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!

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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.

Forearm Workout For Baseball Players

The Ultimate Forearm Workout for Baseball & Softball Players Interview with “Napalm”

What we go over in this forearm workout interview with Jedd Johnson: (read time is 21-minutes)

  • Where did the nickname “Napalm” come from?
  • What are some mistakes to forearm workout training that you see going on?
  • Why “finger” pull-ups aren’t a good decision…
  • What are eight forearm workout principles you guys work on for grip strength?
  • Why elbow issues can be solved through the shoulder or wrist, not the elbow…
  • Why the traditional wrist roller isn’t good for ball players, and how to make it more functional…
  • Ultimate Forearm Workout for Baseball (and Softball!)

This featured forearm workout training interview is one of twenty-four included in my NEW book

Below is the full transcript of the forearm workout interview (Click Here for a pdf of the transcript you can download and print off).

ENJOY!Forearm Workout For Baseball Players

Joey Myers  00:00

Hello and welcome to swing smarter monthly newsletter. This is your host Joey Myers from hittingperformancelab.com and I have an old friend of mine that probably when I started, for those of you who know me from swingsmarter.com as Jedd Johnson of diesel crew, he's one of the diesel crew and I want to first of all, thank you for making the time and coming up.

Jedd Johnson  00:20

Oh, dude, I really appreciate you reaching out to me, man. It's been so long since we connected and I'm happy to be a part of it. So, thank you very much.

Joey Myers  00:29

You got it, brother. Well, hey, I saw on the site or on your personal forearm workout blog that you have a nickname and I want you to go into where did you get the nickname? And is it napalm?

Where did the nickname “Napalm” come from?

Jedd Johnson  00:39

Napalm, yes. On all my YouTube videos, I say, this is Jed Johnson from diesel crew. Of course, you know, they call me napalm. Actually, nobody calls me napalm. There might be two people. What that comes from is I actually wanted to be a pro wrestler. I wanted to come up with some kind of a gimmick that was different from everybody else. Do you know wrestling at all?

Joey Myers  01:14

Little bit.

Jedd Johnson  01:14

WWF from the 90s. Do you remember Cain, the guy who was in a red suit? There was this match where he got his arm on fire? I'm like, how did they do that? I found out there was that solution that you could put on your arm that you could set fire and it wouldn't burn you for a certain amount of time? I was like, I could be a pyromaniac that every time he wanted to celebrate, he would set himself on fire

Jedd Johnson  01:46

That's where napalm came from. If your viewers don't know, napalm is a like a chemical or a weapon that they used, I think in either Korea or Vietnam to burn the vegetation, you would you would set this stuff on fire and this chemical would just burn and burn and burn and it would take down the vegetation and then, try to expose the enemy.

Joey Myers  02:11

Right.

Jedd Johnson  02:12

That's my understanding. That's where I came up with that, I always thought napalm was a cool word. I was like, I could I could use that. I was going to go with napalm jack. Napalm was going to work just fine. I sent that character in first tough enough, dude. I took a hand sanitizer and I put it in my hand. And I would set that on fire at parties. It burns like a blue flame. It was really freaky.

Joey Myers  02:48

It doesn't burn you?

Jedd Johnson  02:51

It does burn you. For a few seconds, you're good. It's not like the stuff that Cain had on his arm. I would have somebody ready with a big towel and they would just smother it and it would all go out. Usually there were some adult beverages involved before this happened. One time there were a few too many involved, and the guy who's supposed to have the towel had like a dish rag. I'm like, give me the towel and he put it on my hand and it didn't do the trick, dude. It burnt too long and I had these burned blisters in between my fingers, it was sore forever. It made training so uncomfortable. But memories, man.

Joey Myers  03:37

No, I love that. I love that. I always like to hear where the nicknames come from. I love how it's on the marketing side. Hey, everybody calls me napalm but only two people call you that but I love that story. Well, I probably should tell everybody who doesn't know or haven't been following me since swing smarter days, but Jedd is a grip strength ninja. That's the reason I wanted to have him on because in the baseball circle, softball circles, I know baseball for sure, grip strength is a big one. I know just by reading and watching Jedd stuff that there are a lot of mistakes that are being made. What are some of those mistakes to grip training that you see going on?

What are some mistakes to forearm workout training that you see going on?

Jedd Johnson  04:21

I think a lot of mistakes that are made that people consider grip strength training to be synonymous with just forearm workout training. They'll just do some forearm work, maybe some wrist curls behind the back wrist curls, some stuff like that, basic stuff. That's better than doing nothing, but there's a lot more stuff that you can do that's more effective and there's nothing wrong walking around with big forearms either, you're going to get stronger so if you aren't doing grip training at all, and you do some forearm stuff, it will help you, but there's a lot more stuff that you can do.

Jedd Johnson  05:08

There are two things that I see people doing online all the time and it just drives me insane. The one thing, since the early 2000s, this freaked me out, is they'll do the deal where they take like the dowel rod or a PVC pipe, and then they will put a wire or a rope on it, and then they will stick their arms straight out and then do the wrist rolling.

Joey Myers  05:37

Yeah.

Jedd Johnson  05:40

It pumps blood into your hands and into your forearms, but as far as the time that you're doing that, that could be so much more wisely used to develop some hand, wrist, and forearm strength. The other one is like brand new, it's only from the last couple years, it's when I see the people taking a 25- or 45-pound plate, and flipping it and catching it. It's tough, it's hard but you're getting nothing out of it. There's so much risk involved.

Why “finger” pull-ups aren’t a good decision…

Jedd Johnson  06:15

You could tweak a fit; you can carry an A two pulley in your finger and you might have to deal with that for months. I've done that twice. I actually did it on both middle fingers on the same day in 2011 one time because I was being stupid. I dealt with that for three months. Then another time, I did this ring finger, my right ring finger, I'm just doing dumb stuff. I had to deal with that, I was able to work around it and do some training, but I could feel that pain for four months. Plus, not to mention if you miss and it hits your foot or something, it's just not wise. It's not wise. Those two things drive me nuts.

Joey Myers  07:03

Yes, and we did those all the time. I remember doing that one like you mentioned the wrist at the curl and then behind the back. When we did all that, we did this one, we did the extension, wrist extension, deflection, and those in our repertoire back in the early 2000s. We landed about that same spot, and we were experimenting, just like you said being stupid with one finger, two finger pull ups. I think I did the same thing.

Jedd Johnson  07:30

Oh, no. Yeah, so risky.

Joey Myers  07:32

Oh, I can't remember what hand it was but I remember it was the middle finger, I'd never seen that before. It's you're talking tendons and connective tissues. It's a lot longer to get it to heal.

Jedd Johnson  07:47

Sure, it does, man. It sure does. Hands are so important for ballplayers to manage and deal with something like that. It can mess stuff up for a long time and I shudder to think especially like a prospect, who's really got a bright future ahead of them and they go and do something like that, because they saw online, or an uninformed coach has them do that. That's a good point, hanging off of bars with just one hand or using like climbing grips.

Jedd Johnson  08:16

I have wrestlers and baseball players in my gym, and I have a set of their Metolius rock rings, just a product that you would use for moving towards specific training for rock climbing. I have them hung up on my bar, and everybody always asked me about them. I do not use those grips at all. What I like to do is grip on top of it and then if I'm having any kind of shoulder pain or elbow pain, I can do my pull ups on those and they're hanging from a rope, so I can grip on top of that. It's not a grip challenge at all and I can move my hands however I want to and for that pull up motion, and it's totally pain free. I look over and I see kids trying to stick like their two middle fingers in there and do pull up, no, no, dude, don't. It's just not worth it.

Joey Myers  09:11

Is that the same one? Did you see the documentary was a free solo?

Jedd Johnson  09:15

I did, yes.

Joey Myers  09:15

Is that the one he's got in his van? Do you remember it was towards the last quarter of the movie, I think, it was right before he was going to do the big climb, the free solo? He had those, it must have been those and he had them hanging from that little VW bus…

Jedd Johnson  09:32

What color were they?

Joey Myers  09:33

I think so, he had him up there and he was doing different finger type stuff but that guy was a frickin G when it came to rock climbing.

Jedd Johnson  09:41

That it I don't recall. They very well could have, I know most of the ones that I've seen, there are specific products that are green. If they were green in the movie, they are probably the exact same thing. The climbers also use things called campus boards, which are generally fixed right to a wall or some kind of surface, a lot of times you see him over top of people's doorways, you can get just a finger crimp hold on there, and you generally hang for time.

Jedd Johnson  10:10

They do that, because there's so much hanging for time on the rock ledge. It makes sense to go out there and just hang and get your fingers accustomed to it. What happens is people go up there and grab it, and then they're trying to do pull ups, and then they're trying to reach up and pull themselves up, reach up to the neck and that is just way too much pressure for an untrained individual.

Joey Myers  10:32

I want to say you have maybe eight different things to do grip wise, because like you said, you just named a few that get into your girdle, the wrist flexion extension, that kind of thing. What are the eight principles, half a dozen, whatever that you guys work on for grip and strength?

What are eight forearm workout principles you guys work on for grip strength?

Jedd Johnson  10:55

The forearm workout movement patterns are flexion, so that's closing your hands. Also, flexion would be bending the wrist like this, you have extension where you're opening your fingers or extending your wrist, that's two. You have owner and radial deviation.  Owner is where you would bend your wrist in the direction of the pinky, radial deviation is where you bend toward your thumb, and also, you're bending towards the ulna towards the radius. You have supination, which is where you're turning your hands so that your palm faces up, you have pronation, where you're turning your hands so that the palm faces down. The way you can remember that is pouring soup, you would pour soup into a bowl, so pronation, supination.

Jedd Johnson  11:44

You have circumduction, which is where you move your hand through a range of motion. Those are the technical terms. In grip sport, what the terms that we use are crushing, which would be the flexion, but crushing would be through a range of motion. If it's static, it's called supporting, support or supporting.

Jedd Johnson  12:09

Pinching is where you use your thumb, your thumb would generally be opposing your fingers that can be static or dynamic. Any pinching, the limiting factor would be your thumb strength. You have an open hand, which is anything where you can't reach your fingers around and touch your thumb to your fingers. Of course, some pinch would be considered open hand too, because you'll never get your thumb all the way around some things.

Jedd Johnson  12:38

Crimping is where you apply force like this with your fingers and that would be the kind of strength that you would need to rip a deck of cards or telephone book apart, something like that. Those are some off the top of my head. Those are some of the main terminologies that are used.

Joey Myers  12:58

I've heard you talk about the thick bar, thick bar dead-lifts and there were a couple other ones that you were taught. The one I liked, you talked about the flexion extension, whereas you just put a rubber band around here, and it's really slick.

Jedd Johnson  13:17

Yes, if anyone has any kind of forearm pain up near their elbow, on the back of their forearm, that's a great forearm workout drill. You just put rubber bands over your fingers, you can extend it, extend against the band, it works all the extensors in the back of the forearm. It can bring blood in there and help that area recover if someone's sore.

Joey Myers  13:40

Carpal tunnel, too?

Jedd Johnson  13:43

Yes, it can be used for carpal tunnel. Absolutely. To help improve that a little bit. A lot of times, from what I understand, carpal tunnel can actually be related to something in your shoulder. A lot of times when you see someone that has carpal tunnel, a lot of times it does come from overuse as well, but because people get the forward shoulder posture, internally rotated, that can cause issues that will gradually lead to carpal tunnel as well. It goes hand in hand.

Jedd Johnson  14:23

If you have a problem up at the top of your arm, it can translate downstream they say. You have to be aware of those things, too. That's why it's important for ballplayers and all athletes to maintain good posture, good enough antagonistic balance between their chest and your back. You don't want to have an athlete that's all tight in here, that's not going to be good. You want to have them opened up and their upper back be strong and maintain that balance between the opposing muscle groups.

Joey Myers  14:57

I like how you said that because some of my hitters they come in, throwing sports, so a lot of times they'll come in, they'll say, “Oh, my elbows really, really hurt me” and we'll talk about things that they can do with their wrist increased mobility, and they're going “but my elbow” and I said, no, no, let's loosen this up or you see things in the shoulder, like you said, either building the backside, like they do a lot of band work, right? Your band type stuff and building the doing, the whys, and the Tees and the eyes and things like that. They're like “but my elbow”. No, no, no shoulder, wrist.

Why elbow issues can be solved through the shoulder or wrist, not the elbow…

Jedd Johnson  15:31

Sometimes there's a problem elsewhere, and you don't feel it but because things are tight, it can either shut something down or cause a misalignment elsewhere, which can further result in some kind of overuse or irritation in a connective tissue. It's definitely something to be aware of.

Joey Myers  15:52

Now, you said you had some baseball guys, maybe even softball girls that you train or have trained. What are the top three when it comes to grip and forearm workout strength stuff? What are the top three exercises that you do with them?

Jedd Johnson  16:03

I have everybody do open hand training, like the thick bar stuff. For instance, not tonight, but last week, I had them just take hex head dumbbells, stand them up and grab them by the top and they're stuck. I found that right there can help so many different athletes because it gets their hands out and makes each finger work individually. That's real beneficial, of course any thick bar stuff.

Joey Myers  16:44

They are standing with that hex bar dumbbell holder just standing there or are they walking with it?

Jedd Johnson  16:49

They're standing and the weights are at their sides. Basically, you just dead lift them up and stand there and if they can hold something, you know how you can just look at someone and see the effort. A lot of times, what I'll do is if the proper weight for them is a 20, like a 20-pound dumbbell in their hand, I'll have them start on the 25 and then drop down to the 20 and I'll have them get a total of 20 seconds. Because the 20, they could probably hold for like 30-40 seconds but because the weight increases, but also the implement gets bigger in size, it becomes more difficult. I like to have two dumbbells setup for each person, two sets of dumbbells so that they can drop down.

Jedd Johnson  17:41

That works out really, really nice. You know what else I have? I had a coach, a dad coach, the father of one of my players was also a coach. He ended up getting one of those bats. I don't know if they use them anymore. I don't watch a lot of Major League Baseball anymore but they used to back in the day, they have one of those heavy bats, they had the weight on it that you could span as it went out, and it would feel heavier. The coach donated that to the gym.

Jedd Johnson  18:12

I don't have them do it like this, it's down at their side but basically, they're going to grip somewhere on that bat. I'll do like this and we just call them jigs. You take to the front like you're jigging a fishing rod and so it's down at their side, and they're jigging to the front, they'll jig to the rear. When they're doing it to the front, the weight is out in front of them and you're doing it to the rear, it's in the back.

Jedd Johnson  18:38

I'll also have them do circles to the front either way, to the back either way. You know what else I like to have ballplayers do for a forearm workout? I have a nice collection of sledgehammers, actually, my sledgehammers range from three pounds, it goes 3,6,8, 10, 12, 14, 16,20.  I'll have them stand with the sledge hammer at their side. The sledge hammer head is on the floor and then they grab the top of the sledgehammer. If this flashlight is the top of the sledgehammer, they're going to grab here and they're going to do a finger walk.

Jedd Johnson  19:22

They're walking their fingers down like that and the goal is to go all the way to the bottom of the sledgehammer until they can touch the head of the sledgehammer. You'd be surprised how tough a six-pound sledge hammer is for a lot of kids. The nice thing is, I like it for baseball and softball players, especially the pitchers and I end up working with a lot of pitchers. It just seems like in my area the pitchers are the most serious athletes. I don't know if that's the case everywhere, but it trains you to apply pressure.

Jedd Johnson  20:08

One of my seniors last year, he was developing some tremendous curve ball movement, and slider and stuff like that just by being able to regulate that pressure on the ball. His whole season got taken away from due to the COVID shut down. My heart is broken because this kid put in so much work. Those are a few drills that you can do, either at the gym, or you might have some of that stuff at your house. Even if you don't have a giant sledge hammer, maybe you just have a carpenter's hammer, that only weighs a couple pounds, well work your way down, work your way up, work your way down. I know that probably sounds a lot like a wrist roller, but it's not.

Why the traditional wrist roller isn’t good for ball players, and how to make it more functional…

Joey Myers  21:03

Like you said, the wrist roller forearm workout, you're not even working your fingers. It's just more of this with the finger pressure, which is much more functional, especially when it comes to softball.

Jedd Johnson  21:16

Now, to go back to that wrist roller really quick, if you're mounting the wrist roller onto something, and you're actually like pulling up some serious weight, I'm all about it. What we'll do is we'll take a loading pin, or a kettlebell or a dumbbell, and we'll choke a band around it. I'll take another band and choke around the loading sleeve of a barbell and then they're like, “Oh, my gosh, this is so heavy”. How they roll it up, they let it spin down, they roll it back the other way, that's a lot more weight. Historically, the wrist roller that's used is, maybe a two-and-a-half-pound plate on there and if anything, I always felt it more in my shoulder than my grip.

Joey Myers  22:02

How many guys you see or girls doing that? They're arching their back and they're new, because maybe their shoulders aren't even developed enough to be able to hold the weight in that position straight out.

Jedd Johnson  22:14

That's another great point. That's another great point. You should maintain that neutral alignment in your spine and everything when you're training, for sure.

Joey Myers  22:23

Well, hey, I want to be respectful of your time, so I want you to give a shout out to where people can find you. If you have any kind of forearm workout offers or new products, go ahead, just leave it out there.

Ultimate Forearm Training for Baseball (and Softball!)

Jedd Johnson  22:41

Basically, my main website is dieselcrew.com. I don't have a ton of articles up there about baseball by any means but I do have a product called Ultimate Forearm Training for Baseball. I named it that because I didn't figure anybody would know what grip training was, so it's forearm training, ultimate forearm training for baseball. If you go to: http://gohpl.com/forearmtraining

Joey Myers  23:19

Do you still have that forearm workout training up on Clickbank?

Jedd Johnson  23:20

Yes, it is. I'll put up a link they can go through and I think it'll help out people tremendously and it's got 20 workouts already set up, that are based around. You can go in there and just totally hit your lower arms as hard as you want to. Or if you don't have time, or if you're not ready for all that then do like two or three movements and it'll be great for you really well.

Joey Myers  23:50

What I like about everything that you do is you say, well, if you can't afford the weights or whatever you can use, be creative and use something that's similar to that that you have at your house.

Jedd Johnson  24:00

Yeah. Even if you don't have one of those heavy bats or whatever they are?

Joey Myers  24:10

Just like a warm up bat, I'm not sure of the actual name of it, but I know the people will know what you're talking about.

Jedd Johnson  24:16

For years, instead of doing the heavy bat, I just put a doughnut on a softball bat. My beer league softball bat, so we just did it with that. With a lot of the bats, you can actually fit like a two-and-a-half-pound plate on there, and it'll go on there just fine. If you have an old bat, that's got a little bit bigger barrel, you can slide it on there, and that'll work. Lots of potential for grip training using stuff that's probably already at your house and your equipment bag.

Joey Myers  24:52

Very cool. Well, thank you, man. It was great to catch up. We'll have to do a part two, for sure, in the future. You guys are doing well and dealing with all this nonsense that's going on and you hear that you're out there training people.

Jedd Johnson  25:06

Yeah, for sure, I appreciate it. One other thing, I don't know if your viewers watch YouTube much, I have a YouTube channel. Just search for Jedd Johnson and grip strength it'll come up and go ahead and subscribe and I'm always putting stuff up there related to grip training, as well as some other stuff that's like functional for athletes as well as like muscle building and strength. General strength training as well, so I invite everybody to check that out too.

Joey Myers  25:34

Are you on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or just mostly YouTube?

Jedd Johnson  25:38

Yes, I'm on Instagram. It's a jedd dot diesel and I'm on Facebook just under my name, under my personal account. I also have Jedd Johnson comma dieselcrew dot com, I'm all over. I have a Twitter but I don't really use it, I never really got into that.

Joey Myers  26:01

It's a good thing.

Jedd Johnson  26:04

The snap thing.

Joey Myers  26:08

Don't even get me started.

Jedd Johnson  26:09

Yeah, I don't do that one. Instagram and Facebook and YouTube, basically.

Joey Myers  26:15

Very cool, man. Well, thanks again for your time today and Merry Christmas to you guys out there. Hold the line out there in Pennsylvania.

Jedd Johnson  26:23

We will, no doubt.

Joey Myers  26:25

All right, brother. Take care of yourself.

Jedd Johnson  26:28

You, too.

Joey Myers  26:28

Alright, Jedd.

Jedd Johnson  26:30

Yeah

Hitting Baseball Drills: What Leads to Hitting More “Predictable” Line Drives and Less Strikeouts?

Hitting Baseball Drills Line Drive Mystery?

Hitting Baseball Drills Mike Trout photo courtesy: MLB.com

In this hitting baseball drills line drive mystery post, we're going to answer the question above by diving into the following:

  • What does “predictable” mean and why does probability matter?  And,
  • Difference between ‘Launch Angle’ and ‘Attack Angle’…

What does “Predictable” mean and Why does Probability Matter?

Let's define terms. What is probability?  Dictionary.com says this:

“The extent to which something is probable; the likelihood of something happening or being the case.”

Why does probability matter?  I have parents ask me, “What is the probability that if my kid does the hitting baseball drills you're telling us, he or she will hit a line drive?”  What do you think an extraordinary yet reasonable line drive rate is?  We've talked about Major League average line drive rate being 20%.  That's the gold standard for highest level in the land.  A high failure rate in hitting can be expected.  We've all heard the maxim that you can fail three out of ten times in the Big Leagues and make it into the Hall of Fame.  Probability of success in hitting DOES NOT match that of in the classroom.  Or shooting free throws.  Or a quarterback's completion percentage.  Success measured in hitting isn't even close to these examples.  Keeping probability in perspective matters when measuring hitting success.

Now, let's look at the word predictable.  Hitting more “predictable” line drives.  What does predictable mean?  Dictionary.com, what say you?

“Behaving or occurring in a way that is expected.”

What “predictable” is for some hitting coaches may not be for others.  Consider this…Coach A uses horoscopes, astrology, and sorcery to teach his hitters how to hit line drives.  And after 20 years of teaching like this, he swears his hitters hit predictable line drives.  This is all he knows.    All he knows.

Let's look at Coach B, who applies human movement principles validated by REAL Science to hitting a ball.  And after 20 years of teaching hitters like this, she swears HER hitters hit line drives predictably.  So which coach is more effective with their hitters?

If the hitting baseball drills answer doesn't immediately jump out at you, then you may be the first one dead during a zombie apocalypse.  Of course I was exaggerating the two coaching strategies for effect (well, at least one of them).  This seems to be the duality of hitting logic I see online.  “Listen to ME because I said so”.  No standard.  Just listen to me because I slept in the same bed as Ted Williams in XYZ hotel.  Or I've binge watched millions of hours of slow motion hitting video of only the best hitters.  Or I have the MLB record of 9th inning doubles in the month of August.  Blah blah blah.

“Behaving or occurring in a way that is expected.”  20% line drive rate is expected.  So in 20-years of coaching, would Coach A or Coach B do better?  Let's say Coach A's astrology hitters came in at an average 12% line drive.  This is exceptional to him because it's the pinnacle of what he's experienced.  But what Coach A doesn't know is Coach B's science hitters clocked in at a 20% average line drive rate.  Coach A doesn't have a clue until he talks to Coach B.  Lesson here?  We don't know what we don't know.  Now you know!

I can tell you, when it comes to THIS means THAT … hitting predictable line drives and striking out less comes from applying human movement principles that are validated by real science to hitting a ball. Hitters hit more predictable line drives when they follow principles outlined in: Physics, Engineering, Biomechanics, body work, Geometry, and Psychology.

Of course there is bad Science.  Just read Ben Goldacre's book Bad Science: Quacks, Hacks, and Big Pharma Flacks.  But there are irrefutable principles that have been proven for decades, if not hundreds of years.  Take Gravity for one.  Jump out of a plane and you'll fall 100% of the time – as long as you call earth home.  Look, there are 50 ways to skin a cat, but there is always one most efficient way…

Astrology Coach A may say something like this about Science:

…yes u can argue with science. Science is religion not fact. It's guessing and testing not thinking and proving. Very little is proven fact in science. Science is only science until better science comes along. For example. The science of hitting….. there’s ppl out there that say he wasn’t completely right. Then there will be someone new saying the same of your doctor…..i find it funny scientists who can’t hit anything telling ppl the proper way to hit.”

And Science Coach B may respond with something like this:

“Science is neither religion or guessing and testing. It is the discipline of seeking knowledge in pursuit of the truth and understanding. Whether being applied to medicine, the weather or the baseball swing, that understanding is only as good as the currently available information (data), and yes a process of observation, testing and retesting as tools improve necessarily updates our knowledge and improve our understanding. It does not rely on faith as religion does. It relies on evidence and data. “Hard anywhere” is a result. It doesn’t explain or teach how in fact one hits the ball hard anywhere consistently. That requires some understanding of how the biomechanics of the swing works and can be made most efficient for each player.  If you want to argue with “science” as you refer to it, you are welcome and encouraged to do so…but bring your superior evidence and data to the argument!” 

I want to keep Coach A's name anonymous, so as not to expose him to ridicule, thrown tomatoes, and bunny ears.   Look, there are hundreds of different ways to teach hitting baseball drills. A lot of coaches believe this, and I agree.  But I'd argue there is a more effective way.  What is it?

Consider this scenario…imagine you and I sitting down at the kitchen table to talk hitting.  One hour before, we were both involved in a feverish game of Octopus Tag (you don't want to know).  And are famished!  What's on the menu?  A big fat bowl of creamy tomato soup.  But before we begin nourishing our bodies with sweet Lycopene, I give the choice of eating your soup with three primitive caveman tools.  WARNING: you can only pick one…

  1. Spoon,
  2. Fork, or
  3. Knife

Which tool would you choose to eat your soup?  Think hard.  I'll wait… okay, time's up!!  You chose the spoon didn't you.  How did I know?  Astrology?  Horoscope-ology (is that a word)?  No, of course not.  I knew because that was the most effective tool for the job.  Hitting is the same.  Anything less than applying human movement principles validated by REAL Science to hitting baseball drills, is like eating delicious creamy tomato soup with a fork or even dumber, a knife.  One can pull it off.  But others would look at you like you were a wooden dummy.

Remember, we're looking at “behaving or occurring in a way that is expected.”

Let's look at another puzzle piece to helping hitters consistently hit line drives…

Difference between ‘Launch Angle’ and ‘Attack Angle’?

Here are the definitions of both attack angle and launch angle…

According to FanGraphs.com, Attack Angle is…

“The attack angle, or swing plane, is the angle that the bat is moving at when it hits the ball.”

And according to MLB.com, Launch Angle is…

“Launch Angle represents the vertical angle at which the ball leaves a player's bat after being struck.”

There is no such thing as a ‘Launch Angle” swing, since every batted ball produces a Launch Angle, even a bunt.  Attack and Launch Angles are just numbers without a brain.  They're a mode of measurement. They're different, but similar.  More like first cousins. That's it.  Period.  End of story.

But I can see where the hitting baseball drills confusion is.  The Launch Angle “swing” is a case of guilty by association.  In the past, coaches preaching launch angles, maybe using HitTrax or Rhapsodo, tended to instruct their hitters to hit the top back third part of the cage.  Did you get that?  Imagine that for a second…top-back-third-part-of-the-cage.  The coaching logic goes like this … if most doubles and dingers are hit within twenty to thirty degree launch angles, then let's teach hitters to do just that.

Problem is, when the majority of hitters – especially the young ones –  attempt this, they end up hitting more popups.  I know because I taught it too!!  And like the Big Bang, just like that, the ‘Launch Angle' swing was spoken into existence.  But I can tell you, THIS does not mean more predictable line drives.  Let me explain…

What is an Optimized Attack or Launch Angle?

The angle the barrel takes to the ball is an Attack Angle. The Launch Angle is angle ball takes off the bat.  Which begs the question, “What is an optimized Attack or Launch Angle?”

According to Fangraphs.com, the league average Attack Angle from 2015 through 2017 are: 11.4, 12.0, and 13.8 (in degrees), respectively.  The average Launch Angles in the same time frame were: 10.5, 11.1, and 11.0 (in degrees), respectively.  Launch Angle is a little more tricky than Attack Angle.  A hitter can control their Attack Angle.  Not so much their Launch Angle.  Fangraphs.com adds…

“…we see a relatively weak correlation between attack angle and launch angle, because launch angle is also strongly dependent a hitter’s aim, timing, and bat speed. While we don’t have any direct measurements of aim or timing, we can see that players with flatter swings (lower attack angles) have more margin for error when it comes to timing, and therefore tend to have higher contact rates than players with uppercut swings (larger attack angles).”

And the optimal home run Launch Angle seems to be about 24-degrees.  Ironically, the optimal Attack Angle for home runs is about 24-degrees.   But think about this, in the Big Leagues a fastball being thrown at 95-mph, typically is coming DOWN at a 5-degree angle.  So if the hitter's Attack Angle is UP at 24-degrees, then yes we may see more dingers and doubles, but at the expense of hits, Batting Average, and higher strikeouts percentages.  The extreme uppercut example isn't a good demonstration of the “slight uppercut” Ted Williams was talking about in his book The Science of Hitting.  Food for thought.

Furthermore, a fantastic post on the topic of the longest home run ever, comes from Dr. Alan Nathan in a post at PopularMechanics.com titled, “What’s The Longest Possible Home Run”. Alan Nathan is a professor emeritus of Physics at the University of Illinois.  The professor has spent a career tracking physics, especially as it relates to baseball. He says two primary factors guide how far a ball is going to fly: exit velocity and launch angle.  From the Popular Mechanics post:

“Consider Nathan's ideal home run, hit with 120-mph exit velocity at a 26-degree launch angle. If Giancarlo Stanton hit that ball on a 70-degree day, at sea level, with no wind and 50 percent relative humidity, then Nathan's calculations show the ball will travel 492 feet…If you start changing those atmospheric conditions, that number can go up a lot.  An out-blowing wind at 5 mph, which is not a lot of wind, can add 24 feet to a fly ball, so now you are at 516 ft. If instead you go to Denver (lower air density at a higher elevation) and that goes up to 533 feet.”

Now, I know what you may be thinking…

How does the Brain get the Body to Optimize Attack (AA) and Launch Angles (LA)?

Perry Husband of HittingIsAGuess.com dragged me to the following hitting baseball drills conclusion.  We talked about this already, but league average line drive rates in the Bigs is 20%, so this should be our primary focus.  Physics says, the hardest ball hit requires center-center contact between barrel and ball.  And remember league average fly-ball and ground-balls rates hover around 40% each.  The best hitters in the game are missing center-center contact 80% of the time – LOSERS!!  Kidding!

Dingers and doubles are what we call “quality misses”.  Aim small, miss small.  Hit the ball back through the “tube”.  Shoot for the ten to fifteen degree Launch Angle (our 20% line drive rate), and rest assured hitters will accumulate more of these quality misses.  Dingers and doubles without sacrificing swing quality.  Practicing this may not be sexy, but the results are, believe me.  Because if hitter shoots for dingers and doubles, they'll hit more pop flies – I can tell you.

Remember, we're looking at “behaving or occurring in a way that is expected.”  Consistent.  Predictable.  Higher probability of line drives.  Here's the how and the hitting baseball drills lesson…

To optimize AA, we focus on optimizing the net outcome of LA.  Our hitter's default focus is back through the “tube”.  Path ball takes from pitcher's hand to catcher's glove.  Distance from the ground sets the “tube”.  Hitter works on hitting it back through the tube.  If it's an inch off the ground … ball comes off bat an inch off the ground.  If the tube is set at 4-feet off the ground, then ball comes off bat 4-feet off the ground.  So if it comes back through the tube, it's coming back through the tube at 10 to 15 degrees. That is our optimized default launch angle we want to see our hitters practicing every single swing they take.

If it is not back through the tube, then we want them making the Dr. Victor Frankl Man's Search For Meaning paradoxical intention adjustments. If they hit the ball above the tube (pop fly or quality miss above), then we want them to make an adjustment down below the tube next time.   Why do we want to include an adjustment for quality misses (doubles and dingers) above the tube?  Because if they try for them, they'll miss higher.  Not good.  We praise them for the quality miss, but remind them to get back to the tube.  The same is true if they hit it below the tube (a grounder), then we want them to make an adjustment above the tube.

I know I sound like a broken record, but the body is always a step or two behind the brain.  So we have to exaggerate the adjustment cue in order to get the body to do what the brain wants it to.  Thoughts move quickly. We want to make sure that we get the big old bag of bones, muscle, springy fascia, and organs on par with the brain. Tell body to overshoot where we want it to go, in order to get it in the middle.

Case Study: does Teaching Hitters to Hit Top Back Third Part of Cage Work for Hitters in Games?

I argue no, it does not. And I will also say that I was there a few years ago, teaching the same thing to my hitters.  If I was talking to two years in the past Joey Myers today … he would think I was crazy.  And in his finite wisdom, would demand whose hitting baseball drills Kool-Aid I was drinking. But I can assure two-years in the past Joey Myers that hitting the back third part of the cage isn't what we want our hitters practicing.

I mentioned I taught this exact thing a few years ago, and what I found, especially with a lot of my junior high and high school hitters, was that focusing on the double and dinger caused a majority of my hitters to hit more … you guessed it … pop flies. Some were flying out three and four times a game. And at that time we were telling our hitters to get the ball off the ground, and that all ground balls sucked eggs. There are still a lot of coaches out there, progressive ones, good coaches, that still subscribe to that.  But the problem is probability of averages.  “Behaving or occurring in a way that is expected.”  Consistent.  Predictable line drives.

Again, you look at the best hitters in the game, league average 20 percent line drive rate, 40 percent fly ball, and 40 percent ground ball. 80 percent of the time, the best hitters in the world miss hit the center of the ball. Center ball meeting center bat. The best hitters in the game are missing 80 percent of the time. So think about that. If we shoot for a ten to fifteen degree launch angle, hit it back through the tube, then our misses are going to be more quality.  Net results?

A higher probability of lines drives.  Back to at least league average.  So if we're shooting for a 10 to 15 degrees Launch Angle, and we miss slightly under that center point, what ends up happening is that 20 to 30 degree launch.  We're going to accumulate more doubles and dingers by shooting for the middle.  Shooting for the tube.

And when it comes to quality ground-balls, I think in the big leagues, when the ball exit speeds get above 94 miles an hour defensive errors go up. They significantly increase. Now, why is that? Well, because the ball's speeding up and it's moving faster than the best can react to get to the ball.  And the less bounces, the more likely the ball will get to an outfielder.  More bounces slow the ball down significantly.  So the speed the ball comes off the bat matters “big tyne”, as Domingo Ayala would say.  According to a “Fun With Statcast (Exit Velo)” post at Medium.com, here's what happens to batting average when ball exit speeds increase:

  • 92-mph = .261
  • 94-mph = .311
  • 96-mph = .369
  • 98-mph = .425
  • 100-mph = .508
  • 102-mph = .565
  • 104-mph = .635
  • 106-mph = .701
  • 108-mph = .718

Then they level off on any ball exit speeds above that.  So not all ground-balls are bad.  Especially if we're hitting them over 94-mph.  And by the way, the stats you just read reflect Major Leaguers!!  If you have a kid in Junior High or High School hitting 92-mph ground-balls, then the batting average for that hitter at that level will be much higher than what's reflected above.   Major Leaguers are MUCH better fielders.

Bottom line?  Our focus should be in hitting the ball hard. Ball exit speed MUST be a big part of the equation. It's king.  Optimized launch angles don't mean as much with slow ball exit speeds.  We can get away with it for a little while, but the ability to hit more extra base hits, hit the ball to the wall or over the wall is going to be a major challenge at higher levels.

And if it's one thing that high school coaches hate, are their hitters hitting an excess of fly balls.  They would take a ground ball, even if it's a weak one any day of the week.  Why?  Because they bank on that fielder either miss playing it, or over throwing it. They'll say that there's more that can go wrong with the ground-ball than a fly ball, which is true. Fielder has to field and throw cleanly, and the receiver has to catch it. Three things can go wrong with the ground ball than a fly ball. They just have to catch it.  I'd disagree that “just catching” the ball is easy though.

As an outfielder who played at the Division 1 level in college, I can tell you it's not that easy to track and catch a ball in the air.  You've got to take the right route. You've got to read it correctly off the bat. You've got to listen to the sound of contact. Solid, or not quite. If the ball is hit hard, we were taught to take your first step back. You don't want a line drive going over your head. There's a lot that goes into catching a ball in the air. So I will disagree that it's easy to catch a fly ball. And I think most that say it's easy, never played outfield on a regulation big field against higher level hitters.

In addition, with a skill like hitting that is reactive, versus pitching which is proactive, control isn't what hitters are gifted with.  Only control what you can control. And to hear these coaches say hit the ball on the ground because the defense might make an error.  In a sport with less control, why would you pin hopes and dreams on “might” make an error.  You can't control that.  So only focus on what you can control.

“Behaving or occurring in a way that is expected.”  Consistent.  Predictable line drives.  Our hitters CAN control improving their Ball Exit Speeds and optimize their Attack Angles.  In Chapter-3, we discussed what leads to hitting more “predictable” line drives and less strikeouts.  We dove into the following:

  • What does “predictable” mean and why does probability matter?  And,
  • Difference between ‘Launch Angle’ and ‘Attack Angle’…
Baseball Analytics: Miguel Cabrera Launch Angles

How Fast (or Slow) Until a Data-driven Swing Replaces an “Old School” One? (Baseball Analytics Shenanigans)

Baseball Analytics: Miguel Cabrera Launch Angles

Baseball Analytics Photo courtesy: HittingNow.com

Why extremes are ALMOST never good

(Estimated reading time: 18-minutes)

How did we get here with baseball analytics? The ‘Launch Angle' era.  Where did it originate?  What was the tipping point of choosing Sabermetrics over traditional scouting?  You'll find out in the coming post.  But first,

We'll be discussing what a data-driven swing looks like – we'll be covering:

  • Story of Minor League hitting coaches having almost ZERO hitting experience,
  • Pros of a data-driven swing,
  • Cons of a data-driven swing, and
  • How it’s bad (or good) to track ball exit speed and launch angle in the batting cage.

Once upon a time in the Minors…

Story of Minor League hitting coaches having almost ZERO hitting experience

I have an interesting story to talk about. A true story. In an almost magical land called the Minor Leagues.  At the time, a little birdy playing for a National league professional organization whispered in my ear.  This little birdy told me…

Their are budding baseball analytics hitting coaches sprouting up in some professional organizations – having almost zero hitting experience.  No this isn't fake news.  These whirlybird propeller seeds are traveling by wind from the sparkling land of economics … planting their baby hitting coach seeds in fresh dark batter's box soil.  With a little gray water, bright sunlight, and the swift tap of a fairy's wand… instantly sprouts an economics hitting fairy!

These magical Econ-hitting fairies are now happily coaching professional hitters on what they need to be feeling as a hitter … regardless of whether they're hitting line drive after line drive … AND, with no more playing experience than Little League.  Imagine the Mathlete schooling the High School Baseball Jock in everything hitting.  And the Jock MUST listen or … YOU'RE FIRED!

Okay, so I may have embellished the story a bit.  The Minor Leagues ARE NOT magical lands – just ask any Minor Leaguer.  It wasn't a little birdy that shared the story – it was a professional baseball human being.  And sorry to kill your hopes and dreams, but magical Econ-hitting fairies aren't born by adding gray water, sun, and the tapping of a fairy wand.  C'mon man, everyone knows those aren't real!  Magical Econ-hitting fairies, I mean.  Fairy wands are VERY real.

It is true though – how this story sounded in my head. It was an interesting story coming from a single-A ballplayer.  That is, the state of  professional baseball in the so-called ‘Launch Angle' era.  It does beg the question…

How are these baseball analytics Econ-hitting fairies, who have zero college, professional, or Major League experience, finding themselves coaching professional hitters on what they need to be doing, and how they need to be doing it?  Listen, this may sound counter to what I just spent a few sarcastic paragraphs mocking.  But listen closely…

As a coach you DO NOT need to have extensive experience to teach hitters to be effective in their movements.  Just as long as you understand how to apply human movement principles that are validated by real science to hitting the ball. In other words, as long as you understand the rules of the human movement game, you can help hitters at all levels succeed, regardless of experience.

So what is happening?

From my understanding, these data-driven Econ-hitting fairies with extensive backgrounds in economics DO NOT understand the rules of the human movement game.  Let me take you back to the future…

For those with your head in the sand the last two decades, there's been a revolutionary baseball movement since 2001.  Just after Michael Lewis wrote Moneyball.  You may or may not have read the book, but may have seen the movie starring the always dreamy Bradley Pitt.

At the heart of the story is former General Manager of the Oakland Athletics, Billy Beane (played by Bradley Pitt). Beane reached out to Paul DePodesta, a Harvard alum, with a background in economics.  And coincidentally had a knack for baseball statistics.  DePodesta would soon become Beane's first analytics department.

And it was here, Billy Beane transformed a low budget, bottom of the barrel, SEEMINGLY professional franchise known as the Oakland Athletics, into a real David and Goliath story.  Beane and DePodesta used key player statistics to recruit.  Stats that optimized scoring more runs, and as a result would win more games.  Like how often a hitter gets on base – or On-base Percentage.  And how often a hitter gets an extra base hit – known as Slugging Percentage.  Think about it.  How do you score more runs?  Get more runners on base, and have hitters who can drive them in.  Nowadays there are more advanced stats that measure run scoring value, but the point is this changed the game forever.  For the better, and for the worst.  I'll get into why in the coming pages.

Furthermore…

This helped the baseball analytics powered A's be highly competitive against top budget franchises.  I apologize, but I'm going to spoil the ending … this was until other big market teams caught on.  Oops!  The cat was out of the bag.  Yuge budget teams like Boston and New York were able to take the same system, but now pay BIG sums of money for the same undervalued players Oakland was getting at a steep discount.  Yes, Oakland shot themselves in the foot.  It wouldn't be the last time.  The jig was up.  The A's magic run was over.  But not before Billy Beane and the A's proved the system worked.  Regardless of a franchise's budget.  Like a fairy's wand, player valuation metrics transformed the game.

And it was a good thing at the time, because you had players and coaches still in the game or retired, that were helping teach the game through their personal experiences.  They're now considered “old school” coaches.  Filling a gap on the coaching side of things that the Econ majors and analytics departments weren't able to do.  It was a healthy debate between old and new school methods.  Friction and debate in a system are a good thing.  But now this friction is like the political climate between Republicans and Democrats.  Toxic.

This healthy balance of baseball analytics debate went MIA somewhere along the way.  Like crabgrass in your lawn, metrics soon took over.  Pushing many of the experienced baseball minds out of the game.  Labeling them dinosaurs.  Or maybe, the experienced minds couldn't keep up.  Or didn't want to keep up.  In my humble opinion, player valuation using metrics has its place.  But it should not be the totality of scouting, recruiting and developing players.  I'm not a Math-hater or numbers-denier.  I love Math.  Love Geometry, Economics, and Statistics. I did hate Algebra 2 though.    My point is, data without context is not optimized.  Data is a puzzle piece.  NOT the whole thing.

Teaching hitters isn't just about metrics.  Doesn't have to be completely data-driven.  AND, teaching isn't just about old school teaching methods.  It's a blend of both. Mutually inclusive. Not mutually exclusive.  We can use data AND we can also use old school teaching methods to help hitters at all levels. We don't have to be on one side or the other.  You don't have to be Tom OR Jerry.  Bert OR Ernie.  Han Solo OR Chewbacca.  When it comes to hitting, the following will replace ‘Or' with ‘And'.

Let's make the Mathletes happy and discuss the…

Pros of a data-driven swing

Here are some pros to a data driven baseball analytics swing. Famed business management consultant, Peter Drucker once said,

“You can't manage what you can't measure.”

You business owners and managers understand this. You understand that you can optimize certain operations. You can optimize certain metrics in a business, it could be using Profit First in finances, it could be building Software as a Solution (SaaS) in technology, it could be optimizing sales funnels in marketing.  Optimization is working on the right things, and then doing those things right.

How can numbers help hitters?  Swing experiments.  In online marketing, we can run what's called split A/B test.  Meaning, we can test whether a green button gets more clicks than a pink one over a period of time.  Like online marketing, we can split A/B test the swing by running swing experiments.

One of the things we used to accomplish this, when we started HittingPerformanceLab.com back in 2013, was technology such as the Zepp swing app, a knob tech swing analyzer.  Like BlastMotion and SwingTracker today. We can compare key swing metrics, whether it's bat speed, attack angle, or time to impact and contrast two different swing movements.  It's the ultimate baseball analytics split A/B test for hitters!

Here are the 5 steps to applying the Scientific Method to running swing experiments…

We start off with a QUESTION: “Are loose hands fast hands to a hitter?”  We can do a swing experiment using a BlastMotion or SwingTracker bat knob sensor. And we can test that. We can test it comparing apples to apples.

We then form a HYPOTHESIS on how we  think the experiment will turn out: “I think loose hands ARE fast hands”.  And then,

We go down the rabbit hole of RESEARCHING other studies that confirm and deny our hypothesis.

Then we COLLECT THE DATA from using the Zepp, BlastMotion, SwingTracker, or a PocketRadar for measuring ball exit speed.

For example in our ‘loose hands are fast hands' swing experiment … we would take one hundred swings with loose hands. And one hundred swings doing the opposite.  In this case, using what we call finger pressure.  So the top hand, bottom three fingers squeezed tight, eight out of ten squeeze, from the moment the hitter picks up their front stride foot, to the swing follow through. Then we counterbalance those swings. This helps remove any warm-up or getting tired biases out of the experiment.

We break the two hundred swings into twenty five swing chunks, and layer them so that loose hand swings are symbolized with the letter ‘A', and finger pressure swings are symbolized with the letter ‘B'. Remember, each letter represents one 25-swing chunk.  The first 100 swings will be broken into the following sequence: ABBA. And the last 100 swings will be broken into the following reverse sequence: BAAB.  This is how to do split A/B testing, from a hitting perspective.

After all 200 counterbalanced swings, we extract the averaged out data from the BlastMotion, SwingTracker, Zepp device, or PocketRadar.  Then we can base our CONCLUSION on the averages.  Which factor, loose hands or finger pressure swings contributed to better bat speed, hand speed, time to impact, attack angle, etc.?  By the way, Finger Pressure won out in our own swing experiments.

Simply put, here's the Scientific Method…

  1. Question
  2. Hypothesis
  3. Research
  4. Data
  5. Conclusion

Essentially, we use the above process, take one hitting myth, and test it against its opposite. Don't get me wrong, no swing experiment is perfect.  Experiment findings are based on probability.  Experiments are repeated by others, and the findings are either proven or proven false.  Over time, this increases or decreases confidence in the findings.  The bottom line is this, using the Scientific Method may not be perfect, but it's one step in the right direction.  It gives us a process and path towards the truth. Take of from Peter Drucker: “You can't manage what you can't measure.”

We satisfied the Mathletes – somewhat – talking about the Pros of a data-driven swing, especially when it comes to Moneyball. Billy Beane, all that stuff.

Now, let's make the old school athletes happy and look at the…

Cons of a data-driven swing

Outside of applying the Scientific Method to optimizing the swing, here are the Cons to a baseball analytics data driven swing. Typically, in a data driven swing, not enough attention is given to the context of the numbers.

I always say, numbers don't have brains. People do. Here's the problem … take the example of our Econ-hitting fairy story.  Knowing zero about hitting.  Having virtually zero experience hitting.  Teaching hitters based on hearsay. Basically guessing on connecting the dots.  This presents quite a challenge.  It would be like asking me to re-roof your house … I have a lot of skill sets, but that ain't one of them!  You'd be better off making YouTube your friend and doing it yourself!

In today's game, these hitters are in the Big Leagues because their statistics work for ‘Launch Angle' era Econ-scouts. On paper, the numbers work.  Aaron Miles played 9-years in the Big Leagues, from 2003-2011.  Played for almost half a dozen teams.  Most notable, he played with Albert Pujols on the St. Louis Cardinals.  He was a switch hitting middle infielder and third baseman.  Standing in at 5-foot, 8-inches, 180-pounds.  Beautiful .281/.320/.352 career average slash line (batting average/on-base percentage/slugging percentage).  Note that he played when the baseball analytics ‘Launch Angle' era was just getting warmed up.  When there was a somewhat healthy balance of old and new school.  That's the context.

Let me set the scene…

I've had a few enjoyable phone conversations with Aaron Miles over the years.  Great dude.  Not afraid to challenge the status quo.  He told me a pretty revealing story once.  Which will say a lot about the hitting times we find ourselves in.  I asked him what decision he made in the past that now – looking back – he sees was a mistake?

He was slumping one year, and was briefly demoted.  Before the demotion, he knew he was a small-ball situational hitting guy being smaller, faster, and a switch hitter.  But with the demotion, he didn't have much to lose, so he decided to air out his swing.  Again, this was the start of the ‘Launch Angle' era.  Interestingly, he began smashing more extra base hits.  At one point, a coach came up to him saying something to the effect of, “C'mon Miles, you're a role player, don't swing beyond your role”.

Remember, at this time there was still a strong old school hitting mentality present in the game.  So what did Miles do?  What any rational, logical, smart Big Leaguer would do in that scenario … he got back to being a role playing hitter.  You see, the respect for the “numbers community” wasn't as high as it is now.  So in Aaron's case, old school hitting was more representative of the times.

Here's the point…

Here's how Aaron Miles answered the question of what decision he made in the past that now – looking back – he sees was a mistake…  In this day and age of rewarding hitters that get on base more often and get more extra base hits … he expressed that he would have given the “air-it-out” swing more time.  Maybe he could have added another year to his career.  Maybe 2?  3?  4 maybe?  Who knows!  Give up some strikeouts.  Hit more dingers and doubles.  This formula seems to work out better for hitters in the Launch Angle era.

Let me be clear.  This blog post isn't about giving up a hundred strikeouts and fifty batting average points a season to hit for more power.  What we believe is having your cake and eating it too!  Power AND average.  Mutually inclusive, NOT mutually exclusive.  Just like Batman AND Robin!

Getting back to our baseball analytics Econ-hitting fairy friends taking numbers out of context…

They're looking at a hitter's high ground ball percentage – say 50 percent, while league average is 43 percent. And they're telling that hitter to get the ball in the air.  You may agree with this. And I can see where you're coming from.  But there's a catch…those numbers don't mean anything, if you don't understand what mechanics are causing a higher than average ground-ball rate.

Let me give an example…

Christian Yelich in 2015 had a ground-ball rate of 62.5-percent!  Remember league average is 43-percent.  Then, that rate steadily dropped in the years that followed 56.5, 55.4, 51.8, and in 2019 he finally arrived at a league average 43.2-percent ground-ball rate.  Do you know how many doubles he hit in those respective seasons, starting in 2015?  30, 38, 36, 34, and 29 doubles in 2019 – where he had about 100 less plate appearances than prior years.  Dingers? Starting in 2015 with 7, 21, 18, 36, and 44 in 2019.

Yes, hitting less ground-balls will lead to more extra base hits.  But what in a hitter's mechanics (or timing) cause an above average ground-ball rate?  Do you know?  Off the top of your head, what can you point to mechanically?  Believe me, if you tell a hitter to get the ball in the air without looking at mechanical ground-ball choke points, then you'll most likely get an extreme uppercut.  Not to mention, most young hitters will make unnatural compensations to get the ball in the air.   This collapses consistency!  Low batting average and high strikeouts will be the ultimate result.  Believe me.

Baseball analytics numbers by themselves are dumb. Numbers don't have brains, people do. So hitting coaches have to understand how mechanics translate into metrics. Back to our Econ-hitting fairy friends. That's the problem.  Not having the ability to translate metrics into mechanics.  To optimize the numbers, we have to understand the context.  The good news for our Econ-hitting fairy friends?  This can be learned and applied in today's ‘Launch Angle' era.  Regardless of playing level experience.

How it’s bad (or good) to only track ball exit speed and launch angle in the batting cage

There are some hitting coaches that will say tracking ball exit speed and launch angles in the batting cage is really dumb, is REALLY not smart.  And then there are those who do it all the time.  And their hitters are successful versus doing nothing.

Look, I treat the batting cage as a Laboratory.  It's a place to experiment.  To work out the kinks.  To be free to make mistakes and learn.  Use data to measure and manage swing mechanics.  Logical coaches get this.  Others?  They're just guessing.

Same polarized perspective about tee work. Some coaches don't like hitting off batting tees.  Because at the end of the day, the hitter has to translate what they're doing mechanically to a LIVE pitch.  Agreed.  But when teaching something new, a batting tee has its place.  It can also help coaches understand cause and effect in mechanics.  How?  By isolating the variable.  If you can't isolate the variable, you're guessing.  And guessing is an anti-optimization strategy.  If you don't know what's causing what, then how do you know what works and what doesn't?

Isolating the variable?  Brilliant.org defines it:

“Isolating a variable means rearranging an algebraic equation so that a different  variable is on its own. The goal is to choose a sequence of operations that will leave the variable of interest on one side and put all other terms on the other side of the equal sign.” 

I know, rough definition when comparing against baseball analytics.  Let me rephrase … in relation to hitting mechanics, it's finding out what in the swing contributes to the majority of power…  Hitting more line drives…  Getting on-time more often…  How would one go about isolating those mechanical variables?  I can tell you it's not hitting LIVE pitching.  WHY?  Because LIVE pitching is too random.  Humans.  Pitch speed.  Pitch depth.  Pitch height.  Pitch type.  Pitch distance.  Pitch reaction time.  All this can be controlled in a swing experiment off a tee.

I believe, there's a time and place for the tee.  I subscribe to the Goldilocks Golden Rule – not too hot, not too cold…I like my hitters using the tee just the right amount.  The brain has to organize in a certain way.  With LIVE pitching, there is a lot of data collection the hitter has to take in.  Pitch recognition.  Tracking.  Timing.  Learning a new mechanic also taxes the brain.  High cognitive load.

Consider this…

What if I asked you to write your first and your last name in half the letters. In other words, what if I asked you to write every other letter of your name? So for me, JOEY MYERS, I would write it as J-E-M-E-S.  Now, I've never done that before.  So, if I was timing myself, the first five out of ten tries would be slow. The more I practice though, the faster I'd be writing half my name.  Why?  Because I'm writing it in half the letters!

But it takes a little time for my brain and body to connect and figure this out.  To learn how to do it.  Learn how to do something that I'm not used to doing.  It is the same exact thing when learning something new mechanically. Keep this in mind when thinking about your seven, eight, nine year olds learning something they're not comfortable doing.  Hitting off the batting tee is an okay thing to do in the beginning. When something's new.

Again, the batting tee shouldn't be something you spend a lot of time using, but it is a proper regression-progression when compared to dry swings, soft toss, or LIVE toss.  In connecting tee work to ball exit speeds and launch angles … they give us a unit of measure off the tee with a uniquely controlled environment.  Apples to apples comparison.

Launch angles are a data point. A lot of these coaches don't like the launch angle swing. Well, launch angle is a number. The launch angle is the angle of the ball coming off the bat. It's hard for hitters to control it.  However, hitters can control their barrel Attack Angle.  The angle the barrel takes to the incoming pitch.  Launch and Attack Angles don't have to be the same. And most likely they aren't going to be.  But hitters can better control the latter, not so much the former.

What's measurable is manageable.  We can use swing experiments to do it. Hitting off the tee shouldn't be something we hang our hat on, but it is something that gives us a data point, a standard data point that we can give baseball analytics context to.  Not like analyzing metrics without looking at context.  Remember numbers don't have brains, people do.  What are the causes of an above or below average fly ball, ground ball, or line drive percentage?  Home run to fly-ball ratio?  Higher percentage of pulling the ball or going the other way too much? What is the mechanical causation-correlation relationship making those metrics above or below average?

We'll find out in upcoming blog posts…

We covered A LOT:

  • Story of Econ-hitting fairies in the Minor Leagues – having almost ZERO hitting experience and knowledge.  What's going on here?
  • Pros of a data-driven swing – what's measurable is manageable.  Using the Scientific Method: 1. Asking a question, 2. Forming a hypothesis, 3. Doing the research, 4. Collecting the data, and 5. Formulating a conclusion,
  • Cons of a data-driven swing – numbers by themselves are dumb. Numbers don't have brains, people do. Hitting coaches have to understand how mechanics translate into metrics.  What does a hitter with an above average ground-ball rate mean?  How do you bring him or her to average or below average? And…
  • How it’s bad (or good) to track ball exit speed and launch angle in the batting cage – if you're not collecting data and comparing with strategic swing changes, then you're guessing. Tracking ball exit speeds, attack angles, and launch angles are part of data collection.  And using a tee is essential when isolating the variable and teaching something new.
Perfect Baseball Swing

Where Power Secret is & Where to Find it: Perfect Baseball Swing Webinar Part-2…

Here's are the three parts:

  1. Baseball Trainers Near Me? Part-1,
  2. [YOU ARE HERE] Perfect Baseball Swing Webinar? Part-2, and
  3. COMING SOON!!

The following is the continued transcript to the perfect baseball swing webinar part-2… (about 18-minutes reading time)

‘Showing Numbers' and ‘Neck Pressure'Perfect Baseball Swing

00:07

Do you recognize some of these hitters? Some of them have changed unis or one of them at least. Mookie Betts, he's on the Dodgers now, Nolan Arenado is in the middle, Mike Trout.

00:16

Notice the pinstripe on the side of their leg and how it connects into the belt. Notice the positioning of where that is, pelvis is already starting to open. All these hitters are at toe touch or close to toe touch. Notice the numbers on their back.

00:33

Now the righties, because the camera in the major leagues isn't straight on center-field because you have to see the pitcher and the hitter, it's slightly off centered towards left.

00:43

Your righties, you're going to see probably more numbers than you would see lefties doing the same degree of rotation. This started off as showing numbers, it's what we called it. We'll talk in a little bit how we've refined it to creating neck pressure. but notice these.

00:57

Perfect baseball swing webinar experiment results of the big three. The first of the Big Three is showing numbers. When I used a Zepp back in the day, now Zepp is turned in, BlastMotion taken over and SwingTracker.

01:05

When I did about two, three experiments showing numbers, we found that out of 100 swings, not showing numbers and 100 swing showing numbers that that speed was increased on average by four to six miles an hour. That's bat speed.

01:27

Bat speed is the close cousin to ball exit speed, they are not the same, but they're like first cousins. Without bat speed, ball exit speed probably is not going to be there, we got to be able to swing the bat somewhat hard to get the ball coming off the bat as fast.

01:46

Here are three others, you can probably notice these ones again, jerseys might have changed. JD Martinez, on the left, you have Aaron Judge in the middle, and you have Altuve on the right.

01:57

I know I'm as big against the whole cheating thing, as probably many of you are with Houston, the Astros back in 2019. But Altuve, being 5'6, 5'7, he does a lot of these mechanical things correctly. Regardless of whether you knew the pitchers coming or not, he still got to be able to hit it, as far as he does, which I think that year up, you hit 30 plus… 35, even with the playoffs in the World Series, I think he got close to 40 home runs that year.

02:32

Even though you know it's coming, the guy is 5'6, he's not Judge who is 6'8. You can't just write the guy off for “Oh, he's gifted”. There's a lot of things that he's doing in his swing that are very effective when it comes to this perfect baseball swing webinar – spinal engine mechanics. That was showing numbers.

‘Hiding Hands' from the Pitcher

02:51

The second part, it was the third part, we're going to get to the second part of the big three and the second one of the big three, but the other one is we call hiding the hands from the pitcher.

03:01

A lot of times what you will see is at the start of the swing, you'll see the hitter’s hands, and then by toe touch as you can see, all three of these hitters are pretty much a toe touch or right at toe touch. You're not seeing their hands, they're hiding them.

03:15

You can see Judge, they're kind of behind his head over here, Altuve is the same, JD Martinez behind his head, but from where they start with their hands, where their hands are at. Before the pitcher starts or gets in the wind up to when they're at landing, there's this move the hands to go back, and it's not towards the catcher, it's actually back at an angle behind the hitters heel or over the hitters back heel, that's where the hands need to go.

03:43

We see this idea of hiding the hands, now in the swing experiments with that, we found between a one to three mile an hour average increase in bat speed with hiding the hands versus not hiding the hands.

Perfect Baseball Swing Webinar: Spinal Engine Mechanics

03:59

The second one we'll talk about here in a second, it's called downhill shoulder angle, but I wanted to go into the three basic principles of locomotion. There were three books that ruin my life when it comes to hitting in a good way.

04:13

The first one I mentioned was Thomas Myers book Anatomy Trains. The second one was called Dynamic Body by Dr. Erik Dalton, D-A-L-T-O-N. It was a collaboration of different authors that were all along the same lines of springy fascia, Spinal Engine and locomotion, that kind of stuff.

04:30

In that book, Dynamic Body, I found Dr. Serge Gracovetsky's book The Spinal Engine. This is out of the spinal engine, the little thing on the right, which he's talking about a pitcher and talking about side bending, which is downhill shoulder angle, and he talks about axial rotation, which basically means shoulders moving opposite of the pelvis.

04:30

When we walk as humans. our left leg comes forward when our right arm comes forward and the opposite happens. Left arm comes forward our right leg comes forward. That is axial rotation, your shoulders turn opposite your pelvis, and it's like this gear shift that just does this when we walk, our shoulders and our pelvis and they move opposite each other, almost like winding it up, unwinding, winding, unwinding.

05:15

The axial rotation, shoulder, pelvis separation, the side bend, or downhill shoulders, and then the third move of the spine is flexion extension. If you go into an arch, you're extending your spine, you're hyper extending your spine, if you just stand in neutral, your lower back has a slight curve to it, or at least it should, if it does not, then we've had surgery to correct something we put pins in or something, or maybe we've got a lower back that's compromised, but we should have a slight curve in the lower back.

05:46

Dr. Serge Gracovetsky calls it “lordosis”. Just standing there in neutral, with that curve in your lower back, you already have extension in your back, it's not hyper-extension, it's just extension.

06:00

Flexion would be if you were doing a crunch, and you were to go the opposite direction and you flex your spine. You think about whales, they go this way with their tail, right? That's flexion extension of the spine, sharks go side bend, you see this right here, they do a little bit of both, but that's the good example of side bending.

06:17

We use all three of those when we walk. We already have lordosis or that little bend in the lower back. We drop our shoulder into a side bend, and that helps us to initiate the axial rotation where right arm comes forward as the left leg comes forward.

06:31

The story that really got me with this was Dr. Serge had a patient, you see this gentleman on the left, he was born without any arms or legs. He walked on what's called the ischium the bottom of the pelvis, and you can see him here in this perfect baseball swing webinar.

06:50

What he did was he hooked up electrodes, not to shock him but to measure his muscle activation and his ligament activation. He said if you watch and you can go on YouTube, and you can put in Dr. Serge Gracovetsky, try and spell it the best you can.

07:07

It's kind of a goofy name, spinal engine, and he's got a video on there that's like an hour long, and you can watch I think it's around the four-minute mark or three-and-a-half-minute mark, his show has a video of this gentleman locomoting.

07:21

What's crazy, if you remember, this is from birth, this wasn't the guy who had arms and legs until he was 18, got in a car accident or got a bad disease or virus or something where he had to be amputated, he was born this way. It was from the start.

07:36

If you covered the lower half of his pelvis to know he didn't have legs and you watched him move, you would swear he had legs. That begs the premise locomotion is from the beginning.

07:51

As we start going from baby crawling or rocking, crawling to standing to walking, we learn how to locomote this way, this is the best way how to locomote. This gentleman really opened my eyes to wow there must be something here and where it got me to reverse engineer the swing.

Perfect Baseball Swing Webinar: Springy Fascia Secret

08:13

Discover the springy fascia secret. Springy fascia for those of you that don't know out there, we got bones, we got muscles, but did you know, we have connective tissue? Part of that connective tissue is called fascia.

08:25

What is connective tissue? Tendons, ligaments, fascia, to cotton candy or spider web-like material that your bones and muscles float in. It gives muscles their shape if you've gone to the grocery store and bought a bag of tangerines in that, that fishnet type of bag, think of the tangerines as your bones, muscles, and your organs, and the bag being the fascia, so it gives muscles their shape.

08:52

Myofascia or fascia, if you've done myofascia release on a foam roll, you probably felt the pain especially if you do your IT band of that fascia when it gets really tight and clogged up. Cotton candy and spider web-like material, it's made up of mostly collagen and elastin fibers, mostly collagen, but there's elastin in there, collagen is very springy.

09:12

You've seen the Kardashians, how springy it is because they inject it in their face and their butt and everything else. It keeps everything nice and plump and tight. Bones and muscles float in this web, they're composed of compression and tension forces.

09:27

You see a couple of these things you probably recognize as a kid or if you bought these for your kid, that Chinese finger trap and the geometric toys, although I don't know about the Chinese finger traps nowadays, unless you go to some arcade and you can win tickets and get some of those things. Never thought you'd be learning about Chinese finger traps in a perfect baseball swing webinar!

09:42

The idea is compression forces a brick stacked up on top of a brick pushing down, each push against each other tension forces would be like a boom crane and you have the cable. You got the big wrecking ball at the bottom of the cable. You got the structure, the boom crane.

09:58

There's a tension force being exerted on it by the structure of the boom crane and the wrecking ball itself. We have both of these forces, fascia that are acting within our body at all times and resembles more of this toy on the left, this kid's toy, when you push one side of that toy down, it kind of shifts and changes it, one side opens up as you push on the other side. We got those two forces that fascia is into.

10:27

In Thomas Myers' Anatomy Trains, we have three different systems. According to him, we have the neural which is brain spinal cord stuff, the fluid, which is your veins and your heart, and then we have the third one, and hopefully, if you got kids there, there's no naked pictures here, but it can be a little bit unnerving.

10:47

We have a fiber system, which looks like this, they did a lot of cadaver work. This is what the fascial system looks like. It's not just something that is magic and floats, they have done a ton of research on this, and this is your fiber system or your fascial net, it's what Thomas Myers refers to this as.

Finger Flick & Wringing Towel Effect

11:05

What I want you to do is do a finger flick test. Thomas Myers came up or this is where I read this from. To show you the power of the springy fascia spinal engine system, what I want you to do, if you're seated, I want you to take your right hand or your left hand, whatever your dominant, whatever hand is dominant, I want you to put it on your leg on the thigh of whatever side leg, I want you to take your index finger, and I want you to just pick it up by itself and try and slam it as hard as you can on your leg, do it three times, pick it up, slam it, pick it up and slam it.

11:38

That's an example of muscle using muscle to do it. Now we're going to use only the ligament, I want you to take your opposite hand, pull the right finger, or mine is right finger, pull your index finger back as far as you can, and let it snap against your leg, you might be able to hear it on the camera, on the computer three times.

12:01

That is an example of a 100% ligament driving that, you can probably already tell that you're going to bet a bigger snap than you are when you're using your finger muscles.

12:11

The last one is I want you to use a combination of both, use a combination of the elastic or collagen, the ligament tissue, you're going to pull the finger back and as you release the finger, I want you to slam it. I found that that hurts a lot more than the other two.

12:31

What we talked about in the swing is we're using a little bit of both, we're using more of the ligament tissue, which makes it safe on the body, and then we're using some of the muscle, the muscle isn't required, but it does help.

12:45

When we talk about strength conditioning programs and that kind of stuff, that helps, but we want to make sure we get our hitters moving correctly first.  A must you're learning in this perfect baseball swing webinar.

12:53

The other metaphor I like to use is the wringing towel effect. Imagine we got a wringing towel, like you see me in the picture, I got my bat here and to wring a towel, you got to turn one hand one way and the other hand the other way.

13:05

When we combine the springy fascia and the spinal engine, instead of two hands, like we only have two, if I had a third hand like Squidward on Sponge-Bob, I have a third hand down here facing the same direction as the one on top.

13:18

The one on top is my head and my neck, my C spine cervical. The one in the middle is my shoulder and my thoracic spine, the middle part of your spine, the 12 vertebrae, the bottom one is your pelvis and your lower lumbar, the head and your lower back, turn the same direction, they're turning the same direction.

13:38

It's the one in the middle, the shoulders and the thoracic spine are turning the opposite. Imagine a wringing towel, except with two hands, we're using three like Squidward. As you can see here in this video, this is what we're doing with the spine and we're doing it in a safe manner.

13:54

Again, returning to our hitters here. We talked about all these guys, neck pressure, AKA showing the numbers. When it comes to the pressure, what we're talking about is taking the head and we anchor the head in a tracking position, because when I used to teach this is just showing numbers that hitters were showing too much of their numbers, and now they weren't able to see the ball.

14:16

We make sure that their head is the anchor and anchors in a tracking position, the shoulder, the front shoulder comes underneath the chin, possibly even past the chin as far as it can go, as far as the neck will allow the shoulder to go.

14:31

Wherever the shoulder stops, you got to stop, because then we start to pull the head off the ball. When we say neck pressure, that's what we're referring to. Head anchors show front shoulder comes underneath until it stops at landing.

14:47

At stride landing as you see what these hitters here, this is what they're all doing. You can see what their head and I encourage you to go out on YouTube and go start looking for this. You're going to see it, you're going to see the head anchor, you're going to see the shoulder coming underneath, that's the first one of the big three in this perfect baseball swing webinar.

‘Downhill Shoulders'

15:03

The second one, we talked about the side bend or down shoulders. The experiment we did on this added on average when we had down shoulders versus flat shoulders added, on average four miles an hour of bat speed, and again, bat speed ball exit speed, they're similar, not the same, but without bat speed, you're not going to have ball exit speed.

15:23

You can see four these hitters right here, Miguel Cabrera, on the left, you can see JD Martinez in the middle, on the top Mike Trout in the middle, in the bottom and you got a new guy this last year, you probably all have seen him, he had a good year this year, Fernando Tatis Jr.

15:39

You have this slight downward shoulder angle, and I say slight. In golf, you're going to see an extreme just because where the ball is. In baseball or softball, we can't be quite that down because we got to be able to hit balls up in the zone.

15:52

When I say slight, I'm talking about 6 to 10 degrees down, it's not a lot. I tell my hitters, this is 90 degrees, and then, 45 degrees, 22 and a half degrees, 12.25 degrees, it's really small, but you can see the back shoulder is above the front shoulder slightly. You can see with Trout on the bottom, I know that picture is a little farther off.

16:15

You can see with Miggy, he's about eight degrees, nine degrees. JD is probably around that six to eight degrees. Tatis is about six to eight degrees, and Trout is around that same.

16:27

Hiding hands, we talked about this already, so we won't go too far into it. Hiding the hands here you can see also, we talked about being safe with the lower back.

Last but not least in this Perfect Baseball Swing Webinar: ‘Hollow Position'

16:39

What we do is we don't like what we call Donald Duck butt or those of you that know Dr. Kelly Starrett from mobilityWOD used to be and now I can't remember what he changed it to, but taking the pelvis acting like the pelvis is a bowl of water, and we don't want to spill water on our front of our toes.

16:55

We don't want to tilt our pelvis to water spilling forward, we want to tilt our pelvis or our water spilling on our heels. What you can see here, not so much with Betts, you can see Arenado you can see this belt loops are almost flat.

17:09

When you see the belt loops in more of an angle and that also depends on the hip hinge that the hitters taken as well but with Arenado you can see almost more of a flat, he's taken the curve out of his lower back because he is spilling water on his heels.

17:23

Trout, you can see the same, he's flattened it. Judge he might be a little bit curved. Altuve, you can see the same thing, and if I had a picture of Josh Donaldson, you would see flat when he gets at the height of his leg kick, his pelvis is flat.

17:41

If we go into a hyper extended position, what that does is that pushes the vertebrae of the lower back together. That's not bad in itself, we see gymnast when they are swinging back and forth, they're going from global flexion to global extension, flexion would be flexing the lower back, extension would be when they come through the bar and they're extending into like a global arch position, that's okay.

18:03

The problem is since we hit, we have to turn and rotate, we have to, so if you're overarching, your lower back or your hitter's back and then you turn, you arch turn, arch turn.

18:16

It's not going to show up in your younger hitters, but as they get into high school, junior high, high school on up, they're going to start experiencing back pain. What we do when we flex, when we spill water on our heels, and the term we use with our hitters is we take the belt buckle in the belly button, and we try and bring those two points together.

18:35

We hold those two points together through the turn, even into the finish because some hitters will release it into their follow through and they'll get into that arch again, we're still turning as we're arching, we don't want to do that.

18:47

If you can do the pinch, we call it the hollow pinch. If you look on YouTube and just look up hollow position, or hollow exercise, you'll get some cool gymnastic exercises to strengthen that, but we want our hitters to maintain the short distance between the belly button and the belt buckle as we're turning.

19:05

Now, when you do that, the opposite happens to the vertebrae when you're arching, you give space or traction between the vertebrae, and now when you turn, you don't have that friction you're not bone on bone turning.

19:16

Over time, obviously it's a lot safer, and it doesn't take away from performance at all. The swing experiments we did on that, I think it added one mile an hour on average, it didn't add a lot, but it makes the spine safe and when the spine is safe the brain is always about survival. It doesn't care if you can hit a 4- or 500-foot home run or in softball, a 300-foot home run, it doesn't care about your performance.

19:36

It cares about surviving, it cares about keeping your body safe, and if there's an issue with your lower back or your knee, your ankle, your shoulder, it's going to say, “You know what, Neil? I can't let you go 100% on your swing performance, I have to cut you down about 80%”, depending on the severity of the issue, and Neil was talking about his lower back was hurting him in the golf.

To be continued in Part- to this perfect baseball swing webinar…

Baseball Trainers Near Me

Increase Consistent Power In 2-Weeks: Baseball Trainers Near Me Webinar Part-1…

Here's are the three parts:

  1. [YOU ARE HERE] Baseball Trainers Near Me? Part-1,
  2. Perfect Baseball Swing Webinar? Part-2, and
  3. Part-3 COMING SOON!!

The following is the transcript to the baseball trainers near me webinar… (about 18-minutes reading time)

Joey Myers  00:06

Get cozied up to technology over the years, because of the online thing, it is what it is.

Joey Myers  00:14

Let me let these people in. Welcome everybody that are coming in here. Some are coming in by phone.

Joey Myers  00:25

We have a lot of information today, I'm going to try and get through it really quickly, within 30 minutes. It will be good information.

Joey Myers  00:32

If you have any questions, I know, I have a lot of questions, a lot of great questions that Neil relayed over to me, from many of you. There's a lot of them, like I said, 40-50, something like that.Baseball Trainers Near Me

Joey Myers  00:42

I'm going to do my best to really get through those quickly. Obviously, I'm not going to be able to go through them in depth, but if you have any questions after this, feel free to reach out and email me at Joey, J-O-E-Y, like Joey from friends, at hitting performance lab dot com, and I'll have that at the end of this too. You don't have to worry about downloading it into your brain. If you have any baseball trainers near me webinar questions, please, and I will answer them, have them ready.

 

Baseball Trainers Near Me – Our Story

Joey Myers  01:08

I think we're adding them here. As they as they come in, we will add them. Today, we're going to be going over something, about 2012, towards the end of 2012, is when my son, who's now going to be turning eight in three days.

Joey Myers  01:28

When he was born, and the wife was doing the midnight, every two hours, three-hour milk feedings. I had a book called Anatomy Trains by Thomas Myers, same last name. I'm sure on the family tree, we are related in some way, but I don't know him like I would know my brother or my uncle or anything like that.

Joey Myers  01:50

Thomas Myers' book Anatomy Trains was something that really changed everything, how I teach hitting, and how I'm going to teach hitting, and you will hopefully get to see a little bit of that in this baseball trainers near me presentation. So again, welcome.

Joey Myers  02:04

Thank you again, Neil, for putting this thing on and keeping you already to go. Hopefully, we can get a lot of information in and if you got to go, we're going to record this, don't worry, we will get that out. I'll get the recording out to Neil and he can get it out to you guys, so let's get going.

Joey Myers  02:19

This is the baseball trainers near me seminar, teleseminar, whatever you want to call it, how to teach 100-pound hitters who consistently drive the ball 300 feet. This was something that I didn't just cook up and create a product and go. This came to me with the results that my hitters were getting, and hitters were soon to be, what other coaches were learning, and were applying with their hitters.

Joey Myers  02:44

Brought to you by Hitting Performance Lab, that's my website. You got Neil over at MaxBP. One of my favorite quotes is by Ralph Waldo Emerson, you might know that gentlemen,

“As to the methods, there may be a million and then some, but principles are few. The man who grasps principles can successfully select his own methods. The man who tries methods, ignoring principles is sure to have trouble”.

Joey Myers  03:15

Now this is an important quote, because it distinguishes between methods and principles, principles are rules. Think about playing Monopoly, you got to know the rules of the game before you can play the game. The principles to hitting can come in the form of bio-mechanics, physics, engineering, those are the principles that we tend to stick with.

Joey Myers  03:42

What we're going to be talking about today, case studies, why legs fail, and spinal engine succeeds in the power equation, discover the springy fascist secret, how to turn the spine into a safe ball crushing machine. We were talking about this with Neil, I talked to him yesterday on the phone, he was having some back pain with his baseball golf swing, and we'll see if we can get to that in this, but I really want to focus on more of the power side, but we want to make sure the swing is safe, we will talk about that.

Joey Myers  04:17

Before we get there, let's add some more people in here, probably have Neil do this. That's right. Thank you for joining everybody. All right.

Joey Myers  04:35

The first question usually when you go to a wedding is how do you know the bride? How do you know the groom? So, how do I know MaxBP? Well, it first started with the Sandlot Slugger, and then MaxBP acquired Sandlot Slugger, and that's where we connected, and I connected with Neil. That's probably been, I don't know, Neil can probably say on this five, seven years ago, maybe, that this happened. Is that about right, Neil?

Neil McConnell  04:58

Yes, that sounds right. We've been around about 11 years; Sandlot Slugger ran probably about 14 years ago. Somewhere in that mix.

Joey Myers  05:08

I know them because we started the starting lineup store dot com, where I started it back 2010. I was grouping a lot of the hitting aids that really love to work with my hitters that are proven, whether it's through science or just data, and MaxBP, Sandlot Slugger at the time, the MaxBP is one of those hitting aids, I call them the best hitting aids in the world, on the planet. That's how I know Neil and MaxBP.

Joey Myers  05:38

I played four years division one baseball at Fresno State from 2003, I just want to give just a little bit, I'm going to probably rush through this because I know most year, just cut to the chase. I think some of you that don't know me, would be good to just take a gloss… Over 15 plus years in the corrective exercise industry, and those are some of the alphabet soup that I have certification wise.

Joey Myers  06:02

What's funny is in college, I was a criminology major and I really fell in love with kinesiology. I wish if I did it over again, that's what I would have done, but I'm mostly self-taught. I used to train people, I wrote a 2018 Amazon bestselling book, Catapult Loading System, that's the title of this baseball trainers near me webinar.

Joey Myers  06:24

How to teach 100-pound hitters, how to consistently drive the ball 300 feet, and that started me on this journey that this stuff really works, because you really start to get in with a lot of other coaches reteaching the same information, and you really get to see this stuff.

Joey Myers  06:42

It's not just me and my hitters, or my magic, but other coaches are able to do the same thing. I'll have a cool little bonus for you guys, free bonus that you can grab this book at no cost on Amazon. At the end of this baseball trainers near me webinar, we'll talk about that.

Joey Myers  06:58

We'll get a couple more of these, about almost 30,000 online courses, lessons and books product sold online, over 333 blog posts at Hitting Performance Lab dot com, giving away over 8500 copies of Amazon best selling book…

Joey Myers  07:19

We applied human movement principles that are validated by science to hitting the ball. Like I mentioned, I played four years of division one baseball at Fresno State. I didn't play pro ball, I didn't play major league ball, but I played probably more than 95 and 98% of the baseball population.

Joey Myers  07:34

I don't say that to brag, I say that most of the teaching that I teach has nothing to do with how I was taught. I do use some of that stuff. I do use some of the cues and different things like that in certain circumstances, but most of my stuff, if not all of it, is validated by science.Baseball Trainers Near Me

Joey Myers  07:53

The other thing, that we talked about is, I'm working on a new book that's going to be published, we are working on January- February of 2021. It's called “Swing Smarter: Science-Based Hitting Training, Built to Understand How, Why and the Reasoning Behind it”.

Joey Myers  08:09

Those are all things that we stand for and set us apart from a lot of the others that you've probably read, heard, watched out there, purchased their products, watched their YouTube videos.

 

Case Studies

Joey Myers  08:19

Let's get started, case studies, so the only reason I got, I'm not here to brag, and I could give you a hundred other ones, but I want to give you an example since Neil talked about that there's a huge smattering of different people on this call. There are parents that are just coaching their kids, there are team coaches that are coaching a group of kids from 14 to probably 30 plus in high school, professional and there are instructors out there like myself, there are probably academy owners out there.

Joey Myers  08:27

I just want to put it up front on the people that we help and how these human movement principles that are validated by science can help anybody.

Joey Myers  09:04

At 14, a 130 pound hitter that was driving the ball 385 feet and by the way that was with a hickory wood bat. That wasn't the hot metals that everybody says, “oh they always try and explain these case studies away”.  This particular hitter, I think it's Texas Tech, he got a full ride to Texas Tech, Hudson White is his name. I do have a blog post on him that is featured on my blog, but he's one of them.

Joey Myers  09:31

Sixty-seven-pound hitter at the time, soaking wet. I think that 67 pounds, he had eaten a Costco chocolate muffin, that I think after he went to the doctor to get that measurement or something like that, he might have even been easy, 65 pounds before eating that muffin, but he was hitting the ball 180 plus feet and this is consistent.

Joey Myers  09:50

I always tell my hitters that I'm just the compass and the flashlight in the dark, you have to walk the path, I don't have to walk the path for you, I've done that on my own. I've walked the path plenty of times, but now it's the hitters that have to do that. They are 90% of this. I'm just the 10% that gives them the right direction to go.

Joey Myers  09:50

She put a lot of hard work in that summer, and she gained 10 miles an hour and ball exit speed, hitting a softball. We have an indie baseball player, he was pretty much out, he came to me, and in one hour, we increased, obviously baseball, plus 10 miles per hour and ball exit speed.

Joey Myers  09:50

This isn't just a one flash in the pan time, 90-pound hitter driving the ball 300 feet. D-1 college fast-pitch softball player, she was a Fresno State in a summer, now with softball because the balls bigger, many you know in softball obviously, in baseball you should know bigger softball, heavier, more mass, and to gain 10 miles an hour in one summer in two and a half months is a big deal. That's what she did, a lot of hard work.

Joey Myers  10:52

Now those things when they gain that much, the reason why, is because the principles we're going to talk about today, the consistently power principles, and they were almost nonexistent in their swing. If you have a hitter who is nonexistent, you're going to see these big gains using principles seen in this baseball trainers near me webinar.

Joey Myers  11:07

If you see hitters that have maybe a couple of these or one of these, you're not going to see that kind of a gain, just because they're not starting from zero. I want you to understand that this isn't the norm. It's not the norm when somebody started from zero but it's pretty close. It's between six and 10 miles an hour ball exit speed when they're starting from zero, it's what I tend to see.

Joey Myers  11:28

55-year-old slow-pitch softball optometrist online lesson, and he's working with me and doing pretty well. I don't have any gains on that side of it, but it's interesting and 71-year-old senior league baseball player, I worked with him this week, he came up, he read my book, he said, “It makes sense, I love what you wrote. A lot of the other books I've read are hard to understand”. He's an attorney, by the way. Attorneys usually are really into that jargon.

Joey Myers  11:55

He picked it up, he said “I love it”, it kind of come up. He's from Ojai, in California, he drove about three and a half hours. For two days, we worked, and we increased his ball exit speed by nine miles an hour in one hour.

Joey Myers  12:09

The first day we really hit a couple of these principles hard the first day, and he gained nine miles an hour, plus, he had a little bit of back pain when we first started, and we got rid of it in his swing.

Joey Myers  12:20

Again, that's something maybe we'll talk about if you guys want me to. I've worked with major leaguers, whether it's in person or they bought my courses and we've talked online through some of this stuff, professional hitters I've worked with in person, college, Juco, high school, junior high school, little league and senior league.

Joey Myers  12:38

This goes across the board, it doesn't matter what level they're at, these principles work, whether they are male or female, they work, it doesn't matter. Human to human is basically what it works for.  And you'll learn these principles in this baseball trainers near me webinar.

Joey Myers  12:49

If you want to get a lot of the testimonials, and that's just probably, I think it's 50 to 100 of them on my website, I have more, I just had been lazy to get them up, but if you go to hittingperformancelab.com, if you scroll all the way down into the footer, you'll see the about page and you can click that, read a little bit about me, and then scroll down and there's a ton of testimonials there. You can go check out more of those.

 

Why Legs Fail and Spinal Engine Succeeds in the Power equation

Joey Myers  13:11

Enough of that, let's start to transition in this baseball trainers near me webinar… why the legs fail, and spinal engine succeeds in the power equation. Learning principles from water polo, maybe those of you out there have had kids that played water polo or have hitters that have played water polo. I have cousins and hitters that also did it, and the idea came to me, I ran an experiment where I wanted to have my pelvis facing forward, I was using a knob tracker, like a Zepp on my on my knob for those of you who blast motion, same thing, swing tracker.

Joey Myers  13:44

I was facing my hips forward, but I was just turning my upper body to be able to hit the ball. The experiment didn't really turn out really well, but I tried to do it because my mobility in my spine or my shoulders and my pelvis weren't allowing me to actually do the experiment like I should.

Joey Myers  14:02

We had the backspin tee guys, I'm really good friends with them since I met them. They did an experiment where they were jumping up and hitting a ball off the tee and dropping off of a chair hitting a ball before they hit the ground. They were doing a couple different experiments like that, and what they found was when their feet weren't on the ground, and they were just using their shoulders in their thoracic spine, the middle of their spine, that their base when they had their feet on the ground ball exit speed…

Joey Myers  14:27

They had single-A ball players, they had indies or rookie ball, they had golfers that are hitting the ball 300 plus yards or 400 yards now and they had an eight-year professional pitcher who hits pretty well too. They were doing the experiment and they found that about 90 miles an hour was their normal control when their feet were on the ground, but when they were jumping up hitting or when they were falling and hitting, and doing their other things trying to take the lower half of the equation that their ball exit speeds were about 70 to 80% of what their control was, which was interesting.

Joey Myers  15:06

They were about 60 to 70 miles an hour versus the 90 with their feet on the ground. It got me thinking, and then somebody said, “well, that's not a good experiment”, because you know, if you really wanted to do this, you had to hang from a harness, where your feet were hanging in, and then you hit it like that, like, well, who's going to do that? Unless you've got access to a harness, like that, maybe at a farm.

Joey Myers  15:25

I was thinking, what athletes do throw or hit, from that kind of a position? I did a blog post, and it was titled “Is rotating back hip through the ball necessary for power?” Think about this baseball trainers near me webinar thought experiment.

Joey Myers  15:43

I don't know if anybody has actually done this. I probably have to do this next summer, but think about that the fastest water polo throw, if you googled it, what do you think of that speed of that water polo ball. As you can see, the size of that ball is like a volleyball, Croatian Olympic water polo, male athlete, 60 miles an hour.

Joey Myers  16:15

As you can see floating in water, they're not going down to the bottom and pushing up, they're floating in water, so the lower half is minimal to almost zero friction with the lower half, so you're not able to use a lower half like you are when you are standing on land, 60 miles an hour.

Joey Myers  16:31

Think about the pitcher, who is going down the mound, they got gravity, they got access to everything. Fastest pitcher, let's just round it up to 100 miles an hour, so 100 miles an hour, on flat ground, falling down a mound is the fastest pitch.

Joey Myers  16:51

I know 102, 103, we can argue but say 100 easy numbers, so that water polo throw is throwing a big ball, that's going to have an effect. Now, what happens if we put in that Croatian, male Olympic water polo player athlete, we put a baseball in his hand and have them floating in water and have them throw that baseball as hard as you can?

Joey Myers  17:13

What do you think that speed is going to be? It's going to be a lot faster than 60 miles an hour, I can tell you. Is it going to be, instead of 60, is he going to throw at 70? Is he going to throw 80 miles an hour? Let's be conservative and just say 70 miles an hour.

Joey Myers  17:27

You're telling me in water, the fastest water polo thrower throws a baseball 70 miles an hour, while on land, the fastest pitcher throws 100 miles an hour. Easy numbers, 70% we can say, maybe conclude, that without ground reaction forces, that 70% of that velocity is coming from the pelvis, spine, and shoulder combination.

Joey Myers  17:56

Without ground reaction forces, we are very minimal when we're in the pool. I say the spinal engines is responsible for about 70 to 80% of the power equation, and the lower half the legs and ground reaction forces are responsible for the other 20 to 30%. That's what I say. Keep that in mind as we talk through this baseball trainers near me webinar and the spinal engine system.

Baseball Trainers Near Me Webinar

Betts, Arenado, & Trout. Showing ‘dem numbers!

Joey Myers  18:20

Do you recognize some of these hitters? Some of them have changed unis, or one of them at least, Mookie Betts, he's on the Dodgers now. Nolan Arenado is in the middle, Mike Trout.

Joey Myers  18:29

Notice the pinstripe on the side of their leg and how it connects into the belt. Notice the positioning of where that is. Pelvis is already starting to open; all these hitters are at toe touch or pretty close to toe touch. Notice the numbers on their back. Now the righties, because the camera in the major leagues isn't straight on center-field because you get to see the pitcher and the hitter, it's slightly off center towards left.

Joey Myers  18:56

Your righties, you're going to see probably more numbers than you would see lefties doing the same degree of rotation. This started off as showing numbers, it's what we called it, and we will talk in a little bit how we've refined it to creating neck pressure but notice these in this baseball trainers near me webinar.

Joey Myers  19:12

Swing experiments results with the big three. The first of the big three is showing numbers. When I used a Zepp back in the day, now Zepp is turned in blast motions taken over and swing tracker. When I did about two- three experiments showing numbers, we found that out of 100 swings not showing numbers and 100 swing showing numbers, that bat speed was increased on average by four to six miles an hour, that's bat speed.

Joey Myers  19:40

Bat speed is the close cousin to the ball exit speed. They are not the same, but they're like first cousins. Without bat speed, ball exit speed probably is not going to be there. We got to be able to swing the bat somewhat hard to get the ball coming off the bat as fast. There are three others…

To be continued in Part-2 to this baseball trainers near me webinar…