Youth Softball Player Pinching Lower Back Pain While Swinging Bat: How To Fix Stress Fracture, Sciatica Nerve, & Spondylolysis
In this case study, learn about a youth softball player who would have pinching lower back pain while swinging a bat, if she kept swinging like this. Discover how to fix the cause of lower back stress fractures (pars), Sciatica nerve pain, and Spondylolysis.
Get Rid Of “C-Shape Impact” Once And For All
With consent of Dad (Brian – Thank you), I wanted to share Feedback Session #4 (of 12) of Lauryn, who’s 11 years old…oh yeah, her consent was given too (Thanks LB!) 😀
She’s been a part of my online lesson program The Feedback Lab, since October 17th, 2016. It’s also interesting to note, her current Ball Exit Speed personal record is 66-mph at 11yo!
First, I want to say how much of a hard worker she is, and has been consistently progressing with each Feedback Session. I also want to say how supportive dad (and mom) are in all this process, and I can clearly tell dad is instilling a “Growth Mindset” in Lauryn, which is what Dr. Carol Dweck discusses in her bestselling book Mindset – a highly recommended read by the way.
A supportive parenting environment, and a Growth Mindset make my job easy and most importantly, rewarding. I say this because some may think these changes are ALL me, but I’m only shining a light down a dark path, it’s the player and parents who have to follow through, and God knows this process IS NOT easy.
The below video was the frustrating session #4 for Lauryn, which goes into:
- The ‘Pat’ – “pat on the back”, or what Lauryn progressed on mechanically, and
- The ‘Pop’ – “pop in the mouth”, or what Lauryn will be working on in the coming weeks.
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PLEASE NOTE: to those fast-pitch softball coaches who take offense to me using Josh Donaldson as a swing example for Lauryn, I used Sierra Romero in the past few sessions – so get off my back! 😛 lol
In following, I only wanted to highlight one specific part of Lauryn’s hitting homework, the Reverse C-Shape at impact, her body illustrates in the image above. For lefties the C-Shape Impact looks like a normal ‘C’. This was a concern for dad before I did the above this Feedback Session #4.
CLICK HERE for a post I did on the Snapping Towel Drill, where I posted an image of one of my 13yo baseball hitters in this same position with a little more explanation of what the C-Shape is. In the main video above and in this post, I wanted to offer up another more effective fix than the Snapping Towel Drill…
The Hunched Posture, if you look at the above image of Lauryn on the left, her abdominals are stretching, which indicates the low back could possibly be in hyper-extension…not good. This is not adhering to the One-Joint Rule discussed in this post.
The two problems with C-Shape Impact are:
- Bleeding force at impact, and
- UNSAFE for low back.
The answer can be found in what Gymnastics refer to as the Hollow Hold Position:
Here was the corrective programming homework I gave Lauryn:
- Week 1: 1 set X 20-30 secs hold,
- Week two: 1 set X 30-40 secs hold,
- Week three: 2 sets X 30 secs hold, and
- Week four: 2 sets X 45 secs hold
…Do every other day.
The keys with this move is constantly applying pressure into the ground with the low back, and rounding the shoulders forward to create a ‘spoon’ or ‘hollow’ position with the chest.
This helps with pelvic control (rotating the pelvis to posterior), stabilizes the low back, and is KILLER for the abs – in a good way.
Look at the following three hitters and tell me what shape their spine starts in…
Ted Williams (Watch 0:21 mark):
Pete Rose Getting a Hit off Dwight Gooden:
Sadaharu Oh (868 Career Dingers in Japanese Baseball Leagues):
The Hollow Pinch Drill
The drill steps go like this…
- Hitter pinches their belly button to their belt buckle,
- Hold from stance to start of swing, and even into follow through.
Once they get it, they won’t let go of it. My hitters report back their feelings that the Hollow Pinch:
- “Just feels better”,
- “Helps show numbers and downhill shoulder angle”, and most importantly,
- “My back feels nothing while swinging” (a good thing! lol).
And like in Lauryn’s case, we see a much more effective impact position less than 24-hours later. Go easy on those pitchers out there Lauryn 😛 lol
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Nice article Joey! All I would add is if you know how to get into said hunched posture correctly (remember we can move many body parts in a plurality of ways) than what this does is put you in auto mode and more importantly forces a perfect posture… So if you start in a perfect posture (forced or worked) than you’ll notice that feel becomes extremely important… What you start feeling and more importantly what you don’t feel…So when you hear ” my back feels nothing when I swing” what did you first think??? What I first thought was… Wait… You felt stress or something in your back when you swing a bat… And you kept on swinging a bat… Good god what are you thinking… Lucky Joey fixed that… Said another way… If your feeling something, stress, lots of tension or pain in your back when you swing a bat… STOP!!!! It doesn’t work that way…Get a pro before you hurt yourself… Unreal… Great article Joey…And great job looking out for us ( our swing and more importantly our health)… Peace!
Thanks Djura. Some real knuckleheads commenting on this video on Facebook. BIG Fixed Mindset coaches. No clue. Sad.
Joey I read the Facebook comments…It’s hard to know what is meant without asking questions trying to understand approach…but Joey… I know it’s hard to trust a stick ball guy from queens but sometimes it’s best to take a step back… So… How about another angle… To start… Cano has an awesome swing and as per my understanding is the model of your teachings as I see it… So I know (fact) it’s really hard to argue or have anything negative to say about cano swing… He has one of the best swings I’ve seen… Period! So in light of that how does cano’e swing differ from Aaron or Bonds swing… Well the AMPLIFING the numbers oops I mean the show me the numbers looks slightly different… Now is it possible that bonds and Aaron are both STILL pulling on there slings just like cano but from a different orientation… So let’s just assume I’m right… Just assuming and brainstorming Joey… If I’m right that a different orientation is just that a different angle…So if one pulls the handle to there armpit or one pulls the handle down to the ground does it matter if they do the same thing… Well of course the orientations have there good and bad… One makes vision different and one makes timing different ( what goes down has to come up before you GO)… all I can say is I’m sure we got Cano’s swing down… That’s why I said he’s the model of what you teach… All I’m saying and I said it before do we understand the pumping of the hands of bonds and Aaron… I’m saying we do if we understand how Cano shows his numbers and than hides his hands… It’s the same thing but if it’s oriented differently which leads to a few minor adjustments but it’s FOR the same thing…
As too what the guy was saying… I don’t know what he knows or even if he understands the science… But once he said it’s common sense well now he doesn’t understand how damn complicated it is…However Joey you will always have Cano and many others who show the numbers exactly how you teach it… I’m just saying that’s not how I did it and I know Aaron and bonds don’t do exactly how you teach it… By the way you can pause at some frame and say they do it too… Don’t go there as you know I know my stuff and I’m saying they do it but oriented differently… My point is they do it oriented differently so the MAJOR point would be on there approach and how they get there… Just look at there hands (bonds and Aaron) and how they get to the hitting position… It’s a different angle path or whatever it’s different…
I don’t know what that guy was saying…It’s not timing… Again… It’s NOT timing…well it’s timing but not how everyone thinks… That statement should make us think… But it’s really vision and plate coverage… Again it’s hard to explain Joey believe me if you get what I’m saying it worth looking into it…
Hope all is well…
Is her front arm barring a causal factor in the ‘C’ shaped back? Seems that her front arm is pulling to such an extent that it forces her back to arch like that to compensate.
It may be a factor but not the main one because some high levels hitters bar out early and don’t have the c-shape. I would place my bets on the abdominals not being activated as the main cause of the C-shape.
Joey….Joey….Joey…. I had a thought… And grabbed a bat… And before you know it… Man… You have to be f****** kidding me… I gots it!!!! Well at least it seems so….
Right now I’ll be taking a break from commenting… I actually spent a lot of time trying to figure out my old street ball swing… And I just got something I never heard before that puts it all together…. It puts it all together…. And of course it involved what I mentioned way back…I have to figure out how to make some money from it…if I can from what I know…
Man… Hindsight is a bitch because it’s like … It was right there… Well… Shit….your right… I should have sat down and gathered all my thoughts…Seriously it’s like now what… Write a book… An article… Who the hell would buy something from a person with no resume…Oh well I’ll figure something out…
Hey Joe… Have a great holiday too…
Glad to hear it brother! Keep up the good work 😀
Referring back to the Matt Nokes discussion, it seems that the more erect stance – one way or another – led to her hips being all the way through at contact, while the more hunched stance had her hips oriented to the point of contact. It would seem ergonomically difficult to generate the backwards C if your hips, shoulders and nose are pointed at the point of contact – especially if slightly hunched…
As someone, below, also noted… it seems that the more hunched position significantly reduced the tendency to bar the front arm as well.
Thanks, as always,
I agree Alan…I feel that with the “hunch”, or a Hollow Position as in Gymnastics, activates the abs more effectively and stabilizes the low back. When the body gets more stable, the Central Nervous System allows the body to peek perform.
With the hollow body hold can I start my kid with more reps at least 2 sets of 30 seconds maybe 3 sets!!! He’s 11 and been doing the 6 inches workout off and on for 3 years!!! I had him try the hollow body hold and he was able to hold for the 30 seconds!!!
Awesome Scott!! Just make sure he pressing his low back into the ground really hard in the hold.