Hitting Drills For Kids: How To Keep Hitters Productive At Home Despite COVID-19

 

(Correction in above hitting drills for kids video: I said this started last Wednesday, March 25th, but I couldn’t get this up in time.  CLICK HERE to view Today’s Hitting Workout Of the Day – WOD.

 

Self quarantine.  “Shelter-in-place”.  Losing a job.  Tireless work.  Medical care workers, military, police and fire departments.  Sacrificing sport seasons.  Seniors in High School and College losing their 2020 year.  Politicians bickering – as usual.

I totally understand.  It SUCKS.  And I’m sorry who’ve lost a job or loved one because of this nasty virus. My thoughts and prayers go out to you and your families.  I hope and pray things get better soon.

But you know what coach?  We’re going to get through this.  Together.  Genghis Khan once said:

“One arrow alone can easily be broken but many arrows are indestructible”.

I understand the uncertainty out there.  And if you’re like my family, we have two little blessings (7yo boy and 4yo girl), running around at home.  The challenge is, we have to keep them in productive mode, or else they’re fighting like cats and dogs.  And at the same time my wife and I are juggling work from home in good ol’ shelter-in-place California.

I’m not going to lie, it’s REAL easy to keep the kiddos on their devices all day.  But I don’t believe that’s the best thing for their little developing minds.  Same is true for the teen-osaurs!

Here’s what we’ll cover in this post:

  • How to keep hitters productive at home despite COVID-19,
  • At-home hitting drills for kids challenge rules,
  • Today’s Hitting WOD, and
  • BONUS extra credit to sweeten the deal…

 

How To Keep Hitters Productive At Home Despite COVID-19

One of my online hitting lesson dads posted this Twitter “to-do” list to keep the kiddos busy at home… (he elaborates on this schedule in the comments below)

I would be honored to be a part of your at-home schedule!

 

At-Home Hitting Drills for Kids Challenge Rules

WHEN

The challenge will run from Thursday March 26th, through Easter Sunday, April 12th.  Wishful thinking is that this COVID-19 thing is under wraps by then, and things become as normal as circumstances allow.

Check-in EVERY day at about 8:00AM eastern standard time.  That day’s Hitting WOD will stay up that whole day.  PLEASE NOTE: Each day I’ll take down yesterday’s Hitting WOD and replace with today’s.  So, if you’re busy, I’d suggest stopping in and at least taking notes, so you don’t miss out.

WHAT

Each day, I’ll update this page under “Today’s Hitting WOD” subheadline with a/an:

  • Featured post,
  • Expert interview transcription, or
  • Drill video…

…you can use this as hitting homework.  “Baseball with dad or mom” as Tyson put it in his Tweet.  Each day will guide you in one of 5 areas:

  1. Building more power,
  2. Hitting more line drives,
  3. Getting on-time more often,
  4. Moving better to perform better (body work training), or
  5. Sticky coaching cues.

Like Crossfit, think of this as a Hitting “Workout Of the Day” – or Hitting WOD.

HOW

Every single day, we’ll keep it simple.  I’m just asking at least 5-minutes per day to do the Hitting WOD.

By the way, on some days, I’m going to do random giveaways.  Online hitting lessons.  An autographed copy of my Amazon bestselling book. Possibly hitting aids.  We’ll see what happens.   The more you share this on the socials, the better chance you have at winning!  Best part is, it won’t cost you a thing!

 

Today’s Hitting WOD (DAY-3)

Today’s hitting drills for kids video helps hitters not wear a hole in their neck.  About 55% of my hitters break the one-joint rule.  And no, it has nothing to do with inhaling!

Here’s what we have for you in the video:

  • The One-Joint Rule
  • Head movement that is okay
  • Jace Case Study: BEFORE & AFTER of Neck Brace Drill

Hitting homework is: take 5-mins today, wear for one hitting round of five, then don’t wear for second hitting round of five.  But act ‘as if’ you have it on.  Then once hitter’s head gets more stable with head position, begin using neck brace every two, three, or four rounds until mastered..  Progress from dry swings –> tee swings –> soft toss –> then LIVE short or front toss.

Extra credit watch, Dr. Kelly Starrett from TheReadyState.com, giving a perfect explanation of this in the following video (watch at about the 4:00 minute mark):

 

BONUS Extra Credit to Sweeten the Deal

Hitting Drills For Kids: Swing Smarter Newsletter Monthly

30-Day FREE Trial of Swing Smarter Newsletter Monthly for a Limited Time

Before this whole Chinese Coronavirus thing picked up steam, I was working on a low-cost monthly membership called Swing Smarter Newsletter Monthly.  I will be putting a TON of time and effort into each issue.

Once per month, we’ll be offering up:

  • One training tip video on how to fix a certain flaw,
  • One or two expert interviews from “mad” scientists like: Perry Husband, Matt Nokes, Taylor Gardner, Ryan Lehr, Dr. Tom Hanson, and many others,
  • 1-month in review curated content on Sticky Coaching or Moving Better to Perform Better, and
  • Hitting aid review, how it MUST be used for success, & discounts…

The monthly membership fee was going to be $4.95 per month.  And because the low cost, I wasn’t going to offer a free trial.

Then COVID-19 hit. I think you’re gonna LOVE the Newsletter, but may not be able to afford the commitment right now.  So, sign up to grab access to Issue #1 at no-cost for 30-days, then after 30-days you’ll be charged $4.95 per month thereafter.  No upsells.  Just one more email per month with the goodies.

But wait … there’s more! (sorry, that’s my favorite part on infomercials)

I’m sweetening the deal even more … on month two, if you pay the $4.95 for issue #2, but the Newsletter doesn’t live up to the promises, then I’ll refund you, cancel the membership, and you can keep Issue #2.  No worries.  No questions asked.  No hard feelings.

However, if you absolutely LOVE the Newsletter, then by all means, stay on board.  Every 30-days, you’ll receive one email with a new issue.

Please note: I WILL NOT be offering this 30-day free trial again.  After Easter, it’s gone!  Click the button below to grab access to Swing Smarter Newsletter Monthly

Mike Trout Hitting Golf Ball: Same As Baseball Swing?

 

 

Mike Trout Hitting Golf Ball at Top Golf

Photo courtesy: MLB.com

What we go over in this Mike Trout hitting golf ball compared to baseball swing video:

Let’s get started…

 

“…rear leg is slave to middle of body” Mike Trout Hitting Golf Ball Quote

 

Shifting Foot Pressure

A couple recent posts I’ve done complimenting above video…

 

Catapult Loading System – BIG-3

Recent posts I’ve done on this topic…

Francisco Lindor Swing Breakdown: Metrics, Big-3 Power, & Wrist Snap

 

 

Francisco Lindor Swing Breakdown

Francisco Lindor swing breakdown photo courtesy: MLB.com

Hey, what’s going on? It’s Joey Myers from the Hitting Performance Lab.  In this Francisco Lindor swing breakdown video, we’re going to go over three different things…

  • The first thing we’re going to do is are going to look at his metrics according to fan graphs,
  • The next thing is the big three in the Catapult Loading System, and
  • And then the last thing we’re going to look at is when the wrist snap happens…

 

Francisco Lindor Swing Breakdown: the Metrics

Now, let’s take a look at some of the stats and give a little context to this Francisco Lindor swing breakdown. You can see he is a smaller hitter, smaller slugger, 5-foot, 11-inches, 190-pounds. He switch hits.

You can see down here in 2019, putting his power in perspective… He’s hit 32 homers in the last years prior, 38, 33. That was 2017. And the video analysis swings we’ll look at in this video are from 2017.  He’s hit about 40 doubles or so in those last three years or the last four years. 30 doubles in 2016, and hits about .284.

And if we look at his batted ball totals as in line drive percentage, ground ball percentage and fly ball percentage…line drive percentage in 2019 was just about average – 20 percent is league average – ground-ball rate is average, league average is 43%. Fly ball percentage is just slightly below average at 36.6%. Average is about 37%, but pretty close to league averages there.

The one thing that is above well above league average is his homerun to fly ball percentage, which is 17.4%. And you can see the prior year 17.3, then 14.0, then 9.9, and 13.0 are all well above average on the 9 or 9.5% of homerun to fly ball ratios as the major league average.

So let’s start with the big three in the Catapult Loading System in this Francisco Lindor swing breakdown. You have the lefty at bat over here and the righty at bat over here. Let’s give a little context to these pitches in the at bats. This is the second one over here.

We’re going to look at the pitch speed, 88-mph. Some kind of breaking ball, maybe a slider, and this one he hit for home run into the right field bleachers or right center field bleachers, over here on the right his righty at bat.

He’s a little bit out in front. We have a 79-mph, probably a slider here. That he pulls in the five and a half hole.

 

The Big-3: Catapult Loading System

OK, so what I referred to as the big three and the Catapult Loading System is the build more consistent power in a swing. There are three buckets. Two, our systems, the different systems we teach, that’s one of them.

The second one is the pitch plane domination system. And that’s all about how to hit more line drives and the reaction time mastery system, which is all about footwork, vision, tracking and timing.

This Francisco Lindor swing breakdown video, we’re going to be going over the first system, the power systems, the Catapult Loading System. I refer to the big three as “showing numbers”, “downward shoulder angle”, and “hiding the hands”.

What you’re going to see here, I have both of these swings synced up, on the left, the homer, on the right, the ball that he was a little bit out in front he pulled into the five and a half hole for a ground ball base hit.

“Showing Numbers”

You can see that if we rewind to the beginning. And just so you know, the camera angle in center field is slightly off center towards the left or left center. It’s in center, but slightly towards left. And that is going to show any kind of right-handed batter as showing their numbers more than the left. So just understand that this isn’t a complete apple to apples comparison, but you’ll still see the difference in their starting positions and their landing positions.

You can see here, you can’t see Francisco Lindor’s number really on the left, and you can start to make it out a little bit here on the right. Again, probably because of off centered camera in center field.

As the pitcher starts to get into the windup, gets ready to release the ball, you can start to see over here on the right … again, with our camera angle, you can see that #12, pretty clear as day at this point.

And what I want you to do is, again, with that skew with the camera, watch the pinstripe. If we put a dot in these spots, as you’ll see Lindor pull in more with the pelvis almost similar to the Javier Baez swing analysis that I did a few weeks ago, you saw Baez extremely turn that pelvis in. And my argument is that we don’t have to do that…

See here that that pinstripe you can’t see any more on the right side, but on the left side you can still see it. Again, we get a skewed camera angle, but it didn’t move quite as much on the left as it did on the right. So, this is something that Lindor actually doesn’t have to do and might be closing himself off just slightly. But nonetheless, you can see you can pretty much make out almost the full one in the two.

I used to teach showing numbers as showing both numbers are showing at least a number and a half, evolved it more to where we want to create neck pressure. If we create neck pressure, then the hitter should be showing their numbers. It’s more of an objective measure of showing numbers because every hitter is different. Their mobility in their neck is different.

In this Francisco Lindor swing breakdown, you can see his head really anchoring down for it in a tracking position and he’s moving his shoulder underneath his chin as far as he can, creating a wringing towel effect between his head and his shoulders. And he’s creating this neck pressure at the T1/C7 vertebrae in the spine, just like wringing a towel out. And he’s creating that neck pressure, which as a result will show his numbers.

And also, could be on the right side since he possibly is inward turning his pelvis a little bit more. It could be why he’s shown his numbers a little bit more besides the camera angle. So that is the first of the big three, showing numbers or creating neck pressure.

“Downhill Shoulders”

The second of the big three is the downhill or downward shoulder angle. It’s the hitter dipping their front shoulder down, creating this downhill shoulder angle that you can see with this back elbow in this Francisco Lindor swing breakdown. You can see his back elbow, if you create this line, not quite as much over here on the right, he doesn’t raise that elbow quite as much as on the left.

And granted, too… If you look at his at bats in fan graphs, he has a lot more at bats, probably 60 plus percent more on the left than he does on the right because he’s seeing probably more righties than he is lefty pitchers. So, you can see he’s probably little bit more grooved on the left anyway. And his power numbers show it. He’s got plenty of more homers on the left than he does on the right. But again, that reflects the amount of plate appearances as well.

He has this downward shoulder angle on the right. He’s not using his back elbow as much. We do use back elbow with the hitters to steer the shoulders down, but not all hitters will click with that. We’ll just tell those hitters that they seem to for telling him to raise the back shoulder at landing. Then what tends to happen is their hands start to balloon up and rise up. We don’t want the hands to get up past a certain height. We want to make sure that their hands are in it in a decent, more comfortable position around the shoulder height – back shoulder height to be able to launch from.

So, if the hitter is having a hard time by bringing that back elbow up, like you see Francisco Lindor over here on the left, then what we’ll tell the hitter to do is just lower the front shoulder.

He’s creating neck pressure, which is showing the number, this is a protraction of the front scapula for you movement nerds out there, you kinesiology nerds out there, and he is creating this downward shoulder angle so that his shoulders can actually flip.

You’ll see the front shoulder pop up in the back shoulder that’s up will go down as he gets to the swing here. You see a complete reversal of that. And we should see in the follow through, we should see a complete reversal again back to almost where his right shoulder on the left over here.

So this front one ends up, starts down, pops up, and then should end up back down again over the other shoulder. And the reverse is true. Over here on the right, we see the left shoulder start down, pops up, and then it should end up back down again, which you see here. That is a proper deceleration of the spinal engine.

“Hiding Hands”

The last piece of the big three is hiding the hands from the pitcher. So you can see the hands here from the left. You can see slightly the bottom hand on the right. And then you’re going to see those hands disappear. You’ll see them reappear back behind his head, on the right, on the left, not quite so much. You see them disappear behind his head. But again, we’re talking about a different camera angle here.

And some call this the scapula row or a rear scalp retraction for the kinesiology nerds back there.  We should see both a protraction of the front scapula, which is showing the numbers/neck pressure.

And we should also see a retraction of the rear scapula. We see both. We do not, especially in hitters like Lindor, who are 5’11”, 190 pounds. We do not see the ones that hit for power anyway. We do not see them only retracting the rear scapula and not showing their numbers, or not using neck pressure. We see both.

It is very hard for a hitter the size of Francisco Lindor to hit 30 homers a year for the last three or four years, without showing numbers and just doing the rear scapula retraction.

Not going to happen.

So those are the big three as it is to the Catapult Loading System, showing numbers, downhill shoulder angle, and hiding the hands. Now let’s check out the wrist snap…

 

Wrist Snap

A lot of young hitters, what they tend to do and there’s quite a few hitting instructors out there that are teaching this deep barrel dump and to “chicken wing” with the front elbow, 90-degree bend as it comes through impact.

The problem is, and this is what I’m seeing with both the hitting instructors and the hitters of the hitting instructors, and even in some of my hitters, as we train this out of their swing is, they create a lot of space between their front arm and their chest as they’re coming through.

You can see this was the pitch that was middle in that Francisco Lindor hit a homerun on to right. You can see how tight he keeps this barrel, and we talk about the belly button catcher’s glove

Imagine a catcher’s glove in line with the hitter’s belly button and a catcher’s glove in line with the hitters back foot. This is important when it comes to pitches middle in and middle up because we want to be knocking off those catcher’s gloves and not knocking off the real catcher’s glove was back here.

But you can see in this Francisco swing breakdown. You can see him, his barrel entering the attack zone at the back-foot catcher’s glove, he’s actually a little bit late here, he ends up speeding it up with his wrist snap.

But what you’re going to see is almost like there is a wall happening here… And he’s going to get to this wall… And his hands are going to stop moving forward.

What we see with young hitters is we’ll see these hands continue forward and they end up way out over here, chicken winging with the elbow and their arm, front arm drifting far away from their chest, which we don’t want to do if we want a proper transfer of body to barrel to ball force.

We’re going to see the best hitters will stop, their hands will stop moving forward at a certain point, which you see is right here. It’s like the hands hit a wall and we have a wall drill for this, a wall turn or a phone booth drill that we use to help the hitter out with this, plus a wrist snap position.

You see, as he releases into the back foot catcher’s glove, you’re going to see him pivot. Imagine a red laser coming out of the knob and you get a green laser coming out of the barrel of the bat. And we see at a point where he’ll flip it, he’ll flip the red laser for the green. But you see this wrist snapping. Some may call pronation.

As he gets through this ball and you’re going to see post impact … both arms get extended, full extension. Both arms. Power V. This isn’t the power V that was taught about a couple of decades ago to happen at impact, that’s not what we’re trying to do.

This is the power V that happens after impact, and with a proper transfer from body to barrel to ball we should see this passed impact.  But it uses a combination of the big three of the Catapult Loading System and the wrist snap. At one point, the knob has to stop moving forward linearly and has to let the wrist snap and pronate with the top hand.

Make sure that we’re swinging smarter by moving better … Like this video … Subscribe to our YouTube channel … and before I let you go…

Javier Baez Swing Analysis

Javier Baez Swing Analysis: Why Inward Turn Of Hips Is Wasted Movement…

 

 

Hey, what’s going on it’s Joey Myers from the Hitting Performance Lab, and in this Javier Baez swing analysis, we will cover:

  • Fangraphs metrics,
  • Over-rotation of low half during pre-loading phase,
  • Amazing C/T spine mobility (neck pressure), and
  • Barrel tilt…

Here’s the transcription from the above video…

 

Javier Baez Swing Analysis FanGraph Metrics

Javier Baez Swing Analysis

Javier Baez photo courtesy: MLB.com

Let’s get into the fan graph metrics. As you can see here, look at the six foot, hundred ninety-pound Javier Baez in the swing analysis we’ll be looking at in 2019. You can see his line right here. You can see a .281 batting average, 38 doubles, four triples, 29 homers, and you see a big giant balloon over here, one hundred fifty-six strikeouts and only twenty-eight walks.

Now, if we look at his line when it comes to ground ball, fly ball, line drive percentages, and his fly ball home run ratio and his pull and hard contact numbers, we look at his line drive rate being eighteen point one. You can see his averages over the amount of years he’s been in the Bigs is 19. So, a little bit down from his average.

You can see his ground ball percentage was up quite a bit, fifty point three, which was down in prior years as low as 44 percent and 37.3 percent.

You can see the average line drive rate is 20 percent or so. So as long as they’re around 18 to 22 percent, that tend to be about league average. The ground ball percentage, league average is about 43 percent or around 40 percent. You can see he’s well above average on the ground ball percentage and fly ball percentage typically floats around 37, 38 percent at league average.

So you can see he’s below well below average when it comes to the fly ball percentage homerun to fly ball ratio, the percentage at 24.4, league average is around 9 to 11 percent. So, if he gets the ball in the air or his fly balls, the percentages of his fly balls going out are almost 25 percent.

What’s also interesting to note is if you look over at his soft percentage contact medium and his hard contact percentages, you can see that his medium actually outweighs his hard percentage contact. Some interesting things going on from this Javier Baez swing analysis, might shed a little bit of light on that.

But I thought interesting to note that his hard ball contact percentage at 37.4, you can’t see it on the screen, hard contact percentage. And then you can see as medium here is 44.6.

 

 

Over-Rotation of Lower Half During Pre-Loading Phase

All right. Let’s get into the Javier Baez swing analysis, and the breakdown of his mechanics. Let’s give this a little context. This is a two thousand nineteen swing, I think, in May or so. And this pitch looks like a ninety-one mile an hour slider that ends up, as you can see in the K zone in that lower outside quadrant. And he hits this one out to right center a little bit more towards center but right center.

One thing I want you to take a look at is over rotation of the lower half. This is something I think Ted Williams said in The Science of Hitting. And a lot of instructors out there will take this to the extreme. And they think that by turning the pelvis in towards the catcher, so imagine a hitter’s belt buckle turning in to face the catcher. Like there was a flashlight coming out of the belt buckle and that you’re shining the flashlight at the catcher to get the hips some momentum.

Now, I think this is wasted movement when it comes to function of the spinal engine. Not my opinion, but if we look at springy fascia, the spinal engine, what we want is we want to see this front shoulder … we’ll get a chest view here in a second … we want to get this front shoulder to go down in and towards the back hip. And we want this back shoulder to move away from this front hip.

When you move the pelvis in or you move the front hip bone in along with the shoulder, is that now the hip and the shoulder are chasing each other instead of doing the opposite in what we would find in a wringing towel type of scenario, whereas one hand being the shoulder, the other hand being the pelvis.

We’re seeing a lot of these coaches that will say if and when the pitcher shows you his back back pocket, then you show them yours. This is clearly what Javier Baez is doing in this swing analysis. You can see him really showing his back pocket versus this neutral position that he starts off in, really rolls in with that hip.

Now, if we take a look at another hitter, Khris Davis of the A’s, this is the 2018 swing of his. But he actually steps in the bucket a little bit. You’re going to see a little difference to the hip positioning. Khris Davis really doesn’t waste any motion pulling that belt buckle, this flashlight on the belt buckle, trying to shine it in the catcher’s eyes. He actually keeps it in a neutral position and steps out. Into the bucket.

What both of these players do really well, and I think, Khris actually does better than Baez is because of the lower half over rotation in the pre loading phase of the swing before stride touchdown, we see Khris will keep his hips in a neutral position … but will use this neck tension, which we’ll talk about here in a second to counteract. And he’s really good, Khris, at going the other way, where he hits this one. This is a 94 mile an hour fastball somewhat up in the zone. And he hits this to straight away center.

He does very well going to the opposite field, even though he’s stepping out now, I wouldn’t advise young hitters to do that. And we have a stride drill that fixes getting the stride more in line.

Khris makes this work because of the way he uses his spine. Here’s a chest view of Javier Baez swing analysis, it’s a little angled here, but you can see that kind of over rotation of the pre loading, pre loading phase of the pelvis, the lower half versus what Khris Davis was doing.

You can see him really coiling up with the lower half, which he really doesn’t have to. And you’re seeing the what I was talking about is taking this front shoulder down and in towards a back hip and we should actually see this front hip move away from the back shoulder.

When you bring that front hip in, you’re chasing the back shoulder instead of moving away from it, which that’s how springy fashion works, how we load the body like a spring or a catapult. And we want to bring that front shoulder down and in which he is doing. But when you turn the pelvis, it’s almost like the corresponding shoulder is chasing the corresponding diagonal hip bone.

Now, if we look at Khris Davis on the same swing, you know, this view’s a little bit more chest view than the angled version we’re getting with Javier Baez. But you can see that that hip stays in neutral and then you’ll see him bring his front shoulder down and in towards the back hip and you’ll see this front hip move away from the back shoulder.

Some people might call this the scap load that is covering this line here, this diagonal line to scap load. But we also that’s a retraction of the back scap. What we should see is a protraction of the front scap or the front shoulder moving down and in. So, we’re going to see the hitter’s numbers when the hitter does that. We should see both moves, not just one. And you’re seeing Khris Davis do this very well because he keeps his pelvis in neutral.

You can see here and just lets his upper half preload and let his lower half just do what it does and let it open as it does to take the rest of the slack out of the spinal engine.

And one more quick thing before we move on from this in this Javier Baez swing analysis … as you can see, as he coils up him in Davis, pretty much end up in the same spot, at landing. Look at where his pelvis is at landing. So, it’s almost like he gets a running start with his pelvis. I don’t think it really relevant because we’re getting the same effect with the bounce effect with Davis as we are with Baez. It’s just I think Baez’s closing himself off more. And I wouldn’t teach this to young hitters.

I wouldn’t over rotate the pelvis or turn the pelvis inward towards the catcher to landing, because at landing, you see he’s in the same position. And as long as he’s getting his neck pressure, which will be transitioning to here, as long as you get into neck pressure, he’ll be wound up top. And then once the lower half starts to open, as he starts to swing that rest of that slack, will get taken out and then everything will go as it’s supposed to.

Amazing C/T Spine Mobility (neck pressure)

Now, let’s talk about creating neck pressure. The idea of this is like wringing a towel out except for one hand represents the head, the other hand represents the shoulder. So, the hand’s turn in opposite directions. And what we’re trying to do is it’s not so much about how much of the numbers the hitter shows, although Javier Baez in the swing analysis, you can see you can see everything. If he had a triple digit number, you could see three digits on his back. You can see his back elbow. You can see all the way across the shoulders. If he had a 20-word last name, you could see it from armpit to armpit. You can see pretty much everything, almost his rear oblique. You can see because he’s shown his numbers so much.

Whereas we look at a Khris Davis on this one. Similar, but not quite as turned in because he’s not turning the pelvis in. He doesn’t have to. He can create this Catapult Loading System just by keeping the pelvis in neutral and let the pelvis open when it does. He needs to create that bounce with the lower half, create that neck pressure up top.

You can see that he’s locked in, his head is anchoring a tracking position so he can track the ball and keep vision on the ball. It’s not this idea of what some of these coaches call “false separation”, which when these coaches show on video, what false separation is there over rotating the upper half. Now, we don’t want to over rotate. We can’t lose sight with the back eye. And that’s not Davis here. Maybe he is. He is clearly along with Baez. They are clearly showing their numbers, showing their last name. You can see that is clear as day.

There is a pro attraction of the front scap. There’s a retraction to the back scap. You’re seeing both of those things happen in two different hitters on two different teams. And what both of them do are doing and having common is they are wringing the towel out head and shoulders. The head creates an anchor point. Their shoulders rotate under the chin as far as they can while creating this neck pressure in the T1 (Thoracic section of spine, vertebrae-1) and C7 (Cervical section of spine, vertebrae-7) area.

So there’s like a two, three-inch area that if the hitter does this right, they create that pressure there with the head anchored with the shoulder pulled under as far as it can do. And they’ll feel this pressure up until the turn and they can go from there. That’s taking slack out of this system early. If this doesn’t happen, there is going to be compensation somehow in that there may be a front shoulder pulling out early. There might be a barrel that’s dumping deep and early into the zone to try and hurry up, get the barrel to the ball.

But above all, hitters must, even hitters as young as eight, nine, 10 years old need to feel that pressure if there is going to be power the minute that pressure is taken off between the head and the shoulders, that is when we’ll be letting air out of the balloon.

The reason that I’ve moved to more of a neck pressure, creating neck pressure versus showing numbers is that every hitter is going to be different when it comes to their mobility in their neck and their thoracic spine or their shoulders being able to turn the head this much as much as Baez or Davis. Davis isn’t quite as much there. Maybe it’s just with Baez because he’s inward rotating his lower half. It’s allowing him to turn more.

I think that again, hinders it can take our vision and tracking off the ball if we do this with younger hitters, what Baez is doing. So, I would recommend more of what Davis is doing, albeit without the stepping out part of it. But we want to create the neck pressure. That is the rule. That is the principle, the movement principle, the wringing towel principle to the Catapult Loading System in spinal engine, springy fascia.

It is not so much to show both numbers. The numbers will probably show, but it will depend on the hitter’s mobility in their neck. So, every hitter might be different.

 

Barrel Tilt

One last thing in this Javier Baez swing analysis is the barrel tilt. There are some coaches out there that like this barrel till where you can see where Baez tilts the barrel towards the opposing batter’s box or kind of off towards first base and to get the barrel momentum going into the swing.

Now, this might be something that Baez needs to do because he is rotating that lower half inward towards the catcher. And to get some barrel momentum is going to help him to get around, especially on pitches in pitches up in the zone.

I don’t teach this per se. I don’t think it’s a bad or good thing it can be a bad thing. If they tilt too much and I think Baez in the past has tilted too much and it’s got him in trouble, it causes more of an uppercut type of swing. I’ve had hitters that do this and they hit the ball in the air more often than the hitter that doesn’t tilt the barrel this much.

We’ve seen Donaldson from I think it was 2013 to 14. He was tilting too much and we saw his fly ball percentage go up and his batting average go down. So, I would not really mess with this too much as long as we are creating that wringing towel effect between the head and the shoulders, creating the neck pressure.

And we are what I like to tell my hitters is to act like there’s a skewer going through their hip bones that is keeping him on a straight line, keeping hip bones on a straight line towards the catcher. And they just slide along that skewer until the front foot hits the ground and they can turn out of it, but they can’t turn into the skewer up until landing … has to stay in a neutral position and they manipulate the neck pressure at the top to create the tension that we need to be able to instantaneously swing the bat and increase our ball exit speeds.

The barrel tilt is just not something that I would teach my hitters. I would let my hitters do it. But if it’s affecting their fly ball, line drive, ground-ball ratios and we would definitely change it. Now, I hope you like this Javier Baez swing analysis. Make sure that you’re swinging smarter by moving better.

And before I let you go…

Longest Home Run Ever “Principles” May SURPRISE You…

 

 

Longest Home Run Ever? 696-Feet!

Photo Courtesy of: SmarterEveryDay YouTube channel

But before analyzing the longest home run ever ‘principles’, I want to share a few important resources…

Some of you may remember first reading Physics Professor Robert Adair’s book The Physics Of Baseball.  Think of the above video as the “engineering” of baseball – ahem, hitting specifically.  Many of you know our motto here at Hitting Performance Lab and HOW our hitting approach is different than most out there …

We apply human movement principles that are validated by Science, to hitting a ball … (unlike the willfully ignorant ‘bro-science’ approach to hitting).  

Another good longest home run ever engineering principles book resource is The Golfing Machine authored by Homer Kelley, who was an aeronautical engineer that worked for Boeing during the Great Depression.  He fell in love with golf and applied engineering principles to the golf swing, which were meticulously described in the book.

A fantastic post on the topic of longest home run ever comes from Dr. Alan Nathan over at PopularMechanics.com titled, “What’s The Longest Possible Home Run”. Alan Nathan is a professor emeritus of physics at the University of Illinois who 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.  Click the PopularMechanics.com link to read more.

The SmarterEveryDay YouTube channel is a MUST subscribe.  They’re a bunch of engineering geeks that put together fascinating experiments and tests that challenge things like the longest home run ever (above) to the backwards brain bicycle.  Their videos are very entertaining, funny, and extremely informative.

What I have for you below are time marked bullet points I found interesting in the above longest home run ever SmarterEveryDay video.  Big THANK YOU to the golfing sensei, and my good friend, Lee Comeaux for the share…

  • At 1-min, 25-sec mark, he acknowledge the “Launch Angle” craze, their focus is to “…point at the fence and swing a bat as fast as we can.”
  • Safety first kids!!  These guys took many many safety precautions when running this experiment defending against batted balls (200+ mph!), broken flying wood and metal bats, or even broken shards of machine.
  • At 2-min mark, they discuss how they setup the scenario for higher probability of moving ball hitting moving bat
  • At 2-min, 45-sec mark, talked about who these guys are and 3-phase power, “…dads who love to build things.”
  • At 4-min, 40-sec mark, discussed how wood bat broke during first phase of experiment, “tension” break
  • At 5-min, 45-sec mark, 2nd phase of experiment, metal bat broke off at plastic knob (slo mo at 6:40), and flew 581-feet!!
  • At 7-min, 45-sec mark, interesting to note the imbalance of the “Mad Batter Machine” when one of two metal bats break off…think about a hitter that isn’t counter-balancing their body when swinging (e.g. breaking one-joint rule – rear ear closing in on rear shoulder during turn, OR shifting weight during stride, then continuing to go forward during turn – lunging).
  • At 10-min, 15-sec mark, fantastic frame-by-frame of bat ball collisions – ground-ball, high fly-ball, hit too early … as power was turned up, they started breaking bats … crazy how much fun these guys were having doing this.  I’m so envious!
  • At 11-min- 35-sec mark, talked about fastest ball exit speed being Giancarlo Stanton (123.9-mph), one hop double play grounder to second baseman, their pitching machine was throwing balls at 50-mph, while their high speed bat was hitting batted balls at 240-mph!  This goes to show pitching velocity isn’t the best predictor of batted ball distance (1-mph of added pitching velocity only adds 1-mph to ball exit speeds) … bat speed is (1-mph of added bat speed adds 4-mph to ball exit speeds).
  • Thought experiment … imagine if these guys angled the Mad Batter Machine in an extreme downward or upwards plane – what would happen?  I think this experiment would take them months, not days.  Think about it, a couple engineering guys, didn’t care about the ‘Launch Angle’ craze, and just angled it to where it’d hit the majority of balls … hmmmm, let that sink in 😉
  • At 12-min, 10-sec mark, history of longest home run ever tape measure shots: Mickey Mantle – 565-feet, Babe Ruth – 575-feet, and Joey Meyer – 582-feet (no immediate relation :-P)
  • At 12-min, 45-sec mark, they show the longest home run ever… (full power!!!)

Top-10 Most Popular Hitting Performance Lab Blog Posts Of 2019 (both Facebook & Twitter)…23 Of Our Most Popular Hitting & Sticky Coaching Social Media Links In 2019

  • #10: Teach: How To STOP Hitting Excess Of Ground-balls & Fly-balls – Perry Husband long form video interview discusses: “How do I get my son to stop hitting an excess of ground-balls (or fly-balls)?”, How swing intention is great, but its benefits can be suppressed by physical limitations, The key ‘tinker & test’ learning principle helping hitters learn faster, Why a hitting coach’s job is to eliminate their job, And much more!
  • #9: How To Turn A Beach Towel Into A Hitting Demonstration – short video is great way to help coaches and players understand taking slack out of the system, demonstrating the power of the spinal engine.
  • #8: Why You SHOULD NOT Teach Hitters To Hit Homers? – Perry Husband long form video interview discusses: Formal Introductions, Perry Husband & Joey Myers FB Jam Session #1 Carlos Pena and Boston Red Sox hitting coach phone conversation for segment on MLB Now Show, Bro-Science v. REAL Science, How to know who/what to follow, Demystifying Launch Angles, and Q&A…
  • #7: How To Use “3-Dimensional Hitting” To Optimize Timing, Using All Fields, & Launch Angles – The target rich environment of pitchers throwing into barrels results in ANY hitting approach being effective.  But what happens when the target rich environment disappears?  Read more…
  • #6: Discover Where An Elite Hitter’s Secret Weapon Is Found – short video discusses how most coaches understand the function of bones and muscles in the body, but don’t understand springy fascia. Simple demo you can use with hitters to help them understand the role of springy fascia…
  • #5: How To Make Teaching Proper Weight Shift In Swing More Understandable To Hitter – Perry Husband long form video interview answering: “Making teaching of proper weight shift in your swing and more understandable to the hitter?”Perry Husband & Joey Myers Hitting Jam Session #3, 1000’s of swing experiments confirm benefits of releasing backside: higher Ball Exit velocity, better ball flight, and swing consistency, How to fix hitters that over stride, Why ‘force plate’ studies DO NOT mean a darn thing, unless they correlate these two critical metrics, And much more!
  • #4: 5,000 Swing Experiments Validate Locked Out Lead Arm Is Superior To Bent – Perry Husband long form video interview discussing: Instructors confusing what “casting” is and is not, What if only fastball Mike Trout gets is what produces the 80.8-mph avg. BES, would that change his offensive stats? Hitter using bent lead arm comes at a cost, “Deep barrel dump” – great barrel path for down/away pitches, but TERRIBLE for up/inside pitches, And much more!
  • #3: Reaction Time Versus Timing (What’s The Difference)? – Quick 4-minute demo video coaches can use to teach their hitters the difference between reaction time and timing. Can timing be taught?
  • #2: Belly Buttons, Center Of Gravity, & Quick Way To Solve A Flat Bat – One of my favorite 3.5 minute hitting demonstrations helping hitters understand the need to stack the bat’s “belly button” above theirs. A flat bat at landing can cause 3 negative swing flaws, and how to fix…
  • #1: Is “Swinging Down” Okay Since Alex Rodriguez Said So? – Perry Husband and I do a hitting analysis of Alex Rodriguez’s hitting hitting analysis, and did he come off disconnected from describing the elite swing?

 

Top-13 Most Popular Non-Hitting Performance Lab Sticky Coaching Links From Our Facebook Fan Page…

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#6

#5

#4

#3

#2

#1

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!

And before I let you go, please take 1-minute to enter for a chance to win an autographed copy of our Amazon Bestselling hitting book…

Answered: “Helping Get Youth Players To Stay On Plane And Not Dip Their Bodies When They Swing?”

 

 

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

Juan Soto Swing Analysis Reveals How-to Of ‘Line-To-Line’ Directional Force… 

 

 

In this Juan Soto swing analysis, we’ll discuss:

  • Juan Soto swing analysis quick stats,
    Juan Soto Swing Analysis

    Juan Soto photo courtesy: MLB.com on FOX

  • Lower half sets directional force,
  • Hitting it back through tube, and
  • Catapult Loading System…

 

 

 

 

 

 

Anthony Rizzo Swing Mechanics

Like Anthony Rizzo Swing Mechanics, You Too Can Optimize ‘Line-to-Line’ & Launch Angles By “Bending The Knee”? 

 

 

We’ll be chatting about the following 4 things in the above Anthony Rizzo swing mechanics video:

Anthony Rizzo Swing Mechanics

Anthony Rizzo photo courtesy: MLB.com

  • Anthony Rizzo quick stat chat,
  • Bent front knee,
  • Sideways back foot, and
  • Spinal engine – pelvis opens, shoulders block…

 

 

 

 

 

Mookie Betts Swing Analysis: Build Massive Power For Small Sluggers Like Mookie Betts & Trea Turner…

 

 

What we’ll be contrasting in this Mookie Betts swing analysis compared with Trea Turner:

Mookie Betts Swing Analysis Comparing Trea Turner

Mookie Betts and Trea Turner photo courtesy: MBL.com

  • Mookie Betts stats on Fangraphs AND Trea Turner stats on Fangraphs
  • Catapult Loading System principlesCLICK HERE to watch this video post I did on taking slack out of the spine with the “wringing towel” metaphor…
  • Pitch-Plane Domination catcher’s glove barrel path principleCLICK HERE to watch this video post on WHY we may have barrel path all wrong…