Baseball Batting Mechanics Science To ‘On Path Bottom Half'

 

This is Part-1 of a 3-part baseball batting mechanics video series coming straight out of the Pitch-Plane Dominator online video mini-course…

Pitch Plane Dominator Online Video Course

Sick of struggling to reduce your hitters ground balls, swing and miss strikeouts, and non-productive weak fly balls?  This simple 4-Step online video mini-course (7-modules total) will help hitters weighing less than 100-pounds, barrel the ball more consistently.  Dramatically decrease ground balls, strikeouts, and weak fly balls (no matter the pitch location or speed) by applying human movement rules validated by science.

If you haven't already, then CLICK the Link below to…

Get Access to The Pitch Plane Dominator Online Video Mini-Course

 

In the baseball batting mechanics video, Backspin Batting Tee inventors, Taylor & Jarrett Gardner are going to dive into…

  • Anatomy of ‘on path bottom half'
  • Why are pitchers taught to keep the ball down in the zone? And,
  • How to train hitting the bottom half…

CLICK HERE for an interview post I did with Taylor Gardner in 2015.

 

Anatomy of ‘On Path Bottom Half'

Baseball Batting Mechanics: 'On Path Bottom Half'

Should the barrel be level to the ground during the swing?  Should it be down to the ball?  Should it be up to the ball?

Baseball pitchers stand on a mound (if regulation) set up to 10-inches.  If we have a 6-foot pitcher with an overhand release, let's say his arm adds another foot-in-a-half, then we have about a 8.5 foot above flat ground release point.  In addition to the target being a squatting catcher between 45-60 feet away.

The imaginary line connecting the pitcher's release point to the catcher's glove is what I like to call the Pitch-Plane, or plane of the pitch.

In fastpitch softball, the Pitch-Plane isn't quite so drastic, but because of Gravitational Forces, the ball has to travel in an arc nevertheless.

Our objective as coaches is to get baseball batting mechanics to match the plane of the incoming pitch with the barrel.

You can also see from the eFastball.com graphic that linedrives and productive balls in the air are hit using the bottom half of the ball.

Why are Pitcher's Taught to Keep the Ball Down in the Zone?

Baseball Batting Mechanics: Backspin Tee

This baseball batting mechanics chart illustrates the importance of backspin on a batted ball. The higher the degree, the more backspin being created. Photo courtesy: BackSpinTee.com

Pitchers keep the ball down in the zone to get hitters striking the top half of the ball.  And to create an element of deception.

Pitchers know that ground balls are outs 95% of the time in High School.  In college and professional baseball, ground balls are outs 98-99% of the time.

The reality is, a 90-mph fastball drops 4 feet before it gets to the catcher.  This equates to about a 5-degree downward trajectory.  To the hitter, the ball may seem “flat”, but Gravitational Forces are instantly at work pulling the ball down after the pitcher releases it.

That's only a fastball.  In baseball, we can see up to a 20-degree downward pitch plane when the pitcher throws a breaking ball!

The other thing that's happening immediately after the pitcher's release, is the ball starts to slow down because of a myriad of factors, a couple being Gravitational Forces, and the humidity (or lack thereof) in the air.

In other words, the ball may be leaving the pitcher's hand at 90-mph, but by the time it reaches the catcher's glove, it's lost maybe 4 to 6-mph.

 

How to Train Hitting the Bottom Half

Baseball Batting Mechanics: Backspin Tee

The Backspin Batting Tee photo courtesy: BackSpinTee.com

Taylor Gardner told me a story about when his hitting mentor Matt Noakes was telling him of when Hank Aaron, shortly after retiring, was ‘touring' MLB ballparks taking batting practice and playing home run derby.

Hank Aaron wound up crossing paths with Matt Nokes, where a young Nokes asked him what he was trying to do when he hit.  Hank Aaron shared that he was always attempting to hit the bottom half of the baseball.

Traditional batting tees can promote baseball batting mechanics that hit the top half, especially with younger hitters, because they generally fear hitting the tee and knocking it over.

This can have a cascade effect, mechanically speaking, causing a hitter to swing down on the ball.

The BackSpin Tee turns the traditional tee upside down…literally.  Try and swing up or down on a BackSpin Tee and you'll hit the rubber tee cone, miss the ball completely, and/or get a weak result.  Instant feedback.  Ineffective outcomes.

The BackSpin Tee promotes ‘On Path Bottom Half'.

I'm offering a %15 OFF discount to the next person to order a BackSpin Tee at TheStartingLineupStore.com. Just enter the discount coupon code at checkout: MSJK5P6H6ZTC

Backspin Batting Tee: The Quickest & Easiest Way to Drive the Ball Using A Baseball Hitting Tee

 

 

 

Batting Tees: The Ugly Truth Baseball Hitting Tee Interview

Meet the Backspin Batting Tee team. Photo courtesy: BackSpinTee.com

This is the first in a 3-part baseball hitting tee interview series…

One of the most frustrating things for coaches I'm in touch with (myself included) is finding minds that think alike when it comes to applying human movement science to hitting.

In other words, how do we separate the “weeds” from the grass?  Below is an interview I did with one of the three hitting and movement experts, Taylor Gardner and his innovative batting tee.

First a brief introduction…

Taylor Gardner is the inventor of the Backspin batting tee (I carry the Backspin Tee at TheStartingLineupStore.com), that received “Best In Show” Awards at the 2015 American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA) Convention in Orlando, Florida.  The baseball hitting tee concept is really simple really, practice hitting the bottom half of the ball (see video above).

At the convention, Taylor had a coach come up to his booth, take swings off his Backspin batting tee, and said that it was nearly impossible to swing “down” on the ball, because of the batting tee design.

 

The “ugly truth” about the batting tee?

BackSpin Batting Tee

Photo courtesy: BackSpinTee.com

…If youth hitters aren't coached properly, then they'll default to hitting the top half of the ball, to avoid knocking the tee over.  Taylor's Backspin baseball hitting tee turn this ugly truth on it's head…literally 😛

Not only did Taylor breath new life into the batting tee, but he's a student of hitting.  He uses human movement science like we do.  I met him on my Facebook fanpage, and after a couple interactions, I had to interview him for the HPL blog…

 

Taylor Gardner BackSpin Baseball Hitting Tee Interview…

If you were to train me for four weeks for a HUGE tournament and had a million dollars on the line, what would the training look like? What if I trained for eight weeks?

TG: With 4-weeks of training

…we would have time to adjust any swing path flaws with video analysis so that everyone was seeing the same movements. We would do positional strength test to show if their are any weak points in the swing that might be causing a dropping barrel.

Your grip would be looked at to ensure that at contact both wrist were close to 90 degrees, and then keep that grip (don't just change it for comfort).

Simple soft-toss from in front would show any basic timing issues, as well as your ability to get in position to the ball on time to use a proper swing path. Bad positioning at landing can cause hitters to change their swings regardless.

I practice a “1st baseman” drill where you train your eyes to step towards a ball before you catch it (Learned from Barry Bonds) to help your body learn how to get to the pitch more efficiently.

Depending on how good your timing, body positions, and swing path were, we could then move onto any movements in the body that might need more exaggeration, for example: if you were very stiff with your legs, and had a hard time getting to lower pitches, we could do variations of tee work and soft toss to exaggerate that one body movement, and these same techniques would apply if you had connection problems with your arms, hands, head movement, etc that may need to be fixed more quickly.

After your technique is sufficient in the 4 week time frame, I would have you learn how to “time” a pitcher and practice different fastball speeds. For example: if you are facing mostly 80mph pitching and slower, we would practice speeds of batting practice (with the new exaggerated movements now set) that were no quicker than .47 seconds out of the pitcher's hand to the front of the plate (a simple stopwatch would get us close).

If you were facing 90mph then we would train your stride timing to adjust to .40 seconds, but no faster. Pitcher's don't accidently throw their fastest pitch 10mph faster….In the 4 weeks we would conquer the technique of the swing first before seeing live pitching. You came to change your swing, and 4 weeks is plenty of time to make physical adjustments, the rest of the time would be focused on the timing and reaction to positions in the zone.

If I had 8-weeks with you,

Backspin Batting Tee

Photo courtesy: BackSpinTee.com

…we would take the same approach, I don't believe their are quick fixes, unless your swing is already close to doing the right movements, but I would ask you questions about the approach at the plate, and we would keep it as simple as possible. The pitcher throws his fastball 70%+ most of the time, so you can trust that that is what you will see.

You can always buy time (wait) in the swing, but you cannot speed up faster than your body will allow. You would learn to set your timing approach up to hit that particular pitcher's speed, then time your stride accordingly. Some hitters need to wait longer, or start sooner depending on their tendencies.

Your set up (assuming isn't an issue) would be able to swing level to a high pitch (considered a pitcher's mistake in Pro ball) because it is the easiest pitch to get to the bottom half of the ball, and would learn to adjust to the height adjustment of off speed and swing to the pitch accordingly.

Every physical movement that would be instructed would have your own style to it. There is no cookie cutter swing, only movements (and maybe some variations of those movements) that were backed by facts and studied knowledge that can be performed by the human body.

Getting on path with the pitch, hitting the middle/bottom half of the ball at a contact point that is proven for max energy connection into the ball would be taught. How high or low you consistently hit balls (angles) is more important than pulling it or going to opposite field. This has been proven time, and time again.

 

What makes you different? Who trained you or influenced you?

TG: Matt Nokes (Silver Slugger Award Winner, New York Yankees) Boots Day (Montreal Expos, and knew Ted Williams), Jarrett Gardner, Professional Pitching Coach

 

What are your favorite instructional books or resources on the subject? If people had to teach themselves, what would you suggest they use?

TG: DVD-Pyramid Of Hitting. Training tool-The Back Spin Batting Tee.

What are the biggest mistakes and myths you see in hitting? What are the biggest wastes of time?

TG: Hit the top of the ball to make it rise with backspin. Soft-toss from behind the hitter. Your hips are your main source for power. Quick hands. Pulling with the bottom hand, and pushing with the top hand. You can stay “through” a ball longer if you try, the ball only stays on the bat .0007 seconds, no matter how you hit it. Swing down and through a ball. Keep your hands inside the ball. Get your foot down early. You have to have a straight front leg to hit. You have to rotate your back foot for power. “Don't worry about timing, just react to the pitcher.” Foul off offspeed and wait for fastball. They all are a waste of time, and I can explain how.

Thank you Taylor!

Here's how you can stay updated with Taylor Gardner and his BackSpin batting tee:

Please direct baseball hitting tee questions and comments below…

SwingAway Trainer: Pro Baseball Traveler

SwingAway Baseball Swing Trainer: How-To Build A Swing You Can Be Proud Of…

 

I've wanted to do a “how-to experiment” post for a long time.  But in the past, technology hadn't quite caught up,

SwingAway Trainer: Pro Baseball Traveler

SwingAway Trainer: Pro Baseball Traveler

…and NOW it has!

Mark Twain once said:

“Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.”

I want:

  • …To lay out the landscape, in this Baseball Swing Trainer post, about using the SwingAway for conducting hitting experiments,
  • …This article to empower you to take up arms with me, and turn conventional hitting wisdom on its stubborn little head, and
  • …To inspire you to use modern technology to build a swing we ALL can be proud of.

I'm embarrassed to share the following story…

I did my first hitting experiment in the sixth grade with a buddy, for a school project.

My friend and I ran an experiment to see if a wood or aluminum bat could hit the ball farther.

One day after school, we pitched to each other at the Little League diamond we played our games at.  We used two aluminum Easton baseball bats and a Ken Griffey Jr. signature Louisville Slugger woody.  One aluminum bat was 32-inches and 24-ounces, and the other was 31-inches and 23-ounces.  And I can't remember what the woody measurements were, but it was comparable.

I think we might have hit about 50 balls with each bat (150 balls total), and get this…measured the distance with our feet! 😀 lol

Based on our results, guess which bat hit the ball the farthest?  Wood or aluminum?  The wood bat!!!  Waaa??

Well, it was only because we weren’t being very scientific with our scientific experiment.  One of the big reasons we didn't get a good grade on the project was because we DID NOT isolate the variables

  • We threw LIVE batting practice to each other.  We should have used a baseball hitting trainer like a batting tee or SwingAway (wasn't around at the time).
  • We both took turns hitting, and didn’t separate our individual batted ball distances.
  • We used different sized bats.
  • We measured using our own feet…I was a men’s 8/9 at the time, and my buddy was an 11. We should’ve used a rolling tape measure.
  • We only took a small data sample size. We should’ve hit 100 balls with the wood bat, and then 100 with aluminum.  AND we should have only used one of the aluminum bats (preferably the one closest in size and weight to the woody).  So 400 swings total (200 swings for me, 200 for my friend).  Then compared apples to apples.

Remember, failure is only a detour, not a dead end 😉

The good news is,

You don't have to be a scientist to run a hitting experiment.

What follows is the exact formula I use now, to run my hitting experiments using the SwingAway baseball swing trainer.  My hopes is that you pick up arms, and join me in the fight…

 

The Definitive Guide to Conducting a Baseball Swing Trainer Experiment

Up until now, here are SIX hitting experiments I've run:

 

Equipment & Setup

You can read the full list at the above swing experiment links.  But here are a couple pieces of equipment that will have a drastic effect on bean counting and saving time doing the experiment itself…

Zepp Baseball App
Baseball Swing Trainer: Zepp Baseball App

Zepp Baseball App

Great tool for collecting data.  It's not perfect, but all we need is an apples to apples comparison.  Unfortunately, the Zepp app DOES NOT allow you to separate experiment swings from recreational ones.  You have to delete ALL swings before doing an experiment, unless you want to do the bean counting yourself.

You'll also need to create two email accounts with Zepp to separate the two experiment tests.  Zepp allows you to “Add a Hitter” in one account, but it doesn't allow you to separate that data from other hitters or swings and average the data out.

SwingAway Baseball Swing Trainer

I just started using a SwingAway for my swing experiments.  I used to hit the ball off an ATEC Tuffy Batting Tee, but it was taking me 2 1/2 to 3 hours to run my experiments.  Fatigue could set in and skew the results.  Some experiments where you're looking at ball flight (like Bent Back Knee experiment above) will most definitely need to be done off a batting tee.

Using the SwingAway baseball swing trainer took me only 1 1/2 hours!  NO need for:

  • Ball cleanup,
  • Ball setup, or
  • Waiting more than a few seconds for the ball to return to its stationary position.

This saved me a ton of time.  All you need is a 10 X 10 space to conduct your SwingAway baseball swing trainer experiment.

Baseball Swing Trainer Experiment Optimization Tips…

  • Limit Variables – The main objective of a baseball swing trainer hitting Experiment, is to isolate what you're trying to test.  Like my sixth grade experiment from earlier, there were too many variables that we didn't control.
  • Priming the Pump – I always start an experiment by warming up my body with a pre-practice routine, similar to this Dr. Stanley Beekman's post.  You don't have to do all included exercises, so pick about eight of them.  I'll also take about 10-15 swings focusing on the specific mechanic I'm going to be testing that day.  For example, if I was testing showing the pitcher my numbers versus not, then I'd do 10-15 swings both ways, so 20-30 swings total before officially starting the experiment.  We prime the pump so nobody can see, “Well, your numbers sucked in the beginning because you weren't warmed up.”
  • Counter-Balancing – The two tests in the experiment should be counterbalanced.  Which consisted of eight blocks of 25-swings done in the following order ABBA BAAB.  Say “showing the numbers” was letter ‘A', and “not showing the numbers” was letter ‘B'.  200 total swings are to be completed in the experiment, 100 per test.  Counter-balancing helps remove the “getting tired” and “not being warmed” up factors.
  • More Data Points – I take at least 100 swings for both tests in the experiment, so 200 swings total (not counting warm-up swings).  So, taking the “showing numbers” as an example, I'd take 100 swings showing my numbers, and then take another 100 swings not showing my numbers.  The Zepp App is a useful technology, but isn't super accurate.  But the more data you collect, the closer to the “real” numbers you'll get.
  • Break the Swing Apart – If you aren't confident that you can repeat a specific mechanic consistently for 100 swings, then break the swing apart, like I talk about in this YouTube video.  I did this in the showing the numbers experiment above.
  • Collect Ball Flight Data (optional) – for some mechanics, like testing the back leg angle during the turn experiment, it's critical to collect ball flight data on the Zepp app.  Zepp allows you to manually input where you hit the ball after each swing.  Testing the grip on the bat would be another example.  Also, adding Ball Exit Speed readings could enhance the baseball swing trainer experiment, Bushnell Velocity Radar Gun (about $80), or Stalker Radar Gun ($500+).  ESPN's HitTrackerOnline.com uses the latter in all MLB ballparks.  Just remember, accuracy isn't as important as an apples to apples comparison.
  • Recovery – I usually will give my body about 30-minutes rest between the first 100 swing test and the second.  I now use supplement timing like Zach Calhoon maps out in these posts.  I sip on Zach's “concoction” throughout the full experiment to keep my muscles fueled.  I then take Vitamin C and E capsules afterward to help with soreness.
  • Brainstorming Experiments – Don't have any ideas on what to test?  I did the heavy lifting for you.  And by no means is this an exhaustive list of possible experiments. CLICK HERE for my brainstormed list.
  • Take Notes – make note of my “notes” in the above experiments.  Basically, the notes section are things that you noticed while doing the tests that may not be apparent to the person reading about the experiment.

 

In Conclusion…

In this baseball swing trainer post about using the SwingAway for hitting experiments, I wanted to lay out the landscape and empower you to help me take up arms.  I want to turn conventional hitting wisdom on its head, and use modern baseball swing trainer technology to build a swing we ALL can be proud of.

Let's revisit the Mark Twain quote from earlier:

“Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.”

I need your help and can't fight this fight alone.  I want you to take action…

My challenge to you is let's band together and conduct 30 Experiments in the next 30 days.  If all of us do at least one swing experiment, then we should be able to knock this goal out by July 15th.

Just post your baseball/softball hitting experiment results below in the comments section.  Reply with:

  • What experiment you ran (from the brainstorm list above)?
  • How many swings per test (i.e. 100/100), and what order did you do the test?
  • What bat did you use (length, weight, and wood/aluminum)
  • Hit off tee or Swingaway baseball swing trainer?
  • What metric changes were significant (bat speed/hand speed/bat vertical angle at impact/attack angle/ball flight/ball exit speed)?

Thanks in advance for your baseball swing trainer experiment comments!

Baseball Equipment Training for Hitters: Never Suffer from Paralysis by Analysis Again

Baseball Equipment Training for Hitters

This is a shortlist of the thousands of dollars I've spent on educating myself about how the human body moves…

I often get asked about baseball equipment, books, and other resources to use, from coaches about hitting.

From hitting aids…to hitting programs…to hitting books.

There's a potential for exponential growth in this information age, for coaches.  There's no excuse not to succeed nowadays.  As Tony Robbins says,

“Where focus goes, energy flows.”

I wanted to share a list of equipment, books, and other resources that have helped in my own baseball training equipment for hitters journey.

I do a ton of research and study to find only the best.  The key is, does the information or hitting aid hold up to the modern human sciences?

At the end of this post, I'd like to hear from you.  What baseball training equipment for hitters (or for coaches) did I leave out?

By the way, this “guide” has as much to do with softball, as it does for baseball.

Think of this post as the definitive guide to baseball training equipment for hitters

 

Baseball Training for Hitters: Books

Baseball Equipment Training for Hitters: Anatomy Trains by Thomas Myers

Anatomy Trains, by Thomas Myers

  1. Anatomy Trains, by Thomas Myers – this book changed my hitting world.  Probably the best book for understanding the way humans move and how to optimize it.
  2. Dynamic Body Exploring Form, Expanding Function, by Dr. Erik Dalton et al. – a collaborative of distinguished movement author experts.  Even if you read a couple of the articles in there, you'll be farther along than the conventional coach.
  3. The Spinal Engine, by Dr. Serge Gracovetsky – he cuts to the heart of the main engine in the swing.  I want to warn you though, the information is jargon thick.
  4. Becoming a Supple Leopard: The Ultimate Guide to Resolving Pain, Preventing Injury, and Optimizing Athletic Performance…, by Dr. Kelly Starrett and Glen Cordoza – this book is a beast.  The Golden Rule for hitters?  You have to train like an athlete first, THEN a baseball or softball player.
  5. The Golfing Machine, by Homer Kelly – Kelly was an aeronautical engineer for Boeing during the Great Depression.  He fell in love with golf and began applying engineering principles to the Golf swing.
  6. Make It Stick, by Peter C. Brown – the science of successful learning.  This book changed how I train hitting forever.
  7. The Science Of Hitting, by Ted Williams – need I say more?
  8. Disciple of a Master: How to Hit a Baseball to Your Potential, by Stephen J. Ferroli – written in 1986 as an answer to the Ted Williams book The Making Of A Hitter.  Ferroli was a bio-mechanical expert who gave more detail to Williams's study.  It's an easy book to digest.  When I was reading it, it was interesting how eerily similar our approaches were because of science.
  9. The Making Of A Hitter, by Jim Lefebvre – particularly the part when he talks about the swing being a combination of Centripetal & Centrifugal Forces.
  10. Positional Hitting: The Modern Approach to Analyzing and Training Your Baseball Swing, by Jaime Cevallos – his observations are great, but applying the information via his drills prove to be a challenge.
  11. Heads-Up Baseball : Playing the Game One Pitch at a Time, by Tom HansonKen Ravizza – one of the best books on the mental side of hitting.
  12. Sadaharu Oh: A Zen Way Of Baseball, by Sadaharu Oh & David Falkner – from the Japanese baseball career home-run leader (he hit 868 homers!!).
  13. The Captain: The Journey Of Derek Jeter, by Ian O'Conner – great example of hard work and dedication paying off.  Not to mention one of the better human examples of ethics and morals.
  14. One Last Strike: Fifty Years in Baseball, Ten and Half Games Back, and One Final Championship Season, by Tony La Russa – great insight into the game within the game, and great how-to example for coaches from a man who didn't amount to much as a player in the game.
  15. Wooden: A Lifetime of Observations and Reflections On and Off the Courtby John Wooden – I actually haven't read this one yet, but have read through quite a bit of Coach Wooden's stuff.  My college baseball Coach Bob Bennett used a lot of his coaching principles.  But I'd be remiss if I didn't include one of Coach Wooden's books as a resource for coaches.  By the way, this is the best rated on Amazon.com.

 

 Baseball Training for Hitters: Hitting Aids

Baseball Equipment Training for Hitters

TheStartingLineupStore.com

In March of 2011, I put together an online store selecting the best 9 hitting aids on the planet.  It's called TheStartingLineupStore.com.  I won't go into all of them here, but I wanted to highlight my top-4 sellers:

  1. Rotex Motion – helping hitters move better, so they can move better.
  2. Backspin Batting Tee – helping hitters target the bottom half of the ball, so they can hit more line drives.
  3. “Don't Let Good Enough Be Good Enough” T-Shirt – one of many cool hitting themed t-shirts.
  4. “Goliath” end-loaded heavy wooden bat – get benefit of swinging end loaded heavy bat AND wood, so you're hitters can get stronger and control the barrel better.

Top-4 essential baseball training equipment for hitters…

  1. Zepp Baseball App (Zepp doesn't make this anymore, so check out SwingTracker or BlastMotion) – the Zepp device attaches to the knob of the bat, and registers bat speed, ball exit speed, hand speed, swing path, attack angle, etc. to the coordinating app on your phone.  It carries a hefty price tag at $150, but for coaches serious about running swing experiments, it's a MUST!!  CLICK HERE for an experiment I did using it.
  2. Coaches Eye App OR HudlTech – slow motion analysis for your phone.  Both apps are compatible with both the iphone and android.  I have the CoachesEye.  Both are free I believe.
  3. Powerchalk – web based motion analysis.  You don't have to download any software to your computer.  The free membership comes with:  1) The ability to upload ten separate videos to your own Video Locker, 2) Two-minutes of recording time per analysis, 3) 10-slot video locker, and 4) Upload and share video content.

If you digest the baseball training equipment for hitters book suggestions alone, you'll put yourself in the top 1% of hitting coaches, instructors, and trainers.  As Ralph Waldo Emerson once said:

“The man who grasps principles can successfully select his own methods. The man who tries methods, ignoring principles, is sure to have trouble.”

And don't just stop there.  Read player biographies and auto-biographies of past players like Ted Williams, Babe Ruth, Joe Dimaggio, etc.  That being said…

 

I Want to Hear Your Baseball Training Equipment for Hitters Thoughts…

What baseball training equipment for hitters (or for coaches) did I leave out that should be included in the definitive guide?  Please comment in the “Leave a Reply” section below…

 

 

Bownet: The Swiss Army Knife Of Hitting Nets

Bownet: Here's A Quick Way To Hit ANYWHERE

Bownet Big Mouth hitting net for baseball & softball

Recently, I've had a few hitting lessons during the week where we have to hit at an outdoor field with lights because it gets dark too soon.

At this field, there are two nice tunnel hitting cages, and the park rents the field and facilities out to local leagues for use  (By the way, this park was paid for by public taxes).  

Unfortunately, the cages are locked even when there isn't a team practicing.  So, what is a coach, parent, or instructor to do when you show up for a hitting lesson, practice, or tournament and don't have access to a cage?

Take out my Bownet Big Mouth “sock” hitting net of course!

In this BEST-OF hitting net post, we'll go over:

  • BowNet benefits, and introduce a…
  • Limited Time ONLY coupon code.

The Bownet makes any kind of practice – anywhere – possible…it's uniquely designed, easy to use, completely portable, and conveniently versatile

 

BowNet Benefits

Bownet: The Swiss Army Knife Of Hitting Nets

Bownet Big Mouth hitting net customer reviews on Amazon.com

  • 7X7 Hitting Area – more compact than the Jugs Pop-out net…and makes hitting in your garage or basement “do-able”,
  • The “socknet feature” cuts cleanup time in half, which means less wasted time and more quality cuts,
  • BowNet's unique award winning “Square-Plus” design catches & protects MORE than any popular hitting net (in other words, it stops more mis-hits),
  • 7-key uses for the Bownet: 1) tee work, 2) soft toss, 3) front toss protection, 4) backstop for hitter, 5) catcher for pitchers, 6) catch target for fielders, and 7) mini-driving range for avid golfers,
  • So easy an 8-year-old can set up and take down (true story!!),
  • Comes with an easy to carry padded carrying case (overall weight, not more than 15-pounds),
  • Sets up in less than 180-seconds,
  • Stable even on windy days (comes with two grass spikes to anchor down, just in case), and
  • Super customer service and a 1-year limited warranty…

 

Limited Time ONLY Coupon Code

I was required to purchase about a dozen of these before I could sell them.  This was part of Bownet's distributor policy.  So I need to liquidate my inventory.  The catch?  The following $30 OFF coupon code is only good for 7 orders.  I'll even throw in life-time access to The Truth About Explosive Rotational Power Course for free (a $67-97 value) to each of the seven orders.

This deal is valid at my safe and secure online store (look for “HTTPS” in domain name), TheStartingLineupStore.com.  Here's how to order…

STEP-1: Click Here to Place Your BowNet Order

  • STEP-2: CLICK HERE for a Step-By-Step video on how to apply the BOWNET30TRUTH $30 OFF Coupon Code to your order.  The preceding video link was shot after featuring a ProHammer coupon code that is no longer available, but the process is still the same.
  • STEP-3: Once I receive your order, I'll send you login access to The Truth Course.  You'll get access within 24-hours.

PLEASE NOTE: Limit one coupon use per customer.  You don't want to show up to a field for a hitting lesson or tournament and not have a backup plan for your hitters in case the field's facilities are unavailable.  This deal won't last long.  Only the people on my email list are being notified of this deal.  Once the seven are purchased, the $30 Coupon Code and The Truth Course deal expires.

And, if you're reading this after the deal expires, I apologize for pulling an “Apple” product stunt on you.  My wife is making me clean house, so I have to move these fast 🙁

Baseball Training Aids Review: The Speed Hitter

 

Baseball Training Aids Review: The Speed Hitter

Derek Shelton – Tampa Bay Rays hitting coach – spokesperson in Speed Hitter video

It's featured advertising on MLBNetwork.  Derek Shelton, the Tampa Bay Rays hitting coach, is the spokesperson in the video ad (CLICK HERE to see video).

Go to the SpeedHitter website, and you'll see endorsements from:

  • CC Sabathia (son uses),
  • Aaron Boone (son uses),
  • Kerry Wood (son uses), and
  • David Segui.

I've also seen the Speed Hitter being used – this past summer – in Little League All-Stars game on-deck circles.  Does it work?  In this baseball training aids video blog post, we'll talk about:

  • Speed Hitter baseball training aids review,
  • Barrel path science, and
  • A better alternative

 

Speed Hitter Baseball Training Aids Review

Two main objectives of Speed Hitter baseball training aids (softball included) allegedly address a hitter's contact point and barrel path.  A hitter is suppose to swing it and hear the “pop” of the ball where contact is made.  The Speed Hitter is priced between $59.99-79.99 + shipping.  Baseball training aids that are highly endorsed and visible often raise red flags for me.  THREE reasons WHY:

  • Endorsements – A majority of Pro-level athletes simply CANNOT teach what they do (or did)*,
  • Expertise – MLB hitting coaches carry A LOT of high “lose-your-job” risk instructing big money ballplayers, and
  • Marketing – Big money ads, in the proper places, can lend massive credibility to a defective concept that as a result, users tend to overlook.

*This actually has to do with what Neuro Linguistic Programming calls Unconscious Competence.  Players simply perform on ‘auto-pilot'.  On the other hand, Conscious Competence is being able to instruct someone else to exactly model what you're doing.

Barrel Path Science

Baseball Swing Path

Image from Ted Williams's The Science Of Hitting. We want the hitter's barrel path to match the plane of the pitch, not chop down OR put an extreme uppercut on it.

Speed Hitter baseball training aids are flawed for FOUR-reasons:

  1. Point of contact and barrel path -for the most part – are two different things,
  2. Point of contact – ranges from slightly out front of the hitters front foot (inside pitch) to slightly behind it (outside pitch).  CLICK HERE to watch Harold Reynolds change his point of view on where contact actually is made on video,
  3. Barrel path – should be as long as possible starting in front of the catcher's glove, extending about 6-12 inches passed contact (Power-V), and
  4. Tampa Bay Rays hitting coach and Speed Hitter spokesperson Derek Shelton doesn't have an efficient swing himself (wraps the bat in the ad).

Addressing #2 above – The main objective of the Speed Hitter is to use the hands to be “short to the ball”.  The problem is an efficient swing isn't focused on accelerating the barrel at the point of contact.  It's before that, if we look at the inverse relationship between turning speed and moment of inertia in Conserving Angular Momentum.  CLICK HERE for the latest video I did on fixing bat drag and the science of turning faster.

Addressing #3 above – Being “short to the ball” cuts off a hitter's ability to get on the plane of the pitch early.  Having a barrel on pitch plane early is key, just in case the hitter is late on a pitch.  CLICK HERE for a Chris “Crush” Davis post I did revealing “5 Problems with being ‘Short to the Ball'”.

 

A Better Alternative…The Swing Blaster

Baseball Training Aids: Swing Blaster Review

Keenan Wolf, one of my H.S. Frosh hitters, after one 45-minute session using a Swing Blaster demo this past summer. Swings are synced.

FIVE benefits of using Swing Blaster baseball training aids (good for softball as well) are:

  1. Early Barrel Acceleration – focuses on getting the barrel on pitch plane ASAP.  It's not about being quick to the ball, it's about being quick to pitch plane.
  2. Lengthens Hitter's Pitch Plane – Gives hitter the ability to hit pitches harder – and keep them fair – that they may be late on otherwise.
  3. EIGHT levels of difficulty – there are eight little ‘washers' that increase or decrease the level of difficulty to hear the audible “click”.
  4. Take soft toss – You can use the Swing Blaster to take short range soft toss.  A hitter CANNOT do this with Speed Hitter baseball training aids.  DO NOT hit LIVE batting practice with it unless the hitter has good bat control.
  5. MADE IN USA

How does it work?

The Swing Blaster gives a hitter audible feedback in the form of a “click” when max barrel speed has been reached.  It's simple…

If the hitter hears the “click” AND contact at the same time, then they're doing it WRONG.  If they hear a “click” FOLLOWED by contact, then they're doing it RIGHT.  Whereas Speed Hitter baseball training aids have it backwards.  They want the hitter to hear the “pop” at contact.  To be effective, this isn't when a hitter should be accelerating the barrel.  The barrel should already be accelerated at impact.  Impact is when a hitter's arms are lengthening out or adjusting in to increase turning speed or inertial force.

The price?  Get yours today for only $34.99 + shipping on Amazon…I'm not sure if Swing Blaster will be raising the price soon, but for now you'll be SAVING at least $25 than buying a Speed Hitter.  CLICK the following link to

buy-button2

Aluminum Bats: Easton Maco Torq

Easton Mako Torq Aluminum Bats: WORST Mistake You Can Make Right Now

 

Aluminum Bats: Easton Mako Torq

Photo courtesy: Easton.com

Let me be clear about the objective of this article.  There are bats, and there are hitting aids.  Easton Mako Torq aluminum bats have attempted to fuse both together.  This is fine, but the price point is high ($280-550) when compared to a simplified alternative.

We HAVE to scrutinize hitting aids with science, like we do efficient hitting movements.  If you haven't heard of Easton Mako Torq aluminum bats yet, then here you go…

Key product marketing differentiation says they use “360-degree Torq Rotating Handle Technology”.  Easton's claim is to stop a hitter from rolling their hands over at contact.  Their launch video says these aluminum bats help to be “short to the ball”, “square up more pitches”, “get to the zone faster”, and “stay in the zone longer”.

Let's answer these THREE questions:

  • Is rolling over a big problem?
  • What do cues like being “short to the ball” really mean? And,
  • What is a better more affordable hitting aid than the Easton Mako Torq?

 

Is Rolling Over a Big Problem?

HUGE!  Three reasons why:

  1. Youth level coaches instruct players to hit the ball on the ground because fielders can't play catch,
  2. Misinformed coaches have “hands” dominant swing approaches, and
  3. Coaches use rapid fire “quick hands” toss drills.

Point #1 doesn't transfer to the bigger field, where 95+% of ground-balls are outs.  The hands DO NOT create bat speed on their own.  They merely amplify energy transfer originating in the torso.

Point #3 isn't practicing like we're going to play. A hitter has around 20-30 seconds between each pitch, so the goal is NOT how many balls we can hit in five seconds.

What Do Cues like Being “Short to the Ball” Really Mean?

Mako Torq Aluminum Bats: Short to the ball? (Ryan Braun)

Ryan Braun photo courtesy: MLB.com

The marketing for Easton Mako Torq aluminum bats promise – that by using their bat – a hitter will:

  • “Be short to the ball”,
  • “Square up more pitches”,
  • “Get to the zone faster”, and
  • “Stay in the zone longer”.

Let's briefly break these claims down…

“Be short to the ball”

It's not how short a hitter can be to the ball, but how quickly they can get the barrel on the plane of the pitch.  Easton Mako Torq aluminum bats DO NOT help with this.

“Square up more pitches”

If rolling handle technology can counteract a hitter from rolling their wrist over at contact, then this may be true, sometimes.  Squaring up more pitches has MORE to do with a hitter's timing.  Also, where a hitter makes contact in the impact zone can be the difference between hitting the sweet spot consistently or not.  Unfortunately, the Easton Maco Torq DOES NOT help with timing or a hitter's contact point.

“Get to the zone faster”

Getting to the zone (impact zone I assume) is all about the Conservation of Angular Momentum.  Since a hitter doesn't know which type of pitch, speed, and location beforehand, it's a race – after a decision to swing has been made – to get the barrel on the pitch plane as soon as possible.  In order to spin faster, the hitter MUST stay tight in the turn until the barrel is on plane.

“Stay in the Zone longer”

Here's where I think Easton Mako Torq aluminum bats hit the mark.  IF – and it is a BIG “if” – these bats can stop rolling over, then a hitter's “stay through” will get better.  But at a price ($280-550).  And once the hitter has to swing a normal “one-piece” bat, then I'm not sure if the anti-roll over mechanics would transfer.  I don't see higher levels adopting Easton Mako Torq aluminum bats.

 

What is a Better More Affordable Hitting Aid than the Easton Mako Torq?

Aluminum Bats: Prohammer Bat

ProHammer Bat photo courtesy: PHBat.com

Easton Mako Torq aluminum bats are an expensive fusion of bat and hitting aid.  If you're looking for a hitting aid that:

  • Provides great feedback for rolling OR not rolling the wrist at contact
  • Hitters can use for dry swings, tee, soft toss, and LIVE batting practice…
  • Improves eye-hand coordination with a slim hit-able surface…AND…

Post UPDATE: By the way, about a couple months after publishing this YouTube and article (when it began to gain serious traction – and as of this ‘update' the video has been viewed almost 80K times on YouTube), one of Easton's engineers contacted me VERY unprofessionally.  Clearly he had a bone to pick.  Saying I had zero ground to stand on, and how could I ‘bad mouth' their precious Mako Torq technology…that I didn't know what I was talking about.  What's laughable is that this “engineer” couldn't supply me with credible studies that supported their claims…he said they had them, but he wouldn't share.  Hmmmm…

Let me be clear, I LOVE Easton bats, and preferred them well over Louisville Slugger's. However, I don't agree with their opinion on Torq technology benefits.

From what I've heard, Easton purchased the patent from a High School player who made the technology, in wood shop class, to alleviate pain in his wrist when swinging.  IT WORKED!!  If Easton would have marketed it based on that, there would be no discussion.  But I feel they stretched the technology truth a bit too much.  You be the judge.