Increase Power, Hit Baseball Or Softball Farther, & Swing Harder With Catapult Loading System

Learn how to teach a kid to increase power, hit a baseball or softball farther, and swing harder with the Catapult Loading System.  Discover how in this Alex Bregman, Jose Altuve, and Yordan Alvarez hitting mechanics swing breakdown…

Small Slugger Hacking Featuring Alex Bregman Hitting Mechanics

 

 

What we’re going over in this Alex Bregman hitting mechanics video:

I don’t agree with using technology to steal signs as these Astros did, but let’s look at their mechanics purely through the lens of mechanics.  Look, they still had to hit in 81 games outside of Houston.  Instead, consider how sound are they using human movement principles validated by real Science to hitting a ball?

All these guys, excluding Alvarez, are considered small sluggers.  They swing a big stick without not a lot of gifted-ness in the size department. How?  The following make up the Big-3 of the Catapult Loading System:

  1. ‘Showing numbers’ also known as ‘Neck Pressure’,
  2. ‘Downhill shoulder angle’, and
  3. ‘Hiding hands’ from the pitcher.

There are other Catapult Loading System principles like Hollow, Finger Pressure, One-Joint Rule, etc., but these are the biggest bang for your buck when it comes to building more consistent power.  Now, some guys exhibit all of these, or a couple, but the closer to all a hitter can get to, the more power they can generate.

The following free video takes care of #1…

How To Fix Dropping Bat Head, Dipping Back Shoulder Truth, & STOP Hitting Pop Ups For Baseball Softball Swing | 6 Ways To Flatten Batter's Bat Path

Discover how to fix an early dropping bat head, the dipping back shoulder truth, and put a STOP to hitting so many pop ups for the baseball and softball swing.  Learn 6 ways to flatten a batter’s bat path

Do You Recognize The 6 Early Warning Signs Of Hitters Dipping Their Bodies?

 

 

In the above video, we’ll be discussing:

  • Relationship between spinal engine and shoulder behavior in healthy effective swing,
  • Causes of unhealthy “dipping” of body in swing,
  • Head stability,
  • Arching low back,
  • Straightening out back leg,
  • Over-rotating upper half,
  • Over-rotating lower half, and
  • Core instability.

Hey, what’s going on. It’s Joey Myers again from the “Hitting Performance Lab. In this video, we’re gonna answer a reader question, this one is asking for advice to:

“Helping get youth players to stay on plane, and not dip their bodies when they swing”.

Now a couple things we have to define here, what ‘dipping’ is…

 

Relationship between Spinal Engine and Shoulder Behavior in Healthy Effective Swing

This is important to cover. Because there is some dipping that goes on, but I want to define what’s good versus what’s bad. What we should see with hitters, and good healthy spinal engine mechanics is, say with the righty, the shoulders will start in somewhat of a slightly down position, we call this the ‘Downhill shoulder’, and it’s just a side bend.

David Weck, founder of the BOSU ball, the RMT Club, and a lot of other cool stuff. He talks about this idea of the head over foot technique. The head shifts slightly over towards the front stride landing foot.  The side bend is crucial to the actual opposite action that’s gonna happen during the swing.

We’re gonna see the teeter totter effect of the shoulders starting down, and then they’re gonna flip up as I start my turn. Then what we should see is this shoulder, if we track the left one for a righty starts down, pops up. As we finish, should be back down again.  Think about those beautiful images of Mickey Mantle, Ted Williams, Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, in their finish, and the righties are kind of in this position. The lefties are in the opposite position.

We want to see a healthy accelerating-decelerating spinal engine, that is the healthy dipping that we should see if the shoulders or side bending.

6 Causes of Unhealthy “Dipping” of Body in Swing

1. Head Stability

I call it a ‘Collapsing backside’, so one of the causes of this is head stability. We’ll see a hitter will go chin to chest, when they’re at impact, going right into their sternum with their chin. Sometimes we’ll see the head go up (like looking up into the sky), we’ll see the bill of the cap go this way, and we’ll see the rear ear going to the rear shoulder, so for righties, right ear to the right shoulder. For lefties, left ear to the left shoulder.

There are some hitters in the big leagues that do this a little bit, they used to do this actually more in the past, they’ve been cleaning it up. But Andrew McCutchen used to go chin to chest, Bryce Harper would go rear ear to shoulder, Prince Fielder did what Harper did.  You even see Nolan Arenado more chin to chest. Because he tries to leave his head at impact, which I don’t recommend for younger hitters. When the head is in an unstable position, this creates a threat to the central nervous system. Wherever the head goes, the body follows.

If the head “rolls” (like Harper/Fielder)…when we’re rolling the head this way, you’ll see a collapsing of the backside, you see the whole body will dip, and it’s not a very strong position. Head stability is one of them, one of the causes of an unhealthy dipping of the body in the swing.

2. Arching low back

Arching the lower back, kind of similar to the neck, the C-spine. When we start arching the lower lumbar during rotation, which isn’t very good because you’re pushing the vertebrae together, and then rotating them, so you’re basically grinding. So, we don’t want to do that, and if we’re doing that, sometimes we’ll see this collapsing to the backside as well. You want to do it what’s called a ‘Hollow position’, or a ‘Hollow hold’, you can go on YouTube, and search “hollow hold gymnastics”, and you can find a video on how to practice this.  It’s basically taking the curve out of our lower lumbar, or lower back.

Imagine you’re lying on your back, on the ground, like you’re gonna do a crunch, you got your feet on the ground, your knees are up, and you go to do a crunch. What you have to do first is push your lower back into the ground, just want to push hard in the ground, create some pressure into the ground through your lower back.  That’s taking the curve out of your lower back, and doing what we call a hollow position. It’s a posterior tilting of the pelvis for those kinetic nerd jockeys like me.

3. Straightening out Back Leg

The other thing that could be causing dipping of the body in the swing is straightening out the back leg.  This tends to follow both head instability, and/or arching of the low back.

The glute fires, the back glute, for righties the right glute, and the right quad fires to straighten the knee. It’s the hamstring that we see in professional studies of hitters, back hamstring that’s turning on a lot more than you see in amateur hitters, where they tend to try and lock that back knee out. The glute locks out, and what’s happening is that back glute is trying to support and create stability in the lower back. Because it’s going into a bad position, a compromised position. As long as we can fix the hollow, get them into more of a hollow position, we fix the head movement with the neck brace drill. Not a stiff neck brace, but a soft one.  We don’t want to immobilize the head, just create feedback for movement.

If you can correct this, you can crack the lower back – metaphorically speaking of course – then you can start to work the hitter into bending that back knee a little bit more, using the hamstring, lesser the quad, and lesser the glute. Those are again trying to protect that lower back, that can be a major cause of unhealthy dipping in the swing.

4. Over-rotating Upper Half

I am starting to actually see this in some of my hitters, not in a lot but a few of them.  Where they’re actually over rotated at impact. They’re making contact almost behind themselves, and their sternum in the middle of their chest is out over in left field (for righties, reverse for lefties). We must get them to under rotate, so we do a lot of “deep” tee drills, and get them to try and pull the ball off a deep positioned tee. You set it up almost in line with the hitter’s belly button, and get them to kind of hook it, and hook it around to slow down that sternum.  The hitter should look and feel like they’re swinging their arms across their body. 

The upper half over rotating, we can also over rotate the lower half…

5. Over-rotating Lower Half

So, we use a VeloPro to strap it to the back hip and back ankle.  We get them to try and keep the back heel on the ground (like George Springer), and keep the back foot sideways. If they’re over rotating, it could cause a collapse of the backside as well. Again, we want to be effective between our 90 degrees of fair territory, and when we over rotate either the upper or the lower half, then what we’re doing is we’re sliding our 90 over into foul territory, which doesn’t do us any good, any of our hitters any good.

The last thing I want to add in this video is fixing core instability…

6. Core Instability

There are things that you can do at the gym with your trainer, hopefully your trainer is versed on mobility and stability exercises (certified in the Functional Muscle Screen – FMS, or in TPI). When we’re talking core stability, you want to do a lot of things like planks:

So, you’re creating some rotation in there as well. You also want to do like ‘Hollow holds”, you want do things like that, you want to do maybe suitcase carries, where you’re carrying a dumbbell on one side of the body and trying to keep your shoulders square, things like that you can do. You can ask your trainer on how to create more core stability, but those are some things to think about if you’re asking yourself the same question as our reader: “Helping get youth hitters to stay on playing, and not dip their bodies when they swing”.

Work on the things we discussed, clean them up, and check them off your list. Your hitter will be in a more healthy body “dipping” position. Make sure that we’re swinging smarter by moving better, and before I let you go…

Increase Baseball Softball Bat Speed, Improve Ball Exit Velocity, Whip, & Power | Miguel Cabrera Hitting Breakdown: Teach Little League 8 Year Old Kid To Swing Faster

Discover how to increase baseball and softball bat speed (slow pitch too!), improve ball exit velocity, whip, and power.  Learn in this Miguel Cabrera hitting breakdown how to teach even a little league 8 year old kid to swing the bat faster

Miguel Cabrera REVEALS Timing Of Torque

 

 

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

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

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

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

Walking Mechanics: Key to Repeatable Power?

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

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

Photo courtesy: WalkezStore.com

Land Front Foot Closed OR Open?

Ryan Braun Front Toe Open

Photo courtesy: OnMilwaukee.com

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

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

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

 

Why the Timing of Torque is IMPORTANT

Jose Bautista Front Toe Open

Photo courtesy: OttawaLife.com

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

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

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

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

Free Online Hitting Bat Speed Training Program For Baseball Softball Coaches

Learn about an online hitting training bat speed program risk free trial built for baseball and softball parents, team coaches, and instructors.  Discover the best remote learning way to teach swing instruction skills to your kiddos or other kiddos in the area…

Don’t Buy Into Fear Of Not Having Enough Playing Or Coaching Experience…

 

 

Have you ever wondered why we often fear the irrational?

From the time we were children, we looked under our bed and in our closet for the boogeyman and monsters. Perhaps you were terrified the first time you jumped into the deep end of the pool, or that first day of class. None of these things killed you, yet they felt like they would at the time.

You owe it to yourself to put any fears that no longer serve you aside.

A key factor in improving your kid or team’s hitting by swinging the bat smarter is ditching an irrational fear of not having enough playing or coaching experience.

Game Of Thrones creator George R.R. Martin once said, “Fear cuts deeper than swords.” Well, for hitting enthusiasts like you, this “sword” can slice right through your detecting and correcting swing challenges goals. It can drag you back to the old, ineffective ways of thinking, like falling for “Listen to the Guru because he said so“, the belief that wasting time on information that isn’t validated by REAL Science is the way to go. This can flat-out derail your success.

Currently, ESPN and the Aspen Institute reported on a study indicating that most kids stop playing baseball and softball by age 11. Combine this with the fact that coaches nowadays just want to win games and aren’t focusing on the processes that help them do that. I think buying into this fear is partially to blame, along with video analysis zealots staring at 2-dimensional figures on a screen and well intended coaches who aren’t updated on the research — sources that often support this myth and fan the flames of misinformation.

This has a hefty price tag: it can harm you by focusing on the wrong things.

I remember when I first paid that price. I first noticed it when I trusted MLB players (some Hall of Famers) and prestigious coaches in their books, telling me to do it this way because they said so.

It hurt my progress considerably as a coach following by blind faith because of their “expertness”. Fortunately, I overcame it by doing my own critical thinking and going down the many human movement science-based rabbit holes. You can, too.

I spent the past 18 years working on a fearless approach to hitting and helping friends and colleagues do the same. They were struggling to improve their hitters by swinging the bat more effectively, and more often than not, this fear is one of the reasons their hitters struggled.

Now, it’s true: what’s right for me and other successful hitting enthusiasts may not be right for you. However, if you’ve bought into the fear of not having enough playing or coaching experience, you may want to consider rethinking things.

I hope this helps!

Hitting Training For Baseball & Softball Swing Trainers | Hitting Performance Lab

When it comes to Online Baseball or Softball Virtual Hitting Coach Lessons, Hitting Performance Lab Reviews its Promise would Change Things for the Better in the Bat and Ball Space

Hitting Performance Lab LLC has reviewed the baseball, fastpitch softball, slow-pitch world since it announced the launch of The Feedback Lab back in 2013. Hitting Performance Lab LLC’s online baseball or softball private hitting coach virtual lessons promised to shake things up and 9 years later, facts are in.Hitting Training For Baseball & Softball Swing Trainers | Hitting Performance Lab

Previously, with even a passing glance, a person would notice that most private hitting instructors and team coaches lean their credibility on what level they made it to, how many years they’ve coached, how many lessons they’ve done, or their opinion based on someone else’s opinion. The Founder and CEO at Hitting Performance Lab LLC, Joey Myers, makes a point of saying “things were always going to change when The Feedback Lab launched”.

Joey Myers continues…

“Competitors in this niche are typically doing the same old thing. Hitting Performance Lab applies human movement principles that are validated by science to hitting a ball. Science isn’t meant to be trusted; it’s meant to be tested. They ask the question, develop the hypothesis, do the research, collect the data, and form a conclusion.

Playing experience and teaching are completely different. 30 years of coaching can translate into the same year of coaching repeated over 30-years. Doing hundreds of thousands of lessons depends on being effective (doing the right things) versus being efficient (doing those things right). And opinions, are like, well…ahem…everyone has one!

The Hitting Performance Lab knows they’re not perfect. They know the limitations and biases human have. Teaching kids how to hit a baseball or softball can get stale and drift dangerously into dogma, which is the graveyard to consistent long-lasting progress.

Like Bruce Lee once said, ‘A martial artist who drills exclusively to a set pattern of combat is losing his freedom. He is actually becoming a slave to a choice pattern and feels that the pattern is the real thing. It leads to stagnation because the way of combat is never based on personal choice and fancies, but constantly changes from moment to moment, and the disappointed combatant will soon find out that his ‘choice routine’ lacks pliability.’

Ultimately, Hitting Performance Lab knew it was going to be of huge benefit to their customers because by applying human movement principles validated by science to hitting a ball, results become predictable in nature. It’s like getting the cheat codes to the test. Once the rules are known, hitting gets easier. Kids catch on faster. They have more positive results. They stay in the game longer! Hitting a ball consistently hard isn’t easy, but it can be made it easier, and FUN! They actually hope others follow suit.”

Cole Case Study: Online Baseball Private Hitting Coach Virtual Lessons for Beginners Ages 7yo+

Cole BEFORE/AFTER Case Study: Online Baseball Private Hitting Coach Virtual Lessons for Beginners Ages 7yo+

Hitting Performance Lab was established in 2005. It has been doing business 17 years and it has always aimed to help every hitter trade physical ability for academic excellence! They want to make little boys and girls into hard working student athletes.

Currently, the closest thing to The Feedback Lab are VIDEO GAMES! Baseball is one of the slowest most misunderstood sports. At least fastpitch softball is faster paced! Sports are at war with instant gratification nowadays. Delayed gratification MUST get relearned. And it doesn’t help when the sport is being taught as an ineffective dogma that gets unpredictable results.

There’s too much frustration with the misinformation surrounding the craft, kids quit before realizing their full potential. It’s a shame. Applying human movement principles validated by science to hitting a ball can change that!

And The Feedback Lab improved on this by using science as a guide. Engineering, Physics, and Biomechanical principles matched up with what the best are ACTUALLY doing. One can use the online virtual hitting coach format to change the career trajectory of hitters across the country, on a computer.

There are ZERO boundaries. Joey Myers couldn’t imagine in 1996 when he was 16yos, living in Central California, and asking his parents to fly to Florida and work with a well-known hitting coach. Today, it can be done online! This alone was enough to make Hitting Performance Lab LLC’s online baseball or softball private hitting coach virtual lessons more popular with clients in the baseball, fastpitch softball, slow-pitch softball space, quickly.

The Feedback Lab is now available to buy and review at: http://gohpl.com/feedbacklab2

Hitting Training For Baseball & Softball Swing Trainers | Hitting Performance Lab

Discover the best power hitting drills to hit a baseball or softball farther every time and increase bat speed, even for beginners.  Learn how in this Vladdy Jr swing analysis breakdown, and how using these batting stance swing principles work for hitting slow pitch softball homeruns too!

Vlad Guerrero Jr Swing Breakdown

 

 

In this Vlad Guerrero Swing Breakdown video, we cover how to build more consistent power using the principles found in the Catapult Loading System…

We talk a lot about the principles of the Catapult Loading System.  Once you know what they are, the next question is when do we load up?  Great question. In this post Tom Myers explains about the 4 factors of springy fascia.  Think of fascia like the net bags that hold tangerines at the grocery store, and the bones, muscles, and organs are the tangerines in the netting.

When it comes to answering the question of “When?”, tip #4 in that post highlights what we call the “bounce”.  We want the hitter pre-loading the torso (Catapult Loading System), when the hitter makes their positive move towards the pitcher.  Before making the move, I tell my hitters to imagine a flashlight installed in their front shoulder.  The light shining out front of them.  I say to keep the beam shining out front until they start their positive move.  It is at that point that they initiate the pre-loading, so this timing allows them to “bounce” into the turn.

You will learn the ‘Showing Numbers’ part of the Catapult Loading System equation by clicking the following…

Proper Way To Grip A Bat For Baseball & Softball Youth Power | Door Knocking Knuckle OR Box Hold?

Discover the proper way to grip a bat for lefty or righty baseball and softball youth power.  Learn which is best in this swing experiment, a door knocking knuckle grip or a box grip?

Batting Grip: “Door Knocking Knuckle” Swing Experiment

 

 

Question: Does a ‘door knocking knuckle’ batting grip increase bat and hand speed?

Using the Zepp (Labs) Baseball app, I wanted to use the Scientific Method to see if using the “gorilla grip” or “door knocking knuckle” softball batting grip produces more bat and hand speed.  One of my online lessons, Tyler Doerner, a red-shirt freshman at Manchester University in North Manchester, Indiana is interning for me this summer, and will be doing the experiment.

 

Background Research

This experiment is based on a book by Rod Delmonico called Hit and Run Baseball.  The book was written in 1992, and Coach Delmonico talked about a grip test that I do with my hitters to show them proper grip (included in video above).

To show how important grip is to swinging a bat, check out this podcast interview with kettlebell strength coach Pavel Tsatsouline.  He goes into depth, particularly grip strength training, about the connection between the grip and mid-section.

Also, Jedd Johnson’s Ultimate Forearm Training for Baseball Players has had a huge influence on me and the importance of grip.  Jedd has put together a pretty comprehensive training manual for both grip and forearm training for ball players.  Jedd played college ball, and is co-founder of DieselCrew.com, where he’s done amazing feats of grip strength himself.

Hypothesis

Based on the above research and my experience training hitters over the years, I think the “gorilla grip” will add more bat and hand speed, than the “door knocking knuckle” grip.  The problem with the “door knocking knuckle” softball batting grip, is that it doesn’t take into account different hand sizes.

When my hitters use the “door knocking knuckle” grip method, the elbows awkwardly hug together in the stance.  It puts the hitter in an nonathletic starting position.

 

Softball Batting Grip Experiment Setup

Equipment Used:

Softball Batting Grip Experiment: Zepp

Zepp Baseball App

  • Zepp Baseball app,
  • SwingAway MVP Bryce Harper model (Tyler used a Solohitter I believe),
  • Camera phone and Tripod, and
  • Minus-3 33 inch comp bat.

Setup:

  • Solohitter was set slightly behind the front feedback marker, and ball height was about the hip.
  • First 100 baseballs were hit using a “Door Knocking Knuckles” softball batting grip.
  • Second 100 baseballs were hit using a “Gorilla Grip”.

 

Data Collected (Zepp Baseball App Screenshots)

softball-batting-grip-experiment

Data Analysis & Conclusion

  • “Gorilla Grip” ended up, on average, 2-mph faster bat speed,
  • “Gorilla Grip” ended up, on average, 2-mph faster hand speed, and
  • “Gorilla Grip” ended up, on average, .005 seconds faster Time To Impact.

Notes

  • Tyler had little to no break in between the 100 swings because there was rain coming where he was, and he had to rush to get the experiment done, so even if he was tired during the “Gorilla Grip” test, the metrics didn’t show it.
  • An average increase of 2-mph bat speed can add 8-16 feet of batted ball distance.  1-mph of bat speed = 4 to 8-feet of batted ball distance, depending on pitching velocity.
  • The bottom line about the “Gorilla Grip” is that a 7 year old all the way up to a 21 year old can grip the bat handle in the same part of the hands.  It doesn’t matter the hand size.  The “Gorilla Grip” still works.  The same cannot be said for the “door knocking knuckle” softball batting grip.

In Conclusion

Try this test for yourself, and definitely tinker and test.  What I’d like to see from this same experiment in the future, is to have ample physical rest for the “Gorilla Grip” test, and see where it goes from there.  That being said, from the results of this softball batting grip experiment, I think we can put the “door knocking knuckles” grip MYTH to bed.

How To Keep Front Side Shoulder In & Fix Flying Open For Baseball Softball Swing

Discover how to keep the front side shoulder in and fix it from flying open for baseball and softball swing.  Learn how to STOP pulling or spinning off the ball, hitting it off the end, not squaring it up, correct front foot timing, and a late swing.

Batting Tips To STOP Flying Open & Get Front Foot Down On Time

 

 

This softball batting tips “Hit-Bit”, or hitting tid-bit, is an answer to questions from my readers when I asked them, “If you could have a private conversation with me, what two questions would you ask?”  The answers are meant to be short, actionable, and tips you can use today.

Today’s Hit-Bit answers the reader questions:

“Drills to help kids not “fly open” with front hip. Drills / Methods on getting front foot down on time”

We’ll address:

  • Pre-loading the torso before landing,
  • Timing: 2-Plate Drill (progressions & regressions), and
  • Keep coaching feedback to a minimum.

And yes, these softball batting tips work for baseball too…

Pre-Loading the Torso Before Landing

Look, it’s not the front hip we should be worried about.  Young hitters have been over-coached for the past three decades to ‘load and explode the hips’, and that the ‘hips lead the way’.  Our concern should be, what happens before the hips lead?  Or, what should happen?  In other words, it’s not a “fly open with front hip” issue, it’s a ‘fly open with front shoulder’ issue.

Tony Gwynn knew the importance of keeping that front shoulder in.  CLICK HERE for a video I did on him. The torso MUST be pre-loaded to as close to landing as possible (watch main video above on how to do this).  This is how springy fascia in the torso is charged.

 

Timing: Varied Reaction LIVE Toss Drill (progressions & regressions)

Another coaching cue that just doesn’t work is, “get the front foot down early”.  This can create a host of other timing issues.  The hitting sequence is a ‘dance’.  You never see the pitcher get their stride foot down early, momentarily pause, and then throw a pitch.

This is my favorite drill for getting the front foot down on time, or at least training the ‘dance’ part of the sequence.  Here are some timing posts I did relating to this:

 

Keep Coaching Feedback to a Minimum

CLICK HERE for a softball batting tips post I did on giving feedback to hitters.

It has to do with the Goldilocks Golden Rule.  Too much feedback, and you’re micro-managing.  Nothing at all, and the player never knows if they’re on the right track.  But just the right amount, strategically placed, makes a world of difference!

That’s the beauty of the Varied Reaction LIVE Toss Drill…minimum feedback is needed for the drill to work its magic.

Increase Max Bat Whip Or Barrel Speed Creating Hip Shoulder Separation Hitting Torque For Faster Baseball & Softball Swing

Discover how to increase max bat whip or barrel speed creating hip shoulder separation hitting torque for a faster baseball and softball swing.  Learn when to load the shoulders in little league with this swing experiment…

Baseball Swing Load: If You Can Bend Sideways You Can Gain 4-MPH Bat Speed

 

 

Question: Does a Slight “Downhill” Shoulder Angle Before Landing Boost Baseball Swing Load & Bat Speed?

In this baseball swing load “shoulder” angle experiment using the Zepp (Labs) Baseball app, I wanted to use the Scientific Method to analyze what would happen to Bat & Hand Speed when we took 100 swings with a slight “Downhill” shoulder angle (about 8-10-degrees) versus another 100 swings with level shoulders.

The Feedback Lab parent testimonial about his 14 year old daughter Mia:

“Hey Coach,

It has been way too long but I wanted to share some information that happened yesterday. We are heading up to Chattanooga, Tennessee, the largest showcase in the southeast today. Yesterday was our last day to hit before the showcase and Mia was struggling with her power. We hit about 60-70 balls and Mia was hitting about 10% over the fence (she is usually 40%+). I was looking to make sure she was showing her number, which she was, hiding her hands, which she was, landing with a bent knee, which she was and etc., etc. It was getting late and we had to go and I told Mia she had only 6 balls left. I told her to show me her stance and I noticed that her front shoulder was equal to her back shoulder. I then told her to lower her front shoulder and raise her back one. That was the only change we made to her swing, Mia then hit the next 6 balls over the fence and 2 of them were bombs. I cannot believe the difference this one small change made.

Thanks,
Primo”

Background Research

Baseball Swing Load: Miguel Cabrera WSJ Info-Graphic

Wall Street Journal Info-Graphic at: http://gohpl.com/1NFi8qi

The best resource for getting educated on spinal engine mechanics is to pick up Dr. Serge Gracovetsky’s book The Spinal Engine.  For a teased out version of this,

CLICK HERE for a post I did that compared the pitching delivery, hitting, and an overhead tennis serve using this “bending sideways” technique.

Another good book from multiple authors on the subject of spinal engine mechanics, locomotion biomechanics, and springy fascia, check out the book Dynamic Body by leading author Dr. Erik Dalton.

Also, here’s a great Wall Street Journal post about Miggy Cabrera titled, Miguel Cabrera: The Art of Hitting.  Check out what the illustration says in the middle of the red circle above…

 

Hypothesis

Based on the above baseball swing load experiment research and one of the other countless online hitting testimonials I get about “bending sideways” benefits, I think using a slight “Downhill” Shoulder Angle will boost Bat Speed at Impact by at least 3-mph, and Hand Speed Max by 2-mph.

 

Baseball Swing Load: “Downhill” Shoulder Angle Experiment

Baseball Swing Mechanics Experiment: Zepp Baseball App

CLICK Image to Purchase Zepp Baseball App

Equipment Used:

  • Zepp Baseball app,
  • Tanner Tee,
  • Camera Phone
  • 33-inch wood bat.

Setup:

  • Tyler Doerner, my intern for the summer and a hitter in HPL’s The Feedback Lab, is a redshirt college Freshman.  He did the baseball swing load shoulder angle experiment.
  • Tyler broke the swing into two steps: 1) get to landing position, pause for 1-2 seconds, 2) then swing, to better control the shoulder angle during the tests.
  • So, there was an absence of forward momentum in this experiment.
  • The two tests in the experiment were counter-balanced.  Which consisted of eight blocks of 25-swings done in the following order ABBA BAAB.  “Level Shoulders” were letter ‘A’, and
    “Downhill Shoulders” were letter ‘B’.  200 total swings were completed in the experiment, 100 per test.  Counter-balancing helps remove the “getting tired” and “not being warmed” up factors.

 

Data Collected (Zepp Baseball App):

Baseball Swing Load: Zepp Screenshot of Shoulder Angle Experiment

Look at the significant jumps in average Bat Speed at Impact & the Attack Angle…

Data Analysis & Conclusion

  • There’s a significant 4-mph JUMP in average Bat Speed at Impact with the “Downhill” Shoulder Angle.
  • Average Hand Speed Max only increased by 1-mph with the “Downhill” Shoulder Angle.
  • There was a small change in Time To Impact, in favor of the “Downhill” Shoulder Angle.
  • Not a big change in the Bat Vertical Angle at Impact.
  • And there was a significant 3-degree angle change in Attack Angle with “Downhill” Shoulder Angle.

Notes

  • We found a slightly bigger increase in average Bat Speed at Impact with the “Downhill” Shoulder Angle compared to my Hypothesis (4-mph versus 3-mph).
  • I thought there was going to be a bigger difference in Hand Speed Max, than how it turned out.
  • What was surprising was the 3-degree angle change of the attack angle.  A 10-degree Attack Angle is a typical line drive.  Once you start to get into the 15-20 degree range, you’re looking at more of a home-run launch angle.
  • The “Downhill” Shoulder Angle is actually something we’re working in Tyler’s swing.  He tends to let go of his angle a little too soon.
  • I find that before and after Ball Exit Speed readings with my local hitters who’re familiar with the “Downhill” Shoulder Angle, can increase from 1-3-mph when this it the only mechanic we’re working on.

The Bottom Line?

In this baseball swing load shoulder angle experiment, we can clearly see with the “Downhill” Shoulder Angle that there’s a significant 4-mph jump in Bat Speed at Impact, AND a surprising 3-degree boost in the Attack Angle.  The “Downhill” Shoulder Angle is a piece of what I call the Catapult Loading System.  The BIG-3 are:

  1. Downhill shoulder angle,
  2. Hiding hands from the pitcher, and
  3. For #3…
Gary Sheffield Swing Path Hitting Drills Approach To Opposite Field Power Works For Baseball, Softball, & Slow Pitch

Discover the Gary Sheffield swing path hitting drills approach to hit for opposite field power.  Learn how this works for baseball, fast pitch, and slow pitch softball!

Gary Sheffield Talks Hitting Mentioning 1 Shocking Swing Mistake He Didn’t Make…

 

 

In this Gary Sheffield Talks Hitting video, 500 Home Run Club member Gary Sheffield talks about his hitting style, plate approach and adjustments to different ballparks with Mark DeRosa, Bill Ripken and Robert Flores on MLB Central.  Some of what you’ll find in the video:

  • 1 shocking swing mistake Sheffield didn’t make,
  • Pitch recognition that Gary Sheffield is talking about,
  • Change your stance depending on the field?
  • What does focus on staying to the right of your left side mean? And,
  • Making swing adjustments because of injury to compete…

For your convenience below, I’ve time stamped my notes, so you can jump to wherever the conversation interests you…

  • At about the 3-minute, 20-second mark, Sheffield talks about how after hitting 40+ homers between his AA and AAA season, he was brought up to MLB club and the powers at be tried to “flatten his bat” (for him a mistake he didn’t make).  Because they wanted a lead-off speed guy who hits the ball to right field.  When he got to San Diego, they wanted him to pick up the ball at 3rd base, they didn’t expect him to hit.  This was disrespectful to Sheffield.  He went from a guy not just trying to get on base, but to do damage.
  • At about the 4-minute mark, Gary Sheffield talks about his famous bat tilt-waggle, and how it’s all in the fingers. To get a nice relaxed crisp move with the fingers.  Like dancing.
  • At about the 5-minute mark, Sheffield talks about picking pitcher up at release to differentiate what he’s throwing.  Pitch recognition.  He doesn’t care what the pitcher does before that moment.  He said he looked for the heater and nothing changed on that approach throughout his career.  He wants the pitcher to fool him.  He doesn’t want to miss on the fastball.  All he wants to know is what is the pitcher’s out pitch – the one he goes to the most when he needs it. Doesn’t swing at fork balls.  He groups the fastball and slider together – as one pitch.
  • At about the 7-minute mark, Gary Sheffield talks about how he adjusts his stance depending on the park he’s playing in.  Examples…in San Diego the dimensions are fair, so he uses all fields.  At “fair” parks he didn’t feel like hitting the ball oppo made him lose something.   In Florida with the Marlins, he got closer to the plate and became strictly a pull hitter because of short fence in left field. Homers came by way of left and left center, rarely to center.  Goal of double digit homers to opposite field, so he was almost guaranteed 30 to 40 homers per year.  Billy Ripken made the comment that he’s never heard of anyone else who did this, except maybe when hitting at Fenway.  Dodger stadium was “fair” to him.  Mentioned at night it got dewey there, ball didn’t fly as far.  His strength was center field in LA.
  • At about 9-minute mark, Sheffield talks about his right elbow position to be ready to “punch”.  Athletic position.  Legs up under him.  When hitting he just thinks about his left side.  Tells his kids to cut the left side out.  Focus on being to the right of your left side.  Walking in the batter’s box sideways, so he knows he’s in the same spot every time.  He wants to work sideways, so he can stay behind his left side.
  • At about 11-minute mark, Sheffield his swing is dominant front arm.  Front arm goes straight to the ball.  Billy Ripken talks about “squashing a bug“.  They all comment on Gary Sheffield’s bat waggle and how parallel the barrel got to the ground at one point in the swing.  Sheffield talked about an injury he had to his right foot, plantar fasciitis, that required him to skip/hop his back foot.  Had to unlearn later.  Interesting confession on making an adjustment to compete.