Does Chris Davis Hit Backwards?  Common Mistake #4 (of 4)…

 

Chris Davis Deep Barrel

Chris Davis deep barrel photo courtesy: MLB.com

The last installment to the Hitting Backwards: 4 Common Mistakes Hitters Make video series, looks at the swing of 2013 MLB home-run leader Chris Davis.

“Being short to the ball” is disastrous to repeatable power.  We can be ‘compact’, but ‘swinging down on the ball’ in order to be ‘short to the ball’ is NOT what the best do.

Get “on pitch plane” with the barrel as soon as possible is what I tell my hitters to do.

In this Chris Davis video, we’ll look at:

  • The science of barrel path,
  • 5 Problems with being “short to the ball”, and
  • When the barrel should accelerate.

 

The Science of Barrel Path

  • Center spinning axis (the spine and torso)
  • Centripetal Force = center-seeking (arms and hands)
  • Centrifugal Force = center-fleeing (barrel)

5 Problems with “Being Short to the Ball”

Some write off what Chris Davis does here as being above average in size and weight, in other words, “he’s just strong and can get away with doing it like this.” I beg to differ…Aaron Miles told me that a downward traveling barrel (to impact) hitter doesn’t last past AA-ball.

Here are 5 PROBLEMS with ‘being short’:

Ryan Braun Deep Barrel

Is Ryan Braun ‘being short to the ball’ by today’s conventional standards? Photo courtesy: MLB.com

  1. Jab v. Knockout punch
  2. Rather get hit by a train going 30mph, or motorcycle going 60mph?
  3. NOT in hitting zone very long
  4. Weakness to off speed and breaking balls
  5. Focuses barrel acceleration at the wrong time

 

When the Barrel Should Accelerate

Here’s how Chris Davis transfers energy and uses Centripetal and Centrifugal Forces in his swing:

  • Potential Energy – made up of his height, weight, joint mobility and stability, bat length and weight.
  • Kinetic (moving) Energy – he un-weights the bat with forward momentum, then transfers that into angular (turning) momentum…
  • Barrel – because of the barrel’s moving inertia, Davis fights center-fleeing Centrifugal Forces early by keeping his front arm slightly bent to increase the speed of his body’s rotation, AND to accelerate the barrel.  Then as his barrel “turns the corner”…
  • Ball – …it gets on plane early, body to barrel to ball energy transfer is almost complete…Chris Davis finally gets long through contact with his arms (center-fleeing Centrifugal Forces).

If after reading this Chris Davis video post, you missed Parts 1-3, here they are:

  1. Ryan Braun: Common Mistakes Hitters Make #1 (Sitting Back)
  2. Adrian Gonzalez: Common Mistakes Hitters Make #2 (Walking Away from the Hands)
  3. Miguel Cabrera: Common Mistakes Hitters Make #3 (Timing of Torque)
Baseball Hitting Tips: Barry Bonds Getting Shorter

In This Baseball Hitting Tips Video,

 

…we’re going over howBaseball Hitting Tips: Barry Bonds Getting Shorter

  • To use the body – not the hands – to get “on-plane” with the pitch,
  • Barry Bonds makes hitting the long ball look easy, and
  • Most young hitters get the #1 long ball secret wrong (and how to correct it).

A few weeks ago I worked with a 12-U Little League team from Bakersfield California called the Sliders.  They recently came to Fresno for a tournament and DOMINATED.

One of the moms Sheri – her son is Alex in the above video – emailed me a testimonial:

“The boys won first place! Ben, Paul and Dylan hit their first home runs ever! They went undefeated for entire tourney! We’re going to round table pizza to treat all the boys!”

The three young men who hit their first home-runs had worked with me for the first time, a week before the tournament.  Now, this wasn’t all me, but wasn’t a coincidence either.  Before I worked with them, all three boys naturally had a little forward momentum working for them.  And, Sliders Coach Justin Karr has been working the baseball hitting tips system with his team for over a year now.

In the baseball hitting tips video, Barry Bonds gets on plane with the pitch very well by lowering his body.  He does this by creating an “L” with his back leg to and through contact.  Whereas the moment Alex’s front heel hits the ground, he ‘stands up’ causing ball flight to be low.  Alex would have to get “on-plane” with his hands, which is very inconsistent.

 

Snapping Towel (Lean) Drill Setup:

  • NEED: light exercise band with handles, AND decent sized carabiner,
  • Loop exercise band handles to carabiner, then to chain link fence, OR
  • Parent/Coach holds exercise band handles, and finally
  • Have hitter loop band under armpits.

In the baseball hitting tips video above, I mentioned breaking the swing apart into two steps:

  1. To the Fight Position (landing), and
  2. The Final Turn.

You’ll see Olympic Hammer Throwers lower their backside as well.  This enables the release of the hammer at an optimal forty-five degree angle.  CLICK HERE to watch a World Record holding Hammer Thrower lower his backside while rotating.

Robinson Cano Baseball Hitting Mechanics Video Reveals...

In This Baseball Hitting Mechanics Video,

 

…We’re comparing the “Fight” position of one of my young hitters to Robinson Cano. You’ll discover a little known technical flaw limiting explosive rotational power. Cleaning this up gears the body for a more effective turn.

We’re going over:

  • What is an optimal “Fight Position”
  • Hitter compensations associated with a bad Fight Position
  • How-to get into a good Fight Position

It’s amazing how many flaws happen before the Final Turn evens takes place.  I would say 75% of the mechanical breakdown can be solved before the Final Turn takes place.  Robinson Cano has such a friction-free swing that it’s critical we copy his pre-turn positioning.  He’s one of the most consistently powerful guys in the game, and not very big by today’s standards.

Here’s Robinson Cano in the 2013 home-run derby:

Backside Baseball Hitting Mechanics Robinson Cano

Back view: Notice how his hands push back towards first base dugout, and elbow comes up and out of the way…

Baseball Hitting Mechanics: Robinson Cano

Front view: see how he’s hiding his hands from the pitcher and showing his numbers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Two Quick Tips For A Faster Turn,

 

Robinson Cano Baseball Hitting Mechanics Video Reveals...

…We’ll be comparing one of my eleven-year-olds Ian to Robinson Cano:

  • If he’s “hiding his hands” from the pitcher,
  • How his front elbow is creating barrel path mayhem,
  • How Robinson Cano uses the Catapult Loading System, and
  • What does Ian need to work on?

In this Robinson Cano Baseball Hitting Mechanics Video…

I wanted to show a snapshot in time of one of my eleven-year-old hitters.  Ian is working on staying short with his limbs – pre-landing position – in order to turn faster.  His front arm tends to move back towards the catcher too much, which causes it to bar out and turn his torso slower.

We can break the swing up into two steps: 1) To landing (or the Fight Position), and Final Turn.  75% of consistency and power is taken care of in Step One.  Here’s the drill Ian will use in the video for correction…

 

Break It Apart Mirror Drill

  1. Get into stance with front shoulder facing mirror or picture window,
  2. Get to fight position (Landing), and
  3. Make sure you’ve hidden your hands from view – like a boxer would when he’s going to deliver the knock out blow.

CLICK HERE or watch below, another one of my Robinson Cano baseball hitting mechanics YouTube videos that I did for SwingSmarter.com:

In This Baseball Hitting Mechanics Video,

 

…I analyze one of my eighth graders Zack, and we uncover the #1 simple tip can overcome bad hitting technique:Baseball Hitting Mechanics Video: #1 Simple Tip to Overcome Bad Hitting Technique

  • “How to make your everyday stance your fight stance, and your fight stance your everyday stance” – Musashi, a famous Japanese Samurai swordsman
  • The Snapping Towel Effect: getting the body moving,
  • The Snapping Towel Effect: the snap back, and
  • How Zack can improve…

CLICK HERE for an MLB case study YouTube video I did on David Ortiz looking into how Big Papi used the same Snapping Towel Metaphor in the 2013 Playoffs.

I’ll be doing a lot of baseball hitting mechanics video case studies of my own hitting students.  Some where I do before and afters of their own swing.  And other times, comparing their swing to a small-bopper I think is relevant to them.  I think these case studies help coaches and instructors eliminate the excuse of how young hitters can’t develop high level mechanics.

The main objective of the Hitting Performance Lab is to show we’re not arguing about linear versus rotational mechanics.  It’s that we’re discussing human movement.  It doesn’t matter whether you’re male or female.  Young or mature.  Baseball or softball.  We’re talking about how the human body is designed to efficiently move.

In This Baseball Hitting Video Trick For Longer Drives,

 

Baseball Hitting Video Trick For Longer Drives…I analyze one of my young hitters Jarred, comparing his most recent swing to another about six months prior:

  • We analyze how consistent he’s being with his Float, Fall, and Fight Position (Landing),
  • How his spinal alignment got better, and
  • What baseball hitting drill he needs to be working on to clean up his Fight Position.

In the beginning, Jarred was one of those hitters who came in turning and burning on every pitch.  Head flying out.  Shoulders doing the same.  Very inconsistent with his power.  Once I got him to realize the swing isn’t all about muscle activation, but about using the forces of gravity to give him a “head-start”, he started seeing the ball rocket off his barrel.

You see, it’s all about technique.  Not athleticism.  Sure the latter helps.  But it doesn’t mean a small hitter can’t out-slug a bigger one…just look at how Andrew McCutchen (5’10”, 190lbs*) beat out Paul Goldschmidt (6’3″, 245lbs*) for the 2013 NL MVP.

(*Baseball-Reference.com)

For more baseball hitting video trick information, CLICK HERE to watch a four-minute video where Dr. Kelly Starrett reveals a simple Spine Integrity Test you can do with your players right away.

Also, I’d be forever grateful if you SHARE THIS POST to Facebook or Twitter.  The more people we can help educate the BETTER!  You can also follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and Subscribe to my YouTube Channel HitPerformLab above.  And of course, if you have any questions or comments on this post, please direct them below…thanks for watching!