Private Baseball Lessons Near Me

Private Baseball Lessons Near Me: “I saw 6000 guys; I didn’t see anybody who could hit a curveball. It’s like, how are we not hitting a curveball?”

 

 

Private Baseball Lessons Near Me

If you’re searching for “private baseball lessons near me” in central Pennsylvania, then please reach out to Coach Bill Masullo.

In this private baseball lessons near me video, we interview a good friend of mine Coach Bill Masullo out of Pennsylvania.  His company is of the Ultimate Edge at GoodSports.  In this private baseball lessons near me interview we chat about:

  • Give me your sales pitch on you guys’ Academy, what you guys do, where you’re located, etc.
  • How long has it been since you started following me Bill?
  • Do you guys do different experiments and stuff like that? Do you show those kids a part of your learning process?
  • What’s your advice on the biggest mistake you see some of these hitting academies making in the beginning?
  • How are you guys applying Perry Husband’s stuff?
  • What hitting strategies are you talking about to your guys? And how are you practicing them?
  • Why ‘keep hands inside’ the curveball is a myth…
  • Bill and Joey on the state of youth baseball and softball: ‘free play’
  • Where can people find you Bill?

Very interesting sit down with Coach Bill, to give you a little taste, here’s a quote from him about his research this past summer…

“I saw 450 teams play, and of those 6000 players, 50 are phenomenal, and I didn’t see a bad player. I’m being honest, I didn’t see a bad player. But I saw like 5950 guys, that all looked alike… I saw 6000 guys; I didn’t see anybody who could hit a curveball. It’s like, how are we not hitting a curveball?”

CLICK HERE for the full pdf transcript of the above private baseball lessons near me video, or continue on to read below…

ENJOY!


Joey Myers  00:06

Hello, and welcome to the swing smarter monthly newsletter. This is your host Joey Myers from hittingperformancelab.com and I have the honor to have a guest on, who I’ve been on his stuff quite a bit, Mr. Coach Bill Masullo.

Joey Myers  00:20

Welcome to the show first, Bill.

Bill Masullo  00:22

Oh, thank you, Joey. Thank you for having me here. I love it.

Joey Myers  00:27

One of the big reasons why I want Coach Bill on is Bill runs an academy, a decent size Academy, it’s been around for a while, I’m going to have him go into that just give you the little details, in case you’re in his general area over there in the Pennsylvania’s.

Joey Myers  00:42

I wanted to have Bill on because I wanted to go in, and I know I have some Academy owners that follow me. I know there’s some out there may be just starting or wanting to start their own hitting Academy or baseball softball Academy.

Joey Myers  00:54

I think Bill’s private baseball lessons near me knowledge of this, and his school of hard knocks knowledge will be invaluable in this. So first, I want to start off, Bill, I want you to just give me your sales pitch on you guys’ Academy, what you guys do, where you guys are located, and kind of go from there.

 

Give me your sales pitch on you guys’ Academy, what you guys do, where you’re located, etc. for those looking for private baseball lessons near me?

Bill Masullo  01:11

Sure, I run a facility. It’s known as Good Sports and we are located in Central Pennsylvania. If you can picture Pennsylvania as a somewhat of a square looking type of state, little rectangular and you stick your finger right in the middle of that, that’s where you would find us and we’re just a little bit north of Penn State University. Most people have heard of that.

Bill Masullo  01:38

I began in a very roundabout way. I’m a little bit of an outsider when it comes to this whole baseball thing. I coached hockey for 25 years-26 years in all honesty. I was too small of a guy to play baseball, so nobody wants a light hitting second baseman.

Bill Masullo  02:05

What I noticed along the way was, I’m very much a contrarian by nature, so I noticed a lot of information that I didn’t think was good information or correct information and then when it was acted upon by the player, the player sort of got a little bit of grief.

Bill Masullo  02:27

I just always sort of thought, hey, I can do that a little bit better with a little bit of a different outcome. We’ve been successful in that regards. Everything we do is either small group, or one on one. I don’t promote travel teams or such. We just train, that is what we do. It’s a little bit different in that regard.

Joey Myers  02:53

I love that. How long has it been since you started following me or any of the other ones that we’ll talk about in this call?

 

How long has it been since you started following me Bill?

Bill Masullo  03:01

Joey, I’m trying to even figure out how I got there. Well, I’m going to say it’s been at least 10 years. I’m going right back to the very first book that you put out. I think what attracted me to you and I get attracted to these types.

Bill Masullo  03:28

Guys that are out there saying, speaking, what no one else was talking about. You’ve always heard me say, with you, it was always well, let me prove it. Let me go grab some baseballs and let’s set something up formally, and let’s look at it. Let’s see if that’s true or not.

Bill Masullo  03:50

I thought, wow, if a guy is going to get that deep into it, that’s the guy that I want to understand, and you went to movement. I just thought, you know what, that’s a piece of the puzzle that everyone wants to neglect and not knowingly, but it’s just sort of like, Oh, so and that’s it. I know that’s how I got to you. I don’t know when that was.

Joey Myers  04:16

I think that’s interesting and that was when I first did it. When it comes to private baseball lessons near me, I didn’t want to come from a background where I wanted to push my Fresno State background. If you go on my about page I do mention that but I don’t say listen to me because I went to Fresno State, because I know there’s going to be somebody else saying, well, I played for the Blue Jays for 10 years.

Joey Myers  04:38

I trump your four years playing division one college baseball and then for that person, well, I made three All Star game appearances. It’s this shouting match that whoever can shout the loudest whoever got to the top, in that sense, we should be all listening to Bonds and Aaron.

Joey Myers  04:59

Although I do agree with a lot of what they say I think it gets misconstrued, but this idea of going out and prove it. I think what you’re saying is that a lot of the instructors out there, gurus, whatever you want to call them, the guys at the top of the food chain, I guess, and the gals, that it is a dogma, they’ve created a system that is so much of a dogma that they can’t save face and go opposite of what they said.

Joey Myers  05:27

I think early on, when I did the swing experiments, I said, hey, I’m stumbling on this new stuff. Let’s challenge it and let’s do a little swing experiment and say, okay, let’s see what happens if we do this, and then the opposite of this, and then see how the numbers roll out.  And I think people who search “private baseball lessons near me” can appreciate that approach.

Joey Myers  05:43

Like you said, I always tell people find out do it on your own. Don’t take my word for it. I don’t want to be the bottleneck. Go do it on your own. Do you guys do different experiments and stuff like that? Do you show those kids like a part of your learning process?

 

Do you guys do different experiments and stuff like that? Do you show those kids a part of your learning process when doing private baseball lessons near me?

Bill Masullo  05:57

Absolutely. Obviously, sprinkled with a lot of self-deprecating humor.

Joey Myers  06:04

Yeah. That’s what I like about you.

Bill Masullo  06:08

I don’t ever want to take myself seriously. I jokingly tell my kids this all the time, you certainly don’t want to hit the way I hit. Let’s try to get to the information. I want my kids to experiment quite a bit.

Bill Masullo  06:29

I would say probably the biggest fight I have, is just knocking the kids over the head, a little bit gently, but the idea of logging, doing experiments on our own. We’re always trying to that idea of being comfortable with being uncomfortable. I would say I have learned far more from those kids than they have ever learned from me.

Joey Myers  07:01

I love that, and speaking from an academy owners’ point of view, and I know, like you said, you’re not really into the travel ball teams, it’s more of the development side, which I love.

Joey Myers  07:10

I think that is must be a private baseball lessons near me staple in any kind of hitting Academy, it can’t be just about taking the parents money, not saying they all do this, but taking the parents money just to have a travel team to go out and play and things like that there must be a foundation to that.

Joey Myers  07:24

If I’m paying as a parent $200 a month or $300 a month or 400 or whatever. I mean, I’ve heard some crazy amounts, my kids better be getting something other than just exposure, right? There are a lot of travel teams out there.

Joey Myers  07:38

What would be your advice for other hitting academies, it could be a one just getting off the ground or thinking about getting off the ground? Or maybe one that’s been going for maybe a year or two? What’s your biggest advice for marketing to the private baseball lessons near me crowd?

Joey Myers  07:51

Or how about this? What’s your advice on the biggest mistake you see some of these hitting academies making in the beginning, like top two or one biggest mistake?

 

What’s your advice on the biggest mistake you see some of these hitting academies making in the beginning?

In the summer, “I saw 450 teams play, and of those 6000 players, 50 are phenomenal, and I didn’t see a bad player. I’m being honest, I didn’t see a bad player. But I saw like 5950 guys, that all looked alike… I saw 6000 guys; I didn’t see anybody could hit a curveball. It’s like, how are we not hitting a curveball?”

Bill Masullo  08:05

At the end of the day, I want to create a relationship with my player. I want them to understand that I’m invested, and with what they want to do, to help them improve.

Bill Masullo  08:23

For me, logging, just everything is a little bit slower. Some days that is, does that mean then that we can just go do a classroom day where we want to discuss a little bit more before we go put it into operation? Yeah, we do that. But I want them to see the breadcrumbs that they’ve laid down as they continue to improve to develop their skill.

Bill Masullo  08:50

For us, I just look and go, we need to understand how to play baseball. What does that mean? To be prepared to do these travel things, that is a huge undertaking. I have done that this summer, I have traveled extensively to watch some high caliber players.

Bill Masullo  09:12

At the end of the day, I am going to say if I saw 450 teams play, and of those 6000 players, 50 are phenomenal, and I didn’t see a bad player. I’m being honest, I didn’t see a bad player. But I saw like 5950 guys, that all looked alike.

Bill Masullo  09:37

I tell my guys every day be uncommon, and I want them to be aggressive, to stay away from passive attitudes. I want them to be aggressive, make mistakes and being earnest, learn from them. That’s why I’m there to help guide them to say hey, it’s okay that we fell here today. Just keep at it.

Joey Myers  09:57

I love that, especially if 2020 has taught us anything, almost the biggest skills that we can instill in our baseball and softball players are two things. They both start with the same letter. I know you love this; you appreciate that is courage and critical thinking.

Joey Myers  10:14

It sounds like that’s what you’re saying courage and critical thinking.

Bill Masullo  10:19

Yes, every day, because one of my weaknesses, I don’t know how to think well, and I’m being honest. I see it but then because I am aware of that weakness, that’s why I seek guys like you out.

Bill Masullo  10:39

Okay, you got to do the lifting, because I’m not smart enough to understand that. But it’s funny when that begins to happen, because then I get like lightbulb moments on a regular basis. Okay, now I get it. Then the movement begins, and something else happens, and it’s right.

Bill Masullo  11:00

Right now, I took for granted that we’re discussing, as we get into the fall here. Again, I saw 6000 guys, I didn’t see anybody could hit a curveball. It’s like, how are we not hitting a curveball?

Bill Masullo  11:21

I took for granted that they did the things that I did. When we’re talking visual, visual data, just actual visual data collections, I find out that they’re into narrow a box, they have no idea of how the balls moving in space and time, the control of the space in front of them.

Bill Masullo  11:46

Now I must step back and that’s what we are doing right now, planning on in the next couple of weeks to undergo that as a major educational component, and that will be your visual planning.

Joey Myers  12:05

We have a very co-friend in Perry Husband, and you talk about seeking people out smarter than you. Talk a little bit about that, a lot of what you’re talking about is in that Perry sphere, right? How are you guys applying that when it comes to private baseball lessons near me?

 

How are you guys applying Perry Husband’s stuff?

Bill Masullo  12:22

I want to talk about like visual planning, I will say this and I’m pretty sure I got this from Perry and so Perry is effective velocity HittingIsAGuess.com for those of you, look him up.

Joey Myers  12:34

Dot com

Bill Masullo  12:35

Yep. He has some theories, I believe very valid theories, tested theories. It’s the hallmark of how I instruct, but when I began to use what I would call right now, I use the phrase “right now” his heart, whatever, it’s a pneumonic that Perry uses when stating, do only one thing, understand location, understand shape, understand the velocity of the pitch.

Bill Masullo  13:14

Now what I’m seeing is, when this gets combined with the idea of the visual, what is the shape that I’m looking for, you know, how should that look? What is it actually? Now it’s almost instantly guys are coming back with information.

Bill Masullo  13:32

I’ve had kids that have never given me one good sentence of good feedback. Now they go a little bit wider, and they’re saying, oh, well, I can see where that fastball is coming all the time. Plus, you tip off your curveball. I say tip off my curveball. They said yeah, you lean forward on your curve.

Bill Masullo  13:55

These are kids that are good hitters but have always had that trouble. That’s the thing that I’ve seen, and I deal a lot with 18-17-16, all the way down to 10-year-olds, that’s the bulk of who we’re working and yet they know curveballs come in, and yet, they still can’t hit it.

Bill Masullo  14:16

That’s what I saw a lot of and such, so now when I take those components, there’s visual components with their background that they have and what EV is, suddenly that’s like the brick and mortar.

Bill Masullo  14:31

There are no cracks right now, and I know that there are, I just don’t know what they are yet. Now we go back and now we test again, a la Joey Myers, a la hitting performance lab.

Joey Myers  14:44

That’s super interesting. It seems like every year there’s some sort of you talk about the aha moment and in our system, and it used to be in the mechanic side of things. There’s this aha moment and we start working on it with some new stuff and doing that swing experimentation.  The private baseball lessons near me crowd will love this!

Joey Myers  15:00

We finally evolve it to a point where it’s like this is solid. It’s consistent with the success my hitters are getting. This last year, it was almost like it wasn’t the physical, mechanical aha moment, we call them hitting strategies.

Joey Myers  15:16

We have six of them, and what it is, is I teach my hitters that there’s three dimensions to hitting, there’s the vertical component, so the pitch can go up or down in the zone, there’s the horizontal component, which is the depth of the pitch, right inside, middle, and away.

Joey Myers  15:31

There’s the Perry Husband EV dimension, which is the timing or the speed of the pitcher, the shape like you’re talking about, and people out there don’t know what the shape, what Bill’s talking about is the shape of the pitch, the shape the pitch is taking, or we could argue the shape that it’s coming out of the hand, or where the arm slot is, and all that kind of stuff.

Joey Myers  15:51

There’s two out of I think we have about six, I just added a two-strike approach. It has nothing to do with physical adjustments, like we’re not choking up, we’re not going wide with our feet. The whole other things that coaches teach and I’ve taught to, but I don’t really do that.

Joey Myers  16:08

We always say that if you’re going to use a two-strike swing, if you’re going to make those physical adjustments that you must practice out in the cage, you can’t just practice your normal swing, and then in the game, oh two strike adjustment and then go straight to that because you’re not practicing it.

Joey Myers  16:20

The top two that we use that do strike is what we just added recently. But the first one is adjusting verticals, we call them verticals, not launch angles, because you know, coaches love that word launch angle, some of them, say, adjusting to like what Perry says hit it back, we call it hitting back through the two, but he says hitting it back through that little donut that he has that marker at 10 to 15 degrees.

Joey Myers  16:44

You’re making your adjustments above and below. If he had a ground ball, trying to hit a fly ball next time, if he had a fly ball trying to hit a ground ball next time, trying to get it to go right back through, right, so that’s number one.

Joey Myers  16:54

Number two is our middle away, middle up, or middle away, middle in, middle down approach where we’re adjusting our barrel path to middle away, middle down, which is very similar, but it’s different than middle and middle up.

Joey Myers  17:08

Those two alone, I tell my hitters, I said, I was a .250 career hitter in college. Those two alone have nothing to do with mechanics. But those two alone, those two hitting strategies, I would have hit 100 points higher, for sure, in my career, I would hit .350 at Fresno State.  This helps to win over the private baseball lessons near me crowd.

Joey Myers  17:26

You’re talking about these hitting strategies? What are some things you guys do to practice that?

What hitting strategies are you talking about to your guys?  And how are you practicing them?

Bill Masullo  17:32

Number one, I look at younger kids a little bit different than I look at my 12-year-olds a little bit older, so there’s a different way that we would approach them. First thing I want them to do is just be able to hit it hard and hit it far.

Bill Masullo  17:52

I really don’t get locked into a whole lot of mechanical work. There’s always time towards that. The very first thing that we’ll do is we’ll set targets so that we can get feedback. It’s the one thing in baseball that I think is lacking, is the understanding of how I obtain feedback.

Bill Masullo  18:24

Every kid that has a bucket, coach has a bucket everywhere and the coach goes crazy at some point when everybody’s shooting basketball. One day I was watching that, and it sort of struck me as like, and yet here they are playing this random game, with their buddy as they’re trying to put balls back in the bucket, it was like, that’s the feedback that I want you to understand.

Bill Masullo  18:50

Now we have very distinct targets. So that if I were to ask them, what are you trying to do? What are you trying to hit? If you’re going to hit that target with the ball off the barrel of your bat? What does it look like?

Bill Masullo  19:05

Again, this goes back to Perry and I would say the use of imagination. Understanding what type of swing gives you that, it’s amazing what the brain will do, and it just brings them to that.

Bill Masullo  19:17

We’re always getting feedback based on what their intended goal was. When it’s used over and over, it’s easy to see when they’re using their pneumonic, when they’re using hit hard or right now, and when they’re not.

Bill Masullo  19:39

To me, the fallacy is the foul ball that’s straight back, and everybody says, oh, you’re right on it, and that is the furthest thing from the truth, and we’ll measure that out for that ball to go directly back.

Bill Masullo  19:54

That means I’m like probably on my back hip and maybe a little underneath it. I’m thinking that my hands were on hands show. I’m like, a foot 18 inches out in front of me.

Bill Masullo  20:08

Well, when I do that, and I show them that, and I just marked that with baseball, it’s anywhere from 33 to 36 inches off. That is a bundle of distance in speed. They’re not close.

Bill Masullo  20:23

What I need for them to understand is some of the stuff they’ve heard all along isn’t true. For baseball players, they want to make small incremental adjustments.

Bill Masullo  20:35

I always tell them when I was telling the story, when I was younger, my dad would come home from work, and I would beat him home 10 minutes from school, and I always had my eight-track cassette player on, so I don’t want to date myself.

Joey Myers  20:53

I had one, too.

Bill Masullo  20:55

I have it at eight, my dad would come back to the bedroom. He’d say, hey, can you turn that down? I take it to seven, and he’d come back about 10 minutes later and turn it down before and say I thought I asked you to turn that down?

Bill Masullo  21:08

I said, well, I did well, not enough. That’s what I think. Getting the kids to understand how big are the adjustments? We talked about this, you and I and Perry we talked about this, like when that barrel enters to when that barrel exits, it’s typically six miles an hour of velocity, that the barrel stays in the strike zone, and before it enters and out.

Bill Masullo  21:32

If that pitcher can beat that, plus or minus faster or slower from pitch to pitch 5-6-7 mile an hour, we’re going to struggle all day long at the plate. That’s what I think overall, that’s number one, especially with my older guys that I try to get them to understand.

Bill Masullo  21:50

Then and only then, because when I become efficient, if I change one thing, I change everything. Now the efficiency starts to work for me. That’s probably number one for us, it’s just getting on time.

Bill Masullo  21:55

What I would tell a beginning instructor or only a year in, get your kids a quick win. The biggest way I can tell you is off the fingertips, right? As they’re hitting it now, hit hard, hit now, whatever two positive strong words that they are to a target.

Joey Myers  22:33

When you say right now, for those that don’t know Perry stuff, what Bill saying is, like you said out of their fingertips, the hitter set starts to swing right and then now is that contact.

Joey Myers  22:44

They’re visual, or they’re mouthing, saying that word right now. They’ll set a measurement of that third dimension of the pitch.

Bill Masullo  22:56

Yes, and I want my guys to dance a lot. They joke about it, we laugh about it, yet at the end of the day, there’s rhythm, there’s tempo that occurs, and it’s part of what I want them to take in.

Bill Masullo  23:12

I think maybe currently, I think that’s been lost to a degree, not because it was intended, or it’s stupid idea or whatever. It’s just that I think the lack of free play is no longer there, where kids would get together for five-six hours every day, with no adults around and then being allowed to experiment and to try different things.

Bill Masullo  23:40

None of that happens, or at least it doesn’t happen to the degree it used to for a lot of societal reasons. I think, a little bit of what happens, everything’s organized and a lot of instruction is just maybe ill-advised words.

Joey Myers  23:59

Mechanized, internal, too machine-like.  This can sometimes turn off the private baseball lessons near me searching crowd.

Bill Masullo  24:05

When the concept of hitting a curve, I’ll go back to that concept of hitting a curve is look for the rotation. Well, I think, though, all those answers were Oh, you know, I sort of noticed that, oh, yeah, let’s look for rotation.

Bill Masullo  24:24

Now we’re so focused in tight on trying to see what the ball is, we have no context of where the ball is in space and time. A whole bunch of things go on there but that’s just an idea of it for me.

 

Why ‘keep hands inside’ the curveball is a myth…

Joey Myers  24:38

You said that’s one of the cues that I remember getting thrown around for the curveball, hitting it and then the other thing was staying inside it and keep your hands inside the curveball and there were just things that once it dawned on me that there is a different barrel path middle in versus middle away.

Joey Myers  24:44

It dawned on me that staying inside it wasn’t very effective at the curveball that was coming say righty- righty that was coming out of the hitter and then breaking into the middle of the plate.

Joey Myers  25:03

Like if you stood in set that stayed inside that thing, if you hit it, it’s not going to be hit very hard. If you watch the trout and the guys that just smash these things, you’ll see that barrel instead of dumping in the zone early, you’ll see it carry high a little bit longer and we’ll dump in later.

Joey Myers  25:19

What they’re doing and Bonds was probably one of the best at this, many out there. Remember watching Bonds hitting bombs into the bay, at fastballs that were up almost seemed like it was going to hit his elbow guard, or his arm guard, big old giant, bionic thing he had on, and he was able to get to it at 95 up and in.

Joey Myers  25:38

Same thing with the curveballs, lefty curveballs coming at him, and he just spun right on him. It’s not so much the rotation of Bonds’ body as more of where his barrel path was to that curveball.

Joey Myers  25:50

Like you said, that’s one of our strategies too, that’s the third strategy we have, we have the adjusting verticals, adjusting horizontals, and then curveballs. We hunt specific curveballs and zones and like you said, the younger the player, a little different approach.

Joey Myers  26:04

You don’t want to get too detailed, and those pitchers aren’t as good with their command and things like that. But when they get into 12-year-old, that sixth grade year, those pitchers start getting pretty good. They have a pretty good handle of that 46-foot distance there, or 50 feet, whatever pony leaves and stuff like that.

Joey Myers  26:21

They start to get a little bit more command until that mound backs up a little bit, then you see like about a year or two where they struggle, but that curveball approach, I completely agree with you, because what’s funny is I have one of my hitters right now who it’s going to be so unfair because he’s got one more year at Little League.

Joey Myers  26:37

He’s somewhat of a big kid. He’s a taller kid, but he’s come a long way in a year, he’s worked his butt off. Now we got his mechanics, took about six to eight months during this 2020 year, got his mechanics to a good spot to where everything’s effective.

Joey Myers  26:55

We’re still working on stuff from time to time, but we really got to focus on the strategies.

Joey Myers  27:00

Ideally, in Little League what happens is pitchers will try and get you out with the fastball, and they might move in and out. Most of the time, it’s away and down and stuff like that. But the faster pitchers will come in, and if you can’t hit it, they keep throwing it.

Joey Myers  27:12

This hitter smashes it, and because we’ve equipped them with the curveball approach, the next logical step for these pitchers is to go curveball, right? Because they’re used to, like you said, 6000 players, 400-500 teams, you’re watching, and you’re seeing a struggle with the curveball, because all they got to do is throw it, it doesn’t matter where the curveball is at in the league.

Joey Myers  27:33

It’s effective because hitters that have never seen it before or they don’t have a good approach like you’re talking about, they swing and miss, swing, and miss.

Joey Myers  27:39

Well, what happens when that pitcher sees a hitter who has a curveball approach? Then you start smashing the curveball. It’s like, the coaches, the players, they don’t know what to do.

Bill Masullo  27:50

Yeah, it’s called intentional.

Joey Myers  27:56

They start throwing around the zone hoping he’s going to go outside the zone.

Bill Masullo  28:00

Yes, absolutely. That’s what I think that’s the aspect that’s been lost a little bit with the lack of free play. To reintroduce some of these concepts, and am I the guy for that? Not to demonstrate it.

Joey Myers  28:21

Unless you’re hitting a hockey puck.

Bill Masullo  28:22

Yes, that’s right.

Bill Masullo  28:26

Even then, I’m not the guy to demonstrate. But that’s just as important too, Joey, is that it’s modeled correctly. I just remember playing as a kid and you took your favorite team, and you knew how every kid on that team hit.

Bill Masullo  28:47

You hit left hand and you hit right hand and you look like Willie Stargell on this one and it was Roberto on that one, and Dave Cash on this one, and yet, it’s almost Oh, the Ripken boy.

Bill Masullo  29:04

I’m thinking Cal, thinking Edgar Martinez, they might have had 15 or 20 different stances in a year and yet, we’re telling guys, you know, oh, you can’t ever change. And it’s like, yeah, you need to change so there’s an evolving that has to happen.

Bill Masullo  29:27

When you begin to, and when you begin to know what the pitcher is going to do before he does, and it’s still not easy to hit, but boy, it becomes a little easier. That’s when you have guys that people are looking at going wow, that guy knows what he’s doing.

Joey Myers  29:45

We say hitting isn’t easy, but we can make it easier.

Bill Masullo  29:49

Yes, that’s true.

 

Bill and Joey on the state of youth baseball and softball: ‘free play’

Joey Myers  29:52

Before I let you go here because I’m respectful of your time. You say the free play and it’s funny you say that because we went a little independent with my son’s baseball team this year, we went away from the league because I felt they didn’t handle the whole 2020 thing very well.

Joey Myers  30:07

I took our team, we had about eight or nine that decided to stay with us. We added about four or five, so we had about 14-15 hitters.

Joey Myers  30:16

What we did when the season was done, and we got a few games, we played ourselves more than we played a little bit more sandlot than anything. But I told the parents it’s probably what was going to happen, just because you had teams still in leagues, and it was going to be hard to put games together and all that kind of stuff.

Joey Myers  30:30

To tell the truth, we weren’t ready for tournament play. We had some guys that are, they were rough around the edges, but what we elected to do is even when the season was done, we just ramped down how many practices we had during the week, we went from three, down to two and then down to one during the summer.

Joey Myers  30:45

What I did during the summer, was we switched our practices to the morning, so it was cooler because it gets super-hot here.

Joey Myers  30:51

What we did was we did some street wiffleball we just introduced, and we played games like we had, the other team would be fielding and we’d have to throw to the base like normal baseball, so we get to learn some rules there that we couldn’t accomplish in a smaller area, right, because we’re just playing between two gutters.

Joey Myers  31:08

On the other side, and then we got the plate on the sidewalk, and then we got our little painted bases out, orange bases out and stuff. We did some two-strike innings, we would do a normal inning where they had their 0-0.

Joey Myers  31:08

We had an 0-2 inning where they had to swing because I think they were getting a little bit too passive. We did two strike and then at the end, the last that we were supposed to have on this week, but I cancelled it because our school start next week.

Joey Myers  31:37

We started to Home Run Derby the last probably three or four weeks. We just had them out. We carved them into two teams, we set up our thing, just things that you and I did as kids growing up just in the streets playing ball, that free play.  A great play for those private baseball lessons near me folks.

Bill Masullo  31:51

It’s so important because they’re good. For me, they’re getting so much feedback that’s not coming from an authoritative figurehead or however they’re perceiving it.

Bill Masullo  32:09

Joey, I’ll throw this out there as well. Typically, most of the issues that I really see with my kids, and the not through and through, but I’d say overwhelming majority come from kids who are trying to perform for their parents, they come from kids who they are trying their love for them into their success at the plate.

Joey Myers  32:40

That breaks my heart.

Bill Masullo  32:46

Sometimes that becomes a process where we’re just a lot of times, I’ll have to rip kids all the way back down the ground, we’ll go backwards before we go forward. Once we go forward, and they’ve got a good feeling and a good understanding, and they’re playing the game, because it’s their game in my game. They’re far better off for it.

Joey Myers  33:07

I love that. That’s great private baseball lessons near me advice. That’s great for coaches, instructors, Academy owners to look out for, and especially Academy owners, because they have so many kids in their system. That’s the thing, right?

Joey Myers  33:17

Coaches generally have a team or two that they’re coaching. They’re depending on what level they’re at. It could be 15 kids, could be 30 kids, right? But you got the academy owners that can have hundreds of kids.

Joey Myers  33:28

They’re in a position where they can affect a lot of kids and parents searching “private baseball lessons near me”, it’s good for them to know that. Thank you for sharing that. All right, Bill, where can people find you? If they want to get more information? Where can they find you?

 

Where can people find you Bill?

Bill Masullo  33:41

Oh, I would just say go over to the Facebook. If you have it, if you believe in it. It’s TUE good sports. I don’t know anything about the websites or anything like that. I don’t do that. But if you get over there to it stands for the ultimate edge, it’s TUE good sports.

Bill Masullo  34:00

There’s also better ballplayer. That’s where we typically do some of our virtual stuff.

Joey Myers  34:10

Any kind of private baseball lessons near me new things on the horizon for you that you’re putting together any kind of virtual summits?

Bill Masullo  34:16

I have one coming up here at the end of August, and it’s on crushing the curve. So that’s a good topic on the top of my head there.

Bill Masullo  34:28

That is foremost on what we’re doing. We’re prepping for the fall here as we get into it. That’s the biggest item on the list.

Joey Myers  34:40

Very cool. All right, Bill. Well, thanks for your time here today for all the private baseball lessons near me crowd, and we’ll have to do a take two at some point.

Bill Masullo  34:46

Absolutely. Oh, I appreciate it. Thank you so much. Thanks for having me. Hope I didn’t put too many people to sleep. God bless you. Thank you.

Baseball Pitching Training

Top Two Mistakes That Coaches Are Making In Baseball Pitching Training?

 

 

Here’s what we cover in this baseball pitching training interview with my pitching coach Michael Gillen from PitcherPerfectPro.com: (about 29-minute read time)

  • Give us a little look at your baseball pitching training setup over there…Baseball Pitching Training
  • Who you are, the kind of your mentors on the pitching side, who guides you and your training?
  • Top two mistakes that either pitchers or coaches are making in teaching pitching?
  • What do you feel with the whole Tommy John stuff? What do you feel like the top two issues that are leading to that?
  • When reading about spinal engine springy fascia, were you were able to apply those principles to pitching?
  • What are those two baseball pitching training things that you go, alright, we need to fix those right away?
  • Like hitting, is there such thing as over-rotating when pitching?
  • Tell people where your website is, your social media, any kind of deals or what kind of deals that you do, obviously, locally, right? But are you doing some online lessons? Let people know that kind of stuff.

As usual, I’ve transcribed the baseball pitching training interview for your convenience with handy-dandy little video timestamps.  Enjoy the conversation with my favorite pitching coach, Mike Gillen, as we discuss baseball pitching training…


Joey Myers  00:06

Hello and welcome to Swing Smarter Monthly Newsletter. This is your host Joey Myers from hittingperformancelab.com and I have the honor today to bring my peanut butter and jelly counterpart, Mike Gillen.

Joey Myers  00:18

So first, I want to welcome you to the show. Welcome to the show, Señor

Mike Gillen  00:23

The man-dinga himself. Thanks for having me, Joey. This is awesome.

Joey Myers  00:27

You got it.

Mike Gillen  00:28

I’m the one that has the honor here.

Joey Myers  00:30

The reason I say peanut butter and jelly, to give those out there that are listening to this context, this is my pitching guy, my local baseball pitching training guy. It just so happens that we’ve known each other since the fourth grade and played baseball together forever.

Joey Myers  00:45

Coach Mike or coach Gilligan or coach Gillen, many of the names that we talked about. He played at Fresno City College for a couple years transferred to San Diego State and pitched out there with Coach Tony Gwynn when he was still around.

Joey Myers  01:01

I wanted to have this pirate garb because Mike and I have so many inside jokes. I don’t know if we have a pirate inside joke, but there’s always these shenanigans that are going on.

Mike Gillen  01:11

It’s non-stop. Always, 100% of the time.

Joey Myers  01:17

I’ll take this off real quick. There we go.

Mike Gillen  01:20

I didn’t even recognize you.

Joey Myers  01:23

It’s Clark Kent and it’s Superman. You see how that works? So, let’s start off with a softball question. Pardon the pun or pun intended. Tell us a little bit about what you got. Maybe give us a little look at your setup over there.

 

Give us a little look at your baseball pitching training setup over there…

Mike Gillen  01:42

Okay, I can give you a tour, a soft tour. Let’s see. Moving around this way.

Joey Myers  01:48

Show me your number one baseball pitching training fans.

Mike Gillen  01:50

It’s humble beginnings. This is it. I’m going finish that cement here in the next couple of weeks. Make a little more inviting to everyone. What’s that over there?

Joey Myers  02:07

Look at that sign, hitting performance lab? That’s cool.

Mike Gillen  02:09

Right? He sponsors us. You got Charlie right here. He’s a mainstay. I tell the pitchers to say sorry before they start their pen. That way there’s no misunderstandings later. This is it for now.

Mike Gillen  02:31

You’re catching me right in a reconstruction, this middle part of that mount. I’m going to have to rip that out of there and I’m going dual mounds and we’re going to start doing doubles here soon.

Joey Myers  02:41

Oh, cool. There you go

Mike Gillen  02:43

Two target and I got a mat there, mat there. We’re going to get that going. Well, the idea and this is not as hard to see, but if you look back there, there’s going to be a metal building put back there at some point.

Mike Gillen  02:54

I’m still not sure if I want to plug that in or not, it’s going to be costly. Once it’s up, it’s like I’m going to be married to it so I’m not sure what’s going to happen there. If I do then I’ve got a place to put my tractors

Joey Myers  03:09

Just get one of those baseball pitching training kids of yours to get on a bike like a hamster and you just power it themselves.

Mike Gillen  03:17

Exactly. Hey, I got some dads that will probably be okay with that.

Joey Myers  03:22

Or just have like have the bike riding to power the shed, have that be one of your stations for your pitchers, when you have a group of four pitchers, have one of them over there with the legs out, have a small for them.

Joey Myers  03:35

Their legs are like this, when they’re riding it like this, and then power for the other pitchers. I love it.

Joey Myers  03:47

Obviously, this is a hitting blog, but baseball pitching training is a part of baseball and softball too. Get people out there who do really research the pitching side and give them little background on who you are, the kind of your mentors on the pitching side, who guides you and your training?

 

Who you are, the kind of your mentors on the pitching side, who guides you and your baseball pitching training?

Mike Gillen  04:03

It was probably just three big names. Do you remember Fred? Not a whole lot of people are going to know. I got with him in college, and he really helped instill confidence and he was tough and gritty, that old school coach so I owe a lot of credit to him just from my kind of my beginnings on how it was to pitch correctly.

Mike Gillen  04:36

Even it was very generalized but learning how to push off at the right time. How to have your mentality out there and like I said that toughness that you need, you don’t back down from anyone and I got a lot of the mental side from him.

Mike Gillen  04:52

But more recently, I guess in the last 10 years kind of on my road to finding out the answers and just making sure I was doing it correctly, because everyone kept asking, hey, you know, I heard you get good pitching lessons, and that just kind of snowballed.

Mike Gillen  05:09

I wanted to make sure that I was doing things right. So, for me, the beginning of all is ASMI- American Sports Medicine Institute with Dr. Glenn Fleisig. I would look that name up.

Mike Gillen  05:21

Of course, Tom House, nationalpitching.com and Brent Pourciau, topvelocity.net. Those are three big names. If you all just look those names up and start doing your own research and looking at what their backgrounds, where they came from, and go from there. That’s kind of where I went.

Mike Gillen  05:41

Tom House taught me when I was back at San Diego State. That just opened Pandora’s box. I was a little frustrated at the time because it took me till I think what we lose 22 to 23-ish.

Mike Gillen  05:55

I was learning how to pitch or learning the movements of it and the proper way, the way the big leaguers do, it was like a secret up till then. Just the sequence of it all.

Mike Gillen  06:11

Back in the day, and there were some good things taught, but there was no rhyme or reason to it really. It was scattered. I learned how to segment it and how to put it in proper order from Tom House and like I said, just built from there.

Joey Myers  06:29

When we were 22-23, the internet was just getting started. This is early 2000s. The information wasn’t out there as ready as it is now. I think YouTube maybe was just getting going. I don’t even know if it was getting going yet.

Joey Myers  06:43

I know Twitter came on the scene about 2007. We didn’t have Twitter. We had Facebook, I think MySpace was still a thing.

Mike Gillen  06:58

I’m still on my space, I’m going strong.

Joey Myers  07:00

Is that still around?

Mike Gillen  07:04

It’s funny, you brought it up. For what reason, my wife and I were talking about that and about my space and the cool features it had and how Facebook didn’t have that, and it took me a while to get used to it.

Mike Gillen  07:16

We were wondering, Is that still around? Just no one uses it. Or is it shut off? Do you have access to it? It was all just beginning when we were kind of toward the end of our baseball lives and in slow motion captures.

Mike Gillen  07:36

The cool thing about ASMI was they’ve done hundreds and hundreds of captures, thousands. But they did 10 Cy Young Award winners and quantified their movements and went okay, this is how the best do it.

Mike Gillen  07:52

Guys like me came around and figured that out. Now we’re able to segment things and work it in a certain order. I think that’s really the secret to it all is how do you do or where do you start?

Mike Gillen  08:07

For me, I start backwards in the delivery. It’ll start at the end, and figure that out, and then we work our way to when you lift your leg up. That was a big one from Tom house. Top velocity, those guys, I figured out how to work it backwards. But yes, they didn’t have any of that stuff back then.

Joey Myers  08:28

Now what would you say today, in today’s game, what’s the top two things that you see, whether it’s coaches or pitchers, on whether social media is where you’re seeing it, the top two mistakes that either pitchers or coaches are making in teaching baseball pitching training?

 

Top two mistakes that either pitchers or coaches are making in baseball pitching training?

Mike Gillen  08:48

If anyone’s teaching a balanced point, that would probably be the worst teach you can make. I think the other one would probably be the next step in how to load, load your back leg.

Mike Gillen  09:03

I see a lot of up and down movements going on.  I think you can go up down, a little bit, some times where I do that, but it’s not very much, I just do it a little just to get a feel of what is it like to put pressure and a load into your back leg. But it’s not something I do a lot of.

Mike Gillen  09:24

I think balance point though, like big league ball was teaching that back in the 80s and 90s, they were teaching their pitchers that for whatever reason, because if you look before that there wasn’t a lot of balance points with guys like Sandy Koufax and there was no stopping in their movements.

Mike Gillen  09:46

You’re seeing that a lot more now, it was like we had this gap where there wasn’t any and then they teach in balance points. That’s where you and I come in is that’s what they were teaching us in high school.

Mike Gillen  09:57

Maybe some guys it worked for them in some way, but it destroyed me. I needed the momentum, and I didn’t know how to do that, I had no idea. One of the biggest flaws in a pitcher is the front leg when they land, there’s no stability there. They hit the ground and their knee moves around either side, or at least more toward the catcher.

Mike Gillen  10:22

They’re losing accuracy and velocity there, but as far as teacher goes, if they’re being taught that not all coaches teach that, but I think that some coaches need to break out of that and not try to stop teaching that balance point stuff. It’s really destroying a lot of kids.

Joey Myers  10:39

I know what you’re saying too. When it comes to teaching baseball pitching training, and with the sequence and all that, using cues, like in hitting four or five years ago, I would have hated the swing down cue absolutely hated it, because it was being taught like you’re saying probably like the balance point thing and pitching.

Joey Myers  10:55

The swing down is what I was taught in high school and college, swing down and through.

Joey Myers  11:00

Now, I come to find out, the swing down part is effective, but only middle in, middle up pitches. Middle away, middle down, is probably the worst cue you can use to tell the hitter to swing down.

Joey Myers  11:12

Now, are there certain scenarios with the pitcher that you would tell them to balance like if they’re horrible with balance? Or wouldn’t be a scenario on that?

Mike Gillen  11:23

There is. I hate the word balance point, it is frustrating. Stop at a point, that means you’re stopping. If you’re teaching just the leg lift in and of itself, you can kind of teach that, but there’s never an effort to do the full movement.

Mike Gillen  11:49

When I let a kid do his full throw, there’s never any talk about stopping yourself or gathering in a point where you’re stopping and coming to that point. I broke it down in four stages.

Mike Gillen  12:06

There’s the finish, there’s two middle portions, and then beginning where you’re lifting your leg up. I teach a lot of momentum there and a lot of movement there. I try to make it towards as little as possible.

Mike Gillen  12:20

When you have to time and when you’re breaking your hands to throw, you’re up, and you can’t see this, but I’m picking my knee up in your leg lift. Then you can go down and you break your hands while your knee goes down, then you bring it back up. Their leg lift foot never touches the ground.

Mike Gillen  12:41

In a way, that’s very minimal, I just get them to go, hey, this is how you time that and you time your hands with your front leg or your lift leg. You do that a couple times. And then Okay, now that you understand that let’s move around a little bit now.

Mike Gillen  12:56

I break past that. It’s an initial teach that I give them. I’ll literally tell kids, okay, don’t ever do that, again. Don’t sit there for 20 minutes of your day or 10 minutes and working on just staying in one place with it. If you want to do it a couple times, fine. But then let’s start shifting our weight into that movement.

Joey Myers  13:17

What do you feel with the whole Tommy John stuff? What do you feel like the top two issues that are leading to that?

 

What do you feel with the whole Tommy John stuff? What do you feel like the top two issues that are leading to that?

Joey Myers  13:27

Because it’s exploding. It’s getting down to 12-year-old’s, it’s there.

Mike Gillen  13:38

Well, fatigue is number one, overthrowing kids and doing that too much. I think the general answer would be fatigue and bad mechanics. But what are bad mechanics? The less hip and shoulder separation you have, I think a lot of people know this by now and that’s something that was coined by Tom House. I guess he discovered it and brought to light.

Mike Gillen  14:03

The less separation you have of your hips going to home plate and your shoulder staying back. Now the more you can get into injury patterns. It’s basically arm dragging, hyper-angulation of the shoulder.

Mike Gillen  14:16

When you go to throw it because you didn’t get your hips through, then you must create this drag across and you get into that drag. That’s the number one reason for Tommy John, outside of fatigue, overall fatigue, like I said overdoing it.

Joey Myers  14:33

Yes, and it’s crazy that it’s getting earlier and earlier. We didn’t have to think about that kind of stuff then.

Mike Gillen  14:41

It goes into the fatigue part. I really think there’s too much travel ball. We played spring summer and then we were done. We were sad for a week, and we got over it, we played football or basketball or something else.

Mike Gillen  14:57

If you interview or talk to any big leaguer, they’ll tell you Hey, you need to play other sports? You can’t be baseball all the time. It’s that fatigue factor, I always tell parents and kids, look hey it’s November 1st, and there’s a runner on second.

Mike Gillen  15:11

You got to make this pitch again and you’re in a stress, you’re in a stressful throw. We got to remove the stress a little bit. Go work out, lift, get bigger, get stronger, go play another sport. That feeds into that fatigue thing.

Mike Gillen  15:28

That mechanical kind of dragging your arm. That’s what I was doing. What the balance point, I couldn’t really get moving. Well, they were teaching pull the glove, I should have told you that one pulls the glove and created this drag on me. After years and years, and this arm didn’t want to do it anymore.

Joey Myers  15:49

Remember when I was during my changing over from online or the one on ones to the groups, and my group started to grow. I was like, hey, Coach Gillen, can you come in and I need to train somebody to take over some of my hitters.

Joey Myers  16:03

I went to my pitching guy to help with my hitters. Right? It ended up working out and I ended up finding a hitter, a younger hitter, who I’d worked with for a while, and he came on as my hitting apprentice, and then you got busy with your pitching stuff.

Joey Myers  16:17

But you came out and you observed, you even read my book, the Catapult Loading System. Were there some changes in there? Reading about spinal engine springy fascia that you were able to apply to pitching?

 

When reading about spinal engine springy fascia, were you were able to apply those principles to pitching?

Mike Gillen  16:30

Yes, I do that. Closing the shoulders off and getting that preload of everything. Hearing words like springy fascia, I didn’t know what that was. I used to say, hey, let your arm lay back, and I didn’t know at the time that was that’s external rotation, internal. Thinking of it like that.

Mike Gillen  17:00

I’ll even ask them, if it’s your one of your students, hey did Joey show you that thing where you put your hand on the table, or on your leg and you do that, and then you try harder, and then you combine them? That one was great. I love that analogy.

Mike Gillen  17:19

Just closing off more. I mean, I knew to do that, but I didn’t really know the benefits as much to it, or to do it more, or maybe even exaggerated just to get a feel for what it’s like, but yeah, you’re trying to stay close as long as possible and then let’s work our feet, work our hips through and you’re trying to create as much separation as you can.

Mike Gillen  17:40

I read it a lot more a lot sooner. I remember you telling me that about don’t wait so long to show them that because I start with where they’re squared up. If your home plate the cameras on plate, they’re in movements where they’re always going forward.

Mike Gillen  17:55

I start teaching them how to close off more after that. You probably put the cherry on top when it came to how to close off and how that works, I guess springy fascia and how you can create tension in the body.

Joey Myers  18:12

If you look at the pitchers in the past, you mentioned Sandy Koufax and we can say, Nolan Ryan. We talk about now is back then it was showing numbers right, hitter showing their numbers to the pitcher type of thing. We’ve evolved that to neck pressure, I think maybe I’ve talked about that.

Joey Myers  18:31

With the hitter, we’re trying to create neck pressure. Where the head anchors in a tracking position, right, we’re trying to track the balls is the most important thing that a hitter needs to do.

Joey Myers  18:41

The head doesn’t move, it doesn’t allow the shoulder to pull the head off.  It’s the shoulder that pulls underneath and goes as far as it can go until it can’t go anymore because the heads keeping it from going. If you look at the pitchers, I know you’re a lefty but I’m going from my right side, is the same kind of thing, right?

Joey Myers  18:58

You see these pitchers in this kind of position, where there might be a slight tilt this way, and then the shoulders coming underneath. They’re creating pressure the same as a hitter would create as they’re going here and then start to unwind and go, so it’s the same thing. It’s just one person’s throwing a ball and the others swinging the bat.

Mike Gillen  19:19

Just getting kids used to that because it’s uncomfortable at first. I think a lot of the injury can be just as something as simple as that or something. You think it’s little but a kid, when he goes to throw, some naturally do it, but they don’t want to create that, that’s uncomfortable, and they’re just okay I just want to throw it, I just want to get my home plate.

Mike Gillen  19:46

If they can’t see it, they must get their eyes there. Here go their shoulders and they’re early. So just getting them in a stance and getting them to close off and feel that neck pressure and getting into there. I’ll just have them sit there for five minutes and feel what that’s like. That’s pretty much all I do, is just get kids to feel what positions are like.

Joey Myers  20:10

I love that. Now this can be a little bit different than the mistakes you see out there. But picture you got a kid coming in, say like Gino, first time pitcher that comes in to see you. What are those couple things that you see like over and over and over, that they’re doing?

Joey Myers  20:27

Maybe they haven’t been taught at all or anything? Maybe they’re natural? What are those two things that you go, alright, we need to fix those right away? Is it different than the balance thing and landing thing? Or is it the same?

What are those two things that you go, alright, we need to fix those right away?

Mike Gillen  20:44

I don’t get into the balance stuff or the leg lifts, it depends on the kid and how quick he picks everything else up. It could be a couple of weeks, or a couple sessions where we don’t even lift a leg up. We don’t even get on a mound.

Joey Myers  21:04

Do you remember what you worked with Gino on first?

Mike Gillen  21:07

It was the forward movements; there’s so many coaches literally think that pitching is a rotational action. A lot of it is, sure. But there’s sagittal movements, it works on three planes.

Mike Gillen  21:23

I get them to figure that out just because I think there’s that universal throwing package that every team puts together, and they put them on a knee and make them finish over their knee and their leg and they’re making them rotate when there’s not enough speed and momentum to rotate like that. Why are you teaching them to do that? That’s my opinion.

Mike Gillen  21:45

It’s all about going forward. It’s arm action going forward, and then trunk going forward. We figure that out because everything is taught to spin, I feel. There’s obviously coaches that do it right, there’s really a lot of good ones out there. But I feel like there’s so much rotation in the throw that no one teaches any forward movements.

Mike Gillen  22:07

At the big-league level, pro level, and even college, some high school, there’s a lot of good forward movement into that throw, and then you see rotation, whereas kids cut that forward movement off and just spin and then you get into that drag.

Mike Gillen  22:22

I would say cutting the ball on accident, meaning their hand is turning as they’re throwing it, and they’re creating that cut and the ball. That’s usually what I hit first, how do you go over your front foot? You hear it all the time they follow through, reach out in front?

Mike Gillen  22:40

I don’t see a lot, there’s not a kid that’s coming here that went Oh, yeah, I’ve done that before. None. I like to be the first one to teach him.

Joey Myers  22:51

It’s interesting, you say that the rotation, right? Because I agree with you, I think both pitching and hitting, there’s a little bit of all that in there. You mentioned three planes of motion.

Joey Myers  23:01

All three planes are engaged in a dynamic pitching delivery or a swing. One of the things I’ve been really tuned into the last couple months, the last couple of years beginning to COVID I think January 2020, January, February, it’s been over a year and a half now, is over rotation to the swing.

Joey Myers  23:21

There was this one thing, I just couldn’t figure out what the hell was going on, I’d see these hitters come in, and we call it racing back elbow at the time, where they’re swinging and their elbows come and pass their belly button, and everything’s completely sideways before their barrel even gets to the ball. I was like, What the hell’s going on?

Joey Myers  23:37

I looked at some research, and I found they’re over rotating. They’re getting their chest all the way squared and their barrels back here hitting the ball. It’s like you talking about the arm, right? Talking about where they’re getting here in the arms being way back here, all that pressure on the elbow and the shoulder and the whole thing, right?

Joey Myers  23:58

Over rotation of the swing, but all these coaches, these younger coaches are all you know, flip that foot back foot over and get your hips through the ball, and all this rotation, yes, that happens to a degree in the swing, but we never teach really, any rotation of the lower half.

Joey Myers  24:18

We don’t, we just expect it to happen, and it happens. We focus on like you said, preloading the upper half, and then the lower half will do its job but to say rotate, rotate all the time. It’s a problem in hitting too, just like in baseball pitching training.

 

Like hitting, is there such thing as over-rotating when pitching?

Mike Gillen  24:35

I agree. This is the biggest overstatement. It’s 2021, we break past. Back in the day, it’s 1972 we’ve got all the advancements we need; it just keeps going like that and soon it’s Hey, it’s 2055, we need to get it together.

Mike Gillen  25:01

There’s too much information now, it’s all out there. Back in 1993, there were no slow-motion cameras, there was nothing breaking this down. There was nothing Hey, do you see how your knees internal too early, there was nothing. But now there is.

Mike Gillen  25:19

I don’t want this to be a hating on coach’s thing, but I’ll ask kids and there’s never any video analysis done ever like I never hear about that maybe it’s the first time you’ve been recorded and you look at your video and they’ve never seen it, high school kids, the high school coaches, there’s got to be some that do it. But I don’t think there are I mean, I’ve gone as far as telling kids, hey, can you sneak your phone in there and have your buddy take a little video of you.

Mike Gillen  25:49

That way you can break it down and look at it and see where your flaws are, see if you’re doing a good job or not. They were too locked into this old school mentality. We got to get out of it, blending of both.

Joey Myers  26:06

Exactly, you need gut. You can’t just have a data thing, or you can’t have just had a gut thing. You got to use both. You got to use the tech detect, the data and in the gut feeling stuff. It must be all of it.

Joey Myers  26:20

We can talk and go deep into some of these baseball pitching training things.

Mike Gillen  26:26

Let’s extend it.

Joey Myers  26:28

I’d love to, we just got to transcribe it. My virtual assistant would be a little upset if I gave her an hour transcription she had to get done in a day. But hey, I wanted to give you a chance to promote what you’re doing.

Joey Myers  26:40

Tell us a little bit about where to find you, where to find your website. Your website looks good, by the way. Tell people where your website is, your social media, any kind of deals or what kind of deals that you do, obviously, locally, right? But are you doing some online lessons? Let people know that kind of stuff.

 

Tell people where your website is, your social media, any kind of deals or what kind of deals that you do, obviously, locally, right? But are you doing some online lessons? Let people know that kind of stuff.

Mike Gillen  27:00

I’m still trying to get the online stuff off the ground. You can reach me on Facebook. I’m on Instagram, but it’s not really active but you can go to pitcherperfectpro.com

Joey Myers  27:19

There it is right there.

Mike Gillen  27:21

Let me see. It’s not backwards.

Joey Myers  27:23

No, you’re good. You’re good. I’ll put all that into the show notes, so people have that.

Mike Gillen  27:39

Those are the best ways to contact me. A lot of this is generated off word of mouth. People are doing it that way. Obviously, that may not help everyone in what we’re trying to do right now.

Mike Gillen  27:52

I’m on Facebook, Instagram. I do have Twitter and Instagram; I need to get better at those. I don’t ever use them.

Mike Gillen  28:01

On Facebook, I’ll just put before and after videos of kids and show where they were and where they are. I do like the online stuff. Speaking of dinosaurs. I need to get better at that and get reach more people.

Mike Gillen  28:23

I’ll tell you this, it’s tough because I’m fully loaded here. I need to get an apprentice myself and make another carbon copy of me so I can move more kids through.

Joey Myers  28:35

Yes, sir. You need to, again, just grab one of your pitchers who’ve been with you for a while, is older. You know mine. He’s a senior, is going to graduate this year from high school. I’ve had him since he was 10 or 11. Nicky Frye.

Joey Myers  28:47

He’s my head and apprentice. I sent all the younger one. Any of them that are 11 years old or older, I’ll take in any ones that are below that I’ll send to him. It helps a lot. I mean, at some point, obviously you’re going to get pretty bloated with the 11 and ups and all that, but it’s good that you got your building the second part of your baseball pitching training bullpen, so you’re going to have two bullpens pitchers can throw.

Joey Myers  29:11

That gives you two people you could do, obviously the biggest thing would be to get four in a baseball pitching training group. If you can find two other stations or whatever to do that, but you know me, I’ve been trying to get you to do small private group for a long time, but you kind of painted yourself into a corner because you accept payment upfront for like 20 lessons.

Joey Myers  29:29

You got to wait for those 20, do those one-on-one lessons and you kind of painted yourself into a corner but I see you’re starting to make moves to try and get into more of the group because how many pitchers are you working with right now?

Mike Gillen  29:44

I want to say probably 40.

Joey Myers  29:47

You’re giving that halt sign, I’m coming around second base, I’m lumbering towards third and I’m trying to send you more pitchers and you’re doing this, you’re giving me this sign right here. Hey, I got one out. There’s only one out, I can roll the dice and try and go headfirst into third. Come on.

Mike Gillen  30:10

I’m creating this. My waitlist is a mile long. It’s sad, injury out there and there’s so many problems with these kids as far as how they’re moving, and I can’t get to all of them. That’s why I finally put my foot down, I finally looked, and you saw the facility, it’s geared toward one kid, you got that mound in the middle and that’s really killing it.

Mike Gillen  30:40

I got to take that out, put two more in, I’m getting two made right now. Once I get that, then at that point, I could probably bring in two more and do maybe some camp style stuff on like a Saturday and get more kids in.

Mike Gillen  30:56

Like you said do stations, do like a dry run station with one or with two other stations and then two others are throwing and then swap them out? Like every 15 minutes.

Joey Myers  31:06

I hope that this interview, it’s going to go probably decent well and go down with some people. Hopefully it’ll bring you another 50 people, 50 pitchers, if you imagine another 50 pitchers coming in and knocking on your door?

Mike Gillen  31:19

Right. I do have that Saturday; I finally cleared a Saturday open. it’s mostly open for family and I’m able to not do a pitching lesson one day out of the week. A little two-hour camp or three-hour camp could work.

Mike Gillen  31:42

I think once I figure out online and get that going, it’ll free up some stuff plus, opening this up. Get a couple more kids, I think it’ll be all right.

Joey Myers  31:54

Well, thank you so much for coming on. We got to do a part two, maybe we’ll make this a common thing if it’s like once a month or something, we can do like thoughts with Michael Gillen.

Mike Gillen  32:10

What was the SNL thing, deep thoughts?

Joey Myers  32:13

Deep thoughts with Michael Gillen or all those kinds of baseball pitching training things. I must do something like that. Maybe we’ll do like a little bit more frequent ordeal.

Mike Gillen  32:24

Where’s your podcast?

Joey Myers  32:28

This is like an unofficial official podcast (you can find it on iTunes, Google Podcast, and Spotify). This is part of the Swing Smarter Monthly Newsletter, which is a paid newsletter that I send out to people, it’s like a $5 a month thing, or $10 a month thing.

Joey Myers  32:41

My coaches will subscribe to that, and I put this in two expert interviews, it’ll be you and it will be somebody else. I’m actually going to have a coach on who I’ve worked with all three of his boys hitting, his two older boys ones playing football in college right now.

Joey Myers  32:57

It didn’t work out on the baseball side. Then the other one I think is graduating high school this year. He’s kind of stopped from baseball, but the youngest brother is 13, dad coached a lot of the little league teams, a lot of them growing up as they were and he’s like the coach whisperer, so he’s the younger kid coach team whisperer.

Joey Myers  33:17

He told me a story the other day that one of his buddies was to coach in a team and highly organized coach he had every practice, three-hour practices by the way for these younger kids, way too long, right?

Joey Myers  33:30

He had three-hour practices plan to this second minute of what they’re doing and then their practices are overly scheduled, right. The guy goes, comes up to him and go, Shawn, I don’t know what to do, man. I got thorns in my feet and tears in my eyes.

Mike Gillen  33:49

A little bell that says inside joke.

Joey Myers  33:55

Yes, he said that. He goes, Yeah, we’re just not winning. We’re doing everything right. I got a plan. I got it organized. We’re doing what we need to do what’s wrong? Then Shawn the team whisperer, he goes, team party.

Mike Gillen  34:11

Explosion.

Joey Myers  34:12

He’s like what do you mean? They did a team party on a Saturday night. They had a doubleheader the next day and they swept the next day, they beat the other team twice.

Mike Gillen  34:22

You need a rain out!

Joey Myers  34:24

Exactly. This is a man-made natural disaster. So yes, I’m going to have him on, probably this next week. He’s got a day job; he does like Pharm and stuff.

Mike Gillen  34:37

I’d love to watch that. I’ve got one of my baseball pitching training clients. All have a problem or an issue with something and I think once I was trying to get a loan to pay for something…

Baseball Hitting Lessons Near Me

Baseball Hitting Lessons Near Me: “I Don’t Use A Glove When I Throw BP, So I’ll hold Curveball Like This.  I’ll Hold It.  I Want to See If They’re Smart Enough to Look at My Hand”

 

 

In this baseball hitting lessons near me interview with Ray Camacho from Fat On Fat Academy, we go over… (about 34-minutes reading time – PRO TIP: use “gear” on YouTube video settings to “speed watch” to 2X, so you can watch in half the time!!)

  • Tell me a little bit about your baseball hitting lessons near me nonprofit, where you guys are and what it’s about,Baseball Hitting Lessons Near Me
  • Who are your top one or two follows for strength and conditioning?
  • “It’s ever evolving with me because one kid teaches me how to do something for another kid…”,
  • “It’s extremely tough as a parent to watch our kids struggle, fail, and be rejected. But if we don’t let them experience it, while they’re young, they’ll have no idea how to handle it when life shows up later down the road. Our job is to love them and teach them how to work through it.”
  • “I like to pride myself in not being just like a scratch a surface guy. I get deep.”
  • I think hitting a baseball and softball consistently hard is the hardest thing to do in any sport,
  • The toe tap to me is the most adjustable swing that I’ve ever had,
  • I don’t use a glove when I throw BP so I’ll hold curveball like this. I’ll hold it. I want to see if they’re smart enough to look at my hand,
  • Where can people find you, talk about the social media platforms…

Click short link for transcribed baseball hitting lessons near me interview in pdf format: http://gohpl.com/rayctranscription

Here’s the full transcription of the interview…ENJOY!

Joey Myers  00:06

Hello, and welcome to the Swing Smarter Monthly Newsletter. This is your host, Joey Myers and on the call here with me, I’m honored to have Mr. Ray Camacho. He is of a nonprofit called Fat on Fat, or fat off the bat on fat on the ball. And we had a nice, interesting baseball hitting lessons near me conversation recently and there’s some cool little nuggets here.

Joey Myers  00:29

First, I want to welcome you to the show, Ray.

Ray Camacho  00:32

Thanks for having me.

Joey Myers  00:35

We’re going to dig into some stuff, I think the 30 minutes goes quick. I’m sure there’s going to be plenty, plenty to talk about in future stuff. But first question I want to ask you, tell me a little bit about your baseball hitting lessons near me nonprofit, where you guys are and what it’s about.

 

Tell me a little bit about your baseball hitting lessons near me nonprofit, where you guys are and what it’s about…

Ray Camacho  00:51

I started off a Fat-on-Fat Baseball Academy. But then recently, I started doing softball, so I changed the name to Fat-on-Fat Academy. The name came about when I was growing up, my dad was trying to think of something nice and easy for me to remember and something that rhymed.

Ray Camacho  01:07

He was like, son, fat of the bat, fat of the ball. That concept is something I grew up chasing my whole life, because I was just trying to square the ball up with fat on fat and is just a catchy phrase that everybody would use.

Ray Camacho  01:21

My dad would just be quiet and simple with it, fat on fat, son, watch the ball fat on fat. I had that concept, and as I grew up, I thought it was kind of cheesy, honestly a little bit. I felt embarrassed a little bit to talk about it to some of the guys, and then I started coaching and they started really liking it, like the young guys started liking it and said, What’s fat on fat coach? They wanted more stuff.

Ray Camacho  01:44

I ended up needing an outlet for myself because I was coaching a baseball hitting lessons near me organization. I was working at another organization; I was doing things for everybody else. I needed my own passion in my own lane.

Ray Camacho  01:57

What ended up happening was, I created my own college team, and I needed a name. My dad was like, you got to go fat on fat. I was like, Dad, these college guys are going to laugh me, everybody’s going to talk mess, they’re going to clown me.

Ray Camacho  02:12

I still felt like I was a college guy as well as trying to coach and I just didn’t believe in it. I shared it with a partner. I shared it with a couple of people my idea. They kind of was like, dude, that’s awesome. I love that name. I shared it with the Commissioner of the CCBL League that was playing in the summer. He was like, that is the best name ever.

Ray Camacho  02:35

He coached me when I was in high school, in college. He was like, I love it. You need to go with the name. When I got that feedback, as cheesy as it may feel for me, because it’s something my dad gave me, and sometimes he says, Son, you think your dad’s cheesy or corny, but everybody loved my dad, everybody thought my dad was funny, but of course, as a son you think he’s lame.

Ray Camacho  02:58

I’m going to run with it. I wanted to turn a negative into a positive because fat is a negative word. We think it’s a negative word, I feel like I have enough energy to turn it into a positive word. I’m from San Antonio, Texas, my company is based out of San Antonio, Texas.

Ray Camacho  03:17

I’ve lived in San Antonio, Texas my whole life. I love San Antonio, everything I do is for the city. Everything I do is for the kids in the city. We have an obesity problem here, and so when I started doing fat on fat, I was 50 pounds heavier at the time. I had a lot of backlash, a lot of people talking, Oh, your company’s fat on fat, because you’re fat, bro.

Ray Camacho  03:40

I was going through a lot of personal things. They said some uglier stuff too. I always tell these guys, my biggest teaching to the kids is, if you’re going to be good, you’re going to have to be ready to accept what comes with being good. Because there’s going to be snakes in the grass, there’s going to be your own teammates trying to go against you, there’s going to be a whole bunch of negativity that being the dude in titles.

Ray Camacho  04:03

If you’re not ready to accept that, then you can’t be the dude because you’ll fall short, as a lot of mental stuff. I just really wanted to be a forefront in this for fitness, for obesity in San Antonio, I wanted to bring awareness.

Ray Camacho  04:20

Five years ago, when I started it, I really didn’t have a lane. I didn’t know what I was going to do until I really started doing my first video of showing my training.

Ray Camacho  04:29

Five years ago, I was nothing compared to who I am now. I look at those old videos and I look at myself like you’re a chump. How can you let that kid get away with that movement? How can you let him do that? It makes me angry in the sense at myself that I couldn’t figure out my philosophy and my lane faster because I could have helped so many more kids.

Ray Camacho  04:51

That passion drives me today to not let anybody have bad movements when they come into the RPO which stands for Real Players Only. I have fat on fat baseball hitting lessons near me Academy and it stands for real players only.

Ray Camacho  05:03

Real players know who real players are. Real recognizes real. You can’t fake being real. Because once you step on that line, between those lines, you know who you are. I just love everything that baseball and softball brings to the table. I always talk about it. I’m going to do this till the day I die.

Joey Myers  05:21

I love it. That’s what really came out and struck me in our initial baseball hitting lessons near me conversation was the fact that you’re training baseball and softball players. But it’s not to be baseball and softball players, it’s to be better in life, right?

Joey Myers  05:34

You’re teaching life through baseball and softball, and that’s what I really love. The other thing is, and we can get into that a little bit, but I really wanted to jump into the baseball hitting lessons near me training side of things. Strength conditioning, and I asked you a question. I said, who are your top two follows for strength conditioning? Who do you say, who was your first one?

 

Who are your top one or two follows for strength and conditioning?

Ray Camacho  05:53

Paul Chek.

Joey Myers  05:54

Those out there, Paul Chek is no joke, go out and check out the Chek Institute. What brought you to Paul Chek? How do you feel Paul Chek has helped your hitters, the baseball hitting lessons near me information that has helped your hitters?

Ray Camacho  06:09

I got introduced to Paul Chek. Just going down a worm hole of different trainers and instructors, I’m sure you went down the same path because we’re men and we’re baseball players.

Ray Camacho  06:21

Everybody’s trying to be the biggest, fastest, strongest, and it’s all about information. Well, how much information can you input in your head? How much can you process and how much can you actually apply?

Ray Camacho  06:30

I feel Paul Chek has indirectly mentoring me every day, I listen to his podcast, it feels like he’s speaking directly towards me. I got introduced to Elliott Hulse, a long time ago, and his stronger version of himself.

Ray Camacho  06:46

I’ve really followed his transformation. We all have our transformation as men. I was into the bodybuilding scene and all that stuff, try to be the biggest, strongest dude. That was a toxic mentality for a baseball player, because I ended up messing my body up senior year, I may say mess up, but I had the best year of my senior year ever, and I set records and stuff like that, but I’m saying, I always wanted to be the best.

Ray Camacho  07:12

I’m always going to critique myself if I mess up. I will always put myself down if I do mess up because I’m just honest. I messed up a lot of my mobility aspects by just bodybuilding and doing a lot of hypertrophy training, and not focusing on strength and speed.

Ray Camacho  07:28

I got two tenths of a second slower on my 60 time. I was running a six-eight and so I run a seven-one because I wanted to drop bombs. I didn’t realize I didn’t have a mentor. I didn’t have anyone in my ear saying, you got to stay fast. If you lose your speed, you are nothing.

Ray Camacho  07:44

They have big six foot three guys that mash. You’re not that guy. You must be a fast infielder like you’ve always been, and I lost sight of that. I lost my chance to get drafted when it came down to it because of the speed and I never got officially said that. But I know deep down in my heart that’s what it was, you know, because nothing else held me back.

Ray Camacho  08:02

I’m still a dude, I’m 36 I still can play, still hit bombs, hit a bomb Sunday, and that was the first time I ever did that. I can tell you the training works because I’m doing everything I teach and preach myself at 36. If my mobility helps me, it’s going to help a 10-year-old.

Ray Camacho  08:19

If my strength conditioning helps me it’s going to help a 13–14-year-old. I try to empower these guys to really do that. Elliott Hulse came from a strongman competition. He was big and swoll.

Ray Camacho  08:33

I used to love listening to his rants because he always spoke intelligent. I always wanted to be a meathead, but an intelligent meathead. A best of both worlds. I can go in and out of bodybuilding, powerlifting, I can go talk to a physics major, a teacher.

Ray Camacho  08:50

I can talk to anybody, I can walk in any circle, because I love that I have the social awareness to be to be flowing in those circles and talk to anybody because if anybody can teach me anything, like you’re worth something to me, because I love knowledge and wisdom.

Ray Camacho  09:05

It’s one of the biggest things that Paul Chek put me on in his book. It was maybe like six months ago, I wrote down my goal was to have knowledge and wisdom and to be able to apply it to my sport, and just keep learning every day and growing.

Ray Camacho  09:20

Honestly, that’s what’s really happening every day because I tell parents my baseball hitting lessons near me training may switch up from next week to the next week, because my training like we talked about, it’s ever evolving.

 

Baseball hitting lessons near me: “It’s ever evolving with me because one kid teaches me how to do something for another kid…”

Ray Camacho  09:30

It’s ever evolving with me because one kid teaches me how to do something for another kid. It’s all the same mechanics, if he has bad ankles, this guy has bad ankles. If I see it, we’re going to do ankle mobility stuff.

Ray Camacho  09:42

If he can’t go up on his tippy toes because his feet are weak, we’re going to work on feet for 20-30 minutes because that matters. Not getting in the cage, not warming up and just swinging, we must change the culture.

Ray Camacho  09:54

These kids just want to get in there and move and their bodies not primed up and not ready to rock and roll. They don’t understand the mechanics of a movement. I get kids as young as four and as old as 22. I’m teaching them all the same things.

Ray Camacho  10:07

I talk to them all the same way. I know those little kids, they’re going to be dudes when they grow up, and the girls are going to be studs, because the girls, they listen the best obviously.

Joey Myers  10:16

They do.

Ray Camacho  10:18

That’s been awesome with me. I never thought in a million years, I’d be doing softball, they’ve really accepted me, and local coaches have liked what I’ve done with hitters and I’ve had kids that shouldn’t hit home runs that are hitting home runs.

Ray Camacho  10:34

I don’t take any baseball hitting lessons near me credit for it because it’s hard work and they are doing all the work. I’m just showing them the way. The biggest thing is I want to give direction because if kids and parents don’t know direction, they don’t know where to go.

Ray Camacho  10:46

They think anything they do is good. No, the right stuff is good. The right way is good, the most functional, the strongest way to be a healthy individual is the right way.

Ray Camacho  10:57

Elliott Hulse is the one responsible for putting me on Paul Chek. Listen to Elliott Hulse in his podcast, I started finding my direction because Elliott Hulse is big into masculinity and building men up and keeping men strong.

Ray Camacho  11:12

I’ve been blessed with a facility like this, because a man took a chance on me and he believed in me, and he said, I wanted to give you the opportunity to pay it forward. I’ve been very blessed to have a gym and two cages and my own little place to call home in the RPO.

Ray Camacho  11:31

Now that I’m kind of getting a little baseball hitting lessons near me momentum and things are going well, now I’m giving back because everything I do is going back to the kids. I have a lane now. I keep creating new logos and new things. I have fat on fat and fit on fit.

Ray Camacho  11:45

Actually, two days ago, I’m working on another logo flat on flat, because I have flat feet. I have probably like 20-30 kids that have flat feet. The first time I heard I had flat feet, the doctor was like, he’s going to have hard time with the ankle, he started saying all these negative things.

Ray Camacho  12:01

I had two or three ways to think about it. I was like, you know what, I don’t feel anything he’s saying. My ankles hurt a little bit, but I warm them up, I’m good to go. All those exercises he prescribed, I did them every day. I did them every day because I’ve always wanted to be the best at everything.

Ray Camacho  12:17

I was a football player at the time, I was the quarterback, I knew my feet needed to eat. I just worked out hard to grow my legs and my whole life I’ve had huge legs.

Ray Camacho  12:27

People have always talked about my legs, and I’ve always had my pants tighten up, always been a leadoff batter, I’ve always showed that physical strength that people can just see looking at my legs, and could tell that he might be good, he might be able to run a little bit.

Ray Camacho  12:42

I’ve taken pride with that, but that was instilled by my dad instilling those morals and those ethics. He really put a lot of good groundwork in myself, it’s kind of hard to go against some of those things sometimes.

Ray Camacho  12:55

It’s one of the reasons why I have a big heart. I just love hearing people’s stories; I’ve always been a good listener. When I hear an intelligent man speak, you shut up. That was like the number one rule my dad always said, you’re going to hang out with adults, you’re going to hang around grown men, shut up until they ask and talk to you if you’re a little boy.

Ray Camacho  13:15

Or if you don’t know what you’re talking about, you just listen. Listening taught me a lot of things. It’s right there in front of you if you listen in and aware of stuff.

Joey Myers  13:23

I love that man. I learn more about you the more we talk and that listening part as an advice, you have to know when you’re a teacher, you got to know when your student, and sometimes you got two teachers talking to each other. But sometimes even in that conversation, one teacher might know more than the other teacher.

Joey Myers  13:43

The teacher that doesn’t have quite the knowledge needs to, like you said shut up and listen, and not try and fight the other guy when they don’t have all the baseball hitting lessons near me information. It’s this kind of liquid relationship that happens between student and pupil, or pupil and teacher.

Joey Myers  14:01

I got on your Facebook page, there’s a cool quote, I’m thinking retweet. We’re not on Twitter. Here’s the quote, “It’s extremely tough as a parent to watch our kids struggle fail and be rejected. But if we don’t let them experience it, while they’re young, they’ll have no idea how to handle it when life shows up later down the road. Our job is to love them and teach them how to work through it.” Talk about that a little bit.

 

“It’s extremely tough as a parent to watch our kids struggle, fail, and be rejected. But if we don’t let them experience it, while they’re young, they’ll have no idea how to handle it when life shows up later down the road. Our job is to love them and teach them how to work through it.”

Ray Camacho  14:35

I told you this a little bit about last time what I do in the sessions, it’s because a lot of times, parents are hovering over and watching you move and work and talk. They’re watching everything and I’m very analytical myself, I may not see it.

Ray Camacho  14:49

I wear sunglasses all the time because I don’t want people to know where my eyes are going. It’s a coaching thing as well, but I understand the physical appearance, as you’re a coach and you’re sitting there like this, you look like you’re doing something.

Ray Camacho  15:03

If you’re staring at a kid, and he knows he’s messing up, he’s going to feel that energy. I’ve always done that. When I first started out, I was nervous about what people thought about what I was saying, I’m like, they think I’m messing their kid up.

Ray Camacho  15:16

Or maybe they’re not emotionally woke like me, or maybe they don’t understand some of the things. I got nervous speaking, but then I started realizing the kid is only going to be as good as the parents.

Ray Camacho  15:31

What I started doing was I just start sharing stories. As I continue to talk to other kids, and opening and motivate them, I always share my baseball hitting lessons near me life stories, because my life stories teach me a lot about things. I know the way I am because of my dad.

Ray Camacho  15:45

One of the best things my dad ever did, he coached me till I was 12, but he always let me play. He never over coached me; I don’t think I ever heard my dad yell at me on the field. He never told me to go warm up, he never told me to do anything, as soon as we got on the car, he already knew.

Ray Camacho  16:01

We were talking about that stuff of what we’re going to do and how we’re going to do and how you’re going to show up, how you’re going to look, who you are. He laid the platform for me when I was a little kid. This is what I do now, I just took it 100 million times more, because I went farther than him.

Ray Camacho  16:19

At age 12, he was always telling me that you’re better than ever I was, and he was my hero, my idol. As I started realizing interaction with parents, that parents are sabotages, as well. My big thing is, I need to make them understand whether you need to peel back or whether you need to be involved more.

Ray Camacho  16:39

My thing that I tell every parent is, especially the dads, because sometimes the dads have egos. Sometimes the softball dads are the worse. That’s their little girl, and I’m teaching their little girl. They get all huffy puffy, sometimes, but I just show them love and break them down and show them what I’m trying to teach.

Ray Camacho  16:59

My thing is, I teach the parents. I always tell the parents; your kid is only going to be as good as you. If you reiterate what I’m saying, and you back me up, because I’m always going to back you up, I am never going to say, I’m never going to disrespect you, your kid, I’m going to only help your relationship out.

Ray Camacho  17:17

We are a team, and it’s all about your kid. Obviously, parents love their kids. They’re going to understand that yes, you’re right. We’re not working against each other. Because if we do, now, the kid doesn’t know what the heck to do.

Ray Camacho  17:29

Now he’s always going to follow the parents’ lead. If I can have the parent buy in to baseball hitting lessons near me, I know it’s only a matter of time that kid buys them because now the kids are accepting. I always tell the story when I was 12, my dad sat me down and said, look, I’ve taught you everything I know, you’re better than me, I don’t know how to get you to that next level anymore, you must be looking for something else now, and learn from other people.

Baseball hitting lessons near me: “I like to pride myself in not being just like a scratch a surface guy. I get deep.”

Ray Camacho  17:54

I can honestly tell you, I didn’t learn from any other adults. No, all my coaches, maybe like one little rinky dink thing, but it was very generic. I like to pride myself in not being just like a scratch a surface guy. I get deep.

Ray Camacho  18:11

I always say breaking it down to the single digit. Like you got a million, I’m going to break it down all the way to the simplest form to get you to understand that if you don’t understand we’re going to keep doing it. I keep talking, I’m going to do some physical with you, because I need you to understand. I have simple goals when I get in the cage.

Ray Camacho  18:30

My dad released in me, and him being a big man and saying he can’t take me anymore, helped me take ownership on myself, because my dad had a bad back and he was in a bed for like a year. He was never supposed to ever walk again. He blew some disk and stuff like that.

Ray Camacho  18:48

I remember him being in a bed in the living room, just lying there all the time. And he showed me how to fold towels. He showed me how to do stuff. I was so literal, he would show me how to fold towels laying down in his bed, and I would lay down on the ground and fold towels.

Ray Camacho  19:05

I understood that kids mimic movements. I always prided myself in being healthy and in shape and showing kids and not just sitting on a bucket and getting up and working out and challenging the kids. I work out with the kids sometimes, I run with the kids sometimes.

Ray Camacho  19:21

I have a senior that’s coming to work out with me on Sundays, and I’m not charging them. It’s we’re working out together because I want to show them how it’s supposed to be done and how I work. I put my head down, I don’t see nothing, I just go to work. This is what I’m doing. I’m serious about it still because I want to be the best.

Ray Camacho  19:40

I’m playing in a World Series in Arizona for men’s and senior baseball league. I got stuff to prove. I haven’t played in a long time. I just want to give one last hurrah. I love learning so as I’m in this journey as well, I’m continuing to learn and I feel like if I’m learning, I’m growing and I’m going to pass it on to the kids. As I enhance my threshold in my knowledge, I’m bringing everybody with me.

Joey Myers  20:06

I love that. The idea that these kids nowadays, and I’ve heard this from multiple coaches, this isn’t just me, and I’ve not just heard it from you, but that players are soft. I think when you have these athletes in multiple sports, whether it’s soccer and football and whatnot, is people don’t realize when they get into baseball and softball, you and I could get into probably baseball hitting lessons near me arguments with other sports people about this, but I think hitting a baseball and softball consistently hard is the hardest thing to do in any sport.

 

I think hitting a baseball and softball consistently hard is the hardest thing to do in any sport

Joey Myers  20:42

I went into basketball for three years, and Michael Jordan was playing in the mid-90s, because I love Michael Jordan. I never played organized basketball, I did soccer, organize it in baseball, and I did martial arts for three years. But I did basketball just with some buddies on my street and did that. It was hard, but it took me I don’t know, six months, eight months, so I could finally figure out where I needed to shoot and things like that. They come into this sport and expect to hit .800 and .900.

Ray Camacho  21:13

It’s very disrespectful, honestly.

Joey Myers  21:17

It is and to have that kind of baseball hitting lessons near me mentality coming into our sport and thinking things are just going to be easy. I even have parents that it’s pitching versus hitting, what’s harder, and I always say that hitting is harder.

Joey Myers  21:30

I have a buddy that teaches pitching, he’s the guy I send my hitters to go learn pitching. Hitting is harder than pitching, I pitched all the way through my sophomore year in high school until I went full time outfield and hitting.

Joey Myers  21:46

The thing was, is I knew where I was going to throw the ball, what kind of pitch I was going to throw and in what location and speed. I knew all that beforehand, right? Whether it went there or not. Who knows? But hitting I don’t know any of that stuff and when they say well, there’s a mind game that the pitcher must play against a hitter. Well, doesn’t the hitter have to play mind game against a pitcher?

Ray Camacho  22:06

That’s what I teach, bro. That’s what I teach. I don’t film it because I don’t want to share it with people, but my feel work, my live at bats, that’s what the high school guys come for, because I did it better than anybody.

Ray Camacho  22:20

When I hit that homerun on Sunday, this guy was a nobody, and I’m not disrespecting him. But I know he was a nobody, he wasn’t throwing hard, just throwing like 70-75. I know who I am. Full count, he goes like this, to show me that curveball.

Ray Camacho  22:33

Right away, just to who I am. I never really paid attention to those things because I just saw the ball hit the ball at time. But I saw that, and I remember thinking curveball, and then as soon as it released, I saw that bad ass backspin and then I just crapped on it.

Ray Camacho  22:49

I was like you think you’re going to trick me with like JV tricks. Because for one you don’t throw hard, I’m not scared of you. Two, I know that if I sit back, you’re not going to blow anything by me.

Ray Camacho  23:01

I try to teach kids out because I do the same thing on the pitching. I wouldn’t call myself a pitcher, but I could pitch. I pitched a little bit in college, I pitched in high school, but they couldn’t take me out of shortstop because we didn’t have a shortstop.

Ray Camacho  23:12

When I pitch, they had the ball at shortstop. It’s frustrating because I used to be that guy making errors. Now somebody else is making errors for me. I call myself a competitor. I know how to play the game. I was never good paper guys.

Ray Camacho  23:27

One of the reasons why I feel like I didn’t get drafted. But you put me in a game I do all the right things I get on base; I steal the base. I read the ball. I see the pitcher.

Ray Camacho  23:36

I always liked hitting off big, big, tall pitchers because they always thought that they’re better than me because it’s physical. My dad was talking about it yesterday, and I can hear the anger in his voice how I got shortchanged from my size.

Ray Camacho  23:48

He goes I must tell everybody, I put you against anybody. I put you against anybody.  I remember sophomore year in high school, we were placed in Austin Buoy, and they had three dudes and we played them three games, we had three dudes, they’re all six foot plus, doing upper 80s lower 90s.

Ray Camacho  24:05

The first game I went for five off that guy’s a leadoff guy. Because they didn’t respect me, you’re trying to drive till mid upper 80s fastball is by me, I’m a fastball hitting son of a gun. I’m jumping on that. I just beat you, beat you, beat you guess what, next at bat curveball I sit on it. You can’t throw it because you’re trying to throw it, you’re already spinning on the ground.

Ray Camacho  24:23

I had an elimination process at age 10. I tell people I manifested and prayed to God for all these things that I had each night not knowing that I was doing this stuff. I taught myself how to keep two hands on the bat, there’s no tricks or gimmicks. Simply every night, told myself you hit the ball very good every time but you’re breaking apart.

Ray Camacho  24:44

Let’s just swing with two hands, see what happens. I would tell myself every night until it started happening. Of course, I practice it and I try to apply it and put it in my head.  My feel work was immaculate. Anytime I took a pitch, I always took it correctly. I was always on time. If I wasn’t, that’s a negative one in energy. So, I get out, I do two feel work.

Ray Camacho  25:05

I go one, two, or whatever I felt like I needed to do to get back in the box and get that back. I never understood it, but I was always going in the box plus one, or plus two, especially if I won that pitch. That means you didn’t buckle me; your curveball isn’t crap. I stare at it and I look back at you. I go yes, you got to throw me a fastball, let’s go.

Ray Camacho  25:24

I’m ready to rock and roll.  I was always ready to hit. I got my batting stance from Chipper Jones; he was my favorite player. His dad was out of Stetson University and he created the toe tap.

 

The toe tap to me is the most adjustable swing that I’ve ever had

Ray Camacho  25:36

The toe tap to me is the most timing the most adjustable swing that I’ve ever had.  I’ve dabbled in other things, I listened to other guys, and they’ve all ruined to me, and they took my time in a way my weight shift.

Ray Camacho  25:48

The biggest thing when it comes to pitching and hitting, they’re both rotational movements, you both must read energy. I literally move just like the pitcher when I hit. That’s why I’m superior in timing. I always tell pitchers this when you’re throwing, if you throw hard, or if you got gas, you’re trying to throw it down their throats every time most time unless you have a different mentality of maybe just don’t strike, you can’t throw strike.

Ray Camacho  26:14

When I got up there, I’m throwing my heart and soul every pitch because we’re competing. And I can do that, I always prided myself in being a 90% and 95, on everything I can do.

Ray Camacho  26:25

Now, I would never say 100, who can be 100 all the time. But I would say A plus student on the field. As far as I could, I could run as hard as I could because I had control. When I move to load back, that guy’s doing the same weight shift as I’m doing.

Ray Camacho  26:40

Of course, I have my strong legs and everything else they go with the timing, but I try to tell guys this because I show them right away from soft toss to the front toss to live, if you do not have a weight shift, you have no timing, and they don’t understand it. Someone along the way, told them not to move. My biggest thing is, this is how you tell if you have a good instructor a good coach or not.

Ray Camacho  27:02

If your coach limits your movement, if you’re Aaron Judge, you can limit movements. He’s Aaron judge, and he’s hella strong and badass. If you’re a JV guy that hasn’t gone on varsity yet, and if you’re weak, you limit movements, you’re not good, you’re not going do anything to the ball, because it’s strength and rhythm.

Ray Camacho  27:23

When a coach is telling you to get your foot down early, when coaches tell you to go to a two-strike approach, they’re taking your rhythm out, they’re taking your weight shift out, they’re not even teaching it properly. Or if they tell you to go oppo, and the guy throws you an inside pitch, you’re screwed.

Ray Camacho  27:38

Those are sabotage advice, and I talk about it openly. I don’t even care if the high school coaches hate me, because I care about the kid. If you tell him this, now he shut down and now he’s dumbed down. Now he cannot focus on practice and go as hard as he can.

Ray Camacho  27:57

I try to enhance everybody with balance and rhythm. That is it. It’s your balance and rhythm. It’s only a matter of time, and how do we know that? We watched your takes, because whether you like it or not, there’s a pitching coach who didn’t hit. I’m confident about this. A pitching coach who didn’t hit watching your feel work like a dumb pitcher, notice that like a pitcher.

Ray Camacho  28:20

I’m a hitter, a pitcher, a first baseman, a catcher, a right fielder, a third baseman, I’m everything. I’ve done everything. I think from those perspectives, but I think more like a pitcher and a catcher and a shortstop when I see hitters, and I’m like, am I scared of this guy? Or what am I seeing?

Ray Camacho  28:34

I can go to any high school game right now and call pitches and tell you exactly what’s going to happen? Because the coach is on level one, they’re on level one, until you start beating them or start sitting on pitches understanding that, then they’ll switch up, they’ll switch it up just like the game, right?

 

I don’t use a glove when I throw BP so I’ll hold curveball like this. I’ll hold it.  I want to see if they’re smart enough to look at my hand

Ray Camacho  28:48

That’s what I do with the high school guys, because I don’t use a glove when I throw BP so I’ll hold curveball like this. I’ll hold it.  I want to see if they’re smart enough to look at my hand. If not, then I just keep breaking them off. Keep breaking them off.  Then when I start seeing sit on it. I’m like, hey, what are you doing?  They’re like, Oh, I see it in your hand coach. Awesome.

Ray Camacho  29:08

Now I can manipulate you because now I hold it like that. Then I’ll throw a fastball because my fastball curveball.  I know how to compete. If you’re guessing you’re not ever going to beat me. I can do 30 minutes of fastball and curveball round with guys, I’m talking about varsity guys, and just beat them because they’re trying to guess.

Ray Camacho  29:30

I say you don’t guess if you guess I will blow a fastball by you because I’m reading your energy. I’m reading your movements, just like any coach would right now. The younger kids, I tell the dads and the moms, whoever’s helping them, whether you like it or not the kid is competing against an adult.

Ray Camacho  29:47

There’s a coach watching what he does, if he steps out, he’s going like this to the pitcher. Now the pitcher throws strikes. Now your kid doesn’t have a chance because he’s not understanding how he’s moving. He’s not understanding what he’s presenting to the whole baseball community when he’s doing that.

Ray Camacho  30:02

I’m trying to really get the guys to do field work. That means I really must control my sessions. If a kid takes a bad swing, if he takes two in a row, I have to stop and tell him to get out of the box and do feel work. Then I watch his feel work.

Ray Camacho  30:17

If his feel work is bad, then I got to stand up and go back over there and talk to him about it. Because the feel work matters what you’re going to do in the box. Sometimes they’re too immature to understand it. I got to keep talking about it and keep talking about it. My biggest thing is making them aware. My big varsity guys like to dive in.

Ray Camacho  30:35

I have this big thing of reading that energy and going back and forth, stop angles of feet, hips and shoulders, we’re not manipulating those right now, especially if you don’t need to understand how to hit. The balanced approach is just staying square.

Ray Camacho  30:49

Now that’s outside, you close up, go to right center field, and it’s down the middle or if you want to pull it you go left centerfield. Shoulders and hips. That’s it. That’s how the elite hit with our back hip.

Ray Camacho  31:03

I literally show the guys and then I go in there. If they don’t believe me, I show them how to hit where you want me to hit it, boom, I hit their left center, we want to hit right side, and boom, this is how we do it.

Ray Camacho  31:11

I’ve always had back control, my dad just showed me off with a five-year-old. I would just mechanically sound. That’s it. I was connected, the term connected, right. I try to show those guys how to be properly connected with their core, their breathing their chin.

Ray Camacho  31:26

Your head doesn’t matter if your feet suck, because the little kids, if their back foot never rotates properly, you don’t exist. Because you cut off all the power, you cut off that right eye or your left eye whatever way you’re swinging, and you don’t rotate properly. That’s the biggest thing.

Ray Camacho  31:42

Now if the back foot sucks the front foot is usually the culprit because the front side leaves the backside more ground up. That’s something that I figured out, but I don’t know if it’s out there already, but I don’t try to worry about everybody else. I know what I’m doing here, and how I speak. I try to make them understand that your head doesn’t matter. Your hands don’t matter if your feet are bad.

Joey Myers  32:03

I love it. Well, hey, I want to be respectful of your time a lot. A lot of great advice there. I love that, Ray. Glad that we did this. I’m sure we can do some part twos. Before we go, where can people find you, talk about the social media platforms. I know you got a website, but it looks like it’s a little under construction right now.

 

Where can people find you, talk about the social media platforms…

Ray Camacho  32:25

I’m big on social media. I got Snapchat, it’s RayCam4, just the number four. My Instagram is raycam4oe. I have fat on fat baseball on Instagram, fit on fit fitness on Instagram. I also have fit on fit fitness on Facebook as well.

Ray Camacho  32:45

I’m on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram all the big social media sites I have, fit on fit fitness, fat on fat baseball and my own personal page account. I just try to give information out to as many people as possible. I do a lot of free work because I feel like this stuff is so hard. That if you can do it, awesome.  It’s no secret. There’s no secret. I’m an open book. I’ll tell anybody anything. People reach out to me all the time in DMs and messages and I love my job.

Joey Myers  33:16

I love it. What are the one or two that you’re on most?

Ray Camacho  33:21

I would say Facebook and Instagram. I’m actually on tik tok as well, Ray Camp4oe

Joey Myers  33:27

I was going to say that was in there.

Ray Camacho  33:31

I did a video. Like two days ago and I’ve gotten like 100 followers on tik tok recently. I’m really surprised because I see a lot of baseball coaches getting roasted on TikTok. These kids are unrelentless.

Ray Camacho  33:47

I was telling a friend; I’ve been ready for a little kid to come talk smack to me. I can just get them, but it hasn’t happened. The only thing I can think of is I’m doing it right. They understand what I’m saying. I had a kid reached out to me say Hey, where’s part two? Hey, it’s one fan, right? I posted two. I was like, Alright, here we go two and three, because I’m willing to teach anybody who wants to learn because we’re all learning.

Joey Myers  34:13

Cool, dude. Thank you so much for your time again. Like I said, we’ll be in touch. I’ll get you all your stuff. We’ll kind of go from there and maybe do a part two, part three in the future.

Ray Camacho  34:24

Awesome, man. Thanks.

Joey Myers  34:25

Thanks for your baseball hitting lessons near me time, brother. Keep up the good work there.

Ray Camacho  34:28

You too, man.

Joey Myers  34:29

Alright, see you.

Mental Game Of Baseball

Mental Game Of Baseball: Anxiety Disorders Seen With Young Athletes Today & How to Fix?

 

 

In this mental game of baseball interview with Coach Derek Mayson, we go over (Estimated reading time: 26 minutes):

Mental Game Of Baseball

  • Give us a Little Background from where you Started – you have a Great Story…
  • When it comes to the mental game of baseball, What Anxiety Disorders do you see with Young Athletes Today and How to Fix?
  • What’s your advice to a young player that is putting a lot of pressure on themselves and is almost given himself deadlines if this doesn’t happen?
  • Contrarily, what is your advice to parents who have kiddos that don’t have motivation or inspiration to practice?
  • What was the one big thing or was it a few other factors that helped you to break out of your anxiety disorder?
  • Explain just a little bit about what the product is and walk us through that, where we can find your website, any kind of social media, YouTube, all that kind of stuff?

Click short mental game of baseball link for transcribed interview in pdf format: http://gohpl.com/derekmtranscription

We don’t go into the mental game as much here at HPL, but when we do, we do something like this post titled: “Mental Approach to Hitting: Failing Forward”

Here’s the full transcription with time stamps of the above video interview with Derek Mayson … ENJOY!

Joey Myers  00:06

Hello, and welcome to the Swing Smarter Monthly Newsletter. This is your host, Joey Myers from hittingperformancelab.com.

Joey Myers  00:11

Today, this is actually our first-time meeting in person, Derek Mayson. Welcome to the show, first of all.

Derek Mayson  00:19

Thanks for having me, Joey. This is great. Looking forward to it

Joey Myers  00:22

You got it. I’m going to let him go into a little bit more on what he does, but Derek teaches the mental game of baseball. In particular, with these, our group we talked about hitting, and we’ll be talking about the mental side of hitting in this program.

Joey Myers  00:39

What’s interesting about Derek is he’s our northern ally up in Canada. Anytime we can promote Canadians and get Canadians out there, showed up on the complete sports podcast, Darren runs that, he’s a Canadian, fellow Canadian. It’s kind of cool.

Joey Myers  00:55

We had a little conversation, hour and a half, and talked a lot about some of the challenges with getting more Canadians recruited in playing Major League Baseball and things like that, like Justin Morneau, Larry Walker, and some of the very big ones out there. Anytime we can promote Canada, we’d love to do it.

Joey Myers  01:17

First question, Derek. Just give us a little bit of a background from where you started in the mental game of baseball. You have a great story. Go ahead and just give us that elevator pitch there.

 

Give us a Little Background from where you Started in the Mental Game of Baseball – you have a Great Story…

Derek Mayson  01:31

I’m from North Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. I’ve grown up playing fastpitch softball, actually, pretty unique. These days, the men’s game has dwindled off and don’t see a lot of male participants in the sport anymore, but it still has an international competition.

Derek Mayson  01:57

I grew up playing fast pitch from five years old, sprinkled a little bit of baseball in there, but that’s really been my focus. Growing up here playing on provincial teams, first got noticed into the national team conversation around the age of 19 or 20 and made my debut with Team Canada at a Pan American championship in Mexico in 2006.

Derek Mayson  02:22

I’ve been with the national team program since then, I’ve played in four World Championships, I’ve won a gold medal at Worlds and three bronze, also won the Pan Am Games in 2015.

Derek Mayson  02:35

I’ve been really fortunate to play at the highest level of competition in our sports and travel the world playing in Australia and New Zealand couple of winters down there. As well as done some coaching with the Team Canada women’s Olympic team prior to the Beijing Olympics of 2008.

Derek Mayson  02:56

As I said my international career started around 2006-2009 was my first world, leading into that, just having some uncertainty in my life coming back from some travel after finishing my university degree.

Derek Mayson  03:10

I started to experience an anxiety disorder which really you know, kind of rocked my life but as well in tandem with that my performance on the field. I feel like I didn’t bring my best self to that 2009 Worlds which was my first debut at an international major event like that.

Derek Mayson  03:33

From there brought my play down, brought my quality of life down to the point where for the 2013 Worlds, I was cut from that team, that was the first time I’d ever been cut from a ball team in my life and kind of faced the Crossroads where I had to consider. I was 28-29 at the time, happy with having played at Worlds and kind of move on or am I going to sink my teeth into this and figure it out and get my game back, get my mental strength, mental capacity back essentially.

Derek Mayson  04:11

I chose the latter fortunately, I continued to educate myself with quality coaching and counseling on that side. I really sunk my teeth into different areas around the psychology of sports and of life.

Derek Mayson  04:27

Learning about sports psychology, dedicating myself to mindfulness meditation practice and for me as a jock coming up, when it was first introduced to me, it was like wow, this is like for monks in the Himalayas or dudes wearing robes off in the Alps or something like that, this is not me.

Derek Mayson  04:48

But I read Phil Jackson’s book 11 Rings, and he spoke a lot about how we brought the Zen tradition but more so just it’s a focused practice to the Bulls then to the Lakers of the 90s and early 2000s. Being an athlete, I really connected with that.

Derek Mayson  05:07

Follow that up by reading George Mumford book, The Mindful Athlete. Again, just seeing how to see the mind from a different perspective and better understand what it’s doing, why it’s doing, especially when you’re struggling, when you’re facing all sorts of challenging thoughts or tense feelings and stuff like that, how to navigate through that and rather than fight against it, but work through it, and be able to put it aside and focus exactly in that moment where you need to be.

Derek Mayson  05:42

I got back on the team in 2014, my play much improved, regain my starting spot for 2015 for the World Championship win, and the Pan Am Games win. Since then, I played in two Worlds, I’ve continued to broaden my knowledge in this area.

Derek Mayson  06:01

I’ve always wanted to share this information with individuals or young athletes who are coming up in A, they may be experiencing similar challenges, or B, they’re just looking to get their game to that next level by strengthening their mental skills.

Derek Mayson  06:20

Rather than taking the one-to-one consulting approach, I’ve developed an online mental training program, which is a six week daily guided program for athletes and coaches to follow, which follows the path of short, two-to-four-minute audio lessons with some video lessons mixed in and some exercises each day to start by just better understanding how the mind works.

Derek Mayson  06:50

Introducing some of those focus practices that it’s just like learning any other skill where we’re trying to adjust our swing in a particular way, or learn to hit an off-speed pitch, we have to do repetition and work on drills and stuff like that.

Derek Mayson  07:05

These are skills, they can be taught, and they can be learned. Working through exercises in that sense, taking it from these practices outside of the game and bringing them onto the field, and how we can incorporate those into building more presence and focus into our game.

Derek Mayson  07:27

Looking at how to deal with those challenging thoughts and thought patterns that creep up for all of us. Sometimes they just take up too much real estate in your head and inhibits our ability to focus.

Derek Mayson  07:38

Looking at some common obstacles like fear of failure, fear of what others are thinking, how do we approach being in a slump, and how can we work our way through that mentally to get through successfully.

Derek Mayson  07:52

It’s been a passion of mine to talk about this, to teach others and getting some great traction in both the baseball and fastpitch side of things, it’s a unique opportunity for an individual to go through, but also, I’m getting a lot of teams. It’s a cool team bonding experience that they can collaborate for.

Joey Myers  08:15

Cool, you shared a lot of mental game of baseball info, and we’ll deep dive into some of that. I love that. I wanted to start with, if you don’t mind me asking, you mentioned anxiety disorder. I know you were going through if you don’t mind, I understand if you don’t, but I’m sure there’s plenty out there, like you said that are probably dealing with the same thing.

Joey Myers  08:36

If you can go into maybe a little bit more detail what that was for you. Do you see some of the challenges, maybe the top two, when it comes to those different anxiety disorders, thank you to the 2020 stuff. Maybe what you had to deal with, a little bit more in depth, and maybe how you got out of that, what was the aha moment? Maybe what you see the top two things from 2020 that are going to come up.

 

When it comes to the Mental Game of Baseball, What Anxiety Disorders do you see with Young Athletes Today and How to Fix?

Derek Mayson  09:05

As far as my experience with it, it’s kind of different for a lot of individuals who experience this, and unfortunately, they say this is the most anxious generation to date.

Derek Mayson  09:20

For me, I had some insomnia troubles, which goes without saying is going to affect your performance as far as being sharp and just where your mind is. Overall, with that, the line of thinking that I was under, it was creating a lot of tension in my body.

Derek Mayson  09:45

Definitely didn’t have that relaxation feel to be able to come onto the field and just let it flow. A lot of worry type thinking that was quite pervasive. I think the biggest thing that I realized over time was fighting against those types of feelings and those thoughts.

Derek Mayson  10:09

What I mean by that is, for any individual, if you just pause, and it’s quiet and just try and listen to sounds for a second, within about half a second, one or two seconds, thoughts just going to pop into your head, whether it’s what you got to do next, maybe it’s something silly.

Derek Mayson  10:30

Or if your mind is stuck in this habit of negative pervasive thoughts, they may be something that’s self-critical or judging against yourself. The realization that these thoughts that just pop into our heads, we don’t really have any control over that, they’re called automatic thoughts.

Derek Mayson  10:51

When they’re negative, they called automatic negative thoughts or ANTs for short. So, the realization that I don’t have any control over this, if I’m beating myself up over these thoughts popping into my head, or from my body feeling tense for a particular reason, I’m really just kind of adding to the tension and angst within my mind or within my body.

Derek Mayson  11:16

By understanding that those are automatic, it’s based off of however my previous experiences, or maybe some hardships I’ve undergone in previous years. If I don’t fight those, and don’t give my mind the trigger that is saying, “That’s bad, I need to fight against that”, essentially the mind is saying, “Oh, you gave me some attention, I’ll send some more of those types of thoughts”.

Derek Mayson  11:47

If we kind of just notice it, and let it go, over time, the mind figures out that okay, maybe these aren’t very useful tight thoughts, I don’t need to keep sending thought that what if I strike out, everyone’s going to laugh at me, or who’s in the stands, or the scouts in the crowd or anything like that, whereby we can let those go and stop fighting against those.

Derek Mayson  12:12

The other thing is learning how to become present on the field. When I was first introduced to mental training, when it comes to sport, it was often said, you got to be fully present, you got to be fully present on the field. I kind of took that to be, Okay, well the game is two or three hours long, I got to be focused for two or three hours.

Derek Mayson  12:35

That’s just not how the mind is made. The mind is made to focus in short stints and then wander off. We just learn to notice that, and then bring it back gently, and wanders, it comes back, wanders, come back.

Derek Mayson  12:48

To understand A, why the mind does that, but also B, how do we bring it back? We can do that by utilizing our senses. If that’s on the field, rather than thinking about the ball, we throw away two innings ago, we can notice that our mind has gone off there, and I can reconnect with my breath, I can reconnect with the feeling of the dirt under my cleats, connecting with our senses, they are inherently present.

Derek Mayson  13:15

You can’t hear something 10 minutes ago; you can’t taste something two days from now. They happen right now. By connecting with those senses, you’re able to bring yourself back to the present moment. It’s better to just let go of those challenging thoughts.

Joey Myers  13:32

Very cool. I love that. That was one thing, I was at headspace, the headspace app, and I did that for a couple years and learned that whole idea of you don’t fight the thought even when it’s negative. The natural tendency is to say that’s ridiculous, that’s not true.

Joey Myers  13:51

Like you said, it’s almost like the mind goes, Oh, there’s some attention, let’s do more of that. I have a hitter, I have a young online hitter right now, fairly young, and he is a hard worker. For his age, he’s got a black belt, I think it’s in Taekwondo, which is pretty impressive.

Joey Myers  14:09

But the swing, he seems to be having a hard time, he’s putting a lot of pressure on himself to the next month, I better do well or else I’m going to quit. He puts his work in, he’s working half hour a day.

Joey Myers  14:24

I usually recommend to my hitters at least five minutes a day, four days a week. I don’t say thousands of swings and all that kind of stuff. You know how it is with some players, they shut off. They’re like I’m not doing that, and we try and start short.

Joey Myers  14:37

This player is on the other side of the spectrum where I have to almost tell him to take days off. For his age it’s pretty crazy. He puts a lot of pressure on himself. What’s your mental game of baseball advice to a young player that is putting a lot of pressure on themselves and is almost given himself deadlines if this doesn’t happen?

Joey Myers  14:54

We’re talking about hitting here, hitting is a very challenging skill in probably, arguably, any sport, you could probably agree with me on that, maybe more so than pitching. What advice would you give him?

What’s your advice to a young player that is putting a lot of pressure on themselves and is almost given himself deadlines if this doesn’t happen?

Derek Mayson  15:09

When it comes to better understanding that belief system that he’s working through. Essentially what his mind is telling him is, if I don’t get this by next month or if I’m not the best, then what’s the point? You kind of have to dig a little deeper into the thought patterns and understand where they’re coming from, and potentially it is to that root belief of, I got to be the best or it’s not even worth it.

Derek Mayson  15:43

We kind of peel back the layers of the onion, to get to that core belief that is coming through, and breaking that apart a little bit, almost how a lawyer would break it down very objectively.

Derek Mayson  16:00

Let’s look at that, that belief of if I’m not the best, it’s not even worth it. How many people are the best hitter in the world? There’s only going to be one and there’s a lot of other hitters in the world, too, it’s very objective as to what is the best hitter in the world.

Derek Mayson  16:22

Breaking it down and being able to see that there’s this belief that has built up, it’s not necessarily true. Now, every time he sees a thought along those lines of, I must get it done by next month, he could step back and go— you know what, that’s not actually true. Just because my mind tells me that it doesn’t mean it’s true.

Derek Mayson  16:46

What we do in the program is work through developing some affirmations against that. Rather than letting the mind continue to tell you that I must get this done next month or there’s no point, could create an affirmation in the opposite effect.

Derek Mayson  17:04

As far as I’m working hard, and I’m improving every day, and my skills are going to develop over time. Rather than having a strict schedule towards it, softening that approach, like we talked about a double-edged sword sometimes, where we need that drive, to push us, to put in the work, to practice. Otherwise, we’re going to be on the couch and not working on your skills.

Derek Mayson  17:35

But the other side of that sword is pushing ourselves too hard, putting too much mental strain on. I think understanding that just because your mind tells you something, it doesn’t mean it’s true, that you can challenge that, and plug in some more affirmations that work more in your favor, as opposed to just going with whatever your mind tells you.

Joey Myers  18:03

I love that. Thank you, Derek, for that. On the opposite side, this particular hitter is, I don’t want to call him an anomaly, because it’s not like it’s super rare, but there are hitters that work almost too hard. I was one of those.

Joey Myers  18:17

I learned throughout my career that I had to take time off. When I was really frustrated, or I was really just disappointed in my play, that I would skip out on the extra BP or I would come to the ballpark, I wouldn’t come early like I would before to try and put some extra work in and I would take those breaks.

Joey Myers  18:33

How about the hitter on the other side, some of those parents out there, I get emails and when I put out surveys, they’ll say the biggest frustration is actually getting their kid boy or girl to actually do the work. Inspirational side or motivational side, what’s your mental game of baseball advice for those parents working with those kiddos?

 

Contrarily, what is your advice to parents who have kiddos that don’t have motivation or inspiration to practice?

Derek Mayson  18:58

Again, that is a tough one because usually when you see athletes who rise to the top of their group, their sport and that sort of thing, a lot of that is intrinsically motivated, they are the ones who want to go to practice. They are the ones who want to put in that work.

Derek Mayson  19:21

Especially when it comes to youth sports, I’m very much an advocate of focusing on the fun aspect of it, not focusing on what could be with college scholarships, or what could be with pros if you just listen to me. In that essence you can turn off a kid by pushing them too hard, if it’s just not theirs, but by focusing more on the fun elements and letting them figure out what drives them to play the sport, that’s going to be much longer lasting than just going about it in practice, because mom or dad told me to, or because it’s a chore.

Derek Mayson  20:05

I think it must come from that joy of the sport and lessening that pressure, understanding that maybe they’re avoiding doing extra work, because maybe there’s some fear involved that they might not be living up to some expectations that we may or may not know that we’re putting on the kid. Again, coming back to the fun and taking that pressure off that. Let it be their drive to do it.

Joey Myers  20:35

Great advice. I think that worked both ways from the hitter that’s not as inspired and the hitter that’s almost overly inspired. I think that fun element and relationship is a big thing. That’s great advice.

Joey Myers  20:48

On the hitting side, you mentioned slumps. What’s your mental game of baseball advice when it comes to hitters that are in slumps? Like you said objective, it could be 0-for-30, it could be an 0-for-10 0-for five, it just means whatever slump is to the hitter, what are some of the things, maybe the top two things that you recommend that they do to help them transition out of it?

Derek Mayson  21:11

First thing is having that perspective, you talked about 0-for-30, 0-for-10, whatever it is, typically, in a season, you’re going to have four to 700 at bats or something like that, it’s a small segment of that entire season of your entire career.

Derek Mayson  21:32

You also probably have been through a slump previously, and it did come to an end. Sometimes when we’re in slumps, we figure, there’s no way out of this. But understanding that you’re in it right now, forcing your way out of it isn’t the way.

Derek Mayson  21:51

The other thing I like to think of is, when we think of bringing a slump with us to the plate, we’re carrying that baggage of that 0-for-10 up to the plate. But when we’re up there, we can’t do anything about those previous at that, they’ve already happened.

Derek Mayson  22:08

Essentially, as much as we can, bring in that 0-0 mentality to the plate, that this is a brand-new opportunity, brand new approach. As much as we can bring that presence practice, onto the field.

Derek Mayson  22:23

What I mean by that is, the mind is going to revert back, you’re going to be on deck going, it’s going to save you, you’re 0-for-10. You need to get ahead here, you got to bust out, we can notice that our mind is trying to do that, we don’t have to necessarily just go with that.

Derek Mayson  22:40

Notice it, let go, get back into the feel of our swing, get back into the dirt feeling under our feet, get extremely present and break it down very individually, sense to sense, step to step, get into the box, and then break it down into what I call “what’s real moment”.

Derek Mayson  23:01

As opposed to thinking, three pitches ahead, and if he paints the outside corner with this, I got to be ready for a down and in, everything like that, breaking it down to what’s real.

Derek Mayson  23:13

I’m standing here with a bat, the pitchers out there with a ball, and my best chance here is to rely on my natural abilities. And to just rely on your reaction and instinct, rather than thinking your way through that, rely on your instinct and just let your talents flow.

Joey Myers  23:31

That’s great one. Yeah, relying on your instinct. Usually, because I was more of a thinker. It would usually get me in trouble. It was a blessing and a curse, right? Don’t need to think ahead and do things ahead of the game, be ahead of the game.

Joey Myers  23:45

Especially in times of slumps, you tend to overthink and overanalyze. I used to look at some of my teammates who seemed to be like cavemen more than over thinkers.  I used to just think, I wish I could be like Brian more, I wish I could think like him, when you have the attention span of a gnat, where something’s in front of your face, and once it’s gone, and you forget all about it. I wish, at some point, I could do that.

Joey Myers  24:10

I like how you gave that bit of advice. Before we get to a little bit more of what you’re doing. I know you touched on that a little bit on your programming and stuff, and we’ll ask you where people can find you.

Joey Myers  24:23

One of the one of the questions I had, when you talked about that you pretty much transitioned out of that anxiety of insomnia. You mentioned a few things, I think you mentioned meditation and trying to be more present in the moment.

Joey Myers  24:36

What was the one big thing or was it a few of those mental game of baseball factors that helped you to break out of that? Was there one thing that really transitioned you out and some of the other things helped climb up that ladder? Or was it just a group of different things and what were they?

 

What was the one big thing or was it a few other factors that helped you to break out of your anxiety disorder?

Derek Mayson  24:53

I think the biggest thing for me and whether it’s achieved through meditation, it was meditation, others it can be just a just a realization and more presence of mind of having that separation between mind and self.

Derek Mayson  25:14

There is a reason that headspace is called headspace, it’s being able to see the mind doing what it does separate from myself. What I mean by that is, my mind may tell me that we haven’t got to hit off this picture in six tries. I don’t want to look like a fool today.

Derek Mayson  25:41

I know there’s some scouts in the crowd, and the mind may be doing all this. Essentially, understanding why the mind is doing that, it’s trying to protect us, it’s trying to prepare, it goes way back to how the human brain has evolved over time to protect us and keep the species alive. It’s always kind of looking out for us.

Derek Mayson  26:02

It will ping these thoughts and over time, if we give those thoughts a lot of attention, like we said, it’s going to keep spiraling. To be able to understand that, it’s just the mind trying to protect me, I can put that aside. Like we said, bring our presence to the field, and let her natural abilities flow as much as possible.

Derek Mayson  26:25

When I was having my hardest times, it was that overthinking state of getting into the box and trying to predict what the next pitch was, at the same time it’s trying not to, whether it was built up in the mind of don’t embarrass yourself here or don’t waste your at-bat because you’re supposed to be this type of player.

Derek Mayson  26:53

Getting caught up in all those habitual thoughts, being able to separate from those, that’s just the mind doing its thing. I don’t have to buy into those, I can let go, and just be with what’s here. It’s me, I’m on a ball field, I got a bat, there’s a pitcher with the ball. Let’s do this.

Joey Myers  27:11

I love that. With my hitters we work mechanical stuff, and I tell them, there’s certain things that we work with that you can bring to the field today. We talked about something like finger pressure, where it’s just squeezing tight, but it’s nothing like some of the other things we teach where it’s a little bit more cognitive load, and tell them, when you get into the box, all you’re thinking about is just competing.

Joey Myers  27:36

I think that’s basically what you’re saying— work based off of instinct. You must trust the work that you put in outside of the box, and once you get in, like you said, it just you, you got a bat in your hand, you got a guy that’s got a ball, and you’re not even really paying attention, that’s the other thing causes anxiety.

Joey Myers  27:50

You think, this guy, he’s one of those above average velocity guys, and he’s really good. He’s being scouted. He’s verbal to a big-time college school and all that. Like you said, it’s that forward, that future thinking or we’re bringing past in, and it’s just become so heavy that it almost paralyzes you. Particularly good. Awesome.

Joey Myers  28:12

I want to be respectful of your time. You talked a little bit about what your product is and what you’re doing. Explain just a little bit about what the mental game of baseball product is and walk us through that, where we can find your website, any kind of social media, YouTube, all that kind of stuff.

 

Explain just a little bit about what the product is and walk us through that, where we can find your website, any kind of social media, YouTube, all that kind of stuff?

Derek Mayson  28:35

The mental game of baseball program is called the Locked In Mental Training Program, it can be found at lockedinmentaltraining.com. It’s a six week daily guided online program that users access through whatever device, typically a mobile phone.

Derek Mayson  28:52

Each day, users will have a two-to-four-minute audio lesson, along with some daily guided exercises to run through each day, to reinforce the learnings. Rather than just kind of passively sitting back and listening to something and thinking that it’s going to be absorbed again, this is a skill that has to be practiced.

Derek Mayson  29:16

Each day, about 5-10 minutes of practice, which varies between some focus practice to bringing some more presence into your day. I like to talk about how the mind itself, we’re not just training it to be a better ballplayer because we bring our mind everywhere, we go.

Derek Mayson  29:37

This mental game of baseball training, it’s training for life skills, better presences as an athlete, as students, as in your relationships or career, with those exercises, there’s focused practices, some journal exercise, exercises to do to break down some of those thought patterns to better understand how to work through those challenging thoughts.

Derek Mayson  30:06

Over those six weeks, students often come back to me saying they have a much better attention to where their mind is at any time. As opposed to just writing off some of those more challenging thought patterns.

Derek Mayson  30:23

Coaches enjoy it, because we all know the mental game is a huge part of sports, but the hard part is how do we bring that in a program, in a guided process to athletes, a lot of times, we bring in a guest speaker or say, read this book. That’s the end of it.

Derek Mayson  30:44

This is a guided day by day process that builds up through an understanding of how the mind works, and specific exercises that we can bring onto the field of play, to get us in that great mindset to be present and ready to compete.

Derek Mayson  31:01

Again, lockedinmentaltraining.com, you can find me on social @lockdownmentaltraining on Facebook, and Instagram, @DerekMayson on Twitter. I love to talk to some coaches or players out there about the mental game or we’re setting it up for their team for a cool team bonding experience.

Joey Myers  31:25

Cool. Well, thank you for your time, Derek. And again, like I said, this is the mental game of baseball, or just even playing in general. I love how you how you transition to that.

Joey Myers  31:37

It’s not just baseball or softball that you’re learning, but it’s you’re learning life through baseball and softball, and I’m all about that, and anybody that can put something together that’s going to help both of those two things, and not just the baseball, softball, because someday that career will end, whether that’s going to be after Little League or high school, college or professional or Olympics.

Joey Myers  31:59

At some point, that career is going to end, and you got to have those skills, you develop those mental game of baseball skills to be able to apply to life, wherever that takes you. So, I appreciate your message, Derek, and I’ll get everything together for you send that over and then you can do with it how you will, but thanks again for your time, brother.

Derek Mayson  32:16

Glad to, love what you’re doing, Joey and let me know how you want to continue to connect in the future.

Joey Myers  32:23

You got it. Keep up the good work up there in our northern border.

Derek Mayson  32:28

You got it, I appreciate it.

Joey Myers  32:29

Softball Practice Drills

Softball Practice Drills: “What Are You Looking for When Recruiting Hitters?”

 

 

In this softball practice drills interview with Justin Lewis, Softball Hitting Coach for the Fresno State Bulldog softball team, we’ll be looking at…Softball Practice Drills

  • How did you get to being the hitting coach for Fresno State softball?
  • What do you do when you come into a new program?
  • What are you looking for when recruiting hitters?
  • Do you guys do game planning?
  • Do you have your girls hunt the rise ball?
  • Softball practice drills: do you do pitch recognition stuff with the girls?
  • You’re getting ready in a short amount of time? What’s high priority right now?
  • Anything else that you’re working on?

Coach Justin and I ran into each other a few years back when he was doing his Coaching Minds podcast.  Justin is a good friend of mine, so I think you’ll enjoy learning about softball practice drills and many other things a coach has to deal with coming into a program during COVID…

Below is the audio transcription of the interview.  CLICK HERE to download the transcription PDF. This is one of 24 expert interviews included in my new Swing Smarter book.

Enjoy!

 


Justin Lewis  00:00

I think she hit two home runs off those, she was like four for four with two jacks. Yeah, she was incredible.

Joey Myers  00:09

Wow. Well, there’s a bunch that opted out last MLB season two. I don’t know who really, but I know there were a few. Are you ready to get started?

Justin Lewis  00:20

Yes, whatever you need, brother.

Joey Myers  00:22

All right, let me do an official role here.

Joey Myers  00:25

Welcome to Swing Smarter monthly newsletter. This is your host Joey Myers from hittingperformancelab.com, and I have the pleasure today of returning the favor, Mr. Coach Justin Lewis.

Joey Myers  00:34

He had me on his softball practice drills podcast a few years back, and he has just moved here to California actually, specifically Fresno, he just got the hitting instructor job for Fresno State softball.

Joey Myers  00:48

I want to first welcome you to the softball practice drills show, and welcome you to California, Justin.

Justin Lewis  00:51

Yes, brother. Thanks for having me. I appreciate it, and yes, the tables have turned here.

Joey Myers  00:58

Well, in those days, you were still doing the firefighter gig and you were looking to start to get your foot in the door for coaching and things like that. Now, you’re the hitting coach for Fresno State softball.

Justin Lewis  01:10

Yeah, it’s kind of been a whirlwind last three and a half years. I was driving a fire truck three and a half years ago when we last chatted. What’s funny about that podcast, I loved doing that podcast, and I actually miss it a lot.

Justin Lewis  01:23

I miss having great conversations, with people like you, but I started it because I wasn’t having any luck getting back into the game. It was like, well, let’s start this little journey and then I got the opportunity to kind of get back in. This is my third school and three and a half season goal, and my fourth season now.

Joey Myers  01:46

So, Tracy’s back there, you started the softball practice drills podcast to try and get your foot back in the door in the game. How did you get to where you are now? How did that domino help you to get to where you’re at?

 

How did you get to being the hitting coach for Fresno State softball?

Justin Lewis  01:58

Yeah, I don’t know that the podcast really helped me that much. Basically, Mike Kandrey at University of Arizona is one that really helped me out the most.

Justin Lewis  02:07

I was living in Tucson, driving a fire truck, but I was working on Mike’s camps. That’s really what helped me get in. Then, Craig Nicholson was out of coaching and was looking to get back in and he took a Division Two head job at Texas A&M Kingsville.

Justin Lewis  02:27

I had known him from we were both at Central Arizona College together. He was the head softball coach, and I was coaching baseball there. We had a relationship and that’s kind of how it worked out.

Justin Lewis  02:39

I went to Kingsville, took a team that hadn’t been to the conference tournament in 10 years. We went to the conference tournament the first year, and then the second year, went all the way to the DII World Series and finished second.

Justin Lewis  02:51

We got double dipped on the last day to lose it. It was kind of a rough one. But D2 right, they’re going to make you do a doubleheader in the championship game.

Joey Myers  03:03

Yeah. Right. Like little league?

Justin Lewis  03:07

Yes, and so then a friend of mine got the head job at Texas A&M Corpus Christi, which is a D1 school down there. I was already living in Corpus Christi, so it was an easy transition, I got to sneak into division one ball and didn’t even have to move.

Justin Lewis  03:23

Then this opportunity came along, and it was just too good of an opportunity to pass up, being able to join a program that’s firing on all cylinders. They had a great run before COVID hit last year. I can join them, and hopefully, coming here will not screw things up.

Joey Myers  03:44

Was it just one of the few openings that came up, Fresno State? How did you land here?

Justin Lewis  03:58

It came open. They kind of went through the hiring freeze with COVID, after the Coach Lisle left. It was just kind of a timing thing, and I had some people reached out to me and asked if I would be interested in it.

Justin Lewis  04:16

I hadn’t even really thought about it, I wasn’t planning on leaving where I was at, we were building, we took over a team that had only won eight games the year before we got there. We were kind of in our complete rebuild.

Justin Lewis  04:29

I was really looking forward to going through that journey because we brought 13 new kids into Corpus this year, and then had an amazing recruiting class coming in 2021. I was super excited because that team is going to be nasty.

Justin Lewis  04:45

I was looking forward to being part of that. I wasn’t planning on leaving until I could get a head coaching job, it was kind of my goal.

Justin Lewis  04:54

I wasn’t really looking to leave for another assistance role, but again, just the opportunity to come join a top 25 program, with the facilities that we have here.

Justin Lewis  05:05

As a hitting guy, they got everything in the world you could want here. I haven’t been to a school yet that had any more technology than my cell phone. Having an indoor hitting facility with hit tracks, K motion, blast, and everything we got, it was just kind of an ideal situation for us.

Joey Myers  05:27

What do you do – softball practice drills – when you come into a program? Like the last couple ones you talked about, they only won eight games. As a hitting guy, where do you start? That’s a big challenge. Where do you start with that?

 

What do you do – Softball practice drills – when you come into a new program?

Justin Lewis  05:42

Just start with the basics, if you don’t even know where to sometimes, it’s so overwhelming, because you didn’t recruit any of those kids, right? When I recruit, I try to recruit swings that I already love, because they limit us in time so much that we don’t have time to do complete rebuilds of swings, it’s just unrealistic.

Justin Lewis  06:04

That’s even if the kids want to. It’s a lot of just band aids and try to make them as good as they can possibly be with what they’re already working with.

Justin Lewis  06:17

At the end of the day, one of the reasons I recruit swings that I already love, besides the timing factor, is I don’t want to take something away from a kid, even if you make a change, you still kind of took something from them, right?

Justin Lewis  06:29

To me, mentally that does something to them. Luckily, we’re in situations where those kids were hungry for any kind of knowledge and work ethic. It was just kind of lucky that when I was at Kingsville, there were some really talented pieces that were in place, and we kind of fell into a great situation. That was nice.

Justin Lewis  06:55

The last year was a little rough just because there wasn’t a whole lot of talent there, but just great kids that wanted to work. We were better, we were 6 and 16 when COVID hit and kids were gelling and starting to really buy in.

Justin Lewis  07:14

We probably would have won about 20 games is my guess, which doesn’t sound great but compared to eight the year before. I was kind of sad for those kids to not get to finish off showing that we were better.

Justin Lewis  07:30

The teams that we played could tell that we were better. We were competing in games that they had no business competing in the year before and snuck a couple of sneaky wins in over some teams that we had no business beating.

Justin Lewis  07:45

You miss it for those seniors that didn’t get to finish it. As far as just the hitting goes, it’s just tough, it is just putting in the reps with the kids that want to work and just trying to put it all together.

Joey Myers  08:00

It makes it nice when they actually want to learn and want to get better at softball practice drills. I always tell my dads or my buddies “hey, do you want to get into college coaching or high school coaching? I’m doing a little league thing by default because my son’s eight now”. We’ve been doing that, you know?

Joey Myers  08:19

I always tell him, well, it’s nice with the private small group stuff we do because all those kids want to be there. They all want to get better and the parents want that as well.

Joey Myers  08:29

When you say that it makes it easier when you walk into a facility or softball practice drills program even if you didn’t recruit those hitters. You mentioned the kind of swings that you’re looking for, what are the top, maybe one or two things, say like Fresno State moving forward, when you get to start recruiting bid? Or maybe you guys are still doing that now? What are you looking for?

 

What are you looking for when recruiting hitters?

Justin Lewis  08:54

A couple things, the biggest thing I look for is, I look for kids that are already naturally keeping their barrel in the middle of a field. It’s like the recruiting velocity for pitchers. It’s just more room for air.

Justin Lewis  09:10

Kids that already naturally do that, that’s like number one for me. Are we swinging the bat hard? Are we trying to do damage? It may look pretty but there’s no juice behind it. Kids that are real spinning, I try to avoid even if they look the part.

Justin Lewis  09:33

A lot of times in travel ball you get these kids that are 5’9″. Big strong kid, they’re on the right travel ball team, and they get enough bad pitching in high school and travel ball that they can make that swing work.

Justin Lewis  09:47

You better understand that swinging will translate to this level where kids are upper 60s and painting corners like crazy and 80% of our pitching is probably on the outside part of the plate and it’s there for a reason, it’s all these kids come in.

Justin Lewis  10:03

As they’re growing and getting older, they are getting stronger, they realize that if I get going this way in a hurry, spin it in one direction, I got a little bit of juice. That just doesn’t translate when you get to this level. Naturally, I just look for those kids that naturally just keep their barrel in the middle of the field.

Joey Myers  10:23

The other thing in softball, you have the high fastball and baseball but on the big field, 60 feet six inches to see that ball come and travel. But in softball, it’s 43 feet, right? You have less time, so the rise ball comes in, and when you have that spinny swing, typically what follows is that barrel gets in the zone way too early and drops because the minute that barrel leaves the shoulder, gravity starts taking over and rotational forces start taking over and drag the barrel down.

Joey Myers  10:51

That rise ball becomes a challenge. The past school, was that baseball or was that softball?

Justin Lewis  10:58

I’ve been in softball ever since I got back. I played men’s fastpitch for 15 years. That’s kind of where I fell in love with the game. You look at it as like a business move if you looked at just that way.

Justin Lewis  11:17

Softball, to me, is the way to go. I talked to baseball guys all the time, like you got to get into softball. There’s so much room for growth, and there’s so much dominant coaching, just excellent coaching, and all levels of college baseball.

Justin Lewis  11:32

I was getting in as a 40-year-old assistant, starting from the bottom. I wasn’t 23 or 24 right. I had to make a business decision as well. It wasn’t just that, I love softball, after playing it, and you see how fast the game is compared to baseball.

Justin Lewis  11:52

I have a hard time watching baseball anymore, it’s just so slow and dry. It doesn’t even hold my attention. I grew up with four older sisters, I got a wife and a daughter, like I should have known, it should have been foreshadowing years ago that I was going to end up coaching females, but I absolutely love it. I wouldn’t trade it for baseball in a heartbeat right now. There’s no way, I absolutely love it.

Joey Myers  12:22

I love my boys. I love working with my boys, but the girls are a little bit more fun. Boys are sponges, they want to soak it in, they want to learn, they want to get better, and some more than others. But it just seems like every girl that I’ve worked with doing softball practice drills, they just want it a little bit more sometimes.

Justin Lewis  12:42

I was nervous about it. I’ll tell you a funny story. My first road trip and Kingsville were kind of letting me know that there’s not a whole lot of difference between them either. We’re driving, we’re not 30 minutes down the road and I hear this man who farted, and I was like, they’re the same.

Joey Myers  13:05

They’re humans.

Justin Lewis  13:09

There’s some obviously particulars where we got to be careful touching and hand placements.

Joey Myers  13:18

Yes, no more butt slaps.

Justin Lewis  13:21

Yes, none of that. No grab ass at all. You must be particular where you stand, especially once the relationship gets built, they understand that you’re just there to help them but I’m very particular and make sure I keep my distance.

Justin Lewis  13:36

I stand in front of them, “Hey, is it okay if I touch your shoulders?”, if I want to try to manipulate them a certain way, the same with their hands. I got about a three-foot-long PVC pipe for one, stand that back hip, it’s like that right there.

Joey Myers  13:55

Instead of using your finger, you’re poking them with it.

Justin Lewis  13:59

I grab them if their hips are going a certain way, I grab their hips and manipulate them the way you wanted to, but that’s just not an option.

Joey Myers  14:06

Exactly. Yes, that’s a good point. I think you coming from a female background family wise, you understand that, and that’s good for others to hear, too. Especially those that have daughters that are getting into softball practice drills, like the little league version of softball and stuff. It’s good to know.

Joey Myers  14:24

On game planning, do you guys do game planning? Do you have a strategy that you help the girls with? Like you hunt? Do you have them hunt in certain softball practice drills? How does that go?

 

Do you guys do game planning?

Justin Lewis  14:36

I try to look at what the other pitchers are trying to do to us. Most of them are trying to throw strike one, let’s find out, can she throw a strike one? If she can, is that our best pitch to hit?

Justin Lewis  14:54

If it is, to me we got to go bang strike one. If they have proven through scouting whatever, they’re not great at throwing strike one, we can be a little bit more patient.

Justin Lewis  15:05

I battle with these kids a lot because no one wants to hit down and away curveball running away from you at 68 miles an hour. That might be legitimately your best shot. If you’re 0-1 now because you didn’t want to go attack that pitch, now most of them are just going to try to throw rise balls above your hands. Good luck with that.

Justin Lewis  15:33

Let’s find out if strike one is an option for us, and if it is, we got to drop our egos and we got to go attack it. I’m also real big about the 1-1 count, it makes a big difference in that -pitch, are we going 2-1? Or are we going 1-2, and that’s just vastly different scenarios there.

Justin Lewis  15:54

Pitchers tend to get into rhythm and pitch callers get into rhythms, those are two counts that I track, the 0-0 count and the 1-1 count, and just having an idea of what that rhythm and routine is, if there’s any pattern there.

Justin Lewis  16:13

At this level, the higher up you go into Division One, the lower levels and DII, a lot of times you’re just facing two pitchers. There will be curveball rise ball, the special ones got that third one that change up, if they got that trouble.

Justin Lewis  16:29

The higher up we go, you’re facing kids that almost every kids got that change up, and maybe they got a fourth pitch. We start looking at what pitches can we eliminate. To me when I played and face guys that were throwing absolute gas and had four devastating pitches, I’ll start eliminating some of these pitches.

Justin Lewis  16:47

How do I do that? To me it was, if I go hunt something down at my knees, the rise balls a lot easier to take when I’ve got to be focused down in the zone. I do a drill with our girls where I’ll tell them in front toss, every pitch is going to be at your kneecap, to your shin and I want you get down there and drive it.

Justin Lewis  17:08

We’re not just going to pound ground balls running that pitch, and they focus and it’s always their best round, and they’re super focused on it. About three quarters of the way through that round, I’ll throw a one up at their chest level, and they take it effortlessly.

Justin Lewis  17:24

I’ll talk about it afterwards. “Hey, that was a great round. Why do you think you did so good?” “I was focused”. Oh, that’s a mind-blowing stuff here. Then, I’ll ask them, “Hey, I threw that ball up kind of simulated rise ball, how easy was that to take?” “Well, it’s really easy”. “How come?” “I was focused down in the zone.”

Justin Lewis  17:45

Shocking. From me having to do that over and over again and chasing my fair share of rise balls through the years. That’s what I try to get through to them. We face so many rise ball pitchers, that seems to be the key for us.

Joey Myers  18:06

Do you guys ever switch your plan or softball practice drills, and go and hunt the rise ball at all, like rise ball, obviously up to a certain limit? You’re not swinging at one that’s up here.

Do you have your girls hunt the rise ball?

Justin Lewis  18:15

Flat rise balls go a long way. What’s interesting is this summer, or during quarantine, a bunch of us hitting coaches got together on a weekly zoom call. It was awesome.

Justin Lewis  18:30

There’s probably as many as 28-29 of us every week from all the top programs and just JuCo programs, all different levels, and everyone’s sharing their information and one of the coaches, his approach sometimes is like, “whatever their strength is, let’s go hunt that”, it was kind something I hadn’t really thought.

Justin Lewis  18:55

Why would I go look for their worst nastiest pitch, and when we start looking at a lot of the statistics, some of these guys really get into the weave with the tracking of some of this stuff, they have the technology to do it.

Justin Lewis  19:10

They still miss, and we got to be ready for where we act. A lot of times pitchers never miss, and they do at all levels, even the greatest ones, miss right in the middle of the plate a lot. It certainly made me question and made me think a little bit more about it.

Joey Myers  19:27

Have you ever dug into Perry Husband stuff? Effective Velocity?

Justin Lewis  19:32

Absolutely.

Joey Myers  19:32

He’s gotten really big into the fastpitch softball world and he’s worked with I think some of the top five programs, when it comes to both the hitters and the pitchers.

Joey Myers  19:44

Hitters, it’s the hunting, if it’s the pitchers, they’re moving their pitches around in the zone to take advantage of the discrepancy between how close the ball is versus how far it is away.

Joey Myers  19:55

That was a big one for me, from a hitting perspective because now I have to counter that. How do we counter that? He says, it’s like a wide receiver trying to cover two cornerbacks, one cornerback trying to cover two wide receivers.

Joey Myers  20:11

Both wide receivers run a similar route, one’s a deep route and the other one’s like a deep post, he can just kind of hang out in the middle, read the quarterback and then just peel off whenever the quarterback goes and releases the ball.

Joey Myers  20:22

The problem happens when you have one wide receiver that goes deep, and you have another one that does like a 10 yard cut in the middle. Now that cornerback has to decide, do I need to defend the deep ball because I don’t have a safety behind me to help or can I peel off and go inside?

Joey Myers  20:39

With the pitching, it’s the same idea. If you guys are facing a lot of rise ballers, like this coach is saying why not? Why not hunt their best stuff and teach the girls during softball practice drills how you get to that rise ball and crank on it?

Justin Lewis  20:51

Yes, absolutely. One of the things with softball, you’re not like baseball, you have different arm slots, everything like that. That’s not a thing in softball, and so everything’s coming out of one spot.

Justin Lewis  21:03

The ability for these pitchers to have everything busting out of one plane different directions, it’s nasty. Some of these kids are just filthy with what they do, and I think the EV stuff in softballs is barely scratching the surface right now.

Joey Myers  21:23

Now, pitch recognition, like you mentioned is a little tougher softball, because it’s coming out it seems like the same slot. Do you do pitch recognition stuff with the girls? And if you do, how do you do that?

 

Softball practice drills: do you do pitch recognition stuff with the girls?

Justin Lewis  21:36

I don’t dabble with it much. Again, worse. Especially right now, where Fresno State didn’t even have a fall. It’s like fire ready aim right now.

Joey Myers  21:47

Yes, it’s a little advanced.

Justin Lewis  21:51

It’s just trying to get reps right now and some of these kids have been off for 10 months, relying on what kind of work they put in. Luckily, at this level, most of these kids have still been putting in work, they haven’t seen a live pitching in 10 months.

Joey Myers  22:09

Talk to that, because there’s a lot of coaches out there dealing with the same thing, both baseball and softball, where their hitters may or may not have been working over the term, but they obviously haven’t been getting a lot of LIVE. When is the first game of the season?

Justin Lewis  22:24

It’s like the 20 or 12th, I think February 12, we got like 23 days.

Joey Myers  22:30

You got less than a month. How do you guys attack that? You’re getting ready in a short amount of time? What’s high priority right now?

 

You’re getting ready in a short amount of time? What’s high priority right now?

Justin Lewis  22:39

There’s no manual for this, this is something we’ve never really had to do. We started the first week, we didn’t know what our athletes were going to come in. We didn’t know what shape they were going to be like.

Justin Lewis  22:53

You must move as your slowest runner. We just brought them in, and then kind of did like an individual the first week and come down, let’s just hit for an hour and see where everybody’s at.

Justin Lewis  23:06

I’m coming in with I don’t know any of these kids. I try to build that relationship quickly, and I just wanted to see what they’re trying to accomplish with their swings. We’re still just kind of tracking them along slowly.

Justin Lewis  23:21

We’re kind of hitting the ground running now, just started team practice and revving up those the number of swings and the amount of work we’re trying to do.

Justin Lewis  23:30

Fortunately, we have two GAs and a pitching coach that all throw full arm. There’s nothing that is better than that. Our first year at Kingsville, it was just me and the head coach, and neither one of us threw.

Justin Lewis  23:47

Our kids’ timing issues were evident, our first quarter of the season was we’re late on everything. The next year, we played one of our… running a GA basically that threw non-stop for us, and it made the world of difference.

Justin Lewis  24:04

In my school last year, the Corpus Christi, both the head coach and the pitching coach both threw a lot. Now having three here, we’re kind of spoiled. It makes a huge difference.

Justin Lewis  24:19

We haven’t even started with the pitchers as far as seeing live pitching, but I think it’s coming pretty soon because we don’t have a choice. We got to get them as many looks as we can.

Justin Lewis  24:33

There’s just no playbook for it, and I’m interested talking to buddies across the sport, seeing what everyone’s doing to get ready, but also keep in mind that a lot of them had falls.

Justin Lewis  24:45

They’re kind of building off of what they did in the fall to where we’re just kind of getting started. I’m really interested as far as a coaching perspective to see if it even matters. That’s what I’m really interested in.

Joey Myers  24:59

Yes, the ultimate experiment.

Justin Lewis  25:03

In Corpus Christi, we had our fall cut short because of COVID. We lost the last two and a half weeks of the fall, and just getting into bunt defenses, and first and thirds, and all that kind of stuff, and it was taken away.

Justin Lewis  25:20

We’re feeling very unprepared. As I was interviewing for this job, they were “we’ve had no fall”. I was like, I don’t feel so bad anymore.

Justin Lewis  25:28

I’m just wondering, as coaches, we always feel like we’re not prepared enough. We’ve got to do that bunt slap defense for the 9 millionth time and our kids are like, “got it”. I’m interested to see how much it matters that we didn’t have a fall.

Justin Lewis  25:46

I’m sure it’s going to matter a little bit here and there, but I have a sneaking suspicion that it may not matter as much as we think it is.

Joey Myers  25:55

I agree. It will be interesting on the hitting, and the timing, and all that kind of stuff, too, with minimal prep time to see. I think the experiment really is, is it the amount of work you’re putting in? Or is it the software? That’s the hardware, the software and the brain, how long does that take to really actually get it?

Joey Myers  26:16

You’re talking about higher level cream of the crop hitters. You’re talking about better software at that point. It would be interesting to see how that goes.

Justin Lewis  26:24

The NFL just kind of showed us, they had their training camp, but they didn’t play any pre-season games. It was completely different. I watched a lot of games that kind of look like the NFL to me.

Justin Lewis  26:38

I’m sure the coaches would disagree with that, and point to numerous areas where they fell short, because they didn’t feel like they were prepared. I’m sure we’re going to miss; we’re going to screw up a cuts and relays.

Justin Lewis  26:53

Maybe we miss a couple bunt defenses, but at the end of the day, I’m interested. Look at the recovery side for the student athletes. Baseball and softball players can traditionally claim to be some of the most overworked athletes around just because there’s no stopping, especially those college baseball players, and they go off in the summer, and they’re just that grind.

Justin Lewis  27:18

Softball doesn’t really do that, they start a summer league here and there, getting to be a little bit more popular, but we may have the freshest athletes we’ve had in a long time. I’m interested to see how that plays.

Joey Myers  27:31

If you get out of the gate screaming, like you said, they’re fresh, and they kind of hit their stride, that kind of subsides a little bit. That would be interesting, we will be staying in touch because for me too, I’m learning.

Joey Myers  27:43

I’ve had my hitters coming and seeing me and I just felt bad for them when we shut down. I just felt like they had about two or three weeks into the high school season, when it when it shut down here.

Joey Myers  27:57

My hitters were poised to do well, do really big things, and it just got shut down. We do our share of little games of random pitch and whatnot, but it’s just not enough of the reps. Like you said, it’ll be interesting to see how that goes.

Justin Lewis  28:18

The fall can be a grind, you’re looking at the mental grind of the whole season. That includes the fall and the spring. Our kids are just chomping at the bit to be back and be around their teammates.

Justin Lewis  28:32

From a mental health standpoint as well, I’m curious about a lot of things. I think it may change; the world has changed clearly. I’m always fascinated about things that change the world. After 9/11, we haven’t worn shoes through airports, and it’s just normal. Now, I’m interested to see what other ways the world has changed because of all this.

Joey Myers  29:01

Exactly. Well, I want to be respectful of your time. Anything that besides the congratulatory on getting a new job and being closer to me and all this stuff, anything you’re working on outside of trying to get this band of elite athletes to where they need to be during softball practice drills?

 

Anything else that you’re working on?

Justin Lewis  29:20

I just try to learn all the time. Take everything I can, I read way more than I probably should right now. My family is not out here, they’re still in Texas. It’s softball and just trying to get better at everything.

Justin Lewis  29:36

There’s a couple of books that I read recently. I always put out a reading list every year, I keep track all the books that I read, and my two bests are Unlearn by Humble the Poet and Think Like a Monk by Jay Shetty. Those are my two best read.

Justin Lewis  29:56

Those were amazing books. I just investigate ways to apply it, and always the ultimate hunt for becoming a better coach, and a better leader, and a better husband, and father, and it’s amazing how much I think I fall short on that from time to time.

Justin Lewis  30:15

That’s really been it, just trying to adapt to this area and these kids, just trying to serve them in the best ways I possibly can. It’s all about them, and as long as we keep that attitude, good things are going to happen here.

Joey Myers  30:33

That’s what I like about you, you got that softball practice drills growth mindset. You always want to be around those kinds of coaches, because they’re willing to say when they’re wrong, they’re willing to keep learning and that kind of thing.

Joey Myers  30:42

I think if you’re not falling short, you’re not doing some right. You got to be setting those goals out there far enough that sometimes you do reach them, but sometimes you don’t, and that keeps you going.

Joey Myers  30:52

I think that you have all the softball practice drills formula of a great growth mindset coach, I appreciate everything you guys are doing and take care of my girls. I won’t mention their names but take care of them out there.

Justin Lewis  31:04

You got a couple good ones. They’re some of my favorites.

Joey Myers  31:07

Talking about growth mindset. Those two and the older one, I won’t mention her name. She is a sweetheart and she’s one that you’ll definitely want to lean on with recruiting because she is just likeable, network-y, bubbly personality. She’s awesome.

Justin Lewis  31:25

She’s a rock star. She broke my PVC wall yesterday.

Justin Lewis  31:31

I’ve never had one explode like this, how hard does this kid swing the bat? She’s a little ball of terror. Like the rest of the kids that came through the station, they’re like, “of course it was her that broke it”

Joey Myers  31:48

You know when you mentioned her name? I think I told you this, it was all her, I always say I’m a compass and the flashlight in the dark, you have to put the work in.

Joey Myers  31:59

That summer, she worked so hard, she went from like a 65 mile an hour ball exit speed with the softball to 75 plus, in three months or two and a half months, however long that we were working together. She’s just a hard worker.

Justin Lewis  32:15

Yes, it comes off her bat in a hurry. When she keeps that barrel in the middle of the field, it’s nasty.

Joey Myers  32:22

When she came, she used to think that she was taught her whole life before she got into college to slap the ball, slap. Then, I think the coaching change after her freshman year that she recruited her to slap and the new coach that comes in says, “You know what, we’re not slapping, we’re driving”.

Joey Myers  32:39

She didn’t know how to do that. because she’d been taught her whole life to slap. Now to think how far she’s come. It’s great to see that, so proud of her and you’re going to be taking care of them.

Justin Lewis  32:51

She’s amazing, she’s been a big help in my transition here. Both have actually, I got to go, we had a day off. They’re both local kids, getting all the spots where I got to go hiking and everything else. They’ve been taking care of me, they’re good people.

Joey Myers  33:12

They’re both great. I haven’t met the other girls but I’m sure they’re great, too.

Justin Lewis  33:18

It’s a diverse group of kids here. I love it. They’re all different walks of life and just getting to hear their stories and what their whereabouts.

Justin Lewis  33:31

I come back to coaching, I say it all the time, I love hitting and I spend way too much time thinking about it and studying it and swing, trying to fix swings in the middle of night when I’m sleeping, but really, it’s the kids.

Justin Lewis  33:45

I’m trying to help them, use my experience to help them become the people they were meant to become is really why I came back to it and I need that interaction more than they need me. They will never find that out, though.

Joey Myers  33:59

They don’t realize it now, they’ll realize it later, but it’s not about softball, it’s about life. You’re teaching them life through softball, and I agree with you. That’s why I do it and continue to do it, it’s you’re mentoring.

Joey Myers  34:12

Like you said, you’re getting more out of it probably more than they realize, although when they get older, and they start you know, getting dealt families and stuff, they’ll say “Ah, Coach Justin, he was really pouring into me and I learned actually a lot from him”. But at the time they didn’t realize it.

Justin Lewis  34:26

Hopefully.

Joey Myers  34:28

All right, brother. Hey, keep up the good work out there. Good luck with all the COVID happenings, I know we talked before we started recording about your stuff out there. Stay safe and healthy.

Justin Lewis  34:40

Let’s get together. Let’s get you over to the facility soon and let’s whack it around a little bit.

Joey Myers  34:43

I would love it.

Justin Lewis  34:45

Awesome, brother.

Joey Myers  34:46

All right, Coach Justin. See you, bud.

Justin Lewis  34:47

You got it, take care.

Joey Myers  34:48

Take care.

Softball Hitting Lessons

Softball Hitting Lessons: “When it Comes to Guys, the Performance Determines their Happiness. When it Comes to Girls, the Happiness Determines the Performance.”

 

 

In this softball hitting lessons interview with Amanda Smith of WhiteZoneCoaching.com, titled: “When It Comes to Guys, The Performance Determines Their Happiness.  When It Comes to Girls, The Happiness Determines the Performance”, we go over:Softball Hitting Lessons

  • Come to find out you are an Aerospace Engineer,
  • Where did you get White Zone Coaching from?
  • When it comes to guys, the performance determines their happiness. When it comes to girls, the happiness determines the performance…
  • … You can give them more and more and more as long as you know where their edges at,
  • “The Surfer’s Code” and what softball and baseball players can learn from it,
  • How do you coach your softball girls to deal with the 2020 challenges?
  • Amanda, where can people find you?

Click short link for transcribed interview in pdf format: http://gohpl.com/amandasmithtranscription

The following is the transcription of the above video…

Joey Myers  00:06

Hello and welcome to Swing Smarter Monthly Newsletter. This is your host Joey Myers of hittingperformancelab.com and I have the honor and privilege today, this is our second softball hitting lessons call or second meeting with Amanda Smith of White Zone Coaching.

Joey Myers  00:19

I have a lot of cool stuff that we’re going to talk about today, I’m going to ask her, but first, I want to welcome you to the show, Amanda.

Amanda Smith  00:25

Hey, Joey, thanks for having me. I am so excited to be here and to talk with you and share a little bit about what I’m doing in my softball world.

Joey Myers  00:35

Very cool, and many of my softball hitting lessons readers out there will understand that we like to apply human movement principles that are validated by science to hitting the ball.

 

Come to find out you are an Aerospace Engineer…

Joey Myers  00:45

We like to use physics and engineering and biomechanics and different things like that when we describe the swing, when we teach the swing, and we want to have a higher standard for our hitters, and they come to find out you are an aeronautical engineer.

Amanda Smith  01:01

Aerospace engineer. Yes.

Joey Myers  01:04

Let’s go in with the softball hitting lessons question, how has the engineering background helped you coach your pitchers? I’m sure you do all of them or just mostly hitters?

Amanda Smith  01:19

Pitchers, catchers, hitters, I also do throwing and fielding when people need it, want it. Generally, people aren’t going to be like, I need a throwing coach, or I need a fielding coach. They want hitting coaches and pitching coaches and catching coaches. I do all those things.

Amanda Smith  01:35

When it comes to my engineering background with physics, I love physics. I’m such a physics dork. I try to keep it as very simple as possible so that my nine-year-olds can understand what I’m saying to them.

Amanda Smith  01:53

When I bust out with 90 degree angles, they’re like, Huh? I have to bring myself back down to Okay, like the corner in your house, that’s a 90-degree angle. What they’re getting from me in lessons is usually a physics education, a math education, they’re getting some biology education, I’m talking about anatomy phys with them and kinesthetics. I’m a nerd like that, they just got a deal.

Joey Myers  02:23

I love that. I was working with one of my one on one hitters, who’s a sophomore in high school and we do three days a week one on one. We were talking the other day, and we talked about like what you said, we do the physics thing, engineering, but we also might talk a little politics and I talked a little of religion, we might talk all kinds.

Joey Myers  02:43

I said, hey, you’re getting an education in this one hour, then he just talks about this experience with school, this last 2020 has been absolutely horrendous, he hasn’t learned anything.

Joey Myers  02:53

He’s one of those 4.0-3.6 type students, and he just said it was really rough. Not hard but just rough like it’s too easy, almost. I said, hey, maybe I should get you a degree at the end of this thing instead of going into your junior year in high school. We go over a lot.

Amanda Smith  03:13

Yes, ultimately, we’re teaching them life lessons, right? We’re helping them discover who they want to be and maybe even what career they want to go into. I know a lot of the parents that send their kids to me, they’re engineers, so their kids are already exposed to that softball hitting lessons environment.

Amanda Smith  03:32

It’s crazy to notice that most of the people that come to me have that kind of background. I love it, but the same time, I find it really interesting from a business perspective, Oh, I’m targeting engineers.

Joey Myers  03:46

It’s almost a blessing and a curse because from the start, I’ve always had that in my business to target the science side of things. You do attract the engineers, you attract the MDs, you attract the PTs, the physical therapists, you attract these, and it’s a great crowd, and they get it, right?

Joey Myers  04:04

It’s a small grouping of the overall market. The blessing is, it’s a great crowd and they are very educated, they understand the whole how everything works, but it’s a curse, because it is such a small area.

Joey Myers  04:20

Like you said, taking the 90-degree angle and saying the corner of your house that’s 90 degrees, being able to take it down so that the nine year old can understand but also the parents can understand it.

Amanda Smith  04:30

Yes, and the parents, they’re sitting in the background, just nodding their heads, like I love what she’s teaching my kid. As parents, they generally can’t reach their kid on the level that a private coach can reach their kid and they want to, they desperately want to, I’m a parent, I get it.

Amanda Smith  04:52

To have the kid hear it from more than one avenue now. That’s what the parents absolutely love. I have something I like to bring to the table for the parents and be like, you know, I bet your parents have said this to you before.

Joey Myers  05:11

I always say that you could be Babe Ruth, or you could be Sierra Romero, but they’re not going to listen to you and when I’m talking to parents, it don’t matter who you are in the stratosphere of high level softball hitting lessons, but there’s just your dad or your mom.

Amanda Smith  05:30

From the kids’ perspective, you got to listen to them about everything. When it comes to softball or baseball, do you want to listen to them about that too? Your parents pick your battles.

Joey Myers  05:41

Exactly. Delegate when you need to

Amanda Smith  05:43

Yes, exactly.

 

Where did you get White Zone Coaching softball hitting lessons from?

Joey Myers  05:44

I had a question for white zone coaching, where did you get white zone coaching from? When did you come up with that?

Amanda Smith  05:51

The white zone is that ultimate level that athletes want to get to. If you’ve seen the movie For Love of The Game, with Kevin Costner, where he clears the mechanism, everything around him goes white, except for the umpire, the catcher, and the hitter, and that home plate, that’s the white zone.

Amanda Smith  06:13

That’s ultimately what I want to take all my athletes to, is that level of understanding of getting into that flow state so that their physical talents can just take over and go on autopilot and they can think about all of the mental things that the game has. That’s why I’m a white zone coach.

Joey Myers  06:30

Very cool. Going into that a little bit on the mental side of the softball hitting lessons game, what do you find the top two issues that players are dealing with in today’s game that have to do with the mental side?

Amanda Smith  06:43

Perfectionism, number one. I’ve got so many kids coming to me that are like, Okay, I must do everything perfect. I got to get 10 out of 10. How overwhelming is that for anybody? Let’s take the pressure cap off that kid.

Amanda Smith  06:59

The other one is confidence. They come in, and they’re like, well, I don’t have it. No, you do have it, you just have to remind yourself that you have it and letting them know, here’s where the confidence lies, and here’s how to get back to it yourself.

Amanda Smith  07:15

I can pump you up all I want but if you don’t know how to pump yourself up, you’re just going to have to keep coming back to me and that’s a do loop I don’t want to be in.

Joey Myers  07:25

Right. On the perfection side, I’ve had recently a few or a couple hitters who are in that mode and one I’m thinking about is an eight-year-old, dad works for NASA. The son has a black belt already at eight years old in taekwondo.

Joey Myers  07:47

I thought this was going to be slam dunk case. Physically, the kids obviously proven. He’s very disciplined in what he’s doing, but this is another sport, hitting is a completely different monster. How do you deal with perfection? He’s a perfectionist, I haven’t dealt with too many of those, but they come along, and I have one right now. So how do you deal with it?

Amanda Smith  08:11

I have a lot of them. It was a thing that I had to work on. Girls are perfectionist. I see it constantly because it was the thing that I had to work on. The way that I help them is I teach them, and I have a video on this, if you sign up for my email list, you get this video.

Amanda Smith  08:34

It’s called seven out of 10. In practice, we put everything into buckets of 10 and then seven is the baseline. If they get seven out of 10, in that group of 10, that’s when they get to analyze it, they don’t get to analyze it every single movement, or every single at bat or every single hit.

Amanda Smith  08:54

They only get to analyze it after the 10 and if they got seven, they did good. If they did better than seven, they did great. If they did less than seven, then they have something to learn. That language right there at the end where we’re learning instead of, I’m bad, that’s the switch that they need to make and that helps with confidence too.

Amanda Smith  09:15

Those two kinds go hand in hand. But giving them that baseline and helping them understand this is your baseline seven out of 10, they take the pressure off themselves automatically.

Amanda Smith  09:27

Now all I have to do with my kids, seven out of 10 if they start to nitpick every single pitch or every single hit, and they go oh yeah, that’s right. Then bam, I get them into that mode of I’m going to analyze the group instead of every single movement. Once I get to that point, I’m not analyzing it was bad. I’m analyzing Okay, what can I do better? What can I learn from this?

Joey Myers  09:52

I love that. Of course, at the end, all those softball hitting lessons links and all that stuff we’ll put that out there because I want to help just like you want to help. Another example, the same hitter I was talking about, the sophomore in high school, we always go over these kinds of scenarios and things like that.

Joey Myers  10:18

This is a different hitter, lefty. He’s one of my seniors in high school and he kind of had a little bit of a rough day yesterday. Usually we do well, but he was having a hard time with controlling his top hand.

Joey Myers  10:35

He was just like; I don’t know what the heck’s going on and he was visibly frustrated. He’s usually the surfer kid, I call him shades because he walks in and he has the Aviator shades on.

Amanda Smith  10:49

Aviators

Joey Myers  10:50

I call him shades. He’s usually the kickback kid, surfer dude, and whatnot. He was a little out of his element it seemed like and we did something a little tougher. We call it chaos rounds, where what we do is we do a six-swing round, and he’ll take two swings at one plate, we have two plates, set about five feet apart, or three to five feet apart.

Joey Myers  11:12

He’ll switch plates every swing and at each plate he’s doing something different. It’s a different strategy. It could be we’re going to control, we call verticals or launch angles, we don’t call them launch angles, because a lot of coaches don’t like that term.

Joey Myers  11:25

One plate, maybe he’s controlling his verticals and another plate, we’re doing middle in, middle away type stuff. So, he’s working middle in, middle way. Another one, we might be just doing straight up curveballs. He switches in what he’s doing.

Joey Myers  11:38

We mix and rearrange. It’s not all the same the whole time. It’s very mentally draining. It put some pressure on him. I think he blew a gasket but what I said was get back to the mental side. At least for him a gasket.

Amanda Smith  11:57

Was it pressure relief, or was it like pressure explosion? Like if I think of a pressure cooker?

Joey Myers  12:04

I think it was a pressure explosion. He knew what he needed to do to fix it. He just wasn’t doing it. When we were talking about it, at the end, I was telling him about frustration, I said, frustration is good. It’s a good thing. As long as it doesn’t make you depressed, right? Know what you need to do to fix it and then you do what you need to do to do that.

Joey Myers  12:27

He goes, this is how I operate. He goes, I get super frustrated. And then the next day I go out and I think it’s fixed. It sounds like he goes like mentally he goes through it and then can work it out. Is that something?

Amanda Smith  12:42

Girls don’t do that

Joey Myers  12:45

What’s the girls do in that scenario?

 

When it comes to guys, the performance determines their happiness. When it comes to girls, the happiness determines the performance…

Amanda Smith  12:49

This is where boys and girls differ a lot, I feel like. When it comes to guys, the performance determines their happiness. When it comes to girls, the happiness determines the performance.

Joey Myers  13:03

Okay, I got it.

Amanda Smith  13:07

If girls are off when they walk through the door, and I can see it right away, like, okay, we got another session, we got to switch up that attitude quick are the whole session it goes to pot.

Amanda Smith  13:24

This is where girls are different. The more pressure you put on a girl the worse their attitude gets, and the worse their performance becomes. Whereas guys, they like the pressure to kick them out of it. I find that so fascinating, right?

Amanda Smith  13:40

This is why I coach girls. For the girls, it really goes back to that perfectionism pressure bottle. If we go into a chaos scenario, like you’re explaining, and I’ve never used that technique on a girl, I want to try it and see what happens honestly.

Joey Myers  14:01

They must be in the right softball hitting lessons mindset before they come into it.

Amanda Smith  14:04

They have to, they absolutely have to and that’s number one for me has put them in the right mental frame so that they can have success and then carry that success into the next success and then it snowballs.

Amanda Smith  14:16

Parents love that because they’ll come back to me and they’ll be like, what did you do because she went into the next game and she did phenomenal and like I just gave her a little confidence boost and gave her some tools to boost herself to

Amanda Smith  14:34

I feel like if I were to lay the pressure on a girl she’d crumble, she’d start to cry.

Amanda Smith  14:45

I welcome that at my sessions because you’re not allowed to get emotional in a game, right? You can get emotional after a big win or you can get emotional after a great strikeout that ended a really tough inning.

Amanda Smith  14:59

There are certain times when you can get emotional, but like getting emotional at private lessons happens a lot. I welcome it because we must have the ability to express those emotions no matter what. Again, this is where girls and boys kind of differ.

Joey Myers  15:15

That’s cool. Mine is about 95% guys, I have a few softball hitting lessons girls, I have a few that are in college that I’ve worked with. I’ve noticed the girls, when I give them something to work on mechanically, they’re good, I can probably lay on three or four of them, three or four different mechanics, and they’ll get the first one, they’ll get the second one, I might give you another one.

Joey Myers  15:43

I keep going up until that point, you start to see that flip of Okay, now this is a little bit too much. But the girls, for whatever reason, I feel like most of the girls I’ve worked with, they’re able to handle more of those things versus the guys, we tend to stay in the two to three things range, and they don’t get frustrated, you don’t see their eyes. I’ve had a few guys that you see the tears start to well up. I have a couple of them who are emotional.

Amanda Smith  16:14

Let it rip, Coach. Let it rip.

Joey Myers  16:15

Yeah, then they start getting sloppy. I must pull back because they’re getting sloppy. I mean, they don’t care emotionally that they’re getting sloppy, like the girls would care emotionally that they are sloppy, and they take offense to it, like you said, the perfection side.

Joey Myers  16:29

But the guys they get sloppy, and so I can’t allow him to get sloppy. So, I must scale it back to girls. The girls they handle it. Like they can handle 2-3-4 different things in one session.

Joey Myers  16:41

It’s almost like I played this game of see how far I can go with the girl. Then once I start seeing the emotion, I start dialing it back with the guys, I pretty much know how much they can handle and it’s not an emotional thing, it’s a sloppy thing.

 

… You can give them more and more and more as long as you know where their edges at”

Amanda Smith  16:54

It’s a practice, honestly, I feel like I must be able to turn that dial up to. You can do it with guys, you can give them more and more and more as long as you know where their edges at.

Amanda Smith  17:09

With girls, they’re more latent to let you know where their edges at. Keep that in mind, we know how to bottle things up. It’s crazy how much we do that.

Amanda Smith  17:25

With girls, it goes back to the whole multitasking brain. I feel like moms are masters at multitasking and dads are like I can only do one thing. Some dads are amazing at multitasking, don’t get me wrong, you hand that down to your kids, they innately become great at having multiple things thrown at them and then being able to handle it.

Amanda Smith  17:55

I love pushing that edge. Because with my kids with my girls, what I notice is I can give them three things. Then the next session, I’m going to like to take those three things and add one more thing on top of it and maybe a third. Well, a fifth thing, technically, but a second thing on top of that and see how far I can carry it.

Amanda Smith  18:18

Some of these girls, I can give them 10 different. What do we call these tasks on 10 different things to work on in a session and they can handle it. And it’s like, Okay, I got to scale you back now.

Joey Myers  18:35

It’s crazy because you could cover the whole softball hitting lessons gamut. There’s always something to work on. But I mean at some point, we kind of must start circling back to some of the other things.

Joey Myers  18:47

I always tell my hitters it’s like, at the circus in the old days, they had to put the sword down and they get the plate and they start spinning on it, then they set up another sword and start spinning the plate, and then they have to copy the first plate and keep it spinning, it’s like keeping these plates spinning and I feel like the girls do a better job of that than the guys do.

Amanda Smith  19:06

Multitaskers. Look at their parents. That’s really the indicator.

Joey Myers  19:11

Yes. I saw a video of you doing a mental Monday talk which is really cool. I saw one on your Facebook, Mindset Mondays yes, and we can discuss the book. What was that book?

“The Surfer’s Code” and what softball and baseball players can learn from it – softball hitting lessons

Amanda Smith  19:26

The Surfer’s Code. I love that book.

Joey Myers  19:29

Yeah. You’ll pick a chapter and then you’ll use that as the content of the video. That one that I watched it was the one where you get smashed by a wave and it’s a question of Okay, I can hang it up and be done and not go through that again, or I can go back out.

Joey Myers  19:47

Talk a little bit about that and how that applies to like your softball hitting lessons girls, how you can apply that in school.

Amanda Smith  19:54

I live in Denver. Let’s preface there. I’m in a landlocked state. Everywhere I go I like to surf if there’s surfable water. I also surf but I’m a snow surfer. That means snowboarders for those of you who don’t know.

Amanda Smith  20:09

What I love in the surfing world, there’s rules that they live by as surfers. This surfer has been in the game for a long time. He wrote the book and shared it with the rest of the world.

Amanda Smith  20:27

Not every surfer was thrilled about that. That’s kind of their inner code. That’s why this book is called the Surfer’s Code.

Amanda Smith  20:39

I love their principles, and this principle that you’re talking about, I will go back out, if I have a bad game, if I have a bad surf, if I have a bad wave, I’m still going to go out again.

Amanda Smith  20:56

For softball, for baseball, the way that applies is, hey, you had a bad at bat, you get another opportunity, you get another try. That’s that whole taking the pressure off thing to, you had a bad game, you still get another try, you’re going to have another game, right?

Amanda Smith  21:13

When your career ends, that mentality starts to shift, right? Like your seniors in high school, or your seniors in college, their mentality is slightly different when it comes to their next wave, or their next opportunity to go out because it might not happen.

Amanda Smith  21:29

I can remember my last college game, every second of that last college game. The number of tears that flowed out of my face after that game, because I knew I didn’t have another wave, there wasn’t another opportunity, and then there was, and that was the thing.

Amanda Smith  21:48

After college ended, I had the opportunity to play NPF, I had the opportunity to play international ball. I got an offer to work at NASA on the Orion program, so I didn’t take it, but there could have been another wave to take.

Amanda Smith  22:08

Just remember, you’ve always got another opportunity, another try coming up no matter what. Yeah, even if you think it’s your last game for you seniors, you still have another opportunity, there’s going to be another wave to get out there and ride.

Joey Myers  22:26

I love that and especially with the 2020 COVID stuff and how hard it’s been for athletes. I’ve had some athletes that I work with, we work through things, we have to be very critical thinking about how you’re not able to play, how can we get you out there? How can we work on getting you in front of your seniors in high school or college coaches?

Joey Myers  22:52

Like you said, got to get back out there. It might be in a different way, it may not be in the same direction, but it’s going to be somewhat unconventional from what you’ve thought.

Joey Myers  23:03

One of the softball hitting lessons things, as an example, that I talked to a few of my seniors that graduated, they graduated I think in 2020 spring and then you have the seniors coming through now, 2021.

Amanda Smith  23:16

They’re experiencing it, too.

Joey Myers  23:17

Yes. One of the things we talked about was how do you contact a coach, college coach and if you’re going to send a video, how do you send a video, and one of the coolest things I read, it was in negotiating book, negotiate as if your life depended on it.

Joey Myers  23:36

I think it was it was Chris Voss. I don’t know if you’ve read that one before, good, reads well. He has great stories. Negotiating as If Your Life Depended On It, I think is what it’s called.

Joey Myers  23:51

He talked about with his own son who was playing football and back in the day, trying to contact coaches, and one of the things was instead of shooting video, and just trying to hit all the points, all the checklist, and send it out to all these coaches, why not go to the coaches first and ask them what do you use?

Joey Myers  24:12

What kind of evaluation do you use when you recruit players? Because it’s going to be different, some coaches in baseball, like college coaches love the launch angle game, they love that terminology, another one will not like the launch angle game.

Joey Myers  24:28

If you send a video of you hitting the all these doubles and dingers all over the yard, those coaches that don’t like that launch angle game and they’re more of the batter sacrifice, they’re more of the what the low level and drive, hit hard on the ground, and you want to go to that college, either it’s not going to be a fit for you or you need to make a different video.

 

How do you coach your softball girls to deal with the 2020 challenges?

Joey Myers  24:47

I thought that was great advice, you’re going to have to go back out, but it might look in a different direction. Any kind of experience you’ve had with that with your players?

Amanda Smith  25:00

Yes, with the 2020 and the 2021 kids, it’s not just the seniors. That’s the other thing that I keep reminding myself, to watch the level of depression that happened with these players, because their life is school and sport.

Amanda Smith  25:22

When one of those was taken away, and the other one, they’re like, I like it, but I kind of have to do it. Whereas the other one I get to do it. It was tough to watch them mentally crumble. If you’ve played a sport, and that sport ended for you, you’ve experienced that so you can totally relate.

Amanda Smith  25:51

Helping my 2022s, my 2021s figure out how to do this, the new way, how to get in front of coaches. I just had one who, for spring break, she went out and checked out a bunch of schools, and I told her, you’ve got to email the coaches and let them know that you’re coming, send them your skills, video, do all the things.

Amanda Smith  26:19

She got out there to watch them play and one of the coaches, the head coach of the school that she was really interested in, came over to her and her parents and said, what are you doing here?

Joey Myers  26:31

What?

Amanda Smith  26:32

I came to watch the game. They’re like, we don’t have an audience for our games. We don’t have fans watching our games, you need to leave. Automatically this kid’s like, well, this isn’t the school for me, obviously.

Amanda Smith  26:48

It’s an isolated incident. The coaches are getting used to this scenario, too. They just started playing games. This is something that’s out of their comfort zone as well. A head coach coming out to fans and telling them that they got to go, that’s unheard of.

Amanda Smith  27:04

The head coach doesn’t do that, but in this scenario, that’s what happened. I was like, this is one of those softball hitting lessons opportunities to think from a different angle. Think of how uncomfortable that had to have been for that coach. Think of how uncomfortable it must be to tell all the kids’ parents, you can’t come and watch your kid play. You can watch her on YouTube.

Amanda Smith  27:27

To play without a crowd. That’s a first for a bunch of college kids. There are so many weird scenarios that we’re dealing with right now, and you just roll with it. But keep your mind open and don’t get single minded on Oh, that coach was mean, I don’t like that coach at all.

Amanda Smith  27:44

Don’t cross them off your list, have another conversation with that coach and be like, hey, you were the one who said to me, we had to go, and you weren’t very nice about it. Is there any reason why you had to be so mean?

Amanda Smith  28:01

It’s another opportunity to talk to the coach at least. You might find in that second conversation, that that’s not the coach for you, but you brought up culture, when it came to those coaches who don’t like the language that you use, or they want hitters that hit a certain way versus another way.

Amanda Smith  28:20

Players need to really dig into the schools and understand the culture of the team, the culture of the coaches. I didn’t do it right and I learned the hard way. I literally just had a Facebook post in my Facebook group about this, where there was a player who got her nursing degree from Minnesota, and she got it in four years.

Amanda Smith  28:48

She was one of those kids who graduated last year and got the option to come back and play a fifth year because of COVID and she did, she opted to not dive into her nursing career and instead play her senior year or her second senior year, because she knew that that season was fleeting, that season of her life was fleeting, the sport is fleeting.

Amanda Smith  29:12

She’s not planning on going on NPF or the Olympics or any higher level, what is it athletics unlimited? When I was in school, I was trying to pull off that mechanical and aerospace engineering degree which is a tough degree by itself, but now add sports on top of it.

Amanda Smith  29:32

I learned right away like D1 top 25 school; you’re spending 52 hours a week doing softball. I ended up going D2 after two and a half years at D1 for many reasons, but one of the reasons was because I was struggling badly to pull off both and the coaches were giving me a hard time about it.

Amanda Smith  29:56

They were picking on me because I had to go and do work with my classmates that interfered with some of my practices, and they hated that. That goes back to the culture.

Amanda Smith  30:10

Parents who are in the thick of it, it’s hard to see the teams, it’s hard to talk to the coaches right now. Do your best to figure out what the culture is, talk to the players, you can as athletes talk to the players, you can’t necessarily talk to the coaches. That’ll give you a really good idea of what that program is about and how the coaches support the athlete as well as the student.

Joey Myers  30:39

I’d love to just end on this and ask you where softball hitting lessons people can find you, but before we get there, it’s advice I think that the young ones don’t quite grasp. You and I have been through it, or telling them to do your homework basically, to talk to the players in the teams that you want to go play for in college.

Joey Myers  31:02

They will just answer whatever, I know there’s enough pros, it’ll be fine if whatever. What we’re trying to tell you out there to do your homework, spend the time. I know that for the guys, it’s the testosterone brain that tends to make us lazy. It’s a strong hormone, but it’s also a lazy hormone.

Joey Myers  31:23

I know the girls are a little bit more on top of it but go out and definitely do your homework because you don’t want to land in a place and have to keep switching. It’s just like moving. The best part of moving is when it’s over. Moving your house and all that kind of stuff, it’s the same thing.

Joey Myers  31:39

You don’t want to be jumping schools all over the place because oh, I screwed up. I pick the wrong line, let me go to this one, and you didn’t do the same process, repeat the same process, and you make another mistake. Anyway, great advice.

Joey Myers  31:51

Amanda, where can people find you? I know you mentioned an opt in page to get that video, so go ahead and mention that.

 

Amanda, where can people find you?

Amanda Smith  32:03

Whitezonecoaching.com is my softball hitting lessons website, you can get the freebie at the bottom of the homepage. That’s the seven out of 10-perfectionism busting video. It explains how to implement it as an athlete or how to implement it as a coach.

Amanda Smith  32:19

You can also find me at fastpitch softball skills and drills by white zone coaching Facebook group, that group is growing like crazy.  That’s where I’m sharing a lot of softball skills and drills.  White Zone Coaching on Facebook.

Amanda Smith  32:32

I’ve got a lot of baseball people showing up in the group now, too. That’s where you can find me on the interwebs. I also have a YouTube channel, that’s white zone coaching.

Joey Myers  32:50

Yes, Instagram, TikTok

Amanda Smith  32:53

No TikTok. I am not a TikTok-er. I have Pinterest.

Joey Myers  33:02

Are you on Pinterest?

Amanda Smith  33:02

Of course, I am on Pinterest, I’m a pinning queen. I have an Amazon list for softball parent and players. I mean, I’m on the internet.

Joey Myers  33:16

Very cool. Well, thank you, Miss Amanda Smith, I appreciate the call. What we’ll do is we’ll probably have multiple part two and stuff, I’d love to come back and go a little bit deeper into some other things.

Joey Myers  33:30

Your story is very interesting, and I love the origin stories because it explains where you’re at now. It gives a little bit more flavor to the type of coaching that you teach and the purpose behind why you teach what you teach. So keep up the good work out there.

Amanda Smith  33:47

The whole white zone thing. That’s why I teach what I teach.

Joey Myers  33:51

Exactly. Thank you so much and I’ll get you all the goods. Oh, we’ll do like a little Dropbox thing and I’ll send all that stuff to you, and you can do with it however you want. We’ll keep connected.

Amanda Smith  34:05

Awesome. I am excited to keep connected. We’ve got a lot in common, sir.

Joey Myers  34:10

Very much so. Well, have a good weekend.

Amanda Smith  34:14

You, too

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

The Biggest Lie In The Baseball Showcase?

 

 

In the above baseball showcase video, I answer the following question from one of our readers…

Baseball Showcase: PBR Tyler Davis

PBR Baseball Showcase: Tyler Davis (one of my local hitters). Photo courtesy: PrepBaseballReport.com

“What are your thoughts on scouting services like PBR, Perfect Game, etc. who base their player rankings almost exclusively on numbers – EV, batted ball distance…”

If you’ve thought this, then you’re not alone.  I’ve heard some of the same concerns from other coaches and parents.

Let me ask you this…would you take a hitter who can’t hit in a game, but can light up Pocket Radar with a 100-mph ball exit speed …OR, would you take a hitter who can hit in games, but can only reach 80-mph ball exit speeds?

I know, not a tough choice.

Unfortunately no grading system is perfect.  And as many of you know, I love data and numbers.  But numbers don’t have brains.  Humans do.  Look, ultimately players MUST perform in games.  Analyzing things like game stats, division played in, strength of schedule, accolades collected, etc. are very relevant to a balanced scouting service.

The purpose of baseball showcase evaluations should be to forecast the probability of that player performing well in games.  Period.  Is that possible?  To create evaluations that can truly test a hitter, reflecting how they will do in a game?

Some of the things we cover:

  • Are Ball Exit Speeds and Launch Angles enough?
  • How can you test a hitter’s barrel control when it comes to restoring balance to ground-balls, line drives, and fly-balls?*
  • What value would knowing whether a hitter can adapt from pull to oppo?  Can you test that?
  • What’s the ultimate timing test you could throw at a hitter that would give you a glimpse into their adaptability?
  • And finally, can you effectively evaluate a hitter’s approach against mixed pitches?

*CLICK HERE for a post Perry Husband shared his ‘Launch Angle’ test chart.  This is a great start to getting more accurate performance information about hitters.

Is this all doable for a baseball showcase like PBR to do?  Maybe.  It will take more time than what they’re doing now.  But how much value will it add to their showcases?  How much credibility would their programs gain from the extra time spent?  How much more trust would they get from parents and coaches?

I dunno, you tell me…

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

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

 

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here’s what we’ll cover in this post:

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

 

How To Keep Hitters Productive At Home Despite COVID-19

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

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

 

At-Home Hitting Drills for Kids Challenge Rules

WHEN

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

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

WHAT

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

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

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

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

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

HOW

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

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

 

Today’s Hitting WOD (DAY-17 and Final Day)

Today’s hitting drills for kids videos are coming to an end.  Sadly.  But the good news is… Today and tomorrow (Easter) I want to giveaway one FREE online hitting lesson from our own The Feedback Lab program…


How can you win?  Simply by leaving a comment below.  I pick a random comment and declare the winner on the Monday after Easter.  Good luck and I hope you all have a Happy and Safe Easter!  PLEASE NOTE: this offer is closed and we’re no longer taking winners.

 

BONUS Extra Credit to Sweeten the Deal

Hitting Drills For Kids: Swing Smarter Newsletter Monthly

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

Once per month, we’ll be offering up:

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

The monthly membership fee was going to be $9.95 per month.  We’re also offering a 30-day money back guarantee to take the risk away.  Cancel within that period and we’ll give you your money back.  No worries.  No questions asked.  No hard feelings.

Click the button below to grab access to Swing Smarter Newsletter Monthly

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

Longest Home Run Ever “Principles” May SURPRISE You…

 

 

 

Longest Home Run Ever? 696-Feet!

Photo Courtesy of: SmarterEveryDay YouTube channel

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

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

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

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

A fantastic post on the topic of longest home run ever comes from Dr. Alan Nathan over at PopularMechanics.com titled, “What’s The Longest Possible Home Run”. Alan Nathan is a professor emeritus of physics at the University of Illinois who has spent a career tracking physics, especially as it relates to baseball. He says two primary factors guide how far a ball is going to fly: exit velocity and launch angle.  Click the PopularMechanics.com link to read more.

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!

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