justin Lewis  15:54

Pitchers tend to get into rhythm and pitch callers get into rhythms, those are two counts that I track, the 0-0 count and the 1-1 count, and just having an idea of what that rhythm and routine is, if there’s any pattern there.

Justin Lewis  16:13

At this level, the higher up you go into Division One, the lower levels and DII, a lot of times you’re just facing two pitchers. There will be curveball rise ball, the special ones got that third one that change up, if they got that trouble.

Justin Lewis  16:29

The higher up we go, you’re facing kids that almost every kids got that change up, and maybe they got a fourth pitch. We start looking at what pitches can we eliminate. To me when I played and face guys that were throwing absolute gas and had four devastating pitches, I’ll start eliminating some of these pitches.

Justin Lewis  16:47

How do I do that? To me it was, if I go hunt something down at my knees, the rise balls a lot easier to take when I’ve got to be focused down in the zone. I do a drill with our girls where I’ll tell them in front toss, every pitch is going to be at your kneecap, to your shin and I want you get down there and drive it.

Justin Lewis  17:08

We’re not just going to pound ground balls running that pitch, and they focus and it’s always their best round, and they’re super focused on it. About three quarters of the way through that round, I’ll throw a one up at their chest level, and they take it effortlessly.

Justin Lewis  17:24

I’ll talk about it afterwards. “Hey, that was a great round. Why do you think you did so good?” “I was focused”. Oh, that’s a mind-blowing stuff here. Then, I’ll ask them, “Hey, I threw that ball up kind of simulated rise ball, how easy was that to take?” “Well, it’s really easy”. “How come?” “I was focused down in the zone.”

Justin Lewis  17:45

Shocking. From me having to do that over and over again and chasing my fair share of rise balls through the years. That’s what I try to get through to them. We face so many rise ball pitchers, that seems to be the key for us.

Joey Myers  18:06

Do you guys ever switch your plan or softball practice drills, and go and hunt the rise ball at all, like rise ball, obviously up to a certain limit? You’re not swinging at one that’s up here.

Do you have your girls hunt the rise ball?

Justin Lewis  18:15

Flat rise balls go a long way. What’s interesting is this summer, or during quarantine, a bunch of us hitting coaches got together on a weekly zoom call. It was awesome.

Justin Lewis  18:30

There’s probably as many as 28-29 of us every week from all the top programs and just JuCo programs, all different levels, and everyone’s sharing their information and one of the coaches, his approach sometimes is like, “whatever their strength is, let’s go hunt that”, it was kind something I hadn’t really thought.

Justin Lewis  18:55

Why would I go look for their worst nastiest pitch, and when we start looking at a lot of the statistics, some of these guys really get into the weave with the tracking of some of this stuff, they have the technology to do it.

Justin Lewis  19:10

They still miss, and we got to be ready for where we act. A lot of times pitchers never miss, and they do at all levels, even the greatest ones, miss right in the middle of the plate a lot. It certainly made me question and made me think a little bit more about it.

Joey Myers  19:27

Have you ever dug into Perry Husband stuff? Effective Velocity?

Justin Lewis  19:32

Absolutely.

Joey Myers  19:32

He’s gotten really big into the fastpitch softball world and he’s worked with I think some of the top five programs, when it comes to both the hitters and the pitchers.

Joey Myers  19:44

Hitters, it’s the hunting, if it’s the pitchers, they’re moving their pitches around in the zone to take advantage of the discrepancy between how close the ball is versus how far it is away.

Joey Myers  19:55

That was a big one for me, from a hitting perspective because now I have to counter that. How do we counter that? He says, it’s like a wide receiver trying to cover two cornerbacks, one cornerback trying to cover two wide receivers.

Joey Myers  20:11

Both wide receivers run a similar route, one’s a deep route and the other one’s like a deep post, he can just kind of hang out in the middle, read the quarterback and then just peel off whenever the quarterback goes and releases the ball.

Joey Myers  20:22

The problem happens when you have one wide receiver that goes deep, and you have another one that does like a 10 yard cut in the middle. Now that cornerback has to decide, do I need to defend the deep ball because I don’t have a safety behind me to help or can I peel off and go inside?

Joey Myers  20:39

With the pitching, it’s the same idea. If you guys are facing a lot of rise ballers, like this coach is saying why not? Why not hunt their best stuff and teach the girls during softball practice drills how you get to that rise ball and crank on it?

Justin Lewis  20:51

Yes, absolutely. One of the things with softball, you’re not like baseball, you have different arm slots, everything like that. That’s not a thing in softball, and so everything’s coming out of one spot.

Justin Lewis  21:03

The ability for these pitchers to have everything busting out of one plane different directions, it’s nasty. Some of these kids are just filthy with what they do, and I think the EV stuff in softballs is barely scratching the surface right now.

Joey Myers  21:23

Now, pitch recognition, like you mentioned is a little tougher softball, because it’s coming out it seems like the same slot. Do you do pitch recognition stuff with the girls? And if you do, how do you do that?

 

Softball practice drills: do you do pitch recognition stuff with the girls?

Justin Lewis  21:36

I don’t dabble with it much. Again, worse. Especially right now, where Fresno State didn’t even have a fall. It’s like fire ready aim right now.

Joey Myers  21:47

Yes, it’s a little advanced.

Justin Lewis  21:51

It’s just trying to get reps right now and some of these kids have been off for 10 months, relying on what kind of work they put in. Luckily, at this level, most of these kids have still been putting in work, they haven’t seen a live pitching in 10 months.

Joey Myers  22:09

Talk to that, because there’s a lot of coaches out there dealing with the same thing, both baseball and softball, where their hitters may or may not have been working over the term, but they obviously haven’t been getting a lot of LIVE. When is the first game of the season?

Justin Lewis  22:24

It’s like the 20 or 12th, I think February 12, we got like 23 days.

Joey Myers  22:30

You got less than a month. How do you guys attack that? You’re getting ready in a short amount of time? What’s high priority right now?

 

You’re getting ready in a short amount of time? What’s high priority right now?

Justin Lewis  22:39

There’s no manual for this, this is something we’ve never really had to do. We started the first week, we didn’t know what our athletes were going to come in. We didn’t know what shape they were going to be like.

Justin Lewis  22:53

You must move as your slowest runner. We just brought them in, and then kind of did like an individual the first week and come down, let’s just hit for an hour and see where everybody’s at.

Justin Lewis  23:06

I’m coming in with I don’t know any of these kids. I try to build that relationship quickly, and I just wanted to see what they’re trying to accomplish with their swings. We’re still just kind of tracking them along slowly.

Justin Lewis  23:21

We’re kind of hitting the ground running now, just started team practice and revving up those the number of swings and the amount of work we’re trying to do.

Justin Lewis  23:30

Fortunately, we have two GAs and a pitching coach that all throw full arm. There’s nothing that is better than that. Our first year at Kingsville, it was just me and the head coach, and neither one of us threw.

Justin Lewis  23:47

Our kids’ timing issues were evident, our first quarter of the season was we’re late on everything. The next year, we played one of our… running a GA basically that threw non-stop for us, and it made the world of difference.

Justin Lewis  24:04

In my school last year, the Corpus Christi, both the head coach and the pitching coach both threw a lot. Now having three here, we’re kind of spoiled. It makes a huge difference.

Justin Lewis  24:19

We haven’t even started with the pitchers as far as seeing live pitching, but I think it’s coming pretty soon because we don’t have a choice. We got to get them as many looks as we can.

Justin Lewis  24:33

There’s just no playbook for it, and I’m interested talking to buddies across the sport, seeing what everyone’s doing to get ready, but also keep in mind that a lot of them had falls.

Justin Lewis  24:45

They’re kind of building off of what they did in the fall to where we’re just kind of getting started. I’m really interested as far as a coaching perspective to see if it even matters. That’s what I’m really interested in.

Joey Myers  24:59

Yes, the ultimate experiment.

Justin Lewis  25:03

In Corpus Christi, we had our fall cut short because of COVID. We lost the last two and a half weeks of the fall, and just getting into bunt defenses, and first and thirds, and all that kind of stuff, and it was taken away.

Justin Lewis  25:20

We’re feeling very unprepared. As I was interviewing for this job, they were “we’ve had no fall”. I was like, I don’t feel so bad anymore.

Justin Lewis  25:28

I’m just wondering, as coaches, we always feel like we’re not prepared enough. We’ve got to do that bunt slap defense for the 9 millionth time and our kids are like, “got it”. I’m interested to see how much it matters that we didn’t have a fall.

Justin Lewis  25:46

I’m sure it’s going to matter a little bit here and there, but I have a sneaking suspicion that it may not matter as much as we think it is.

Joey Myers  25:55

I agree. It will be interesting on the hitting, and the timing, and all that kind of stuff, too, with minimal prep time to see. I think the experiment really is, is it the amount of work you’re putting in? Or is it the software? That’s the hardware, the software and the brain, how long does that take to really actually get it?

Joey Myers  26:16

You’re talking about higher level cream of the crop hitters. You’re talking about better software at that point. It would be interesting to see how that goes.

Justin Lewis  26:24

The NFL just kind of showed us, they had their training camp, but they didn’t play any pre-season games. It was completely different. I watched a lot of games that kind of look like the NFL to me.

Justin Lewis  26:38

I’m sure the coaches would disagree with that, and point to numerous areas where they fell short, because they didn’t feel like they were prepared. I’m sure we’re going to miss; we’re going to screw up a cuts and relays.

Justin Lewis  26:53

Maybe we miss a couple bunt defenses, but at the end of the day, I’m interested. Look at the recovery side for the student athletes. Baseball and softball players can traditionally claim to be some of the most overworked athletes around just because there’s no stopping, especially those college baseball players, and they go off in the summer, and they’re just that grind.

Justin Lewis  27:18

Softball doesn’t really do that, they start a summer league here and there, getting to be a little bit more popular, but we may have the freshest athletes we’ve had in a long time. I’m interested to see how that plays.

Joey Myers  27:31

If you get out of the gate screaming, like you said, they’re fresh, and they kind of hit their stride, that kind of subsides a little bit. That would be interesting, we will be staying in touch because for me too, I’m learning.

Joey Myers  27:43

I’ve had my hitters coming and seeing me and I just felt bad for them when we shut down. I just felt like they had about two or three weeks into the high school season, when it when it shut down here.

Joey Myers  27:57

My hitters were poised to do well, do really big things, and it just got shut down. We do our share of little games of random pitch and whatnot, but it’s just not enough of the reps. Like you said, it’ll be interesting to see how that goes.

Justin Lewis  28:18

The fall can be a grind, you’re looking at the mental grind of the whole season. That includes the fall and the spring. Our kids are just chomping at the bit to be back and be around their teammates.

Justin Lewis  28:32

From a mental health standpoint as well, I’m curious about a lot of things. I think it may change; the world has changed clearly. I’m always fascinated about things that change the world. After 9/11, we haven’t worn shoes through airports, and it’s just normal. Now, I’m interested to see what other ways the world has changed because of all this.

Joey Myers  29:01

Exactly. Well, I want to be respectful of your time. Anything that besides the congratulatory on getting a new job and being closer to me and all this stuff, anything you’re working on outside of trying to get this band of elite athletes to where they need to be during softball practice drills?

 

Anything else that you’re working on?

Justin Lewis  29:20

I just try to learn all the time. Take everything I can, I read way more than I probably should right now. My family is not out here, they’re still in Texas. It’s softball and just trying to get better at everything.

Justin Lewis  29:36

There’s a couple of books that I read recently. I always put out a reading list every year, I keep track all the books that I read, and my two bests are Unlearn by Humble the Poet and Think Like a Monk by Jay Shetty. Those are my two best read.

Justin Lewis  29:56

Those were amazing books. I just investigate ways to apply it, and always the ultimate hunt for becoming a better coach, and a better leader, and a better husband, and father, and it’s amazing how much I think I fall short on that from time to time.

Justin Lewis  30:15

That’s really been it, just trying to adapt to this area and these kids, just trying to serve them in the best ways I possibly can. It’s all about them, and as long as we keep that attitude, good things are going to happen here.

Joey Myers  30:33

That’s what I like about you, you got that softball practice drills growth mindset. You always want to be around those kinds of coaches, because they’re willing to say when they’re wrong, they’re willing to keep learning and that kind of thing.

Joey Myers  30:42

I think if you’re not falling short, you’re not doing some right. You got to be setting those goals out there far enough that sometimes you do reach them, but sometimes you don’t, and that keeps you going.

Joey Myers  30:52

I think that you have all the softball practice drills formula of a great growth mindset coach, I appreciate everything you guys are doing and take care of my girls. I won’t mention their names but take care of them out there.

Justin Lewis  31:04

You got a couple good ones. They’re some of my favorites.

Joey Myers  31:07

Talking about growth mindset. Those two and the older one, I won’t mention her name. She is a sweetheart and she’s one that you’ll definitely want to lean on with recruiting because she is just likeable, network-y, bubbly personality. She’s awesome.

Justin Lewis  31:25

She’s a rock star. She broke my PVC wall yesterday.

Justin Lewis  31:31

I’ve never had one explode like this, how hard does this kid swing the bat? She’s a little ball of terror. Like the rest of the kids that came through the station, they’re like, “of course it was her that broke it”

Joey Myers  31:48

You know when you mentioned her name? I think I told you this, it was all her, I always say I’m a compass and the flashlight in the dark, you have to put the work in.

Joey Myers  31:59

That summer, she worked so hard, she went from like a 65 mile an hour ball exit speed with the softball to 75 plus, in three months or two and a half months, however long that we were working together. She’s just a hard worker.

Justin Lewis  32:15

Yes, it comes off her bat in a hurry. When she keeps that barrel in the middle of the field, it’s nasty.

Joey Myers  32:22

When she came, she used to think that she was taught her whole life before she got into college to slap the ball, slap. Then, I think the coaching change after her freshman year that she recruited her to slap and the new coach that comes in says, “You know what, we’re not slapping, we’re driving”.

Joey Myers  32:39

She didn’t know how to do that. because she’d been taught her whole life to slap. Now to think how far she’s come. It’s great to see that, so proud of her and you’re going to be taking care of them.

Justin Lewis  32:51

She’s amazing, she’s been a big help in my transition here. Both have actually, I got to go, we had a day off. They’re both local kids, getting all the spots where I got to go hiking and everything else. They’ve been taking care of me, they’re good people.

Joey Myers  33:12

They’re both great. I haven’t met the other girls but I’m sure they’re great, too.

Justin Lewis  33:18

It’s a diverse group of kids here. I love it. They’re all different walks of life and just getting to hear their stories and what their whereabouts.

Justin Lewis  33:31

I come back to coaching, I say it all the time, I love hitting and I spend way too much time thinking about it and studying it and swing, trying to fix swings in the middle of night when I’m sleeping, but really, it’s the kids.

Justin Lewis  33:45

I’m trying to help them, use my experience to help them become the people they were meant to become is really why I came back to it and I need that interaction more than they need me. They will never find that out, though.

Joey Myers  33:59

They don’t realize it now, they’ll realize it later, but it’s not about softball, it’s about life. You’re teaching them life through softball, and I agree with you. That’s why I do it and continue to do it, it’s you’re mentoring.

Joey Myers  34:12

Like you said, you’re getting more out of it probably more than they realize, although when they get older, and they start you know, getting dealt families and stuff, they’ll say “Ah, Coach Justin, he was really pouring into me and I learned actually a lot from him”. But at the time they didn’t realize it.

Justin Lewis  34:26

Hopefully.

Joey Myers  34:28

All right, brother. Hey, keep up the good work out there. Good luck with all the COVID happenings, I know we talked before we started recording about your stuff out there. Stay safe and healthy.

Justin Lewis  34:40

Let’s get together. Let’s get you over to the facility soon and let’s whack it around a little bit.

Joey Myers  34:43

I would love it.

Justin Lewis  34:45

Awesome, brother.

Joey Myers  34:46

All right, Coach Justin. See you, bud.

Justin Lewis  34:47

You got it, take care.

Joey Myers  34:48

Take care.

Softball Hitting Lessons

Softball Hitting Lessons: “When it Comes to Guys, the Performance Determines their Happiness. When it Comes to Girls, the Happiness Determines the Performance.”

 

 

In this softball hitting lessons interview with Amanda Smith of WhiteZoneCoaching.com, titled: “When It Comes to Guys, The Performance Determines Their Happiness.  When It Comes to Girls, The Happiness Determines the Performance”, we go over:Softball Hitting Lessons

  • Come to find out you are an Aerospace Engineer,
  • Where did you get White Zone Coaching from?
  • When it comes to guys, the performance determines their happiness. When it comes to girls, the happiness determines the performance…
  • … You can give them more and more and more as long as you know where their edges at,
  • “The Surfer’s Code” and what softball and baseball players can learn from it,
  • How do you coach your softball girls to deal with the 2020 challenges?
  • Amanda, where can people find you?

Click short link for transcribed interview in pdf format: http://gohpl.com/amandasmithtranscription

The following is the transcription of the above video…

Joey Myers  00:06

Hello and welcome to Swing Smarter Monthly Newsletter. This is your host Joey Myers of hittingperformancelab.com and I have the honor and privilege today, this is our second softball hitting lessons call or second meeting with Amanda Smith of White Zone Coaching.

Joey Myers  00:19

I have a lot of cool stuff that we’re going to talk about today, I’m going to ask her, but first, I want to welcome you to the show, Amanda.

Amanda Smith  00:25

Hey, Joey, thanks for having me. I am so excited to be here and to talk with you and share a little bit about what I’m doing in my softball world.

Joey Myers  00:35

Very cool, and many of my softball hitting lessons readers out there will understand that we like to apply human movement principles that are validated by science to hitting the ball.

 

Come to find out you are an Aerospace Engineer…

Joey Myers  00:45

We like to use physics and engineering and biomechanics and different things like that when we describe the swing, when we teach the swing, and we want to have a higher standard for our hitters, and they come to find out you are an aeronautical engineer.

Amanda Smith  01:01

Aerospace engineer. Yes.

Joey Myers  01:04

Let’s go in with the softball hitting lessons question, how has the engineering background helped you coach your pitchers? I’m sure you do all of them or just mostly hitters?

Amanda Smith  01:19

Pitchers, catchers, hitters, I also do throwing and fielding when people need it, want it. Generally, people aren’t going to be like, I need a throwing coach, or I need a fielding coach. They want hitting coaches and pitching coaches and catching coaches. I do all those things.

Amanda Smith  01:35

When it comes to my engineering background with physics, I love physics. I’m such a physics dork. I try to keep it as very simple as possible so that my nine-year-olds can understand what I’m saying to them.

Amanda Smith  01:53

When I bust out with 90 degree angles, they’re like, Huh? I have to bring myself back down to Okay, like the corner in your house, that’s a 90-degree angle. What they’re getting from me in lessons is usually a physics education, a math education, they’re getting some biology education, I’m talking about anatomy phys with them and kinesthetics. I’m a nerd like that, they just got a deal.

Joey Myers  02:23

I love that. I was working with one of my one on one hitters, who’s a sophomore in high school and we do three days a week one on one. We were talking the other day, and we talked about like what you said, we do the physics thing, engineering, but we also might talk a little politics and I talked a little of religion, we might talk all kinds.

Joey Myers  02:43

I said, hey, you’re getting an education in this one hour, then he just talks about this experience with school, this last 2020 has been absolutely horrendous, he hasn’t learned anything.

Joey Myers  02:53

He’s one of those 4.0-3.6 type students, and he just said it was really rough. Not hard but just rough like it’s too easy, almost. I said, hey, maybe I should get you a degree at the end of this thing instead of going into your junior year in high school. We go over a lot.

Amanda Smith  03:13

Yes, ultimately, we’re teaching them life lessons, right? We’re helping them discover who they want to be and maybe even what career they want to go into. I know a lot of the parents that send their kids to me, they’re engineers, so their kids are already exposed to that softball hitting lessons environment.

Amanda Smith  03:32

It’s crazy to notice that most of the people that come to me have that kind of background. I love it, but the same time, I find it really interesting from a business perspective, Oh, I’m targeting engineers.

Joey Myers  03:46

It’s almost a blessing and a curse because from the start, I’ve always had that in my business to target the science side of things. You do attract the engineers, you attract the MDs, you attract the PTs, the physical therapists, you attract these, and it’s a great crowd, and they get it, right?

Joey Myers  04:04

It’s a small grouping of the overall market. The blessing is, it’s a great crowd and they are very educated, they understand the whole how everything works, but it’s a curse, because it is such a small area.

Joey Myers  04:20

Like you said, taking the 90-degree angle and saying the corner of your house that’s 90 degrees, being able to take it down so that the nine year old can understand but also the parents can understand it.

Amanda Smith  04:30

Yes, and the parents, they’re sitting in the background, just nodding their heads, like I love what she’s teaching my kid. As parents, they generally can’t reach their kid on the level that a private coach can reach their kid and they want to, they desperately want to, I’m a parent, I get it.

Amanda Smith  04:52

To have the kid hear it from more than one avenue now. That’s what the parents absolutely love. I have something I like to bring to the table for the parents and be like, you know, I bet your parents have said this to you before.

Joey Myers  05:11

I always say that you could be Babe Ruth, or you could be Sierra Romero, but they’re not going to listen to you and when I’m talking to parents, it don’t matter who you are in the stratosphere of high level softball hitting lessons, but there’s just your dad or your mom.

Amanda Smith  05:30

From the kids’ perspective, you got to listen to them about everything. When it comes to softball or baseball, do you want to listen to them about that too? Your parents pick your battles.

Joey Myers  05:41

Exactly. Delegate when you need to

Amanda Smith  05:43

Yes, exactly.

 

Where did you get White Zone Coaching softball hitting lessons from?

Joey Myers  05:44

I had a question for white zone coaching, where did you get white zone coaching from? When did you come up with that?

Amanda Smith  05:51

The white zone is that ultimate level that athletes want to get to. If you’ve seen the movie For Love of The Game, with Kevin Costner, where he clears the mechanism, everything around him goes white, except for the umpire, the catcher, and the hitter, and that home plate, that’s the white zone.

Amanda Smith  06:13

That’s ultimately what I want to take all my athletes to, is that level of understanding of getting into that flow state so that their physical talents can just take over and go on autopilot and they can think about all of the mental things that the game has. That’s why I’m a white zone coach.

Joey Myers  06:30

Very cool. Going into that a little bit on the mental side of the softball hitting lessons game, what do you find the top two issues that players are dealing with in today’s game that have to do with the mental side?

Amanda Smith  06:43

Perfectionism, number one. I’ve got so many kids coming to me that are like, Okay, I must do everything perfect. I got to get 10 out of 10. How overwhelming is that for anybody? Let’s take the pressure cap off that kid.

Amanda Smith  06:59

The other one is confidence. They come in, and they’re like, well, I don’t have it. No, you do have it, you just have to remind yourself that you have it and letting them know, here’s where the confidence lies, and here’s how to get back to it yourself.

Amanda Smith  07:15

I can pump you up all I want but if you don’t know how to pump yourself up, you’re just going to have to keep coming back to me and that’s a do loop I don’t want to be in.

Joey Myers  07:25

Right. On the perfection side, I’ve had recently a few or a couple hitters who are in that mode and one I’m thinking about is an eight-year-old, dad works for NASA. The son has a black belt already at eight years old in taekwondo.

Joey Myers  07:47

I thought this was going to be slam dunk case. Physically, the kids obviously proven. He’s very disciplined in what he’s doing, but this is another sport, hitting is a completely different monster. How do you deal with perfection? He’s a perfectionist, I haven’t dealt with too many of those, but they come along, and I have one right now. So how do you deal with it?

Amanda Smith  08:11

I have a lot of them. It was a thing that I had to work on. Girls are perfectionist. I see it constantly because it was the thing that I had to work on. The way that I help them is I teach them, and I have a video on this, if you sign up for my email list, you get this video.

Amanda Smith  08:34

It’s called seven out of 10. In practice, we put everything into buckets of 10 and then seven is the baseline. If they get seven out of 10, in that group of 10, that’s when they get to analyze it, they don’t get to analyze it every single movement, or every single at bat or every single hit.

Amanda Smith  08:54

They only get to analyze it after the 10 and if they got seven, they did good. If they did better than seven, they did great. If they did less than seven, then they have something to learn. That language right there at the end where we’re learning instead of, I’m bad, that’s the switch that they need to make and that helps with confidence too.

Amanda Smith  09:15

Those two kinds go hand in hand. But giving them that baseline and helping them understand this is your baseline seven out of 10, they take the pressure off themselves automatically.

Amanda Smith  09:27

Now all I have to do with my kids, seven out of 10 if they start to nitpick every single pitch or every single hit, and they go oh yeah, that’s right. Then bam, I get them into that mode of I’m going to analyze the group instead of every single movement. Once I get to that point, I’m not analyzing it was bad. I’m analyzing Okay, what can I do better? What can I learn from this?

Joey Myers  09:52

I love that. Of course, at the end, all those softball hitting lessons links and all that stuff we’ll put that out there because I want to help just like you want to help. Another example, the same hitter I was talking about, the sophomore in high school, we always go over these kinds of scenarios and things like that.

Joey Myers  10:18

This is a different hitter, lefty. He’s one of my seniors in high school and he kind of had a little bit of a rough day yesterday. Usually we do well, but he was having a hard time with controlling his top hand.

Joey Myers  10:35

He was just like; I don’t know what the heck’s going on and he was visibly frustrated. He’s usually the surfer kid, I call him shades because he walks in and he has the Aviator shades on.

Amanda Smith  10:49

Aviators

Joey Myers  10:50

I call him shades. He’s usually the kickback kid, surfer dude, and whatnot. He was a little out of his element it seemed like and we did something a little tougher. We call it chaos rounds, where what we do is we do a six-swing round, and he’ll take two swings at one plate, we have two plates, set about five feet apart, or three to five feet apart.

Joey Myers  11:12

He’ll switch plates every swing and at each plate he’s doing something different. It’s a different strategy. It could be we’re going to control, we call verticals or launch angles, we don’t call them launch angles, because a lot of coaches don’t like that term.

Joey Myers  11:25

One plate, maybe he’s controlling his verticals and another plate, we’re doing middle in, middle away type stuff. So, he’s working middle in, middle way. Another one, we might be just doing straight up curveballs. He switches in what he’s doing.

Joey Myers  11:38

We mix and rearrange. It’s not all the same the whole time. It’s very mentally draining. It put some pressure on him. I think he blew a gasket but what I said was get back to the mental side. At least for him a gasket.

Amanda Smith  11:57

Was it pressure relief, or was it like pressure explosion? Like if I think of a pressure cooker?

Joey Myers  12:04

I think it was a pressure explosion. He knew what he needed to do to fix it. He just wasn’t doing it. When we were talking about it, at the end, I was telling him about frustration, I said, frustration is good. It’s a good thing. As long as it doesn’t make you depressed, right? Know what you need to do to fix it and then you do what you need to do to do that.

Joey Myers  12:27

He goes, this is how I operate. He goes, I get super frustrated. And then the next day I go out and I think it’s fixed. It sounds like he goes like mentally he goes through it and then can work it out. Is that something?

Amanda Smith  12:42

Girls don’t do that

Joey Myers  12:45

What’s the girls do in that scenario?

 

When it comes to guys, the performance determines their happiness. When it comes to girls, the happiness determines the performance…

Amanda Smith  12:49

This is where boys and girls differ a lot, I feel like. When it comes to guys, the performance determines their happiness. When it comes to girls, the happiness determines the performance.

Joey Myers  13:03

Okay, I got it.

Amanda Smith  13:07

If girls are off when they walk through the door, and I can see it right away, like, okay, we got another session, we got to switch up that attitude quick are the whole session it goes to pot.

Amanda Smith  13:24

This is where girls are different. The more pressure you put on a girl the worse their attitude gets, and the worse their performance becomes. Whereas guys, they like the pressure to kick them out of it. I find that so fascinating, right?

Amanda Smith  13:40

This is why I coach girls. For the girls, it really goes back to that perfectionism pressure bottle. If we go into a chaos scenario, like you’re explaining, and I’ve never used that technique on a girl, I want to try it and see what happens honestly.

Joey Myers  14:01

They must be in the right softball hitting lessons mindset before they come into it.

Amanda Smith  14:04

They have to, they absolutely have to and that’s number one for me has put them in the right mental frame so that they can have success and then carry that success into the next success and then it snowballs.

Amanda Smith  14:16

Parents love that because they’ll come back to me and they’ll be like, what did you do because she went into the next game and she did phenomenal and like I just gave her a little confidence boost and gave her some tools to boost herself to

Amanda Smith  14:34

I feel like if I were to lay the pressure on a girl she’d crumble, she’d start to cry.

Amanda Smith  14:45

I welcome that at my sessions because you’re not allowed to get emotional in a game, right? You can get emotional after a big win or you can get emotional after a great strikeout that ended a really tough inning.

Amanda Smith  14:59

There are certain times when you can get emotional, but like getting emotional at private lessons happens a lot. I welcome it because we must have the ability to express those emotions no matter what. Again, this is where girls and boys kind of differ.

Joey Myers  15:15

That’s cool. Mine is about 95% guys, I have a few softball hitting lessons girls, I have a few that are in college that I’ve worked with. I’ve noticed the girls, when I give them something to work on mechanically, they’re good, I can probably lay on three or four of them, three or four different mechanics, and they’ll get the first one, they’ll get the second one, I might give you another one.

Joey Myers  15:43

I keep going up until that point, you start to see that flip of Okay, now this is a little bit too much. But the girls, for whatever reason, I feel like most of the girls I’ve worked with, they’re able to handle more of those things versus the guys, we tend to stay in the two to three things range, and they don’t get frustrated, you don’t see their eyes. I’ve had a few guys that you see the tears start to well up. I have a couple of them who are emotional.

Amanda Smith  16:14

Let it rip, Coach. Let it rip.

Joey Myers  16:15

Yeah, then they start getting sloppy. I must pull back because they’re getting sloppy. I mean, they don’t care emotionally that they’re getting sloppy, like the girls would care emotionally that they are sloppy, and they take offense to it, like you said, the perfection side.

Joey Myers  16:29

But the guys they get sloppy, and so I can’t allow him to get sloppy. So, I must scale it back to girls. The girls they handle it. Like they can handle 2-3-4 different things in one session.

Joey Myers  16:41

It’s almost like I played this game of see how far I can go with the girl. Then once I start seeing the emotion, I start dialing it back with the guys, I pretty much know how much they can handle and it’s not an emotional thing, it’s a sloppy thing.

 

… You can give them more and more and more as long as you know where their edges at”

Amanda Smith  16:54

It’s a practice, honestly, I feel like I must be able to turn that dial up to. You can do it with guys, you can give them more and more and more as long as you know where their edges at.

Amanda Smith  17:09

With girls, they’re more latent to let you know where their edges at. Keep that in mind, we know how to bottle things up. It’s crazy how much we do that.

Amanda Smith  17:25

With girls, it goes back to the whole multitasking brain. I feel like moms are masters at multitasking and dads are like I can only do one thing. Some dads are amazing at multitasking, don’t get me wrong, you hand that down to your kids, they innately become great at having multiple things thrown at them and then being able to handle it.

Amanda Smith  17:55

I love pushing that edge. Because with my kids with my girls, what I notice is I can give them three things. Then the next session, I’m going to like to take those three things and add one more thing on top of it and maybe a third. Well, a fifth thing, technically, but a second thing on top of that and see how far I can carry it.

Amanda Smith  18:18

Some of these girls, I can give them 10 different. What do we call these tasks on 10 different things to work on in a session and they can handle it. And it’s like, Okay, I got to scale you back now.

Joey Myers  18:35

It’s crazy because you could cover the whole softball hitting lessons gamut. There’s always something to work on. But I mean at some point, we kind of must start circling back to some of the other things.

Joey Myers  18:47

I always tell my hitters it’s like, at the circus in the old days, they had to put the sword down and they get the plate and they start spinning on it, then they set up another sword and start spinning the plate, and then they have to copy the first plate and keep it spinning, it’s like keeping these plates spinning and I feel like the girls do a better job of that than the guys do.

Amanda Smith  19:06

Multitaskers. Look at their parents. That’s really the indicator.

Joey Myers  19:11

Yes. I saw a video of you doing a mental Monday talk which is really cool. I saw one on your Facebook, Mindset Mondays yes, and we can discuss the book. What was that book?

“The Surfer’s Code” and what softball and baseball players can learn from it – softball hitting lessons

Amanda Smith  19:26

The Surfer’s Code. I love that book.

Joey Myers  19:29

Yeah. You’ll pick a chapter and then you’ll use that as the content of the video. That one that I watched it was the one where you get smashed by a wave and it’s a question of Okay, I can hang it up and be done and not go through that again, or I can go back out.

Joey Myers  19:47

Talk a little bit about that and how that applies to like your softball hitting lessons girls, how you can apply that in school.

Amanda Smith  19:54

I live in Denver. Let’s preface there. I’m in a landlocked state. Everywhere I go I like to surf if there’s surfable water. I also surf but I’m a snow surfer. That means snowboarders for those of you who don’t know.

Amanda Smith  20:09

What I love in the surfing world, there’s rules that they live by as surfers. This surfer has been in the game for a long time. He wrote the book and shared it with the rest of the world.

Amanda Smith  20:27

Not every surfer was thrilled about that. That’s kind of their inner code. That’s why this book is called the Surfer’s Code.

Amanda Smith  20:39

I love their principles, and this principle that you’re talking about, I will go back out, if I have a bad game, if I have a bad surf, if I have a bad wave, I’m still going to go out again.

Amanda Smith  20:56

For softball, for baseball, the way that applies is, hey, you had a bad at bat, you get another opportunity, you get another try. That’s that whole taking the pressure off thing to, you had a bad game, you still get another try, you’re going to have another game, right?

Amanda Smith  21:13

When your career ends, that mentality starts to shift, right? Like your seniors in high school, or your seniors in college, their mentality is slightly different when it comes to their next wave, or their next opportunity to go out because it might not happen.

Amanda Smith  21:29

I can remember my last college game, every second of that last college game. The number of tears that flowed out of my face after that game, because I knew I didn’t have another wave, there wasn’t another opportunity, and then there was, and that was the thing.

Amanda Smith  21:48

After college ended, I had the opportunity to play NPF, I had the opportunity to play international ball. I got an offer to work at NASA on the Orion program, so I didn’t take it, but there could have been another wave to take.

Amanda Smith  22:08

Just remember, you’ve always got another opportunity, another try coming up no matter what. Yeah, even if you think it’s your last game for you seniors, you still have another opportunity, there’s going to be another wave to get out there and ride.

Joey Myers  22:26

I love that and especially with the 2020 COVID stuff and how hard it’s been for athletes. I’ve had some athletes that I work with, we work through things, we have to be very critical thinking about how you’re not able to play, how can we get you out there? How can we work on getting you in front of your seniors in high school or college coaches?

Joey Myers  22:52

Like you said, got to get back out there. It might be in a different way, it may not be in the same direction, but it’s going to be somewhat unconventional from what you’ve thought.

Joey Myers  23:03

One of the softball hitting lessons things, as an example, that I talked to a few of my seniors that graduated, they graduated I think in 2020 spring and then you have the seniors coming through now, 2021.

Amanda Smith  23:16

They’re experiencing it, too.

Joey Myers  23:17

Yes. One of the things we talked about was how do you contact a coach, college coach and if you’re going to send a video, how do you send a video, and one of the coolest things I read, it was in negotiating book, negotiate as if your life depended on it.

Joey Myers  23:36

I think it was it was Chris Voss. I don’t know if you’ve read that one before, good, reads well. He has great stories. Negotiating as If Your Life Depended On It, I think is what it’s called.

Joey Myers  23:51

He talked about with his own son who was playing football and back in the day, trying to contact coaches, and one of the things was instead of shooting video, and just trying to hit all the points, all the checklist, and send it out to all these coaches, why not go to the coaches first and ask them what do you use?

Joey Myers  24:12

What kind of evaluation do you use when you recruit players? Because it’s going to be different, some coaches in baseball, like college coaches love the launch angle game, they love that terminology, another one will not like the launch angle game.

Joey Myers  24:28

If you send a video of you hitting the all these doubles and dingers all over the yard, those coaches that don’t like that launch angle game and they’re more of the batter sacrifice, they’re more of the what the low level and drive, hit hard on the ground, and you want to go to that college, either it’s not going to be a fit for you or you need to make a different video.

 

How do you coach your softball girls to deal with the 2020 challenges?

Joey Myers  24:47

I thought that was great advice, you’re going to have to go back out, but it might look in a different direction. Any kind of experience you’ve had with that with your players?

Amanda Smith  25:00

Yes, with the 2020 and the 2021 kids, it’s not just the seniors. That’s the other thing that I keep reminding myself, to watch the level of depression that happened with these players, because their life is school and sport.

Amanda Smith  25:22

When one of those was taken away, and the other one, they’re like, I like it, but I kind of have to do it. Whereas the other one I get to do it. It was tough to watch them mentally crumble. If you’ve played a sport, and that sport ended for you, you’ve experienced that so you can totally relate.

Amanda Smith  25:51

Helping my 2022s, my 2021s figure out how to do this, the new way, how to get in front of coaches. I just had one who, for spring break, she went out and checked out a bunch of schools, and I told her, you’ve got to email the coaches and let them know that you’re coming, send them your skills, video, do all the things.

Amanda Smith  26:19

She got out there to watch them play and one of the coaches, the head coach of the school that she was really interested in, came over to her and her parents and said, what are you doing here?

Joey Myers  26:31

What?

Amanda Smith  26:32

I came to watch the game. They’re like, we don’t have an audience for our games. We don’t have fans watching our games, you need to leave. Automatically this kid’s like, well, this isn’t the school for me, obviously.

Amanda Smith  26:48

It’s an isolated incident. The coaches are getting used to this scenario, too. They just started playing games. This is something that’s out of their comfort zone as well. A head coach coming out to fans and telling them that they got to go, that’s unheard of.

Amanda Smith  27:04

The head coach doesn’t do that, but in this scenario, that’s what happened. I was like, this is one of those softball hitting lessons opportunities to think from a different angle. Think of how uncomfortable that had to have been for that coach. Think of how uncomfortable it must be to tell all the kids’ parents, you can’t come and watch your kid play. You can watch her on YouTube.

Amanda Smith  27:27

To play without a crowd. That’s a first for a bunch of college kids. There are so many weird scenarios that we’re dealing with right now, and you just roll with it. But keep your mind open and don’t get single minded on Oh, that coach was mean, I don’t like that coach at all.

Amanda Smith  27:44

Don’t cross them off your list, have another conversation with that coach and be like, hey, you were the one who said to me, we had to go, and you weren’t very nice about it. Is there any reason why you had to be so mean?

Amanda Smith  28:01

It’s another opportunity to talk to the coach at least. You might find in that second conversation, that that’s not the coach for you, but you brought up culture, when it came to those coaches who don’t like the language that you use, or they want hitters that hit a certain way versus another way.

Amanda Smith  28:20

Players need to really dig into the schools and understand the culture of the team, the culture of the coaches. I didn’t do it right and I learned the hard way. I literally just had a Facebook post in my Facebook group about this, where there was a player who got her nursing degree from Minnesota, and she got it in four years.

Amanda Smith  28:48

She was one of those kids who graduated last year and got the option to come back and play a fifth year because of COVID and she did, she opted to not dive into her nursing career and instead play her senior year or her second senior year, because she knew that that season was fleeting, that season of her life was fleeting, the sport is fleeting.

Amanda Smith  29:12

She’s not planning on going on NPF or the Olympics or any higher level, what is it athletics unlimited? When I was in school, I was trying to pull off that mechanical and aerospace engineering degree which is a tough degree by itself, but now add sports on top of it.

Amanda Smith  29:32

I learned right away like D1 top 25 school; you’re spending 52 hours a week doing softball. I ended up going D2 after two and a half years at D1 for many reasons, but one of the reasons was because I was struggling badly to pull off both and the coaches were giving me a hard time about it.

Amanda Smith  29:56

They were picking on me because I had to go and do work with my classmates that interfered with some of my practices, and they hated that. That goes back to the culture.

Amanda Smith  30:10

Parents who are in the thick of it, it’s hard to see the teams, it’s hard to talk to the coaches right now. Do your best to figure out what the culture is, talk to the players, you can as athletes talk to the players, you can’t necessarily talk to the coaches. That’ll give you a really good idea of what that program is about and how the coaches support the athlete as well as the student.

Joey Myers  30:39

I’d love to just end on this and ask you where softball hitting lessons people can find you, but before we get there, it’s advice I think that the young ones don’t quite grasp. You and I have been through it, or telling them to do your homework basically, to talk to the players in the teams that you want to go play for in college.

Joey Myers  31:02

They will just answer whatever, I know there’s enough pros, it’ll be fine if whatever. What we’re trying to tell you out there to do your homework, spend the time. I know that for the guys, it’s the testosterone brain that tends to make us lazy. It’s a strong hormone, but it’s also a lazy hormone.

Joey Myers  31:23

I know the girls are a little bit more on top of it but go out and definitely do your homework because you don’t want to land in a place and have to keep switching. It’s just like moving. The best part of moving is when it’s over. Moving your house and all that kind of stuff, it’s the same thing.

Joey Myers  31:39

You don’t want to be jumping schools all over the place because oh, I screwed up. I pick the wrong line, let me go to this one, and you didn’t do the same process, repeat the same process, and you make another mistake. Anyway, great advice.

Joey Myers  31:51

Amanda, where can people find you? I know you mentioned an opt in page to get that video, so go ahead and mention that.

 

Amanda, where can people find you?

Amanda Smith  32:03

Whitezonecoaching.com is my softball hitting lessons website, you can get the freebie at the bottom of the homepage. That’s the seven out of 10-perfectionism busting video. It explains how to implement it as an athlete or how to implement it as a coach.

Amanda Smith  32:19

You can also find me at fastpitch softball skills and drills by white zone coaching Facebook group, that group is growing like crazy.  That’s where I’m sharing a lot of softball skills and drills.  White Zone Coaching on Facebook.

Amanda Smith  32:32

I’ve got a lot of baseball people showing up in the group now, too. That’s where you can find me on the interwebs. I also have a YouTube channel, that’s white zone coaching.

Joey Myers  32:50

Yes, Instagram, TikTok

Amanda Smith  32:53

No TikTok. I am not a TikTok-er. I have Pinterest.

Joey Myers  33:02

Are you on Pinterest?

Amanda Smith  33:02

Of course, I am on Pinterest, I’m a pinning queen. I have an Amazon list for softball parent and players. I mean, I’m on the internet.

Joey Myers  33:16

Very cool. Well, thank you, Miss Amanda Smith, I appreciate the call. What we’ll do is we’ll probably have multiple part two and stuff, I’d love to come back and go a little bit deeper into some other things.

Joey Myers  33:30

Your story is very interesting, and I love the origin stories because it explains where you’re at now. It gives a little bit more flavor to the type of coaching that you teach and the purpose behind why you teach what you teach. So keep up the good work out there.

Amanda Smith  33:47

The whole white zone thing. That’s why I teach what I teach.

Joey Myers  33:51

Exactly. Thank you so much and I’ll get you all the goods. Oh, we’ll do like a little Dropbox thing and I’ll send all that stuff to you, and you can do with it however you want. We’ll keep connected.

Amanda Smith  34:05

Awesome. I am excited to keep connected. We’ve got a lot in common, sir.

Joey Myers  34:10

Very much so. Well, have a good weekend.

Amanda Smith  34:14

You, too

Baseball Hitting Fundamentals

How To Apply The “Precision” Golfing Principles To Baseball Hitting Fundamentals

 

 

In this baseball hitting fundamentals gold interview with Golf Pro Instructor Lee Comeaux, we go over:Baseball Hitting Fundamentals

  • “You’re going to ruin low backs if you teach that!”
  • “Golf is about accuracy. If you ain’t accurate, you’re not gonna play a good score”…
  • “All of a sudden, I realized, turn your rib cage, and then boom…”
  • “You got to understand how the fascia and these trains all play because there’s layers upon layers in the body”…
  • Hitting for targets and areas on the barrel, and…
  • How to apply the “precision” golfing principle to hitting.

CLICK HERE to download the baseball hitting fundamentals video transcription pdf.  The following is the transcription in its entirety.  And by the way, this is one of 24 expert interview in our brand NEW baseball hitting fundamentals book on Amazon: Swing Smarter …  Enjoy!

Joey Myers  00:00

Hello and welcome to the Swing Smarter Monthly Newsletter. This is your host Joey Myers from Hitting Performance Lab dot com and with me today is a good friend of mine and I didn’t really get to say his last name correctly. It threw me for a loop until David Shanklin, mutual friend of ours, it’s Comeaux, right? The last name?

Lee Comeaux  00:18

Yes, Comeaux.

Joey Myers  00:19

So, Lee Comeaux. For those of you who’ve read catapult loading system, which became an Amazon bestseller in the baseball hitting fundamentals niche in 2018, you will know Lee because Lee was in the book. He’s had a mentorship in my program namely the hollow position, we call that and the finger pressure. I was working on finger pressure, but I was a little bit off base and he really helped with that. So, welcome first, Lee, to the show.

Lee Comeaux  00:47

Thanks for having me. I hadn’t talked to you in a while.

Joey Myers  00:51

It’s been a while. It’s fitting that it’s right before Christmas.

Lee Comeaux  00:55

It is.

Joey Myers  00:57

First question, Lee. When we first met, you were really disgruntled with my system, you said “hey, you know you’re going to be hurting lower backs” and all this kind of stuff. I loved it and I’m one of those guys that if you can show me a better way, and then I’m all ears, and I was with you. Lee, for those of you who don’t know who he is, he is in the golfing world.

Joey Myers  01:20

He works with golfers internationally, he works with golfers of all time from professional, amateur, the whole thing. It’s interesting to get his perspective from the golfing world. Tell me just initially when you first came in and were like, you know what, this is really going to ruin backs and things like that. What brought you to that baseball hitting fundamentals decision? That observation?

 

Baseball Hitting Fundamentals: “You’re going to ruin low backs if you teach that!”

Lee Comeaux  01:40

Let me tell you the story how I got to anatomy trains, fascia, and things like that. I quit golf about 2000, every single move hurting and I had a lot of questions from my teachers. One of them was I tend to hit it with forehand a lot, right hand. Most instructors were usually lead arm, left arm. They changed me up, I just got tired of hurting, got tired of playing bad, I quit.

Lee Comeaux  02:07

My daughter, one night, let’s go the range, we go the range. I hadn’t hit balls in months or years even, I’m doing my thing, the next day she comes back, she said, “Dad, where’s the power come from?” Well, I really didn’t know.

Lee Comeaux  02:20

Long story short, kind of started over, I was like I’m gonna do it my way this time. I’m not going to go to instructor, I hadn’t played three to four years. Just started hitting balls in the range, just letting my right hand hit forehand shots, and before I looked up, I’m 10 buckets into it. I haven’t missed a shot, I feel great.

Lee Comeaux  02:43

What are these baseball hitting fundamentals things I’m feeling in my body? I started asking questions. My wife was a massage therapist, she just came home, and it was unbelievable. I went to the range, I took it back however I wanted, swung it down however I wanted, put one right where I wanted. I was feeling these things with my body, all she said was anatomy trains.

Lee Comeaux  03:06

You might as well say it in Chinese. Anatomy trains? Off I went!  I found Tom Myers, anatomy trains, started to understand the fascia of the body. It really was how when we’re just sitting there and I’ll take my daughter, a daughter had a select career from 8u, all the way to 18u, .697 batting average.  We kept it simple, the object was just to hit a ball. That’s it, not hit hard and in fact, when we would go to practice, talking about squeezing the last three. What I found was anatomy trains, I understood the arm lines, functional lines.

Lee Comeaux  03:48

I understood why when I grabbed a golf club, a bat, anything, for the last three, my hand is clenched. How my hand pivoted, how when we do simple tasks, paying attention to what your hand is doing, your grip. Not what does it look like, not in golf, is the beast point somewhere because all those things lead to how, it will lead to poor kinetics, it’ll lead to your brain and body being confused.

Lee Comeaux  04:22

The thing that blew me away was my back didn’t hurt, but also realize that first night how engaged my knees were, which you know and what you know now. Look how the functional lines attached in the knees, come up here and attach to the upper arm. We’re in golf, everybody’s teaching connection where when you learn that your functional lines attach on three sides of the humerus and they’ll connect about right here on the front, back and sides. It all starts making sense.

 

“Golf is about accuracy. If you ain’t accurate, you’re not gonna play a good score”

Lee Comeaux  04:51

Why my knees got involved was because it made my lumbar spine move around and time and space. Instead of me chunking hips around, and I’m never was a hip chunker, I was never one of those who bought into that theory. Golf is about accuracy. You had to be accurate, but powerful would be nice. If you ain’t accurate, you’re not gonna play a good score.

Lee Comeaux  05:15

When I played in college and professionally, accuracy was where it’s at. All of a sudden, I went from being sore and hurting to not hurting anymore because I was letting my body do things. It was wanting to do, not what that guy saw, what he saw, what he thought, I’m having results. I think of a shot and hit it, boom, there was.

Lee Comeaux  05:38

I think I’m gonna leave right there, in Texas we have crawfish holes, I’m going to hit it by a crawfish hole, about four feet, and have it stop right there and I’m like, whoa, never in my golf life that happened. Here I am at, I’m 52 now, this happened. Six, fourteen, thirty-eight and found anatomy trains, and was just started answering all these baseball hitting fundamentals questions of why things work. It also answered why things weren’t working in that, you can focus on things that are irrelevant and that really affects the way all this tissue operates.

Lee Comeaux  06:16

I’ve never heard in baseball, or golf. You never hear them talking about thoracic movement until you came along. It was always turning your shoulders, that’s great. They sit on top your thoracic that pivots, unbelievably, because that spiral line, but if you’re worried about throwing these joints around a rib cage, you’re going to struggle, you’re gonna fight it.

 

“All of a sudden, I realized, turn your rib cage, and then boom…”

Lee Comeaux  06:40

All of a sudden, I realized, turn your rib cage, and then boom, I just started looking. At 52 years old, I hit it further than I’ve ever hit in my life. Understand what thoracic pivot is, versus, I would never tell a student, turn your shoulders, turn your thoracic, because that’s what’s turning. As simple as that sounds, it is just it’s huge.

Lee Comeaux  07:01

Again, my daughter 697… .692 career, batting average. She went three years, she swung it for three years, whenever she pulled the trigger on the back move, she made contact, she averaged .954 percentile. When she swung the bat in a four-year period, she made contact, she may have found it, she might have popped louder, it didn’t matter.

Lee Comeaux  07:29

What we trained was, when this move, its job was to touch that ball. Confidence will teach you how to touch it harder and better, if that’s what you want, but what she found was you’re just going to want to hit it, you’re going to want to place it where they aren’t like Ichiro said. Same thing with her, it never hurt, never.

Lee Comeaux  07:37

It wasn’t until later in her career, in her college, D-1 career where they change things up, she started having back issues, but I knew that was going to happen because she knew that she had to do what they said. She also knew what they didn’t know, but we knew how to fix it. Thank God, through anatomy trains and things like that, you know how to fix it. I may want to leave it alone but that’s kind of the baseball hitting fundamentals backstory of how I got to that. Then, I saw you.

Lee Comeaux  08:18

I learned this in golf, come out in ’06-’07, talking about anatomy trains and fascia and pushing versus pulling and I was on a site called The Secret is in the Dirt, that Steve Elkington had. I look up one night and you look at all the hits on this website and if there were a million hits, 750,000 were my little thread.

Lee Comeaux  08:40

I’m some guy in Beaumont, just decided to pay attention to what was going on, to define some parameters or what I call good, listen to what my body was telling me, and then ask some questions, and my wife’s genius was anatomy trains. I look back and I’m glad that’s all she said, because she would have said anatomy trains and went into it real deep, I probably would have just walked away with “Yeah, I don’t care about all that”.

Lee Comeaux  09:07

Because it forced me for the first time ever, to research something I knew nothing about and you’re… I tell people this all the time, God gave you a gift called arm lines. It makes life so easy for human, for about four- or five-point human being. That’s why you can just throw, that’s why you can just swing and hit it. It’s when we get into the baseball hitting fundamentals of what does it do from the bottom of the feet.

Lee Comeaux  09:31

You’re not going to bat .692 in a 10-year span, you’re not going to not miss one or three years because you’re worried about you forced your motor cortex to worry about things that are irrelevant, none of that has anything to do with do this, other than the limbs are attached to it. That’s it. That’s why God gave you this and these, that’s it.

Lee Comeaux  09:53

You had no pelvis and hips and certainly Gracovetsky opens your eyes in his video is about the guy with no legs and how he was is able to propel himself, and when you get into the spinal engine, it’s like I tell people, especially in golf, the spine is such a focused-on thing. It’s probably focused on to a detriment, where it’s a curve, it’s an S, you’re going to slump some days, you’re going to be straight some days.

Lee Comeaux  10:23

Tiger showed us and a lot of these strike back golfers for sure. You look at the spinal injuries on tour, and it’s all from you not letting your spine. You got Nicklaus, who would always say, global flex. These are terms that weren’t around in 2006. Global flexion, local flexion, Hogan was a local flexing guy, it just wanted his arms around his waist, his hand, his hand path was around his pelvis. Make sense, so, this is where I was at years before where you got, and other people, and you’re seeing that more and more in sports.

 

Baseball Hitting Fundamentals: “You got to understand how the fascia and these trains all play because there’s layers upon layers in the body”

Lee Comeaux  10:59

You got to understand how the fascia and these trains all play because there’s layers upon layers in the body. While somebody listening to this may get a little bit as a parent, get nervous, but if you just leave it to pros and leave it to grip pressures, and you leave it to what’s my objective, all those other things do their job. Their job in hitting is to hit, you put this on the ball and how I taught her to do it because it tells me just like your brain tells you how to train anyone, mainly your kid.

Lee Comeaux  11:17

What we used to do was that here’s the deal, you’re going to get 100 looks tonight, you make 100 swings, wherever daddy throws it, you have to go put this bat on the ball. The minute you miss, we start over. If I threw it, if she had to jump and hit it, she had to jump and hit it, if she had to step over and hit it, I got her brain numb wrapped around what is the strike? I told her that ump you’re facing and how many times have we seen this?

Lee Comeaux  11:42

You got an ump calling strikes, here or at the ankles. We practiced in such a way that when the bat moved there was going to be a strike, whether you hit it or didn’t, you just initiated a strike. We just saw thousands upon thousands of not misses, and it got to where, but it became a game in the batting cage, I toss it or throw it harder, I thought it didn’t matter how I throw it behind my back. Her goal was no matter how it came at her, she was so focused on hitting it, so I throw it, top right corner, top left corner of the cage that’s got to where we would have to do that to kind of make it somewhat entertaining because she wasn’t missing.

Lee Comeaux  12:42

She was hitting it as hard as she wants then we got into it, barely hit it and hit, just to where it barely comes over my head, the batting cages and that what taught her all the anatomy trains in her body. It taught her control. How? What if you want to just bloop it up? What if you have one of those nights, you’re not feeling it and maybe all you need to do is get it out the outfield, and third base comes in and you win, I can’t tell you how many games she won like that.

Lee Comeaux  13:12

We did it and she did it successfully over and she got to where she could drop it into buckets, and we did it over and over. We had fun with it because the game was to hit just like the game is to throw the game has to catch. When that ends, she never hurt, that was pushing. I say pushing was the key to that, whenever we push, it’s very hard to hurt your back, whenever we pull, it’s doing what we have most of our injuries as a human.

Joey Myers  13:42

A couple things, and I love just listening to you talk and it goes into different baseball hitting fundamentals rabbit holes, you covered a lot of different things. Thing number one is swinging without pain. I just had last week, Monday, Tuesday, I had a gentleman come up from Ojai, California, which is down LA area and he came up 71 years old.

Joey Myers  14:07

He had contacted me over DM on Facebook and at first, I thought it was a hoax, and then he was legit. He’s like, “hey, what date? Tell me where to go? Give me the address.” He comes, 71 years old, we started swinging. He read my book, that was the thing, so he read my book, and then he’s like, “I love it, it makes sense”. He’s an attorney, international attorney.

Joey Myers  14:26

It made sense to him, a lot of the language he has read every book out there and a lot of people don’t know how to explain it. He comes we work on basically we call it neck pressure now. It’s the idea that the C and the T are creating tension, right that pressure. We took him from 51 miles an hour ball and speed off the tee, to 60 miles an hour within that first hour session.

Joey Myers  14:49

The one baseball hitting fundamentals thing when we talked about safety in the swing, was he took it he took a swing and he’s like, “oh my back” and I was like is it on the outside part of your back? Like your oblique, your external oblique? He said no, it’s the center and so I said, let’s do this, let’s do hollow.

Joey Myers  15:05

We call it the pinch, we take the belly button and the belt buckle, and we pinch those two points together, which is putting that flexion into the lower back and having swing and zero pain, no more pain. That’s number one, so maybe we could talk on that a little bit, but the other thing that you mentioned that I really love, that you gave me a huge idea back in the day, was you talked about Bustos, where she did a video where she had her bat, actually it was three tapes.

Lee Comeaux  15:31

It was somewhere blue, she had different videos, but the thing was pink. The one in her hitting where she hits the girl.

Joey Myers  15:40

Yes the target, so she had to hit, her girlfriend that was hitting with her was standing out, I think she was off the tee, she was standing out different places in the cage, and she’d have to not only hit the spot on the bat where she had taped there and I’ve done it in an ‘S’, I think maybe you had an answer something where there was like, maybe a half an inch, the actual tape itself, right?

Joey Myers  16:02

She hit it on one part of the tape, it could be this. the number one, number two or number three, and she had to hit their target that was out there, which was her buddy that she ended up hitting on her right back butt cheek and made it really hurt. But this idea that you talk about, that you don’t hear anybody talk about this, is hitting on a certain part of the barrel and hit a target, and you were saying with Goose is, it’s either hit it up there, hit it over there, it’s hit it in different spots, but also hit the part of the barrel. Those are two baseball hitting fundamentals things, both the safety of the swing that I’ve really learned from you and then the idea of changing targets and changing spots on the barrel.

 

Hitting for targets and areas on the barrel

Lee Comeaux  16:44

Correct. This is a manmade bat and a bat I’ve always preferred because of the way it’s made, and it has a lot of inertial value in it, but you take the measurements of the tool you’re using, you measure three quarters the length from the in you’re holding in this sweet spot right there. It’s a mathematical…it’s called center percussions. Now, where I started with her was, as I would put that, I made her start at the ball and go, with no wind up.

Lee Comeaux  17:24

For the people listening, you go to McKenzie Comeaux, M-A-C-K-E-N-Z-I-E Comeaux, C-O-M-E-A-U-X, she has a YouTube, 77 videos. There’s some of her hitting, but the main thing was, we start from here, we’re not ready to play, the minute we go, this thing lists tension, this about integrity of tension we need, we go, then it’s allowed. The same thing is when this lifts, that area lifts we go, and if I tell you, you’re about right here, and I tell you go left, you bet you got to be able to control this and go there.

Lee Comeaux  18:00

What it told her was, because when you’re in a game, you see the hole and you see the guy look at the pros, they’ll submit, the play offset…If you taught someone how to hit like that, and they shifted on you, and they left field wide open, you own them. Now, we got into what side of the ball to hit it, the left field wasn’t turned fast to hit a left field hit the outside quadrant, and that was just the deflection angle. That’s kind of where we went with it.

Lee Comeaux  18:34

It was a true game changer, and your anatomy trains. What I tell people is human bodies learn how much effort to put in something. It can go all out; McKenzie could lay a bunt this far off the plate every time. That’s controlling, that’s catching the ball with the bat, you want to catch it and drop, just take the inertia in and drop it.

Lee Comeaux  19:06

It’s actually fun when you do it, when you take the time to learn to do it, it’s just like golf. How to hit a fat chip on a fast green downhill because that’s the only shot you got. I see amateurs trying to spin it and they got no chip, no matter how much you spent, you got no chip, you should have fatted it, get it barely rolling, let the ground do the rest.

Lee Comeaux  19:27

That was kind of how we treated and she’s taking up golf so she’s really getting my analogies now because she’s gotten into golf at 19 but that’s anatomy trains, that’s the animal in the forest stalking that’s gotta turn it on. That’s human, humans got the same thing. We have been so joint focus for 200 years, structural focused. It’s just like tell people there’s a lining around the button, this is simple, there’s a lining sack around the bone that allows this arm. This looks goofy, but there are no biomechanical descriptions for that. They don’t know how that happens, if you ask somebody in biomechanics, what makes that go in those directions? They don’t know. Well, it’s that tissue, its fascia, it’s your ability to just think it and do it. That’s the beauty of it.

Joey Myers  20:21

What I love about what you bring to this, from the golf world, is precision, right? We’re talking about an industry, as you know, this baseball hitting fundamentals industry, baseball softball was more so baseball, but softball too, is this idea of hit the back, top third part of the cage, launch angles long, hit it hard, launch angles, launching and launching. It’s this push for aggressive swings all the time, where I think is lacking is the precision side and that’s where you come in.

How to apply the “precision” golfing principle to hitting

Lee Comeaux  20:49

Here’s a challenge for everybody listening and follows you. I used to tell McKenzie, how easy can we swing at it? What you come to realize is the moment of contact between the two, when this bat touches the ball, like in golf, I told her, the moment I felt the ball touch the face, I could accelerate. That was something I always had and it’s just for that little bitty golf ball distance, same thing with a softball or baseball, but how easy can we go and still get this out the park? What was the bottom limit? What was the top limit?

Lee Comeaux  21:00

She learned some things like I’ve shared with you 45-degree launch angles, you can go very very slow, but if you have a 45 degree launch angle, that’s optimal projectile distance. All of a sudden, I don’t only remember bat speed, but just say, she could probably at about 35 miles an hour at the right launch angle, get it out the park, which isn’t a whole lot of bat speed, but you can’t quit on the hit, you got to drive, you got to create the inertia to get the ball out.

Lee Comeaux  22:02

She started understanding the differences. We’ve all hit a hard ball versus kind of hit a ball, it’s fast and quick, and it just had nothing. You see a lot of kids that make this contact the ball just kind of fizzes off of there. You put them on video, it looks like they just nailed the center of it, but then what happens is they kind of let go the grip pressure, they let go… they think it’s over with because they practice so hard to quit it at impact.

Lee Comeaux  22:04

We practice, that’s why I started impact through impact through, punch it, it’s what you do. Once you make contact, all the damage is done by keeping going catapult system, the catapult has got to keep, the catapult doesn’t quit. That thing is the slings or the ball way past the mechanical point. The cable still has it, once it all the way stretches forward, it launches it, it doesn’t let go when it passes the two prongs.

Lee Comeaux  22:59

It’s all about getting all the energy out and inertia out, that’s kind of how the anatomy trains, that’s how you save your back. It’s like I tell people, I hear it all the time, turn your hips, all your pelvis is doing is taking your lumbar spine. This is the back of my lumbar spine where your pelvis moves, and it just rotate. It’s what gives your lumbar spine move 45 degrees, because it only has one degree of motion.

Lee Comeaux  23:28

If I want my lumbar spine to look that way, my pelvis will move that way. It has nothing to do with power, it has everything to do with safe lumbar movement to have a lot of what looks like motion because the more motion you have, the better you are. You have to open up areas of joints and able to move through the joint, where golf dynamic x, where we’re trying to hold our pelvis still. Can I do that? Sure. That’s really on the short shot.

Lee Comeaux  24:02

I’m just trying to get it through the outfield… I tell people, everything we do is a catapult system, optimum human performance is a catapult system. No matter, we’re fishing, if we’re tennis’ing, whatever we’re doing, we’re trying to move an object with a stick or something outside of us. Here’s a term I’ll never hear but what I call it the right-angle feet.

Lee Comeaux  24:32

Right foot like this, left foot is going to be like that and it can be anywhere. Golf is no different. When I’m playing good golf, my right foot square, my left foot, flair it out. Here’s why, the minute you do this, the minute your footsteps. If you hit against a spine with feet like this and pelvis like this and hips like this, all the tension from all these diagonals changing, your ipsilateral is all going right to your lumbar.

Lee Comeaux  25:00

For all of you listening and go home tonight, open this foot up, and then turn. You take all the pressure off one side of your back, bye bye back pressure. If I go bye bye back pressure, guess what I have a spinal engine telling me how much do you want? How much can I give you? Your only limit?

Lee Comeaux  25:21

I’m asked, where does the power come from? I’ll give you a minute to say it or think it. The answer is simple, it’s your glands, your adrenals. All these glands you have a release this energy, that’s the days when I as a golfer or me as any athlete or anything, no matter what I’m doing, I have optimum power management and optimum power results for the given baseball hitting fundamentals situation.

Lee Comeaux  25:56

You can work out until the cows come home, but if those things are not moved, fluid moving and again, that’s why we curve the spine. The things I learned, when the spine curves, we hit certain buttons that help certain glands activate for us to be our best us. Our job is to learn how to, “I want to hit it out the park, but I really need to get this just over the second baseman or just out to the infield, because I need to score the guy on third, so we win the game”,

Lee Comeaux  26:24

I take the chance of hitting out of the park striking out, and that’s what my daughter got good at sending it on the ground, we practice trying to hit it and skip it off the earth as hard as possible. You know how many times she skipped it over second baseman head because she just practice beating up or over the pitcher’s head.

Lee Comeaux  26:44

You run out of things to do when all you’re worried about is making contact, we learn all these ways to control the contact to get a result, to get on base, to either score someone. We learned, we practice how to fly out to the right and left field to score somebody on third hit a deep, everybody thought, Oh, she flew out, but to her, I score the guy on third, or the lady on third. That was her job.

Lee Comeaux  27:08

That’s where you go with this once you learn, once you’re pain free, and once you can focus. You’re not worrying about these things you’re not worried about; I sit down for the next day. We never iced down.  We got to have fun. We got to have a career that’s legendary around here.

Joey Myers  27:31

Yes, it was unbelievable. We talked about this idea of people, they are used to hitting .300, .400. They’re not used to hitting .600, .700, .800, right and one thing that came to mind when you’re talking about the lower back taking pressure off by taking that front foot and opening it up a little bit, is think about when at a bar, you have that barstool, you have the barstool, and then you have the little bar at the bottom for the foot. That was meant so that when you got your arms up on the bar, and these guys been there for hours drinking, talking, singing, and you’re standing for lengths of time with your feet like this, that little bar at the bottom there is for you to pick your foot up, put it down, and most of the time, it’s in that position.

Joey Myers  28:14

Another baseball hitting fundamentals scenario is you’re lying on the couch, watching TV, where you’re laying back, not laying, laying kind of prop down. You have both legs straight out this way, what you do when you start to feel your back getting tight, is you’ll bend the knee, and you’ll shift out this way and one side, you’ll bend the knee and go out the other way to take the valgus knee.

 

How to take pressure off the low back by flaring front toe out

Lee Comeaux  28:35

It’s because the bottom of your feet, now you get in the deep backline which starts right here on the forehead runs on top of your head, the bottom your feet. This is where people go, I get where people in golf were doing the spine and doing alignment squared because it’s based off of the deep backline.

Lee Comeaux  28:52

These are all things that God gave us as a gift to perform best but also to fix ourselves when we do ache and we do have pain. It’s just like my daughter came to me one day, I don’t know how long into this and she goes “Your femur head”. I’m like, “What do you mean your femur head?” I told her, your femur head is the reason your front foot is open, you got your femur head sitting here and you’re sitting here just like that, the pelvis and also one day you’re going to feel the same kind of slide move.

Lee Comeaux  29:24

What’s happening is people throwing their pelvis and hips are kind of all these femurs are getting. Everything’s getting all torn up. That’s when Nicklaus repaired his hip, that’s where people have bad hip injuries, or their hips get worn out because they’re trying to spin them and they’re getting all mangled and all sudden one day you feel it slide.

Lee Comeaux  29:43

I’m on the range one day, I felt mine, it’s a bulge, I get up pivoted around this joint, but that foot being that way, leave the pressure to where this thing can move and the ligaments around your femur head are probably the strongest you got, things just start. She went, I get it. I said, you get it now. And she’s like, yeah.

Lee Comeaux  30:08

Again, it’s because she was actually daydreaming once, she was at batting practice. She got bored of what to think about. She still felt it, there you have it. She was hurting a little bit. She had been at that point, I think some of the college coaches were trying to get her to do the hang back, throw it all out the last second.  Whatever that means.

Joey Myers  30:33

Crazy.

Lee Comeaux  30:34

It’s like reverse catapult hit the brakes, work your ass off to go nowhere to get it. You went from barely swinging and hitting over the fence, to now you got to give it, you got to go work out just to get to the fence.

Joey Myers  30:50

It’s baseball hitting fundamentals with the emergency brake on.

Lee Comeaux  30:52

Very well put, it’s hitting in park. I like that.

Joey Myers  30:58

I know we can we can talk all day and I would love to listen to you all day, but I want to be respectful of your time. I got a hard stop here in a couple minutes, but I wanted to ask you, if there’s anywhere that you want people to go to find out a little bit more information on you, maybe there’s some people that will see this that are golfers that maybe want to look.

Lee Comeaux  31:16

If you can google me “Lee Comeaux golf” and I’ve got a basic little video on YouTube, now called “Making the Divot”. For golf, you got to keep the symbol just aim your divot, because it’s an aiming sport for what you do.

Lee Comeaux  31:35

The good thing is you don’t have to be an aimer, you can start keeping the lines and to be a .600 plus hitter, you start focusing on exact spots, and the Ichiros of the world, that’s what they did. That’s why they had the hits they had, and that’s who they were, and that’s the same people that come here.

Lee Comeaux  31:53

That’s what they all want to be. We all think we want to be the Barry Bonds with the homerun record, we really want to be an Ichiro with a long career. How many pitchers do you think, just when he came up, they’re like, I got no clue how to get about this guy? That’s what you want to be.

Joey Myers  32:12

The idea of them striking Ichiro out or even getting them out, didn’t even enter their mind, it was to minimize the damage or to get him to go someplace that they didn’t want him to go.

Lee Comeaux  32:25

Ichiro was a pure fascia. He said it a lot. You have to have soft muscle and you get that once you realize what soft muscle is, and when the fascia melts, and all this stuff is working in your favor, and you see it on high speed all the time, you will see the tissue in the arm just flapping around.

Lee Comeaux  32:45

That’s us in our best, that is always a high-end athlete you see it in and that’s why he had a cannon like he had. That’s why the guy could run this fast, this dude performed at a high-level catching, throwing and hitting. If you look at the complete package, and why because the guy obeyed his anatomy trains, he kept these squeezed.

Lee Comeaux  33:09

It’s the same thing I feed to my daughter, when you squeeze these three, the same thing happens to your feet and we become a supple leopard, like a lot of people talk about in… the older gentleman came to you and he learned it’s about, there’s so many blocks we put in our way because the way we just stand there really, and I like what you’re talking about with the head.

Joey Myers  33:35

Neck pressure.

Lee Comeaux  33:37

Golf is one where you see it in an opposite where they’re looking, a lot of people turn their head this way, so they go in a lot. What that is, is because their thoracic is trying to make the biggest motion possible and all the tissue connects around the head. If I turn this it allows me more, it allows me to turn my thoracic. That’s all it is.

Lee Comeaux  33:57

Unfortunately, it gets very confusing if you want to go this way. I’m more of a guy this way because I know I’m playing that’s where I’m going, I understand all this and I want a compact golf swing, so I turn mine this way and keeps it. It’s no different than baseball.

Joey Myers  34:14

Absolutely.

Lee Comeaux  34:17

I appreciate your time, I appreciate it.

Joey Myers  34:21

I love listening to you talk baseball hitting fundamentals, and I always learn something new. Tell Mackenzie AKA Goose, tell her we missed her and Merry Christmas to you guys out there in Texas and think about us in California because we need all the help we can get with our Governor.

Lee Comeaux  34:35

Big fan. I wish you the best of 2021, keep doing what you’re doing, I told you this a long time ago, your days are coming where you’re going to be the guy, they’re all going to be chasing you. Have a great Christmas, my friend.

Joey Myers  34:49

Thanks, brother. Keep up the good work yourself.

Bat Tee Interview

Backspin Bat Tee Co-Founder Interview: If One Of The Best, Mike Trout, Is Giving Up An Average 20-mph Of Ball Exit Speed, How Much Do Mere Mortals Give Up Doing The Same Thing?

 

Here are the Backspin bat tee co-founder interview with Taylor Gardner topics that we discussed:

  • What do bat tee adjustments mean to you when it comes to talking to your hitters?Bat Tee Interview
  • True or False: Hitters MUST straighten their front leg to be effective…
  • What if hitters used a more precision approach like golfers when operating between 90-degrees?
  • Instead of writing off the arm bar as it doesn’t work, why not ask how can it work?
  • Is there ever a time when ‘swing down’ or ‘barrel above the hands’ bat tee cues can work?
  • If one of the best, Mike Trout, is giving up 20-mph of ball exit speed, how much do mere mortals give up doing the same thing?
  • Where can people find more about you Backspin bat tee guys?

The following is the bat tee transcription of the video above.  This is a sneak peak at the expert interviews we’ll be including in Volume-2 of the Swing Smarter book series.  Enjoy!

———-

Joey Myers  00:07

There he is.

Taylor Gardner  00:09

Oh,

Joey Myers  00:10

You hear me? Okay.

Taylor Gardner  00:12

Oh, yeah!

Joey Myers  00:13

Oh, there’s the baby. You got that mixed up? I don’t think that’s supposed to go in your mouth.

Taylor Gardner  00:21

Probably should.

Joey Myers  00:24

Look at you.

Taylor Gardner  00:26

Yeah.

Joey Myers  00:27

Causing your parents so much so many sleepless nights.

Taylor Gardner  00:30

Yeah, momma needed a shower time and dad had an interview here.

Joey Myers  00:38

Double interview.

Taylor Gardner  00:40

Yeah. Oh my

Joey Myers  00:45

Look at that, first time I think we’ve done a zoom interview.

Taylor Gardner  00:49

Oh it has been working out, better adjust my camera?

Joey Myers  00:55

No, I think you’re good. What do you need to adjust?

Taylor Gardner  00:57

All I was going to bring it down a little bit. I think I always fall down.

Joey Myers  01:01

Yeah, I think you’re good. Okay. Are you ready? Let me do the official bat tee start. Hello and welcome to Swing Smarter Monthly Newsletter. This is your host Joey Myers from HittingPerformanceLab.com and probably for the half a dozenth interview. I have Taylor Gardner here from Backspin Bat Tee. Welcome to the show. Taylor looks like you brought a little friend.

Taylor Gardner  01:26

That’s right. Yes. Yeah. She has been influenced by any good or bad and…

Joey Myers  01:37

there. There we go. You froze for a little bit. Say it again? Say No. So, she’s been influenced by what?

Taylor Gardner  01:46

I said. No, we got we got a fresh template here. She hasn’t had any good or bad instruction to start working with this.

Joey Myers  01:54

Yeah, yeah. Tie the right arm behind your back and… is your brother? Is he lefty? Or is he righty?

Taylor Gardner  02:03

He’s a switch hitter. You can do both.

Joey Myers  02:05

He does both. But what about throwing? Is he a righty?

Taylor Gardner  02:07

He’s righty.

Joey Myers  02:09

Okay, cool. Well, hey, I wanted to get you on the on the other side of the screen here and wanted to talk about making bat tee adjustments. So that we could go into the hitting side we could go into the strategy side we can go into any different things. So, what do adjustments mean to you when it comes to talking to your hitters?

 

What do bat tee adjustments mean to you when it comes to talking to your hitters?

Taylor Gardner  02:30

The adjustment is, must be understood and adjustment is something if a hitter is already attempting to be on time, it’s really hard to make adjustments if you’re not in the time window to start with. If you’re going up there to hit and you’re just purely reacting your adjustments are also reacting maybe even twice as long or twice as late as they should be.

Taylor Gardner  02:56

Within the understanding that people were syncing up release point we have the timing window of the pitch coming in. Maybe we’re sitting on fastball and all sudden we a pitcher throws a changeup, and whether you recognize the spin or the speed or the trajectory angle, whether an off-speed pitch, what do you do?

Taylor Gardner  03:15

Well, if your plan was there to help you your approach is there to help you not hurt you, so within your plan or approach if you’re on time for fastball, and oh no it’s an off-speed pitch. What do you do? Well, easy answer is, you don’t stop your swing. I know we get told a lot of wait, let that curveball get a lot deeper. Now we’re talking about changing depths and it’s really hard to change depths of timing on the fly. So as instead of being reactive to making your adjustment proactive and making your adjustment one thing that my baby down actually brought a bat here to show you…

Joey Myers  03:55

Use the baby as a bat…how cute she is.

Taylor Gardner  04:02

One thing that we see a lot with hitters. He was left-handed here. I do apologize. Is they’re sideways, they’re pretty lined up with a pitcher in some fashion bat tee stance, and then we start to ride and stride as they start to witness that. Okay, this ball isn’t a perfect fastball down the middle. What do I do?  Well, we see them not only continue to take their head and posture to the ball, but you see a lot of hitters start turn in and sit with the ball.

Taylor Gardner  04:33

As opposed to going uh oh, I’m a little early, let me pull out and then have to release my arms and hands to hopefully start to see hitters actually sit with that ball. Then because, you sit, any movement takes time. And if the plane is correct, you’re on time for the pitchers fastest pitch and then if you’re making an adjustment is to bite. This is where a lot of young hitters especially they don’t do a good job of buying time.

Taylor Gardner  05:00

They end up staying on their backside and opening up too soon and all they have left is like it with their own risk. And yeah, you can hit a ball and do that, and you probably get on base and feel good about yourself. But the faster you know that speed starts to go up and level and the more drastic change of off speed, you get a 90 mile an hour fastball and 80-mph changeup. That’s a little different than facing a 75 mile an hour fastball and 70 mile change-up.

Taylor Gardner  05:27

As a pitcher supposed to extend those timelines, adjustments and variables, the hitters have to as well. The ability to be ready for the fastest pitch and also be able to buy time while staying in a good posture position on the ball is something that we see really good hitters do and you know, quite frankly, amateur hitters don’t do as well.  Oh, sure at some level. Yeah, won’t be a good fastball hitter.  Every great hitter is known to be a great fastball hitter.

Taylor Gardner  05:55

If you’re looking off speed looking for that, that slow curveball every fast ball is going to beat you. On the timeline you got to be prepared for the pitches, pitchers fastest pitch as the fastest timeline. Therefore, your plan is there to help. Yeah, he’s going to be perfect every time, well of course not, it’s baseball. It’s tough. But at least the plan was in place to help you be on time for fastball and buy time for off speed.

Taylor Gardner  06:23

For example, this last weekend, my nephew, faced his first knuckleballer. 13 years old didn’t know this pitcher had a knuckleball it wasn’t his main pitch, so you know first at bat I don’t know hit a fastball for double, second a bat gets a strike or two on him a ball or two and then all the sudden, whack!  He hits a single, steals second base eventually gets to third base and the coach at third goes, “good job Maverick you know you really sat well in your legs on that change up”, he goes “wasn’t a changeup coach, it was knuckleball”. He goes, “Oh, when did you realize it was a knuckleball?”  “After I hit it!”

Taylor Gardner  06:59

It reminded me that he took a good plan to the plate, ready for fastball he happened to adjust instinctively to this crazy knuckleball, but it was more about controlling this contact depth. I’m not quitting on my swing. Did he sit more in his legs, sure.  Did he have a locked out-front leg? No. But he found a way to keep his spinal engine and posture on the ball. By the time he pulled the trigger. Sure, the ball got a little deeper, he barreled it up, he got a good hit out of it. At the end of the day, it didn’t fool him, this random pitch that he really has never seen, didn’t make him react and freeze.

Taylor Gardner  07:36

It didn’t make him react it to slow down and touch it, his reaction was to stay on the ball and give it a chance. And it sounds easy to do until you start seeing a pitch come flying at your body. For us older coaches that aren’t playing anymore, I think sometimes we forget that. There’s a little fear involved. And so, a good plan leads to good adjustments. And sometimes knowing how to get over that fear or filter out your situation really helps that plan starts to stick together better.

Taylor Gardner  07:57

And therefore, those bat tee adjustments really become valuable. As far as other types of adjustments. And that was one type of sitting in your legs, other types of adjustments. We’ve seen Mike Trout sit in his legs; we’ve also seen him bend over a little more at his waist a little side tilt. That’s another way of buying time. Adjustments to me, in our world is a place to buy time, every movement takes time. But unless you’re ready to line your posture up for the ball on time to begin with, adjustments are just going to slow you down. You’ve got to make sure those adjustments are there to help you not hurt you.

Joey Myers  08:48

Well, you said a couple bat tee things that would blow a couple people’s minds they were listening to this… number one is sitting on your backside and swinging from that position number one, and number two, that you don’t have to straighten out your front leg that you can keep that bent. And I love that and that’s something that I’ve learned from you and your brother and Matty, Matty Nokes that the legs really set direction like the lower half basically sets directional force, it does contribute to some of the power.

Joey Myers  09:16

And we’ve learned discussions on that over the last couple of years saying you know, probably between 20 and 30%, it probably contributes to the power of the overall power thing. But the idea that you can use your knees bending your knees at front knee to adjust to pitch height like those are bat tee adjustments that we can make that if you’re from a train of thought that says you have to straighten it you have to brace that leg out, right, I mean that’s really not… We’re trying to like you said buy time.

 

True or False: Hitters MUST straighten their front leg to be effective

Taylor Gardner  09:46

Right. Speaking while the bracing the front leg, the front leg can obviously we can see it YouTube it, Google it. Now of course you can hit with a straight front leg and even sitting in your legs may still turn out to be a brace straightening front leg, you still bend your knee and still walk and brace into that front knee.

Taylor Gardner  10:06

But I think a lot of times as coaches and instructors that usually come to… an issue that I’ve seen come around is their teaching to push the leg straight, as opposed to letting the hip pull the leg straight.  Pitchers do a really good job of this, they don’t just land in their front leg and then push straight up.  Is their vertical ground force? Of course, there is.

Taylor Gardner  10:29

Now in hitting though, there may be little more of that vertical into horizontal ground force, it sounds funny to say, but you’re not just going to push up away from the ball every time. Sure, could you get away with it, of course, and there’s nothing wrong if you are on time and you get the barrel to it, great job. But like you like to say Joey, if it happens too much to ignore, I’ll just start paying attention.

Joey Myers  10:52

Yeah, and on that note, that was the one big bat tee thing that I pulled from you, we’ve been friends for probably over 6, 7, 8 years now, was that idea of staying sideways and keeping that back foot from completely turning over. Like a lot of coaches will say pivot that back foot, pivot that back foot, and meaning, that back heel will turn towards home plate. And it’ll continue to keep rotating. And so, I think we’ve developed almost a generation or two of hitters that are over rotating the lower half.

Joey Myers  11:23

And you say, using Matt Nokes’s lingo is stay sideways, stay sideways, I think is a great one.  And to your point, or to our point that it happens too much to ignore, and you can’t just write it off. Some of our buddies in the past have said well, that hitter can do that because he XYZ that hitter can do that because it’s… no it happens if you take the top 100 hitters, 50 hitters, you’ll see half of them stay sideways and maybe the other half, get to this neutral with it. So that happens a little bit too often to be ignored.

Taylor Gardner  11:57

For anyone that’s listening, if you’ve ever played golf and if you haven’t fine taken a baseball bat take it slow, practice golf swing, go YouTube, Rory McElroy, Tiger Woods, anyone you want. Golfers have figured out how to stay sideways with their back foot.  Now, their balls on the ground and it’s generally between them. Like ball being on a bat tee for hitters.  They’re more allowed to buy but positions of contact with golf. However, you’re going to see baseball players do it too. But since the contact point in baseball can be further out front. Sure, you’re going to see that that back foot rotates a little more before contact. I get that told a lot. “Well, look at this hitter.”

Taylor Gardner  12:33

Yes, but look what happened the first 80% of his swing before contact, he was still sideways, he was still… now was he turning his shoulders, was he loading his core, the spiral engine. Sure, but the back foot was still sideways to hit, the back foot ends up becoming a bit of a rudder.  I won’t even take that too literal. But you wouldn’t start with your back foot facing the catcher, you wouldn’t face with your back foot facing the pitcher. There’s a reason, it’s a natural position for the body.

Taylor Gardner  13:05

The ball is thrown in front of us and quite honestly, ball comes in and it is in front and to the side of us.  If you’ve ever swung an axe, it makes sense to shift your weight and leverage up. That’s why we want to have a little more shift, not only for taking your head to the ball and be able to judge depth before moving very good and feeling your depth and putting a nice sense to it.

Taylor Gardner  13:34

But at the same time spinning against my back foot. Step on my dog… [laughs] spinning too soon. Now the ball is essentially to the side and behind us. Not that you can’t hit from here we opened up too soon. My swing’s wanting to go this way, I crossed my face this way, we want to cross our face into contact with the ball. Again, golfers understand this and their balls in front of them. They want to cross the face you don’t want to spin out and then cross their face too late that ends up turning into a slice and anyone who has played golf, probably vouch for that, my goodness I’m spinning off the ball. balls on never fixed.

Joey Myers  14:19

Well, and what I love the golf analogy is because in golf, you have a ridiculously small margin for error, you have we’re talking in hundreds of yards, not hundreds of feet and your little ball that’s got to get hit by this clubface and then the square center center contact with the clubface in the ball the straighter the ball is going to go. You can take that clubface and slightly like a couple of millimeters you can slightly pull it in like you’re going to hook it or slightly away like you’re going to slice it and those little, teeny millimeters by the end of that 200-yard journey is going to be way pull or slice.

Joey Myers  14:55

What I always tell my hitters, I say when we’re teaching this concept of staying sideways and keeping that back foot from over rotating is, we have to play almost like a golfer, where a golfer’s looking at one shot to the pin, I call it one degree of fair territory. And outside of that 359 degrees of foul territory, because in golf, the objective is the least number of strokes to get it in the hole. In baseball, of course, we have 90 degrees to play with, but we want to act like we’re doing like golf, we want to act like there is a smaller margin, and we have to operate within that smaller bat tee margin, right?

What if hitters used a more precision bat tee approach like golfers when operating between 90-degrees?

Taylor Gardner  15:29

Along those lines, that it’s incredible you say that because the whole outside pitches, let it get deep, inside pitchers you’re magically allowed to pull for some reason, we’re talking about different depths there. Where in golf, obviously, the ball’s not moving, but to their benefit, they’re more precise, they have time to get their stance set up, time to adjust their face angle. So yes, maybe we don’t have that luxury in baseball, but we do have the luxury of knowing our contact depth.

Taylor Gardner  15:58

Do I like hitting the ball more? You know, some hitters like hitting the ball more off their front hip, some even further out front, some like hitting it a little deeper, more or middle of the other ball, whatever it is that you are super comfortable. That’s your decision. That’s what you’re going to battle with the best. And, again, based on your timeline. I have a lot of young hitters, and we constantly have to work on reminding them. Where is your preferred contact?

Taylor Gardner  16:29

And not to make them look like robots, but you’ll see them when uh, I don’t know, maybe like right there or up here. It’s like, Oh, you got to know, if you don’t know, you’re guessing, like your close, good job of being on time. We want to be on time with our contact point. This is a lot more precise. And as you know, aim small miss small, it’s may not always show up in baseball, maybe you had a day where you didn’t hit well. But you know what my plan was good. My adjustments were sound. And maybe I was just a little early or tad late, whatever that may be over under the ball.

Taylor Gardner  17:06

But you can sleep well at night knowing, man I had it at 99% today. And you don’t realize how much you haven’t figured out. You start thinking about more precision, besides movements. And then suddenly you go out three years ago, I was going to battle with a 50%. efficiency.  That shocks a lot of hitters and I really do think a lot of good college players get to pro ball and maybe it doesn’t pan out for whatever reason.

Taylor Gardner  17:32

I think a lot of them whether they can say it or not verbiage that happens to a lot of if they get exposed, we get told at every level of baseball, you better swing faster Jerry, you better figure out how to get that faster pitching, you better, have quicker hands, whatever. Of course, we must make those adjustments because we’re being exposed. What if we got ahead of that being exposed?

Taylor Gardner  17:56

I don’t know if you saw the video that I posted on the baseball Illuminati page. I was actually crow hopping of doing run and guns, a nine-year-old ballplayer shuffle stepping out 25 feet in front of them throwing the ball 60-mph our reaction time stupid fast. So never seen anything that fast in their lives. As far as timing wise. And you know what he did? It took him a bit. He filtered it out. He figured out when to go when to shift, how to track the ball.

Taylor Gardner  18:26

And yeah, that ball was getting to him quicker than any pitch he’s ever going to see in baseball. And he started barreling balls up.  Our brain’s a supercomputer y’all know that problem is if that supercomputer is putting in the wrong formula, it’s still going to, there’s still going to be a glitch. You still have to help it out.

Joey Myers  18:44

Shoot, I’d even go another step with the wrong formula and just saying that it’s becoming impossible, or you hear that from coaches? Well, that’s impossible, that’s not going to happen, or that’s not reality, or it’s not going to happen. And instead of saying that something’s not possible, why not ask why? or How can it be possible, right? We’ve talked about the front arm shape and trying to get that thing extended out. Whereas everybody in their mother seems to teach this bent front arm, right.

Joey Myers  19:13

The question that I always get when I put that post out there, people will go well, you know, I’ve tried to test it out and beer league softball and works there, but it doesn’t work in the big leagues and whatnot. And if you go way back, Joe DiMaggio and Hank Aaron, Ted Williams, Babe Ruth, all those guys locked out. So instead of saying, oh, that doesn’t work, today’s pitchers throw too hard and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. Why not ask how can we make that work? Yes. How does that work? Right?

 

Instead of writing off the arm bar as it doesn’t work, why not ask how can it work?

Taylor Gardner  19:42

What if we made 90 miles an hour feel slower? Nothing’s any easier to hit. But what if? What if it wasn’t impossible.  And clearly, it’s not, people do it every day. It’s not impossible.  I’d like to say maybe the way we’re rationalizing it and maybe even practicing. Maybe we’re not doing our own job as a baseball coach, making, maybe it’s 75 miles. Now, if you’re struggling, maybe that’s what it is, whatever it is get ahead of that curve, not that you’re going to just start jacking home runs. But don’t be late. There’s no excuse for being late. There’s no excuse for not filtering out and understanding your environment.

Taylor Gardner  20:19

Maybe you don’t get to face a live picture every day or practice, that’s fair. I’m sure you have your work cut out for ya. But there’s no reason to get your doors blown off, when you have all of the potential to be as early as you want. Once you’re late, once the ball gets behind your timeline, and it gets behind your back. Pitcher starts in front of us. We as hitters, let ourselves be late. Maybe because we’re trying to do some crazy swing, like, oh, let it get deep and snap it or something, I don’t know.

Taylor Gardner  20:50

But whatever it may be, again, kind of back to the approach and those adjustments. Got to clean that up. And maybe you got to study more time. Maybe you got to study more spinal engine springy fascia and figure out where to get your running position. To your arm bar point… I think a lot of… uh oh, we have a wandering baby…

Joey Myers  21:13

Wait till she starts walking…

Taylor Gardner  21:15

I know I can’t wait!  I understand folding your levers and engaging muscles, getting correct shapes. That makes sense. But when you see arm bar, and it starts to walk out, or to do slow motion. Yeah, looks funky in slow motion to arm bar. When you engage the body and it starts out, it starts to feel a little more natural golfers do the same thing. Luckily for us that in golf, you get to start with it extended and just connected to your body from there.

Taylor Gardner  21:55

But this bat is heavy, I completely understand why people want to hold it close to their body, it is rational. And it’s still close to the body. It’s not like we’re arm barring out here. If you’re still arm barring across our core, this bat is behind you, want lag and you want leverage, leverage, and just loose and lever sometimes, your hands are so close to your body. And even so close this way to the middle of your body. By the time you do a swing, yeah, you’re getting the barrel off your foot. And it may be a strong position depending upon position.

Taylor Gardner  22:34

But if I never got the benefit of the lag, and a clearing, and time to speed up the bat, it takes time to speed up the bat. This is not an instantaneous thing. I know this swing only takes like point two seconds; I get it.  That’s slow through the world of everything happening, there is plenty of time and so that hand, grips on the bat. For most people they’re bottom hand is the weaker hand.  Not doing anything left-handed if I have to. But you want your dominant arm to do his job.

Taylor Gardner  23:09

Not that you have to do it all with a dominant arm. But you certainly don’t want your weaker arm to be your dominant arm. Now, how do you get them in position? Well, as you get a swing, if it happens to lock out, you’re getting the benefit of lag and leverage. How is that wrong? If I understand timing, if I understand off your positions and swing plane. And armbar is nothing in the scheme of arguments. I’m linked into the lever.  If I do it correctly, then of course, I have more leverage and more bat speed.

Taylor Gardner  23:42

But bat speed takes time. And so, when I see a lot of kids, they start here and the lever pull even more on their hands get across the face really soon, elbows way behind their hand and not even close to be slotted. And next thing you know, you’re chopping down or they slice it, and more important, their swing radius and swing arc may only go so far. Versus if I clear, I can get a further reach. And it’d be right within my wheelhouse of comfortability.

Joey Myers  24:13

If we go back to your contact points, right, knowing what your contact points are. When we work with our hitters on what we call our horizontal approach, or our line-to-line approach. Being able to hit the ball the other way, pull it, and go up the middle things like that. We talked about that there are two main things to be aware of… one is what you’ve already said is your contact point. But number two is when that barrel enters the hitting zone.

Joey Myers  24:38

And it’s going to be different for we call middle in and middle away. It’s going to be different. So middle away and middle down. That snapping early getting the barrel in the zone early makes sense. It’s a great middle down of the strike zone middle away approach. But when it comes to middle in the middle up, it doesn’t make sense, and I use those bad cues that I thought were bad about four years ago. Swing down, barrel above the ball, we do use those but only for middle in, middle up.

 

Is there ever a time when ‘swing down’ or ‘barrel above the hands’ cues can work?

Taylor Gardner  25:05

But right. Speaking along those lines… Yes, have you ever had a kid trying out a new baseball bat and Oh man, he’s struggling with the weight or it was too long for him. But that’s some of the stuff you’ve been told, just remember that when this bat is laying horizontal, is heavier, as far as where the balance is. There’s a reason we stack the barrel. And there’s a reason we hold this bat up, you can hold it with one finger.

Taylor Gardner  25:34

That’s how life, if you will, work how to control the bat, Matt Nokes talks about this, why, the barrel above the hands, it’s taken me a while, the feel can be down, in fact there is a down move in the swing, hold your posture. It’s called your head. The balls is below you. Yes, we want to swing on plane. Of course. But how you get to that barrel entering the zone. And before it starts that actual upswing? That is paramount.

Taylor Gardner  26:07

That also was still wrong with the down early method. Yeah, you’ve got there. But did you give up timing, to get to position at contact.  Did you give up adjustments, because your only move is to get there. If you were able to just keep your hands and be ready for that high and inside pitch, as Perry husband would say we get to focus on EV tunnels.

Taylor Gardner  26:34

If I’m ready for that, then great. And then I can always adjust if I need to.  Wait adjustment patterns, that kind of dynamic plan. Not everyone would agree with me on this, but just from a third party perspective, if the high and inside pitch is the ball that we have to get the barrel out there quickest to, it makes sense to me to be on time with that and adjust down and away with that, because you have more time or space, ball is further away from me to do so, obviously, you get in the baseball stuffs like, well, if you’re looking middle middle, and then that gets tougher if you’re looking away if you’re looking wherever.

Taylor Gardner  27:19

I don’t want to get into the approach part of it. But it just makes sense to me that you can practice, play around practicing with looking high and in, get that pitch locked in, and then we’ll work it down to middle middle, get that adjustment pattern locked in. Maybe for some people, it’s not so much that they have to change their approach, maybe they just need to be comfortable getting to all these pitches vertically, you might not have to worry about what my timing is good, I’m swinging at the right pitches, just getting jammed a lot on high.

Taylor Gardner  27:51

Well, maybe it’s just because you’re dumping your barrel too soon.  It’s okay, you got to find where that issue is, and not fight it. But again, let your plan help you get there. The barrel above the hands is a great plan. It helps me already be ready for that movement pattern… sure, maybe you get to that pitch well maybe you’re facing speeds you can handle and you’re struggling with low and away. So maybe you do have to think about releasing that barrel sooner. Okay, nothing wrong with that.

Taylor Gardner  28:23

I would give everyone hesitation to just go out and put out a YouTube video saying this is the one and only way, of course it’s not. But we must understand all of it so that when you hear someone say something, to filter through what they’re saying, you’ll see why he’s doing it, that makes sense.  When you come out and some of these instructors say just one swing plane for every pitch. And if I just wait longer than I can see it longer. We know that’s not exactly be true.  Eyes don’t see the ball much longer just because we’re not swinging.

 

If one of the best, Mike Trout, is giving up 20-mph of ball exit speed, how much do mere mortals give up doing the same thing?

Joey Myers  28:56

Well and what’s also interesting is what the actual hitting operating system is when you can watch somebody, when you have been around the block and you’ve seen a lot of these different teachings, you can see what their main operating system is. And I know you and I were similar in this and we want to maintain high ball exit speeds.

Joey Myers  29:16

When you get a hitting guy that’s talking about a certain thing like hey, we need to get that at high and inside pitch with the bend in the front arm we need to get there, well we know that Perry Husband said Mike Trout, one of the best in the world will go down is one of the best top five probably, ever top five top 10 and down and away average ball exit speed is 101 miles an hour, not his top out but his average. And that’s where he’s locked out with that elbow at contact.

Joey Myers  29:45

And then at up and in, he’s reduced to a high school baseball player at 80 to 83 miles an hour. So he’s losing almost around 20 miles an hour ball exit speed that’s 80 feet. That’s 80 feet of batted ball distance that he’s giving up by looking away and adjusting in. Well, some people go well, that’s fine. But here’s the deal. And this is what I tell my players I say, Mike Trout is a once in a lifetime player. He’s just one of those people that we will look back on when he’s done with his career. And we will say he’s one of the best. One of the best ever is giving up 20 miles an hour ball exit speed.

Joey Myers  29:50

20 miles an hour.

Joey Myers  30:24

You know what the amateurs are probably giving up. 30-35 miles an hour ball exit speed?  He’s one of the best he can get away with it. You’re going to be given up a lot more.

Taylor Gardner  30:34

Yeah. I can’t remember if it was you or someone else had brought to my attention. It was before COVID happened. I think it was the baseball season before. And they asked, who hit their highest exit speed most often? Try and word that correctly. And I was like, Oh, I don’t know. And there’s Jose Altuve. And Aaron Judge. I was like, oh, okay, wow, two different types of hitter’s sizes body length. They said, Oh, you know how often they hit their hardest exit speeds?

Taylor Gardner  31:06

And at first, I’m like, Oh, these big leaguers? Oh, man, I bet 20% of their hits or they’re popping out near their top exit speeds. It was less than 2%. Wow, less than 2% of all of their hits, on miss hits in the realm of hitting is as hard as you can. What does that mean, though? Does that mean maybe they’re slowing their swing down and touching the ball? No, I don’t think so. And in my opinion, obviously get fooled on some pitches. Okay, fine.

Taylor Gardner  31:33

But I think most of their base hits that they reported, I think their miss hits are that powerful. And once you start to realize that homeruns are the best result, okay, but maybe your best result is a hard line shot, single or double, whatever. However hard you get whatever type of hit is your hardest hit, which for most people is a low launch angle, I dunno, maybe 0-5, maybe 10 degrees. And then that makes sense. Balls coming down about 5, 7, 8 degrees.

Taylor Gardner  32:03

And you can imagine that plane, you’re going to give up exit speed when you raise or lower your launch angle. And I see a lot of people don’t understand that. Oh, no. My hardest hits home runs.  Not exactly. I want to say the highest ball ever recorded was a ground ball. Double play.  It’s okay. It’s okay that if your exit speed fluctuates, based on how well you struck that ball for a single, double, triple based on how high or low you hit it, that’s fine. And you want to start tightening those windows up.

Taylor Gardner  32:33

But Backspin tee, you know Taylor, Joey, you can’t control your launch angles, not saying you can control your launch angles. It’s just like I’m not saying you can even hit why I’m saying though, is you can work on the precision of contact and work on your precision posture and swing plane. And when it lines up, you smoke a ball at the pitcher’s head, you did your job. And when the next at-bat, it probably feels the same and you hit a homerun, guess what you did your job. You hit the ball far. But more importantly, your plan gave you the ability to fall as hard as potentially could that swing.

Taylor Gardner  33:08

And that’s Oh man, how many young kids have you seen? You throw them one change-up… They’re crushing balls… you throw them one change up. And then the next 10 swings are crap. They just can’t find it… it just ruins their world. It’s like, oh, man, you got to filter that out. Trust the plan and get to the next pitch. It’s okay.

Joey Myers  33:29

Yeah, exactly. That’s crazy. Yeah, that’s a good one to end on. And that’s another call for another day. I want to be respectful of your time because you’ve got a little one that’s down there. And she’s been great. By the way.

Taylor Gardner  33:40

She’s sleeping now.

Joey Myers  33:41

She’s asleep. Yeah, she’s asleep. I’m talking too loudly. I’m talking to you loudly. But hey, I want to let you get back to the baby and get back to the family. hopefully get some sleep. Maybe she’ll take take a nap with her. But hey, where can people find you? socials, website, any kind of deals that you got going on right now? Go ahead. And…

 

Where can people find more about you guys?

Taylor Gardner  34:04

Yes, so find us on Google backspin bat tee to find backspintee.com, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, we have a 20% off code at the moment. If you use the code BATBROS. For those of you that follow the baseball bat pros, I’m very good friends with them. They are great people Bill Taylor and them and they’re amazing people. But you’re also going to find our bat tee in Dick’s Sporting Goods here soon. So be on the lookout.

Taylor Gardner  34:28

Hopefully, Academy is a follow that as well for those that maybe that’s closer to here. And we’re trying hard to get Mark word shields and some other big retail stores. But the Dick’s Sporting Goods we’re shipping that out here in a couple days. Extremely excited to make that next jump to the big retail because we’ve done so well on the individual bat tee sale and it’s time to make that move.

Joey Myers  34:50

Yeah, congratulations, buddy. I’ve been with you for a lot of this bat tee journey. I think we jumped on probably we start building our relationship maybe your second year I think you guys are. So, so I’m just excited for you guys. And I know you guys have been just like all of us been through our ups and downs and stuff and it sounds like you guys are starting to starting to rise again. So yeah,

Taylor Gardner  35:12

Yeah, it all started with Joey Myers experiment video, my bat tee versus the other tee, and we didn’t know each other so you have to watch that video.

Joey Myers  35:20

Again. See how they turned out? Yeah, it was in a very bias thing, I was probably, we had run into each other a couple times. We talked on the phone maybe once or twice and I was like, you know what, let’s try this out. Let’s do a bat tee experiment on it. I think it turned out well for you guys.

Taylor Gardner  35:34

Yeah, I think well back to the precision of contact, just changing that visual. You had a more funnel effect with the Backspin Bat Tee, and with the traditional tee, it was a little more scattered and it just makes you wonder, not promoting my bat tee over another tee… Tee just are you working on your precision and in your vision obviously has a lot to do with that so, pick up a Backspin Bat Tee, give it a shot, if you don’t like don’t like it, then I’ll give you your money back. Yeah, definitely.

Joey Myers  36:01

Right. Then percent off and you get 20% BATBROS. B-A-T-B-R-O-S, and that’s all caps, correct? Cool. All right, brother. Well, thanks. Keep up the good bat tee work. Congrats on everything and congrats on the little girl. My first time seeing her.

Taylor Gardner  36:13

Thank you bud.

Joey Myers  36:14

Alright brother. Take care of yourself.

Taylor Gardner  36:16

Have a good one.

Joey Myers  36:17

Have a good Easter.

Taylor Gardner  36:18

Thank you.

STOP Athletic Performance Training? [VIDEO]

Athletic Performance Training Interview With Jeremy Frisch: Is It Smart To Shut Down Overhead Shoulder Development?

Here’s what we go over in the athletic performance training interview with Jeremy Frisch:

  • What do you feel the biggest mistake is when those kids are being trained by strength and conditioning coaches?
  • What do you think about something like that, where you’re totally shut down any overhead shoulder development for baseball, softball players?STOP Athletic Performance Training? [VIDEO]
  • When you do an athletic performance training evaluation of a hang, what do you look at? How long if a player is poor in that, versus is good in that? How long can they hang for?
  • When you get a kid like that a high school, junior high school on up, what do you do with that kid? Do you have to go back in
    time, work that out? And how long does that usually take?
  • “…you had them wrestling or something similar?”
  • Are you looking to do some franchising or something like that, to where people can have access to that around?
  • Is there a certain athletic performance training formula like maybe the four or five things that you look for that we make sure in one hour that we’re getting done?
  • Where can people find more about you? And so that’s number one. And two, are there anything new? Any kind of projects you’re working on right now?
  • Any other parting thoughts before we go?

Here’s the athletic performance training video transcription… (estimated reading time is about 30-minutes)

 

Joey Myers 

Hello and welcome to Swing Smarter Monthly Newsletter or Newsletter Monthly, I say it both ways. This is your host Joey Myers from hittingperformancelab.com and I have the honor today, finally, to get Jeremy Frisch and it’s Frisch, right? Not Frisch.  I have Jeremy Frisch on with me. He is the owner of Achieve Performance Training.

Jeremy Frisch 

It’s at achieveperformance.net.

Joey Myers 

.net. Okay, cool. Then it reroutes? The big thing Jeremy is a big, like, if you go onto his Twitter is @JeremyFrisch and Frisch spelled F-R-I-S-C-H. If you go on there, and his Twitter says, strength conditioning, long term athletic development, which we’ll be talking a lot about in this call. He’s a physical education youth football coach at Clinton High.

Joey Myers 

I see that, I think he’s actually out though, I know you’re at the elementary school, huh? Elementary, that’s where all your training is?

Jeremy Frisch 

Yes.

Joey Myers 

Clinton High, Bridgeton Academy, looks like Worchester State University. So welcome to the show, Mr. Jeremy.

Jeremy Frisch 

Fire it up. I’ve been a big fan for a long time and read your books and your live drive baseball package that I bought and watch those videos. This is exciting for me.

Joey Myers 

What I love, is the very thing that you do to help kids get into, is the biggest component i think that is not put in or at least it’s put in wrong, it’s plugged in wrong. My first question to you is, what do you feel on the strength conditioning side with the kids that you’re talking about? Say, maybe through elementary school? What do you feel the biggest mistake is when those kids are being trained by strength and conditioning coaches?

What do you feel the biggest athletic performance training mistake is when those kids are being trained by strength and conditioning coaches?

Jeremy Frisch 

I think over the years, you got athletic performance training started up with professional and college level, and it’s trickled down and it went through the high school and then and now it’s at the middle school. And I think with private facilities, people try to make money so they’ll have some type of like, kids’ program, right? And what happens is that, I think a lot of facilities may not have the experience of working with kids, so they just default to what they know.

Jeremy Frisch 

They’ll put on training programs that are made, probably more for adults, than for kids. They sort of watered down a little bit, and try to make them kid friendly, but they’re really not. You know, what I mean?  The elementary school age, what we’re really talking about is physical education, right? And we want to get those kids to be able to move around as much as possible.

Jeremy Frisch 

I think the most important part of that is you could say move around a lot. And you can get them to do jumping jacks, and hops and stuff like that, and all that stuff’s great. But to get them in an environment where they have to think and react and move, and that’s why that age, games are the best, right? You get them in an environment, playing tag, or chasing each other things like that, or playing dodge-ball, those type of things develop kinesthetic awareness, they develop spatial awareness, they develop their ability to track with your eyes, which talking about baseball, right?

Jeremy Frisch 

I mean, that’s the name of the game right there. And so those things lead to, being able to track not only is awesome for baseball and other sports, but it’s also awesome for reading, right? Because we all know we need that, too. Any activity that allows us to track a ball or track a person, or be able to have to react to a ball or a person or auditory signal or anything where we have to react to something in front of us. It’s probably the best thing that you can give to a child that age.

Jeremy Frisch 

The other thing that they really need to be able to do, is to be able to handle their own body weight. And like people think about that it’s like, “Ah! We’re going to get them to do pushups and squats and lunges and stuff.” And it’s not that.  It’s more like can they climb up a tree? Or can they climb on a bar and hang? Can they do a forward roll? Can they bear crawl? You know what I mean? Can they jump off a box and land without totally collapsing and hitting the ground? You know, what I mean?

Jeremy Frisch 

When I was a kid, we used to jump off stuff all the time. You know what I mean? And we did it in like a play type atmosphere, but those type of environments really developed the athleticism, and we didn’t even know it. You know what I mean?

Joey Myers 

Right. And, obviously in baseball, we’re talking, hitting and things like that, but throwing and one of the things that I thought, I didn’t know really much in junior senior year of college coming out, but one of the athletic performance training programs I think was University of Texas, it just won the College World Series. I think that was my junior year and then my senior year, their strength conditioning program almost got rolled out to every D1 all over the country.

Joey Myers 

And one of the things that they did not do was anything over shoulder, no vertical shoulder, anything. We weren’t allowed to do any vertical shoulder stuff. And to me at the time, I remember thinking to myself, wait a minute, don’t you need to be strong in every position possible? I understand that we’re overhand a lot. We’re doing a lot of overhand throwing and stuff. But what’s your opinion? Or what do you think about something like that, where you’re totally shut down any overhead shoulder development for baseball, softball players?

 

What do you think about something like that, where you’re totally shut down any overhead shoulder development for baseball, softball players?

Jeremy Frisch 

Yeah. The old saying, if you don’t use it, you lose it. You know what I mean? You’re asking these guys to pitch and they’re going through an extreme range of motion at a very high velocity.  You better be strong to be able to do that, you better be strong when you start doing it. And I think when we’re talking about kids, there’s probably thousands and thousands of kids across the country that pitch every weekend, probably can’t hold himself up, like hanging from a bar for more than 30 seconds.

Jeremy Frisch 

They don’t have the grip strength in the hand, they don’t have the strength in the shoulder to be able to hang, to hold themselves there. But you’re asking them to pitch a ball as hard as they can, or swing a bat, as hard as they can. I think when you look at it that way, too, it’s no wonder that I think some guys have trouble teaching kids how to hit or how to pitch because the physical abilities aren’t there. Right? The physical abilities aren’t there, to be able to teach them how to swing a bat fast, or how to throw hard.

Jeremy Frisch 

I think there’s needs to be a foundational level of strength for kids before they actually get into their first few years of playing sports.  I’m a huge fan of hanging or pull ups or climbing all that stuff for kids is awesome. And I test because my kids play baseball, so some of their friends come in, and we get kids from the surrounding area that are supposedly really good players. And the first thing I test like, how long can they hang from a bar?  And it tells me right away what they got going on up top.

Jeremy Frisch 

It’s a really good sign, obviously hitting and pitching and throwing, and a lot of that comes from the forces through the ground, too. But it’s important that their shoulders are strong, scapula is strong, has good range of motion. I’m a huge fan of when those kids start to hit like their tween years, like the 11, 12, 13-year-olds, we do tons of one arm dumbbell presses, we’ll do stuff where they’ll hold the dumbbell overhead and walk. I’m a huge fan of that stuff. Huge fan.

Jeremy Frisch 

And for power development, we do a lot of medicine balls, most kids will throw medicine balls between probably four pounds to eight pounds, 10 pounds, but we have these medicine balls that are 15, 20, 25, 30 pounds, and we do a lot of vertical throws with them. The kids are going to do a push press when they launch the ball in the air. And will let it go and hit the ground, and they’ll repeat. We do a lot of that stuff.  So yeah, I’m a big fan of trying to get as strong as you can through a complete range of motion.

Joey Myers 

I love that. You mentioned the hang. When you do an athletic performance training evaluation of a hang, what do you look at? How long if a player is poor in that, versus is good in that? How long can they hang for?

 

When you do an athletic performance training evaluation of a hang, what do you look at? How long if a player is poor in that, versus is good in that? How long can they hang for?

Jeremy Frisch 

I want to see the base level, like 30 seconds. I remember that summer, I had like three or four kids that were between the ages of 11 and 12. And thought they were, and these kids play a lot of baseball, and they’re pretty good. But they were struggling at 30 seconds. But you know what the great thing is, is if you practice that every day or every other day, you could get really, really friggin good at it. It doesn’t take a long time to get stronger. And I use that as proof for the kids like look at, if you work at this, just like swinging a bat and pitching a ball…

Jeremy Frisch 

You work at this every week or every day you’re in here, you’re going to get better and we got kids that went from like barely getting 30 seconds to well over a minute.  It’s a huge part of my program when I first have kids that come in to my facility and I love the younger kids, not only just hanging but get them to like shimmy across the bars, back and forth where they have to sort of like navigate across the bars. My kids, I set up years ago, and they’re still in there, they’re like the gymnastic rings like monkey rings, so they have to swing from ring the ring go all the way down the rack and back.

Jeremy Frisch 

I tell you, I think it’s great not only for shoulder strength, but grip strength as well. And I think that’s another thing that so many baseball players, I think leave on the table is grip strength. I mean, you’re literally holding a bat. The bat is in your hands, right? And everyone overlooks grip strength. You have so many nerves in your hands, and it connects all the way up into your shoulder. And I think that’s another thing that’s totally overlooked in a lot of training programs is grip strength, you know?

Joey Myers 

You know what’s crazy is that people now have to pay strength conditioning people, athletic performance training yodas like yourself to do this kind of stuff instead of like you and I, when we were younger, we went to the playground, and we did all the monkey ring stuff and all that. And now we have to pay a Yoda like yourself now in order to get that kind of training.

Jeremy Frisch 

Yeah. And I think too, if you do it early, like my son, my oldest is 13. He’s a big kid. He grew up got six inches over, he hit his growth spurt over COVID. And he’s just sprouted up. And he’s not skinny. He’s pretty solid kid. Right? When he was little, we did rope climbs all the time. He used to climb that rope all the time. And I swear, even though he’s grown a lot, developing that grip strength and shoulder strength when he was that age, allows him to be able to still do chin ups at his size, and stuff.

Jeremy Frisch 

I feel like he developed that strength when he was younger. And now that he’s gotten older, even though he’s grown, he’s been able to hold on to it, because he’s trained through that time period. And he’s able to do those things. I think for younger kids, it’s just huge to be able to get… and it’s fun, right? That stuff is fun. We’re not like making them do one arm dumbbell rows, and like SCAP pull ups, we’re not doing corrective exercises.  That gets fun, you’re climbing on bars, you’re hanging, you’re trying to get from ring to ring, it’s like you’re playing but you’re training at the same time.  I think it’s huge.

Joey Myers 

That kind of stuff in the gym, the monkey bars, and the whole gymnasium type of thing in the parks that we play in, it was tag, we were walking on, like I see your kids doing walking on little, whether they’re beams that are above the ground, or you’re having to balance, you’re having to, all this kind of stuff. And that’s what I really like.

Joey Myers 

One of the athletic performance training questions I actually wanted to ask you, you did the strength conditioning episodes on your site in the about section, like bottom third of the page, and they were talking about some things they asked you about the older kids that you get, whether they’re high school, maybe even college guys that come back, or maybe just started to work with you. And that there were some developmental holes in their past. When you get a kid like that a high school, junior high school on up, what do you do with that kid? Do you have to go back in time, work that out? And how long does that usually take?

 

When you get a kid like that a high school, junior high school on up, what do you do with that kid? Do you have to go back in time, work that out? And how long does that usually take?

Jeremy Frisch 

That was a big change for me with my programming. And when I really started working with the kids and realize like, these are the things that kids need. And these are the things that will help them to develop to be a better athlete.  I sort of took that idea and morphed it into using it with the older kids. And the idea came, well, let’s try to fill in these developmental holes with these kids during their warm up period. Right?

Jeremy Frisch 

10 minutes a day, 15 minutes, they’ll come in, we’ll do a little bit of crawling to work core strength and stability of the shoulder. Because we know that’s good, it’s a little bit more structured.  It doesn’t look as fun as the kids do it.  But it would be like, alright, we’re going to do 50 yards of total crawling, broken up into small parts.  We’re going to do some foundational… we might do hanging, we might have them use a bar, where they’re going to work on their typical strength exercises.  Just to get them in the right positions to be able to do a squat or bench press or shoulder press, whatever.

Jeremy Frisch 

We’ll do a lot of stuff on the balance beams.  We’ll get them walking sideways on a balance beam, maybe doing a low lunge on a balance beam.  We’ll get a medicine ball in their hands and get them throwing the ball different ways. That’s another big one, like just side throws, overhead throw, slams to the ground, get them in circuits like that, so they get to move their body through a bunch of different ranges of motion, directions and stuff.

Jeremy Frisch 

Stuff they’ve never been used to. And for me, that’s where I fill in those developmental holes. We use the warmup period to go back and maybe touch on the things that they may not have developed when they were younger.

Joey Myers 

Correct me if I’m wrong, I think I’ve seen an athletic performance training video on your Twitter before, where you had them wrestling, or some sort of wrestling. I know you guys can roll out the wrestling mats out in the hall I think you were saying, and then you had them wrestling or something similar?

 

“…you had them wrestling or something similar?”

Jeremy Frisch 

Yeah, so sometimes we have them do… they’ll get in a bear crawl and face off. And they’ll have to grab each other’s arm and have to try to pull the other one over. Or we’ll do plyometrics where an athlete will jump in the air. And then while he’s in the air, the other athlete will whack them, sort of push them, so they land a little bit awkwardly. We’ll do stuff like that.  We’ll do where the athlete boxes another guy out, like in basketball, a box out drill.

Jeremy Frisch 

You have to work on like they’re pushing each other back and forth. Yeah, so I love that stuff. Because I think it’s a different type of strength. Right? You ever have a buddy that wrestled?  He grabbed you, and you’re always knew, shoot, this dude. It’s just a different type of… because he’s used to just pushing and pulling with someone and he knows, the moment you try to make a move, he knows how to counteract that, that type of motion.

Jeremy Frisch 

It’s like you always knew when one of your buddies wrestled because they just had that extra, this sort of sixth sense in strength. I love that stuff. And you’ve probably seen it, the younger kids wrestle all the time. And I tell the parents listen, your kids are going to wrestle when they come in, they’re going to push each other, we’re going to put the mats out, we’re going to roll around, we’re going to play games that forced them to tackle each other.

Jeremy Frisch 

I’m a football guy, too. I coach football. If I can get kids to get used to that physicality of the game. I think you can’t beat it, because those skills are going to use later on.

Joey Myers 

Yeah, and because I focus on the hitting side, I don’t have… we have a few places there’s a parkour place that we have our son at, we have a place called Little gym that they do beginning gymnastics. Both my son and daughter were in that for a couple years. They do a lot of cool… a lot of things we see on your videos, not everything, but a few of those. And then with the whole COVID thing, the little gym shut down.

Joey Myers 

We were trying to find another place, so they do parkour. So a lot of the things that you’re doing, so we don’t have a ton of that here, which I wish there was, but what I usually suggest to my hitters, is to get in things like martial arts, for the females dance, even swimming is good, you just don’t get the ground reaction forces in that.  Those kinds of things are gymnastics, obviously, are always good as developmental things to do, if we don’t have access to something like what you’re doing.

Joey Myers 

Are you thinking? …Are you looking to do some athletic performance training franchising or something like that, to where people can have access to that around? Have you given that thought?

Are you looking to do some franchising or something like that, to where people can have access to that around?

Jeremy Frisch 

I’ve had so many people contact me about, do you have a facility in: Georgia, Florida, Texas, California, I’ve had people ask me.  If I could have an entrepreneurial side of my life, like a group of people that could do that stuff, I would do it in a heartbeat. But I am way too unorganized. I’m just getting by every day, just having my own place as a businessman, you know what I mean?

Jeremy Frisch 

I’m like the idea guy, I love going to the gym and coming up with all the different ways to do it. Laying that out on a national scale. I think for me, it’s way above my head. But it would be awesome. Because I think you’re right, there’s not enough places around like that. And I think for me, even thinking in an even broader scale, like you just said, I would love to have a place that catered to, you have your gym, where you have your older athletes so they can lift and do your traditional training.

Jeremy Frisch 

You have your PE slash transition into strength conditioning that I do. And then you can also have that area where kids can just go and play and do parkour, or Ninja Warrior. You could even take it one step further and have a big space where you had a batting cage, and a basketball court and a little turf area where kids can play seven on seven football, or play hoops or play baseball. You know what I mean? That’s my dream. My dream facility.

Jeremy Frisch 

We have yet to find the space because I think if you can have something like that you have kids have access to so much athletic development. And I’ll tell you what to, and I wanted to say this before… watching my kids go and transition from Little League into a higher-level baseball, right?  Definitely jumping from like a USA bat to a BB core bat. And seeing kids who are not physically developed or strong enough to struggle, because they just went from a drop 12 to a drop three.

Jeremy Frisch 

Its kids get up and they’re swinging a freakin tree. Yeah. And one of my athletes, he’s actually a football player, but he likes baseball. He doesn’t put full time, like a lot of attention into it, he just plays. But I was blown away this summer watching him be able to use his athletic ability on the baseball field, running the bases, running balls down in center-field, just making contact where he put the ball where he needed to so we could get on first.

Jeremy Frisch 

It just got me thinking, man, just having those skills is so big for baseball, you know? And so for me, I’m always backtracking, how can we develop those skills with kids, so when they do get to this level, there’ll be successful?

Joey Myers 

Yeah, I agree. And like I told you, at the beginning of this athletic performance training call, that everything you’re doing is a piece of the puzzle that a lot aren’t doing. And I think a combination of what you’re doing with that transitioning side, you talk about this football player, is just an absolute athlete, been working out with you doing that kind of stuff. He’s got the foundation to be able to just step in.

Joey Myers 

Then the next piece of the puzzle are the movement principles, the human movement principles that are validated by science, we apply them to hitting a ball. And those are the things… I’m a big spinal engine guy, love springy fascia and as you know, and that is the next step once you get moving correctly, and you can take out ankle mobility issues or shoulder mobility or thoracic spine once you take that stuff out. Then it’s all hands-on deck.

Joey Myers 

Now they have full range they can create things like neck pressure where they wind up the head in the shoulders and things like that. Ever since we connected, I wish I could have, Frisch heaven, about all these surrounding developmental things. One of the biggest things I wish I had was a Jeremy Frisch next door to me that I can tell my hitters, this is a must you need to go to this. That’s going to make what we do in the cage or on the field so much better.

Joey Myers 

I just wish we had a Jeremy Frisch next door. But maybe that’s something that we can talk about. Because we’re working on things that we could talk over the phone, on the franchising side of it. There could be something there, we just have to take your brain and formulate how that would look and would be really cool. Something like a little gym. Right little gym is very formulaic. You don’t have a little gym out there, a little gym, just a smaller version of gymnastics, right? They’re going to do the flips and all that. But it’s all building up to the back-flips and all those things.

Joey Myers 

But maybe that’s something we can talk to you… one thing before I let you go, I wanted to ask about where people can find you. But before that, what is your kind of formula for… when we do a workout, we want to make sure we’re doing a roll, we’re going to make sure that we’re doing sort of a hard press a jump? Is there a certain athletic performance training formula like maybe the four or five things that you look for that we make sure in one hour that we’re getting done?

 

Is there a certain formula like maybe the four or five things that you look for that we make sure in one hour that we’re getting done?

Jeremy Frisch 

Sure, yeah. And I can even give you like… so a lot of the athletes that I train with are probably between the ages like 10 and 14, 15. Right. And so that’s a great age, because there’s so much development going on. And that’s really the golden age of when you start to see their athletic skills start to blossom.

Jeremy Frisch 

When an athlete comes into my facility around that age, we spend a tremendous amount of time, we’re going to spend a good chunk of time when they first come in, we’re going to move.  Before we do anything, we try to increase our body temperature. We move.  We have circuits where we’re working on smart fundamental movement skills, so that’s a great time. So we’re going to do 20 yards of skips, 20 yards of shuffles, 20 yards back pedaling, 20 yards of hops, stuff like that.

Jeremy Frisch 

Another series, we do in place, where we just do jumping jacks, or skips and hops side to side, but we want to move, and when we do move, we want to do everything. When we’re skipping, we’re doing arm swings.  When we’re backpedaling, we’re holding our arms overhead.  When we’re hopping, when we’re doing side shuffles, our arms are making big circles. We’re trying to integrate the entire body and make it awkward and weird for the kids.

Jeremy Frisch 

Just because we know all that movement is going to lay a bigger foundation, the more movement you do, the better you get at it.  The first thing we always do is movement, to warm up, and usually fundamental movement skills. Then from there, we usually move on to two things, we work on stability, and then range of motion.

Jeremy Frisch 

Stability would be like getting the kids on the ground doing short stints of like bear crawl, or crab reaches where we’re really focusing on the core and they have to lift an arm off the ground and stabilize themselves in a good position or lift a leg off the ground, or crawl like maybe 10 yards really slowly with their knees close to the ground. It’s hard work.

Jeremy Frisch 

But you’re really focusing on staying stable and not moving much. Or moving very slowly over a short range of short distance. And then to go with that, I usually do them together, we do these, what we call it’s, the name of the company is called stick mobility. But we do like these big ranges of motion with PVC pipes. We’re asking them to overhead squat, we’re asking them to do a lunge with a bar overhead, we’re asking them.

Jeremy Frisch 

A big one I do with the pitchers, they get in a lunge with the stick over their head, and they create a lot of tension in the shoulders. And they’re going to bend side to side, at their waist, we’re going to do big side bends, we’re going to do laterals ups, we’re going to do step ups and single leg work. We do this stability slash flexibility at the same time. And that happens in every session.

Jeremy Frisch 

The next part of our workout, we do plyometrics. We always do jumps. And again, we pair that with… this is where we get into, I guess more specific throws off the wall where we do our plyometrics, like medicine ball work, side throws, similar to like, I want to see the kids loading.  Try to get that upper body rotation while they’re stepping forward, I want to see how they look almost similar to how they swing.

Jeremy Frisch 

We do a lot of that stuff, overhead throws, heavy slams. One arm punches, all different… we have medicine balls, that we do drills that are two pounds, we have medicine balls that we’re all the way up to 30 pounds. So that’s a huge one for us. And then from plyometric work, and their jumps. So I should backtrack, after we do our throws, before we do our jumps, we’re always going to do something double leg, and we’re always going to do something single leg, so we’re always going to be hopping off on one foot, we’re always going to be jumping up at two feet, just to make sure we cover all our bases.

Jeremy Frisch 

The last thing in our movement series, after plyometrics is we’re ready to go. This is when we’re going to sprint. We’re going to do short sprints, we’re going to chase each other, we might do resisted runs, we might do some type of agility, where we play tag and run each other down. Or we’re going to do some type of high-speed work. Where we’re really moving. Yeah, so and then from there, it’s all your basic stuff from in the weight room.  We teach our kids how to Olympic lift, we’re not scared of teaching getting the bar on the kid’s hands, we definitely teach our kids how to squat, dead-lift, hinge, get strong on one leg, they do plenty of pull ups, lots of rows, really basic, basic barbell dumbbell movements.

Joey Myers 

I love that dude. Yeah, I appreciate you sharing that. And again, we got to figure out how to get you a lot more outside of the Massachusetts area, Clinton, Mass. area. But before we get there, I appreciate your time today. Where can people find more about you? And so that’s number one. And two, are there anything new? Any kind of projects you’re working on right now?

 

Where can people find more about you? And so that’s number one. And two, are there anything new? Any kind of projects you’re working on right now?

Jeremy Frisch 

Yeah, so you can find me, there’s a bunch of athletic performance training articles that I’ve written, I think five or six on simply faster. If you just type in Jeremy Frisch, simply faster, all those will come up. You’ll see a lot of the things that you and I just talked about; you’ll find a lot of those things in those articles. And there’s a lot of great videos in there, too. Some good examples for parents looking for ideas to use with their kids, or coaches looking to do stuff with their athletes.

Jeremy Frisch 

And then, I’ve been slowly just trying to take videos of the things that we do, and sort of database them. I don’t know what I’m going to do with it, if I can present it to a group of coaches that want it, or say you want it and say, Hey, give me the, I need 10 exercises for my baseball players, boom here it is.  I’m trying to put that together, there are so many exercises, it’s a little overwhelming right now.

Jeremy Frisch 

Once I get that athletic performance training database growing, and explain it all… the other part of it is too is, you see the games that we play, I posted about the games that we play, but I’ve never really, there’s never enough space on Twitter or Facebook, and I don’t really have the time to explain how they work.

Jeremy Frisch 

How the games work, and what are the rules. I’d love to put together a database of games that athletes can use and how do you play this? What are the rules? And what are we working on? That’s my current project.

Joey Myers 

Very cool. Well, we’ll talk more about that you and I just do a phone call. I showed you some things there that we can… whether that’s an online thing or franchise thing is going to take a little bit longer because that’s going to take into account creating some standard operating procedures and operations manuals. You know, that kind of thing.  That’s going to take probably a little bit longer, but an online thing might be something worth looking at right now as the low hanging fruit.

Joey Myers 

And we mentioned your athletic performance training website, you said was AcheivePerformance.net? People want to find you there. Twitter. Where can people find you? What’s your handle? I know we discussed earlier, but just as a reminder.

Jeremy Frisch 

Yeah, it’s just that @JeremyFrisch. And I posted, I love Twitter. I love being able to come up with my ideas and little short phrases. It’s way easier to do it. Do that then have to write an entire article or book.  Obviously, videos can truly show what you do. I love posting on there.  Mostly, just because I think there’s a lot of people out there that could use it.  There’s a lot of mom and pop coaches, there’s a lot of Phys ed teachers, there’s a lot of different people that could look at that stuff and find it useful.

Jeremy Frisch 

So yeah, and then I’m on Facebook, too. It’s mostly people from my town, that are college friends and stuff like that, but I do post some stuff of the things we do with the kids on there. The rest of my time, if I’m not working, I’ve got four kids. I usually coach football in the fall and basketball in the winter and baseball in the spring. So yeah…

Joey Myers 

Busy guy, dude, busy guy. Well, hey, thank you for everything that you do out there. And we’ll see if we can touch more people besides over there in Clinton, Massachusetts, and appreciate your time today Mr. Jeremy, you guys have a Happy Thanksgiving. Any other athletic performance training parting thoughts before we go?

 

Any other parting thoughts before we go?

Jeremy Frisch 

Well, thanks for having me on. Really appreciate it. Like I said, I think I read both your books, and they were fantastic. And they’ve definitely helped us. My kids help me as far as coaching goes, but also giving me an understanding of how, I didn’t understand all of it with the hitting book, and then you said, Oh, I threw the shot-put in college, and I saw shot-put and I’m like, Damn, like, That’s it. That’s it, it’s there, I understand what he’s talking about. It was really great. It was really great for me that I could take what I knew about shot putting, and I could put it back into teaching my kids how to hit, which is great. Awesome stuff. I appreciate you having me on.

Joey Myers 

I love it, dude. All right, man. Well keep up the good work again. Happy Thanksgiving. And we’ll talk soon. I’ll reach out and we’ll have a conversation about some of the other stuff we were talking about.

Jeremy Frisch 

Sounds great. Can’t wait. I’ll talk to you soon.

Joey Myers 

Alright brother.

Jeremy Frisch 

Bye.

Strike Zone Baseball: Pitch Detection & Pitch Tracking Baseball

How To Master Strike Zone Baseball with V-Flex Pitch Detection System

I have a strike zone baseball mastery, pitch detection, pitch tracking baseball, pitch recognition (whatever you want to call it) gem for you coaches…

(This post has a 6-min reading time)

And FYI … many coaches who know about this, DO NOT want you to know about it.  Why?  Because they want to keep their competitive advantage.  I don’t play that game.  I’d rather share the knowledge, tool, or strategy, so it makes baseball and softball of all levels better.  All ships rise with the tides.

Training pitch tracking baseball and softball developing a sense of the strike zone, to have a pitch detection or recognition system if you will, can be a challenge. You may not know how to teach it, cue it, or drill it.Strike Zone Baseball: Pitch Detection & Pitch Tracking Baseball

What if I were to tell you that you could use a pitch tracking baseball tool like the V-Flex, which promotes implicit learning, that will teach hitters pitch detection and how to master strike zone baseball. What is implicit learning? Simply put, it’s teaching without teaching.

Here are some pain points associated with strike zone mastery, pitch detection, pitch tracking baseball, pitch recognition – whatever you want to call it:

  • Don’t know how to teach swing at more strikes, and not at balls,
  • I do know how, but it’s difficult to teach and we’re not seeing immediate results, or
  • Want to cut down on my hitter striking out and swinging and missing, but don’t know where to start…

Well, you’re in the right place.  Here are the pitch tracking baseball and softball models to choose from, and you can get any one of these at The Starting Lineup Store

 

VX-3 Strike Zone Baseball Benefits (Baseball & Softball)

  •  The VX-3.0 is the smallest trainer in the VX-Series of products.
  • It plays a vital role in creating tangible space for enhancing strike recognition for hitters.
  • This implicit trainer engages the hitters brain directly and provides necessary non-verbal spatial information relative to mastering strike recognition on game day.  
  • It can be used independently or in combination with the VX-5 and or VX-7 during training or live bp on the field. 
  • This piece comes with a User’s Manual and a visual aid for demonstrating the areas of focus during training.
  • Watch the VX-3 assembly video to gain tips on how to assemble…

VX-3 Pitch Detection Features (Baseball & Softball)

  • Frame is made of 3/8″ X 1″ 6061 aircraft grade anodized aluminum.
  • In 2017 we upgraded our shadow netting to #64 coated nylon.  The new netting is much more durable than previous years.
  • We also added bungee cord for the inner circle drawstring which allows the inner circle to be more uniform during use.
  • This model also comes with galvanized/poly-coated cables and a new shock absorbing ring.
  • Finally, it comes with a 5 pound sand bag for stability.  The VX-3.0 comes with a 5 year manufactures warranty on all aluminum and steel parts.
  • It comes with a 5-year manufacturers warranty on all aluminum and steel parts.

 

VX-4 Pitch Tracking Baseball Benefits (Baseball Only)

  • The VX-4 plays a vital role in creating tangible space for enhancing strike recognition for hitters.
  • This implicit trainer engages the hitters brain directly and provides necessary non-verbal spatial information relative to mastering strike recognition on game day.  
  • It can be used for live bp on the field.
  • This piece comes with a User’s Manual and a visual aid for demonstrating the areas of focus during training. 

Here’s the VX-4 in action…

VX-4 Strike Zone Baseball System Features (Baseball Only)

  • Circular frame and tripod with extendable legs made of 3/8″ X 1″ 6061 aircraft grade anodized aluminum.
  • In 2017 we upgraded our shadow netting to #64 coated nylon.  The new netting is much more durable than previous years.
  • We also added bungee cord for the inner circle drawstring which allows the inner circle to be more uniform during use.
  • It comes standard with 12 polypropylene prompters for making different strike zone spaces.
  • It comes with a 5 year manufactures warranty on all aluminum and steel parts.

VX-5 Pitch Detection Benefits (Baseball & Softball)

  • The VX-5 is the mid-sized trainer in the VX-Series of products.
  • It plays a vital role in creating tangible space for enhancing strike recognition for hitters.
  • This implicit trainer engages the hitters brain directly and provides necessary non-verbal spatial information relative to mastering strike recognition on game day.  
  • It can be used independently or in combination with the VX-3 and/or VX-7 during training or live bp on the field.
  • (Added Value) This trainer can be used as a SBP-5/BBP-5 (Pitching trainer) by simply removing the cable and ring system.  This is a tremendous benefit for customers on a tight budget.
  • This piece comes with a User’s Manual and a visual aid for demonstrating the areas of focus during training.
  • Watch the VX-5 assembly video to gain tips on how to assemble the VX-5… (The only difference between the VX-5 and VX-7 assembly is size.  The assembly is identical for each)

VX-5 Pitch Tracking Baseball System Features (Baseball & Softball)

  • Frame is made of 3/8″ X 1″ 6061 aircraft grade anodized aluminum.  
  • In 2017 we upgraded our shadow netting to #64 coated nylon.  The new netting is much more durable than previous years.
  • We also added bungee cord for the inner circle drawstring which allows the inner circle to be more uniform during use.  
  • This model also comes with galvanized/poly-coated cables and a new shock absorbing ring.
  • Finally, it comes with a 5 pound sand bag for stability. 
  • The VX-5 comes with a 5 year manufactures warranty on all aluminum and steel parts.  

 

VX-7 Strike Zone Baseball Benefits (Baseball & Softball)

  • The VX-7 is the largest trainer in the VX-Series of products.
  • It plays a vital role in creating tangible space for enhancing strike recognition for hitters.
  • This implicit trainer engages the hitters brain directly and provides necessary non-verbal spatial information relative to mastering strike recognition on game day.
  • It can be used independently or in combination with the VX-3 and or VX-5 during training or live bp on the field.
  • (Added Value) This trainer can be used as a SBP-7/BBP-7 (Pitching trainer) by simply removing the cable and ring system.  This is a tremendous benefit for customers on a tight budget.
  • This piece comes with a User’s Manual and a visual aid for demonstrating the areas of focus during training.
  • Watch the VX-7 assembly video to gain tips on how to assemble the VX-7 (The only difference between the VX-5 and VX-7 assembly is size.  The assembly is identical for each).

VX-7 Pitch Detection System Features (Baseball & Softball)

  • Frame is made of 3/8″ X 1″ 6061 aircraft grade anodized aluminum.
  • In 2017 we upgraded our shadow netting to #64 coated nylon.  The new netting is much more durable than previous years.
  • We also added bungee cord for the inner circle drawstring which allows the inner circle to be more uniform during use.
  • This model also comes with galvanized/poly-coated cables and a new shock absorbing ring.
  • Finally, it comes with a 5 pound sand bag for stability.
  • The VX-7 comes with a 5 year manufactures warranty on all aluminum and steel parts.
  • Here are some other blog resources when it comes to pitch recognition:

Here a few more blog resources when it comes to helping hitters with pitch recognition…

Baseball Hitting Trainer: Curtis Nelson Interview

Baseball Hitting Trainer Interview: How To Transition Cage Swings To The Game With Curtis Nelson

 

Here’s some of what will be discussed in this baseball hitting trainer interview with Curtis Nelson:Baseball Hitting Trainer: Curtis Nelson Interview

  • Rapsodo getting used as a paper weight?
  • What are the top two mistakes that you see coaches doing when they’re teaching hitting?
  • Random pitch training. Explain that a little bit, how you guys do that, and how that looks…
  • How to transition grooved cage swings into the game
  • Do you teach your hitters any kind of plate or pitch approach?
  • How do you evaluate hitters and teach them to make an adjustment?
  • How do you get a pull happy hitter go oppo, and how do you get an oppo happy hitter pulling the ball?
  • “Curtis, so and so said that timing cannot be taught?” What do you think about that?
  • What are some of the adjustments you have hitters make to slow pitchers?
  • Where can people who want more information find you?

The following is the above video’s baseball hitting trainer video transcription.  Let’s get to it!

 

Joey Myers  00:27

Very cool. How did today go?

Curtis Nelson  00:30

It went well. I got a couple guys actually in town from AZ, that was fun and got some good work in, so today went well. My internet was not working at the end there, so always fun but I’m not a big tech guy so the tech stuff for me sometimes gets me a little fired up.

Joey Myers  00:50

What were you using the internet for? Were you just showing them some baseball hitting trainer video and stuff?

Curtis Nelson  00:54

Yeah, so I send a lot of videos from here. When I make either a voice over video or I make myself showing a drill or something, I send from the cage. I try and get most of my work done here. We got a nice little like 6000 square foot cage here.

Joey Myers  01:10

Beautiful.

Curtis Nelson  01:11

370 foot cages with 20 foot ceilings and 25 foot nets. It’s kind of a fun little one. It’s kind of our little home, it’s old school. My boss played at LC state, he has been doing this in the state of Washington for years and years and years and years. He’s got a little bit of that old school, so “you don’t like that cookie cutter” kind of look, you know?

Joey Myers  01:32

Yeah. I agree you guys don’t have HitTrax or any baseball hitting trainer like that either.

 

Baseball Hitting Trainer: Rapsodo getting used as a paper weight?

Curtis Nelson  01:37

Conforto bought me rapsodo, I’d say four years ago now, kind of when it first started coming out. He went out and bought it for me and just kind of gave it to me and I use rapsodo occasionally. I think that you know for some of my young ends or some of my high school guys, I want to go to a PAC 12 school and I don’t know any Pac-12 guys that are below 90 miles an hour on their exit velocity. I think it’s good to be able to show them that obviously with recruiting videos nowadays and in a lot of these colleges are asking for it right? I think that is an important metric.

Curtis Nelson  02:12

Obviously, if you make a swing adjustment and your exit velocity drops a big amount, there’s probably something behind that right so I think that there’s a time and place but in my experience with hit with rapsodo I’ve seen a lot of really good-looking swings and then when they go on rapsodo it starts becoming a little bit more of a slow-pitch softball home-run Derby, but as long as we’re using it the right way.

Curtis Nelson  02:35

I like to use it when I’m doing mixed BP. I like to do it when it’s more of a live setting. You know, we have our pitching rapsodo set up in our hitting rock solo setup in the same cage and we’re doing live stuff, you know, closer to the season time. I think there’s a lot of value there but most of the time a rapsodo is kind of getting used as a paperweight.

Joey Myers  02:52

An $8500 baseball hitting trainer paperweight?

Curtis Nelson  02:57

Yeah, I think that the first one we got was like five grand or 4500. Whatever. Not the second one, but that’s a very expensive paperweight change.

Joey Myers  03:06

Exactly. I’ll keep this in, sometimes it depends on what we talked about before just to get warmed up. I’ll keep it in. I think I’ll keep that stuff in. But are you ready for an official start?

Curtis Nelson  03:18

Yeah.

Joey Myers  03:19

Alright, let’s do it. Hello, and welcome to swing smarter monthly newsletter. This is your host Joey Myers from hitting performance lab dot com and with me today is actually our first intro. We had a little phone call earlier today but I’ve heard so much about Curtis Nelson, through a mutual friend Daniel Robertson, I call him D. Rob and Daniel was hitting with Curtis quite a bit in the off-season, this past season that he played in not just last year, but the year before. I think the year before, I think it’s been a couple years but I’ve heard Curtis through D Rob and there’s a lot of mutual hitting minds that surround Curtis. First of all, I want to welcome you into the show. Welcome, Curtis.

Curtis Nelson  04:01

Thanks for having me on. I look forward to it.

Joey Myers  04:02

Thanks for coming on, man. Okay, cool. We had a little conversation, which I’m going to keep in like I said, about rapsodo and different things and got to see your cages, just kind of cool. One of the questions that I wanted to ask you since I’ve seen a lot of your stuff on Twitter, and I agree with I think most of it. You’re one of those guys, we call them lone wolf, mad scientist and the guys that tend to think for themselves and don’t follow others lockstep, right?

Joey Myers  04:06

You take a little bit of something, somebody’s saying, “Hey, I think that works. Let’s go try and experiment with my hitters and see if that’ll work with them”. If it does, you keep it, if it doesn’t, you throw it away. I’m really looking for those lone wolves, the ones like myself, who are on like a passionate curiosity journey to try and find what the truth is what really works. My question to you is, what are the top two things, baseball hitting trainer mistakes that you see out there on whether it’s Twitter or social media, that you see coaches doing when they’re teaching hitting?

What are the top two mistakes that you see coaches doing when they’re teaching hitting?

Curtis Nelson  05:05

I think the first one to me kind of goes back to at a very young age, kind of what is the typical things taught with very young hitters.  You’re typically going to see, you know, take the weight back, take the hands back, as a pretty generic kind of thing taught. I think if you look at a lot of really good swings, there’s so many different guys out there, I love all their swings and their different commonalities but at the same time, I think you see so many hitters that have this certain sequence involved in when they get to a certain position.

Curtis Nelson  05:40

You see, some hitters might have a certain movement in their swing that might be different, but it works for them. I think at a young age, you see a lot of hitters with a big movement backwards, a huge hand load getting outside the body.  It just starts to create these habits at a young age that can really start to affect us as we get older and pitching gets better.

Curtis Nelson  06:02

I really like to see limiting the amount of move, we go back and allowing our hands to kind of get to a good hitting position. More on the forward move, we don’t want it to be rushed, we don’t want it to be something that kind of jerky, it might feel that way for someone and feel smoother for another person. That’s the individuality about it.

Curtis Nelson  06:23

Ultimately, I think that that would be like my number one thing, I see is so many hitters come in, and they’re constantly with a big shift back, a big hand load on the way back and they’re constantly fighting their bodies. That’s the number one for me. We talk a lot about not chasing results and chasing exit velocity. I think at the exit velocity side of things is something that’s important for hitters to know and understand the end.

Curtis Nelson  06:25

Like we were saying before, if you see a big drop in exit velocity, you see a big drop and how the balls coming off the bat, and then there’s some rolls there for us but I see a lot of hitters, a lot of young hitters nowadays on the internet, that are trying to chase results instead of chasing the process that brings about the results.

Curtis Nelson  07:09

Everything for me is about getting hitters better in the game, we have to be better hitters in the game, whatever we’re doing inside in terms of training that needs to translate to the game. If whatever you’re doing, whatever style or thoughts you’re doing, or however your training is translating to the game outside, and you’re a better hitter because of it, then great, we’ll work our way around those things to a certain degree and make sure we understand the difference.

Curtis Nelson  07:35

I think those are my top two things right now, it’s making sure that whatever we’re doing is going to translate to the game. That’s all that matters. We don’t want to be caged hitters; we want to be gamers.

Joey Myers  07:43

Right. I know one thing when D Rob was training before his last year in independent ball, he was doing with you guys, you mentioned it here too, it’s the baseball hitting trainer random pitch training. Explain that a little bit, how you guys do that, and how that looks.

 

Random pitch training. Explain that a little bit, how you guys do that, and how that looks…

Curtis Nelson  07:58

I started doing it as a player when I was young myself and one of my good friends, Cody Atkinson, he’s with the Texas Rangers as a coach now. We started doing it as players and it was just our best way to emulate game pitching. It was just doing mixed BP, we always call it dirty from 30, about 30-35 feet away, we’re not trying to throw as hard as we can, it’s just a crispy BP fastball. We’re just mixing and breaking balls and really just kind of playing games against each other, you go play nine inning game and you get three outs and you will be judging jury and it brought about some good competition between us.

Curtis Nelson  08:34

Ultimately, it taught us how to have an approach, how to be on time than the fastball, how to adjust off the fastball, on some breaking ball stuff. I think it really shows the holes in the swing, it shows where the weaknesses can become and some guys that it might even just be the mentality change, that might be the difference.

Curtis Nelson  08:51

You can see a lot from just doing just kind of a mixed BP, can I cover the fastball away and still cover the breaking ball? Can I cover the fastball in and still take the curve-ball down in a way and it shows this a lot. I’m a huge proponent of it.

Curtis Nelson  09:06

We do our machines, we do our challenge stuff, because I can’t throw the ball 90 miles an hour, but at the end of the day, we do need to see it, that live arm and that kind of mixed it in having to make a decision rather than to seeing a fish down the middle every time on a machine.

Joey Myers  09:21

Very smart and there was a baseball hitting trainer study that was done, I can’t remember the guy’s name offhand on YouTube, but it was a video, not sure. I think it was maybe in one of the books that I’d read but it was a Cal Poly study. It was Cal Poly baseball guys, and it took half the hitters out in the field hitters, they worked with what they call mass practice.

Joey Myers  09:42

They did 15, they took BP where they took 15 fastballs, they hit 15 fastballs, hit 15 curve-balls, hit 15 change-ups and they had the other half of the hitters, fielders, did what you’re talking about a mix of BP and even though the second group that got the mix BP early on wasn’t very good, they’re showing a BP wasn’t very good.

 

Baseball Hitting Trainer: How to transition grooved cage swings into the game

Joey Myers  10:03

What ended up happening is they got better as the season progressed, and their numbers were better, which you’re talking about transitioning into the games, which I hear I’m sure you do, too, from parents and even players, how do we transition these mechanics into the game? Because we’re seeing a great swing in the cage, but then in the game, they’re not really performing and that baseball hitting trainer study what you’re talking about mix BP, I think it’s one of the most important things and that’s a study that shows right there. That was just one season but I bet if you took it over three, four or five seasons, you get the same result, it would just obviously look a little bit different.

Curtis Nelson  10:40

It comes down to kind of open skill and close skill environments, right. In golf, the balls not moving, it’s a very close type skill. We kind of know our outcome before it happens and it actually leads in this to one of my pet peeves, and I grew up hitting like this. You see the outside pitch, and you immediately are trying to go off with it and manipulate that result, where the only thing that dictates where that ball goes is my timing.

Curtis Nelson  11:08

One of the first things I tell hitters, when they walk in the cage with me is, I’m never going to tell you the pull of the inside pitch, I’m never going to tell you to hit the outside pitch the other way, your timing will tell you, your job is to hit through it, and just kind of see what happens and then you can make adjustments off of that.

Curtis Nelson  11:22

That open skill environment of having to basically variable change, you have to have the ability to be on the fastball and then adapt and adjust. I think so much of hitting is about that adjust-ability because how often are we right on time? How often are we perfect, guys in the big leagues, there might be perfect 30, 40, 50 times in a year, and getting paid a lot of money for it, but we’re not getting five 600 at bats, so we have to be a little bit more adjustable, to a certain degree at a younger age level.

Curtis Nelson  11:52

He’s breathing that into them and a younger age level, to have that ability to naturally translate over to the game. A lot of hitters that I see that struggle on that transition from cage to game, they’re doing a lot of machine where it’s in the same place every time, they’re doing a ton of Tee work, a ton of flips, we don’t typically use these in here very often, very, very rare.

Curtis Nelson  12:15

With younger guys, I will, but a lot of times with my college and my professional groups that are coming in, we’re really not using Tees at all, because we want to see the ball moving, sometimes we’ll use a tee for a feel and kind of maybe a specific drill. As a whole, we want to see that thing moving and having to make a decision soon. Just hard, soft flips, or fastball, curve-ball, mix BP or full on, dirty from 30.

Curtis Nelson  12:41

Anytime you get an opportunity to do that, you’re going to be playing the game of baseball in that environment much more like outside, right? It’s going to translate over better. When it doesn’t translate over, now you can start looking at some of those pieces within the swing that might play a role with why it’s not translating over or in the head, you know what I mean in terms of mentality.

Joey Myers  13:01

Do you guys do any kind of baseball hitting trainer approach? You were mentioning, if the ball is away, you don’t have to spray it away, you can pull that ball and my last year in college at Fresno State, we got the new coach, Coach Batesole. Now my last year is 2003, I wasn’t a part of the 2008 College World Series team, but he was a coach at that time.

Joey Myers  13:22

My last year was his first year and one of the things he told us, and the first time I had learned this, was to have two thirds away or two thirds in approach. Two thirds of the plate away or two thirds in, now we just go half, we go half away or half in. That’s how we do it now with my hitters.

Joey Myers  13:38

That was the first time I had heard that to split the plate into two thirds and he said if you’re looking two thirds away, as a righty, he said you can work left center-field all the way to right field. Anywhere in there, you can hit the ball, you don’t have to hit it straight to right and the opposite is true. If you’re looking two thirds in, then you can work right center all the way to left and that was the first time I heard that because most of my coaches would say if it’s away, boom, hit it over there. Hit it where it’s been, you guys do any kind of approach like that?

 

Do you teach your hitters any kind of plate or pitch approach?

Curtis Nelson  14:08

Through the years of doing this now, you’ve seen them all right, there’s so many different approaches. I think that as long as whatever we’re thinking is working, then great, do it but at the same time I think that thinking in general, we talked about open skill, close skill environment, hitting is one of the most purely reactionary sports there is, in terms of hitting a baseball, it’s moving, that can change direction and speed and everything.

Curtis Nelson  14:33

Sometimes approaches, it’s almost too much thinking for some hitters. We’ve done the whole look away reacting, we’ve done the even counts, you’re looking middle away, the positive counts, you’re looking middle in. In the past, I’ve talked about going to your strength is you got a positive count, if your strength is middle out, then look there, then drive into the big part of the field. If you like pulling the ball in your better middle, middle in, in that count looking at those places that you have success.

Curtis Nelson  15:03

I think the best hitters in the world in terms of the best swings and approaches, they can game plan their approaches off the pitcher. If you don’t have any holes in your swing, now you can go off of what the pitcher’s weakness is. Generically, people tend to look at what the pitchers out pitches or how he’s trying to beat you. We try and counteract that instead of going well, how is he going to get ahead of me to get to that point?

Curtis Nelson  15:27

If I’m looking middle in because he’s going to beat me there, but he actually gets hit up in a way then maybe I’m looking up in a way, and I’m going to own that zone based on the guy I’m facing. Now, when you start getting into game planning based off pitchers, you got to have spin rates, you got to have a scouting report of how he is, as a pitcher in general.

Curtis Nelson  15:46

If we don’t have that information, we got to keep it pretty simple. With driveline and what they’re doing with the pitchers nowadays, in terms of tunneling pitches, and making pitches look the same for a longer amount of time, the game is not getting any easier. We want to know where to look.

Curtis Nelson  16:05

We talk a lot about arming pitchers way off to the side more three-quarter arm slot, you should be looking up and out for that guy, you facing Bumgarner, and he’s throwing the ball from second base, we want to be looking up and out, because the ball is coming from that direction, and I think a lot of people make the mistake. It works at a younger age level when the ball is not moving as fast but a lot of people make the mistake of looking at the plate, because not always where it starts is not always where it’s going to finish based on what kind of movement they have.

Curtis Nelson  16:34

Oftentimes, you’re looking middle in and out a hand it looks middle in, and then it’s going to hit you in the hands, or you’re looking middle away, the next thing you know, you get a slider into the batter’s box that you chase. We try and kind of counteract what we’re facing, by how and where we’re looking, to a certain degree, obviously, that depends on the level you’re at.

Curtis Nelson  16:53

With some of my younger teams, we’re trying to keep it as simple as possible. A few years back with one of my teams, we had some pretty darn good hitters and some good swings, we ended up just kind of taking the approach of doesn’t matter what count it is, if it’s a strike, let’s smash it, and just kind of the old see-ball, hit-ball approach, and just make sure we’re on time and adjustable from that point. We had a lot of success with that.

Curtis Nelson  17:16

We basically said, we’re going to flat out own the zone, and we’re going to take balls, and the guys were mature enough to go do that, some hitters need to be a little bit more specific about how they think. I always go full circle with things and making them more individually based for the hitter, right? If I got a hitter that flat out pulls the ball, like there’s no tomorrow, and is a really good pole hitter, then that’s probably where we’re going to look because probably something that you can pull to a certain degree, especially early in counts but that also limits him on his ability to adapt and adjust to what he’s facing to a certain degree.

Curtis Nelson  17:50

To kind of get that complete hitter, the swings got to be able to kind of withstand different zones, different timings and different angles of pitch, to be able to game plan fully, I think the better the swing, the easier it is the game plan off the pitcher and that’s ultimately what we’re trying to do.

Joey Myers  18:06

With your young hitters, and I know you when you say that, if you got a hitter, that’s just dead pole and if that’s a strength, you’re probably talking about the older guys, whether it’s high school, college, on up. What about the younger guys? Do you have more of being able to use all field approach, and if so, if you have them set up like what we do, we do small private groups. We have between two and four hitters in a group, with the whole COVID thing, we used to do six, but I try and keep it to four at the max and we’re pretty spread out outside and stuff.

Joey Myers  18:38

What we do is we set up the tee at the beginning, we take our baseball hitting trainer ball exit speeds, but what I’m also looking for is not only the number, but I’m looking for we set that tee up, it’s center center. They should be hitting it right up the middle, right? What I’m looking for and I’m observing is if they’re pulling all five swings that they’re going to get or they’re going the other way, all five swings, where it’s center center, do you do anything like that and eval and try and get them to make an adjustment?

How do you evaluate hitters and teach them to make an adjustment?

Curtis Nelson  19:05

Not so much of the tee. We film everything, I’ll film a rear-view angle, so I can kind of see ball flight, I can see timing, posture, hand path and we’ll do a side view. I’ve always gone to the film, you look at contact points, you look at when the barrel is coming out, you look at timing, and then you look at what’s coming off, right? You’re taking middle pitches, and you’re just hooking them every time into the net, the film is going to show you that you’re around and outside that ball pretty early.

Curtis Nelson  19:34

Ultimately, we want a hitter that can cover the line. I want somebody that can drive a ball, dead straight off, and the ball flies straight with backspin, and then all of a sudden that pitches inside or they’re a little bit early and they can pull it with true fly. Especially in Washington state, we get a lot of hitters that only hit when they’re inside until the game because there’s just not a lot of fields out there that you can hop on and just a lot of hitters are just doing indoor lessons and practicing inside. They just don’t see the ball flight as well.

Curtis Nelson  20:04

That’s where the wraps around the hit tracks can be nice in terms of being able to really truly see where that ball is going. Also, with how cages are built, right, we have these tunnels in cages where we get this tunnel vision going, where a lot of hitters will come in and just pepper their back-net pepper right center, and not pull a single ball into the net.

Curtis Nelson  20:13

We had a lot of hitters in Washington that just pushed the ball in the right field. Learning how to pull the ball correctly, or learning how to drive the ball opposite field correctly. It’s different for everybody, but ultimately, I rely on the film, in the flips. I’m not doing a lot of the tee stuff but if you find value in something, by all means, do it.

Joey Myers  20:45

Now, if you were going to teach a guy, if he was pulling everything into the left side of the net, or even going off way too much, how do you get an Oppo person to learn how to pull the ball? How do you get a pull person to learn? What’s your go to drill for that?

 

How do you get a pull happy hitter go oppo, and how do you get an oppo happy hitter pulling the ball?

Curtis Nelson  21:00

It depends on what the reason is, whether it’s just a mentality thing. That’s where I tapping into each hitter, in learning your hitter and understanding what their thoughts are, what they’re trying to do. You can compare that to the film, we have something called a deep dive, where you kind of dive into the analytics a little bit in terms of professionals. You go look at all the analytics, then you compare it to game film, then you compare it to the indoor cage routine stuff.

Curtis Nelson  21:28

If you have all that information, it starts to paint the picture a little bit of why they might not pull the ball in the air as well, or why they might be pushing the ball off. Ultimately, I think that I’m going to look at the film, I’m going to look at how they’re moving. Obviously, like what you were talking about is putting them on that tee and getting a feel for.

Curtis Nelson  21:49

This was D Rob’s argument to me about the tee stuff because he loves the tee stuff. That’s where I told him, at the end of the day, if that is a routine that has built you, you’re finding comfort in a certain position, that maybe you’re not feeling when the ball is moving, by all means getting on a tee and feeling that contact point out or hitting the ball deeper in the ball more out in front, based on what you’re trying to create, you can gain a feel in that atmosphere.

Curtis Nelson  22:14

I’m not saying that I’m against tees by any means but I’d much rather see the ball moving and how they respond to it moving with some film on it, so we can kind of see that overall picture. I think it’s going to be different for every hitter based on what they’re thinking, based on what their mechanics are and then obviously comparing that to the results or any kind of data that we do have, but that’s a good question, I like that.

Joey Myers  22:38

One of the baseball hitting trainer things I hear a lot of what you’re talking about is timing. There’s a lot of people out there, believe it or not, that say that timing cannot be taught. What would you say to that coach, instructor, parent, that hears that, comes to you and says, “Curtis, so and so said that timing cannot be taught?” What do you think about that?

 

“Curtis, so and so said that timing cannot be taught?” What do you think about that?

Curtis Nelson  22:58

I teach timing every day, every single day. Some hitters are going to grasp some concepts better than others, and some hitters have that ability to be on time more consistently, whether that’s because of their swing, or because of their athleticism, their hand eye coordination, whatever it is, they have a gift to show up on time more than others.

Curtis Nelson  23:23

I would say 95% of the hitters that come through my cage, getting them aware of their move, whether it’s improving the move first, and then making them aware of their move in relationship to time and space, is one of the most important things that I do. I truly believe there are hitters out there that just time naturally, and it’s very natural for them to do so.

Curtis Nelson  23:46

They don’t need to understand their timing, they just show up on time more often than others. For every one of those guys, there’s 150 to 1000 of the other guys that need to understand their timing. We do a lot of timing stuff in here, just really a lot of rear-view films to kind of show hitters, when are you picking up in relationship to where the pitcher is.

Curtis Nelson  24:06

When I was growing up, it was all about getting your foot down early, get your foot down early, get your foot down, and that’s all we ever heard when we were late, that can breed a lot of issues. If you got a swing like Rendon, or Nelson Cruz or Paul Goldschmidt, that is a different type of stride.

Curtis Nelson  24:22

You still see them have a good feel of time, they get that foot down and then the body shifts back to center to a certain degree to hit, everyone’s a little bit different on that aspect. Ultimately, I think rhythm and flow, that we talked a lot about flowing, a lot about dancing with the pitcher. Those are some pretty simple terms that can apply to timing but if you can arrive on time to a good fastball and then you can still have adjust-ability on breaking balls, we got a great opportunity to hit in the game and having markers in the swing or the pitcher.

Curtis Nelson  24:53

Whether it’s some guys like to go on handbrake or some guys like to make their move on arm up or other guys like to just game plan off of “Hey, I’m ready to pull the fastball, even though I’m not trying to.” There’s different ways around that to get somebody on time but making hitters more aware of their timing when they’re on and when they’re off or when they’re late or they’re early, is a really, really crucial piece to what we do here.

Joey Myers  25:18

Before we get to where people can find a little bit more about you, we’re kind of closing in here, I want to ask you just one more question on that. If you got some young hitters that come in, think about the team that you’re talking about that have the young guys where they’re just basically swinging strikes, take balls, if they’re facing a really slow pitcher, which tends to happen quite a bit where the pitcher can break a pane of glass, what are some of the baseball hitting trainer adjustments that you have them make or go through?

 

Baseball hitting trainer: what are some of the adjustments you have hitters make to slow pitchers?

Curtis Nelson  25:42

It’s such a good question. I love answering this question. I think that when I was younger, the generic and you still hear it with hitters, you still hear with coaches, whatever ones taught against that soft lefty. I remember showing up to the field, and we’re facing a PAC 12 recruit throw in 93-94. I’m like, we’re going to score 10 runs today, because we hit this guy like there’s no tomorrow, we prepared for this. You show up, and you face that soft lefty throwing 75 and I’m like, I don’t know, if we’re going to have a hit today, it’s a bad feeling.

Curtis Nelson  26:11

When I was growing up, you saw the slow guy warming up and you’re like licking your chops. Well, I’m about to be free for a couple doubles and a home run and that guy usually didn’t make it out the first ending. I think it goes into kind of training nowadays is a lot of machine, a lot of velocity, a lot of that stuff. We’re better against firm, but I do think that the approaches, and the way we’re taught against those guys can really play a role.

Curtis Nelson  26:12

Growing up, we were all taught to hit that guy off and push that ball into right, hit it off, let it travel, see it, the start your rhythm later, make a forward move later in the process, however you want to say it. That actually is what the lefty pitcher wants you to do, I want you to be defensive, he wants you to push them all off. He wants you to weight back on him.

Curtis Nelson  27:00

The best approach against the soft guy is to shrink the zone, make the zone smaller. He doesn’t have the ability to strike you out unless you chase his pitches, and you’re going to see his pitches better because the ball is moving slower, we see the ball better when it’s moving slower, you can’t argue that.

Curtis Nelson  27:16

At the end of the day, if you shrink your zone and go, “Hey, I’m going to be here, this is my goal zone against this guy. I’m not chasing those pitches out there”. Even if they look hit-able moving slower, I think we’re going to have a lot more success doing that, we’re not necessarily trying to go off, but we’re not trying to go up there and roll over to third first pitch either, I think it’s really just commanding your zone and kind of going back to the simplicity of just trying to hit through the ball and see where it goes.

Curtis Nelson  27:41

I think we tend to manipulate the swing because of what we’re facing, that slow guy is like, “I’m hitting a home run against this guy”. We’re spinning off that slow when away, but we tend to beat ourselves more than maybe they beat us. We try and stay away from the generic hit the ball up against the slow guy kind of mentality. The end just kind of stick to say, “Hey, this guy only beats me if I chase, so we’ve got a good pitch to him.”

Joey Myers  28:07

That’s funny you say that because that’s the same with the same lefties that we’re seeing, that can’t break a pane of glass, you see the guy throwing 93-94. 93-94, it’s Friday night, and then Saturday night, you see the guy can break pane of glass and the way I’m going to just pepper it to the opposite field, but one thing he is slow anyway, so you can have to wait longer and then now you’re saying that you want to hit it the opposite field, and now you got to wait even longer. You got to see it even deeper, it’s almost like it’s two double negatives there. I get that. You’re chasing your tail, basically.

Joey Myers  28:42

Curtis, I appreciate your baseball hitting trainer time. Where can people find you? I know you’re on Twitter, because that’s where I’ve seen you. If you guys have a website, where you guys are in Washington, if anybody wants to come out and check you guys out, where can more people find you.

 

Where can people who want more information find you?

Curtis Nelson  28:58

Our cage out here it’s called Atkinson Baseball Academy. It’s out in Kirkland, Washington. I know there’s a website for the cage. I am separate from that in terms of my hitting instruction. I am on Twitter, it’s @Nelson_Hitting, used to be cheat hack nation. That was kind of a joke that we threw together when I first developed because of all the swings we’re seeing that were a little bit aggressively big. I don’t have my own personal website, I probably should by now, but I spend majority of my time in the cage with hitters, so the internet and social media side of things, I’m still relatively beginner at that. I would say Twitter is the best way to reach out if you have anything, just shoot me a DM and I’ll get back to you as soon as I possibly can.

Joey Myers  29:49

Maybe not 100% probability but you can take a baseball hitting trainer like yourself who’s always in the cage doing stuff. You can take where somebody like you, you think he’s got 20,000 or 100,000 followers because it’s great stuff, if you read your stuff, you watch the videos that you put up and think it’s awesome stuff and you should have like the 50,000 100,000 but the reason you don’t is because you’re not on Twitter all the time, you’re in the cage, working with hitters, so that’s always not always a sign of a good hitting coach but I would say more likely than not, guys like Matt Piers and Jeremy Johnson, they don’t really have big followings but they got great gyms that they put out there and can really help hitters. I really appreciate what you guys are doing out there in Washington, keep up the great baseball hitting trainer work.  If you see D Rob before me, say hi to him. I think he’s up in Seattle, he still lives in Seattle?

Curtis Nelson  30:45

Yeah, he’s over in West Seattle. They got a bridge out so that is a pain in the butt to get out of West Seattle right now, but he’s over there. He pops in the cage, he comes, he hangs out. His experiences and his knowledge is just bar none. He’s been doing it for so long. It’s a lot of fun getting that guy in the cage and kind of just talking.

Joey Myers  31:05

He’s a baseball hitting trainer Yoda for sure. I know he wants to be a GM and I can see that he’s got the chops on the field, he understands intellectually the game and like you said, it’s fun to talk with him. So, tell him hi for me if you see him before me. How far is Kirkland from Seattle? How far are you guys away?

Curtis Nelson  31:27

Very close, if you take away traffic. Right now, with COVID and everything, the freeways aren’t as crazy out here right now. You take away traffic, I can get over to West Seattle, it’s kind of over by the airport, you can get over that direction in 20 minutes, 15 to 20 minutes, but you throw in the traffic of the normal out here, you’re looking at probably more like an hour and a half.

Joey Myers  31:50

Got you. Cool. All right, Curtis, well, I’ll let you go, man. Thanks again for your time and Merry Christmas to you and the fam.

Curtis Nelson  31:58

Merry Christmas, you guys take care. My pleasure. Thanks for having me on.

Joey Myers  32:01

You got it.

Mobility Exercises

Mobility Exercises: Gain an Average Of FIVE To SIX-mph Ball Exit Speed In A Couple Sessions Using Square1System

Mobility exercises interview with Shawn Sherman of Square1System discusses the following:Mobility Exercises

  • What is the origin of the Square1System?
  • What is your elevator pitch for the Square1System?
  • Where was that mobility exercises aha moment where you saw the rabbit hole, then you started digging?
  • Why is the traditional model of ‘stretch what’s tight and strengthen what’s weak’ not so effective?
  • What does the mobility exercises timeline look like using your system? When do you see the benefits?
  • After using your system, what are you seeing on the ball exit speed increase for hitters and the velocity increase for pitchers?
  • What does the fixing movement compensation look like?
  • What has your experience been with Tommy John, maybe athletes that are looking at that or have that?

This interview is one of twenty-four featured expert interviews in my new book, “Swing Smarter: Science Based Hitting Training Built To Understand How, Why, & Reasoning Behind It”.  The following is the transcribed video of the above mobility exercises video.  Enjoy!

 

Joey Myers  00:06

Hello, and welcome to the Swing Smarter Newsletter Monthly. This is your host Joey Myers from hittingperformancelab.com. With me today, this is the second time that we’ve talked in person, we did a phone chat, I think for almost an hour or maybe a little bit more, with Shawn Sherman, so first of all, I want to welcome you to the show.

Shawn Sherman  00:25

Thanks for having me. I’m excited to be here, it’s great to get reconnected with you, and I’m looking forward to this conversation.

Joey Myers  00:30

Very cool. Shawn’s website is square1system, system or systems?

Shawn Sherman  00:36

Singular

Joey Myers  00:38

Square, the number one, without the hashtag, square1system.com. I want to dive in a little bit to what Shawn is doing, because I think it’s very interesting when it comes to moving better to perform better.

Joey Myers  00:54

It is something I think that is new to a lot of you out there. There are some mobility exercises that are similar, but I think Shawn’s doing something. What’s cool is he’s found this out on his own in his own curiosity.

Joey Myers  01:08

As most of you know, I love finding passionate curiosity within other coaches and things like that out there. First, Shawn, explain where square1system is, so people can remember and put your website and figure out where that origin was. What’s the origin of that?

 

What is the origin of the Square1System?

Shawn Sherman  01:26

The origin of the name or the whole system?

Joey Myers  01:29

How did you come up with that name first?

Shawn Sherman  01:30

I came up with the name because I used to have a name for the system called reset, and a mutual friend of ours, Brian Eisenberg. He was the one that said, “Hey, this is awesome”.

Shawn Sherman  01:40

I was at Pitchapalooza, this would have been about four years ago. It worked on Brian and his son, and it worked on Chris Bryant’s dad, we helped him with some pain.

Shawn Sherman  01:50

We were all sitting around, having a little powwow after the first day at pitchapalooza. Brian’s a very complimentary, such a helpful guy, such a cool dude. He was like, “Can I give you some criticism?”

Shawn Sherman  01:59

I’m like, yep. “Is the name reset? You need a better name”. I thought that’s the only thing that was complete, and so he encouraged me to get a new name. I had a group of my clients and friends that are really into marketing, and it wasn’t going anywhere.

Shawn Sherman  02:15

My one friend, Patti, she checked back in, we hadn’t communicated about three or four days. She asked, how’s the name going? And I’m like, “nada”. She went “Oh, it’s back to square one”. Sounds like a happy accident.

Joey Myers  02:30

Wow, that’s cool.

Shawn Sherman  02:31

Yeah

Joey Myers  02:32

I did not know that. That’s cool. I like that. I liked reset before, after we talked to have a good idea of what you do when it comes to mobility exercises, but that makes sense, when you say back to square one, square one systems. I love it.

Joey Myers  02:45

Now, let’s go into that a little bit. What’s the elevator pitch of what you’re doing? Like a Pitchpalooza, you have a booth there, and somebody comes walking up and says, “What is square one system?”

 

What is your mobility exercises elevator pitch for the Square1System?

Shawn Sherman  02:56

That’s the hardest question that everybody asks me, it seems so easy, but I think since we’re kind of tapping into some new grounds, that’s a really difficult question. It’s one of the things I’ve been struggling for years.

Shawn Sherman  03:05

I would say as briefly as I possibly can, my mobility exercises elevator pitch would be, we are basically trying to identify where your sixth sense proprioception, this internal feel, where there are deficiencies with your proprioception.

Shawn Sherman  03:23

We’re able to identify and pinpoint where you are individually, having an issue between your brain, your body parts and the ground, and we’re able to restore that perception from unsafe back to safe.

Shawn Sherman  03:38

When we restore unsafe perceptions back to safe, there’s less of a need of the human body and the brain to compensate. Therefore, we’re able to help people that are post-surgical and have rehab issues to the best athletes in the world, because all of us have some flawed perceptions in this area of proprioception, we’re able to restore that, get it back closer and closer to our optimal design.

Shawn Sherman  04:02

The ramifications of that are, you know, increase exit velocity for hitters, increase throwing velocities for throwers, and less aches and pains, better mobility, and all the other good stuff that we all want to get out of exercise.

Shawn Sherman  04:16

What we’re doing is we’re not a replacement for exercise, we’re just this missing prerequisite step, we’re just kind of moving this continuum of movement from left to right.

Shawn Sherman  04:25

We’re just adding on a little bit in the front end, where we’re just going a little deeper than we think other systems that are currently existing out there. That’s a long mobility exercises elevator speech, sorry.

Joey Myers  04:35

That’s okay. It was interesting. What were some of the aha moments where you know you’re in the strength conditioning field and I don’t know if you started down that path of where you’re at now, I’m sure maybe you’ve stumbled on to it like a lot of us have.

Joey Myers  04:49

Where was that aha moment where you saw the rabbit hole, then you started digging? What was that? Where you saw the rabbit hole?

 

Where was that aha moment where you saw the rabbit hole, then you started digging?

Shawn Sherman  04:56

It’s so funny. Absolutely, that we’ve had these different moments. That on very well, that’s awesome.

Shawn Sherman  05:10

My moment was, I was using this other mobility exercises system, and that other system was very much centered around this idea that restrictions and range of motion are always protective muscle guarding.

Shawn Sherman  05:23

That’s true, a lot of the time, protective muscle guarding is a very real issue that we all have.

Shawn Sherman  05:30

The system I was using, I was helping a lot of people with that, but I had this one client, that was not getting good results with that system. I was always trying to help them, and I just really kept doubling down and tripling down, and doing it with more gusto, but we weren’t getting anywhere.

Shawn Sherman  05:47

What happened was, I took the opposite mobility exercises approach. I started thinking well, this isn’t working, why not just do the polar opposite of what I was trained to do?

Shawn Sherman  05:56

This guy’s name is Alan, instead of viewing Alan’s issues as protective muscle guarding, I don’t, at that point, I didn’t know what the other side of the coin was, but I did kind of pursued the other side of the coin, now I would say, it’s probably like a joint impingement would be the polar opposite of protective muscle guarding.

Shawn Sherman  06:12

I didn’t know that at the time, I just knew I got to try something different. Let’s just do the polar opposite, and when I did that with him, he had a pain alleviation. He had this issue of back pain, hip pain for over 20 years. All his pain was gone.

Shawn Sherman  06:24

He started standing two or three inches taller, and he played golf that next morning, it took 12 strokes off the best round of golf he’s shot since the late 80s. I didn’t believe in that verse, I thought he’s just calling me up and just yanking my chain, but that was the impetus moment.

Shawn Sherman  06:40

Wow, I did the opposite of what quote unquote, they told me to do, and end up having the best result I’ve ever had with a client.

Shawn Sherman  06:48

Basically, the reality of “whoa, you’re really onto something here” just slapped me right in the face. I didn’t know what was going on, I just knew the opposite mobility exercises approach, and that just pushed me to dig in further and further and try to come up with an explanation as to what I unwittingly kind of happen across, it’s how it happened. It was a happy accident.

Joey Myers  07:10

I think the traditional model, and maybe what you’re talking about is the stretch, you know, when you have a joint that’s being protected, and then you get a tight muscle on one side, and then you get to the muscle that gets really long.

Joey Myers  07:24

It’s this relationship between length and length-tension relationship. The traditional model is typically to stretch out the tight muscle and to power up the weak muscle or the muscle that’s been stretched too much.

 

Why is the traditional model of ‘stretch what’s tight and strengthen what’s weak’ not so effective?

Shawn Sherman  07:43

Everybody thinks “it’s stretch what’s tight, strengthen what’s weak”. It sounds good on a T-shirt, but that doesn’t work on a lot of people. If that works, then why are these rehab cycles taking months and months to relieve back pain?

Shawn Sherman  07:54

Why does someone have a recurring restriction issue? Like, why don’t I stretch this guy 300 days in a row? Why is it still coming back?

Shawn Sherman  08:02

It is all about length tension relationships, but what we’re uncovering more and more is if we can get the brain to perceive that all of our joint actions are safe in relationship to when there’s ground contact, we’re going to get this effect to last longer.

Shawn Sherman  08:16

Stretch what’s tight, strengthen what’s weak, that’s not saying that it’s wrong, it’s just that it’s not always correct. How’s that?

Joey Myers  08:24

Yes, I like that. Like you explored every different mobility exercises avenue and all that kind of stuff. The stretching and it just takes forever, if anything, to get there.

Joey Myers  08:34

I know, there’s a couple of gymnastic programs that are online and major stretching stuff, and you got to spend 45 minutes to an hour, and you’re stretching, and you got to do it like two times a week, like a split stretch where you’re working a lot of hamstring stuff, and you got to do it two times a week, and those are brutal.

Joey Myers  08:54

When you take your system, how long are you talking? Like hour long sessions? How many times a week?

What does the mobility exercises timeline look like using your system?  When do you see the benefits?

Shawn Sherman  09:03

It depends on the population I’m working with. I have a little studio in the suburbs of Chicago, so my clients, the word of mouth primarily, they said they find me, I do hour long sessions with those folks.

Shawn Sherman  09:18

Versus if a team hires me to come in eight-hour day, I might have to work on 25 guys, then it might get 20-minute session. We do a lot of anywhere from 15-20 minutes up to an hour-long session.

Shawn Sherman  09:31

In private practice, people come in and see me, a lot of times they have pain, I typically start everybody off with a three-session package. I start off our relationship with three one-hour sessions, and then if they want to hire me to take him through some exercise stuff, that’s great.

Shawn Sherman  09:46

Just for the square one stuff, we’re making some really killer progress and somewhere between one and three hours. When teams hire me, these guys are young, they’re younger, they’re healthier population who find me personally, we’re seeing fantastic results in 15 minutes-20 minutes.

Shawn Sherman  10:04

Because once we change that perception, what happens is the brain doesn’t have to govern back the throttle, it literally can make that true athlete gets to come out.

Shawn Sherman  10:14

Kind of back to what we were saying earlier, it takes a long time, 45 minutes to change tissue. 45 minutes a day for six weeks, eight weeks, 12 weeks to start changing tissue for a more long-term basis, but if we can get the brain to not perceive that the ground is a threat, the changes are pretty much instantaneous.

Shawn Sherman  10:32

We start seeing range of motion changes occur within the first two, three minutes with the mobility exercises. As we work through layers and layers of compensation, the effect starts being longer lasting probably after 20 or 30 minutes session.

Shawn Sherman  10:47

Again, not a long answer for you, I’ll say anywhere between 30 minutes and two or three hours, we have a person in a pretty good place, and that’s really on a maintenance program.

Shawn Sherman  10:55

That would vary on the individual what maintenance might look like. Most of my clients, I see them a couple, two-three times a year, and I’d say “hey, come back in”, because they might be working with another strength coach or another personal trainer.

Shawn Sherman  11:07

I’m not trying to take anybody else’s business; I want to be the guy that’s kind of fill some gaps and be a resource for these other professionals out there.

Joey Myers  11:14

Yes, and what I want people to understand, when I went into training people and fitness and things like that, I took more of the corrective science route. I know it’s fun to help people lose weight, and all that kind of stuff, but I think there’s more problem solving and things that go on.

Joey Myers  11:30

I like to use the brain power a little bit more when people come in, they got a shoulder issue or whatever. Going through that mobility exercises rabbit hole, I feel is a lot better.

Joey Myers  11:42

When you’re working with somebody, just to give people an idea of ball exit speed, like on average, what you see change wise. How much work that you work on somebody?

Joey Myers  11:51

If it’s 15 minutes, half hour, and you don’t have to break it down that much, but just as an overall ballpark? What are you seeing on the ball exit speed increase for hitters and the velocity increase for pitchers?

 

After using your system, what are you seeing on the ball exit speed increase for hitters and the velocity increase for pitchers?

Shawn Sherman  12:02

Specifically, baseball players, I used to be on staff with the Chicago Cubs. My last year with the Cubbies, that occurred right after that impetus moment. Those guys in a 09, because my impetus moment was in 08, and that Cubbies team, they had access to the early version of this.

Shawn Sherman  12:21

Most of our data that we’ve collected has been on high school and up to D1 hitters and throwers. We’ve gone in there, and we’ve given each of these guys 10- or 15-minute sessions.

Shawn Sherman  12:34

Typically, with exit velocity, which we’ve seen more of, we haven’t done as much on throwers, but on exit velocity, I know with this one community college, I think we worked on 12 or 13 hitters.

Shawn Sherman  12:45

Of those 12 or 13, we had one guy where there’s no change, it didn’t get worse, it just stayed the same, but the other 11 or 12 guys all improved somewhere between two mile an hour exit velo and 15.

Shawn Sherman  12:57

I think there were two or three of the guys who were double digits. It was not the majority; our expectation isn’t everybody’s going to hit 10 or 12 or 15 mile an hour harder. But about 20 or 25% of the guys are going to probably experience eight to 12 mile per hour harder.

Shawn Sherman  13:11

We averaged, I think it was five or six miles per hour. We’re talking some really serious changes.

Shawn Sherman  13:19

Before you’re rolling here with Ryan Johansen, who’s with the White Sox, he has his own private studio. We’ve had, we’ve had some crazy numbers there. We’ve had guys that after two or three sessions, where we’ve seen 12-13-14 mile an hour increases.

Shawn Sherman  13:33

We had a thrower there, there’s a high school kid, and I’m more about movements, I don’t care if I’m working on football, basketball, grandma just had a hip replacement, I’m just really going to help people move better, so I might be mistaken here.

Shawn Sherman  13:48

But we had just one high school thrower, and I believe he was kind of an average high school kid, probably an average starter. This guy is not getting looked at by pro teams or anything.

Shawn Sherman  13:58

His average throwing velocity was I think at 81.3. That’s probably good, but not amazing. Is that accurate?

Joey Myers  14:11

Yes.

Shawn Sherman  14:12

If he can get a little few more mile an hour and have some opportunities in college probably, but it was 81.3, so we started working on them, and we did a 20 or 25 minute session, and there were multiple coaches around the table.

Shawn Sherman  14:24

What we started doing was, I’m explaining what I’m doing. In 25 minutes, I probably only did about 10 or 15 minute mobility exercises work as I wanted to educate these guys as well.

Shawn Sherman  14:32

We had a bullpen, we threw I think 35 or 38 throws, and I might be off by a smidge, but I think it was his first 17 throws were all PRs. Everything he threw was 81.4 or higher.

Shawn Sherman  14:46

In that bullpen, out of those 35 or 38 throws, all but three or four were personal best. He hit like 83 on change, 84 on change. I proceed to see him for a session maybe 10- or 15-minute session once a week.

Shawn Sherman  15:01

Within five weeks he was up to, I think it was 88.9, about eight mile an hour.

Joey Myers  15:06

Wow

Shawn Sherman  15:09

Maybe he had four to six, 10-to-15-minute sessions. Maybe an hour and a half, two hours of work spread out over four to six weeks. That was at Johansen’s place there in Elgin, Illinois.

Joey Myers  15:22

That’s taken a guy from NAIA at that 81 miles an hour up to 88. Now we’re talking D1, I don’t know if he’s a lefty or a righty.

Shawn Sherman  15:32

I’m pretty sure he’s a lefty, too. I could be mistaken, but quite sure the left versus man is extra excited too.

Joey Myers  15:38

80-88 is a lefty, it’s definitely D1 and possibly professional. I want people to understand what that shift in that, I guess the ability for them to move better without compensation.

Joey Myers  15:54

What first caught my attention, I think Brian Eisenberg, he retweeted something that you had tweeted, and it was to the effect of the best hitters or the best athletes will do things with less compensation or less getting off the path, and the more amateur athletes, compensation wise, will put numbers to it.

Joey Myers  16:15

If something like 55 different pathways outside of the most efficient were the best, like LeBron James and probably Miguel Cabrera, and Mike Trout, those guys end up around seven different deviations off the normal. Can you talk about that a little bit?

 

What does the fixing movement compensation look like?

Shawn Sherman  16:30

I can’t remember if those numbers came from something I had posted or if I was using some arbitrary numbers, I can’t remember.

Shawn Sherman  16:40

I use the analogy all the time, like the GPS, so guys like us, we’re not that old, but we can remember when we first got our licenses. If you want to drive out of state, you get a roadmap, and you have your buddy with you on the road trip, and he’s telling you to go here, to go there with this GPS thing.

Shawn Sherman  16:56

What we do is we pop in our destination, and bounces these images, these signals off satellites, and it says, check it out, there’s some traffic ahead or there’s construction, it’s going to take longer, but it’s still going to give you the most efficient course in light of the obstacles ahead of you.

Shawn Sherman  17:12

That’s how we all operate. We have all sprained ankles, we’ve all fallen out of bed, we’ve had different stress exposures over life. That’s really at the core and heart of what causes us to rewire around these optimal efficient pathways. None of us are immune to it.

Shawn Sherman  17:27

If we have to take the long way around the barn, or you have to take the long way to get from point A to point B, you have really one choice, all you can do is just drive faster, and get more skilled at driving on the back roads, but if we can actually get rid of the obstacles and traffic jams, you think there’s more optimal routes, instantly the athlete is better.

Shawn Sherman  17:46

It doesn’t take practice, it doesn’t take motor learning, but we’re not anti-rehearsal and repetition. We’re just saying, why don’t we clear out the hardware, let’s get these pathways open. You can get more goodies out when you take your athlete through skill sessions, or however you practice.

Shawn Sherman  18:03

It’s really about just reducing, given the best option to the athlete. The brain, I would say is not stupid, it doesn’t want to go the long way around the barn, it does so because it thinks it has to, but once you remove those obstacles, it’s going to take the most efficient pathway. That’s why we see posture improvements and we see pain alleviation.

Shawn Sherman  18:24

I’m not a baseball coach, and we work with these guys, and they’re up to three-four mile an hour and their exit velocity. It’s not because I gave him a good pep talk or technique, we might inadvertently change our technique, but we didn’t really change their approach. We just give them more options to solve these movement problems.

Joey Myers  18:43

I love that mobility exercises analogy, that GPS analogy. It’s not exactly the same, but what I use with my hitters on the movement side, when you address the physical movement moving better to perform better versus the strength conditioning to make stronger, and you know that stuff is good, but I use the analogy of the car getting brand new tires on misaligned front end.

Joey Myers  19:05

The dealer will tell you, you got 80,000 miles for these tires, and it should last you 80,000 but if they don’t fix the front end, and you still got these wheels, the wheel system is pointing this way where it should be straight, with those tires you’re not going to get 80,000, you’re going to get 40,000.

Joey Myers  19:21

You’re talking about installing a GPS system that will coordinate the right direction but will also address the system itself— the hardware, like you said.

Shawn Sherman  19:35

It’s almost like we have this magic button where it was really cool instead of, I’ll take the best route, we’re saying, no, you have a button on your GPS and just got rid of all the traffic, that’s what square one is doing.

Shawn Sherman  19:45

It instantly gets rid of stuff like that. It’s even better than GPS, it’s like the secret sauce magic button, you hit it and there are no silver bullets. We’re not doing magic, but it looks like magic, like you said before, we’re not anti-strengthening and rehearsal. That’s huge, we need that.

Shawn Sherman  20:07

But what if you’re missing this piece? There’s so much low hanging fruit that the industry hasn’t taken advantage of, yet. That’s what this represents, and also to the early adopters are the ones who get to really reap the benefit, because the coaches and the teams are taking advantage of what we’re doing right now.

Shawn Sherman  20:25

It’s an advantage over whoever they’re competing against. Down the road, everybody’s playing catch up, you got to keep up with the Joneses, just like I was thinking back to strength coaching.

Shawn Sherman  20:34

I think it was Boyd Epley at the University of Nebraska, he was like the first strength coach, this is back in the late 60s, early 70s. For 5,10,15 years, the University of Nebraska had a major competitive advantage over their competition, because they’re doing strength training, and the Steelers were doing it, but they weren’t competing in the NFL.

Shawn Sherman  20:50

You had Nebraska and you had the Pittsburgh Steelers; they are the early adopters of strength and conditioning back in the day. What we have is this missing piece that is such an awesome complement to what you’re already doing.

Shawn Sherman  21:02

That’s what we tell people, you don’t need to burn the bridges on what you’re doing. This is just representing that there’s some rocket fuel for what you’re doing when you want to add this to what you’re doing. This is just a unique and cool way to extract more performance from all your athletes.

Joey Myers  21:19

Yes, big mobility exercises competitive advantage. When I see a product or service, I get it, of course, I’ve had my head in this and I get it probably a little bit quicker than some coaches. This is something that my coaches that follow me and my parents and my instructors, this is something that they need to look into.

Joey Myers  21:42

One question before we get to where people can find you, I want to be respectful of your time. I know you’ve probably heard, being over at Ryan’s place, about the Tommy John dilemma.

Joey Myers  21:54

What do you feel from the square one system? I don’t know if you’ve seen guys that are maybe thinking about getting the surgery or whatever. What has your experience been with Tommy John, maybe athletes that are looking at that or have that?

What has your experience been with Tommy John, maybe athletes that are looking at that or have that?

Shawn Sherman  22:10

I am going to go right back to your mobility exercises analogy, you talked about when the tires and the front-end alignment is just off a little, not only are you going get 40,000 instead of 80,000, with that 40,000 miles, but you’re at a increased risk of also wrecking your car.

Shawn Sherman  22:27

It’s not just lack of performance and longevity; we’re talking about increased risk of injury. Tissue gets placed at mechanical disadvantage position based on poor perception. There we have an altered length tension relationship. That’s going to be poor positioning of all of our joints, we’re going to become more susceptible to becoming injured.

Shawn Sherman  22:50

Now, throwing a baseball, little I know about baseball, I don’t really know as much as probably most of your coaches about baseball.

Joey Myers  22:58

You know human movement.

Shawn Sherman  23:01

I know that throwing a baseball, it might be the most aggressive thing that you can do in sports, besides contact sport, like football running back, you’re running a smash again, and another guy, that has its own set of wheels.

Shawn Sherman  23:16

In non-contact things, you can do athletics, it’s crazy, because you’re literally doing as much high velocity as you can, and you don’t have to put the brakes on. You’re relying upon your tissue to decelerate the limb.

Shawn Sherman  23:30

Things better be perfect, or it’s going to go awry really quick, or you might get away with it for three years or five years or 10 years, but how many D1 and professional throwers get to avoid Tommy John, not many of them.

Shawn Sherman  23:47

If you don’t have pristine mechanics, it’s just a matter of time. I don’t have a specific story to share with you about Tommy John, we avoided it.

Shawn Sherman  23:59

I just think if it’s before Tommy John, there’s going to be the benefit of cleaning up your neural mechanics, so that you inadvertently just make better decisions, more efficient decisions. At least buying yourself more time.

Shawn Sherman  24:12

If I was a baseball guy, I’d rather have Tommy John at 32 than an 18 or 21. There’s that piece, I have to theorize that we’re going to help people go longer before they would get into some situation like that or post-surgical.

Shawn Sherman  24:26

We have all kinds of post-surgical stories on name and injury. We probably have seen people post rehab for hip replacement, even Tommy John, I know some guys that used to work with the Cubs, with some guys that had those issues.

Shawn Sherman  24:39

By getting that perception change better, it’s going to just get your rehab mobility exercises, your conditioning exercises, you’re going to get more goodies out of whatever it is you’re trying to do.

Shawn Sherman  24:50

I don’t have a specific “oh, yeah, here’s exactly what we’re doing, Tommy John”. I just think if we can get those neuro mechanics better, that’s going to be nothing but positive for the athlete to have a longer, healthier career, whether you’re just in high school, you’re trying to make the high school team, trying to get a college scholarship, trying to get to that next level where you actually get a paycheck.

Shawn Sherman  25:11

This isn’t going to do anything except for better efficiency is better movement, it’s better performance, it’s very generic in general.

Shawn Sherman  25:20

We’ve seen some really cool stories with all kinds of different injuries. I don’t have a specific time of John’s story in my mind right now to share.

Joey Myers  25:27

I have one kid that that I’m working with. Over the last year, he’s been having a hard time, he’s a lefty thrower but a righty hitter.

Joey Myers  25:33

I work with him hitting, my buddy who’s a pitching guy, but he just came off of a surgery where they took, I guess, the nerve in the elbow here, and they moved it because he was having numbness of his hand anytime he was in a straightened position or in a real bicep type position.

Joey Myers  25:52

He would have this numbness into his fingers. Anyway, they did the surgery and shifted that nerve up, and now he doesn’t have the numbness.

Joey Myers  26:01

He doesn’t have the pain he was having before, but when he’s throwing, he’s still having the pain, because he’s young, he’s got up here.

Joey Myers  26:09

What was interesting is when he got his post-surgery, met with the doctor, he was like, “I still have pain when I throw” and the doctor who went in, and decided when he went in and did the surgery originally, he didn’t need Tommy John.

Joey Myers  26:23

He was like, I don’t think you need it, I think you’re good. Then, his post-surgery, he said, I still got the pain, and the doc goes, “we can go in and do Tommy John”. He already told you, you don’t need it. Why would he even advise that? The doctor doesn’t really know what’s going on.

Shawn Sherman  26:41

You know structure, they’re at the top, they’re the kings of structure. The whole thing is, if you’re not paying attention to function, that’s only part of the equation here.

Shawn Sherman  26:53

I’m not trying to shine a light on square one, but it’s almost like what we’re doing is kind of the kings of functions, they let us make sure that the brain perceives that all these joint actions can handle load, if it can handle load, the body can make better decisions.

Shawn Sherman  27:08

There has to be a functional and structural base, and we need doctors, and we need people that are dealing with structure in our corners. This isn’t magic and great coaching isn’t magic.

Shawn Sherman  27:18

We need skill, we need motor learning, but we need this motor control and we got to improve this functional piece. Sometimes things go sideways, and you need a structural interventionism.

Shawn Sherman  27:31

Asking a surgeon functional questions, they might not be that well versed in throwing mechanics or just human movement. They’re phenomenal, clearly at structure, but that’s like asking your accountant how to make a cake.

Shawn Sherman  27:48

What is the role that we each play, and we all have our own unique roles. That’s why all athletes, all coaches, we need a team around us because everybody has different pieces of this whole human movement and human performance puzzle.

Joey Myers  28:00

I love that, Shawn. Well, I want to be respectful of your time, we got two minutes over. Where can people find you? What kind of mobility exercises projects you got going on now? Just let people know.

 

Where can people find you? What kind of projects you got going on now?

Shawn Sherman  28:11

Thank you again for having me on your program and giving us opportunity to be in front of your audience. I’m honored to be here, so thank you for reaching out. I love hearing your talk about my stuff, we haven’t even met in person, you haven’t seen it, so it’s really a huge compliment having me on.

Shawn Sherman  28:29

You already mentioned our website, Square1System.com. I have the same handle on Instagram, @square1system, that’s where I’m most active, if people want to kind of come and check our stuff out.

Shawn Sherman  28:42

The projects we have going on, we got a lot of information now in an online format. We kind of sell two different programs, we have one for people who want to become a student of our system, where there’s a whole skill developmental piece, that’s called square one at square one.

Shawn Sherman  29:00

We have this other piece called signal six, and that’s much more affordable. What’s cool about it is, it requires no skill, it requires very little understanding. It’s designed for coaches who are working with teams of athletes, and that product is under 100 bucks. It’s called signal six.

Shawn Sherman  29:16

It’s kind of like a mobility exercises no-brainer, no skill, you can implement it really quick with groups of athletes. I think that a lot of baseball coaches a lot of strength and performance people, that would be a great product to test the waters with us and see some cool things happen. Those are big projects.

Joey Myers  29:32

That’s an online video training, right?

Shawn Sherman  29:34

Yep. The signal six is an hour and a half program. If that’s too long for you, there’s like two videos within it, the bracket will be jumping ahead.

Joey Myers  29:43

I hope you can take the time

Shawn Sherman  29:47

If you want to hear me talk and blather for an hour or 10 at all the other video, there’s like two videos in there. You just do that, emulate that, you’re golden.

Shawn Sherman  29:54

There are other projects and stuff we’re not allowed to talk about. I can’t mention specific teams that we’re working with. We got a couple teams in the major leagues looking at us right now.

Shawn Sherman  30:05

Individual coaches there, a couple teams in the NFL already. We got US Special Forces that reached out over the last few months. I’m not talking about that yet, but we got some really cool stuff. I can’t wait till we can talk about that.

Shawn Sherman  30:21

It’s just more behind the scenes, we got some really cool things bubbling and some really high-level people are looking at our stuff, and guys like you, because what I find is once you get to know a guy like you, you start running in the same circle, all these D1 professional and special force guys, you guys all know each other, it’s kind of fun. You guys are starting to let me in the cool clubs.

Joey Myers  30:44

It took a while for me to get into the mobility exercises cool club, I know how it is to be able to go from the bottom of the heap and it’s not bad or anything, it’s just that no one knows who you are, yet.

Shawn Sherman  30:54

Once they see you’re doing good stuff, when you get there, you get their thumbs up and they want to tell their buddies because most of us like to help other people, and that’s really what it’s about.

Shawn Sherman  31:06

I think you’re trying to help people with your audience and having me on, and I appreciate you helping me, it’s all about win-win-wins. I got to win, you got to win.

Joey Myers  31:17

That’s why I want to have you on, the big thing is helping kids, especially if it comes to pain, get out of pain. Nothing breaks my heart more than having a kid come in with lower back pain or like the hitter-pitcher that I work with, talked about with the ulnar nerve thing, it just breaks my heart and I just want to be able to help them out.

Joey Myers  31:37

There are many other coaches, parents, and instructors, just like us that want to do that. I really appreciate your time, and thank you for coming on, Shawn. I know you’re a busy guy.

Joey Myers  31:47

You got the Pennsylvania-Chicago, you’re going back and forth in two different headquarters. I appreciate your time, brother, and maybe we’ll do a part two at some point. It’s got to get the game out for you.

Shawn Sherman  32:01

I really appreciate what you’re doing, man. Thank you so much.

Joey Myers  32:04

You got it, brother. Have a good rest of your week.

Shawn Sherman  32:06

You too, man. Thanks.