“What is the most productive practice for hitting for a 10U softball team where we practice only twice a week and need to cover A LOT of aspects of the game?”

My 6yo son Noah did this in his class. I love “I hit a line jrive.” So cute! 😍

I don’t have a lot of experience coaching teams, but I do think I have a unique perspective on this

Since 2013, I’ve been teaching human movement principles validated by REAL Science to local and online hitters.  Over the past year-and-a-half I’ve been running small private group hitting lessons ranging from 2 to 6 hitters per group, for 75-minutes.

And the last 2 years I’ve had the honor of coaching my son’s 7u baseball team.  First year I was an assistant coach in t-ball, in which I did this post titled: T-Ball Drills: How To Coach Without Going Insane

And the second year I was coach for machine pitch.  I learned a lot about how to put together a productive practice for hitting, fielding, and throwing.  Here are my notes – I hope they can help get you started in the right direction…

  1. First of all, what is one of the most important concepts to work on at practice?  Playing catch.  CLICK HERE for an interview with legendary Hall of Fame collegiate baseball Coach Bob Bennett, where he goes into depth on this progression-regression.
  2. What’s one of the best drills to learning how to play catch that costs ZERO dollars, and you don’t need a partner?  Check out this Tweet –

  3. To make the above throwing and catching drill better?  Put multiple targets (could be shapes) in different locations up and down, left and right, on the wall using frog tape.
  4. Three hitting focuses we used with 7u machine pitch: 1) Feel what swinging “up” feels like, 2) Feel what swinging “down” feels like, and 3) Swing across their face, not chasing their face.  The latter was because almost half the hitters were pulling their head.  Later we added the three plate timing drill to help them understand what “swing earlier” or “swing later” means (CLICK HERE for this post which showcases the 2-plate drill – you’d add one more plate).  This takes care of 2 of 3 hitting dimensions.  I talk about 3-dimensional hitting in this post.
  5. Main hitting flaws I see most often in youth hitters (based on one-on-one and group hitting lesson experience): barrel path verticals, horizontals, and timing (see 3-D hitting above), pulling head out (swing across face not chase face), stepping out (CLICK HERE for this post), fear of getting hit by the ball (CLICK HERE for this post).
  6. If working on one or two things, focus on those specific things while ignoring any other flaws that may crop up.  Get to 60-80% movement proficiency and execution on either soft toss or LIVE toss, before moving onto the next thing.  Make your focuses a constant drum beat.  Remember, the swing, or any other aspect of the baseball or softball game, is an elephant and you don’t want to eat it all at once!
  7. Before games, prime your hitters with that week’s focus, but during the game let them compete.  Things like Finger Pressure, swinging across their face, swing up or down, knock the shortstop or 2nd baseman’s hat off, are okay adjustments to make during games.  But internal cues like ‘showing numbers’, ‘dropping hands’, or ‘hiding hands from pitcher’ are not a good ideas to mention in games.
  8. To make swing adjustments, we used the concepts talked about in this video post titled: “Discover the ‘Paradoxical Intention’ Secret To Making Adjustments”.
  9. Our challenge for 7u was one practice per week for only one hour.  We did four stations (about 3 players per station): 1) Taking ground-balls while throwing and hitting multiple targets (we weaved frog tape in shape of a 1, 2, and 3 on the chain link), 2) 5 Tee swings with Hitting Jack-It weight on bat (high tee – hit it down, low tee – hit it up), 3) Ground-ball communication between corner and middle infielders, and 4) LIVE hitting on field with “soft” ball machine (to get used to machine pitch).
  10. If it’s just a productive hitting practice you’re looking for, then see how I run my small private group hitting sessions in this post titled: “How Do You Have Hitting Drills In A Small Time Window?”.
  11. Depending on age, don’t overdo practice.  I would force practice times into 60-mins up to age 12u.  90-mins 7th and 8th grade. 2-hours max in High School.  And I would say no more than 2 to 3 hours in college – weights would be extra.  Force yourself to pick THE most essential things to work on.  Long practices at youth level scream coach doesn’t know what they’re doing, and that not using time wisely.  Most likely A LOT of standing around is the culprit.  CLICK HERE this post for a refresher on what most “essential” means.
  12. The Science Of Sticky Coaching: How To Turn Ordinary Athletes Into Extraordinary book is great for winning coaching principles as a whole.
  13. One of the best bang for your buck hitting drills EVERY coach MUST have in their hitting stations is overload trainingCLICK HERE for an interview post I did with the father of over/under load training applied to baseball and softball hitters.

Any coaches have any other advice on how to put together a productive practice for hitters I didn’t mention?  Please share in the comments below… (Thank you in advance!!)

See How Easily You Can Build 3-Dimensional Hitters & WHY Bother…

Effective Velocity's Effect on Hitters

From Perry Husband video analysis: Cody Bellinger swinging under a pitch up in the zone. Effective Velocity’s effect on “uppercut” hitters. Photo courtesy: MLB.com

Back in November 2018, I warned hitting coaches of the “new way” pitchers are getting hitters out that may be hiding under their snozzes, in a post titled, “At Last, The Secret To Decreasing Strikeouts Is Revealed”

The MLB Tonight interview in a nutshell, Brian Kenny interviewed Trevor Bauer about the Evolution of Analytics, and Bauer talked about the concept of 3-dimensional pitching, which consists of:

  1. Moving the ball up and down,
  2. Moving the ball in and out, and
  3. Changing velocity of pitch…

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?  What happens when pitchers stop locating the fastball down in the zone?  Jacob DeGrom (aka Thor), changed one thing in his pitching approach that cut his ERA in HALF…what did he do?  Simple.  He mixed in more fastballs up in the zone.  What percentage of fastballs located up in the zone can cut an ERA in half? 61%!!!  Verlander is at about 51%, and post-season teams are at about the 44% mark – to put things in perspective.

What does that one case study mean for a majority of hitting coaches out there teaching the deep barrel dump on all pitches?  EVERYTHING!!  At ALL levels…baseball AND softball.  The “deep barrel dump” hitting disciples will run into trouble…Bigly.

In this post, I want to share my favorite MOST essential resources of training hitters to counter 3-dimensional pitching with my version of 3-dimensional hitting, which include:

  • Optimizing verticals (launch angles),
  • Optimizing horizontals (using ALL fields), and
  • Optimizing timing (managing different pitching velocities).

Let’s first start with…

 

Optimizing Verticals (Launch Angles)

Look, I was the guy teaching my hitters to maximize “launch angles”…doubles and dingers…20 to 30 degree launch angles…hit top part of the cage!!!

Boy was I wrong…why?  Because I found my hitters were popping up too much, sometimes flying out 4 times in a game.  That sucks.  Here’s the deal…

The BEST hitters in the world – hit the ball on the screws roughly 20% of the time.  According to FanGraphs.com, league average Line Drive% = 21%, Fly-ball% = 35%, and Ground-ball% = 44%.  The best hitters IN THE WORLD miss 80% of the time!

So what’s the answer?

CLICK HERE to watch and listen to an interview I did with the father of Effective Velocity Tunnels, Perry Husband, titled, “Teach: How To STOP Hitting Excess Of Ground-balls & Fly-balls”. This will teach you everything you need to know about optimizing verticals.  I’ve time stamped moments of the long form interview, so you can fast forward to the juicy parts.  The conversation can be boiled down to this:

  • Default launch angle operating system: 10-15 degree launch angles (we call it hitting ball back through “tube” from where it came),
  • IF hitter pops ball up, then we tell them to hit a ground-ball (we use “bad” cues like “swing down”, “get on top”, or “keep barrel above hands”), or
  • IF hitter hits ground-ball, THEN we tell them to pop it up…

…like PFM (Pure Friggin’ Magic), the hitter begins hitting more line drives!!  The problem is when coaches blanket teach their hitters an approach, such as hit EVERYTHING on the ground OR hit EVERYTHING in the air.

Let’s look at a thought experiment…and say your 9 hitter lineup is split up into result-oriented thirds:

  • 1/3 of the lineup consistently hits fly-balls,
  • 1/3 of the lineup consistently hits line drives, and
  • 1/3 of the lineup consistently hits ground-balls…

So if you blanket teach the WHOLE lineup to swing down and hit more ground-balls, here’s what will most likely happen

  • The “fly-ball” hitters will hit more line drives,
  • The “line drive” hitters will hit more grounders, and
  • The “ground-ball” hitters will hit EVEN MORE grounders.

In this case, you didn’t move the needle at all.  You actually made your “line drive” hitters look DUMBER.  Look, hard grounders are good, but teaching hitters to hit ground-balls for ground-ball’s sake is STUPID, IDIOTIC, and only occurs on MORON Island.  CLICK HERE for my ground-ball rant.

Thought experiment #2…

Now, what would happen if instead of telling EVERYONE the same dang thing, you do the following:

  • Instructed “fly-ball” hitters to swing down and hit the ball on the ground,
  • Instructed “line-drive” hitters to keep doing same dang thing they’ve been doing, and
  • Instructed “ground-ball” hitters to swing up and hit the ball in the air…?

I’ll tell you what will happen…ALL 9 HITTERS IN YOUR LINEUP WILL BE HITTING MORE LINE DRIVES!!!!!  Don’t believe it?  Try it and report back.

 

Optimizing Horizontals (using ALL fields)

Effective Velocity Tunnel Effects on "Deep Barrel Dump" Hitters

Multi-pitch Layover: what happens when pitchers smarten up and build pitch sequences coming out of same pitch “tunnel”? Hitters using “deep barrel dump” on all pitches will be in BIG trouble. And coaches teaching “deep barrel dump” will become extinct, unless they adapt. Photo courtesy: MLB.com

This dawned on me one day when I was running one of my small private group lessons.  One of the hitters I’ve been working with since he was a 7-year-old, he’s 15-years-old now, was explaining how difficult it was to get to the inside pitch.  Asking me whether he was ‘showing his numbers’ too much.

So it got me thinking…what do the best hitters do, who ‘show numbers’ to pitcher, when seeing 95-mph+ on the inner half of the plate?  I did some research and put together the following post titled, “Best Swing In Baseball: ‘Showing Numbers’ Objections Answered”

Okay, so effectively getting to the inner half of the plate IS NOT about ‘showing numbers’, OR about a longer front arm shape, see another interview post I did with Perry titled, “5,000 Swing Experiments Validate Locked Out Lead Arm To Bent”

Do you want to know what the best hitters do when hitting to all fields, and what I ultimately teach my hitters now?  See this controversial post I did titled, “Best Hitters Baseball Barrel Path – Do We Have It All Wrong?”

Optimizing verticals and horizontals are actually the easier parts.  The challenge to 3-dimensional hitting has to do with…

 

Optimizing Timing (managing different pitching velocities)

I don’t want to reinvent the wheel here, these are two of my favorite blog post resources that do the best job at explaining how to hack a hitter’s timing:

  1. “How To Adopt These 12 Timing Gems & Get Hitters On-Time More Often In Games”, and
  2. Batting Timing Drills: 2 Little Known Ways To Get “On-Time”

That mis amigos is 3-dimensional hitting.  Hitting is going to get harder from here on out, so make sure your hitters are prepared. Don’t fall prey to Hitting Guru #57.

How To Train Body To Be More Sensitive To Getting On-Time More Often (Hitting Jam Session #6)

Here’s the Hitting Jam Session Interview Collection with Perry Husband:Perry Husband & Joey Myers Hitting Jam Session #6

  1. Why You Should Not Teach Hitters To Hit Homers?
  2. What’s The Biggest Mistake Coaches Make In Boosting Ball Exit Speeds
  3. How To Make Teaching Proper Weight Shift In Swing More Understandable To Hitter
  4. Teach: How To STOP Hitting Excess Of Ground-balls & Fly-balls
  5. 5,000 Swing Experiments Validate Locked Lead Arm Is Superior To Bent
  6. [YOU ARE HERE] Overload Bat Training: Hitter Has To Work Butt Off To Resist “Casting”

Here’s what we discuss in this episode:

  • WHY a hanging FB (located down/away) is more likely to get hit harder than hanging off speed or breaker,
  • How every Major League hitter locks lead arm, may not talk about it, may not practice it, but when they hit their hardest “bolt” – they’re doing it,
  • Overload training: WHY Heavier weight is better, especially end loaded, hitter has to work their butt off with end loaded to keep from “casting”,
  • How changing length of bat and weight helps hitter learn how to adjust timing – training body to be more sensitive to timing,
  • And much more!

Without further adieu, here’s Hitting Jam Session #6…

 

Show Notes

  • At about the 2-minute mark, Perry and I discuss putting together a subscription based coaching program for coaches which would have access to our courses and have weekly coaching calls to mentor coaches, Twitter bantar…pitching philosophy used to be 70% fastballs, mixed up/down & inside/outside, then moved to away/away and down/down because hitting was hard to lift far away, then hitters started lifting those pitches – Moneyball & analytics, hitters focus now on swinging up and everyone on the field can go oppo bomb, teams will start elevating fastballs which will set in motion more stuff, odds of “up swings” getting to high heat will be more challenging, is the idea of throwing fastballs down “stupid”?  Perry did micro study…MLB – RHP v. RHH: FB up/in = 84.6-mph BES, SL down/away = 82.2-mph BES, CB down/away = 80.1-mph BES, & CH down/in = 86.5-mph BES (chose pitches that would be in that FB tunnel), a hanging FB (located down/away) is more likely to get hit harder than any other hanging off speed or breaker because every hitter is focused on the FB.
  • At about 12-minute mark, Perry study comparing middle three, upper three, and above three part of the zone with off speed and breaking (hanging stuff) versus the bottom three parts of the zone with fastballs…he counted number of hitters that averaged 90-mph BES…12 to 1 hitters favoring fastball down versus changeup up (12X more likely to avg. 90-mph BES), not a fair study, just a ballpark, today more likely to hit a fastball down than a hanging changeup up,
  • At about 14-minute mark, locked lead arm follow up, reader saying not many hitters using locked lead arm…Williams and Choo both lock lead arm and pull the ball – can locked lead arm help going to opposite field, every Major League hitter locks lead arm, may not talk about it, may not practice it, but when they hit their hardest bolt – they’re doing it, Perry talks about one of elite Fastpitch Softball hitters in the country Todd Budke locked lead arm (YouTube video of him hitting oppo dinger) – facing guys that made Randy Johnson look like a thumber 80-86-mph velo from 46-feet, bent front arm results in more balls fouled back, evidence of what happens when guys hit up/in pitch – they’re doing it with bent lead arm, can we do better than that with locked lead arm?  What happens when all fastballs go away EXCEPT the up/in fastball?  The “adjustable” hitting mindset isn’t going to work anymore when pitchers get more EV efficient
  • At about 23-minute mark, do young hitters from High School on down learn how to “hunt” pitches or wait till pitchers get better? Thank God pitchers still make mistakes, but what pitchers are being taught right now is to stay down with fastballs, sliders, etc.  It’s predictable.  When pitchers TRY to be EV efficient, things will be troublesome for hitters, the basic hitting approach of today is like a 2-strike approach (the “adjustable” swing), the adjustment will be much harder for hitters when EV tunnels are enforced, will happen at Big League level first, Greinke example using certain pitches to take hitter’s attention away from where hitter’s strength is, creating shiny objects, get swing down right, then figure out how to apply it,
  • At about 33-minute mark, I ask Perry his advice on how to teach 6-8yo to get more on time, Inner Game of Tennis book drills – 100% on-time 100% effective with swing mechanics (not about swinging as hard as you can), take and control “A” swing – best swing, being on-time to that pitch,
  • At about 38-minute, 30-sec mark, Perry talks about over under load training, we talk about Axe Bat and DriveLine 20% over/under $600 system, Perry asked Gray Cook’s advice about over/under load training in 1992, Babe Ruth did overload training, end loaded is key, does Axe bat’s 20% over/under go far enough? No.  Is it effective? Yes, but it doesn’t go far enough, would you get stronger with light weight in gym?  Heavier weight is better, especially end loaded, hitter has to work their butt off with end loaded +10 and control line drives, hitters will “cast” with an end loaded bat – but hitter MUST keep that from happening, Perry over/under load study +10 and -10 results were astounding looking at video of players and data – consistency numbers went up and recruitment of lower half, fastpitch softball Frosh case study 6-weeks no change in mechanics went from 55-mph to 62 or 63-mph BES, Reactive Neuromuscular Training (RNT) – this is what overload training is doing, feeding the “mistake”, Cook bands, TheStartingLineupStore.com Anchor Bat +4 to +6 and -5 wood bats over/under load system, locked lead arm, end loaded bat, and releasing barrel into “belly button” catcher’s glove,
  • At about 58-minute mark, Perry’s effective velocity timing sticks, change length of bat and weight – hitter is learning to adjust timing, training body to be more sensitive to timing, using different size, color, weight balls, “Riiiiight Now” Drill for 6-8yos to train timing, keep conscious mind busy, so unconscious mind can get to work,
  • You can find Perry Husband at HittingIsAGuess.com, use EV25 coupon code for any of the online courses.  @EVPerryHusband on Twitter, and @PerryHusband on Facebook.
  • My offer…FREE Catapult Loading System 2nd edition print book – just pay $8.95 shipping and handling (retails on Amazon for $19.97) – in addition you’ll get our essential consistent power online video mini-course Power Hitter 2.0: Engineering The Alphahttps://www.truthaboutexplosiverotationalpower.com/pl/60039

1,000’s Of Swing Experiments Confirm These Benefits Of Releasing Hitter’s Backside…

 

Here’s the Hitting Jam Session Interview Collection with Perry Husband:

  1. Why You Should Not Teach Hitters To Hit Homers?
  2. What’s The Biggest Mistake Coaches Make In Boosting Ball Exit Speeds
  3. [YOU ARE HERE] How To Make Teaching Proper Weight Shift In Swing More Understandable To Hitter
  4. Teach: How To STOP Hitting Excess Of Ground-balls & Fly-balls
  5. 5,000 Swing Experiments Validate Locked Lead Arm Is Superior To Bent
  6. Overload Bat Training: Hitting Has To Work Butt Off To Resist “Casting”

Here’s what we discuss in this episode:

  • Answered: “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!

CLICK HERE for the full Facebook LIVE video and conversation.

 

Show Notes

  • At about the 4-minute mark, what’s missing with current hitting philosophies and what is effective and what is not, filtering through the white noise, Science v. bro-science testing,
  • At about 6-minute mark, What’s #1 struggle with teaching hitting right now?  We answer reader question, “Making teaching of proper weight shift in your swing and more understandable to the hitter?” getting off the back foot, foul ball rate goes down significantly by releasing the back foot, increase in exit velocity when releasing the back foot, Perry’s 10,000 swing tests show these same things, take bat out of hand and try similar movements – i.e. lightly playing catch will allow back foot to “push” and “turn”, forward momentum and rotation, anything you can do to get the backside to release is great to model what we want them to do swinging.
  • At about 10-minute mark, the challenge with teaching hitting mechanics, some players (Rachel Garcia was mentioned) easier to demonstrate then do, what kind of learner that player is (seeing, hearing, feeling), throwing motion (feel learner), video or demonstration (visual), “release-mechanism” that ‘clicks’ hitting aid would be cool for an audio learner.
  • At about 13-minute, 30-second mark, Jim Macarelli responded, “the difference with throwing though as you know is the weight ends up on the front foot.” Centrifugal (center fleeing) v. Centripetal (center seeking), imagine throwing uphill versus throwing downhill, will be harder to get off your backside throwing up hill, not over front side – up against it when hitting, not every player gets off their backside, don’t take our word for it – test it!! Exit velocity, ball flight, and consistency all get better releasing the back side.
  • At about 17-minute mark, sure BAD Science is out there, here’s the key with Science, with what you’re doing – can that end result or outcome be replicated a majority of the time?  Bryce Harper WaPo article addressing biomechanics of shifting weight into the ball, squishing bugs and backside hitting transfers only 75% of hitter’s bodyweight VERSUS releasing backside and transferring 150% of bodyweight into impact, Perry’s swing experiments found a 6-mph increase in Ball Exit Speed, bat speed during back foot skip releases much closer to impact whereas a backside weighted swing top out bat speed is sooner than impact,
  • At about 21-minute 30-second mark, dumping barrel right in front of catcher’s glove regardless of pitch depth is DANGEROUS for hitters career-wise, causes big loop in swing and hole up in the zone, Hank Aaron, Rod Carew, Roberto Clemente all released the back foot, Jim Macarelli asks “I think the challenge with teaching kids is we want them to stride and shift their weight forward, but we want them to FINISH with their weight back, not stay back throughout the swing… if that makes sense. Timing clearly effects the back foot. When of time the backside releases and when late, often not.” Hitters like Babe Ruth and Ted Williams released the back foot, then fell back onto back foot during finish, release first, then fall back,
  • At about 25-minute mark, how do we control our hitters from over-striding, belly button is our center of mass, axis of rotation during front and back flips, using variance to teach hitters not to over-stride: stride with belly button finishing over front knee at landing, then stride and land with belly button behind back knee, then stride keeping belly button in the center of legs, then stride keeping belly button behind front knee, then lastly stride keeping the belly button inside the back knee, all about locomotion, Tai Chi and shifting bodyweight, to do a lunge to the right – I have to shift my weight left to move to the right (and opposite for the opposite direction), Perry talks about the Reebok core board (feedback tool), experimenting with weight shift – downhill versus uphill, using Power Up Wedge
  • At about 31-minute 30-second mark, Nassim Talib’s book Antifragile – the majority of invention and innovation in history stems from tinker and testing NOT research and study, aspirin, penicillin as examples, Mike Ryan from Fastball USA has some great variance or chaos training stuff, David Weck and his Bosu Ball, striding uphill/downhill, try different things, tinker test, 3-D Hitting, Perry going to do stuff with University of Oregon softball, WARNING with some of these “force plate” tests: if it doesn’t include ball flight and exit velocity we don’t want to talk about it, how can we make any kind of conclusion from the data without that? Is happening off tee or LIVE pitching, releasing or spinning on backside, MYTH: the more ground force created is better, how does that translate to ball exit speed and ball flight?
  • At about 38-minute, 30-second mark, how to do these swing experiments, changing one swing variable at a time, then re-test, can take ANY hitter do a control round, change, and re-test to see how the change affected the control swings, Frosh softball High School player did over/under load training ONLY in a 6-week span, after re-testing went from 55-mph BES (control) to 62-mph, whoever you follow hitting guru-wise, get control swings, make the change, re-test, and see how BES and ball flight changed – for better or worse, what’s your main objective teaching hitters – high hard contact rate? Decrease strikeouts?
  • At about 44-minute mark, Perry talks about how effective or ineffective were the 2-strike adjustments Joey Votto made, CLICK HERE for Perry’s analysis article on this, in 2-strike counts: balls fouled back, swung and missed, etc. were balls he could have done damage with, can elite hitters foul balls off on purpose, Votto wasted so many good pitches with a less aggressive approach with 2-strikes, when Perry worked with Carlos Pena in 2009: K’s went down 25%, BA went up 25%, 2-strike BA went from .185 to .240, tripled his output with 2-strikes, Votto approach didn’t make much sense – he may have cut down on his K’s but his production went way down compared to before the change, reactionary hitting will die with EV efficient pitching, Joey Votto FanGraphs article, “Joey Votto Has Just Simply Stopped Striking Out”
  • At about 52-minute mark, discuss how poorly hitters will do when pitchers get more EV efficient, CLICK HERE for a video Perry did analyzing Chris Davis (of the Orioles), perfect example of a hitter gearing his swing to about a stubborn 6-mph EV zone regardless of pitch type, location, or speed, all 50-something of the homeruns he hit pitchers ran the ball right into his bat, when target rich environment goes away (pitchers throwing balls into barrel), it’s going to be a cold dark day in hitting, adjust or die, Carlos Pena’s chase rate went down 18% in 2009, changing the physical can take time (Perry suggests 3-4 months for more entrenched habits) – my research suggests 66-days to change a habit.
  • Find Perry Husband at HittingIsAGuess.com, use EV25 coupon code at checkout for online video courses.  If coupon code doesn’t work, then contact Perry and he’ll reset for you.
  • My offer…FREE Catapult Loading System 2nd edition print book – just pay $8.95 shipping and handling (retails on Amazon for $19.97) – in addition you’ll get our essential consistent power online video mini-course Power Hitter 2.0: Engineering The Alphahttps://www.truthaboutexplosiverotationalpower.com/pl/60039

How To Become A Line Drive Hitting Machine When Focusing On “Miss” Quality Control (Perry Husband & Joey Myers Facebook LIVE Jam Session #1/6)

 

Here’s the Hitting Jam Session Interview Collection with Perry Husband:

  1. [YOU ARE HERE] Why You Should Not Teach Hitters To Hit Homers?
  2. What’s The Biggest Mistake Coaches Make In Boosting Ball Exit Speeds
  3. How To Make Teaching Proper Weight Shift In Swing More Understandable To Hitter
  4. Teach: How To STOP Hitting Excess Of Ground-balls & Fly-balls
  5. 5,000 Swing Experiments Validate Locked Lead Arm Is Superior To Bent
  6. Overload Bat Training: Hitting Has To Work Butt Off To Resist “Casting”

Here’s what we discuss in Hitting Jam Session #1:

  • 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…

You can also CLICK HERE to view the original video and comments from the Jam Session on Facebook.

 

Show Notes

  • At about the 3-minute mark, Perry Husband shares a phone conversation he had with Carlos Pena and Boston Red Sox hitting coach Tim Hyers about Effective Velocity (EV) tunnels from a hitter’s perspective (watch Liquid Analytic videos to MLB Now segments below)
  • At about 5-min, 30-secs mark, cool swing experiment Perry did with Tim Hyers in the past, showing how same speed pitch “appears” faster or slower depending on location in the zone, and how this disrupts a hitter’s reactionary timing (aka hitter’s “attention”).  Gear hitters to a speed, they focus on that speed – changing it causes hitters to be early or late.
  • At about 12-min, 30-min mark, the basic idea of Liquid Analytics, and how to look at pitchers through EV “eyes” we can get hitters to understand the best approach against certain pitchers.  How pitchers adapt to changes to hitter’s approach, it’s like a Chess game, approaches can shift and change multiple times throughout the game, and how to use Liquid Analytics to make these changes predictable.
  • At about 15-min mark, we talk about sabotaging hitting coaches who have no clue how to counter EV by releasing EV 101, 202, and 303 to pitchers.  This will take a couple years for younger pitchers to catch up.  Our hitters will have the anecdote.  2018 World Series was a great picture of a team using EV on both sides of the ball (Red Sox), and a team that really wasn’t (Dodgers).  Any hitting approach right now will get away with murder, but when pitchers get EV efficient, most approaches that don’t take EV into account will die off.
  • At about 20-min mark, Perry using the football cornerback analogy to explain EV tunnels and where hitters tend to stay when it comes to timing pitches.
  • At about 22-min mark, what is the main operating system you’re teaching your hitters? Decrease strikeouts? Hit homers?  Increase Batting Average?  Hard Hit Contact %?  Every drill, teach, hitting aid, etc. will lift up the main operating system, example of the early armbar teach in mechanics.
  • At about 25-min mark, these Jam Sessions are an experiment in themselves, what you’re doing right now may be working, but someone somewhere is doing it better, how to find out what “optimizing” hitters looks like, tinker and test, tinker and test, Growth Mindset v. Fixed Mindset, swing experimentation, REAL Science v. “bro-science”, Scientific Method: question, hypothesis, research & study, collect data (experiment), conclusion, is data Science? Jam Sessions going forward…
  • At about 31-min 30-sec mark, Perry starts talk on Launch Angles, Jay Bell experiment (at 10-degree Launch Angle), hit center of circular target at about 10-feet to measure Launch Angles, early or late hitter pulls or pushes the ball away from the center of the target, more ground-balls – hitting ball later in the swing arc, pop-fly – hitting ball earlier in the swing arc, comparing 9 possible golf shots to hitting, precision in golf.
  • At about 36-minute mark, ranking 10 swings off a tee using the circular target, how many times hit the target, measuring precision how often swing line is inline with pitch, hitter is going to miss more than they hit it good, Aaron Judge 75% of his one-rep swing max a majority of the time, it’s not about hitting it perfect, it’s the quality of your misses.
  • At about 41-min mark, are ALL ground-balls bad? 100-mph+ GB’s equals batting over .500 at the Big League levels, take out ground-ball hits and Donaldson hits .205, it’s about maxing out the Ground-balls, 90-mph fly-balls – how many guys hit .400? zero.  Did you know MLB skews data on fly-balls by adding line drives in the formula.
  • At about 45-min mark, I talk with my hitters about hitting the ball back through the “tube” that it came from, roughly misses are 40% up, 20% on a line, and 40% are down, trying to hit fly-balls causes more ground-balls?  Base your hitter’s operating system on the Jay Bell 10-degree Launch Angle, -5-degrees to 25-degrees highest exit velocities – keep misses within 10-degrees above or below the 10-degree line, extreme up Launch Angles will create a big hole in the swing for EV-minded pitchers to exploit, it’s about the “miss”
  • At about 50-min mark, we finish with Q&A…

Where you can find more about Perry Husband:

  1. HittingIsAGuess.com use discount code: EV25 for 25% OFF
  2. Twitter: @EVPerryHusband

 

Liquid Analytics Show Segments Discussed in this Jam Session

 

 

Here’s A Quick Way To Demonstrate Reaction Time Versus Timing…

A special THANK YOU to Taylor Gardner for this reaction time versus timing demonstration.  Above is a quick 4-minute demo video coaches can use to teach their hitters the difference between reaction time and timing.

Can timing be taught?

Is the Pope Catholic?!

Of course it can…

“Hitter Does NOT Keep Head In During Swing & Pulling Their Head Out Before Contact Is Even Made”

 

That’s a comment someone made about one of their biggest frustrations with hitting right now.  The above video will fix it!  A BIG thank you to Coach Matt Nokes for this!

Swinging Across the Face Drill

Swing ‘chasing your face’ VERSUS swinging ‘across your face’. Photo courtesy: ME!!

The following is the bullet point outline to the above video…ENJOY!

 

Swinging Across Face Drill

In this drill video, we discuss:

  • Define Swinging Across Face v. Chasing Face,
  • Where eyes go, head follows, and where head goes, body follows,
  • Process v. Performance,
  • Over-swinging and control, and
  •  Regression-progressions:
    • Beginner – Dry and tee swings
    • Intermediate – Soft toss and LIVE swings
    • Advanced – LIVE swings, 2-plate, random pitch

The NEW Way Pitchers Are Getting Hitters Out That May Be Hiding Under Your Nose…

Know WHY, according to Baseball-Reference.com, strikeouts (41,207) edged out hits (41,018) in the Big Leagues in 2018?  In my opinion, the above MLB Tonight Brian Kenny interview of Trevor Bauer has the answers.

Carlos Pena Effective Velocity

Carlos Pena fouling a ball off in 2009. Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images

Could it be…

  • The Launch Angle craze? Maybe…
  • Hitters just don’t care about strikeouts anymore? Maybe…
  • The front office putting higher value recruiting players based on key Sabermetrics?  Maybe.

However, in my opinion, these are all symptoms to the direct cause.  Yes, hitters are being taught that ground-balls are gross.  And since the book and movie Moneyball came out, Math revealed key metrics measuring how often:

  • A hitter gets on base, and
  • They hit for extra bases…

…are better predictors to scoring runs.  Here’s a shot across the bow for the hitting coaches…

Back to the Trevor Bauer Evolution of Metrics conversation above,

Perry Husband, of HittingIsAGuess.com, has been sharing Effective Velocity principles for almost 2 decades, and it’s finally getting people’s attention.  WHY?  Because more and more pitchers are starting to apply the timing disruption principles.  Unlike golf, timing is a MAJOR factor in how consistently hard a hitter hits the ball.  And it’s THIS factor of a hitter’s success that’s under MAJOR attack.

Do you think I’m exaggerating?  Read on, because Perry, myself, and many others see the writing on the wall…remember when Wayne Gretzky so famously said, “Skate to where the puck is going, not where it has been.”

I speak to MANY MANY coaches, and a majority of them, are disgusted with the sheer number of offensive strikeouts over the last few years, so their solution is to teach a defensive “just get on base” swing.  Are you kidding?!  More pitchers are throwing 96-mph+ at the higher levels nowadays, they LOVE facing hitters being taught a defensive “just get on base” swing.  And it’s not just at the highest levels, overall average velocities are going up across the board because of better training programs.

And by the way, it’s not about the higher pitching velocities per se, because we can train hitters to see faster speeds in the “lab”, making the increased game velocities “seem” slower.  That’s only one-dimension to pitching, as Trevor Bauer puts it in the interview.

It’s what pitchers are being taught to do with added velocity, manipulating hitters’ reaction times.  Don’t you see, the game is speeding up for hitters, and coaches are ill equipped to deal with the adjustment right now.  They’re running east, chasing a sunset!

Rest assured, we’re going to make a better decision and train differently.  Coaches, you’ve been WARNED.  In this post, we’ll discuss:

  • The NEW way pitchers are getting hitters out, and
  • How to counter this strategy…

 

The NEW Way Pitchers are Getting Hitters Out

Trevor Bauer & Effective Velocity

Trevor Bauer interview with Brian Kenny of MLB Network. Photo courtesy: MLB Network

Here are my notes on Trevor Bauer’s scouting report on hitters…

  • At the 40-second mark, Trevor talks about having a specific “pitch mix”.  And he adds that the delivery of that mix is different for every pitcher – how does he utilize it the best. He looks at hitter’s heat map and compares strengths and weaknesses to his “pitch mix” heat map strengths and weaknesses.  What gives a pitcher the best chance of being successful?
  • At the 2-min, 20-second mark, Brian asks Trevor about pitch sequencing – which pitch should follow the next? Taking away as many “tip-off” cues hitters use.  #1: Changing your body (i.e. tilting off while throwing a CB – mechanics have to be consistent). #2: How does the ball come out of the hand – tunneling, hitters can see “up and down” well, but not “side to side”, so he’s trying to minimize the “hump” in his pitches.  The more he can hide pitching cues, the later the hitter sees the ball, and the more likely the pitcher wins.  Neutral and clean mechanics.
  • At the 3-minute, 45-seconds mark, Trevor Bauer talks about starting off his pitches in the middle and let the movement get to the spot he’s trying to hit.  He worked on a new pitch to fill a hole in his pitching repertoire – he needed a pitch that could slide to his glove side that didn’t drop like his curveball.
  • At the 6-minute, 45-second mark, Brian asks when Trevor is getting hit, what’s the checklist he goes through to get back on track? He feels his speed differentials are off, either he’s throwing too hard or too soft, for example in early 2017 the data said he was throwing too high a percentage of hard stuff – 4/2-seam FB and cutters, and not enough slow with the CB, SL, and Change.  Once organized, hitters had a tough time. 3-Dimensional pitching approach: dealing with front to back (differing velos 95 to 85 to 78-mph), left to right (2-seam, 4-seam, cutter, slider), and up to down (4-seam, SL, and CB).

Did you catch that last bullet point?  There’s the Holy Grail of pitchers’ scouting reports right there.  Other than that, a lot of REALLY good intel in almost 9-mins, so how do hitting coaches counter this gameplan?  Take it from a hitter’s point of view, Carlos Pena, who studied under Perry Husband back in 2009, and in the following video, makes a good case to a promising counter-move…

 

How to Counter this Strategy…

Here are my notes on Carlos Pena’s scouting report on pitchers who use Effective Velocity…

  • At the 15-second mark, talks about hunting pitches, addresses the hitting myth of “looking for the ball away and react in”…pick a spot, a speed, and a rhythm to dance to, react within those parameters,
  • At the 1-minute mark, looking for ball away and reacting in would work for one maybe two-dimensional pitchers, objective is to make good contact more often, having an EV plan against a pitcher makes hitting “easier”, setting “coordinates” like latitude and longitude, and work within those parameters, having a “blast radius” and only working within those parameters, match the timing to what you’re looking for, helps hitters to lay off stuff, eliminates half to 3/4 of the strike zone when pitchers get pretty good.
  • At the 2-minute, 40-second mark, Carlos talks about his struggles at the beginning of 2009, he met Perry Husband, and he ended up leading the league in homers by the end of the season.

Hit Training: What Your Hitting Instructor Won’t Tell You & How It Can Save You Time And Money 

 

Before we dig into 9yo Ethan’s hit training case study 3-part series, I wanted to RANT on something that transpired this past week…

Where does the MAJORITY of power come from?  I recently posted this on Facebook:

Where does the MAJORITY of consistent power come from in the #Baseball and #Softball swing?A) Legs,B) Hips…

Posted by Hitting Performance Lab on Tuesday, August 28, 2018

The comments under this post were a little confirmation bias because my readers – who know my hit training teachings – not shockingly responded with “C”.  Please note: the keyword is “majority” in that question.

Unlike my readers – who know better, in the social media reality I can tell you the majority teach the legs and/or hips (pelvis) to be the main driver of power.

This is what your hitting instructor won’t tell you and can save you time and money: Legs and/or hips aren’t the main drivers of power.

The hips (or better yet – the pelvis) are a start, making up 1/3 of the spinal engine.  And I can prove it with REAL science!  If you haven’t already, then please check out the following two posts, and you’ll see my reasoning:

The following video is the first link in “video” form, in case you want to “watch” the gist in 4-mins and 30-secs…

 

The week prior, I debated with a few “leg/hip drives majority of power” hit training gurus on Twitter, and I posed this question,

“Do legs drive the spinal engine, or does the spinal engine drive the legs?”

And I followed that question up with the following statement:

“The answer to that question will determine credibility in hitting mechanic circles” (something to that effect)

That caught some off guard.  Bold statement another well known said.  “Yes. It is,” I responded.  Tis’ the facts.  Some ask me, aren’t you afraid others will take this information, claim it without attribution, and take all the glory?  I say no, because Hitting Guru #57 is too stubborn to listen and learn.   They clutch to their hitting dogmas like a rich woman and her Prada walking through the “ghetto”.  And last time I checked, opinions ARE NOT facts.

Do you know how many Physical Therapists, Doctor MD’s, Physicists, Chiropractors, Engineers, and other Body Workers follow me?  A LOT!  If I was full of it – as my wife says – do you think THEY would be following me and offering kudos to what I’m doing?

Okay, RANT over.  Let’s move onto a young 9-year-old hitter, Ethan, that I’m VERY proud of.  He’s put in so much hard work, bought into the process (which is key), and has made fantastic strides with his swing in less than 6 short months…pun intended 😛

In this 3-part series we’ll be covering:

  1. Ethan case study The Feedback Lab online hit training video [YOU ARE HERE],
  2. Khris Davis Swing Analysis: Ball Exit Speed & Launch Angle Hacking With Khris Davis [Part-2],

In Part-1 (tippy-top video above), Hit Training: Catapult Loading System Like Andrew McCutchen [9yo 6-Month Case Study], we’ll be discussing:Hit Training: 9yo Ethan Case Study

  • How far Ethan’s swing has come,
  • What he’s working on next, and
  • Follow up notes about Ethan’s progress…

PLEASE NOTE: Ethan is still on the journey, his swing isn’t perfectly clean yet.  This is only a 6-month snapshot of how far his swing has come.  Don’t be that “guy” and judge his swing at this point in time, celebrate it!

 

How far Ethan’s Swing has Come

I keep notes on all my online hit training hitters at The Feedback Lab.  Here are a few things Ethan had working well for him before we started (Thanks Peter! – he’s dad btw):

  • Forward Momentum,
  • Good space between feet before the turn, and
  • Decent barrel path, not extreme down or up.

In Ethan’s first online hit training with me, I wanted to start working with him on:

Fast forwarding over the past six months together (six total online hit training sessions), our working strategy methodically moved to other human movement principles such as:

By the way, I don’t typically cover this much in such a short period of time with a 9-year-old, but Ethan was ON IT!!  Diligent with getting in his 4-5 days per week, for at least 5-mins per day.  He worked the process like a ROCK STAR, and is one of the many reasons I’m so proud of him 😀  Ethan is a coaches dream client!

What’s that famous quote…? “Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t show up.” Yah, that’s Ethan.

Now, let’s move on to…

 

What Ethan’s Working on Next…

As many of you coaches or instructors who do hit training for a living, every hitter has one or two things their brain/body doesn’t want to give up easily.  These stubborn challenges don’t go away without a fight.  Here are Ethan’s:

  • Showing numbers to the pitcher at landing, and
  • Taking Slack Out of the System to landing.

You’ll see in Part-2 of this series when we look at high level MLB hitters, the key to these two human movement principles is to get that “shape” at stride landing.

Okay, so let’s move on to…

 

Follow up Notes about Ethan’s Progress…

Here’s some of the hit training dialog over the past few months between Peter (dad) and I via email…

“Joey, hope all is well and you’re enjoying the summer. Attached is Ethan latest video from this weekend. We took a week off while on vacation at the end of June, but Ethan’s been great the last three weeks getting in 5-6 sessions a week. He really likes these round of drills and tells me he’s feeling more power. You’ll see he’s changed up his stance a bit. He made that change naturally while working through the drills.  Thanks Joey looking forward to your feedback!” – Peter (Mon, Jul 16, 2018)

After sharing these particular hit training “marching orders”, Peter said this…

“Thanks Joey, great feedback and analysis as always. The great part is that I’m also learning from you as we continue along. As I was getting ready to send you the last video I was seeing a lot of what you discussed in your analysis; keeping the shoulder angle and showing numbers to landing, and the top hand coming off way too soon. But I was struck by the consistency with his swing, every one had good barrel angle at landing, head movement after landing is way down and as you mentioned you can really see a much more confident swing!  Thanks again Joey, we couldn’t be happier! Looking forward to getting back at it! Talk again in a few weeks!” – Peter (Thursday, Jul 19, 2018)

And finally, after sending the most recent “tippy top” hit training video analysis above to Ethan and Peter, and after asking permission to share that video with you all, Peter said this…

“Joey, absolutely, we’d be honored and he’ll be so excited. It’s funny because I was also going to send you a note today. We did the taking the slack out drill for the first time yesterday, ran through it doing break it apart and then we always finish up our sessions with about 30 soft toss balls. The first soft toss ball he did it beautifully and he just says “oh wow”, I asked him if he felt the difference and his eyes light up and he says “oh yeah, I crushed it but didn’t even feel the ball it just jumped off the bat.”  Thanks for everything Joey! Looking forward to seeing the blog post!” – Peter (Wednesday, September 5, 2018)

Hitting Timing Drills: Get Rid Of Hitters Feeling Dominated By Upper Level Pitchers Once And For All

 

In this timing hitting drills post, I’ll be addressing the following reader question…Hitting Timing Drills Strategy For Upper Level Pitchers & Hard Throwers

“How to teach fearlessness when facing upper level pitchers and timing the hard throwers?”

We’ll be addressing the following in the above video:

  • Barry Bonds one step towards machine after every swing,
  • Two or three-plate drill, and
  • Develop hunting approach at the plate…

 

Barry Bonds One Step Toward Machine After Every Swing

  • CLICK HERE for a link to get more information on the golf whiffle ball MaxBP pitching machine at The Starting Lineup StoreGet 15% OFF by using the: GET15OFF coupon code at checkout.

 

Two or Three Plate Drill 

 

Develop Hunting Approach at the Plate