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…

#13

#12

#11

#10

#9

#8

#7

#6

#5

#4

#3

#2

#1

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…

Closing Eyes When Swinging

Advice On Reader Comment: “I Have A Girl That Closes Her Eyes When She Is About To Hit The Ball”

 

 

The above video, and following copy, gives our advice on a comment from one of our readers:

“I have a girl that closes her eyes when she is about to hit the ball?”Closing Eyes When Swinging

…we’ll go over…

  • What we can learn from Arnold Schwarzenegger in the movie Terminator,
  • Swinging across face,
  • Hitting a heavy bag,
  • Wiffle ball bats and balls,
  • Hammers, nails, and clapping, and
  • Repetition.

Hey what’s going on? It is Joey Myers from ‘Hitting Performance Lab’ again. In this video, I’m going to answer another reader question. This is actually an interesting one, and it’s one that I actually don’t see in lot of hitters, but I do occasionally see it. The reader comment we give advice on is: “I have a girl that closes her eyes when she is about to hit the ball”.

Now obviously, vision is a big part of this game – tracking the ball is a big part of baseball and softball. So, that would be something that we want to try and see if we can train into our swings. The moral of the story is repetition.  It just takes repetition. A lot of times the hitters that don’t take a lot of swings, on their own at home or whatever, they tend to kind of do this.

 

What we can Learn from Arnold Schwarzenegger in the Movie Terminator

So, we have to get them the right repetitions. I want to start off with just a quick story on Arnold Schwarzenegger in his book, his autobiography ‘Total Recall’, talked about a time when he was talking to I think was James Cameron, whoever the producer was, or I think it was director of ‘The Terminator’. The first one, and it was supposed to cast Arnold, this is after he got off the movie Conan the Barbarian, did pretty well with that. Started to become a rising star, and they were gonna cast Arnold as John Connor in Terminator 1, the guy in the future that comes back to try and stop the machines from taking over the world.

So, Arnold Schwarzenegger is supposed to be the good guy, and OJ Simpson ironically was supposed to be the bad guy. He was going to be the Machine. Arnold was sitting there at lunch with James Cameron, whoever the director was going to be, and they were talking. Arnold was saying “Hey, The Terminator is a machine, so tell OJ, coach him that when he shoots a gun or pulls a trigger or whatever loud sounds, his eyes can’t blink, he can’t blink. For those of you out there who haven’t read ‘Total Recall’ maybe don’t know that Arnold was actually in the Austrian army when he was younger, drove tank. He’s very versed, and has been around a lot of guns being shot off, cannons going off, and different things like that.

So, he’s giving James Cameron all these tips to give to OJ, and James Cameron goes “you know what, why don’t you be the Terminator, you know so much about being a machine”. Arnold was like “No, no, no”. He didn’t want to do it because he didn’t want to get typecast as the bad guy. But actually, hindsight being fifty-fifty, that was actually a good move by him. That’s what he ended up doing.

The idea of blinking, right. You can see it encapsulated in that Arnold Schwarzenegger story where you got a guy like OJ, who’s never been around that before, shooting guns and all this at least not till later right. You have Arnold who was trained in the Austrian military. So, you have Arnold who put in the repetition, OJ did not. This is why repetition is kind of the underbelly of a lot of the things that we’ll talk about in this video.

 

Swinging Across the Face

So, one of the first things though that could be an issue, and I’ve seen in local or some of my online hitters on video, is when I see the eyes closing, I also see the head turning. What Matt Notes calls ‘Chasing your face’, like there are swings chasing their face or pulling their head off the ball, pulling their head out. What they have to make sure that they’re doing first, because it doesn’t matter if they are closing their eyes, turning their head this way, is just as bad as closing their eyes. If you fix the eyes from closing at impact and major leaguers probably do this too, I don’t know if all of them, maybe they all keep their eyes open at impact. But you’re gonna see some blinking going on, but not right before impact. You’re not going to see this.

But you’ve got to make sure you should correct the head, so we want to make sure we’re swinging across our face. It’s not head pointing at the plate, swinging across our face like say Nolan Arenado. Our head actually, it’s gonna be somewhere, our nose and chin, it’s gonna be somewhere out in front of impact. We cannot see impact with the center part of our vision, we see it out of the corner of our eye. We want the head to be somewhere out in front of impact, out in front of the plate. Then we want them to swing across their face, not chase their face. So, that’s number one, and I’ll have a video link, or a link to another blog post where I talk about swinging across your face. Again, Matt Notes came up with that.

If you’re watching this on YouTube, just go down to the About section, click the link, go to the regular post, and the link should be in there. ‘Swinging across your face’. So, that’s number one…

 

Hitting a Heavy Bag

Also, you can get good practice about hitting something with the bat, again think Arnold Schwarzenegger, Austrian army, shooting a lot of guns. By hitting a heavy bag with a bat or with your fists, then you get used to trying to see the bat or fist hit the bag. Getting used to that and trying to keep the eyes open while doing it. Again, repetition is key, and it’s not hundreds of swings a day. It’s what I tell my hitters, four days a week, five minutes each day, that’s all I tell them.

So, if you just worked on this, if this was a big issue, eyes are closing at impact and before impact, then I would say probably within two to three weeks, you’re gonna see a major change in your softball player, your baseball player’s swing. So, hitting the heavy bag is number one, you don’t have to worry about hitting the ball, about missing it, it’s actually a object that’s there, it’s big, they know they’re gonna hit it. So, they can practice with the eyes being open at impact.

 

Wiffle ball bats and balls

The other thing is Wiffle balls and bats. Wiffle balls and bats are light, it’s meant to be light, it’s not gonna hurt them, they’re not gonna feel a lot of recoil from the ball off the bat. So, there’s really nothing to be afraid of if they get hit by the Wiffle ball, it doesn’t really hurt that bad, hopefully you’re not chucking it at them. Because it can hurt, but if you’re not chucking it at them, if they’re having a hard time with blinking their eyes, then you want to be kind and soft with the training at the beginning.

So, Wiffle balls and bats, get them used to, try to get them to, keep their eyes open. They don’t have to necessarily need to see the ball hit the bat, but they have to keep their eyes open at impact when the wiffle bat and the ball collide.

So, that’s another way that you can spend your four days a week, five minutes each day.

 

Hammers, Nails, and Clapping

The other thing is pretty simple, if you have a tool shed at your house or in the garage…maybe you’re big into making stuff, carpentry and you have hammers and nails, best to do this. Because almost similar to hitting, the only thing is you’re hitting a stationary object but you’re taking the hammer, and you’re trying to pound that nail, just put nails out in a stump, if you got an old stump just like the old game who could sink the nail with one hit. Where you’re knocking the nail in, and have her or him, the hitter, practice hitting that nail and keeping their eyes open, and trying to see the contact point of the hammer, the head of the hammer, and the head of the nail.

Another way that you can do that, ‘Clapping’ is another way.  So clapping, try to keep your eyes open as you are clapping instead of blinking the eyes. Clap until they can do it, and have their eyes open during that motion. So, that’s another way to help kind of condition it.

 

Repetition

But again, it’s all about repetition. Repetition is with all this stuff, again if you look at OJ in Terminator vs Arnold Schwarzenegger in the Terminator role. Arnold was better conditioned behaviorally to be able to keep his eyes open while firing a weapon, and act like an actual machine.

I hope this answered your question: “I have a girl that closes her eyes, when she is about to hit the ball”. Make sure that we’re swinging smarter by moving better, and before I let you go…

Throw The Ball: How To Teach Accuracy & Making Good Throws

Throw The Ball Advice To Reader Comment: “Throwing accurately making good throws”

 

 

This throw the ball video and post has nothing to do with hitting, but at the same time, has everything to do with hitters.  In it, we discuss:Throw The Ball: How To Teach Accuracy & Making Good Throws

  • Mechanics are a big part of this, but this video will not go into that (Texas & Florida Baseball Ranches & Top Velocity)
  • The art of “variance” – bean bag toss study
  • Depth and Lateral
  • Ground-balls and different wall targets at home
  • Belt-to-hat target game
  • Arm care program – Jaeger Bands

Hey, what’s going on. Joey Myers here from the ‘Hitting Performance Lab’. In this video, I’m going to answer a reader question. This is a big question, and if you have a hitter, they’re gonna be throwing – the throwing is a given of playing baseball or softball.

 

To Throw The Ball: Mechanics are a Big Part of this…

It doesn’t really excite me to talk pitching mechanics, but I will direct you to some sources that you can go to that promote healthy pitching mechanics. It’s not all about velocity, velocity should come, it should be a byproduct, it’s really where you move the ball around the zone that can upset hitters timing. So, I will make a couple suggestions…

So again, here’s a question, throwing accurately, this reader needed some advice on “Throwing accurately, making good throws”. So, whether this is a player asking the question or a coach on how to put a practice together that promotes or encourages accurately making throws.

So, mechanics again are a big part of this. I would advise you to go to TopVelocity.net, and look into Brent Pourciau or go to the Texas or Florida baseball ranch.  You can go online and get some of their stuff. From what I’ve heard, I haven’t looked at it in detail, but what I’ve heard, a friend of mine Mike Gillen, who is my pitching guy locally. I send my hitters to him locally, who want to pitch. He teaches based off of top velocity’s stuff.

It’s a very healthy, not putting your players in bad positions with their arms. A lot of what I’ve heard is really good stuff, in addition to the Texas and Florida baseball ranches. I’ve heard good stuff; I’ve heard players that go in to have some arm pain or elbow pain whatever. They go in and start working their mechanics. They get so much better, they can throw without any kind of pain. So, any kind of program that has that as part of their focus and priority is a good program.

Don’t listen to some of those people out there, where to throw the ball is all about velocity, velocity and throwing hard. Because what’s gonna happen is you’re gonna be short-lived that season, that career is gonna be short-lived.

You want to be careful with arms and shoulders. So, with that being said, mechanics are a big part of it. But we’re not going to talk mechanics in this video…

 

The Art of “Variance” – bean bag toss study

I want to talk to you about the art of variance, this was a huge thing for me when I learned about it. I learned about it in Make It Stick by Peter C Brown, check it out, there were like eight principles, the “science of successful learning” is the subtitle. But the art of variance, it can be demonstrated in this way…

There was a beanbag study, they cited in the book. So, imagine that we’re in a grade school class, sixth grade, fifth grade, grade school class.

I think they were 11, 12 year olds. They split the class into two. For group one, they put a bucket that was three feet away, get those kids beanbags and have them practice throwing in that three foot bucket. That was for 15 minutes.

They had group two, they gave them two buckets, one was two feet away, and the other was four feet away. So, no three-foot bucket, there was a hole at the three foot, so only two and four. They gave them beanbags and had them practice for 15 minutes throwing in the two buckets.

At the end of the 15 minutes, they had them all test on a three foot bucket, which group…? Group one who is practicing on the three foot or group two who is practicing on the two and four foot buckets, no three foot. Which group, one or two, did better?

You probably think this is a trick question, and you want to pick the three-foot bucket, but you know that there’s something going on, and this probably isn’t true. Well, you are right because the three-foot bucket practicing half of the class, actually did not do better, they ended up losing to the part two group, that was two- and four-foot bucket part of tossing bean bags – second group half of the class.

So, why though, why did group two win? I asked my players this, and it’s because they had two frames of reference, a two and a four foot bucket. They didn’t have the three, but they can, when they go to the 3-foot bucket, they say, I know if I toss toss in a four-foot bucket, which would be over the three. I know what tossing in a two-foot bucket, which is just short of the three. I know what both of those feel like, so I’ll just throw it in the middle of both of those.

You see, they have two frames of reference, whereas the three foot bucket, they only have one frame. They had to either make it or they didn’t, but they weren’t practicing trying to throw it too far or too short. When we talk about the art of variance and practicing to throw the ball, we apply it to throwing, and throwing accurately.

 

Depth and Lateral – how to practice throwing accurately and making good throws at practice

What we did with my son, who is now going to be 7yo in December. We did it with his baseball ball team last season.

We had stations in our practices, and one of the stations was a throwing accuracy station. We have them lined up, three players at a time, I would toss a ground ball to one player, and we taped the numbers 1, 2, & 3 behind me on the chain-link fence in green frog tape. They were spaced enough apart, not being super close, you’re getting this variance of depth for them, this is to practice depth to throw the ball.

I rolled on the ground ball.  And at first, before I rolled it. I would say, I want you to hit number one. I’d go down the line. I will say, I want you to hit number two before I rolled it. So, they would get pretty good at being somewhere around the numbers, and then I would roll it.

A kind of a progression to that… I would roll it, and I wouldn’t tell them any number until I rolled it, and I would say “all right, hit two”. As they were fielding it, they’d have to make the decision, and look up and try and hit the target.

Then I was changing it up on them, that was the next progression. As you got these three players on the line, well we would move them, move kind of like in a volleyball game where the players kind of shift around. You want to move them around so they’re getting different perspectives of hitting the number one, two, and three.  It’s going to be different if they’re in the middle versus the left or the right side. So, you want them to kind of feel the difference of different positions of their body of where they’re at in space and time.

The other thing that we did was, it was more of a across the field drill as they got pretty good with the accuracy of hitting static targets.

Then we moved to create some depth for them. So, we would have a first baseman set up, but we’d have the real first base, we’d have a first base at about five feet down the line towards the home plate, and we would have another first base that was about five feet down the line towards right-field. So, it was just on the foul line, it was spread out this way laterally, then we had them practice kind of similar to what I just talked about. But they’re hitting two different targets laterally.

So, you got the real first baseman, and then you would work variance at depth. So, arm distance or being short of first base.

We would have real first baseman, we would have a first baseman about five feet more towards the pitcher, or towards the fielder throwing the ball. Then we would have a first baseman beyond the real first baseman, almost like an overthrow. So, I can under throw the ball overthrow, and then you have the first baseman changing positions, and each player is testing at different positions.

It’s almost like they’re getting six different frames of references as they throw the ball to first base.  This helped clean up throwing with a bunch of five-year-olds all the way up to seven year olds … this cleaned up throwing accuracy so quickly. It was amazing.  It was crazy.

 

Ground-balls and different wall targets at home

Wall targets at home…this is something that I’m gonna be doing at our house. We’re gonna have a swing open gate, right now it’s just kind of a small swing open, we’re gonna make a big swing open. On that gate we’re gonna put some kind of vinyl material, that’s not gonna ruin the wood. My son can throw the ball against the wall, and it’s not gonna ruin our fence, and we’re gonna create targets. We’re going to put targets up on the fence, as they field the ground ball, throw the ball against it, ball bounces back, we’re gonna have different targets up, down, middle.

He’s gonna get to pick a target before he throws the ball. Then throw, and try and hit that target. Just different targets, putting them up all over. So, that’s an idea at home that you can do.

 

Throw the Ball Belt-to-hat target game

Also, when we play catch. I learned this at Fresno State, you can use a belt to hat game. Players are playing catch down the line, if they hit the hat, it’s three points. If they hit the chest, it’s two. If they hit the belt, it’s one, and anywhere else outside of that range is zero. It’s called belt to hat game. So, that’s a good one that you could play while playing catch.

 

Arm care program – Jaeger Bands

Also before in this video, I want to make sure that you are aware of arm care exercises that you should have your hitters, throwers, and pitchers do. They’re never too young to start some sort of an arm care program. They need to take care of their arm, younger obviously not quite as needed as they are when they’re junior, high, and high school on up. But I recommend Jaeger bands, you can go on the – search Jaeger bands on Google. Find their website, go on, and check it out.

They have a lot of videos, I’m pretty sure they’re on YouTube. Just go on YouTube, and search, get to their channel. Jaeger bands channel, and they have tons of videos on how to do different exercises and things like that. Pick and choose, get a get a bunch of them, maybe five to ten of them. Doing them every day, make sure that you’re providing arm care for your little hitters. Hope you learned something in this video.

Make sure that we’re swinging smarter by moving better, and again this video was about “Throwing accurately and making good throws”. Before I let you go…

Backspin Tee: How To Set Up Batting Tee Locations

Backspin Tee: “I have a question about contact points for hitting inside/outside pitches. What’s your opinion on how you should set up your batting tee for working both of these locations?”

 

 

Good question…here’s what we discuss in this Backspin Tee batting tee video above:

Backspin Tee: How To Set Up Baseball Hitting Tee Locations

Photo courtesy: Yours truly.com

Hey. What’s going on? It’s Joey Myers from ‘Hitting performance lab’. In this batting tee video, we’re gonna answer another reader question:

“I have a question about contact points for hitting inside versus outside pitches. What’s your opinion on how you should set up your Tee for working both of these locations?”

This is a great question, and this is what I got in from email. I thought, I have gotten it quite a few times, it’d be nice to just put in a post, and that when people ask, I can just send that out to them instead of having to explain it.

So, here’s the general batting tee rule in setting up Tee for the pitch depth, whether it’s inside, middle, or away. Now, I know this requires some visuals. I will take a picture (image to the right), and during this video, I will put it up, so that you can see that image while I’m actually talking you through it. Because I realized that it would be kind of tough to do that in this video setting without actually being out on the field…

 

How To Set Up Inside Batting Tee

So, on the inner third of the plate, realize that when you set the Tee up you want to be on the inside inner third of the plate.

The other thing that you want to make sure you’re doing is ‘at stride’ landing. So, all these positions are at stride landing, okay. It’s not at the start of the swing. So, you have to get your hitter at the stride landing, and then you can kind of figure out how far up, middle, or deep you want to put the Tee. On the inner third of the plate, ball is on the inner third, you want the ball to be set up whether using a BackSpin Tee or Tanner Tee or whatever Tee. You want it to be set up about six inches to a foot out in front of the stride foot, okay.

Again, lined up on the inner third of the plate. But in relation to where the foot is, you want it to be about 6 inches to 12 inches. Perry Husband actually says when we’re using the front arm shape, we’re locking that front arm out, for some players could be as much as 18 inches. So, it’s going to depend on the age of the hitter. Obviously, if there’s 7 years old you’re not going to put the ball, if you’re working in or third, you’re not gonna put the ball 18 inches out in front of them.

But maybe a high school or college or pro guy or gal, you want to basically use your common sense to where you need to put that, in relation to setting up batting tee locations. It might take a few swings for you to finally find that sweet spot. Because it all depends on the length, and seven-year-olds arms are definitely not as long as a 22 year old’s arm. So, in the inner third, about 6 to 18 inches out in front, of the stride landing foot.

 

How To Set Up Middle Tee

Middle third of the plate, you’re gonna be somewhere around the stride landing foot, in line with it to about 6 inches give or take, 3 to 6 inches, 3 to 8 or so, give or take.

But somewhere at middle should be around stride foot landing, or in line of the stride foot over the middle third of the plate.

 

How To Set Up Outer Batting Tee

Now, the outer third part of the plate you want to set it up on the outer third, and it’s gonna be deeper off the stride foot. So, it’s gonna be farther back, closer to the catcher. So, you want to make sure that that’s gonna be a range. I know, you probably don’t like ranges, it would be nice for me to just say we’ll do it 6 inches from.

But it’s all going to depend on your hitter, the younger the hitter, the less the discrepancy between staggering these balls, the less distance between the contact points. Because the arm, the front arm shape or length isn’t as long as a 22-year old. So, it’s gonna be the range between 6 and 12 inches I would say, or 3 and 12 inches, just again play around with it. But what should happen is when they hit it, when they hit it optimally, they should be on, if it’s on the outer third correctly, should be going to right center field. Inner third, it should be about left center.

Again, the farther out you move it, the more they’re going to pull it off those lines. So, you want to make sure that’s kind of a ballpark of where you want to put it. Think about it this way, this is what I tell my hitters. When we’re talking depth, hitting depth, whether opposite field middle or pulling the ball is think about like a pinball machine. Now, some hitters don’t know or never played on a pinball machine, you can show them. But think about the flappers on a pinball machine, if I had the left side flapper or right-handed, if they’re a right-handed hitter.

So, if I want to hit the ball across the table, opposite field. Then I’m gonna let that ball travel deeper and then my flapper is going to hit ball deeper. If I want to pull it across the table then that ball has to be more inside or coming more where the flapper is, and that flapper has to hit the ball more out in front in order to get it to go. Now obviously, it’s a little bit different when we’re talking about a hitter in a flesh-and-blood human being, but the bat is like the flapper, and the human body is just an extension to that.

That is how you set up the Tee.

 

Using Art of Variance To Train Off Tee

Now, a couple things that you want to do when you’re working and training off the Tee. Because there are some people out there anti Tee, they are “Never Tee’rs”, never batting Tees. Working on the Tee has its place, it shouldn’t be something that you do all the time. But if you’re gonna work on the Tee, make sure you use what I call the ‘Art of Variance’. So, you want to vary where the pitch height is, and the pitch depth. Whenever we’re on the Tee, we’re on the backspin Tee, or Tanner Tee. We have our hitters, after every swing, we move the Tee up or down.

Doesn’t have to be a lot, just a little bit. Just giving them a different height to it, then what we’ll do is say a five swing round, is the odd swings, the 1, the 3, and the 5 swings, or the first three swings will actually have them swing inside. We will have the Tee set up on the inner third, and we’re moving the ball up and down. Then the last two swings, we’ll move it to the outer third, and we’ll move the swing up and down.

Then, the next round, the next round of five, we will reverse that. So, the first three swings are on the outer third moving it up and down. We’ll move it to the inner third, and then for the last two swings, and we’ll move that up and down.

So, you want to make sure that you’re varying the ball, whether it’s height or depth on the Tee when you’re working off the Tee. Because the pitcher is not going to be throwing it in the same spot every time. So, the Tee definitely has its limitations, it does not obviously simulate a moving pitch. But we can work on the Tee whether, it’s mechanics, we can work on it on getting hitters to understand pitch depth. Where you’re hitting the ball deeper, they hit at the other field, or pulling the ball, we can work on it using especially overload training is really good. We can set the Tee really high and inside, up and in. So, we can get them to work on some things with the overload bat, to get them not getting under the ball.

 

Backspin Tee v. Regular Tee Swing Experiment

So, there’s some cool stuff we can do with the Tee. Just make sure we are smarter with it, and the difference between a backspin Tee and a Tanner Tee or any of any other Tee. Because every other Tee is way different than the backspin Tee, there was an experiment I did. A swing experiment where I hit, I took a hundred swings off a backspin Tee, and a hundred swings off a regular Tee. I split those hundred swings up, I mixed them. So, I had say A, B were split in 25 swing chunks. So, I would say A, where backspin Tee swings. I would go A, B, B, A and then the last round of 100. I would go B, A, A, B.

‘A’ represented backspin Tee swings; the ‘B’ represented regular Tee swings. I took identical pictures of the cage. Then plot it, when I take some swings out the backspin Tee where the ball would go, and then I would do the same on the Tanner T.

But what the difference was, off the backspin Tee, 100 swings looked like a tornado or a tree. The swings off the regular Tee kind of looked blockish. There were some up above the top of the Tee or a top of the gate, but it was more blockish. What was interesting is the “backspin Tee effect” is what I call it, after changing from a backspin Tee swing to a regular Tee swing. The backspin Tee effect where I was still driving the ball up, lasted for about 10 swings or so. Then, the last 15 of the 25 swings on the regular Tee, I’d noticed that the ball would start to kind of drag down. Then, when I go back to the backspin Tee, would go back up again. It was just an interesting backspin Tee effect.

So, in this video, we answer reader your question:

“I have a question about contact points for hitting inside versus outside pitches. What’s your opinion on how you should set up your Tee for working both of these locations?”

I hope this video answered that question…make sure we’re swinging smarter by moving better. And before I let you go…

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

Why You SHOULD NOT Use “Forearm” Or “Barrel” Cues In This Way…

Lower Back Explosion Extravaganza

Tweet from a #HittingTwit-ter

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

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

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

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

 

But Here’s the Problem…

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

Let me show you what I’m seeing…

Lower Back Exploding Extravaganza

Compilation of low backs exploding…

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

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

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

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

Focus on nothing else but her lower back…OUCH!

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

“Unload your barrel not your body”…

AND,

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

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

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

 

Short Anatomy Lesson of the Low Back

Lordosis of the Spine

Photo courtesy: MountSinai.org

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

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

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

“Unload your body not your barrel”…

AND,

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

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

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

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

  

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

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

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

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

 

So, What’s the Answer?

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Hollow Hold…

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

 

In Memoriam

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

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