How To Make Knees Great Again!

Jean Claude Van Damme doing mid split in movie Lion Heart (I think). Splits are a great antidote to a fragile knee.  Photo courtesy: eljueves.es

Fragile.

What a “dumb” joint.

I heard one of my 8th grade hitters, who took a break from lessons to play football, busted his knee requiring surgery, and would be out for 6-8 weeks.

Another one of my 7th grade hitters busted his knee playing soccer, requiring minor surgery.

And yet another hitter of mine, a Junior in High School, tweaked his knee playing basketball at school, and will be undergoing an X-Ray (which will probably turn up negative), followed by an MRI to be safe.

And btw, all these hitters are smart young men, who have performed above and beyond for their age in the batter’s box.  I frequently tell my hitters, you’re no good to your team sitting on the “shelf”, so take care of your body.

So, what’s the answer?

Now, we can’t pull out ye ol’ pocket crystal ball, reveal an injury before it happens, and avoid it.  But…we…can…prevent them!  We’ll get into what we can do in a moment…but first,

Studies show today’s young athletes are sitting 80% of their day.  Athletes are specializing in one sport earlier and earlier in life.  If you read my recent post on 4 Tips On How To Train Springy Fascia, then you’ll remember the first rule of Fight Club is…ahem…training fascia is, to vary training vectors (i.e. be varied in different movement planes of motion)Healthy fascia HATES moving in the same way over and over again – like a 2yo, it gets bored easily!

On top of all that, observe the following reality about young female athletes from a New England Baptist Hospital post titled, “Why Do Female Athletes Suffer More ACL Injuries Than Males?”:

“High school female athletes in the United States suffer 20,000-80,000 ACL injuries per year. The issue isn’t only that female athletes are prone to these potentially season-ending injuries: the National Institutes of Health reports that female athletes are two to eight times more likely to suffer an ACL injury than their male counterparts.”

For young female athletes, factors that contribute to this increased risk are the differences in sports undertaken and in gender anatomy and structure (duh!).  The truth is, a wider lumbo-pelvic-hip complex puts the knees in a structurally compromised position.

For all athletes, the knee is considered a “dumb” joint, oftentimes stuck, or rendered unstable, between two immobile joints – the hip and ankle.  When the “bookends” are tight, stiff, and immobile, then the knee becomes unstable or “fragile”.

So, what can we do to prevent injury, minimize damage, or treat a knee injury?  I wanted to share a list of credible FREE resources parents and coaches can use to reference for knee speed bumps…

  1.  Overcome Knee Pain: Exercises and Solutions for Crunchy Knees (Gold Medal Body Fitness)
  2. Speedy Recovery? Ice Bath Benefits Not What They Seem (Hitting Performance Lab)
  3. 5 Simple Solutions For Anterior Knee Pain (Breaking Muscle)
  4. How To Do The Splits: Proven Hip and Leg Stretches for Splits (Gold Medal Body Fitness)
  5. Are You Weak In The Knees? (Breaking Muscle)
  6. Dr. Kelly Starrett from MobilityWOD is one of my favorite resources for troubleshooting injuries.  Click Here for a YouTube link to view the videos he’s done on dealing with knees.
  7. Identifying the What and Why of Valgus Collapse: Part 1: Identifying the What of Valgus Collapse (FunctionalMovement.com)
  8. CLICK HERE for a YouTube video of Charlie Weingroff demonstrating how to fix knee valgus using Reactive Neuromuscular Training (RNT).
  9. The Do’s and Don’ts of Training Squats (CharlesPoliquin.com)
  10. Building Your Arsenal: 5 Exercises for Bulletproof Knees (GymnasticBodies.com)
  11. How to build Super Knees (Forum Topic at GymnasticBodies.com)
  12. Have a favorite training website with an overwhelming amount of info on it?  Here’s a trick to filter information for what you’re looking for…go to Google, type the following into search engine: “site:<<insert actual website w/out www. here>> + keyword…for example “site:gymnasticbodies.com knees”
  13. PAY-FOR Local in-a-town-near-you Programs: Yoga and Pilates
  14. PAY-FOR Online Program #1: https://gmb.io/ff/#choose (I have no affiliation with this program)
  15. PAY-FOR Online Program #2: https://www.gymnasticbodies.com/gb-courses/stretch-series/#titleBar

If your athletes move better, then they’ll perform better.  The knee is considered a “dumb” joint, so make knees SMART (aka “antifragile”) again!

The Sooner You Know How To Train Springy Fascia The Better

I frequently get questions on how to train springy fascia. The following 4 tips from Tom Myers, author of the book Anatomy Trains, will help shed light on how to do just that. The following videos are NO MORE THAN 2-mins long each. Enjoy!

 

Tip #1: Varying Vectors

  • Includes tendons, ligaments, and fascial fabric of the body…not the same as training muscles and nerves.
  • Vary the vectors – difference between working on gym machines v. Rope systems, throwing things, etc.
  • Machines are good for rehabbing muscles, but don’t prepare you for life’s movement challenges.

How does this apply to hitters?

Tom Myers Anatomy Trains: Image of Fascia Stretching

How to train springy fascia. Image is of fascia stretching. Photo courtesy: Tom Myers Anatomy Trains YouTube

Functional training in the weight room is great for this. Squatting, lunging, hip hinging, twisting, rolling, crawling, single leg hopping, single arm pressing, horizontal pushing, vertical pushing, horizontal pulling, vertical pulling.

Training on different planes: Sagittal, Frontal, and Transverse. Some of the best environments for varying training vectors are Gymnastics, Martial Arts, Dance, Rock Climbing, Yoga, Pilates, and playing on the playground bars.

A quick tip for training this when hitting would be to do the reverse strike zone drill, where the hitter has to swing at pitches outside the strike zone, and take anything in the zone.

Also, CLICK HERE for a great how to train springy fascia YouTube resource of exercises from David Weck at the WeckMethod using the Rotational Movement Club (RMT).

 

Tip #2: Lengthening (Stretch)

  • If trying to lengthen fascia, then to be safe, lengthen slowly. Slow sustained stretching like you’d find in Yoga, this avoids damaging the fascia.
  • Fascia isn’t well vasculated, meaning blood doesn’t move to and through fascia very well, so repair of fascial tears takes a lot of time to heal. Muscles regenerate after 90-days, but ligaments can take over 200-days!!
  • If you want to stretch the fascia, then think Yoga or Tai Chi speeds. NOT athletic speeds.

How does this apply to hitters?

Studies show today’s athletes are sitting 80% of their day, so again, Gymnastics, Martial Arts, Dance, and Rock Climbing are great counter-balancers to this reality. Long slow stretching in the mid-split, front split, and stretching associated with handstand work are great for young athletes spending a lot of time with their seat on a seat, and spilling their brain out on mobile devices developing “text neck”.

 

Tip #3: Hydration

  • Most important that fascia gets hydrated…did you know your Achilles tendon is 63% water?
  • Hydrating fascia IS NOT necessarily about how many bottles of water you drink.
  • The question is, does water get to specific bottlenecked areas of fascial fabric in the body, such as the Achilles tendon. Hydration matters – where the water you drink gets to.
  • “Squeezing the sponge” – big muscular effort helps this, Fascial rolling using a Self-Myofascial Release tool (SMR), self or professional massage, Rolfing.

How does this apply to hitters?

A couple things…

  1. Young athletes MUST drink water, how much? According to world renowned strength and conditioning Coach Charles Poliquin, take half their body-weight, add 30%, and drink that in ounces. A 100-lb player for example, 100-lbs/2 = 50 X 30% = 15 + the halved 50 = 65-ounces of water throughout the day (that’s about FIVE 12-ounce bottles of water).
  2. Remember, what matters is WHERE the water you drink gets to. The best speedy recovery principle to “squeeze the sponge”? Click for this post, “Speedy Recovery? Ice Bath Benefits Not What They Seem”, and
  3. CLICK HERE for a SMR foam rolling routine video I did a few years back.

 

Tip #4: Elasticity (Bounce)

  • Stretch-shortening cycle – we stretch out the muscle to get it to contract (shorten). Fascia works the same way.
  • We can encourage and cultivate elasticity in fascia. Elasticity is a property of youthful tissue. If baby falls down stairs, they bounce. Grandma falls down stairs, she doesn’t bounce.
  • Ballistic stretching. Rhythmic motions such as running, jogging, jumping rope, etc…cultivate “bounce” within a 0.8 to 1.2 second stretch-shortening cycle.  This is the opposite of Yoga and Tai Chi speeds.

How does this apply to hitters?

If you want the fascia to perform, then we have to do rhythmically bouncy movements where the stretch-shortening cycle lasts between 0.8 to 1.2 seconds. Running, jump rope, jogging, skipping, single leg hopping, etc.

I’m beginning to sharpen my thoughts on this as it pertains to the Catapult Loading System. I used to teach the hitter had an option to start in the CLS position, in the stance like Hunter Pence, then hold and maintain until stride landing. But now I’m reconditioning my hitters to do a later CLS move (during the forward momentum phase), and to bounce from that into the turn. Miggy, Trout, Khris Davis are great examples of this. As a matter of fact, most elite hitters you see using the CLS, time the move with a bounce into the turn.

What’s funny is, this post has been “bouncing” around in my head the past week (pun intended), and speak of the devil, my good golfing friend Lee Comeaux recently text me a new-to-me resource for training springy fascia. It’s called the Rotex Motion (YouTube channel). Some cool stuff there!

How To Find Baseball Or Fastpitch Softball “Hitting Instructors Near Me”Hitting Instructors Near Me

Do you consider yourself openly honest and transparent?  If so, then I need your help instructors!

One of the biggest questions I get from readers is:

“How do I find baseball or softball hitting instructors near me that teach what you teach at the Hitting Performance Lab?”

In some cases, I have go-to instructors like Josh Copeland in GA, Jim Ambrosius in Jersey, or Taylor Gardner in OK.  But for most cases, I have no clue.  So I’m putting together an Excel spreadsheet of coaches to be a solution to: “How do I find baseball or softball hitting instructors near me?”

NOTE to Searching Parents

The list will be continually updated and trimmed.  Just like eBay, buyers are protected from BAD sellers with the help of buyer feedback.  That’s WHY it’s CRITICAL you provide us with that same kind of honest and transparent feedback on the “hitting instructors near me” coaches.  For that, you can contact us here.  OR, you can post your “review” below in the comments section. Also note, if there are no “hitting instructors near me” yet, then please feel free to look into our online hitting lesson program The Feedback Lab.

That being said, Click the “GET ACCESS NOW!” button below to access the spreadsheet…

My advice to filter the results is to hold down “control + F” to open the “Find” function on your PC, and type in the desired city or state, and press “enter”.  For example, try typing “California” or “CA”.  I’m not sure how to do that on a Mac, so please Google it.

NOTE to Instructors

If you’re openly honest and transparent, and support the human movement principles validated by REAL Science, then YOU WILL be rewarded with more local hitting lessons.  You’re welcome 😉  That being said, if we get an email or public review in comments down below claiming “bait & switch”, then we reserve the right to remove you from the list.  Instructors, please Click the “FILL OUT FORM” link below to fill out the form…

THANK YOU in advance!

Breathing Technique For Hitting A Baseball: Why Hitters Shouldn’t Breath Like “Normal”

 

Before we get to the breathing technique for hitting a baseball (same for softball), consider this…

Breathing is one of the most commonly dysfunctional movement patterns today.  In other words, nowadays “normal” breathing IS dysfunctional!

Breathing Technique For Hitting A Baseball

Photo courtesy: MobilityWOD.com YouTube video

Why?  Here are a few reasons off the top of my head – you could probably think of others:

  • High levels of stress hormone cortisol throughout the day because of constant bombardment of mind numbing hamster-constantly-on-the-wheel technology (phones, video games, etc.),
  • Overuse training – doubling training efforts without doubling recovery efforts (dangerously over scheduled youth athletes), and
  • Injuries to certain areas of the body, playing a one-sided dominant sport (i.e. baseball and softball), and imbalanced training (without proper flushing of waste by the lymphatic system), can build a shorter breathing pattern, which can cause a constant drip-drip-drip of the fight or flight response throughout the day.

One of my hitter’s dad asked me what physical training I recommend outside of a busy baseball and football schedule, and I said either Yoga or Pilates.  I HIGHLY disagree with most hitting coaches putting ORGASMIC emphasis on explosive, Olympic, Cross-fit, or whatever else type of performance training out there.

Don’t get me wrong, there’s a time and place for physical training geared for performance, but corrective maintenance training SHOULD precede performance – if we want healthy moving athletes.  If you put fresh 80,000 mile tires on a Lamborghini with a misaligned front end, then you’ll be lucky to get half the miles out of the tires!  Also, the tires won’t be your only problem.

Let’s connect what an effective breathing technique for hitting a baseball means to hitters…

World renowned strength and conditioning coach Brett Jones says this about “anatomical” versus “biomechanical” breathing in a post titled, “How Your Breathing Relates to Your Movement”:

“Anatomical breathing match refers to the natural matching of the inhalation and exhalation with extension and flexion of the spine/body. Extension facilitates inhalation and flexion facilitates exhalation. As the body gets compressed (flexion) exhalation dissipates the pressure and extension assists in opening the thoracic area to assist in inhalation. In addition, anatomical breathing can be used in stretching where the exhale is used to enhance the relaxation into a stretch.

Whereas, in the biomechanical breathing match we flip those actions. Inhaling to increase the intra-abdominal pressure during flexion and exhaling to improve muscular action and stability during extension. Biomechanical breathing match is key to being able to handle loads through the body during performance. During a dead-lift, kettle-bell swing or a kettle-bell military press the biomechanical breathing match allows us to amp up our strength and stability.”

The video above demonstrates this biomechanical breathing technique for hitting a baseball.  I’ve had quite a few of you ask about this, so here you go!  The description says the above YouTube video is about…

“Identifying and correcting low back extension loading issues through the correct sequence of breathing. If we can get our athletes to breath better across all movements and under load, performance will improve.”

Dr. Mark Cheng, one of my many favorite strength and conditioning coaches, says:

“When you truly own a movement pattern, strain isn’t part of the picture.”

There are a couple other resources I’d be estupido not to mention that plays right into improving breathing technique for hitting a baseball:

The above video is only 3-min and 41-secs, so there won’t be any breathing technique for hitting a baseball notes.  I’d love to hear your thoughts in the REPLY section below this post…

Move better, perform better.  Enjoy!

Ice Bath Benefits? Biggest LIE To A Speedy Recovery…

 

In short, when it comes to a speedy recovery, ice IS NOT nice.  And we’re not talking “immigration” here.  Those cold little cube things you grind up and put in your Margaritas, yeah, that “ice”!

Contrary to what most think, ice causes a back-flow of waste in the lymphatic system (waste management), and actually STOPS recovery.  That’s right!  Ice stops recovery.  How so?  I know, I know, ice numbs the area and makes it feel better…temporarily.  Just like Ibuprofen, but guess what?  That’s even worse!!  They’re examples of ineffective band-aids, not a definitive solution to the problem area.

Speedy Recovery? Ice Bath Benefits NOT What They Seem

MobilityWOD.com’s Dr. Kelly Starrett (on the right), interview MarcPro.com’s Gary Reinl about how “ice” is not nice.

If you’re looking for a speedy recovery, then listen up…

…we MUST look beyond supposed ice bath benefits because the key to a speedy recovery is muscle stimulation.

Gary Reinl (guy in the above video on the left) is being interviewed by San Francisco Crossfit Sports PT Dr. Kelly Starrett.  For those Growth Mindset coaches out there, check out their fantastic books:

Gary and his simple solution (not cheap by the way) to a speedy recovery jumped on my radar after I watched the above video quite a few years ago.  We’ve all been drilled to use ice to help reduce inflammation.  Even conditioning us to follow the R.I.C.E. method to recovery, whereas 75% of the equation is irrelevant, slows healing, and even STOPS it (hint: the “R”, “I”, & “E” letters in the acronym).  The video above gets more into this.

Gary Reinl is to a faster recovery like David Weck is to improving systemic strength and power concentrating on Tensional Balance and Rotational Power.

But get this, “inflammation” IS part of a speedy recovery.  According to Gary Reinl, there are three phases to healing:

  1. Inflammation,
  2. Repair, and
  3. Remodel…

And here’s the quote of the century…

“There can be inflammation without healing, but there CANNOT be healing without inflammation.”

Let that sink in for a moment…researching ice bath benefits isn’t the answer.  So stop it!  I ear marked some notes for you from the video above.  Enjoy!

  • At about 2:00-min mark, Gary Reinl introduces himself, consultant/teacher to all Professional and other Elite Athletes of Marc Pro, “garbage out, groceries in”
  • At about 3:40-min mark, is icing not good? Depends on what you’re using it for, you want less inflammation – why do you want less?  You’re better at regulating the body’s own natural inflammation response?  Swelling goes away by circulation and lymphatic system (set of one-way bags), it’s the muscle contraction/movement that squeezes waste out.
  • At about 5:30-min mark, isn’t immobilization good for an injured area?  What if injured site is too painful to move? Use muscle simulator to get muscles moving outside the pain site, batter hit by pitch example, the “highway back out”
  • At about 7:30-min mark, does compression work?  Yes, but it’s not the best method.  Manual stimulation? Yes, but it’s not the best most effective method.
  • At about 8:15-min mark, what about the R.I.C.E. method? RICE is not nice! Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation.  Resting is NOT pushing waste out because muscles aren’t contracting. Ice makes you numb.  What’s your goal.  Ice causes back-flow of waste.  It stops recovery. Ibuprofen is worse because it prevents the signal to push out the waste.  There can be inflammation without healing, but there cannot be healing without inflammation.
  • At about 14:00-min mark, 3 phases to healing: Inflammatory Response, Repair, and Remodel. Prevent inflammatory response, then prevent the other two phases.  Compression (low level), okay but not better than activating muscles surrounding injured area.  Pain to take IB’s is a “blockage” of their waste management system.
  • At about 25:55-min mark, Dr. Kelly Starrett says the only place ice belongs is in your Margarita sitting in the hot tub 😛

DISCLAIMER: I am an affiliate to both the Marc Pro and Marc Pro Plus.  However, before becoming an affiliate, I promoted both to a countless number of clients – for years – when I was doing corrective fitness full time.  They do carry a hefty price, but the benefits to a speedy recovery are well worth the investment.  Also worth noting, each model has an affordable monthly payment plan…AND if you use my coupon code at the MarcPro.com website checkout: mpjoey5 (code stands for Marc Pro Joey 5% off)…you’ll get 5% OFF

Speedy Recovery? Get Access To The Marc Pro Now

Okay, so here’s a video of how the Marc Pro muscle simulator works

 

The Marc Pro uses the body’s natural healing process.  Lymphatic pump system.  Clearing congestion.  Remember to use my speedy recovery coupon code: mpjoey5 at the MarcPro.com website checkout to get 5% OFF your Marc Pro model…

Here are some testimonial videos of some well known Marc Pro users…

Kevin Rand of the Detroit Tigers

 

David Leadbetter – How to Perfect your Golf Swing for Increased Power & Rotation

 

Corey Kluber of the Cleveland Indians

 

Dan Straily of the Miami Marlins

 

The Marc Pro uses the body’s natural healing process.  Lymphatic pump system.  Clearing congestion.  Remember to use my speedy recovery coupon code: mpjoey5 at the MarcPro.com website checkout to get 5% OFF your Marc Pro model…

One question I know I’ll get from coaches is, “Who is the Marc Pro for?”

And it’s a great question.  Here’s who this speedy recovery product is best suited:

  • Hitting/Pitching academy owners,
  • Hitting/pitching instructors,
  • High School coaches and players,
  • College coaches and players,
  • Pro level coaches and players, and of course…
  • Sports Physical Therapists, Chiro’s, Massage Therapists, Rolfers, Fitness Trainers, etc.

If you have any other questions, comments, or criticisms about the Marc Pro, then please leave them below.  I’ll do my best to answer, but if it’s above my pay grade, then I’ll have Gary Reinl chime in

Hitting Timing Drills: Get Rid Of Hitters Feeling Dominated By Upper Level Pitchers Once And For All

 

In this timing hitting drills post, I’ll be addressing the following reader question…Hitting Timing Drills Strategy For Upper Level Pitchers & Hard Throwers

“How to teach fearlessness when facing upper level pitchers and timing the hard throwers?”

We’ll be addressing the following in the above video:

  • Barry Bonds one step towards machine after every swing,
  • Two or three-plate drill, and
  • Develop hunting approach at the plate…

 

Barry Bonds One Step Toward Machine After Every Swing

  • CLICK HERE for a link to get more information on the golf whiffle ball MaxBP pitching machine at The Starting Lineup StoreGet 15% OFF by using the: GET15OFF coupon code at checkout.

 

Two or Three Plate Drill 

 

Develop Hunting Approach at the Plate

If You Don’t Switch To Small Private Group Hitting Sessions Now, You’ll Hate Yourself Later

 

Learn how to build more effective hitting groups, make more money, charge clients less, and have more time with your family.  In this post, I’ll be addressing the following reader question…

“How do you have hitting drills in a small time window?” (Good for teams or individual instructors)

Here’s what we’ll be talking about in this video:How To Teach Hitting Drills in a Small Window

  • Theory of Constraints (what’s most important?),
  • Small Private Group Structure, and
  • Pro’s and Con’s

 

Theory of Constraints (what’s most important?)

  • My story: a MUST change to small private group sessions (2-6 hitters)
  • Supply & Demand: I didn’t want to raise prices per hitter (the fitness “boot camp” model)
  • What’s important to you? Certainty, Uncertainty, Significance, Connection, Contribution, Growth

 

75-min Small Private Group Structure

  • Dynamic Warmup (10 to 15-mins)
  • Beginning Ball Exit Speeds, swing recording & analysis (10-15 mins) – I use a PocketRadar
  • Stations (40-mins):
    • 1) Mechanical work off tee, soft toss, LIVE (with me),
    • 2) Over-Under load training (switching stations is based off this one),
    • 3) LIVE whiffle ball – slow pitching, hunting zones, controlling verticals, controlling horizontals
  • Ending Ball Exit Speeds & Review Questions (5-mins)

 

Pros and Cons to Small Private Group Hitting

  • Pros:
    • Help more hitters in small amount of time
    • More money in pocket of instructor, customer pays less for overall time
    • Each hitter gets their specific mechanical things to work on
    • Breeds a naturally competitive environment
    • Older players mentor, younger become mentees (their standard gets raised)
    • Learn teamwork, leadership, taking and receiving feedback, etc.
  • Cons
    • Can be hard for hitters used to individual lessons
    • Lose one-on-one touch with instructor
    • Not as much time to chit-chat (some players love to do this!)

 

Here’s what we talked about in this video:

  • Theory of Constraints (what’s most important?),
  • Small Private Group Structure, and
  • Pro’s and Con’s

This model isn’t perfect, so I would love to hear your advice on what’s worked for those who are already doing this (and what doesn’t), and welcome any questions or comments below the “Reply” section… (thanks in advance!!!)

At Last, The Secret To Motivating Players Is Revealed

In this post, we’ll address the following popular reader question…

“How to coach lowly motivated players?”

What follows is an excerpt from my highly rated book on Amazon with 25 book reviews – average 4.8 star rating, The Science Of Sticky Coaching: How To Turn Ordinary Athletes Into Extraordinary

Section 1, Chapter 12: KNOWLEDGE: Motivating The Elephant

FOUR Fool-Proof Ways to Unlock an Athlete’s Communication Style

From the International Youth Conditioning Association (IYCA), I wanted to share with you four categories of player ability and temperament.  These are keys to igniting player motivation:

  1. Low motivation-low skill,
  2. Low motivation-high skill,
  3. High motivation-low skill, and
  4. High motivation-high skill.

Learning these guidelines will allow you to understand and communicate more effectively with each of your players, or setting them up in similar learning groups.

Low motivation-low skill – DIRECT

This type of player probably never played the sport before, or not very long.  How do you appeal to this type of player?  By being direct with your instruction, and having a purposeful direction for them.  If you come across this type of athlete on your team at about the 10-12+ year old mark, then a good solution would be to refer them out to a trusted private instructor to “catch them up to speed”.

Low motivation-high skill – INSPIRE

These players may find themselves at the top of your lineup, but may be a part of the hyper-parenting trap.  They may be out there to please mom or dad.  These players need to be put on a pure praise-for-effort diet (“you put a lot of hard work into that”, “great work”).

Whereas before they may have been getting praise-for-effort’s evil twin: praise-for-intellect (“you’re so smart” or “you’re so talented”).

Praise for effort will make all the difference.  John Medina said one study showed how a scientist once got a chicken to turn the pages of a book – like he was reading it – by using continuous praise-for-effort.  True story!

Actively inspire and encourage them.

High motivation-low skill – GUIDE

This is the “Rudy” of the team.  You remember the movie Rudy right?  If not, then rent and watch it on Netflix.  There usually aren’t too many of these, but when you have one, consider yourself lucky because they can inspire YOU and a whole team.

Another movie you can watch to further drill the idea is Radio with Cuba Gooding Jr.

One year when we played Stanford they had an honorary-player resembling the character Warren from the movie Something About Mary.  He wore headphones everywhere he went during batting practice.  At times, we had to protect him from batted balls when he was on our side.  I thought this “player’s” inclusion said A LOT about Stanford’s program.

I’m not saying seek out kids with Developmentally Delayed Syndrome for your team, the preceding were just examples.  You know what I mean.

Use guidance and goal setting with your Rudys.  Get them to improve their skills through baby steps and tracking.

High motivation-high skill – DELEGATE

These are fun players to watch.  And you won’t have many of them, they’re kind of an anomaly.  They’re ones you don’t have to worry about on the field.  With these players you want to make them a part of the decision making process.  Practice drills, lineup creations, etc.  Assign them to be the bridge between players and coaches.  Seriously listen and consider their feedback.

They may be the Team Captains, the highest honor of any team.  Think of Derek Jeter from the Yankees and Dustin Pedroia of the Red Sox.  These players are held to a higher standard, and represent the team on and off the field.  But make sure they make good decisions both on and off the field.  They MUST be a role model.

Some are leaders-by-example, and some are more ‘rah-rah’ in nature.  I was a leader by example.  I didn’t like being a cheerleader in front of the whole team all the time, and there’s nothing wrong with that.  Every player will be wired differently.

I hope these four fool-proof ways help unlock your Athletes’ communication styles:

  1. Low motivation-low skill,
  2. Low motivation-high skill,
  3. High motivation-low skill, and
  4. High motivation-high skill.

 

Grab Your Copy of The Science Of Sticky Coaching Book on Amazon Now…

 

“If you want to argue with “science” as you refer to it, you are welcome and encouraged to do so…but bring your superior evidence and data to the argument!”

Scientist Dr. Richard Feynman

One of the most revered Scientists of our day, the late Dr. Richard Feyman. Photo courtesy: PopularMechanics.com

Science can be tricky.  However, just like with everything else, use proper judgement, and don’t outrun your common sense.

I want to preface a recent insightful Facebook conversation on this with a couple things…

According to Wikipedia,

“Richard Phillips Feynman was an American theoretical physicist, known for his work in the path integral formulation of quantum mechanics, the theory of quantum electrodynamics, and the physics of the super-fluidity of super-cooled liquid helium, as well as in particle physics for which he proposed the parton model. For his contributions to the development of quantum electrodynamics, Feynman, jointly with Julian Schwinger and Shin’ichirō Tomonaga, received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1965.”

It’s okay.  I know you’re eyes glazed over reading that paragraph.  All you need to know is yeah, Dr. Richard Feynman was a super smart dude.  “…varying degrees of certainty” are the keywords to pay attention to in the Tweet.  He was a true student of Science, using the Scientific Method, and trying to be as objective and unbiased as any human can be.  He had a passionate curiosity of how all things worked.  A true blue scientist.  I highly recommend Dr. Feynman’s book titled, Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman!: Adventures of a Curious Character.  It’s not a very technical read, goes fast, and is fascinating.

Wondering how to how to spot BAD Science?  Try this book titled, Bad Science: Quacks, Hacks, and Big Pharma Flacks by Dr. Ben Goldacre.  Dr. Goldacre’s humor and sarcasm goes a long way in getting through this one.

Okay, now that that’s over, let’s get to this week’s post…

I wanted to share a recent Facebook conversation I had with a couple gents.  One I will name “Coach”, so as to not put his name on blast.  Do you believe this statement: “…science is today’s religion. Ppl take it as, fact. If you think science is fact your horribly mistaken.”?  

I interjected in the following conversation, but mainly to confirm Jason O’Conner’s points.  He did a great job of picking apart this objection.  Feel free to use this as fire power for those coaches justifying NOT using science to mold effective swings.  At the end, I’ll put proof in the pudding.  The conversation went a little like this…

Coach:

“…yes u can argue with science. Science is religion not fact. Its guessing and testing not thinking and proving. Very little is proven fact in science. Science is only science until better science comes along. For example. The science of hitting….. there’s ppl out there that say he wasn’t completely right. Then there will be someone new saying the same of your doctor…..i find it funny scientists who can’t hit anything telling ppl the proper way to hit.*”

Jason O’Conner:

“Science is neither religion or guessing and testing. It is the discipline of seeking knowledge in pursuit of the truth and understanding. Whether being applied to medicine, the weather or the baseball swing, that understanding is only as good as the currently available information (data), and yes a process of observation, testing and retesting as tools improve necessarily updates our knowledge and improve our understanding. It does not rely on faith as religion does. It relies on evidence and data. “Hard anywhere” is a result. It doesn’t explain or teach how in fact one hits the ball hard anywhere consistently. That requires some understanding of how the bio-mechanics of the swing works and can be made most efficient for each player. If you want to argue with “science” as you refer to it, you are welcome and encouraged to do so…but bring your superior evidence and data to the argument!”

Coach:

“…science is today’s religion. Ppl take it as, fact. If you think science is fact your horribly mistaken…And i equate science to religion because ppl believe in it like a, religion. Examples being global warming, salt. Salt every day goes back and forth on being good or bad for u. Some think its bad…. others good….. And they all think that way because science told them to. That’s my problem with science. And, again……when better science comes along your science will no longer be science…… like i said. Hitting was figured out scientifically in the 70’s…….But today’s science said they were wrong. Yet they hit better back then.”

Jason O’Conner:

“…better science cannot come along and replace anything. Science uses better information and better data to improve understanding. Usually this happens as a result of technological advance. This is a pointless debate here. But of two things I am convinced:

  1. Your problem is not with science it is with people who may have referred to science to argue a viewpoint you disagree with…science requires critical debate of evidence to come to the most likely conclusion and
  2. As a generality, the elite athletes of today are superior to those of 30+ years ago. Trout would be the best hitter in any era. That is my opinion. Olympic athletes use bio-metrics in every aspect of their training, and there are few world records more than 10 years old.”

*I have a big problem with coaches who are arm-chair quarterbacks.  Saying something like, “I find it funny scientists who can’t hit anything telling ppl the proper way to hit”…is laughable, and a total slap in the face to hard working scientists like Dr. Richard Feynman.  This statement comes from a coach possessing a stubborn Fixed Mindset.  If every arm-chair QB would seek the truth like a Dr. Feynman, Dr. Serge Gracovetsky (The Spinal Engine), Dr. Kelly Starrett (Becoming A Supple Leopard), or Dr. Erik Dalton (Dynamic Body), they wouldn’t chronically suffer from foot-in-mouth disease.

Here’s a quote from Dr. Ben Goldacre that packages this coaching paradox nicely:

“I spend a lot of time talking to people who disagree with me – I would go so far as to say that it’s my favorite leisure activity – and repeatedly I meet individuals who are eager to share their views on science despite the fact that they have never done an experiment. They have never tested an idea for themselves, using their own hands, or seen the results of that test, using their own eyes, and they have never thought carefully about what those results mean for the idea they are testing, using their own brain. To these people “science” is a monolith, a mystery, and an authority, rather than a method.” – Ben Goldacre

I’m 100% CERTAIN there is BAD Science out there.  But coaches, it’s your job to weed out the good from the bad.  Just because 20% of Science may be bad, doesn’t mean we should not listen to the other 80%.  Don’t be a fool.  Knock the chip off your shoulder you may have about Science.  Don’t outrun it, but exercise common sense.  Please, please, PLEASE!

You can eat soup with a fork, knife, or spoon, but only one way is more effective.  Teaching hitters is the same.  There are hundreds of ways to teach hitting that’s for certain.  However, applying human movement principles that are validated by REAL science to hitting a ball, NOT because-I-said-so “bro-science”, is the pathway to power.

Coaches, have a higher standard for your hitters.  WHY?  Because your hitters are counting on you.

Success leaves clues.  I wanted to share a couple of my most recent testimonials received from parents (within the last week or so), unsolicited by the way.  Words can’t express the gratitude I feel on a weekly basis, almost daily, from parents and coaches sharing how these human movement principles are helping their hard working hitters…enjoy!

Josh, text message after coming up to Fresno from Los Angeles to hit for 2-hours, sons: Matt (Senior HS), Jonny (8th Grade), & James (6th Grade) come up…

“Thank you again for working with the boys. Both James and Jonny crushed a hit last night.  Jonny went 2-for-2 with 2 triples. James got his first double in a long time.  Field we played on had no fence so ball kept rolling…U should have heard the convo on the way home.  How they told their teammates their hitting instructor is the GOAT. Hilarious”

Chris, email about son Aidan (11yo) who has been working with me in my online video lesson program The Feedback Lab since 2017

“Joey, a sincere note of thanks for your guidance over the past two seasons in helping Aidan at the plate.  The All-Star team of which he’s a part won the State 11u tournament this past weekend and now moves on to the Midwest Region.  Since the team was selected, he’s worked his way up from batting 10th in the first tournament to 5th in the State Finals.  He’s gone 10/25 (.400) with 8 singles, 2 doubles and 8 RBI.  The last double came with 2 outs in the bottom of the 6th, bases loaded, and our team trailing 3-0.  Pretty pressure-filled situation being down to the last out with the season on the line.  He drove in 2 runs on a line drive down the left field line and went on to score the winning run.    

In no way is this meant to be boastful.  Sure—we’re really proud of him, but I truly believe the work he’s put in based on your instruction has given him the confidence as one of the smallest kids on the team to hit the ball with authority against any pitcher he faces.  Many thanks!”

Peter, email about son Ethan (9yo) who has been working with me in my online video lesson program The Feedback Lab since February of 2018.

“Thanks Joey, great feedback and analysis as always. The great part is that I’m also learning from you as we continue along. As I was getting ready to send you the last video I was seeing a lot of what you discussed in your analysis; keeping the shoulder angle and showing numbers to landing, and the top hand coming off way too soon. But I was struck by the consistency with his swing, every one had good barrel angel at landing, head movement after landing is way down and as you mentioned you can really see a much more confident swing!  Thanks again Joey, we couldn’t be happier! Looking forward to getting back at it! Talk again in a few weeks!”

Jason, email about son Bleau (12yo) who flew from Knoxville, TN with his best friend Jaser (11yo) and his family to hit, catch some Cali sun, and MLB baseball games. We hit for 10-hours spread out over 3 days.

“Joey, we had a wonderful dinner tonight down in Fisherman’s wharf. I asked the boys what their favorite part of the trip was thus far. Bleau said that ‘Joey is my favorite part’. Thank you for coming through and investing in him. We look forward to meeting your family.”

And last, but certainly not least, an updated on Hudson White, who if you remember was showcased in this post highlighting his performance at the National Power Showcase…

“This year he was a freshman on varsity at Byron Nelson high school. He was starting 2nd and 3 hole. He led all north Texas in hits most of the season and finished 7th overall with 45.  He was hitting the ball hard somewhere! Hudson was named District 5-6A Unanimous Newcomer Of The Year and All – Area Newcomer of the year finishing 7th in area with 45 hits, 25 RBI, 21 runs, 16 SB

https://sportsday.dallasnews.com/high-school/high-schools/2018/06/21/sportsdayhs-2018-area-baseball-teams-postseason-awards

He also just got back from the Wilson Midwest wood bat championship where he was names MVP  for hitting two home runs. He went 9-18 and only 1 single. The rest were doubles,triples and dingers!  Here’s his MVP interview:

https://twitter.com/martinbwhite/status/1007094716427653120?s=12

He has been on a tear hitting 6 home runs in the last 3 weeks with either wood or an old rusty metal bbcor bat.  Just an FYI update to all the haters and naysayers😂 its the Indian not the arrow. I appreciate your help and instruction. The proof is in the pudding.” – Marty White, email update about his son Hudson “The Hawk” (16yo)

TRUE or FALSE: “If you think science is fact you’re horribly mistaken”…FALSE.  Saying Science is just a “glorified opinion” is nonsense.  If that’s truly what you think, then you’re obviously spending time on the wrong things.  The little bit of BAD Science shouldn’t take away from the majority of good out there.  Coaches, please use some common sense, and as always test this stuff out for yourself – don’t just take my word for it.  And I think true-blue scientists like Dr. Richard Feynman would agree.

PART-2: Drastically Improve Pitch Recognition Skills For ANY Hitter With Best In Training Aids, Online Courses, & Drills…

 

This is Part-2 to the Facebook LIVE conversation I recently had with Bill Masullo, who is the Co-Owner and Senior Baseball Instructor at the Ultimate Edge @ Goodsports.  In case you missed Part-1, where we talked about the effect Fortnite has on our hitter’s mental health, then CLICK HERE.

The subject of this interview is complimentary to a post I did titled, “Why Fortnite May Be Dangerous To Building Hitters Who Crush”HEADS UP: us two knuckle-dragging hitting coaches were having technical difficulties (I know SHOCKER!) before the start of this video.  This is probably the fourth and final take 😛 jajajajajaPart-2 Interview About Fortnite's Effect on Hitter's Vision, Tracking, and Timing

Below are some highlighted notes I took for you…

  • At the 0:50 minute mark, how does posture effect the swing, studies show young athletes sit 80% of their day, certain groups of muscles get tight and others turn off, Gymnastics, Dance, Martial Arts, Swimming are great counter disciplines to friction free movement, rock climbing is also a great “counter” to chronic sitting positions.
  • At the 4:00 minute mark, how working on screens (mobile, tv, computer) for extended periods of time effect ball players, for every 20 minutes of screen time, the eyes need 5-minutes off the screen, Dr. Peter Fadde and “video occlusion” training using his Game Sense Sports app, pitch recognition training, The 6th Tool: Training Baseball Pitch Recognition book by Dr. Peter Fadde.
  • At the 9:30 minute mark, Major League hitters track better than amateurs (but ALL hitters can improve), below average, average, and above average “learn-ability”, Aaron Miles High School story about coach, in mid-90’s, putting particle board in way of hitter during pitcher bullpens (similar to Dr. Peter Fadde’s Game Sense Sports app), Jaime Cevallos pitch recognition hitting aid interview post.
  • At the 13:00 minute mark, Bill asks what parents should know about vision training, Perry Husband foremost expert on timing, vision, and training research, simulating pitch plane, don’t throw to 7yo from standing position 20-30 feet away – like hitting up a mountain, throw seated on a bucket, size of ball short distance makes a difference – baseball players hitting golf sized whiffle balls from 30-40 feet, perceived ball size from 60-feet, 6-inches, or 45-feet.
  • At the 16:45 minute mark, pitch recognition cues, “fat” wrist versus “skinny” wrist, shape of the arm coming through, curve-balls sometimes look like a “bicep” curl, gets challenging when pitchers slot their arm in the same arm slot, Effective Velocity (EV) Tunnels, more strikeouts than hits in the MLB now, Perry Husband coined this concept, perceived velocity to the hitter, easier for corner-back to cover wide receivers running similar routes (deep & post), versus more difficult for one corner-back to cover two wide receivers when one runs deep and another does a 5-yard 90-degree cut, a pitch farther away from the hitter (low-away), perceived velocity is slower, a pitch closer to the eyes (up-in), perceived velocity is faster.
  • At the 22:00 minute mark, I asked Perry Husband how do you counter pitchers exploiting EV tunnels in hitters?  Learning to “hunt” pitches, hunting specific pitches in specific locations, “belly button”, back foot, and real catcher’s glove barrel entering the zone positions (CLICK HERE for more on this), random pitch rounds, my son “hunting” Ford Mustang cars when driving on the road, hunting pitches is less relevant with younger pitchers, and college and professional ball – hunting pitches becomes more relevant, data collection.
  • At the 30:00 minute mark, find Perry Husband’s vision, tracking, and timing products: https://www.hittingisaguess.com/product-category/online-academy/, my courses relating to vision, tracking, timing, and foot work are: On-Time Hitter 2.0: Engineering The Alpha (the essentials), and Reaction Time Mastery (full course which includes On-Time Hitter 2.0 videos).