Kinetic Arm Path Protective Sleeve

We interview the Kinetic Arm founder Jason Colleran, and discuss his arm path protective sleeve for baseball pitchers.  This is a great review of the best perfect throw trainer in 2022, AND we have a discount code for you!

The Kinetic Arm Interview With Coach Jason Colleran

 

 

 

In this interview, we discuss the following:

  • Many things that differentiate you from others and it’s MAT, explain MAT a little bit…
  • Talk a little bit about some of the things you’re seeing out there the pitchers that are coming to you…
  • “I’ve got one research paper with 3D mathematical models showing you need over 2000 pounds of force, as compression shearing to get even a 1% change in length. And a 1% change in length for, ligaments that’s called a grade one strain or sprain.”
  • Is all stretching bad or is there a time and a place for it?
  • What’s your view on weighted ball throwing programs?
  • What’s your view on the force plate metrics some experts are relying on?
  • The Kinetic Arm reduces stress on elbow-shoulder and guides arm into the right positions, is that a fair assessment?
  • And pitchers are using the Kinetic Arm to rehab Tommy John surgery?
  • Is the Kinetic Arm available in youth sizes yet?
  • Where can people find you, Jason?

CLICK HERE to download the PDF transcript of the interview.  CLICK HERE if you wanted to listen to this on the Swing Smarter Hitting Training podcast.

How To Increase Body Rotational Power With Strength And Mobility Exercises For Baseball & Softball

Learn how to improve your body rotational power with thoracic spine strength, mobility, and stretching exercises you can do at home for baseball and softball players.

Where Stride Landing Counter-Rotation Is And How To Get It (Flexibility & Strength Exercises)

 

 

This video post is going to answer the following reader question:

“What flexibility work do you do with your trainees to enhance counter-rotation of the torso as the foot lands open?”

This questions stems from how I teach hitters to ‘show their numbers’ to the pitcher during the load, as close to stride landing as possible.  But for this to work, here’s the kicker, the hitter MUST land open with the bottom half…front foot open between 45 and 60-degrees.

This creates what some coaches call torque, or counter-rotation of the shoulders-to-pelvis.  These are basic walking mechanics of the spine…and is why, as your right leg swings forward, so does your left arm.  How do we optimize this action with our hitters using flexibility and strengthening?

I’m about 8-weeks into an online gymnastics strength training course through GymnasticBodies.com myself.  I’ve finished their Fundamentals course, and currently working through their Handstand course.

GymnasticBodies.com Fundamentals Course Deal

Photo courtesy: GymnasticBodies.com

CLICK HERE to get $25 OFF full price of $100 for their Fundamentals course.  I don’t get paid if you purchase the course.  I just LOVE what they’re doing, and believe ALL hitters MUST be engaging in this type of mobility and strength training.

(PLEASE NOTE: I’m not sure how long this deal will be up, so jump on it!)

Why am I putting myself through this training?

#1: as my wife will tell you, this is a gross obsession of mine.

And #2: I wanted to pick up a few things about body-weight training mobility and stability for my hitters.

One of my guiding principles is if you aren’t growing, then you’re dying.

And if you’re a coach that takes mentoring young athletes seriously, then you MUST be subscribing to the same proactive learning principles.

So, in the above video, we go over:

  • Rotation v. Anti-Rotation (acceleration v. braking systems)
  • Rotation stretch – hold each side for at least 30-secs
  • Rotation strengthen:
    • Windshield Wipers – do 10 repetitions each side
  • Anti-Rotation strengthen:
    • Side Plank (anti-side bend) – start off with holding for 30-secs, then increase by 15-secs after mastery
    • 3-Point Plank (anti-rotation of pelvis) – start off holding for 30-secs, then increase by 15-secs after mastery.

ENJOY!

Swing Weight On Back Foot, Transfer, Distribution, And Stance Footwork Hitting Drills For Baseball & Softball Batting

Discover the secret to swing weight on the back foot, weight transfer, distribution, and stance footwork hitting drills for baseball and softball batting.

Baseball Hitting Drills For Youth: DO NOT Be “That Guy”

 

So, this is what I have to deal with on a weekly basis.  I also want to apologize in advance, this is a little bit of a rant.  Before going into the baseball hitting drills for youth, here’s some context, it all started when I posted this image of Buster Posey in his ‘Float’ position on Twitter (CLICK HERE for Twitter thread):

Baseball Hitting Drills for Youth: Buster Posey 'Floating'

Buster Posey photo courtesy: Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

The caption I put over the Twitter image stated: “Hitting Misconception: ‘Keep the back knee inside the foot’. Buster Posey is ‘floating’ with his knee over ankle…”

This is when my conversation with @13tys started…

@13tys: his knee is inside his foot! No?

@hitperformlab (Me): nope, knee floating slightly off center of ankle.

@13tys: just showed the same pic to my 11yr old and asked him, reply “are you stupid? His knee is inside his ankle”.

(This is when I get the feeling that I was dealing with “that guy”)

@hitperformlab: he’s kind of bias don’t you think? Lol

@13tys: just showed the pic and asked. I usually use my 9 and 11 yr olds to call a spade a spade. They don’t know baseball politics.

@hitperformlab: it’s not the ideal angle, I’ll find another. You believe in keeping the knee inside at all costs?

@13tys: you don’t have to, but the further back it goes, the tougher u make hitting. Already tough enough w/o that much movement!

@hitperformlab: C’mon man! Had to prove to your 10yo I’m not “stupid” lol. Just did simple Google image search.

(Here are the two images of Buster Posey I posted to the baseball hitting drills for youth Twitter thread)...

Baseball Hitting Drills for Youth: Buster Posey 'Floating'

Buster Posey photo courtesy: www.BayAreaSportsGuy.com

AND

Baseball Hitting Drills for Youth: Buster Posey 'Floating'

Buster Posey photo courtesy: InWriteField.com

@13tys: still, we are looking at the same thing and seeing different things. To me, that knee is still not on top of the ankle.

(by the way, in the beginning of our Twitter conversation, I said “knee floating slightly off center of ankle”)…

@hitperformlab: let me get my 2 year old to comment on your comment lol

@hitperformlab: Posey is creating torque in his back hip. Also depends on the severity of the leg kick, Posey’s is about medium…hope this helps

@13tys: creating torque?? Seriously? This is y kids are so confused by their “hitting coaches” #keepitsimple

(Then like the “good American citizen” he is, posts a screenshot of the definition of “Torque”)…

@hitperformlab: I’m talking to you, not to kids. Read Dr. Kelly Starrett’s book The Supple Leopard.

@13tys: sorry, My experience and knowledge come from yrs in cages & video w/ the best hitters ever, some come from books on crossfit

@hitperformlab: book that’ll rock you’re isolated hitting world? Anatomy Trains by Thomas Myers.

(Then there was radio silence…)

FIRST of all, if spending years in the cages AND analyzing video of the best hitters ever, magically made you know EVERYTHING you need to know about effective hitting, then we wouldn’t have the problem we do today with guys like this, coming up with effective baseball hitting drills for youth hitters.

“That guy” is a soaked sponge, and has reached his ceiling of knowledge when it comes to hitting.

If experience, cage work, and analysis were the only standard of learning the swing, then we’d all have to accept what Alex Rodriguez shared about the secret to his swing during the 2015 World Series FOX Sports broadcast…

How he talked about keeping the barrel above his hands when hitting.  And we ALL know how well that little tip would help our hitters 😛

And SECOND, this “talking down to you” TWEETitude, is a sure sign of an inferior coach, nevertheless, a knucklehead for a human being.

Slightly off topic…

Read this Business Insider article titled, “4 behaviors are the most reliable predictors of divorce”.

Guess which one of the ‘4 horsemen of the apocalypse’ is the worst offender in marriages…

CONTEMPT (aka, the “talking down to you” attitude).

Okay, back on topic…

Look, if we as coaches don’t have a solid foundation in human movement principles, validated by science, then we’re pissing in the wind!  Without this foundation, conversations about hitting would model a Merry-Go-Round.  Many of you have experienced this ridiculous insanity in popular online hitting forums.

Look at this slow motion video of Buster Posey.  Look at the difference of the back knee position (over the ankle, slightly off center) at the 0:03 video mark, versus at the 0:09 video mark during the fall forward…

 

 

Here’s the holdup with hitting coaches, even ones I agree with on a majority of things,

They think that the back knee MUST stay inside the foot at ALL times.  So, they teach ALL their hitters to do this, often putting the hitter’s back knee in an unnatural and awkward position before Forward Momentum.

If you think this knee position is healthy, then CLICK HERE to learn how bad putting the knee into a ‘knee valgus’ position is to our youth athletes from FunctionalMovement.com.

In addition,

These same instructors may also suggest and teach there hitters that when the back knee gets over the ankle, that it’s a BAD thing.

This couldn’t be further from the truth.

The shifting of the knee back over the ankle should have a purpose.  A couple baseball hitting drills for youth concepts:

  1. A timing mechanism that I like to call the ‘Float’, AND
  2. Creating torque, or stability, in the back hip.

 

Baseball Hitting Drills for Youth #1: Using the ‘Float’

A ‘Float’ is a timing mechanism the hitter uses just before falling forward.  It generally can be observed as a slight weight shift back towards the catcher before falling forward.

With the ‘Float’, the severity of the knee shift will depend on the leg kick.  The higher the leg kick, the more the shifting of the knee over the ankle may have to happen.

For example, Willie Mays didn’t have much of a weight shift (or Float) back, he just fell forward with a slide step:

 

 

However, watch slow motion video of Josh Donaldson, who has a high leg kick, and you’ll see him virtually ‘pause’ on one leg, before his fall forward:

 

 

Baseball Hitting Drills for Youth #2: Creating Hip Torque & Stability

Okay, so what is creating torque to stabilize the back hip mean?  Let Dr. Kelly Starrett, Physical Therapist and owner of San Francisco CrossFit, at MobilityWOD.com explain its importance:

 

 

Here’s a baseball hitting drills for youth coaching cue that I use…

Borrowed from Dr. Kelly Starrett, I say to my hitters “screw the back ankle into the foot”.  I also advise them to point the back toe slightly inward towards the pitcher at setup, and to keep it there while screwing the ankle in.  The keyword is slight, not a lot.

Take a look at this video of Jose Bautista fouling a ball off, and watch how he ‘bows’ his back knee in, but at about the 0:06 second mark (when he begins his fall forward), the back knee starts to shift back towards the catcher…his back hip and thigh bone are searching for stability after being put in an unstable internally rotated (knee valgus) position at setup:

 

 

Now, CLICK HERE to watch this video clip of Ted Williams, and keep an eye on the back knee action between the 0:06-0:15 video mark.  Sorry, this YouTuber disabled the embed code so I couldn’t embed the video here.

What did arguably one of the best hitters of all time do with his back knee prior to Forward Momentum.  Boy, didn’t it shift back over the ankle?!

How about this homerun hit by Asdrubal Cabrera (watch the slow motion chest view at the 0:41 second mark)…

 

 

One more video…

Check out Matt Kemp.  As you can see, he starts with his back knee inside his foot, then watch for his back knee action prior to Forward Momentum:

 

 

Now, is this making baseball hitting drills for youth more complicated, like Mr. @13tys said?

Heck no!  It takes about 5 to 10-mins to explain to my 7-year-old hitters, and they begin applying it in their swings.  Easy peasy.

So after looking at all this, here’s the point of my baseball hitting drills for youth rant…

Don’t get caught up drinking the cool-aid of other hitting experts, blowhards, or “That Guy” without questioning what they’re saying.  Remember, we aren’t just observers.  We’re amateur scientists in a way.

I don’t claim to know it all.  And am still learning.  But I know for a fact, I’m on a better road than “That Guy”.

Look, I don’t mind being challenged, but if you don’t back up what you’re saying with human movement principles, that are validated by science, then you’ll lose.  We aren’t debating baseball hitting drills for youth philosophies or theories…we analyze through the lens of validated science.  Physics, Engineering, Bodywork, Biology, Chemistry, and Biomechanics.

I DO NOT care what level you played or coached at.

I DO NOT care if you’ve digested a million hours of slow motion video footage of only the BEST hitters.

I also DO NOT care if you’ve logged more hitting lesson hours than it takes to fly to Mars!!

If you don’t understand the human movement “rules”, then you DO NOT understand high level hitting, or better yet, high level human performance.

I know this may upset some of you out there.  But I don’t care.  The days of being “That Guy” are numbered.  If you aren’t moving with us, then you’ll be left behind.  And that’s the truth.

Best Functional Wrist And Tendon Strengthening Exercises At Home For Pain In Baseball & Softball

Discover the best functional wrist and tendon strengthening exercises you can do at home if you have pain* for baseball and softball players.  Learn the best wrist exercises for advanced grip strength, bat speed, and pitching velocity.

*If you’re having wrist pain, then see a medical professional first before doing any of these exercises.  I am not a medical professional and DO NOT pretend to be one.  This is only my advice after doing the research and connecting the dots.

Wrist Exercises VIDEO: Improve Hitters’ Flexibility & Strength In 2-Weeks

 

 

Wrist Exercises: Wrist Flexibility & Exercises For Hitters

Handstand GymnasticBodies.com. Photo courtesy: GymnasticBodies.com

This wrist exercises post is for Coach David Michael Enciso (DME).  He mentioned having a couple girls that had stiff wrists, and was wondering about stretches.

To those that don’t know, I’ve been doing Gymnastics body-weight strength training through GymnasticBodies.com over the past four months. That link will give you $25 OFF their Fundamentals course.

I don’t get commission on that, I just think what Coach Sommers has put together is excellent training for baseball and softball players!  By the way, Coach Sommers was the former US Olympic men’s Gymnastics coach.  I’ve also recommended his program to quite a few of my hitting students and parents online and off.

I personally finished the Fundamentals 4-week course, and moved onto the Handstand course, which I’ve been working on for the past 2-3 months months.

However, I’d recommend my players completing the Fundamentals course first, then moving onto the Foundation courses, before moving onto Handstand.

In the video above, I show you all the wrist stretches and strengtheners that I do on a daily and bi-weekly basis for my Handstand training.

The wrist stretches alone got rid of a painful pinch on the backside of my right wrist (my throwing hand), that I’ve had for the last 5 years, at the bottom of the push-up position…the pinch was gone in 2-weeks!

Do the THREE stretches EVERYDAY as prescribed in the video,

AND

Do the FOUR exercises 3-sets X 5-repetitions each wrist, 2-3 times per week.

PLEASE keep me updated on any changes you find in your hitters, from these wrist stretches and exercises.

Another training device you should look into is Rotex Motion.  Click Here for an experiment I did on that.

Make sure we’re swinging smarter by moving better 😉

Grip Strength Forearm Exercise Workouts For Baseball Softball Pitching Velocity Bat Speed

Discover grip strength forearm exercise workouts to increase pitching velocity and bat speed for baseball and softball players.  It’s much more than just bat rotations, rice buckets, and weighted rollups!  Learn from grip strength expert Jedd Johnson in this interview…

The Ultimate Forearm Workout for Baseball & Softball Players Interview with Jedd “Napalm” Johnson

 

 

What we go over in this forearm workout interview with Jedd Johnson: (read time is 21-minutes)

  • Where did the nickname “Napalm” come from?
  • What are some mistakes to forearm workout training that you see going on?
  • Why “finger” pull-ups aren’t a good decision…
  • What are eight forearm workout principles you guys work on for grip strength?
  • Why elbow issues can be solved through the shoulder or wrist, not the elbow…
  • Why the traditional wrist roller isn’t good for ball players, and how to make it more functional…
  • Ultimate Forearm Workout for Baseball (and Softball!)

This featured forearm workout training interview is one of twenty-four included in my NEW book

Below is the full transcript of the forearm workout interview (Click Here for a pdf of the transcript you can download and print off).

Best Hamstring Stretch for Flexibility and Lower Back Pain in Baseball & Softball Players

Discover the best hamstring stretch flexibility program for youth lower back pain and tight hamstrings in baseball and softball players.  Learn this follow along routine that’s fantastic for pitchers, first basemen, and overall baseball and softball athletes.

Hamstring Stretch Series: 9 Exercises To Loosen UP (Includes Ankle, Hip, and Wrist Mobility!!)

 

 

I find 95% of my hitters have tight hamstrings, which includes both baseball and softball players.  Hence this hamstring stretch series.  Interestingly, the other 5% have spent at least 3-5 years in Martial Arts, Gymnastics, Dance, and/or Swim.

It’s painful for me to watch one of my High School hitters significantly bend at the knees to pick up a ball from the ground because their hammys resemble tight piano strings :-/

We all laugh, but tight hamstrings can be just the canary in the coalmine to DANGEROUS injury waters ahead.  In other words, our body is fantastic at sending “signals” warning us to address dysfunctional movement, but we’re terrible at heeding those warnings until it’s too late.

Well, if your hitters have tight hamstrings, then consider yourself WARNED!!

Besides above hamstring stretch follow along, you may want to check out this post titled: “15 Ways to Prevent Injury, Minimize Damage, & Rehab Knees”. And if you’re dealing with an injury right now, then click the following post link titled: “Speedy Recovery: Ice Bath Benefits Now What They Seem?”

What I have for You…

I sent the above hamstring stretch follow along for hitters video to all my local hitters, and am now sharing with you coaches and parents.  In this hamstring stretch series, in addition to targeting tight hamstrings, we’ll be working on ankle, hip, and wrist mobility.  The following 9 exercises are included in this video:

  1. 3 position wrist mobilization
  2. Seated single calf
  3. Seated Seza
  4. Pigeon
  5. 3 position Frog pose
  6. Standing pancake
  7. Raised toe single leg forward fold
  8. Seated pancake series: strap lat, walking, bounces, sweeps, break then, hang
  9. Couch stretch

The above hamstring stretch follow along should take about 40-mins, demonstrates each stretch, and includes how long to hold each stretch for.  These are a compilation of stretches I pulled from GymnasticBodies.com, and their mid/front split stretching series.

Remember, you’ve been warned!  Don’t let your hitter become a statistic 😉  Move better to perform better, and make sure we’re swinging smarter by moving better…

How To Hit Ball Better When Batting: Stop Striking Out Baseball & Softball Drills

Learn how to stop striking out with this baseball and softball drills to keep eyes on the ball, see it, and hit the ball better when batting.

Andrew McCutchen Hit Ball Better Swing Breakdown

 

 

…of the Do This For Longer Drives series, we’ll talk about:

  • Breaking the One-Joint Rule,
  • Whether Cutch is ‘kinking the hose’, and
  • How-To re-pattern the impact position.

 

Breaking the One-Joint Rule

From the book, Becoming a Supple Leopard: The Ultimate Guide to Resolving Pain, Preventing Injury, and Optimizing Athletic Performance, Dr. Kelly Starrett (KStar) says:

“The musculature [in the spine] is designed to create stiffness so that you can effectively transmit energy to the primary engines of your hips and shoulders.  If you don’t preserve trunk stiffness while moving from your hips and shoulders, you will lose power and force.    The is the basis for the one-joint rule: you should see flexion and extension movement happen at the hips and shoulders, not your spine.”

 

Is Cutch ‘Kinking the Hose’?

Just as kinking the hose while watering the lawn stops the flow of water.  Bending at the spine halts the transfer of energy at impact.  KStar says this about losing head-spine alignment:

“Hinging at one of the segments [vertebraes in the neck]…when we put a hinge across the central nervous system, the body recognizes that as a primary insult, or threat to the body, because you’re basically guillotining or kinking the nervous system.  You’ve kinked ‘the tube’, so it [force production] just drops off.”

 

How-To Re-Pattern the Impact Position

Follow this 12-week exercise progression (at least five days per week):

  • Super plank – week one: 1 set, hold for 30 secs, week two: 1 set, hold for 45 secs, week three: 2 sets, hold for 45 secs
  • Loaded super plank – week four: 2 sets, for 30 secs, week five: 2 sets, for 45 secs, week six: 2 sets, for 60 secs
  • Hip hinge with stick (patterning) – week seven: 2 sets X 12 reps, week eight: 2 sets X 15 reps, week nine: 3 sets X 12 reps
  • Loaded hip hinge (dead-lift) – week ten: 2 sets X 12 reps, week eleven: 2 sets X 15 reps, week twelve: 3 sets X 12 reps

Maintain head-spine alignment.  Perfect reps.  Use Coach’s Eye or Ubersense phone app (free) for feedback.   CLICK HERE for Part-4 for the #1 power fix…also, CLICK HERE if you missed Part-2: the faster turn.

Warning: This Youth Softball Player's Swing Could Lead To Pinching Lower Back Pain! How To Fix

In this case study, learn about a youth softball player who would have pinching lower back pain while swinging a bat, if she kept swinging like this.  Discover how to fix the cause of lower back stress fractures (pars), Sciatica nerve pain, and Spondylolysis.

Get Rid Of “C-Shape Impact” Once And For All

 

 

Lauryn 'C-Shape' Impact Position Fix

Look at the difference in Lauryn’s body shape BEFORE, image on the left hand side (C-Shape Impact), and AFTER, image on the right hand side, using the Hunched Posture 24-hours later. Photo courtesy of Brian (dad).

With consent of Dad (Brian – Thank you), I wanted to share Feedback Session #4 (of 12) of Lauryn, who’s 11 years old…oh yeah, her consent was given too (Thanks LB!) 😀

She’s been a part of my online lesson program The Feedback Lab, since October 17th, 2016.  It’s also interesting to note, her current Ball Exit Speed personal record is 66-mph at 11yo!

First, I want to say how much of a hard worker she is, and has been consistently progressing with each Feedback Session.  I also want to say how supportive dad (and mom) are in all this process, and I can clearly tell dad is instilling a “Growth Mindset” in Lauryn, which is what Dr. Carol Dweck discusses in her bestselling book Mindset – a highly recommended read by the way.

A supportive parenting environment, and a Growth Mindset make my job easy and most importantly, rewarding.  I say this because some may think these changes are ALL me, but I’m only shining a light down a dark path, it’s the player and parents who have to follow through, and God knows this process IS NOT easy.

The below video was the frustrating session #4 for Lauryn, which goes into:

  • The ‘Pat’ – “pat on the back”, or what Lauryn progressed on mechanically, and
  • The ‘Pop’ – “pop in the mouth”, or what Lauryn will be working on in the coming weeks.

 

 

PLEASE NOTE: to those fast-pitch softball coaches who take offense to me using Josh Donaldson as a swing example for Lauryn, I used Sierra Romero in the past few sessions – so get off my back! 😛 lol

In following, I only wanted to highlight one specific part of Lauryn’s hitting homework, the Reverse C-Shape at impact, her body illustrates in the image above.  For lefties the C-Shape Impact looks like a normal ‘C’.  This was a concern for dad before I did the above this Feedback Session #4.

CLICK HERE for a post I did on the Snapping Towel Drill, where I posted an image of one of my 13yo baseball hitters in this same position with a little more explanation of what the C-Shape is.  In the main video above and in this post, I wanted to offer up another more effective fix than the Snapping Towel Drill…

The Hunched Posture, if you look at the above image of Lauryn on the left, her abdominals are stretching, which indicates the low back could possibly be in hyper-extension…not good.  This is not adhering to the One-Joint Rule discussed in this post.

The two problems with C-Shape Impact are:

The answer can be found in what Gymnastics refer to as the Hollow Hold Position:

 

 

Here was the corrective programming homework I gave Lauryn:

  • Week 1: 1 set X 20-30 secs hold,
  • Week two: 1 set X 30-40 secs hold,
  • Week three: 2 sets X 30 secs hold, and
  • Week four: 2 sets X 45 secs hold

…Do every other day.

The keys with this move is constantly applying pressure into the ground with the low back, and rounding the shoulders forward to create a ‘spoon’ or ‘hollow’ position with the chest.

This helps with pelvic control (rotating the pelvis to posterior), stabilizes the low back, and is KILLER for the abs – in a good way.

Look at the following three hitters and tell me what shape their spine starts in…

Ted Williams (Watch 0:21 mark):

 

 

Pete Rose Getting a Hit off Dwight Gooden:

 

 

Sadaharu Oh (868 Career Dingers in Japanese Baseball Leagues):

 

 

The Hollow Pinch Drill

The drill steps go like this…

  1. Hitter pinches their belly button to their belt buckle,
  2. Hold from stance to start of swing, and even into follow through.

Once they get it, they won’t let go of it.  My hitters report back their feelings that the Hollow Pinch:

  • “Just feels better”,
  • “Helps show numbers and downhill shoulder angle”, and most importantly,
  • “My back feels nothing while swinging” (a good thing! lol).

And like in Lauryn’s case, we see a much more effective impact position less than 24-hours later.  Go easy on those pitchers out there Lauryn 😛 lol

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

Learn about how to fix pinching lower back pain stress fracture (pars fracture) from youth players swinging a baseball or softball bat at 14 years old.  This also includes pitchers!

The Low Back Ticking Time 💣 Risk Hiding In Your Swing

 

Lower Back Explosion Extravaganza

Tweet from a #HittingTwit-ter

We have a lot to cover in this post, so this is what we’ll be discussing:

  • Here’s the problem…
  • Short anatomy lesson of the low back, and
  • What’s the answer?

Most “bad” coaching cues I see out there can work in the right circumstances, for example:

  • “Swing down” – can work for hitters who have an extreme uppercut…
  • “Sit back” – can work for hitters who are too far out front…
  • “Swing up” – can work for hitters who have an extreme down swing…

But Here’s the Problem…

I’ve been tracking the above swings cues for some time now, and I’ve found in a majority of cases, they seem to churn out one low back ticking time 💣 swing after another.  When I see one of these swings on Twitter, it’s like listening to grinding teeth, someone’s fat lips smacking while eating, or nails on a chalkboard.

Let me show you what I’m seeing…

Lower Back Exploding Extravaganza

Compilation of low backs exploding…

How do I know the above hitters were instructed with the coaching cues in question?

These were the hitters on proud display via the Twitter page of the above instructor’s name I blurred out!  Now, he’s not alone in this.  Many others like him are following the same blind mouse.

Btw, it wasn’t hard to find ANY of these swings…I found them in a matter of minutes.  And to be fair, not ALL this instructor’s hitters were doing this, but close to a majority.

Here’s one more clear swing example, one of my readers Shawn Bell shared after seeing the video above…

Focus on nothing else but her lower back…OUCH!

Fact: hitting cues have consequences. When we teach a hitter to take focus away from basic locomotion and gait principles, and put it squarely on manipulating the “forearms” or the “barrel”, young hitters will have a higher probability of wearing a hole in their low back than not.

“Unload your barrel not your body”…

AND,

“The forearms swing the bat. The body helps”…

…are misleading at best, and not having a clue as to what drives ALL human movement.  And these instructors routinely call this a High Level Pattern (HLP).  Sad.  All I see are low backs grinding.  To me, this is a Low Level Pattern (LLP), disastrous to young moving bodies, built on a stale straw man argument, losing sight of the forest for the trees, and chasing a sunset running east.

And most importantly, this low back ticking time 💣 IS NOT found in the REAL High Level Pattern.  I challenge you to find me at least one who does this…and if you find one, I’d love to dig into his or her history of injury.

Short Anatomy Lesson of the Low Back

Lordosis of the Spine

Photo courtesy: MountSinai.org

Normal lordosis of spine (natural low back curve – “neutral” spine), left hand side image.  And hyperextended lordosis (or arching) of spine, right hand side image.

Arching causes the vertebrae in the spine to push together.  This isn’t damaging by itself especially when done in global extension (think gymnast swinging forward under the bar), but adding in a little rotation over and over and over, and we have a low back ticking time 💣.

The REAL High Level Pattern (RHLP) is driven by the spinal engine.  Basic principles of locomotion and walking gait.  I would feel MUCH better reversing the two quoted coaching cues above to read…

“Unload your body not your barrel”…

AND,

“The body swings the bat. The forearm helps”…

This is a RHLP.  As Dr. Serge Gracovetsky (Physicist and Electrical Engineer), author of The Spinal Engine book says:

“The arms and legs aren’t necessary for locomotion.  They’re an enhancement.

Do you want proof to validate this statement?  Watch this… (Thanks again Shawn Bell for the giphy)

  

…The gentleman in the above video is from one of  Dr. Serge Gracovetsky’s movement experiments.  He was born WITHOUT arms and legs.  The crazy part is, if you block out his black shorts with your hand, and look at the way he moves and locomotes, you’d swear this man has legs.

The low back ticking time 💣 risk hiding in your swing can be found in using “forearm” and “barrel” focused cues.  The proof is in the almost dozen swings I found in the matter of minutes on Hitting Twitter.

And if you still don’t agree, then here’s one of my other favorite quotes from the author of Atlas Shrugged, Ayn Rand…

“You can avoid reality, but you can’t avoid the consequences of avoiding reality”.

 

So, What’s the Answer?

A safe AND effective swing.  If we’re ruining lower backs, then how effective is effective?  Here’s a clue, instead of arching the low back, what happens if we do the opposite (flexing v. extending)?

I’m glad you asked!  Think about flexing the lower back as putting space between the 5 vertebrae located there.  This keeps the body from putting a death squeeze on the squishy and lubricating material between the vertebrae (cartilage and synovial fluid).  It makes the spine SAFE for rotation.  You got it, NO MORE LOW BACK TICKING TIME 💣’s!!!

So how do we protect our hitters and build a SAFE and Effective Swing? 

Think of your pelvis like a bowl of water.  Now, imagine a “Donald Duck” butt, where you’re sticking your butt back (arching low back – Dr. Kelly Starrett in his book Becoming A Supple Leopard refers to this as “Nasty Stripper Pose”).  For the kinesiology nerds out there, this is an anterior pelvic tilt – spilling water on your toes.  This IS NOT a good pelvic position when swinging a bat or throwing a ball.

Now, doing the opposite, imagine that same bowl of pelvis water in a posterior pelvic tilt, or Pink Panther butt, think about spilling water on your heels.

I have some cues you can use with your hitters, and a couple Hitting Performance Lab resource posts to reference…

The Hollow Hold…

 

 

If you’re one of those LLP instructors, and still aren’t convinced…PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE for the love of God…at least strengthen your hitter’s in the Hollow Hold.  I’m tired of seeing all the low back ticking time 💣’s waiting to go off. You’ve been WARNED.

 

In Memoriam

This post is dedicated to a great friend of mine and fellow baseball coach that we lost to a brain aneurysm on Monday… (my Facebook post):

“Words cannot express my deep sadness today upon hearing of my good friend and fantastic coach Sam Flores’s passing yesterday. He had no idea he was in a fight for his life – and would lose it – driving to the hospital with his family. So young. So tragic. My family and I ran into him at Costco 4 short weeks ago where we had a brief catch up on life and a big hug…you just don’t know when someone’s time is up. Hug your loved ones today, keep them close, and realize God is in control, not us. We love you Sam, and send my BIGGEST thoughts and prayers to your family as they go through the tragic mourning of your passing. The valley lost a wonderful Father, Husband, Friend, and ultimately a brilliant Coach. RIP my good buddy you will be missed (breaks my heart to see that little kiddo of yours) 😢😢😢

Sprint Short Distance And Run Bases Faster In A Week For Baseball & Softball Athletes | Rotational Core, Speed, & Power Body-Weight Exercises Done At Home

Discover baseball and softball athletes can sprint short distance and run the bases faster in a week with David Weck’s ‘head over foot’ technique and ‘pulsers’.  Learn how to do rotational core, speed, and power body-weight exercises and drills at home.

The Biggest Lie In Teaching Hitters How To Run Faster & Move Better

 

 

The purpose of this post:

  1. How to make hitters faster, and
  2. How to apply David Weck’s “Head Over Foot” technique and “Pulsers” to hitters?

Most sprint coaches will teach athletes to get faster by using a “braced core” (instead of a Coiling Core), and “hip to lip” arm action.  This is DEAD WRONG, and one of the biggest lies in teaching athletes to run faster and move better.  These coaches aren’t understanding the basics of human locomotion.  Consider the following…

 

How to Make Hitters Faster

Here are a few notes from the video above:

  • To balance on one foot most effectively, we need head over “ground” foot.  Try balancing on one foot bending spine and head far outside or inside ground foot.  You can probably balance, but not as effectively as head over foot.  Under the body’s “plum line”.
  • We want the forces transferring cleanly throughout body.  When you don’t land balanced (head over foot), compensation is the end result.  Back pain has been linked to head not being over foot.
  • Side bending is key to rotational power, and is what most coaches DO NOT understand or choose to ignore.  Imagine throwing without a side bend.

Watch this Facebook video from David Weck looking at how the runner moves “head over foot”, and side bends while stealing second (You can also CLICK HERE to see an interview I did with David Weck here)…

 

 

Which brings me to how to train this.  CLICK HERE for a Facebook video post where David Weck explains the how of his sprint “Pulsers”.  And CLICK HERE to get the “ProPulse Speed Trainers” at David’s website.

 

How to Apply David Weck’s “Head Over Foot” Technique or “Pulsers” to Hitting

Do you consider yourself a think-outside-of-the-box type of person?  Please sound off in the Comments below, on how you can apply this technique or Pulsers with your hitters (thanks in advance!!)