Perfect Baseball Swing

Where Power Secret is & Where to Find it: Perfect Baseball Swing Webinar Part-2…

Here's are the three parts:

  1. Baseball Trainers Near Me? Part-1,
  2. [YOU ARE HERE] Perfect Baseball Swing Webinar? Part-2, and
  3. COMING SOON!!

The following is the continued transcript to the perfect baseball swing webinar part-2… (about 18-minutes reading time)

‘Showing Numbers' and ‘Neck Pressure'Perfect Baseball Swing

00:07

Do you recognize some of these hitters? Some of them have changed unis or one of them at least. Mookie Betts, he's on the Dodgers now, Nolan Arenado is in the middle, Mike Trout.

00:16

Notice the pinstripe on the side of their leg and how it connects into the belt. Notice the positioning of where that is, pelvis is already starting to open. All these hitters are at toe touch or close to toe touch. Notice the numbers on their back.

00:33

Now the righties, because the camera in the major leagues isn't straight on center-field because you have to see the pitcher and the hitter, it's slightly off centered towards left.

00:43

Your righties, you're going to see probably more numbers than you would see lefties doing the same degree of rotation. This started off as showing numbers, it's what we called it. We'll talk in a little bit how we've refined it to creating neck pressure. but notice these.

00:57

Perfect baseball swing webinar experiment results of the big three. The first of the Big Three is showing numbers. When I used a Zepp back in the day, now Zepp is turned in, BlastMotion taken over and SwingTracker.

01:05

When I did about two, three experiments showing numbers, we found that out of 100 swings, not showing numbers and 100 swing showing numbers that that speed was increased on average by four to six miles an hour. That's bat speed.

01:27

Bat speed is the close cousin to ball exit speed, they are not the same, but they're like first cousins. Without bat speed, ball exit speed probably is not going to be there, we got to be able to swing the bat somewhat hard to get the ball coming off the bat as fast.

01:46

Here are three others, you can probably notice these ones again, jerseys might have changed. JD Martinez, on the left, you have Aaron Judge in the middle, and you have Altuve on the right.

01:57

I know I'm as big against the whole cheating thing, as probably many of you are with Houston, the Astros back in 2019. But Altuve, being 5'6, 5'7, he does a lot of these mechanical things correctly. Regardless of whether you knew the pitchers coming or not, he still got to be able to hit it, as far as he does, which I think that year up, you hit 30 plus… 35, even with the playoffs in the World Series, I think he got close to 40 home runs that year.

02:32

Even though you know it's coming, the guy is 5'6, he's not Judge who is 6'8. You can't just write the guy off for “Oh, he's gifted”. There's a lot of things that he's doing in his swing that are very effective when it comes to this perfect baseball swing webinar – spinal engine mechanics. That was showing numbers.

‘Hiding Hands' from the Pitcher

02:51

The second part, it was the third part, we're going to get to the second part of the big three and the second one of the big three, but the other one is we call hiding the hands from the pitcher.

03:01

A lot of times what you will see is at the start of the swing, you'll see the hitter’s hands, and then by toe touch as you can see, all three of these hitters are pretty much a toe touch or right at toe touch. You're not seeing their hands, they're hiding them.

03:15

You can see Judge, they're kind of behind his head over here, Altuve is the same, JD Martinez behind his head, but from where they start with their hands, where their hands are at. Before the pitcher starts or gets in the wind up to when they're at landing, there's this move the hands to go back, and it's not towards the catcher, it's actually back at an angle behind the hitters heel or over the hitters back heel, that's where the hands need to go.

03:43

We see this idea of hiding the hands, now in the swing experiments with that, we found between a one to three mile an hour average increase in bat speed with hiding the hands versus not hiding the hands.

Perfect Baseball Swing Webinar: Spinal Engine Mechanics

03:59

The second one we'll talk about here in a second, it's called downhill shoulder angle, but I wanted to go into the three basic principles of locomotion. There were three books that ruin my life when it comes to hitting in a good way.

04:13

The first one I mentioned was Thomas Myers book Anatomy Trains. The second one was called Dynamic Body by Dr. Erik Dalton, D-A-L-T-O-N. It was a collaboration of different authors that were all along the same lines of springy fascia, Spinal Engine and locomotion, that kind of stuff.

04:30

In that book, Dynamic Body, I found Dr. Serge Gracovetsky's book The Spinal Engine. This is out of the spinal engine, the little thing on the right, which he's talking about a pitcher and talking about side bending, which is downhill shoulder angle, and he talks about axial rotation, which basically means shoulders moving opposite of the pelvis.

04:30

When we walk as humans. our left leg comes forward when our right arm comes forward and the opposite happens. Left arm comes forward our right leg comes forward. That is axial rotation, your shoulders turn opposite your pelvis, and it's like this gear shift that just does this when we walk, our shoulders and our pelvis and they move opposite each other, almost like winding it up, unwinding, winding, unwinding.

05:15

The axial rotation, shoulder, pelvis separation, the side bend, or downhill shoulders, and then the third move of the spine is flexion extension. If you go into an arch, you're extending your spine, you're hyper extending your spine, if you just stand in neutral, your lower back has a slight curve to it, or at least it should, if it does not, then we've had surgery to correct something we put pins in or something, or maybe we've got a lower back that's compromised, but we should have a slight curve in the lower back.

05:46

Dr. Serge Gracovetsky calls it “lordosis”. Just standing there in neutral, with that curve in your lower back, you already have extension in your back, it's not hyper-extension, it's just extension.

06:00

Flexion would be if you were doing a crunch, and you were to go the opposite direction and you flex your spine. You think about whales, they go this way with their tail, right? That's flexion extension of the spine, sharks go side bend, you see this right here, they do a little bit of both, but that's the good example of side bending.

06:17

We use all three of those when we walk. We already have lordosis or that little bend in the lower back. We drop our shoulder into a side bend, and that helps us to initiate the axial rotation where right arm comes forward as the left leg comes forward.

06:31

The story that really got me with this was Dr. Serge had a patient, you see this gentleman on the left, he was born without any arms or legs. He walked on what's called the ischium the bottom of the pelvis, and you can see him here in this perfect baseball swing webinar.

06:50

What he did was he hooked up electrodes, not to shock him but to measure his muscle activation and his ligament activation. He said if you watch and you can go on YouTube, and you can put in Dr. Serge Gracovetsky, try and spell it the best you can.

07:07

It's kind of a goofy name, spinal engine, and he's got a video on there that's like an hour long, and you can watch I think it's around the four-minute mark or three-and-a-half-minute mark, his show has a video of this gentleman locomoting.

07:21

What's crazy, if you remember, this is from birth, this wasn't the guy who had arms and legs until he was 18, got in a car accident or got a bad disease or virus or something where he had to be amputated, he was born this way. It was from the start.

07:36

If you covered the lower half of his pelvis to know he didn't have legs and you watched him move, you would swear he had legs. That begs the premise locomotion is from the beginning.

07:51

As we start going from baby crawling or rocking, crawling to standing to walking, we learn how to locomote this way, this is the best way how to locomote. This gentleman really opened my eyes to wow there must be something here and where it got me to reverse engineer the swing.

Perfect Baseball Swing Webinar: Springy Fascia Secret

08:13

Discover the springy fascia secret. Springy fascia for those of you that don't know out there, we got bones, we got muscles, but did you know, we have connective tissue? Part of that connective tissue is called fascia.

08:25

What is connective tissue? Tendons, ligaments, fascia, to cotton candy or spider web-like material that your bones and muscles float in. It gives muscles their shape if you've gone to the grocery store and bought a bag of tangerines in that, that fishnet type of bag, think of the tangerines as your bones, muscles, and your organs, and the bag being the fascia, so it gives muscles their shape.

08:52

Myofascia or fascia, if you've done myofascia release on a foam roll, you probably felt the pain especially if you do your IT band of that fascia when it gets really tight and clogged up. Cotton candy and spider web-like material, it's made up of mostly collagen and elastin fibers, mostly collagen, but there's elastin in there, collagen is very springy.

09:12

You've seen the Kardashians, how springy it is because they inject it in their face and their butt and everything else. It keeps everything nice and plump and tight. Bones and muscles float in this web, they're composed of compression and tension forces.

09:27

You see a couple of these things you probably recognize as a kid or if you bought these for your kid, that Chinese finger trap and the geometric toys, although I don't know about the Chinese finger traps nowadays, unless you go to some arcade and you can win tickets and get some of those things. Never thought you'd be learning about Chinese finger traps in a perfect baseball swing webinar!

09:42

The idea is compression forces a brick stacked up on top of a brick pushing down, each push against each other tension forces would be like a boom crane and you have the cable. You got the big wrecking ball at the bottom of the cable. You got the structure, the boom crane.

09:58

There's a tension force being exerted on it by the structure of the boom crane and the wrecking ball itself. We have both of these forces, fascia that are acting within our body at all times and resembles more of this toy on the left, this kid's toy, when you push one side of that toy down, it kind of shifts and changes it, one side opens up as you push on the other side. We got those two forces that fascia is into.

10:27

In Thomas Myers' Anatomy Trains, we have three different systems. According to him, we have the neural which is brain spinal cord stuff, the fluid, which is your veins and your heart, and then we have the third one, and hopefully, if you got kids there, there's no naked pictures here, but it can be a little bit unnerving.

10:47

We have a fiber system, which looks like this, they did a lot of cadaver work. This is what the fascial system looks like. It's not just something that is magic and floats, they have done a ton of research on this, and this is your fiber system or your fascial net, it's what Thomas Myers refers to this as.

Finger Flick & Wringing Towel Effect

11:05

What I want you to do is do a finger flick test. Thomas Myers came up or this is where I read this from. To show you the power of the springy fascia spinal engine system, what I want you to do, if you're seated, I want you to take your right hand or your left hand, whatever your dominant, whatever hand is dominant, I want you to put it on your leg on the thigh of whatever side leg, I want you to take your index finger, and I want you to just pick it up by itself and try and slam it as hard as you can on your leg, do it three times, pick it up, slam it, pick it up and slam it.

11:38

That's an example of muscle using muscle to do it. Now we're going to use only the ligament, I want you to take your opposite hand, pull the right finger, or mine is right finger, pull your index finger back as far as you can, and let it snap against your leg, you might be able to hear it on the camera, on the computer three times.

12:01

That is an example of a 100% ligament driving that, you can probably already tell that you're going to bet a bigger snap than you are when you're using your finger muscles.

12:11

The last one is I want you to use a combination of both, use a combination of the elastic or collagen, the ligament tissue, you're going to pull the finger back and as you release the finger, I want you to slam it. I found that that hurts a lot more than the other two.

12:31

What we talked about in the swing is we're using a little bit of both, we're using more of the ligament tissue, which makes it safe on the body, and then we're using some of the muscle, the muscle isn't required, but it does help.

12:45

When we talk about strength conditioning programs and that kind of stuff, that helps, but we want to make sure we get our hitters moving correctly first.  A must you're learning in this perfect baseball swing webinar.

12:53

The other metaphor I like to use is the wringing towel effect. Imagine we got a wringing towel, like you see me in the picture, I got my bat here and to wring a towel, you got to turn one hand one way and the other hand the other way.

13:05

When we combine the springy fascia and the spinal engine, instead of two hands, like we only have two, if I had a third hand like Squidward on Sponge-Bob, I have a third hand down here facing the same direction as the one on top.

13:18

The one on top is my head and my neck, my C spine cervical. The one in the middle is my shoulder and my thoracic spine, the middle part of your spine, the 12 vertebrae, the bottom one is your pelvis and your lower lumbar, the head and your lower back, turn the same direction, they're turning the same direction.

13:38

It's the one in the middle, the shoulders and the thoracic spine are turning the opposite. Imagine a wringing towel, except with two hands, we're using three like Squidward. As you can see here in this video, this is what we're doing with the spine and we're doing it in a safe manner.

13:54

Again, returning to our hitters here. We talked about all these guys, neck pressure, AKA showing the numbers. When it comes to the pressure, what we're talking about is taking the head and we anchor the head in a tracking position, because when I used to teach this is just showing numbers that hitters were showing too much of their numbers, and now they weren't able to see the ball.

14:16

We make sure that their head is the anchor and anchors in a tracking position, the shoulder, the front shoulder comes underneath the chin, possibly even past the chin as far as it can go, as far as the neck will allow the shoulder to go.

14:31

Wherever the shoulder stops, you got to stop, because then we start to pull the head off the ball. When we say neck pressure, that's what we're referring to. Head anchors show front shoulder comes underneath until it stops at landing.

14:47

At stride landing as you see what these hitters here, this is what they're all doing. You can see what their head and I encourage you to go out on YouTube and go start looking for this. You're going to see it, you're going to see the head anchor, you're going to see the shoulder coming underneath, that's the first one of the big three in this perfect baseball swing webinar.

‘Downhill Shoulders'

15:03

The second one, we talked about the side bend or down shoulders. The experiment we did on this added on average when we had down shoulders versus flat shoulders added, on average four miles an hour of bat speed, and again, bat speed ball exit speed, they're similar, not the same, but without bat speed, you're not going to have ball exit speed.

15:23

You can see four these hitters right here, Miguel Cabrera, on the left, you can see JD Martinez in the middle, on the top Mike Trout in the middle, in the bottom and you got a new guy this last year, you probably all have seen him, he had a good year this year, Fernando Tatis Jr.

15:39

You have this slight downward shoulder angle, and I say slight. In golf, you're going to see an extreme just because where the ball is. In baseball or softball, we can't be quite that down because we got to be able to hit balls up in the zone.

15:52

When I say slight, I'm talking about 6 to 10 degrees down, it's not a lot. I tell my hitters, this is 90 degrees, and then, 45 degrees, 22 and a half degrees, 12.25 degrees, it's really small, but you can see the back shoulder is above the front shoulder slightly. You can see with Trout on the bottom, I know that picture is a little farther off.

16:15

You can see with Miggy, he's about eight degrees, nine degrees. JD is probably around that six to eight degrees. Tatis is about six to eight degrees, and Trout is around that same.

16:27

Hiding hands, we talked about this already, so we won't go too far into it. Hiding the hands here you can see also, we talked about being safe with the lower back.

Last but not least in this Perfect Baseball Swing Webinar: ‘Hollow Position'

16:39

What we do is we don't like what we call Donald Duck butt or those of you that know Dr. Kelly Starrett from mobilityWOD used to be and now I can't remember what he changed it to, but taking the pelvis acting like the pelvis is a bowl of water, and we don't want to spill water on our front of our toes.

16:55

We don't want to tilt our pelvis to water spilling forward, we want to tilt our pelvis or our water spilling on our heels. What you can see here, not so much with Betts, you can see Arenado you can see this belt loops are almost flat.

17:09

When you see the belt loops in more of an angle and that also depends on the hip hinge that the hitters taken as well but with Arenado you can see almost more of a flat, he's taken the curve out of his lower back because he is spilling water on his heels.

17:23

Trout, you can see the same, he's flattened it. Judge he might be a little bit curved. Altuve, you can see the same thing, and if I had a picture of Josh Donaldson, you would see flat when he gets at the height of his leg kick, his pelvis is flat.

17:41

If we go into a hyper extended position, what that does is that pushes the vertebrae of the lower back together. That's not bad in itself, we see gymnast when they are swinging back and forth, they're going from global flexion to global extension, flexion would be flexing the lower back, extension would be when they come through the bar and they're extending into like a global arch position, that's okay.

18:03

The problem is since we hit, we have to turn and rotate, we have to, so if you're overarching, your lower back or your hitter's back and then you turn, you arch turn, arch turn.

18:16

It's not going to show up in your younger hitters, but as they get into high school, junior high, high school on up, they're going to start experiencing back pain. What we do when we flex, when we spill water on our heels, and the term we use with our hitters is we take the belt buckle in the belly button, and we try and bring those two points together.

18:35

We hold those two points together through the turn, even into the finish because some hitters will release it into their follow through and they'll get into that arch again, we're still turning as we're arching, we don't want to do that.

18:47

If you can do the pinch, we call it the hollow pinch. If you look on YouTube and just look up hollow position, or hollow exercise, you'll get some cool gymnastic exercises to strengthen that, but we want our hitters to maintain the short distance between the belly button and the belt buckle as we're turning.

19:05

Now, when you do that, the opposite happens to the vertebrae when you're arching, you give space or traction between the vertebrae, and now when you turn, you don't have that friction you're not bone on bone turning.

19:16

Over time, obviously it's a lot safer, and it doesn't take away from performance at all. The swing experiments we did on that, I think it added one mile an hour on average, it didn't add a lot, but it makes the spine safe and when the spine is safe the brain is always about survival. It doesn't care if you can hit a 4- or 500-foot home run or in softball, a 300-foot home run, it doesn't care about your performance.

19:36

It cares about surviving, it cares about keeping your body safe, and if there's an issue with your lower back or your knee, your ankle, your shoulder, it's going to say, “You know what, Neil? I can't let you go 100% on your swing performance, I have to cut you down about 80%”, depending on the severity of the issue, and Neil was talking about his lower back was hurting him in the golf.

To be continued in Part- to this perfect baseball swing webinar…

Your Typical Hitting Coach Doesn’t Want You To Watch This Sierra Romero & Aaron Judge Home Run Analysis Swing Comparison

 

Sierra Romero v. Aaron Judge Home Run Analysis Swing Comparison

Comparative Fight Positions of both Sierra Romero and Aaron Judge. Dang, they look good! Photo courtesy: YouTuber: Sports Gaming & MLB.com

Let me be up front with you in this Aaron Judge home run post…

Some hitting coaches still think the baseball and softball swing are drastically different.

I disagree…Big League.

Human movement is human movement.  Sure there are undeniable anatomical differences in body type between males and females, and differences in reaction time from sport to sport…

But there's virtually zero difference in explosive human movement when the swing objective is hit the ball as hard as you can, as far as you can…consistently.

In this video analysis, I wanted to compare the swings of Sierra Romero and Aaron Judge.  Don't worry if you don't know one or the other…you will by the end of this post.

Actually, you know what, if you don't know either of these hitters, then SHAME ON YOU!!! 😛 lol

Kidding aside, and in my opinion, more baseball players can learn A LOT by watching Sierra Romero swing the bat than any Big Leaguer.  It's a bold thing to say, but it's true.

In comparing Sierra Romero to Aaron Judge, we'll compare the following components of an effective swing:

 

Who is Sierra Romero in this Aaron Judge home run?

Besides being my favorite swing model for Fast-Pitch Softball hitters, and according to the USSSA Pride website:

  • 5-foot, 5-inches in height.
  • Sierra finished her rookie professional Fast-Pitch Softball season batting .339 in 109 at-bats with 18 runs scored, 37 hits, 4 doubles, 2 triples, 5 HR, 21 RBI and a .397 OBP.
  • First player in NCAA softball history (at Uni of Michigan) to record 300 runs, 300 hits and 300 RBI in her career.
  • Owns NCAA record in career runs (300) and grand slams (11). Ranks fourth all-time in career RBI (305) and slugging percentage (.882) and eighth in home runs (82) and walks (225).
  • Joined the USA Junior Women’s National Team (2012), ISF Junior Women’s World Championship Silver Medalist (2012).

 

Who is Aaron Judge?

Besides this guy being a friggin' BEAST of a human being!?  Here are some major talking points, according to Wikipedia.org and FanGraphs.com:

  • 6-foot, 7-inches tall, and 282-pounds (imagine the parents that had to feed this guy!!) lol
  • Was a three sport athlete in High School (Football, Basketball, and Baseball).
  • Played at my Alma-mater, Fresno State, from 2010 and got drafted by the Yankees 32nd overall by the Yankees in 2013.
  • As of April 2017 Exit Velocity metrics, Judge clocked game batted balls of at least 115-mph SIX TIMES!!  Joey Gallo was second with two.
  • Did I mention this guy is a BEAST?!

 

The Bottom Line…?

In comparing the swings of Sierra Romero and Aaron Judge, there are many BIG WIN mechanical similarities.  They both hit for power and precision.  The softball swing isn't any different than its baseball counterpart.  Power and precision don't have to be mutually exclusive.  Size doesn't matter, however if you're a beast like Aaron Judge the capability of hitting the ball farther with consistently higher Ball Exit Speeds is greater.  What is clear however, is if you move better, then you perform better.

In the day and age of advanced technology and access to specific experts on human movement and Physics, there's no room for coaches who resist getting educated.  If you aren't growing, then you're dying.

Forearm Workout For Baseball Players

The Ultimate Forearm Workout for Baseball & Softball Players Interview with “Napalm”

What we go over in this forearm workout interview with Jedd Johnson: (read time is 21-minutes)

  • Where did the nickname “Napalm” come from?
  • What are some mistakes to forearm workout training that you see going on?
  • Why “finger” pull-ups aren’t a good decision…
  • What are eight forearm workout principles you guys work on for grip strength?
  • Why elbow issues can be solved through the shoulder or wrist, not the elbow…
  • Why the traditional wrist roller isn’t good for ball players, and how to make it more functional…
  • Ultimate Forearm Workout for Baseball (and Softball!)

This featured forearm workout training interview is one of twenty-four included in my NEW book

Below is the full transcript of the forearm workout interview (Click Here for a pdf of the transcript you can download and print off).

ENJOY!Forearm Workout For Baseball Players

Joey Myers  00:00

Hello and welcome to swing smarter monthly newsletter. This is your host Joey Myers from hittingperformancelab.com and I have an old friend of mine that probably when I started, for those of you who know me from swingsmarter.com as Jedd Johnson of diesel crew, he's one of the diesel crew and I want to first of all, thank you for making the time and coming up.

Jedd Johnson  00:20

Oh, dude, I really appreciate you reaching out to me, man. It's been so long since we connected and I'm happy to be a part of it. So, thank you very much.

Joey Myers  00:29

You got it, brother. Well, hey, I saw on the site or on your personal forearm workout blog that you have a nickname and I want you to go into where did you get the nickname? And is it napalm?

Where did the nickname “Napalm” come from?

Jedd Johnson  00:39

Napalm, yes. On all my YouTube videos, I say, this is Jed Johnson from diesel crew. Of course, you know, they call me napalm. Actually, nobody calls me napalm. There might be two people. What that comes from is I actually wanted to be a pro wrestler. I wanted to come up with some kind of a gimmick that was different from everybody else. Do you know wrestling at all?

Joey Myers  01:14

Little bit.

Jedd Johnson  01:14

WWF from the 90s. Do you remember Cain, the guy who was in a red suit? There was this match where he got his arm on fire? I'm like, how did they do that? I found out there was that solution that you could put on your arm that you could set fire and it wouldn't burn you for a certain amount of time? I was like, I could be a pyromaniac that every time he wanted to celebrate, he would set himself on fire

Jedd Johnson  01:46

That's where napalm came from. If your viewers don't know, napalm is a like a chemical or a weapon that they used, I think in either Korea or Vietnam to burn the vegetation, you would you would set this stuff on fire and this chemical would just burn and burn and burn and it would take down the vegetation and then, try to expose the enemy.

Joey Myers  02:11

Right.

Jedd Johnson  02:12

That's my understanding. That's where I came up with that, I always thought napalm was a cool word. I was like, I could I could use that. I was going to go with napalm jack. Napalm was going to work just fine. I sent that character in first tough enough, dude. I took a hand sanitizer and I put it in my hand. And I would set that on fire at parties. It burns like a blue flame. It was really freaky.

Joey Myers  02:48

It doesn't burn you?

Jedd Johnson  02:51

It does burn you. For a few seconds, you're good. It's not like the stuff that Cain had on his arm. I would have somebody ready with a big towel and they would just smother it and it would all go out. Usually there were some adult beverages involved before this happened. One time there were a few too many involved, and the guy who's supposed to have the towel had like a dish rag. I'm like, give me the towel and he put it on my hand and it didn't do the trick, dude. It burnt too long and I had these burned blisters in between my fingers, it was sore forever. It made training so uncomfortable. But memories, man.

Joey Myers  03:37

No, I love that. I love that. I always like to hear where the nicknames come from. I love how it's on the marketing side. Hey, everybody calls me napalm but only two people call you that but I love that story. Well, I probably should tell everybody who doesn't know or haven't been following me since swing smarter days, but Jedd is a grip strength ninja. That's the reason I wanted to have him on because in the baseball circle, softball circles, I know baseball for sure, grip strength is a big one. I know just by reading and watching Jedd stuff that there are a lot of mistakes that are being made. What are some of those mistakes to grip training that you see going on?

What are some mistakes to forearm workout training that you see going on?

Jedd Johnson  04:21

I think a lot of mistakes that are made that people consider grip strength training to be synonymous with just forearm workout training. They'll just do some forearm work, maybe some wrist curls behind the back wrist curls, some stuff like that, basic stuff. That's better than doing nothing, but there's a lot more stuff that you can do that's more effective and there's nothing wrong walking around with big forearms either, you're going to get stronger so if you aren't doing grip training at all, and you do some forearm stuff, it will help you, but there's a lot more stuff that you can do.

Jedd Johnson  05:08

There are two things that I see people doing online all the time and it just drives me insane. The one thing, since the early 2000s, this freaked me out, is they'll do the deal where they take like the dowel rod or a PVC pipe, and then they will put a wire or a rope on it, and then they will stick their arms straight out and then do the wrist rolling.

Joey Myers  05:37

Yeah.

Jedd Johnson  05:40

It pumps blood into your hands and into your forearms, but as far as the time that you're doing that, that could be so much more wisely used to develop some hand, wrist, and forearm strength. The other one is like brand new, it's only from the last couple years, it's when I see the people taking a 25- or 45-pound plate, and flipping it and catching it. It's tough, it's hard but you're getting nothing out of it. There's so much risk involved.

Why “finger” pull-ups aren’t a good decision…

Jedd Johnson  06:15

You could tweak a fit; you can carry an A two pulley in your finger and you might have to deal with that for months. I've done that twice. I actually did it on both middle fingers on the same day in 2011 one time because I was being stupid. I dealt with that for three months. Then another time, I did this ring finger, my right ring finger, I'm just doing dumb stuff. I had to deal with that, I was able to work around it and do some training, but I could feel that pain for four months. Plus, not to mention if you miss and it hits your foot or something, it's just not wise. It's not wise. Those two things drive me nuts.

Joey Myers  07:03

Yes, and we did those all the time. I remember doing that one like you mentioned the wrist at the curl and then behind the back. When we did all that, we did this one, we did the extension, wrist extension, deflection, and those in our repertoire back in the early 2000s. We landed about that same spot, and we were experimenting, just like you said being stupid with one finger, two finger pull ups. I think I did the same thing.

Jedd Johnson  07:30

Oh, no. Yeah, so risky.

Joey Myers  07:32

Oh, I can't remember what hand it was but I remember it was the middle finger, I'd never seen that before. It's you're talking tendons and connective tissues. It's a lot longer to get it to heal.

Jedd Johnson  07:47

Sure, it does, man. It sure does. Hands are so important for ballplayers to manage and deal with something like that. It can mess stuff up for a long time and I shudder to think especially like a prospect, who's really got a bright future ahead of them and they go and do something like that, because they saw online, or an uninformed coach has them do that. That's a good point, hanging off of bars with just one hand or using like climbing grips.

Jedd Johnson  08:16

I have wrestlers and baseball players in my gym, and I have a set of their Metolius rock rings, just a product that you would use for moving towards specific training for rock climbing. I have them hung up on my bar, and everybody always asked me about them. I do not use those grips at all. What I like to do is grip on top of it and then if I'm having any kind of shoulder pain or elbow pain, I can do my pull ups on those and they're hanging from a rope, so I can grip on top of that. It's not a grip challenge at all and I can move my hands however I want to and for that pull up motion, and it's totally pain free. I look over and I see kids trying to stick like their two middle fingers in there and do pull up, no, no, dude, don't. It's just not worth it.

Joey Myers  09:11

Is that the same one? Did you see the documentary was a free solo?

Jedd Johnson  09:15

I did, yes.

Joey Myers  09:15

Is that the one he's got in his van? Do you remember it was towards the last quarter of the movie, I think, it was right before he was going to do the big climb, the free solo? He had those, it must have been those and he had them hanging from that little VW bus…

Jedd Johnson  09:32

What color were they?

Joey Myers  09:33

I think so, he had him up there and he was doing different finger type stuff but that guy was a frickin G when it came to rock climbing.

Jedd Johnson  09:41

That it I don't recall. They very well could have, I know most of the ones that I've seen, there are specific products that are green. If they were green in the movie, they are probably the exact same thing. The climbers also use things called campus boards, which are generally fixed right to a wall or some kind of surface, a lot of times you see him over top of people's doorways, you can get just a finger crimp hold on there, and you generally hang for time.

Jedd Johnson  10:10

They do that, because there's so much hanging for time on the rock ledge. It makes sense to go out there and just hang and get your fingers accustomed to it. What happens is people go up there and grab it, and then they're trying to do pull ups, and then they're trying to reach up and pull themselves up, reach up to the neck and that is just way too much pressure for an untrained individual.

Joey Myers  10:32

I want to say you have maybe eight different things to do grip wise, because like you said, you just named a few that get into your girdle, the wrist flexion extension, that kind of thing. What are the eight principles, half a dozen, whatever that you guys work on for grip and strength?

What are eight forearm workout principles you guys work on for grip strength?

Jedd Johnson  10:55

The forearm workout movement patterns are flexion, so that's closing your hands. Also, flexion would be bending the wrist like this, you have extension where you're opening your fingers or extending your wrist, that's two. You have owner and radial deviation.  Owner is where you would bend your wrist in the direction of the pinky, radial deviation is where you bend toward your thumb, and also, you're bending towards the ulna towards the radius. You have supination, which is where you're turning your hands so that your palm faces up, you have pronation, where you're turning your hands so that the palm faces down. The way you can remember that is pouring soup, you would pour soup into a bowl, so pronation, supination.

Jedd Johnson  11:44

You have circumduction, which is where you move your hand through a range of motion. Those are the technical terms. In grip sport, what the terms that we use are crushing, which would be the flexion, but crushing would be through a range of motion. If it's static, it's called supporting, support or supporting.

Jedd Johnson  12:09

Pinching is where you use your thumb, your thumb would generally be opposing your fingers that can be static or dynamic. Any pinching, the limiting factor would be your thumb strength. You have an open hand, which is anything where you can't reach your fingers around and touch your thumb to your fingers. Of course, some pinch would be considered open hand too, because you'll never get your thumb all the way around some things.

Jedd Johnson  12:38

Crimping is where you apply force like this with your fingers and that would be the kind of strength that you would need to rip a deck of cards or telephone book apart, something like that. Those are some off the top of my head. Those are some of the main terminologies that are used.

Joey Myers  12:58

I've heard you talk about the thick bar, thick bar dead-lifts and there were a couple other ones that you were taught. The one I liked, you talked about the flexion extension, whereas you just put a rubber band around here, and it's really slick.

Jedd Johnson  13:17

Yes, if anyone has any kind of forearm pain up near their elbow, on the back of their forearm, that's a great forearm workout drill. You just put rubber bands over your fingers, you can extend it, extend against the band, it works all the extensors in the back of the forearm. It can bring blood in there and help that area recover if someone's sore.

Joey Myers  13:40

Carpal tunnel, too?

Jedd Johnson  13:43

Yes, it can be used for carpal tunnel. Absolutely. To help improve that a little bit. A lot of times, from what I understand, carpal tunnel can actually be related to something in your shoulder. A lot of times when you see someone that has carpal tunnel, a lot of times it does come from overuse as well, but because people get the forward shoulder posture, internally rotated, that can cause issues that will gradually lead to carpal tunnel as well. It goes hand in hand.

Jedd Johnson  14:23

If you have a problem up at the top of your arm, it can translate downstream they say. You have to be aware of those things, too. That's why it's important for ballplayers and all athletes to maintain good posture, good enough antagonistic balance between their chest and your back. You don't want to have an athlete that's all tight in here, that's not going to be good. You want to have them opened up and their upper back be strong and maintain that balance between the opposing muscle groups.

Joey Myers  14:57

I like how you said that because some of my hitters they come in, throwing sports, so a lot of times they'll come in, they'll say, “Oh, my elbows really, really hurt me” and we'll talk about things that they can do with their wrist increased mobility, and they're going “but my elbow” and I said, no, no, let's loosen this up or you see things in the shoulder, like you said, either building the backside, like they do a lot of band work, right? Your band type stuff and building the doing, the whys, and the Tees and the eyes and things like that. They're like “but my elbow”. No, no, no shoulder, wrist.

Why elbow issues can be solved through the shoulder or wrist, not the elbow…

Jedd Johnson  15:31

Sometimes there's a problem elsewhere, and you don't feel it but because things are tight, it can either shut something down or cause a misalignment elsewhere, which can further result in some kind of overuse or irritation in a connective tissue. It's definitely something to be aware of.

Joey Myers  15:52

Now, you said you had some baseball guys, maybe even softball girls that you train or have trained. What are the top three when it comes to grip and forearm workout strength stuff? What are the top three exercises that you do with them?

Jedd Johnson  16:03

I have everybody do open hand training, like the thick bar stuff. For instance, not tonight, but last week, I had them just take hex head dumbbells, stand them up and grab them by the top and they're stuck. I found that right there can help so many different athletes because it gets their hands out and makes each finger work individually. That's real beneficial, of course any thick bar stuff.

Joey Myers  16:44

They are standing with that hex bar dumbbell holder just standing there or are they walking with it?

Jedd Johnson  16:49

They're standing and the weights are at their sides. Basically, you just dead lift them up and stand there and if they can hold something, you know how you can just look at someone and see the effort. A lot of times, what I'll do is if the proper weight for them is a 20, like a 20-pound dumbbell in their hand, I'll have them start on the 25 and then drop down to the 20 and I'll have them get a total of 20 seconds. Because the 20, they could probably hold for like 30-40 seconds but because the weight increases, but also the implement gets bigger in size, it becomes more difficult. I like to have two dumbbells setup for each person, two sets of dumbbells so that they can drop down.

Jedd Johnson  17:41

That works out really, really nice. You know what else I have? I had a coach, a dad coach, the father of one of my players was also a coach. He ended up getting one of those bats. I don't know if they use them anymore. I don't watch a lot of Major League Baseball anymore but they used to back in the day, they have one of those heavy bats, they had the weight on it that you could span as it went out, and it would feel heavier. The coach donated that to the gym.

Jedd Johnson  18:12

I don't have them do it like this, it's down at their side but basically, they're going to grip somewhere on that bat. I'll do like this and we just call them jigs. You take to the front like you're jigging a fishing rod and so it's down at their side, and they're jigging to the front, they'll jig to the rear. When they're doing it to the front, the weight is out in front of them and you're doing it to the rear, it's in the back.

Jedd Johnson  18:38

I'll also have them do circles to the front either way, to the back either way. You know what else I like to have ballplayers do for a forearm workout? I have a nice collection of sledgehammers, actually, my sledgehammers range from three pounds, it goes 3,6,8, 10, 12, 14, 16,20.  I'll have them stand with the sledge hammer at their side. The sledge hammer head is on the floor and then they grab the top of the sledgehammer. If this flashlight is the top of the sledgehammer, they're going to grab here and they're going to do a finger walk.

Jedd Johnson  19:22

They're walking their fingers down like that and the goal is to go all the way to the bottom of the sledgehammer until they can touch the head of the sledgehammer. You'd be surprised how tough a six-pound sledge hammer is for a lot of kids. The nice thing is, I like it for baseball and softball players, especially the pitchers and I end up working with a lot of pitchers. It just seems like in my area the pitchers are the most serious athletes. I don't know if that's the case everywhere, but it trains you to apply pressure.

Jedd Johnson  20:08

One of my seniors last year, he was developing some tremendous curve ball movement, and slider and stuff like that just by being able to regulate that pressure on the ball. His whole season got taken away from due to the COVID shut down. My heart is broken because this kid put in so much work. Those are a few drills that you can do, either at the gym, or you might have some of that stuff at your house. Even if you don't have a giant sledge hammer, maybe you just have a carpenter's hammer, that only weighs a couple pounds, well work your way down, work your way up, work your way down. I know that probably sounds a lot like a wrist roller, but it's not.

Why the traditional wrist roller isn’t good for ball players, and how to make it more functional…

Joey Myers  21:03

Like you said, the wrist roller forearm workout, you're not even working your fingers. It's just more of this with the finger pressure, which is much more functional, especially when it comes to softball.

Jedd Johnson  21:16

Now, to go back to that wrist roller really quick, if you're mounting the wrist roller onto something, and you're actually like pulling up some serious weight, I'm all about it. What we'll do is we'll take a loading pin, or a kettlebell or a dumbbell, and we'll choke a band around it. I'll take another band and choke around the loading sleeve of a barbell and then they're like, “Oh, my gosh, this is so heavy”. How they roll it up, they let it spin down, they roll it back the other way, that's a lot more weight. Historically, the wrist roller that's used is, maybe a two-and-a-half-pound plate on there and if anything, I always felt it more in my shoulder than my grip.

Joey Myers  22:02

How many guys you see or girls doing that? They're arching their back and they're new, because maybe their shoulders aren't even developed enough to be able to hold the weight in that position straight out.

Jedd Johnson  22:14

That's another great point. That's another great point. You should maintain that neutral alignment in your spine and everything when you're training, for sure.

Joey Myers  22:23

Well, hey, I want to be respectful of your time, so I want you to give a shout out to where people can find you. If you have any kind of forearm workout offers or new products, go ahead, just leave it out there.

Ultimate Forearm Training for Baseball (and Softball!)

Jedd Johnson  22:41

Basically, my main website is dieselcrew.com. I don't have a ton of articles up there about baseball by any means but I do have a product called Ultimate Forearm Training for Baseball. I named it that because I didn't figure anybody would know what grip training was, so it's forearm training, ultimate forearm training for baseball. If you go to: http://gohpl.com/forearmtraining

Joey Myers  23:19

Do you still have that forearm workout training up on Clickbank?

Jedd Johnson  23:20

Yes, it is. I'll put up a link they can go through and I think it'll help out people tremendously and it's got 20 workouts already set up, that are based around. You can go in there and just totally hit your lower arms as hard as you want to. Or if you don't have time, or if you're not ready for all that then do like two or three movements and it'll be great for you really well.

Joey Myers  23:50

What I like about everything that you do is you say, well, if you can't afford the weights or whatever you can use, be creative and use something that's similar to that that you have at your house.

Jedd Johnson  24:00

Yeah. Even if you don't have one of those heavy bats or whatever they are?

Joey Myers  24:10

Just like a warm up bat, I'm not sure of the actual name of it, but I know the people will know what you're talking about.

Jedd Johnson  24:16

For years, instead of doing the heavy bat, I just put a doughnut on a softball bat. My beer league softball bat, so we just did it with that. With a lot of the bats, you can actually fit like a two-and-a-half-pound plate on there, and it'll go on there just fine. If you have an old bat, that's got a little bit bigger barrel, you can slide it on there, and that'll work. Lots of potential for grip training using stuff that's probably already at your house and your equipment bag.

Joey Myers  24:52

Very cool. Well, thank you, man. It was great to catch up. We'll have to do a part two, for sure, in the future. You guys are doing well and dealing with all this nonsense that's going on and you hear that you're out there training people.

Jedd Johnson  25:06

Yeah, for sure, I appreciate it. One other thing, I don't know if your viewers watch YouTube much, I have a YouTube channel. Just search for Jedd Johnson and grip strength it'll come up and go ahead and subscribe and I'm always putting stuff up there related to grip training, as well as some other stuff that's like functional for athletes as well as like muscle building and strength. General strength training as well, so I invite everybody to check that out too.

Joey Myers  25:34

Are you on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or just mostly YouTube?

Jedd Johnson  25:38

Yes, I'm on Instagram. It's a jedd dot diesel and I'm on Facebook just under my name, under my personal account. I also have Jedd Johnson comma dieselcrew dot com, I'm all over. I have a Twitter but I don't really use it, I never really got into that.

Joey Myers  26:01

It's a good thing.

Jedd Johnson  26:04

The snap thing.

Joey Myers  26:08

Don't even get me started.

Jedd Johnson  26:09

Yeah, I don't do that one. Instagram and Facebook and YouTube, basically.

Joey Myers  26:15

Very cool, man. Well, thanks again for your time today and Merry Christmas to you guys out there. Hold the line out there in Pennsylvania.

Jedd Johnson  26:23

We will, no doubt.

Joey Myers  26:25

All right, brother. Take care of yourself.

Jedd Johnson  26:28

You, too.

Joey Myers  26:28

Alright, Jedd.

Jedd Johnson  26:30

Yeah

Hitting Baseball Drills: What Leads to Hitting More “Predictable” Line Drives and Less Strikeouts?

Hitting Baseball Drills Line Drive Mystery?

Hitting Baseball Drills Mike Trout photo courtesy: MLB.com

In this hitting baseball drills line drive mystery post, we're going to answer the question above by diving into the following:

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

What does “Predictable” mean and Why does Probability Matter?

Let's define terms. What is probability?  Dictionary.com says this:

“The extent to which something is probable; the likelihood of something happening or being the case.”

Why does probability matter?  I have parents ask me, “What is the probability that if my kid does the hitting baseball drills you're telling us, he or she will hit a line drive?”  What do you think an extraordinary yet reasonable line drive rate is?  We've talked about Major League average line drive rate being 20%.  That's the gold standard for highest level in the land.  A high failure rate in hitting can be expected.  We've all heard the maxim that you can fail three out of ten times in the Big Leagues and make it into the Hall of Fame.  Probability of success in hitting DOES NOT match that of in the classroom.  Or shooting free throws.  Or a quarterback's completion percentage.  Success measured in hitting isn't even close to these examples.  Keeping probability in perspective matters when measuring hitting success.

Now, let's look at the word predictable.  Hitting more “predictable” line drives.  What does predictable mean?  Dictionary.com, what say you?

“Behaving or occurring in a way that is expected.”

What “predictable” is for some hitting coaches may not be for others.  Consider this…Coach A uses horoscopes, astrology, and sorcery to teach his hitters how to hit line drives.  And after 20 years of teaching like this, he swears his hitters hit predictable line drives.  This is all he knows.    All he knows.

Let's look at Coach B, who applies human movement principles validated by REAL Science to hitting a ball.  And after 20 years of teaching hitters like this, she swears HER hitters hit line drives predictably.  So which coach is more effective with their hitters?

If the hitting baseball drills answer doesn't immediately jump out at you, then you may be the first one dead during a zombie apocalypse.  Of course I was exaggerating the two coaching strategies for effect (well, at least one of them).  This seems to be the duality of hitting logic I see online.  “Listen to ME because I said so”.  No standard.  Just listen to me because I slept in the same bed as Ted Williams in XYZ hotel.  Or I've binge watched millions of hours of slow motion hitting video of only the best hitters.  Or I have the MLB record of 9th inning doubles in the month of August.  Blah blah blah.

“Behaving or occurring in a way that is expected.”  20% line drive rate is expected.  So in 20-years of coaching, would Coach A or Coach B do better?  Let's say Coach A's astrology hitters came in at an average 12% line drive.  This is exceptional to him because it's the pinnacle of what he's experienced.  But what Coach A doesn't know is Coach B's science hitters clocked in at a 20% average line drive rate.  Coach A doesn't have a clue until he talks to Coach B.  Lesson here?  We don't know what we don't know.  Now you know!

I can tell you, when it comes to THIS means THAT … hitting predictable line drives and striking out less comes from applying human movement principles that are validated by real science to hitting a ball. Hitters hit more predictable line drives when they follow principles outlined in: Physics, Engineering, Biomechanics, body work, Geometry, and Psychology.

Of course there is bad Science.  Just read Ben Goldacre's book Bad Science: Quacks, Hacks, and Big Pharma Flacks.  But there are irrefutable principles that have been proven for decades, if not hundreds of years.  Take Gravity for one.  Jump out of a plane and you'll fall 100% of the time – as long as you call earth home.  Look, there are 50 ways to skin a cat, but there is always one most efficient way…

Astrology Coach A may say something like this about Science:

…yes u can argue with science. Science is religion not fact. It's 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.”

And Science Coach B may respond with something like this:

“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 biomechanics 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!” 

I want to keep Coach A's name anonymous, so as not to expose him to ridicule, thrown tomatoes, and bunny ears.   Look, there are hundreds of different ways to teach hitting baseball drills. A lot of coaches believe this, and I agree.  But I'd argue there is a more effective way.  What is it?

Consider this scenario…imagine you and I sitting down at the kitchen table to talk hitting.  One hour before, we were both involved in a feverish game of Octopus Tag (you don't want to know).  And are famished!  What's on the menu?  A big fat bowl of creamy tomato soup.  But before we begin nourishing our bodies with sweet Lycopene, I give the choice of eating your soup with three primitive caveman tools.  WARNING: you can only pick one…

  1. Spoon,
  2. Fork, or
  3. Knife

Which tool would you choose to eat your soup?  Think hard.  I'll wait… okay, time's up!!  You chose the spoon didn't you.  How did I know?  Astrology?  Horoscope-ology (is that a word)?  No, of course not.  I knew because that was the most effective tool for the job.  Hitting is the same.  Anything less than applying human movement principles validated by REAL Science to hitting baseball drills, is like eating delicious creamy tomato soup with a fork or even dumber, a knife.  One can pull it off.  But others would look at you like you were a wooden dummy.

Remember, we're looking at “behaving or occurring in a way that is expected.”

Let's look at another puzzle piece to helping hitters consistently hit line drives…

Difference between ‘Launch Angle’ and ‘Attack Angle’?

Here are the definitions of both attack angle and launch angle…

According to FanGraphs.com, Attack Angle is…

“The attack angle, or swing plane, is the angle that the bat is moving at when it hits the ball.”

And according to MLB.com, Launch Angle is…

“Launch Angle represents the vertical angle at which the ball leaves a player's bat after being struck.”

There is no such thing as a ‘Launch Angle” swing, since every batted ball produces a Launch Angle, even a bunt.  Attack and Launch Angles are just numbers without a brain.  They're a mode of measurement. They're different, but similar.  More like first cousins. That's it.  Period.  End of story.

But I can see where the hitting baseball drills confusion is.  The Launch Angle “swing” is a case of guilty by association.  In the past, coaches preaching launch angles, maybe using HitTrax or Rhapsodo, tended to instruct their hitters to hit the top back third part of the cage.  Did you get that?  Imagine that for a second…top-back-third-part-of-the-cage.  The coaching logic goes like this … if most doubles and dingers are hit within twenty to thirty degree launch angles, then let's teach hitters to do just that.

Problem is, when the majority of hitters – especially the young ones –  attempt this, they end up hitting more popups.  I know because I taught it too!!  And like the Big Bang, just like that, the ‘Launch Angle' swing was spoken into existence.  But I can tell you, THIS does not mean more predictable line drives.  Let me explain…

What is an Optimized Attack or Launch Angle?

The angle the barrel takes to the ball is an Attack Angle. The Launch Angle is angle ball takes off the bat.  Which begs the question, “What is an optimized Attack or Launch Angle?”

According to Fangraphs.com, the league average Attack Angle from 2015 through 2017 are: 11.4, 12.0, and 13.8 (in degrees), respectively.  The average Launch Angles in the same time frame were: 10.5, 11.1, and 11.0 (in degrees), respectively.  Launch Angle is a little more tricky than Attack Angle.  A hitter can control their Attack Angle.  Not so much their Launch Angle.  Fangraphs.com adds…

“…we see a relatively weak correlation between attack angle and launch angle, because launch angle is also strongly dependent a hitter’s aim, timing, and bat speed. While we don’t have any direct measurements of aim or timing, we can see that players with flatter swings (lower attack angles) have more margin for error when it comes to timing, and therefore tend to have higher contact rates than players with uppercut swings (larger attack angles).”

And the optimal home run Launch Angle seems to be about 24-degrees.  Ironically, the optimal Attack Angle for home runs is about 24-degrees.   But think about this, in the Big Leagues a fastball being thrown at 95-mph, typically is coming DOWN at a 5-degree angle.  So if the hitter's Attack Angle is UP at 24-degrees, then yes we may see more dingers and doubles, but at the expense of hits, Batting Average, and higher strikeouts percentages.  The extreme uppercut example isn't a good demonstration of the “slight uppercut” Ted Williams was talking about in his book The Science of Hitting.  Food for thought.

Furthermore, a fantastic post on the topic of the longest home run ever, comes from Dr. Alan Nathan in a post at PopularMechanics.com titled, “What’s The Longest Possible Home Run”. Alan Nathan is a professor emeritus of Physics at the University of Illinois.  The professor has spent a career tracking physics, especially as it relates to baseball. He says two primary factors guide how far a ball is going to fly: exit velocity and launch angle.  From the Popular Mechanics post:

“Consider Nathan's ideal home run, hit with 120-mph exit velocity at a 26-degree launch angle. If Giancarlo Stanton hit that ball on a 70-degree day, at sea level, with no wind and 50 percent relative humidity, then Nathan's calculations show the ball will travel 492 feet…If you start changing those atmospheric conditions, that number can go up a lot.  An out-blowing wind at 5 mph, which is not a lot of wind, can add 24 feet to a fly ball, so now you are at 516 ft. If instead you go to Denver (lower air density at a higher elevation) and that goes up to 533 feet.”

Now, I know what you may be thinking…

How does the Brain get the Body to Optimize Attack (AA) and Launch Angles (LA)?

Perry Husband of HittingIsAGuess.com dragged me to the following hitting baseball drills conclusion.  We talked about this already, but league average line drive rates in the Bigs is 20%, so this should be our primary focus.  Physics says, the hardest ball hit requires center-center contact between barrel and ball.  And remember league average fly-ball and ground-balls rates hover around 40% each.  The best hitters in the game are missing center-center contact 80% of the time – LOSERS!!  Kidding!

Dingers and doubles are what we call “quality misses”.  Aim small, miss small.  Hit the ball back through the “tube”.  Shoot for the ten to fifteen degree Launch Angle (our 20% line drive rate), and rest assured hitters will accumulate more of these quality misses.  Dingers and doubles without sacrificing swing quality.  Practicing this may not be sexy, but the results are, believe me.  Because if hitter shoots for dingers and doubles, they'll hit more pop flies – I can tell you.

Remember, we're looking at “behaving or occurring in a way that is expected.”  Consistent.  Predictable.  Higher probability of line drives.  Here's the how and the hitting baseball drills lesson…

To optimize AA, we focus on optimizing the net outcome of LA.  Our hitter's default focus is back through the “tube”.  Path ball takes from pitcher's hand to catcher's glove.  Distance from the ground sets the “tube”.  Hitter works on hitting it back through the tube.  If it's an inch off the ground … ball comes off bat an inch off the ground.  If the tube is set at 4-feet off the ground, then ball comes off bat 4-feet off the ground.  So if it comes back through the tube, it's coming back through the tube at 10 to 15 degrees. That is our optimized default launch angle we want to see our hitters practicing every single swing they take.

If it is not back through the tube, then we want them making the Dr. Victor Frankl Man's Search For Meaning paradoxical intention adjustments. If they hit the ball above the tube (pop fly or quality miss above), then we want them to make an adjustment down below the tube next time.   Why do we want to include an adjustment for quality misses (doubles and dingers) above the tube?  Because if they try for them, they'll miss higher.  Not good.  We praise them for the quality miss, but remind them to get back to the tube.  The same is true if they hit it below the tube (a grounder), then we want them to make an adjustment above the tube.

I know I sound like a broken record, but the body is always a step or two behind the brain.  So we have to exaggerate the adjustment cue in order to get the body to do what the brain wants it to.  Thoughts move quickly. We want to make sure that we get the big old bag of bones, muscle, springy fascia, and organs on par with the brain. Tell body to overshoot where we want it to go, in order to get it in the middle.

Case Study: does Teaching Hitters to Hit Top Back Third Part of Cage Work for Hitters in Games?

I argue no, it does not. And I will also say that I was there a few years ago, teaching the same thing to my hitters.  If I was talking to two years in the past Joey Myers today … he would think I was crazy.  And in his finite wisdom, would demand whose hitting baseball drills Kool-Aid I was drinking. But I can assure two-years in the past Joey Myers that hitting the back third part of the cage isn't what we want our hitters practicing.

I mentioned I taught this exact thing a few years ago, and what I found, especially with a lot of my junior high and high school hitters, was that focusing on the double and dinger caused a majority of my hitters to hit more … you guessed it … pop flies. Some were flying out three and four times a game. And at that time we were telling our hitters to get the ball off the ground, and that all ground balls sucked eggs. There are still a lot of coaches out there, progressive ones, good coaches, that still subscribe to that.  But the problem is probability of averages.  “Behaving or occurring in a way that is expected.”  Consistent.  Predictable line drives.

Again, you look at the best hitters in the game, league average 20 percent line drive rate, 40 percent fly ball, and 40 percent ground ball. 80 percent of the time, the best hitters in the world miss hit the center of the ball. Center ball meeting center bat. The best hitters in the game are missing 80 percent of the time. So think about that. If we shoot for a ten to fifteen degree launch angle, hit it back through the tube, then our misses are going to be more quality.  Net results?

A higher probability of lines drives.  Back to at least league average.  So if we're shooting for a 10 to 15 degrees Launch Angle, and we miss slightly under that center point, what ends up happening is that 20 to 30 degree launch.  We're going to accumulate more doubles and dingers by shooting for the middle.  Shooting for the tube.

And when it comes to quality ground-balls, I think in the big leagues, when the ball exit speeds get above 94 miles an hour defensive errors go up. They significantly increase. Now, why is that? Well, because the ball's speeding up and it's moving faster than the best can react to get to the ball.  And the less bounces, the more likely the ball will get to an outfielder.  More bounces slow the ball down significantly.  So the speed the ball comes off the bat matters “big tyne”, as Domingo Ayala would say.  According to a “Fun With Statcast (Exit Velo)” post at Medium.com, here's what happens to batting average when ball exit speeds increase:

  • 92-mph = .261
  • 94-mph = .311
  • 96-mph = .369
  • 98-mph = .425
  • 100-mph = .508
  • 102-mph = .565
  • 104-mph = .635
  • 106-mph = .701
  • 108-mph = .718

Then they level off on any ball exit speeds above that.  So not all ground-balls are bad.  Especially if we're hitting them over 94-mph.  And by the way, the stats you just read reflect Major Leaguers!!  If you have a kid in Junior High or High School hitting 92-mph ground-balls, then the batting average for that hitter at that level will be much higher than what's reflected above.   Major Leaguers are MUCH better fielders.

Bottom line?  Our focus should be in hitting the ball hard. Ball exit speed MUST be a big part of the equation. It's king.  Optimized launch angles don't mean as much with slow ball exit speeds.  We can get away with it for a little while, but the ability to hit more extra base hits, hit the ball to the wall or over the wall is going to be a major challenge at higher levels.

And if it's one thing that high school coaches hate, are their hitters hitting an excess of fly balls.  They would take a ground ball, even if it's a weak one any day of the week.  Why?  Because they bank on that fielder either miss playing it, or over throwing it. They'll say that there's more that can go wrong with the ground-ball than a fly ball, which is true. Fielder has to field and throw cleanly, and the receiver has to catch it. Three things can go wrong with the ground ball than a fly ball. They just have to catch it.  I'd disagree that “just catching” the ball is easy though.

As an outfielder who played at the Division 1 level in college, I can tell you it's not that easy to track and catch a ball in the air.  You've got to take the right route. You've got to read it correctly off the bat. You've got to listen to the sound of contact. Solid, or not quite. If the ball is hit hard, we were taught to take your first step back. You don't want a line drive going over your head. There's a lot that goes into catching a ball in the air. So I will disagree that it's easy to catch a fly ball. And I think most that say it's easy, never played outfield on a regulation big field against higher level hitters.

In addition, with a skill like hitting that is reactive, versus pitching which is proactive, control isn't what hitters are gifted with.  Only control what you can control. And to hear these coaches say hit the ball on the ground because the defense might make an error.  In a sport with less control, why would you pin hopes and dreams on “might” make an error.  You can't control that.  So only focus on what you can control.

“Behaving or occurring in a way that is expected.”  Consistent.  Predictable line drives.  Our hitters CAN control improving their Ball Exit Speeds and optimize their Attack Angles.  In Chapter-3, we discussed what leads to hitting more “predictable” line drives and less strikeouts.  We dove into the following:

  • What does “predictable” mean and why does probability matter?  And,
  • Difference between ‘Launch Angle’ and ‘Attack Angle’…
Baseball Analytics: Miguel Cabrera Launch Angles

How Fast (or Slow) Until a Data-driven Swing Replaces an “Old School” One? (Baseball Analytics Shenanigans)

Baseball Analytics: Miguel Cabrera Launch Angles

Baseball Analytics Photo courtesy: HittingNow.com

Why extremes are ALMOST never good

(Estimated reading time: 18-minutes)

How did we get here with baseball analytics? The ‘Launch Angle' era.  Where did it originate?  What was the tipping point of choosing Sabermetrics over traditional scouting?  You'll find out in the coming post.  But first,

We'll be discussing what a data-driven swing looks like – we'll be covering:

  • Story of Minor League hitting coaches having almost ZERO hitting experience,
  • Pros of a data-driven swing,
  • Cons of a data-driven swing, and
  • How it’s bad (or good) to track ball exit speed and launch angle in the batting cage.

Once upon a time in the Minors…

Story of Minor League hitting coaches having almost ZERO hitting experience

I have an interesting story to talk about. A true story. In an almost magical land called the Minor Leagues.  At the time, a little birdy playing for a National league professional organization whispered in my ear.  This little birdy told me…

Their are budding baseball analytics hitting coaches sprouting up in some professional organizations – having almost zero hitting experience.  No this isn't fake news.  These whirlybird propeller seeds are traveling by wind from the sparkling land of economics … planting their baby hitting coach seeds in fresh dark batter's box soil.  With a little gray water, bright sunlight, and the swift tap of a fairy's wand… instantly sprouts an economics hitting fairy!

These magical Econ-hitting fairies are now happily coaching professional hitters on what they need to be feeling as a hitter … regardless of whether they're hitting line drive after line drive … AND, with no more playing experience than Little League.  Imagine the Mathlete schooling the High School Baseball Jock in everything hitting.  And the Jock MUST listen or … YOU'RE FIRED!

Okay, so I may have embellished the story a bit.  The Minor Leagues ARE NOT magical lands – just ask any Minor Leaguer.  It wasn't a little birdy that shared the story – it was a professional baseball human being.  And sorry to kill your hopes and dreams, but magical Econ-hitting fairies aren't born by adding gray water, sun, and the tapping of a fairy wand.  C'mon man, everyone knows those aren't real!  Magical Econ-hitting fairies, I mean.  Fairy wands are VERY real.

It is true though – how this story sounded in my head. It was an interesting story coming from a single-A ballplayer.  That is, the state of  professional baseball in the so-called ‘Launch Angle' era.  It does beg the question…

How are these baseball analytics Econ-hitting fairies, who have zero college, professional, or Major League experience, finding themselves coaching professional hitters on what they need to be doing, and how they need to be doing it?  Listen, this may sound counter to what I just spent a few sarcastic paragraphs mocking.  But listen closely…

As a coach you DO NOT need to have extensive experience to teach hitters to be effective in their movements.  Just as long as you understand how to apply human movement principles that are validated by real science to hitting the ball. In other words, as long as you understand the rules of the human movement game, you can help hitters at all levels succeed, regardless of experience.

So what is happening?

From my understanding, these data-driven Econ-hitting fairies with extensive backgrounds in economics DO NOT understand the rules of the human movement game.  Let me take you back to the future…

For those with your head in the sand the last two decades, there's been a revolutionary baseball movement since 2001.  Just after Michael Lewis wrote Moneyball.  You may or may not have read the book, but may have seen the movie starring the always dreamy Bradley Pitt.

At the heart of the story is former General Manager of the Oakland Athletics, Billy Beane (played by Bradley Pitt). Beane reached out to Paul DePodesta, a Harvard alum, with a background in economics.  And coincidentally had a knack for baseball statistics.  DePodesta would soon become Beane's first analytics department.

And it was here, Billy Beane transformed a low budget, bottom of the barrel, SEEMINGLY professional franchise known as the Oakland Athletics, into a real David and Goliath story.  Beane and DePodesta used key player statistics to recruit.  Stats that optimized scoring more runs, and as a result would win more games.  Like how often a hitter gets on base – or On-base Percentage.  And how often a hitter gets an extra base hit – known as Slugging Percentage.  Think about it.  How do you score more runs?  Get more runners on base, and have hitters who can drive them in.  Nowadays there are more advanced stats that measure run scoring value, but the point is this changed the game forever.  For the better, and for the worst.  I'll get into why in the coming pages.

Furthermore…

This helped the baseball analytics powered A's be highly competitive against top budget franchises.  I apologize, but I'm going to spoil the ending … this was until other big market teams caught on.  Oops!  The cat was out of the bag.  Yuge budget teams like Boston and New York were able to take the same system, but now pay BIG sums of money for the same undervalued players Oakland was getting at a steep discount.  Yes, Oakland shot themselves in the foot.  It wouldn't be the last time.  The jig was up.  The A's magic run was over.  But not before Billy Beane and the A's proved the system worked.  Regardless of a franchise's budget.  Like a fairy's wand, player valuation metrics transformed the game.

And it was a good thing at the time, because you had players and coaches still in the game or retired, that were helping teach the game through their personal experiences.  They're now considered “old school” coaches.  Filling a gap on the coaching side of things that the Econ majors and analytics departments weren't able to do.  It was a healthy debate between old and new school methods.  Friction and debate in a system are a good thing.  But now this friction is like the political climate between Republicans and Democrats.  Toxic.

This healthy balance of baseball analytics debate went MIA somewhere along the way.  Like crabgrass in your lawn, metrics soon took over.  Pushing many of the experienced baseball minds out of the game.  Labeling them dinosaurs.  Or maybe, the experienced minds couldn't keep up.  Or didn't want to keep up.  In my humble opinion, player valuation using metrics has its place.  But it should not be the totality of scouting, recruiting and developing players.  I'm not a Math-hater or numbers-denier.  I love Math.  Love Geometry, Economics, and Statistics. I did hate Algebra 2 though.    My point is, data without context is not optimized.  Data is a puzzle piece.  NOT the whole thing.

Teaching hitters isn't just about metrics.  Doesn't have to be completely data-driven.  AND, teaching isn't just about old school teaching methods.  It's a blend of both. Mutually inclusive. Not mutually exclusive.  We can use data AND we can also use old school teaching methods to help hitters at all levels. We don't have to be on one side or the other.  You don't have to be Tom OR Jerry.  Bert OR Ernie.  Han Solo OR Chewbacca.  When it comes to hitting, the following will replace ‘Or' with ‘And'.

Let's make the Mathletes happy and discuss the…

Pros of a data-driven swing

Here are some pros to a data driven baseball analytics swing. Famed business management consultant, Peter Drucker once said,

“You can't manage what you can't measure.”

You business owners and managers understand this. You understand that you can optimize certain operations. You can optimize certain metrics in a business, it could be using Profit First in finances, it could be building Software as a Solution (SaaS) in technology, it could be optimizing sales funnels in marketing.  Optimization is working on the right things, and then doing those things right.

How can numbers help hitters?  Swing experiments.  In online marketing, we can run what's called split A/B test.  Meaning, we can test whether a green button gets more clicks than a pink one over a period of time.  Like online marketing, we can split A/B test the swing by running swing experiments.

One of the things we used to accomplish this, when we started HittingPerformanceLab.com back in 2013, was technology such as the Zepp swing app, a knob tech swing analyzer.  Like BlastMotion and SwingTracker today. We can compare key swing metrics, whether it's bat speed, attack angle, or time to impact and contrast two different swing movements.  It's the ultimate baseball analytics split A/B test for hitters!

Here are the 5 steps to applying the Scientific Method to running swing experiments…

We start off with a QUESTION: “Are loose hands fast hands to a hitter?”  We can do a swing experiment using a BlastMotion or SwingTracker bat knob sensor. And we can test that. We can test it comparing apples to apples.

We then form a HYPOTHESIS on how we  think the experiment will turn out: “I think loose hands ARE fast hands”.  And then,

We go down the rabbit hole of RESEARCHING other studies that confirm and deny our hypothesis.

Then we COLLECT THE DATA from using the Zepp, BlastMotion, SwingTracker, or a PocketRadar for measuring ball exit speed.

For example in our ‘loose hands are fast hands' swing experiment … we would take one hundred swings with loose hands. And one hundred swings doing the opposite.  In this case, using what we call finger pressure.  So the top hand, bottom three fingers squeezed tight, eight out of ten squeeze, from the moment the hitter picks up their front stride foot, to the swing follow through. Then we counterbalance those swings. This helps remove any warm-up or getting tired biases out of the experiment.

We break the two hundred swings into twenty five swing chunks, and layer them so that loose hand swings are symbolized with the letter ‘A', and finger pressure swings are symbolized with the letter ‘B'. Remember, each letter represents one 25-swing chunk.  The first 100 swings will be broken into the following sequence: ABBA. And the last 100 swings will be broken into the following reverse sequence: BAAB.  This is how to do split A/B testing, from a hitting perspective.

After all 200 counterbalanced swings, we extract the averaged out data from the BlastMotion, SwingTracker, Zepp device, or PocketRadar.  Then we can base our CONCLUSION on the averages.  Which factor, loose hands or finger pressure swings contributed to better bat speed, hand speed, time to impact, attack angle, etc.?  By the way, Finger Pressure won out in our own swing experiments.

Simply put, here's the Scientific Method…

  1. Question
  2. Hypothesis
  3. Research
  4. Data
  5. Conclusion

Essentially, we use the above process, take one hitting myth, and test it against its opposite. Don't get me wrong, no swing experiment is perfect.  Experiment findings are based on probability.  Experiments are repeated by others, and the findings are either proven or proven false.  Over time, this increases or decreases confidence in the findings.  The bottom line is this, using the Scientific Method may not be perfect, but it's one step in the right direction.  It gives us a process and path towards the truth. Take of from Peter Drucker: “You can't manage what you can't measure.”

We satisfied the Mathletes – somewhat – talking about the Pros of a data-driven swing, especially when it comes to Moneyball. Billy Beane, all that stuff.

Now, let's make the old school athletes happy and look at the…

Cons of a data-driven swing

Outside of applying the Scientific Method to optimizing the swing, here are the Cons to a baseball analytics data driven swing. Typically, in a data driven swing, not enough attention is given to the context of the numbers.

I always say, numbers don't have brains. People do. Here's the problem … take the example of our Econ-hitting fairy story.  Knowing zero about hitting.  Having virtually zero experience hitting.  Teaching hitters based on hearsay. Basically guessing on connecting the dots.  This presents quite a challenge.  It would be like asking me to re-roof your house … I have a lot of skill sets, but that ain't one of them!  You'd be better off making YouTube your friend and doing it yourself!

In today's game, these hitters are in the Big Leagues because their statistics work for ‘Launch Angle' era Econ-scouts. On paper, the numbers work.  Aaron Miles played 9-years in the Big Leagues, from 2003-2011.  Played for almost half a dozen teams.  Most notable, he played with Albert Pujols on the St. Louis Cardinals.  He was a switch hitting middle infielder and third baseman.  Standing in at 5-foot, 8-inches, 180-pounds.  Beautiful .281/.320/.352 career average slash line (batting average/on-base percentage/slugging percentage).  Note that he played when the baseball analytics ‘Launch Angle' era was just getting warmed up.  When there was a somewhat healthy balance of old and new school.  That's the context.

Let me set the scene…

I've had a few enjoyable phone conversations with Aaron Miles over the years.  Great dude.  Not afraid to challenge the status quo.  He told me a pretty revealing story once.  Which will say a lot about the hitting times we find ourselves in.  I asked him what decision he made in the past that now – looking back – he sees was a mistake?

He was slumping one year, and was briefly demoted.  Before the demotion, he knew he was a small-ball situational hitting guy being smaller, faster, and a switch hitter.  But with the demotion, he didn't have much to lose, so he decided to air out his swing.  Again, this was the start of the ‘Launch Angle' era.  Interestingly, he began smashing more extra base hits.  At one point, a coach came up to him saying something to the effect of, “C'mon Miles, you're a role player, don't swing beyond your role”.

Remember, at this time there was still a strong old school hitting mentality present in the game.  So what did Miles do?  What any rational, logical, smart Big Leaguer would do in that scenario … he got back to being a role playing hitter.  You see, the respect for the “numbers community” wasn't as high as it is now.  So in Aaron's case, old school hitting was more representative of the times.

Here's the point…

Here's how Aaron Miles answered the question of what decision he made in the past that now – looking back – he sees was a mistake…  In this day and age of rewarding hitters that get on base more often and get more extra base hits … he expressed that he would have given the “air-it-out” swing more time.  Maybe he could have added another year to his career.  Maybe 2?  3?  4 maybe?  Who knows!  Give up some strikeouts.  Hit more dingers and doubles.  This formula seems to work out better for hitters in the Launch Angle era.

Let me be clear.  This blog post isn't about giving up a hundred strikeouts and fifty batting average points a season to hit for more power.  What we believe is having your cake and eating it too!  Power AND average.  Mutually inclusive, NOT mutually exclusive.  Just like Batman AND Robin!

Getting back to our baseball analytics Econ-hitting fairy friends taking numbers out of context…

They're looking at a hitter's high ground ball percentage – say 50 percent, while league average is 43 percent. And they're telling that hitter to get the ball in the air.  You may agree with this. And I can see where you're coming from.  But there's a catch…those numbers don't mean anything, if you don't understand what mechanics are causing a higher than average ground-ball rate.

Let me give an example…

Christian Yelich in 2015 had a ground-ball rate of 62.5-percent!  Remember league average is 43-percent.  Then, that rate steadily dropped in the years that followed 56.5, 55.4, 51.8, and in 2019 he finally arrived at a league average 43.2-percent ground-ball rate.  Do you know how many doubles he hit in those respective seasons, starting in 2015?  30, 38, 36, 34, and 29 doubles in 2019 – where he had about 100 less plate appearances than prior years.  Dingers? Starting in 2015 with 7, 21, 18, 36, and 44 in 2019.

Yes, hitting less ground-balls will lead to more extra base hits.  But what in a hitter's mechanics (or timing) cause an above average ground-ball rate?  Do you know?  Off the top of your head, what can you point to mechanically?  Believe me, if you tell a hitter to get the ball in the air without looking at mechanical ground-ball choke points, then you'll most likely get an extreme uppercut.  Not to mention, most young hitters will make unnatural compensations to get the ball in the air.   This collapses consistency!  Low batting average and high strikeouts will be the ultimate result.  Believe me.

Baseball analytics numbers by themselves are dumb. Numbers don't have brains, people do. So hitting coaches have to understand how mechanics translate into metrics. Back to our Econ-hitting fairy friends. That's the problem.  Not having the ability to translate metrics into mechanics.  To optimize the numbers, we have to understand the context.  The good news for our Econ-hitting fairy friends?  This can be learned and applied in today's ‘Launch Angle' era.  Regardless of playing level experience.

How it’s bad (or good) to only track ball exit speed and launch angle in the batting cage

There are some hitting coaches that will say tracking ball exit speed and launch angles in the batting cage is really dumb, is REALLY not smart.  And then there are those who do it all the time.  And their hitters are successful versus doing nothing.

Look, I treat the batting cage as a Laboratory.  It's a place to experiment.  To work out the kinks.  To be free to make mistakes and learn.  Use data to measure and manage swing mechanics.  Logical coaches get this.  Others?  They're just guessing.

Same polarized perspective about tee work. Some coaches don't like hitting off batting tees.  Because at the end of the day, the hitter has to translate what they're doing mechanically to a LIVE pitch.  Agreed.  But when teaching something new, a batting tee has its place.  It can also help coaches understand cause and effect in mechanics.  How?  By isolating the variable.  If you can't isolate the variable, you're guessing.  And guessing is an anti-optimization strategy.  If you don't know what's causing what, then how do you know what works and what doesn't?

Isolating the variable?  Brilliant.org defines it:

“Isolating a variable means rearranging an algebraic equation so that a different  variable is on its own. The goal is to choose a sequence of operations that will leave the variable of interest on one side and put all other terms on the other side of the equal sign.” 

I know, rough definition when comparing against baseball analytics.  Let me rephrase … in relation to hitting mechanics, it's finding out what in the swing contributes to the majority of power…  Hitting more line drives…  Getting on-time more often…  How would one go about isolating those mechanical variables?  I can tell you it's not hitting LIVE pitching.  WHY?  Because LIVE pitching is too random.  Humans.  Pitch speed.  Pitch depth.  Pitch height.  Pitch type.  Pitch distance.  Pitch reaction time.  All this can be controlled in a swing experiment off a tee.

I believe, there's a time and place for the tee.  I subscribe to the Goldilocks Golden Rule – not too hot, not too cold…I like my hitters using the tee just the right amount.  The brain has to organize in a certain way.  With LIVE pitching, there is a lot of data collection the hitter has to take in.  Pitch recognition.  Tracking.  Timing.  Learning a new mechanic also taxes the brain.  High cognitive load.

Consider this…

What if I asked you to write your first and your last name in half the letters. In other words, what if I asked you to write every other letter of your name? So for me, JOEY MYERS, I would write it as J-E-M-E-S.  Now, I've never done that before.  So, if I was timing myself, the first five out of ten tries would be slow. The more I practice though, the faster I'd be writing half my name.  Why?  Because I'm writing it in half the letters!

But it takes a little time for my brain and body to connect and figure this out.  To learn how to do it.  Learn how to do something that I'm not used to doing.  It is the same exact thing when learning something new mechanically. Keep this in mind when thinking about your seven, eight, nine year olds learning something they're not comfortable doing.  Hitting off the batting tee is an okay thing to do in the beginning. When something's new.

Again, the batting tee shouldn't be something you spend a lot of time using, but it is a proper regression-progression when compared to dry swings, soft toss, or LIVE toss.  In connecting tee work to ball exit speeds and launch angles … they give us a unit of measure off the tee with a uniquely controlled environment.  Apples to apples comparison.

Launch angles are a data point. A lot of these coaches don't like the launch angle swing. Well, launch angle is a number. The launch angle is the angle of the ball coming off the bat. It's hard for hitters to control it.  However, hitters can control their barrel Attack Angle.  The angle the barrel takes to the incoming pitch.  Launch and Attack Angles don't have to be the same. And most likely they aren't going to be.  But hitters can better control the latter, not so much the former.

What's measurable is manageable.  We can use swing experiments to do it. Hitting off the tee shouldn't be something we hang our hat on, but it is something that gives us a data point, a standard data point that we can give baseball analytics context to.  Not like analyzing metrics without looking at context.  Remember numbers don't have brains, people do.  What are the causes of an above or below average fly ball, ground ball, or line drive percentage?  Home run to fly-ball ratio?  Higher percentage of pulling the ball or going the other way too much? What is the mechanical causation-correlation relationship making those metrics above or below average?

We'll find out in upcoming blog posts…

We covered A LOT:

  • Story of Econ-hitting fairies in the Minor Leagues – having almost ZERO hitting experience and knowledge.  What's going on here?
  • Pros of a data-driven swing – what's measurable is manageable.  Using the Scientific Method: 1. Asking a question, 2. Forming a hypothesis, 3. Doing the research, 4. Collecting the data, and 5. Formulating a conclusion,
  • Cons of a data-driven swing – numbers by themselves are dumb. Numbers don't have brains, people do. Hitting coaches have to understand how mechanics translate into metrics.  What does a hitter with an above average ground-ball rate mean?  How do you bring him or her to average or below average? And…
  • How it’s bad (or good) to track ball exit speed and launch angle in the batting cage – if you're not collecting data and comparing with strategic swing changes, then you're guessing. Tracking ball exit speeds, attack angles, and launch angles are part of data collection.  And using a tee is essential when isolating the variable and teaching something new.
Baseball Trainers Near Me

Increase Consistent Power In 2-Weeks: Baseball Trainers Near Me Webinar Part-1…

Here's are the three parts:

  1. [YOU ARE HERE] Baseball Trainers Near Me? Part-1,
  2. Perfect Baseball Swing Webinar? Part-2, and
  3. Part-3 COMING SOON!!

The following is the transcript to the baseball trainers near me webinar… (about 18-minutes reading time)

Joey Myers  00:06

Get cozied up to technology over the years, because of the online thing, it is what it is.

Joey Myers  00:14

Let me let these people in. Welcome everybody that are coming in here. Some are coming in by phone.

Joey Myers  00:25

We have a lot of information today, I'm going to try and get through it really quickly, within 30 minutes. It will be good information.

Joey Myers  00:32

If you have any questions, I know, I have a lot of questions, a lot of great questions that Neil relayed over to me, from many of you. There's a lot of them, like I said, 40-50, something like that.Baseball Trainers Near Me

Joey Myers  00:42

I'm going to do my best to really get through those quickly. Obviously, I'm not going to be able to go through them in depth, but if you have any questions after this, feel free to reach out and email me at Joey, J-O-E-Y, like Joey from friends, at hitting performance lab dot com, and I'll have that at the end of this too. You don't have to worry about downloading it into your brain. If you have any baseball trainers near me webinar questions, please, and I will answer them, have them ready.

 

Baseball Trainers Near Me – Our Story

Joey Myers  01:08

I think we're adding them here. As they as they come in, we will add them. Today, we're going to be going over something, about 2012, towards the end of 2012, is when my son, who's now going to be turning eight in three days.

Joey Myers  01:28

When he was born, and the wife was doing the midnight, every two hours, three-hour milk feedings. I had a book called Anatomy Trains by Thomas Myers, same last name. I'm sure on the family tree, we are related in some way, but I don't know him like I would know my brother or my uncle or anything like that.

Joey Myers  01:50

Thomas Myers' book Anatomy Trains was something that really changed everything, how I teach hitting, and how I'm going to teach hitting, and you will hopefully get to see a little bit of that in this baseball trainers near me presentation. So again, welcome.

Joey Myers  02:04

Thank you again, Neil, for putting this thing on and keeping you already to go. Hopefully, we can get a lot of information in and if you got to go, we're going to record this, don't worry, we will get that out. I'll get the recording out to Neil and he can get it out to you guys, so let's get going.

Joey Myers  02:19

This is the baseball trainers near me seminar, teleseminar, whatever you want to call it, how to teach 100-pound hitters who consistently drive the ball 300 feet. This was something that I didn't just cook up and create a product and go. This came to me with the results that my hitters were getting, and hitters were soon to be, what other coaches were learning, and were applying with their hitters.

Joey Myers  02:44

Brought to you by Hitting Performance Lab, that's my website. You got Neil over at MaxBP. One of my favorite quotes is by Ralph Waldo Emerson, you might know that gentlemen,

“As to the methods, there may be a million and then some, but principles are few. The man who grasps principles can successfully select his own methods. The man who tries methods, ignoring principles is sure to have trouble”.

Joey Myers  03:15

Now this is an important quote, because it distinguishes between methods and principles, principles are rules. Think about playing Monopoly, you got to know the rules of the game before you can play the game. The principles to hitting can come in the form of bio-mechanics, physics, engineering, those are the principles that we tend to stick with.

Joey Myers  03:42

What we're going to be talking about today, case studies, why legs fail, and spinal engine succeeds in the power equation, discover the springy fascist secret, how to turn the spine into a safe ball crushing machine. We were talking about this with Neil, I talked to him yesterday on the phone, he was having some back pain with his baseball golf swing, and we'll see if we can get to that in this, but I really want to focus on more of the power side, but we want to make sure the swing is safe, we will talk about that.

Joey Myers  04:17

Before we get there, let's add some more people in here, probably have Neil do this. That's right. Thank you for joining everybody. All right.

Joey Myers  04:35

The first question usually when you go to a wedding is how do you know the bride? How do you know the groom? So, how do I know MaxBP? Well, it first started with the Sandlot Slugger, and then MaxBP acquired Sandlot Slugger, and that's where we connected, and I connected with Neil. That's probably been, I don't know, Neil can probably say on this five, seven years ago, maybe, that this happened. Is that about right, Neil?

Neil McConnell  04:58

Yes, that sounds right. We've been around about 11 years; Sandlot Slugger ran probably about 14 years ago. Somewhere in that mix.

Joey Myers  05:08

I know them because we started the starting lineup store dot com, where I started it back 2010. I was grouping a lot of the hitting aids that really love to work with my hitters that are proven, whether it's through science or just data, and MaxBP, Sandlot Slugger at the time, the MaxBP is one of those hitting aids, I call them the best hitting aids in the world, on the planet. That's how I know Neil and MaxBP.

Joey Myers  05:38

I played four years division one baseball at Fresno State from 2003, I just want to give just a little bit, I'm going to probably rush through this because I know most year, just cut to the chase. I think some of you that don't know me, would be good to just take a gloss… Over 15 plus years in the corrective exercise industry, and those are some of the alphabet soup that I have certification wise.

Joey Myers  06:02

What's funny is in college, I was a criminology major and I really fell in love with kinesiology. I wish if I did it over again, that's what I would have done, but I'm mostly self-taught. I used to train people, I wrote a 2018 Amazon bestselling book, Catapult Loading System, that's the title of this baseball trainers near me webinar.

Joey Myers  06:24

How to teach 100-pound hitters, how to consistently drive the ball 300 feet, and that started me on this journey that this stuff really works, because you really start to get in with a lot of other coaches reteaching the same information, and you really get to see this stuff.

Joey Myers  06:42

It's not just me and my hitters, or my magic, but other coaches are able to do the same thing. I'll have a cool little bonus for you guys, free bonus that you can grab this book at no cost on Amazon. At the end of this baseball trainers near me webinar, we'll talk about that.

Joey Myers  06:58

We'll get a couple more of these, about almost 30,000 online courses, lessons and books product sold online, over 333 blog posts at Hitting Performance Lab dot com, giving away over 8500 copies of Amazon best selling book…

Joey Myers  07:19

We applied human movement principles that are validated by science to hitting the ball. Like I mentioned, I played four years of division one baseball at Fresno State. I didn't play pro ball, I didn't play major league ball, but I played probably more than 95 and 98% of the baseball population.

Joey Myers  07:34

I don't say that to brag, I say that most of the teaching that I teach has nothing to do with how I was taught. I do use some of that stuff. I do use some of the cues and different things like that in certain circumstances, but most of my stuff, if not all of it, is validated by science.Baseball Trainers Near Me

Joey Myers  07:53

The other thing, that we talked about is, I'm working on a new book that's going to be published, we are working on January- February of 2021. It's called “Swing Smarter: Science-Based Hitting Training, Built to Understand How, Why and the Reasoning Behind it”.

Joey Myers  08:09

Those are all things that we stand for and set us apart from a lot of the others that you've probably read, heard, watched out there, purchased their products, watched their YouTube videos.

 

Case Studies

Joey Myers  08:19

Let's get started, case studies, so the only reason I got, I'm not here to brag, and I could give you a hundred other ones, but I want to give you an example since Neil talked about that there's a huge smattering of different people on this call. There are parents that are just coaching their kids, there are team coaches that are coaching a group of kids from 14 to probably 30 plus in high school, professional and there are instructors out there like myself, there are probably academy owners out there.

Joey Myers  08:27

I just want to put it up front on the people that we help and how these human movement principles that are validated by science can help anybody.

Joey Myers  09:04

At 14, a 130 pound hitter that was driving the ball 385 feet and by the way that was with a hickory wood bat. That wasn't the hot metals that everybody says, “oh they always try and explain these case studies away”.  This particular hitter, I think it's Texas Tech, he got a full ride to Texas Tech, Hudson White is his name. I do have a blog post on him that is featured on my blog, but he's one of them.

Joey Myers  09:31

Sixty-seven-pound hitter at the time, soaking wet. I think that 67 pounds, he had eaten a Costco chocolate muffin, that I think after he went to the doctor to get that measurement or something like that, he might have even been easy, 65 pounds before eating that muffin, but he was hitting the ball 180 plus feet and this is consistent.

Joey Myers  09:50

I always tell my hitters that I'm just the compass and the flashlight in the dark, you have to walk the path, I don't have to walk the path for you, I've done that on my own. I've walked the path plenty of times, but now it's the hitters that have to do that. They are 90% of this. I'm just the 10% that gives them the right direction to go.

Joey Myers  09:50

She put a lot of hard work in that summer, and she gained 10 miles an hour and ball exit speed, hitting a softball. We have an indie baseball player, he was pretty much out, he came to me, and in one hour, we increased, obviously baseball, plus 10 miles per hour and ball exit speed.

Joey Myers  09:50

This isn't just a one flash in the pan time, 90-pound hitter driving the ball 300 feet. D-1 college fast-pitch softball player, she was a Fresno State in a summer, now with softball because the balls bigger, many you know in softball obviously, in baseball you should know bigger softball, heavier, more mass, and to gain 10 miles an hour in one summer in two and a half months is a big deal. That's what she did, a lot of hard work.

Joey Myers  10:52

Now those things when they gain that much, the reason why, is because the principles we're going to talk about today, the consistently power principles, and they were almost nonexistent in their swing. If you have a hitter who is nonexistent, you're going to see these big gains using principles seen in this baseball trainers near me webinar.

Joey Myers  11:07

If you see hitters that have maybe a couple of these or one of these, you're not going to see that kind of a gain, just because they're not starting from zero. I want you to understand that this isn't the norm. It's not the norm when somebody started from zero but it's pretty close. It's between six and 10 miles an hour ball exit speed when they're starting from zero, it's what I tend to see.

Joey Myers  11:28

55-year-old slow-pitch softball optometrist online lesson, and he's working with me and doing pretty well. I don't have any gains on that side of it, but it's interesting and 71-year-old senior league baseball player, I worked with him this week, he came up, he read my book, he said, “It makes sense, I love what you wrote. A lot of the other books I've read are hard to understand”. He's an attorney, by the way. Attorneys usually are really into that jargon.

Joey Myers  11:55

He picked it up, he said “I love it”, it kind of come up. He's from Ojai, in California, he drove about three and a half hours. For two days, we worked, and we increased his ball exit speed by nine miles an hour in one hour.

Joey Myers  12:09

The first day we really hit a couple of these principles hard the first day, and he gained nine miles an hour, plus, he had a little bit of back pain when we first started, and we got rid of it in his swing.

Joey Myers  12:20

Again, that's something maybe we'll talk about if you guys want me to. I've worked with major leaguers, whether it's in person or they bought my courses and we've talked online through some of this stuff, professional hitters I've worked with in person, college, Juco, high school, junior high school, little league and senior league.

Joey Myers  12:38

This goes across the board, it doesn't matter what level they're at, these principles work, whether they are male or female, they work, it doesn't matter. Human to human is basically what it works for.  And you'll learn these principles in this baseball trainers near me webinar.

Joey Myers  12:49

If you want to get a lot of the testimonials, and that's just probably, I think it's 50 to 100 of them on my website, I have more, I just had been lazy to get them up, but if you go to hittingperformancelab.com, if you scroll all the way down into the footer, you'll see the about page and you can click that, read a little bit about me, and then scroll down and there's a ton of testimonials there. You can go check out more of those.

 

Why Legs Fail and Spinal Engine Succeeds in the Power equation

Joey Myers  13:11

Enough of that, let's start to transition in this baseball trainers near me webinar… why the legs fail, and spinal engine succeeds in the power equation. Learning principles from water polo, maybe those of you out there have had kids that played water polo or have hitters that have played water polo. I have cousins and hitters that also did it, and the idea came to me, I ran an experiment where I wanted to have my pelvis facing forward, I was using a knob tracker, like a Zepp on my on my knob for those of you who blast motion, same thing, swing tracker.

Joey Myers  13:44

I was facing my hips forward, but I was just turning my upper body to be able to hit the ball. The experiment didn't really turn out really well, but I tried to do it because my mobility in my spine or my shoulders and my pelvis weren't allowing me to actually do the experiment like I should.

Joey Myers  14:02

We had the backspin tee guys, I'm really good friends with them since I met them. They did an experiment where they were jumping up and hitting a ball off the tee and dropping off of a chair hitting a ball before they hit the ground. They were doing a couple different experiments like that, and what they found was when their feet weren't on the ground, and they were just using their shoulders in their thoracic spine, the middle of their spine, that their base when they had their feet on the ground ball exit speed…

Joey Myers  14:27

They had single-A ball players, they had indies or rookie ball, they had golfers that are hitting the ball 300 plus yards or 400 yards now and they had an eight-year professional pitcher who hits pretty well too. They were doing the experiment and they found that about 90 miles an hour was their normal control when their feet were on the ground, but when they were jumping up hitting or when they were falling and hitting, and doing their other things trying to take the lower half of the equation that their ball exit speeds were about 70 to 80% of what their control was, which was interesting.

Joey Myers  15:06

They were about 60 to 70 miles an hour versus the 90 with their feet on the ground. It got me thinking, and then somebody said, “well, that's not a good experiment”, because you know, if you really wanted to do this, you had to hang from a harness, where your feet were hanging in, and then you hit it like that, like, well, who's going to do that? Unless you've got access to a harness, like that, maybe at a farm.

Joey Myers  15:25

I was thinking, what athletes do throw or hit, from that kind of a position? I did a blog post, and it was titled “Is rotating back hip through the ball necessary for power?” Think about this baseball trainers near me webinar thought experiment.

Joey Myers  15:43

I don't know if anybody has actually done this. I probably have to do this next summer, but think about that the fastest water polo throw, if you googled it, what do you think of that speed of that water polo ball. As you can see, the size of that ball is like a volleyball, Croatian Olympic water polo, male athlete, 60 miles an hour.

Joey Myers  16:15

As you can see floating in water, they're not going down to the bottom and pushing up, they're floating in water, so the lower half is minimal to almost zero friction with the lower half, so you're not able to use a lower half like you are when you are standing on land, 60 miles an hour.

Joey Myers  16:31

Think about the pitcher, who is going down the mound, they got gravity, they got access to everything. Fastest pitcher, let's just round it up to 100 miles an hour, so 100 miles an hour, on flat ground, falling down a mound is the fastest pitch.

Joey Myers  16:51

I know 102, 103, we can argue but say 100 easy numbers, so that water polo throw is throwing a big ball, that's going to have an effect. Now, what happens if we put in that Croatian, male Olympic water polo player athlete, we put a baseball in his hand and have them floating in water and have them throw that baseball as hard as you can?

Joey Myers  17:13

What do you think that speed is going to be? It's going to be a lot faster than 60 miles an hour, I can tell you. Is it going to be, instead of 60, is he going to throw at 70? Is he going to throw 80 miles an hour? Let's be conservative and just say 70 miles an hour.

Joey Myers  17:27

You're telling me in water, the fastest water polo thrower throws a baseball 70 miles an hour, while on land, the fastest pitcher throws 100 miles an hour. Easy numbers, 70% we can say, maybe conclude, that without ground reaction forces, that 70% of that velocity is coming from the pelvis, spine, and shoulder combination.

Joey Myers  17:56

Without ground reaction forces, we are very minimal when we're in the pool. I say the spinal engines is responsible for about 70 to 80% of the power equation, and the lower half the legs and ground reaction forces are responsible for the other 20 to 30%. That's what I say. Keep that in mind as we talk through this baseball trainers near me webinar and the spinal engine system.

Baseball Trainers Near Me Webinar

Betts, Arenado, & Trout. Showing ‘dem numbers!

Joey Myers  18:20

Do you recognize some of these hitters? Some of them have changed unis, or one of them at least, Mookie Betts, he's on the Dodgers now. Nolan Arenado is in the middle, Mike Trout.

Joey Myers  18:29

Notice the pinstripe on the side of their leg and how it connects into the belt. Notice the positioning of where that is. Pelvis is already starting to open; all these hitters are at toe touch or pretty close to toe touch. Notice the numbers on their back. Now the righties, because the camera in the major leagues isn't straight on center-field because you get to see the pitcher and the hitter, it's slightly off center towards left.

Joey Myers  18:56

Your righties, you're going to see probably more numbers than you would see lefties doing the same degree of rotation. This started off as showing numbers, it's what we called it, and we will talk in a little bit how we've refined it to creating neck pressure but notice these in this baseball trainers near me webinar.

Joey Myers  19:12

Swing experiments results with the big three. The first of the big three is showing numbers. When I used a Zepp back in the day, now Zepp is turned in blast motions taken over and swing tracker. When I did about two- three experiments showing numbers, we found that out of 100 swings not showing numbers and 100 swing showing numbers, that bat speed was increased on average by four to six miles an hour, that's bat speed.

Joey Myers  19:40

Bat speed is the close cousin to the ball exit speed. They are not the same, but they're like first cousins. Without bat speed, ball exit speed probably is not going to be there. We got to be able to swing the bat somewhat hard to get the ball coming off the bat as fast. There are three others…

To be continued in Part-2 to this baseball trainers near me webinar…

Hitting Trainers: Anchor Bat

Hitting Trainers: How To Filter The Gimmicks

Where can one find the best hitting trainers on the planet?  That are:

  • Made in the USA,
  • Supported by data,
  • Validated by Science, and
  • Quality guaranteed…

The Starting Lineup Store!!  That's where 😉  Munchie's testimonial above is for the sea foam blue wood Anchor Bat.

Here are the TOP-4 most popular products… drum roll please…

#4 – Overload Training Bat: “Goliath” End Loaded Wood Bat

Texas Tech's Hudson White in the above video, is swinging the “Goliath” candy apple red end loaded wood bat. +4 to +6 overload bat is perfect for dramatically increasing batted ball distance without touching swing mechanics.  In a reasonably short period of time.

Here's a post I did listing some of the best wood bats on Amazon filtered by Customer Rating.

 

#3 – “Don't Let Good Enough Be Good Enough” T-shirt

Hitting Trainers: Don't Let Good Enough Be Good Enough T-Shirt

The ultimate patriotic baseball or softball t-shirt for any player who doesn't compromise putting time and effort into their craft, or for the supportive parent looking to make a positive statement.

This updated unisex essential fits like a well-loved favorite. Super soft cotton and excellent quality print makes one to fall in love with it over and over again.

Brandie T. says,

“Great looking, high quality tshirts!”

 

#2 – Best Batting Tee Hitting Trainers – Backspin Tee Pro Lite Model

Hitting Trainers: Backspin Tee Pro Lite Model

Learn how to teach hitters to consistently hit line drives without teaching them. Before I knew these guys I did a swing experiment comparing the Backspin Tee to the conventional tee.  Shocking.  See how it turned out.

The customers spoke, and they listened! You now have a super lightweight tee, that you can practice any and all angles with. Can attach the Elite Angle Attachment, as well as easily change the heights with easy push buttons.

The price is over $200 CHEAPER than their Pro Heavy Model Tee, which makes this the most affordable Backspin Tee ever made.

 

#1 – Rotex Motion: Move Better to Perform Better

Hitting Trainers: Rotex Motion

Just a few of the Rotex Motion benefits:

  • Fix movement issues fast such as frozen shoulder, lat release, rotator cuff injuries, and lower back tightness.  Helps with Incontinence and Pelvic Floor Issues, Lower and Upper Crossed Syndromes, & Sports Related Injury Prevention and Recovery.
  • Built Tough – over built. Two structural engineers, robotics engineer, two 3D printing engineers, and a Doctor worked on this.  So much ‘honeycombing' in this that it will support 500-pounds each.  Several NFL and college linemen from LSU, Alabama, and Michigan use this that go around 350-pounds.
  • Scientifically Proven – for example, floor model is scientifically proven to dramatically increase range of motion in the hips.
  • Join elite athletes using Rotex Motion that are on the PGA TOUR, in the NFL, MLB, NHL and numerous other professionals.  CLICK HERE to see who uses Rotex Motion professionally.

Here's a post I did sharing performance gains some of my hitters experienced as a result of using the Rotex Motion system.

Baseball Swing: Alex Rodriguez Interviews Barry Bonds

Perfect Baseball Swing By Swinging Down?

 

 

This baseball swing video where Alex Rodriguez interviews Barry Bonds was a two parter to this video post. Here are four of the interview's finer points:Baseball Swing: Alex Rodriguez Interviews Barry Bonds

  1. “X” factor. Why top hand and back shoulder have to communicate with front leg,
  2. Per-fect swinging down because it's easy to go up,
  3. 200+ Stikeouts as long as you hit 40-homers? And,
  4. How bunting can ‘line up' your hitting.

 

Here are my interview time stamped notes…

  • At about the 1-min, 40-sec mark, Alex Rodriguez asks Barry Bonds about the “Ferris wheel” v. “merry-go-round” swings.  Bonds says he's more of a down-angle swinger. “Down” means to flatten out the barrel path.  Not talking about swinging straight down.
  • At about the 3-min mark, Barry Bonds goes into what he calls the “X” factor and the “center-line”.  Back shoulder going to communicate with front leg.  And front shoulder with back leg.
  • At about the 4-min, 15-sec mark, Alex Rodriguez asks Barry Bonds if he hits off his back leg.  Causes head to fly open, front shoulder, and uppercut.  Bonds talks about using top hand as “guide” hand, bottom is power.  Top hand (back shoulder) and front leg have to communicate.  If they don't, then head can pull open.
  • At about 6-min, 30-sec mark, Alex Rodriguez asks Barry Bonds about the advice Barry give him about not dipping his back shoulder too much.  Bonds expects hitters to work chopping ball off ground during tee work.  It's easy to go up.  Over exaggerate down on a consistent basis. “Per-fect” the down level swing.
  • At about 9-min mark, Alex Rodriguez asks Barry Bonds about in today's game it's okay to strikeout over 200 times per season, just as long as you hit 40-homers.  A-Rod asked Bonds how he developed the discipline and balance at the plate.  Game has changed.  Don't blame the players, they adapt to the environment.  In Barry's day, had to hit .300, strikeout less than 100 times per season or you were sent down.  Bonds was told growing up to be a great hitter.  Home-runs don't matter.  Tony Gwynn was a big influence to Barry. Use line to line, that will open the gaps.
  • At about 11-min, 30-min mark, Barry and A-Rod talk about bunting against the shift.  Bonds adds that bunting can always get you lined up for hitting.  Playing “catch” with the baseball.  Bunting slows things down.  My buddy Aaron Miles tells a story about this.
  • At about 13-min mark, Alex Rodriguez asks Bonds that if he was graduating from Arizona in 2020, gets drafted by the Giants in a Sabermetrics heavy environment, would he have listened to his dad?  Baseball is a eye hand coordination sports.  Computers are limited on what they can predict.
  • At the 15-minute mark are Alex Rodriguez's “takeaways”.

Backspin Tee Baseball Hitting Net: 4 Mistakes Traditional Nets Make

 

 

A baseball hitting net isn't sexy, I know.  They're boring actually.  Like the batting tee was before Backspin Tee came along.  They have changed the game AGAIN!!

Before watching the video above, consider how Backspin Tee frames their new ‘Launch Angle' baseball hitting net:Baseball Hitting Net: Backspin Tee

“We know what your thinking, why does this net have a top pocket? The answer: Because that is where line drives are hit. Don’t believe us? We put up the hits that went into the top pockets and the bottom pockets. Every ball got into the bottom pocket was a ground ball….all line drives were hit at the top pockets. This may be a shocker to some people….but this is where line drives have always been. Not re-inventing the game, simply showing it more clarity.”

BREAKING NEWS: “Launch angles” are a data point.  Check out this Fangraphs.com article titled: Misconceptions About Launch Angle”

A lot of these coaches don't like the launch angle swing. Well, launch angle is a number. The launch angle is the angle of the ball coming off the bat. It's hard for hitters to control it.

However, hitters can control their barrel Attack Angle.  The angle the barrel takes to the incoming pitch.  Launch and Attack Angles don't have to be the same. And most likely they aren't going to be.  But hitters can better control the latter, not so much the former.

Backspin Tee changed how we use a batting tee.  Now they're changing the baseball hitting net…

The Net that Helps to Hit More Line Drives

Think about some of the challenges you've faced with regular baseball hitting nets?

  1. Takes too long to setup,
  2. Not high enough – balls sailing over the net,
  3. Not wide enough – balls hooking or slicing outside the net, and
  4. Having only one “sock” target to hit into that promotes low level line drives or ground-balls.

#1: Takes too long to setup

Backspin Tee's Launch Angle baseball hitting net takes 3-minutes to setup… connect the poles, slide them through the sleeves, then connect to base poles…

#2: Not high enough – balls sailing over the net

Many of my local hitters have done damage to garage door windows and masonry because of this.  I know my online lessons located in cold parts of the country, have done damage to inanimate basement objects.

This net is 10-feet tall!  With the low level line drive “sock” target above the typical baseball hitting net one. Typical Bownets are 7-feet tall.

#3: Not wide enough – balls hooking or slicing outside the net

Baseball Hitting Net

Easily portable and comes with a handy-dandy carrying case.

Same as #2, but my young hitters have to thread the needle when practicing their middle in or middle away approach.  Not a lot of margin for error with traditional hitting nets.

This baseball hitting net is 7-feet wide!  Bownets are 7-feet wide as well, but with Backspin Tee's hitting net, the extra 3-feet of height will catch any high hooks or slices.

And last, but certainly not least…

#4: Having only one “sock” target to hit into that promotes low level line drives or ground-balls

If you do hit a ground ball, there's a sock net there for you.  And if you do happen to pop up the ball, there's a better chance the ball won't sail over the net and do damage.

Look, I teach my hitters to hit the ball back through the “tube”.  If hitter is working off the batting tee, and has the ball set at 4-feet from the ground, then ball should come off bat 4-feet off ground.  If the ball is 2-inches from the ground, then ball should come off bat 2-inches off ground.  Same with a pitched ball.  Hit the ball back through the “tube”

What's cool about the Backspin Tee baseball hitting net, now there's a way for your hitter to have ‘launch angle' target practice.  This Joey Votto interview post titled: “Why Coaches SHOULD NOT Be Obsessed With Launch Angles” talks about the value of barrel control.

Here's a great example of this, using their Angle Control Drill…

Quick stats on Backspin Tee's launch angle baseball hitting net:

  • 7′ Wide X 10′ Tall.
  • Double stitched wrapping around the poles,
  • Carry case,
  • Easily portable (goes up in LESS than 3-MINUTES!!),
  • 30-Day Money Back Guarantee, and
  • If you do hit a ground ball, we have a sock net there for you, and if you do happen to pop up the ball, its great at being tall enough to catch it.
How To Stretch Hip Flexors

“Why Are My Hip Flexors so Tight?” How To Stretch Hip Flexors (Release Or Strengthen?)

 

 

Concerning how to stretch hip flexors, I have seen, performed and taught every conceivable method of releasing them from tightness.

As a flexibility specialist, I stretched thousands of patients and athletes using the most popular muscle and fascial release techniques. I got so proficient with these stretch techniques, I taught seminars to other doctors and therapists…

As a neuromuscular therapist, I performed soft tissue techniques to release muscles from strain and tightness. I learned how to perform manual Trigger Point Therapy from a few masters.

As a performance enhancement specialist, I integrated PNF (Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation) stretching and neuromuscular therapy with dynamic exercise for reestablishing normal movement patterns for the muscles and fascia we worked on.

This journey was all in an effort to discover how to stretch hip flexors and release strain and tightness for two main reasons – to create more…

  1. Stability in the lower back and pelvis, and
  2. Mobility in the hips and the thoracic spine.

We have been in the habit of looking at certain muscles like how to stretch hip flexors, and thinking they are too short and tight. Here's what we'll cover in this post:

  • Logical thing to do with short tight muscles,
  • Primary hip flexors causing problems, &
  • 4 Reasons hips flexors are short and tight.

 

Logical thing to do w/ short tight muscles

In the past 15 years, with the help of some of the most renowned doctors, therapists, strength coaches, trainers and skills coaches, I have developed a much different view on how to treat these short, tight muscles. It has completely changed my understanding of how to stretch hip flexors.

If we have short, tight hip flexors, we should ask ourselves:

  • “WHY are they so short and tight?” And,
  • “WHAT are the restrictions to these muscles performing to their highest capability”?

Primary hip flexors causing problems

How To Stretch The Hip Flexor

How To Stretch The Hip Flexor: psoas major muscle

There are four primary hip flexors but the one we hear about most, the one that causes us the most problems is the psoas major muscle. When we hear or read about the psoas major, 99% of the problems associated are attributed to it being short and tight.

The psoas major is responsible for lifting the thigh once it gets to 90° (parallel the floor), and everything after that, about another 45%. So it would seem that if it is short and tight, it would easily be able to lift the thigh to its limit. That is actually opposite to what happens.

If it is short and tight, it will also be weak and won't be able to perform its normal function to full capacity. There are also neurological reasons it won't be able to perform, but that's a little complicated for this article.

Important to swinging and throwing athletes, the psoas major is also responsible for stabilizing the lower back, that is where it attaches to the lower spine. If the psoas major is short, tight and weak, it does a poor job of stabilizing against dynamic rotation and puts the lower back at high risk of injury.

The lower back will also become tighter as a protective mechanism and will not completely release its tension until the psoas major is strengthened through its entire range of motion, among other things.

 

4 Reasons hips flexors are short and tight

Problem #1

There are restrictors to the movement of the psoas major. These are mainly the deep hip muscles (the deep external hip rotators) and the hamstrings.

Solution to #1

Strengthen these muscles, don't constantly stretch them. A strong muscle is much more flexible than a weakened muscle due to constant stretching.

Problem #2

The psoas major is WEAK because it has been constantly stretched, massaged, released, etc.

Solution to #2

Since the psoas major is almost 100% responsible for lifting the thigh past 90° to about 135%, it needs to be strengthened against some sort of resistance through its entire range of motion.

Problem #3

Almost everyone in our society sits for most of our non-athletic activities – driving, working at a desk, watching TV, reading, texting, etc.

Solution to #3

If we sit as part of our lifestyle, we will probably not change that. What we CAN do is to super strengthen our glutes, hamstrings and the deep external hip rotators. Those are the opposite muscles to the sitting muscles and they will help to release them as soon as we stand up and start moving.

Problem #4

If the hip flexors are unequal in the balance of strength, they will not be able to lift the thigh symmetrically. If the psoas major is weak, a muscle called the TFL (tensor fascia lata) will pull the hip and thigh outward and will create very complicated problems that are difficult to resolve in both the hips and lower back.

Solution to #4

Strengthen the TFL and hip in internal hip rotation against a strong rotational resistance, THEN strengthen the psoas major through its full lifting action, against resistance.

For those who have access to the two RotexMotion floor models, here's the Inward Hip Rotation exercise to accomplish this…

 

Best Wooden Baseball Bats

Amazon's Top-10 Youth & Adult Model Wooden Baseball Bats

Here's a good wooden baseball bats article from JustBats.com titled, “Wood Bats or Aluminum Bats?”

I often get asked by my parents whether their player should be hitting with wood.  My answer is YES!!!  Especially overloaded wood bats, which I'll share my favorite shortly.

As of this writing, here are the TOP-10 wooden baseball bats on Amazon, according to average star ratings, youth or adult models, and number of reviews…

Youth Models

#10 – Big Drop Youth Maple Wood Bat, 5-8 Drop, 2.5″ Barrel

Best Wooden Baseball Bats

#9 – Brett Bros. Maple/Bamboo Wood Youth Bat

Best Wooden Baseball Bats

#8 – SAM BAT Youth LL CD1 Maple Wood Bat

Best Wooden Baseball Bats

#7 – Louisville Slugger 2020 Youth Legacy Maple Wood Bat Series

Best Wooden Baseball Bats

#6 – Marucci Andrew McCutchen Maple Wood Youth Bat

Best Wooden Baseball Bats

#5 – Rawlings Adirondack Ash Wood Youth Bat

Best Wooden Baseball Bats

#4 – HARD 2 THE CORE Maple Wood Bat, Big Barrel I-13 Bat

Best Wooden Baseball Bats

#3 – Marucci Albert Pujols Maple Wood Youth Baseball Bat

Best Wooden Baseball Bats

#2 – Wilson Louisville Slugger Youth Ash Natural Tball

Best Wooden Baseball Bats

#1 – Louisville Slugger 2020 Youth Genuine Baseball Bat Series

Best Wooden Baseball Bats

 

Adult Models

#10 – BARNETT Baseball PRO Maple Wood Bat

Best Wooden Baseball Bats

#9 – Rawlings Velo Ash Wood Bat

Best Wooden Baseball Bats

#8 – Pinnacle Sports Adult 30 Day-Warranty Wood Bat

Best Wooden Baseball Bats

#7 – Mizuno 2014 Maple Carbon Composite Wood Bat

Best Wooden Baseball Bats

#6 – Easton 34″ North American Maple Wood Softball Bat

Best Wooden Baseball Bats

#5 – EASTON K2000 White Ash Wood Bat, 2021, Balanced, Traditional Knob, Handcrafted in USA

Best Wooden Baseball Bats

#4 – Wilson Louisville Slugger Genuine Series 3X Ash Mixed Wood Bat, 32/29

Best Wooden Baseball Bats

#3 – Wilson Louisville Slugger Genuine Series 3X Ash Mixed Bat, 33/30

Best Wooden Baseball Bats

#2 – EASTON White Ash Wooden Bat, Balanced, Traditional Knob, Handcrafted in USA

Best Wooden Baseball Bats

#1 – Wilson Louisville Slugger Genuine Series 3X Ash Mixed Wooden Bat 34/31

Best Wooden Baseball Bats

(Please note: clicking any images above will connect to Amazon.com.  These ARE affiliate links.  If you don't want to click on the links, then that's okay.  Just copy bat titles and paste into Amazon directly)

Aside from this top-10 wooden baseball bats post, here's a complimentary Hitting Performance Lab post you might like, titled: “Baseball Training Equipment: Where The Best Is And Where To Get It”