Jaime Cevallos Part-1 Interview: Imagine Hitting Strategy That Is Safe For Hitters

 

 

Here's what we're going to discuss in Part-1 of the Jaime Cevallos interview:How To Turn Garbage Teaching Into Predictable Power

  • How is your understanding of the swing different?
  • Where do you get the principles and where do you get the science information from?
  • How your understanding is different than how people are teaching now?
  • “And the whole, the swing starts from the ground up suddenly wasn't correct to me.”

The following is the transcription of the above video.  You can find Jaime Cevallos at the following places:

Enjoy!

 

Jaime Cevallos  00:07

Okay, ladies and gentlemen, I'm here with Joey Myers. And Joey, just to tell you a little bit about Joey Myers. He played four years of D-1 ball at Fresno State, the member of the American Baseball Coaches Association, International Youth and Conditioning Association, and the Society for American Baseball Research.

 

Jaime Cevallos  00:31

He's a certified Youth Fitness Specialist, a Corrective Exercise Specialist and a vinyasa yoga instructor and certified in Functional Muscle Screen. Joey was frustrated with his own hitting in college and wanted to figure out a better way and now he's the author of the Amazon bestseller the “Catapult Loading System How To Teach 100-pound Hitters To Consistently Drive The Ball 300-feet“.

 

Jaime Cevallos  00:55

Joey and I have known each other for a few years now. Joey and I were both fans of Tim Ferriss work. And I was in the Four-Hour Body and Joey heard of me there. And that's one of Tim Ferriss books and reached out to me and we started chatting. This was maybe five or so years ago. And so, we've had a relationship talking about business and baseball and what our strategies are as far as what we teach and all, and just get an understanding of his ideas of the movement. And so, Joey, thank you for coming on.

 

Joey Myers  01:52

Yeah, thanks, Jamie. Thanks for having me. And I got just in case we need any examples or need a demonstration, I got my bat here.

 

Jaime Cevallos  02:00

Nice Yep, I got mine too. You know, we're all set. Um, so, the first thing is what are your thoughts as far as the way the swing is taught out there? How is your understanding of the swing different? And I guess another way I could phrase this is, how is it different from how you understood it in college? And then maybe also how is it different from what you see being taught out there?

 

How is your understanding of the swing different?

Joey Myers  02:39

Yeah, good question. So being taught in college it was the whole down through, swing down, swing through type thing that we often see and hear the Albert Pujols, Alex Rodriguez is saying that they swing down or Mike trout says he gets on top of the ball. And those were after I got enlightened a little bit. Those are very frustrating cues to hear because “swing down!” That's what I was taught and I didn't make it to the big leagues like these guys, I was taught the same dang things and it didn't work.

 

Joey Myers  03:07

So fast forward to 2013, I we had our first kid a boy, Noah, who is now seven, so seven years ago, and in the sleepless nights the getting up six times a night, the wife was feeding Noah, and the wife made me feel guilty to go back to sleep, which I go to back to sleep really quickly. So she, she felt like, “Hey, you need to be up to if I'm up!”

 

Joey Myers  03:35

So in those nights, I picked up a book I think I was trying to fix something in my own body because of the swinging and things I was in fitness at the time. And so, I picked up Thomas Myers, his book Anatomy Trains.  And Thomas Myers, we aren't related directly, but I'm sure somewhere in the family tree were somewhere directly related. And I read through that book. It took me shoot, I had to read over pages for three or four times…

 

Joey Myers  04:12

Curious, you know that was something that you and I have in common. We have this passionate curiosity for the swing. And that just started a big, long deep rabbit hole that I went through. So, Thomas Myers Anatomy Trains, then it went to there was a book called Dynamic Body and it was a collaboration of different authors that were in that springy fascia Rolfing type of genre in the fitness industry.

 

Joey Myers  04:36

And in that book that steered me over to Dr. Serge Gracovetsky's, The Spinal Engine. So, what I was finding before I started going down that rabbit hole was a lot of the probably in the journey that you've been in recently in researching other people and what they teach. It was a lot of things being taught, retaught things that I was trying to reteach myself and it wasn't working.

 

Joey Myers  05:01

And so I figured oh well, it's probably user error. And then finally getting through a lot of that information I started, the lightbulb went on, I was like, you know what, maybe there's something to the human movement principles or rules to human movement. And when you look at it through the lens, you look at hitting through the lens of human movement science, say, physics, or biomechanics, or engineering or anything like that. It changes the game.

 

Joey Myers  05:30

So I always tell the, my coaches that follow me, I say, hey, you need a better standard for your hitters. It can't just be the same, what I call garbage over and over, that doesn't work doesn't really have much experimentation behind it. So that got me into what my thing is now is applying human movement principles that are validated by science to hitting a ball. So that's where I've fast forwarded to where I'm at now.

 

Jaime Cevallos  06:02

And when you say that applying human movement principles, where do you get the principles and where do you get the science information from?

 

Where do you get the principles and where do you get the science information from?

Joey Myers  06:13

Good question. Jamie, turn your camera a little bit. You got a little bit of a glare from the sun. Oh, better. There you go. There you go. That's better. Good just for the readers out there when they're listening to you talk.

 

Joey Myers  06:29

So the principles, the big, big ones that really opened my eyes were from Dr. Serge Gracovetsky's The Spinal Engine. So Dr. Serge is a physicist and electrical engineer. He took one of the biggest I think, case studies for me that sold me on the whole thing was he had a, I don't know if he's a patient client, but whatever, but he was a quadriplegic. He was born that way. So yeah, I think he had nubs for arms. He walked on the bottom of his pelvis. I think they call it the ischium.

 

Joey Myers  07:00

And he had hooked this gentleman up to… put pads on his spine along his spine to measure muscle output to measure the connective tissue output. And if you watch this guy walk and if you just go on YouTube and you put “Serge Gracovetsky Spinal Engine”, it'll come up (video above). It's an old video. It's like in the 80s, I think mid-80s, late 80s. And if you watch this, it's about the four-minute mark. So, he's got video footage of this gentleman walking and if you cover up his lower half like his pelvis basically and just watch him move. You would swear the guy wasn't a quadriplegic.  You'd swear yet legs.

 

Joey Myers  07:43

So he was born without legs and arms, and he was moving like normal people move, but without legs and arms. And so that was to me. I was trying to look for the foundational the foundation of the foundation and locomotion is what Dr. Serge talks about.  So, without locomotion, we aren't human. And he talks about three different and these are the principles, he talks about three different spinal movements, movements that the spine can do…

 

Joey Myers  08:11

There's flexing, so just imagine yourself arching your back, right, but your lower back is already in a has a slight curve to it anyway, so it's already started off, if you just stand there and don't do anything, it's already started off in an extended extension, sorry, extended position, they call it lordosis. The second one, why they put extension and flexion together. So, flexion would be like you doing a crunch where you're crunching up and you're bending your back that way. So those two he puts together, those are number one.

 

Joey Myers  08:44

Number two is side bend. So it's just going side to side. And then the third one, the last one is called axial rotation, which just means that your shoulders can move independent or not independent but your shoulders move one way and your pelvis moves. That's why our right arm and left leg comes forward at the same time.  We don't walk with the right arm and the left leg coming forward the same time. So that is basic locomotion and all three, or four, all three of those movements happen when we walk.

Joey Myers  09:15

And from the minute we start walking… The reason in the beginning, it's so hard for the baby to get into the toddler stage is because that lower back doesn't have the curve in it yet. It's actually straighter if not more flexed, because they're in that that crunch position. And then it's them trying to create that musculature to create that curve in the lower back. And so, once they get that they get more steady.

 

Jaime Cevallos  09:43

That's I'm sorry to interrupt. Yeah, that's really interesting. I didn't know that that that the curve at the bottom of your spine, takes a little while to develop. That must be an ontology recapitulates phylogeny type of thing where we were crawling, in the beginning, and then we needed that curve for upright walking.

 

Joey Myers  10:05

Yep, yep. Yeah, because think about it in in the wild where you have a good example of side bending are sharks. So, sharks when they swim, it's this this movement, right? And if you look at whales our fellow kin, mammals, right? They're extension flexion so their tails this way dolphins same thing, right? Dr Serge talks about a lot of this.  And then if you watch dogs it's similar it's like you see this move that goes like this it's up and down side to side, butt goes one way head the other.

 

Joey Myers  10:40

And what's interesting is there are three sections of the spine. You have the C the cervical, you have the T the thoracic, which is the middle the biggest part 12 full vertebra in the middle, and then you have… so there's seven in the top part and the cervical, two of them we can't see because it inserts into the skull. Then you have the 12 of the thoracic, which is the biggest part of the spine. And then you have the lumbar which is five, five vertebrae.

 

Joey Myers  11:05

And what was interesting to me is if you look at the curve so the neck so imagine the neck is curving this way, the thoracic part curves the opposite can't see it here we go through this way. So the, the thoracic curves the opposite way. And then the L the lumbar lower back curves the same way as the cervical so it's like C, C and then you have backwards C in the middle. Interesting how everything was designed.

 

Jaime Cevallos  11:36

Wow.  So keep going about how it's different from your understanding is different from how you understood in college or how people understand it right now.

 

How your understanding is different than how people are teaching now?

Joey Myers  11:54

Yeah, that's a good one. So connecting the dots of today and I know you've been doing your research and stuff.  There are swing people out there and I won't mention any names. Most of you out there listening to this will probably know who I'm talking about. But they talk about that the barrel moves the body. The body doesn't move the barrel.  Which if you have a human movement foundation, you hear that and it's automatically ignorant automatically.

 

Joey Myers  12:27

So the people that are saying that have no clue how the human body moves, and if they claim that they've read and understand Dr. Serge Gracovetsky's Spinal Engine, that's a lie. It's a con job because and you can go and look up David Weck, who, WeckMethod.com. He was the inventor of the bosu ball, most of you out there have been to a gym you see that ball that's got the big bubble on the bottom and the surface on the top and it's makes exercises really hard to do.

 

Joey Myers  12:58

So he was the inventor of that and then over the last probably four or five years, he's really gotten into the spinal engine stuff. And the guy's a sharp guy, you go on Instagram. He's really, really active on Instagram. Very, very sharp guy. And he's all about spinal engine. And you have so many others like what's his name Dr. Joe LaCaze, he's RotexMotion. There's a another one. I can't think of his name right off the bat. But he he's got a system. It's all based on body, there's a lot of spirals in the body.

 

Joey Myers  13:31

For those parents out there, those coaches out there that want to get involved in this, but have no clue how to start. If you just understand those three types of spinal movement, from there you can pretty much figure out how everything else is supposed to move. So when you have somebody that says that barrel moves the body, that doesn't make sense, because human movement we're fighting gravitational forces, but movement starts from the middle out is what we call it, not from the ground up. It's from the middle out from the spine out basically.

 

Joey Myers  13:31

If you read Thomas Myers Anatomy Trains, he talks about the spiral line that comes across the chest, and it comes back down around the butt and then you see one that comes under as a stirrup under the foot. And so when you understand any…you don't have to be, like again, I was self-taught. I just was curious passionate curiosity about everything. You don't need to know the language per se, but if you can understand the concept of just locomotion.

 

Jaime Cevallos  14:40

Wow. I came to that realization a couple years ago myself. And the whole, the swing starts from the ground up suddenly wasn't correct to me. It's more that it starts in the center of your body and shoots in two directions, almost like they're working against each other.

 

“And the whole, the swing starts from the ground up suddenly wasn't correct to me.”

Joey Myers  15:07

Yep.  That's a great observation man. And I know you're smart Dude, you like to think outside the box philosophically. And that's exactly what's happening. So if we take this idea of springy fascia. So fascia is, if you foam roll, that's what you're trying to do. If you foam roll your IT band and it hurts like the dickens. If you haven't done it in a while. It feels like somebody's stabbing a knife in the side of your leg, right?

 

Joey Myers  15:37

So fascia is a cotton candy or spider webby like material that your bones and muscles float in. It also gives muscles their shape. It's almost like if you think about it, the grocery store if you buy a bag of potatoes, the potatoes are the muscles. The bag itself that the potatoes are wrapped in is the fascia. It's connected. There's a sheet, or one line anatomy train that attaches the top of your eyebrow goes all, it's called the backline. Goes over the head and go straight down the back butt, hamstrings, back of the calves and attaches to the bottom of your or the back of the ball of your foot. It goes through your arch in there.

 

Joey Myers  16:15

So that's one whole sheet and there's nine different ones, I think is what Thomas Myers talks about, that are all intermingled interweaved. You have this idea of compression tension forces. This fascia is comprised of compression tension. Compression force is just a, say a piece of granite on or a brick on a brick, right brick on a brick, they exert forces against each other. That's a compression force.

 

Joey Myers  16:42

A tension force would be like a boom crane, you know a wrecking ball. You have the structure of the boom crane, you have the cable that, and it comes over and it holds the wrecking ball down here. So that cable that's connected to the wrecking ball that's a tension force, so you have force from the structure that's pulling up and you have the Wrecking Ball and gravity that's pulling down and you have this tensional force between the two.

 

Joey Myers  17:07

So with fascia you have both compression tension. What's interesting is this is all Thomas Myers stuff is he says that granite has a very high, granite the rock, like if you had a countertop, granite countertops, that granite has a very, very high tolerance for compression. You can put a ton of weight on top of granite and it's not going to break it's not going to; it's not going to snap break whatever.

 

Joey Myers  17:32

But it has a very low tensional force. So if you hooked up, you drilled holes in two sides of the granite so you had a countertop, a long countertop, drilled big holes in both sides of the granite hooked in like a big fat strong carabiner, you got the chain hooked up to a horse on both sides and you have the horses walk away or run away from each other. That granite's going to pull apart because its tensional force isn't very strong. But fascia in the human body is both strong compression and tension.

 

Joey Myers  18:03

So whether you're in a good posture, good position or you have some bad juju, your body's just not in that, right, you're going to have those compression tension forces but they might be off a little bit and it's going to create, it's going to wear out like mileage on your…say your car, you got a front end that's misaligned, you get the tires out like this. Well, you know, they're guaranteed 80,000 miles if your tires were aligned, but since they're misaligned, you might get about half the mileage on those tires…same thing with fascia, it's going to over time if it's off, then you're going to wear out joints, you're going to wear out shoulders, you're going to wear out necks, you're going to wear out lower backs, whatever.

 

Joey Myers  18:43

So it's amazing when you dig into the fascia side and spinal engine, they're both pretty related because without the fascia, it's like they both are dependent on each other. The fascia is a connective tissue, the spine is what they're saying bones are actually connective tissue as well their fascia, but fascia wound really, really, really dense. Bone does bend, but there's a threshold till finally it breaks but it does bend.

 

Jaime Cevallos  19:14

Okay.  What would you say?  Is your understanding of the swing back then? We keep going off on?

 

What would you say?  Is your understanding of the swing back then?

Joey Myers  19:25

Yeah, yeah, yeah. So how this relates to the swing is loading and unloading. This is the Catapult Loading System. This was the book you mentioned, that was the 2017 Amazon bestseller. This took power to a whole other level. And I ran the experiments when I was going through this, I was seeing what others were doing like Trout, and at the time Andrew McCutchen was doing well, and Bautista, Donaldson and all these guys.

 

Joey Myers  19:52

So I took that information, looked at the players to see how this was being translated how they were translated… (to be continued into Part-2)

What Does a Cornerback, 2 Wide Receivers, & Hitter's Timing Have in Common? (No. This isn't a joke, I promise) 😉

 

 

I have a treat for you.  In this post we'll discuss:Effective Velocity: Get On-Time Without Messing With Mechanics

  • 10,000 foot view of Perry Husband's concept of Effective Velocity,
  • Analyze a real at-bat of one of my new High School senior hitters, and
  • What a cornerback covering 2 wide receivers can teach hitters about timing…

 

 

 

Christian Yelich Says Barry Bonds Taught Him A Drill That Changed His Career…

 

 

I agree with ‘swing down'…

Christian Yelich & Barry Bonds: 'Swinging Down' in the 'Launch Angle' Era

Christian Yelich and Barry Bonds swing comparison. Photo courtesy: Jomboy Media YouTube channel

Let that sink in for a bit.

Some are pissed I just said that.  But those who've followed me for some time are nodding their head in confirmation because they know better.

Because guess what?  It depends.

‘Swing down' shouldn't be used as a blanket teach.  I have two things for you…

  1. Jomboy Media VIDEO: “Christian Yelich says Barry Bonds taught him a drill that changed his career” (watching it will reveal its relevance to this post), and
  2. Below is Chapter-2 of the new book I'm working on.  It's a longer post, but I think you'll like it.  Goes well with the Yelich-Bonds video above, like grass fed red meat and a fine red wine.

Thank you Grandpa Mike for sharing the video.  You know who you are.  Enjoy!

———-

WHAT AN OLD SCHOOL SWING FEELS LIKE & THE PROS AND CONS?

In Chapter-2, we'll look at what an old school swing feels like and the pros and cons.  We'll be discussing:

  • How can someone tell Mike Trout, Albert Pujols, or Alex Rodriguez what they say about hitting is wrong?
  • Pros to old school feel mechanics,
  • Cons to old school feel mechanics, and
  • So, how do we interweave brainless data and confusing real v. feel hitting cues?

How Can Someone tell Mike Trout, Albert Pujols, or Alex Rodriguez what they Say about Hitting is Wrong?

Now, some of you out there have seen the video of Alex Rodriguez demonstrating how he swung down. Maybe you saw the preseason interview of Mike Trout discussing how he gets on top of the ball.

Or how about Albert Pujols on the MLB Network revealed he swings knob down to the ball?

‘Swing down'.  ‘Getting on top of the ball'.  ‘Knob to the ball'.  ‘Keep barrel above hands' is another one.  Nowadays, these are some of THE most despised hitting coaching cues on the market.  I was one of them.  “Was”.  About 2-3 years ago.  Now I have a different perspective and approach.  These cues DO work.  But it depends on the case.  And if reading or hearing those words made your blood boil…you can change too, believe me.  Here's how…

First, let's clear up and define “swinging down”. Well yeah, the hands do go down to the ball. And depending on how high or low the ball is, the hands will go down more or less. This is true.  But coaches HATE these cues for a different reason.  Here's the thing… if you watch players like A-Rod, Mike Trout, and Albert Pujols physically demonstrate what swinging down means to them, you see them using a chopping motion. Yes. The barrel and hands travel down to the ball. But not ‘hands drop'.  That's different, and is a swing flaw we MUST fix.  In the high level swing, we see the barrel go down before coming up.

Here's my beef with ‘swinging down'…

When swinging down is translated into a NEGATIVE attack angle.  Meaning the barrel is going down towards the impact point.  Is not coming up.  And this is what hitting greats like Alex Rodriguez, Mike Trout, and Albert Pujols are demonstrating in interviews.  And where the confusion starts.  If you watch their actual swing on film, slow motion swing, what you're going to see is a POSITIVE attack angle.  Meaning, barrel elevating up to incoming ball descending down. Yes, even in Fastpitch Softball (more about this in Chapter-7).  Barrel coming up to impact, positive. Barrel going down to impact, negative.  We clear?

So if what these great hitters are saying and demonstrating isn't what they're actually doing, then what's REALLY going on?

Well, here's the thing … it's the mysterious case of real versus feel What's really happening on video doesn't square with what the high level hitter feels they're doing.  Two completely opposite things.  Take Mike Trout.  Let's look at his real (9-year career average batted ball numbers before start of 2020 season):

  • Ground-ball rate: 36.8% (League average is 43%)
  • Fly-ball rate: 40.8% (League average is 37%)
  • Line drive rate: 22.4% (League average is 20%), and
  • Homerun to fly-ball ratio: 21.4% (League average is 9.5%).

Significantly below average ground-ball rate.  Check.  Slightly above average fly-ball rate.  Check.  Slightly above average line drive rate.  Check.  And well above average home-run to fly-ball ration.  Checkmate!  This proves his performance – the real – doesn't jive with his feel of ‘getting on top of the ball'.  I want you to go to YouTube, search “Mike Trout slow motion swing”, and watch…

His barrels goes down, then comes up to the ball.  Up.  Positive barrel attack angle.  Not down.  Not on top.  Not a negative attack angle.

Before you get upset I'm telling Mike Trout, “You know ‘nothin'!”  Here's the beautiful crazy of this whole thing.   Coaches, understand this … the body is always one or two steps behind the brain. Thinking happens fast. There's zero friction with thoughts.  Nothing. It just goes, goes, goes, goes, goes.  No heavy bones, muscle, organs, and fascia required to move before a thought can fire off!

The secret to unlocking the real v. feel mystery can be revealed through a psychology term called paradoxical intention…

Pros to Old School Feel Mechanics

We have to understand what Mike Trout is REALLY saying.  Bring context to the numbers.  Remember Chapter-1?  Trout will say, “I'll take 10 swings off the tee or during batting practice to feel like I'm getting on top of the ball”. You see, his natural tendency is to uppercut. An extreme uppercut because he uses a significant shoulder tilt to effectively feast on balls down in the zone.  And this works well with pitchers targeting down in the zone, and away.

Although, this is different than the slight uppercut Ted Williams talked about in his book The Science Of Hitting.  Williams talked about barrel meeting the plane of the pitch.  Trout's natural tendency runs counter to this.  And what he tells himself, remember the body is one or two steps behind the brain, is to do the exact opposite of what his natural tendency is.  He tells himself to get on top of the ball. And what's the result?  The barrel ends up somewhere in the middle of extreme uppercut and negative attack angle downswing.  That's what he's trying to get for his real… to get to the middle.

The true old school hitting tragedy…

Some say hitters like Alex Rodriguez, Barry Bonds, Pujols, and Trout are – or were – fantastic at doing, but not very good at translating what they did into teaching. Take Barry Bonds. Who was the Florida Marlins hitting coach in 2016.  Then they let him go.  Former Marlins President David Samson said this,

“Bonds was worst hitting coach of my career.”  

So why wasn't Barry Bonds able to translate the way he hit to his prized pupils like Giancarlo Stanton?  Bonds is the career Major League home run leader after all. Some say he can do, but he doesn't know how he does what he did.  I disagree these hitters aren't good at teaching.  Again it's a translation issue.

Dr. Victor Frankl, Psychologist and survivor of four Nazi death camps, in his book Man's Search For Meaning, calls this “paradoxical intention”.  Hitters like Trout and Bonds use extreme physical cues to establish a consistent slight upward swing plane.  This strategy is a “trick” played on the body, which is a step or two behind.   Paradoxical intention.  Take any hitter with an extreme uppercut, tell them to chop down (negative Attack Angle “feel” cue), and their barrel path ends up in a slight uppercut.  Just like Ted Williams said – like magic!  Feel cues are fantastic for making simple swing adjustments.

If you're coaching youth hitters, let's get into that world for a moment…

A lot, and I mean A LOT of youth players ages 7 to 12 years old uppercut.  Extreme uppercuts. Casting.  Loooong swings.  They don't need to be taught this!  This is typical, before they've built enough strength in their bodies.  In their core.  In the dynamic nature of the spinal engine.  They tend to cast the barrel out.  Meaning, the barrel casts away from the body, leaving the back shoulder too early. This causes a long swing.  Thanks to gravitational forces, centripetal and centrifugal forces*.  As they swing, they end up underneath the ball.  On inside pitches, they end up getting jammed a lot.  And swing under a lot of pitches up in the zone.  A LOT.

(*Centripetal Force is a center “seeking” force. Like twirling a rock on a string. The rock exerts force back to the two fingers holding the string. Centrifugal Force is a center “fleeing” force. Letting go of the twirling rock on a swing, causes the rock to shoot off in a tangent direction away from the original circle.)

There are other factors causing an extreme uppercut, like hands drop or constant deep barrel dumping.  But with youth hitters, the rules of Physics are bigger offenders. Here's the good news … swing an overloaded bat.  Overloaded bats help young hitters build strength to do that.  Regardless of mechanics.  More on that protocol later in the book.

Those are the pros of an old school feel mechanics. Now, let's look at the cons…

Cons to Old School Feel Mechanics

These are what the “metrics people” will typically bring up. You're so out of touch.  No numbers to support your gut feelings?  What does that mean?  How can I trust your “gut”?  Because you played or coached 20 years in the Big Leagues?  That's not good enough!!  What's measurable is manageable.  If you can't use numbers to support your gut, then I'm not listening.  This is a common conversation you've probably seen, heard, or participated in.

The old school coaching cues we just discussed in the pros to old school swing section can also be included in that gut conversation.  It's bad if the old school cues are used as a default. In a one size fits all way. For example, Johnny's coach sees Pujols demonstrate a chopping down swing on MLB Network's Diamond Demos. That coach goes to Johnny's 10 year old team practice on Monday evening, and tells every one of his hitters to swing like Pujols does. Chop, chop, chop. And he tells them with the conviction, vigor, and energy of a Sunday Pastor, that they can hit like Pujols.  How can you argue with Senor Alberto?  From his lips to coach's ears out of coaches mouth to kids' ears.  If Albert Pujols said it and it worked for him, then we MUST take the message literally!  He is Prince Albert for jimminies sake!

Here's the problem with that. Remember when I mentioned the translation issue?  By feeding the ‘swing down' or ‘chop down' mantras as a default hitting strategy to every 10 year old on your team, I'm sorry to say it, but you will lose. Let me illustrate with a thought experiment…

Apply the “one-third rule” to your team. In this example, assume a third of your hitters pop the ball up a majority of the time. Another third of hitters hit line drives a majority of the time.  And the remaining third are majority ground-ball hitters.  So, what if you tell the whole team to swing down or get on top of the ball?  A blanket statement to all.  Default old school hitting cue.  What do you think is going to happen?

Based on what was discussed with Dr. Victor Frankl's paradoxical intention – remember extreme uppercut, tell them to ‘get on top', and they end up in the middle?  Slight uppercut.  Inline with incoming pitch.  Here's what will happen to our team if we tell all to chop down … a third of the team that used to pop the ball up a majority of the time, will hit more line drives. Those middle third hitting line drives a majority of the time, are going to hit more ground-balls. And the ground-ball a majority of the time group, are going to hit even more worm burner ground-balls.  So how did the thought experiment turn out with a blanket statement old school hitting cue?

The only group on the team that benefits are the beginning fly ball hitters. The ones hitting fly-balls a majority of the time.  Those are the only ones you'll see a significant difference, for the better.  Look ground-balls are great.  Especially hard ones when the defense can't play catch.  But what happens when they can play catch?  When would your team come across a team that can play catch?  That's right!  In all-stars.  In playoff and championship games.  Not good if you just converted line drive hitters into ground-ball hitters.  And ground-ballers into hitting more worm burners.  Read our infamous Ground-ball Rant post.

Now, let's cook up a different scenario.  A more simple yet elegant solution.  Instead of giving a blanket statement, a blanket swing down, chop down to the whole team. But instead, I let the line drive hitters do their thing. Just keep doing what you're doing. I took the fly ball hitter and told them to swing down, chop down.  And I instructed the ground-ballers to hit the ball in the air.  Like pop the ball up instruction.  How do you think that thought experiment would go?

If I did that…now my pop-fliers AND ground-ballers are both hitting more line drives.  Remember Victor Frankl's Man's Search For Meaning paradoxical intention?  Overall, my whole team is hitting more line drives. Now my line drivers aren't lonely.  They have more competition to deal with.  Competition makes everyone better.  Hungrier.  Especially when they're experiencing success.  Does that make sense?

The cons of an old school swing are when we apply a blanket statement shared by one of the best hitters on the planet.  Don't do that.  Bad coach.  You DO NOT pass go, and you DO NOT collect $200.

One swing fits all cues are a bad. And you wouldn't know this without data to measure and optimize. Gut feelings and hunches are like throwing darts in the dark.  It's like shooting an arrow and calling whatever you hit – after the fact.  It's guessing.  If you aren't collecting numbers using a PocketRadar, Rhapsodo, HitTrax, BlastMotion, or SwingTracker, then you're flying blind. You aren't going to know. And those hunches will just be hunches.

Same goes for blindly following what a Hall of Famer or future Hall of Famer says or said about hitting.  Become a scientist.  Test, test, test.  Blindly following a leader without question, will make you nothing more than a sheep.  Question, question, question.  Even question me and EVERYTHING in this book.

So far in Chapter-2, we talked about:

  • How can someone tell Mike Trout, Albert Pujols, or Alex Rodriguez what they say about hitting is wrong?
  • Pros to old school feel mechanics, and
  • Cons to old school feel mechanics…

We talked about how what's real and what's feel are two totally different things. The scenery can be very confusing. The waters choppy.  How does a coach cut through the clutter and calm the waters?  The simple truth to make hitting easier – it's not easy, but we can make it easier – is called paradoxical intention.  Doing the exact opposite of what just happened to get the middle.  Extreme swing up?  Tell them to swing down – hit a chopper.  Extreme swing down?  Tell them to swing up – hit a pop-fly.  There's more to it of course, and we'll get into it more later.  Let's move on to…

How do we Interweave Brainless Data and Confusing Hitting Cues?

This DOES NOT cause that, and that DOES NOT cause this.  Question: Coincidentally, if I wear a green shirt and it rains, then is it reasonable to think I can make it rain by wearing a green shirt?   This is the exact dilemma many instructors find themselves in with what they teach.

Some teach ONLY using data.  Some teach ONLY using old school hitting cues.  Some claim to base their teachings on millions of hours watching ONLY the best hitters.  Some validate Science with their hitting theories (proudly saying their system can't be found in Science!!).  And others validate their hitting philosophy with Science, which is what we do.  Who's right?  Who's wrong?  Can we use a mix?  And if so, how do we know if we're on the right track?

Are you throwing dynamite in the air and expecting rain?

I want to share a true story from the book Dust Bowl: An Illustrated History by Ken Burns and Dayton Duncan. The story will illuminate how to filter the hitting information available today. Interestingly…

Right before the Great Depression hit the Oklahoma panhandle, rain was plentiful.  This caused Doctors and Lawyers to quit their practices and join the ranks of farmers to buy land and plant crops that were being subsidized by the US government.  In other words, the gold-in-them-hills was harvesting and selling wheat and other bumper crops of the era.

Millions of acres of 6-foot high beautiful Buffalo blue grass were plowed under to make room for crops.  Fast forward to the beginning of the Great Depression, the rain dried up, and so did the crops.  Unbeknownst to the “new” farmers who moved to the area, typically rain was sparse in the location, and by coincidence, they had just experienced a rare wet 5-10 year period.

Now there’s NO rain.  And you know the 6-foot high beautiful Buffalo blue grass they cut down?  Well, it used to hold the soil down despite seasonal 60 to 70 mile-per-hour wind gusts.  So NO rain coming.  NO crops growing.  Super high winds are eroding dry barren soil and tossing it up in the air.  Grazing cattle have nothing to eat but tumbleweeds brought over by Russians (people often sprinkled salt to eat them as well).  The livestock soon get sick and die.  The drought is fatal for the majority who stay, others move west.  This is where we get John Steinbeck's book “Dust Bowl”.

Stick with me, because here comes the lesson…

The farmers who stayed behind were so desperate for rain, they hired self proclaimed rain experts to “create” rain, literally out of thin air.  The belief at the time was that an explosion in the air could bring clouds, and with clouds, rain would fall from the sky.  In plenty.  So what did these self proclaimed rain experts do?  What any self proclaimed rain expert would do!!  They sold the idea that if they lit a stick of dynamite, timed the throw just right, they could get a perfectly timed explosion that would bring rain-a-plenty.

…And as luck would find it, the “racket” seemed to work a couple times.  This only fed the foolishness we all see now – hindsight is 20/20.  Yes, this wasn't a proud time in American history.  You have to understand, people back then were DESPERATE.  Their hope blinded them to the MANY times throwing dynamite in the air didn’t work.  People lost limbs, fingers, etc. from timing the throw wrong.  Head scratcher  I know.

When it comes to hitting, we have to be careful of the causation-correlation relationship.  Is studying video and teaching only what the “best” hitters are doing enough?  I would argue it is not.  How do you know what you're looking at, if you don't know what you're looking for?  We see Pujols demonstrating a negative attack angle swing on MLB Network.  But then we see him NOT do that in real-time.  We bring that same Pujols gold nugget to Johnny's team, blanket teach it, and the end result looks nothing like what we see Pujols do during competition.  This DOES NOT cause that, and that DOES NOT cause this.

I'm going to reveal a secret about why coaches are terrible at the causation-correlation relationship.  Like shooting a random arrow and calling whatever is hit.  Here's a quote summing it up from Scott Adams, in his book Loserthink: How Untrained Brains Are Ruining America:

“There are three important things to know about human beings in order to understand why we do the things we do. [1] Humans use pattern recognition to understand their world. [2] Humans are very bad at pattern recognition. [3] And they don’t know it.”

So how do we escape this seemingly inescapable prison of misdiagnosis?  After reading thus far, you know it.  Be less subjective and more objective.  KeyDifferences.com says this about subjective versus objective:

“Subjective means something which does not show the clear picture or it is just a person's outlook or expression of opinion. A subjective statement relies on assumptions, beliefs, opinions and influenced by emotions and personal feelings.  An objective statement is based on facts and observations.”

Use the Scientific Method.  Develop a hitting Question…make a predictive Hypothesis…do the Research…collect the Data…form a Conclusion.  Swing experimentation.  We apply human movement principles validated by REAL Science to hitting a ball.  Scientific principles pulled from:

  • Physics,
  • Engineering,
  • Biomechanics, and
  • Body work.

How do we figure out if this DOES cause that?  Or if that DOES cause this?  Not by wearing a green shirt!   To know what you're looking at, you have to know what you're looking for.  DO NOT validate Science through your hitting philosophy.  DO validate your hitting philosophy through Science.  Set a higher standard for your hitters.  It's okay – watch your millions of hours of video…employ those expensive measuring gadgets…and flaunt those old school hitting cues.

But above ALL of that … understand what the rules to human movements are FIRST.  Once you know that, all other domino's fall where they're supposed to.  In conclusion of Chapter-2, we looked at what an old school swing feels like and the pros and cons.  We discussed:

  • How can someone tell Mike Trout, Albert Pujols, or Alex Rodriguez what they say about hitting is wrong?
  • Pros to old school feel mechanics,
  • Cons to old school feel mechanics, and
  • So, how do we interweave brainless data and confusing real v. feel hitting cues?

In Chapter-3, we'll answer the question of what leads to hitting more predictable line drives and less strikeouts.  Where we'll dive into:

  • What does “predictable” mean and why does probability matter?  And,
  • Difference between ‘Launch Angle’ and ‘Attack Angle’…

Onward…

———-

Gary Sheffield Talks Hitting

Gary Sheffield Talks Hitting Mentioning 1 Shocking Swing Mistake He Didn't Make…

 

 

Gary Sheffield Talks Hitting

Check out the iconic Gary Sheffield barrel tilt-waggle – almost parallel to the ground! Photo courtesy: MLB Network

In this Gary Sheffield Talks Hitting video, 500 Home Run Club member Gary Sheffield talks about his hitting style, plate approach and adjustments to different ballparks with Mark DeRosa, Bill Ripken and Robert Flores on MLB Central.  Some of what you'll find in the video:

  • 1 shocking swing mistake Sheffield didn't make,
  • Pitch recognition that Gary Sheffield is talking about,
  • Change your stance depending on the field?
  • What does focus on staying to the right of your left side mean? And,
  • Making swing adjustments because of injury to compete…

For your convenience below, I've time stamped my notes, so you can jump to wherever the conversation interests you…

  • At about the 3-minute, 20-second mark, Sheffield talks about how after hitting 40+ homers between his AA and AAA season, he was brought up to MLB club and the powers at be tried to “flatten his bat” (for him a mistake he didn't make).  Because they wanted a leadoff speed guy who hits the ball to right field.  When he got to San Diego, they wanted him to pick up the ball at 3rd base, they didn't expect him to hit.  This was disrespectful to Sheffield.  He went from a guy not just trying to get on base, but to do damage.
  • At about the 4-minute mark, Gary Sheffield talks about his famous bat tilt-waggle, and how it's all in the fingers. To get a nice relaxed crisp move with the fingers.  Like dancing.
  • At about the 5-minute mark, Sheffield talks about picking pitcher up at release to differentiate what he's throwing.  Pitch recognition.  He doesn't care what the pitcher does before that moment.  He said he looked for the heater and nothing changed on that approach throughout his career.  He wants the pitcher to fool him.  He doesn't want to miss on the fastball.  All he wants to know is what is the pitcher's out pitch – the one he goes to the most when he needs it. Doesn't swing at fork balls.  He groups the fastball and slider together – as one pitch.
  • At about the 7-minute mark, Gary Sheffield talks about how he adjusts his stance depending on the park he's playing in.  Examples…in San Diego the dimensions are fair, so he uses all fields.  At “fair” parks he didn't feel like hitting the ball oppo made him lose something.   In Florida with the Marlins, he got closer to the plate and became strictly a pull hitter because of short fence in left field. Homers came by way of left and left center, rarely to center.  Goal of double digit homers to opposite field, so he was almost guaranteed 30 to 40 homers per year.  Billy Ripken made the comment that he's never heard of anyone else who did this, except maybe when hitting at Fenway.  Dodger stadium was “fair” to him.  Mentioned at night it got dewey there, ball didn't fly as far.  His strength was center field in LA.
  • At about 9-minute mark, Sheffield talks about his right elbow position to be ready to “punch”.  Athletic position.  Legs up under him.  When hitting he just thinks about his left side.  Tells his kids to cut the left side out.  Focus on being to the right of your left side.  Walking in the batter's box sideways, so he knows he's in the same spot every time.  He wants to work sideways, so he can stay behind his left side.
  • At about 11-minute mark, Sheffield his swing is dominant front arm.  Front arm goes straight to the ball.  Billy Ripken talks about “squashing a bug“.  They all comment on Gary Sheffield's bat waggle and how parallel the barrel got to the ground at one point in the swing.  Sheffield talked about an injury he had to his right foot, plantar fasciitis, that required him to skip/hop his back foot.  Had to unlearn later.  Interesting confession on making an adjustment to compete.

You Too Can Experience More Flexibility & Better Movement Patterns In 5 Minutes A Day With Rotex Motion

Since this COVID-19 thing, we've been busy with a Rotex Motion movement experiment.  The system has been on my radar for a little over a year.  And it was developed by ex-Navy Seal Dr. Joe LaCaze, who's also a Chiropractor.  By the way, he understands the spinal engine and springy fascia.  Always a good sign.

Anyway,Rotex Motion: Move Better Equals Perform Better

I've been testing myself and some of my players using the Rotex Motion movement system.  And I have an excel spreadsheet to share with you.  But before I get to the results, let me explain the phases of the Rotex Motion experiment:

  • Week #1 on myself: Hip Internal/External Rotation
  • Week #2 on myself and my wife: Ankle Dorsiflexion
  • Week #3 on myself: Seated Trunk Rotation
  • Next 4-weeks on my players: Ankle Dorsiflexion
  • Next 4-weeks on my players: Seated Trunk Rotation (this is ongoing)

In this Rotex Motion post, we'll cover:

  • Highlights from my movement experiments using Rotex Motion…
  • What happened to Ball Exit Speeds, downloading swing mechanics, & hitter feels
  • And next steps to get started using Rotex Motion movement systems…

 

Highlights from my movement experiments using Rotex Motion

CLICK HERE to download the excel spreadsheet, so you can follow along.  Here are some highlights:

  • PLEASE NOTE: I was getting used to the BodyROM app with the Active Hip, got better with Passive Ankle Dorsiflexion measurements, and finally have a handle on the Seated Rotational measurement.
  • Also NOTE: My right hip and ankle were injured during my time in college on two separate occasions, so you'll see how Rotex Motion really made a difference there.
  • After one week: Internal hip rotation on my right side significantly improved by 21-degrees!  And the left improved by 8-degrees. 26/29 degrees afterwards – almost balanced.  Before, my right side internal hip rotation was REALLY restricted.
  • After one week: Ankle Dorsiflexion on right side improved by 24-degrees!  This may have been a little human error with the measurement.  Left side improved by 9-degrees.  Even if right improved as much as left – to 26-degrees – it still would've had a 12-degree jump!
  • After one session: my wife's Ankle Dorsiflexion improved by 9-degrees on her right, and 13-degrees on her left.  Btw, she has a bum right ankle as well.
  • After one week: my rotation to the right significantly improved by 24-degrees, and my left by 26-degrees!  105/103 respectively, now they're virtually balanced.
  • For my players, after 4-weeks doing “Foot, Ankle, Calf” exercises one time or less per week didn't see a big change in range of motion, but did see a balancing of the ankle.
    Rotex Motion: Ankle Inversion & Eversion

    Photo courtesy: Crossfit.com

  • For my players, after 4-weeks doing “Foot, Ankle, Calf” exercises two times per week improved in a range of 4-10 degrees on the right ankle, and 4-6 degrees on the left.  Also, they had a great balancing effect of the ankle, which I think is even more important.

 

What happened to Ball Exit Speeds, downloading swing mechanics, & hitter feels

That's great, improved range of motion and a balancing of the ankle…so what?!  How did it affect “hitters”?  Here are the observations I found within the four weeks of dorsiflexion with my hitters ranging in age from 10-years-old to High School seniors.  Specifically, this group is mostly made up of High Schoolers…

  • Keep in mind, our weather in California at the time was moderate, 65-70 degrees.  Not super hot, so ball wasn't flying more than usual.
  • Getting into certain hitting positions like Ankle eversion (keeping back foot sideways), think about turning inside of foot down and outside part up.
  • About 30-40% of the guys broke their highest ball exit speed, or was consistently high with them.  In other words, their numbers weren't jumping, but stabilized.
  • They frequently said things like: “I feel more stable”, “I have a better connection to ground”, “My swing feels easier”.

 

Next steps to get started using Rotex Motion movement systems

Here are the steps to getting started:

  1. Invest in Rotex Motion system at the TheStartingLineupStore.com (range in price from $149 to $529*),
  2. Download BodyROM app on android or iphone (one-time $4 fee),
  3. Once you get the system, then CLICK HERE and follow instructions on how to use the BodyROM app to measure (you won't be good at first, so practice, practice, practice),
  4. Of those BodyROM videos, start with the first one, Ankle Dorsiflexion Measurement, & Torso Rotation Measurement
  5. For direction on where to start with the exercises (this would of course depend on what package you invest in), go CLICK HERE and click the “Foot, Ankle, Calf” first.
  6. Follow the “Foot, Ankle, Calf” exercises 2 times per day (morning and evening), everyday, for one week.  These exercises take me 3-minutes to complete.  Measure again to get the after.
  7. After week #1, I'd click the “Rotational Performance” link on the same exercise training page, and do those once or twice per day, everyday for one week.  These exercises take me 5-mins to complete.  Measure again to get the after.
  8. If you invest in the handheld only, then I'd click the “Handheld Exercises Only”, and pick out 3-5 exercises, do them 1-2 times per day, everyday, for a week.  The exercises you group together should revolve around the same joint, then measure that joint using the BodyROM app, and you're off to the races!
  9. Any other questions, then please let me know.

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…

Josh Karr

To Coaches That Want To Fill A 2021 Roster Spot Despite COVID19

(CLICK HERE for the full transcription of the interview)

I'm doing something a little different in this post…

I want to help college coaches.  But most importantly, I want to help support one of my High School Seniors that got stuck in this COVID-19 season ending cyclone.  What follows is an interview to help coaches fill a 2021 roster spot with a solid student athlete…

The NCAA has allowed a 5th year for seniors in college impacted by COVID-19 season shutdown.  I agree with this.  It was a good move.  However, what about High School seniors who only got to play 15-20 games in 2020, without the opportunity to commit?

I've interviewed one of those seniors, Josh Karr.

FULL DISCLAIMER: I've worked with Josh in the past, and his dad reinforces our system with him as well.  I wanted to conduct an interview as if I was a college coach recruiting Josh.

 

Quick stats and highlights from the interviewJosh Karr

  • 6-foot, 2-inches, 215-pounds. From: Wills Point, Texas. Goes to: Wills Point High School.
  • 96-mph ball exit speed off tee using PocketRadar app. Hit 100-mph on LIVE pitching but didn't record that.
  • Infield corner position player: 1B/3B, has played outfield before (RF).
  • .960 to .970 Fielding%
  • 60-yard time: 7.2
  • Pop-time: 1.99
  • 3.62 grade point average.  1040 SAT.
  • Loves Math.  Wants to major in Biology, end up in the medical field.  Possibly wants to be an NPA.
  • 2019 stats (Junior year): .329 BA, .451 SLG%, .537 OBP%. 27 hits, 4 homers, 5 doubles. 26 RBI's.
  • Named “player-to-watch” for his region.  Out of roughly 540-550 players of the whole region. Josh was one of top 40 they picked for it.
  • His main focus hitting right now is line drives

If you want to reach out and contact Josh, you can at the following spots:

  1. Email – jmkarr at SBCGlobal dot net (formatted this way, so Josh doesn't get a lot of SPAM)
  2. Phone – 661-889-5543
  3. MaxPreps page
  4. On the socials – His personal page on Twitter is: @JoshKarr16 … and his baseball page is: @BaseballKarr …you can DM him there as well.

Final thoughts: yes, I'm a little biased in Josh's case. And no, I don't do this that often.  But I'm going to vouch for this graduating High School Senior.  Josh comes from a solid family.  They're hard workers.  Highly disciplined.  And focused on what they set their mind to.  Josh is a fantastic student.  And since I've known him, he does what he needs to to compete at the next level.  He needed to cut weight, so he cut 10% body fat and dropped 10-15 pounds last fall.  His weakness is pitches down in the zone.  He's currently working on driving those pitches on a line.  The point is, this is a coachable student athlete that is looking to compete for you.  Please reach out…

 

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

Albert Pujols Hitting Mechanics

Albert Pujols Hitting Mechanics: Hit Top Part Of Cage? Or Back Part?

 

 

In this Albert Pujols hitting mechanics talk, some questions Pujols and Harold Reynolds answer:

Albert Pujols Hitting Mechanics

Albert Pujols & Harold Reynolds Interview, MLB Network 30 Clubs in 30 Days. Photo courtesy: MLB.com

  • Hitting ball off same spot off tee or vary?
  • Dangers of a purely opposite field approach…
  • When is using ‘hands inside the ball' okay?
  • Hit top part of the cage of the back?
  • How many swings until you should take a break to reflect?
  • Inside pitch barrel path: is it different than away?
  • Should hitter get “taller” to hit a high pitch?

Make sure you watch the 8-minute 30-Clubs in 30-Days Albert Pujols interview on grooving his swing, before diving into my notes.  I time stamped the above video for quick and easy reference…

  • At the 0:10 second mark,  tsk, tsk…notice Harold Reynolds isn't following the 4-foot social distancing rule!! (for those watching this well after the craziness of the Coronavirus has passed – lol).  
  • At the 0:30 second mark, interesting Pujols talks about building a consistent swing, hitting off the tee in one spot.  He references variance training with some hitting coaches moving the ball up and down, in and out.  I do agree with him, but it depends on the end result.  If you're just introducing a new hitting mechanic, then keep the tee in one spot.  If you're looking to deeply embed a well worn hitting mechanic, then variance or chaos training is key.
  • At the 0:45 second mark, Albert Pujols talks about setting tee up slightly off center of the plate towards outer part.  He likes to work gap to gap and not force or push the ball to right field.  He mentions if he focuses too much on right field, then he gets under the ball too much.
  • At the 1:30 minute mark, Pujols dispels the myth of “staying inside the ball”.  He says of course you're inside the ball…you don't see hitters EVER getting their hands outside the ball.  ‘Hands inside the ball' can be a great cue for those hitters doing the opposite – casting barrel early.  It's not a perfect cue, but may work in some cases.  Then to throw gas on the fire, he mentions ‘knob to the ball'.  Real v. Feel.  There's a reason you keep hearing this kind of stuff from guys like Pujols, A-Rod, and Bonds.  It has to do with top hand dominance and pronation.  We call it the “wrist snap”.
  • At the 2:00 minute mark, Albert Pujols talks about working on the liner, not trying to hit the top part of the cage. He picks a spot in the cage he wants the ball to travel.  External cue.  He wants the ball to come off the bat as high as the tee is set.  Harold brings up that some people are teaching to hit the top of the cage (I used to be one of them!!).  But Albert plays the politician and comments that he doesn't want to say what those coaches are doing is wrong, but that he wouldn't teach that.  And right now, I'd agree with him.
  • At the 3:00 minute mark, Harold asked Pujols if there's a rhythm to working on gapping the ball, and Pujols says he tries to hit 3 or 4 in a row, then take a break to reflect on the feeling.  He tries not to rush when working out.  He tries to take his time.  Process what he just did.  Great advice!
  • At 4:00 minute mark, Harold asks Albert about his inside approach.  How to hit the inside pitch.  Watch how Pujols demos his barrel path to get to it … barrel above hands?  This Adam Eaton video reveals the same thing.  Interesting huh?  We call this knocking the “belly button” catcher's glove off.  He says he's just reacting to the inside pitch.  Typically, he's looking out over the plate.  He doesn't try to focus on one area of the plate.  He looks middle, then adjusts in or out from there.  Definitely works for Albert.  And Mike Schmidt also talked about it in his book the “Mike Schmidt Study”. Only downside is when pitchers start using EV tunnels Perry Husband talks about.  It's easier to cover middle in/out/up/down (50% of the plate), based on pitcher's pattern.  Obviously, this is more effective the better the pitcher is.
  • At 5:00 minute mark, in the above Albert Pujols hitting mechanics video, Pujols talks about keeping his shoulders “square” or keep front shoulder pointing at “400-foot” mark in straight center.  Not to close shoulders off.  Albert never really did ‘show numbers' much, but he does a lot of other things right.
  • At 6:00 minute mark, Pujols talks about not getting “taller” to get to the pitch up in the zone, but to stay sink down and use hands to get to it.  Again demonstrates keeping barrel above hands.  We talk about getting shorter and staying shorter.  And middle in, middle up pitches are addressed by knocking off belly button catcher's glove or telling hitter to keep barrel above hands.  Real v. Feel.  Now, this isn't actually what's going to happen.  The result of this hitting cue is a tighter, shorter, more compact barrel path.  Much needed closer the ball is to the hitter or the eyes.  He talks about using his legs to get to pitches down in the zone.
Tee Drills With Adam Eaton

Tee Drills: Adam Eaton Speaks High Inside Pitch Approach Truth

 

 

Tee Drills With Adam Eaton

Adam Eaton photo courtesy: MLB.com

In this tee drills with Adam Eaton video, some main points Adam Eaton covers:

  • Ball flight tells you everything,
  • Demonstrates how REAL high level barrel path is on high inside pitches,
  • How most get the cue ‘stay inside the ball' wrong, and how to use it properly, and
  • Tee drills tip for putting the high tee on steroids!

 

Make sure you watch the brief 5-minute 30-Clubs in 30-Days Adam Eaton interview before diving into my notes below.  I time stamped the above video for quick and easy reference…

  • At the 0:45 mark, Adam Eaton talks about how tee drills are the most important part of the day.  According to the tee drills naysayers out there, man oh man, how many Big Leaguers are doing it “wrong”.  Haha!
  • At the 1:30 mark, while working tee drills, DeRo asks if Adam Eaton is worried about his hands, bat path, what?  And Adam responds by saying, ball flight tells you everything.  If ball flight is clean, he knows his body is in the right position.
  • At the 2:30 mark, Adam talks about letting ball get to belt buckle on pitches away.  He clarifies you aren't actually going to hit it there in the game.  Feel cue, pure and simple.  Interesting he mentions getting on plane quickly here in reference to outside pitch.  This is when deep barrel dump is okay.  Adam mentions his powerful impact position checkpoints: palm up palm down, hardly any bend in the front arm (he actually works on this!!), and nice bend in back arm (90-degrees).
  •  At the 2:55 mark, Adam Eaton talks about high inside tee drills. Uncomfortable drill because it feels like you're crowding yourself.  But it teaches body control and to control the shoulders.  “Blackout moment” defined as an experience when body takes over without thinking because you've practiced it so many times.  And just before the 4-minute mark watch him demonstrate how he gets to that high inside pitch — he keeps the barrel up, above his hands, until last possible second.  Much different barrel path he'd take to a pitch away.  I talk to my hitters about the difference between hitting a catcher's glove perpendicular to the hitter's “belly button” (inner third part of plate), versus knocking off the real catcher's glove (outer third part of plate).
  • On these tee drills, Adam Eaton talks a lot about ‘keeping hands inside the ball'.  The cue is great for hitters that do the opposite – hook the ball a lot.  And ‘get barrel around the ball' works brilliantly for hitters with racing back elbow or who tend to push the ball opposite a lot.  Over the years I've learned that every hitting feel cue has their place.  We used to laugh, cajole, and mock Major Leaguers when we'd hear them say things like ‘get on top', ‘swing down on the ball', or like in Adam Eaton's case ‘stay inside the ball'.  These cues do work, but mostly to the hitters who do the opposite of what these cues suggest.  It's called Paradoxical Intention.
  • Also note on Adam Eaton's slow motion game swings how virtually straight his front arm is at stride landing.  He's not a big guy, 5-foot, 8-inches, and only 176-pounds.  He can lever up that front arm because of a shorter wingspan for sure.  I've seen him do this on outside pitches as well as inside.  Although, here's the catch on the inner half of the plate, you have to take the barrel path approach he demonstrated on the high tee drill.  In addition to training my hitters to use a longer front arm on the high pitch, I also make them do it with an end loaded heavy bat.  Makes the drill even more uncomfortable – as Adam Eaton put it – BUT if they can accomplish it at that pitch location, everywhere else is gravy.