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

Lower Back Explosion Extravaganza

Tweet from a #HittingTwit-ter

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

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

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

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

 

But Here’s the Problem…

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

Let me show you what I’m seeing…

Lower Back Exploding Extravaganza

Compilation of low backs exploding…

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

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

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

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

Focus on nothing else but her lower back…OUCH!

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

“Unload your barrel not your body”…

AND,

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

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

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

 

Short Anatomy Lesson of the Low Back

Lordosis of the Spine

Photo courtesy: MountSinai.org

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

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

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

“Unload your body not your barrel”…

AND,

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

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

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

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

  

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

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

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

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

 

So, What’s the Answer?

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Hollow Hold…

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

 

In Memoriam

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

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

Yordan Alvarez Swing Analysis: Where Should Hitter “Adjustability” Be And How To Get It 

 

Before we get to the Yordan Alvarez swing analysis … we MUST …

This is our 300th hitting blog post!!!! 😀

Yordan Alvarez Swing Analysis: 3 Homers in One Game

Yordan Alvarez swing analysis photo courtesy: MLB.com

Golly, time has flown since we started HittingPerformanceLab.com back in 2014.

Since 2013, we’ve had almost 20,000 coaches, instructors, and parents – just like you – invest in our books, courses, and resources.

One of the comments we sometimes run into on the socials, is that we’re not credible to talk hitting because we’re “just trying to sell something”

What these people don’t understand about our Goodwill…

  1. This is our 300th FREE blog post on hitting!! And,
  2. As of today, we’ve given away – for FREE – 8,293 ebook versions of our books currently being sold on Amazon (majority of those are our Amazon bestselling book The Catapult Loading System).
  3. You don’t know what you don’t know…you know?

And yes, I spend A LOT of time, money, and effort researching, studying, and working with hitters.  This is what I do for a living.  This isn’t a side hustle for me, like it is for some.  100% of my attention is spent researching, studying, tinkering, experimenting, testing, and talking to others who do the same…

So yes, I deserve to monetize my time, effort, and knowledge.  I don’t go to this cotton headed ninny muggin’s workplace or business, and tell their customers not to buy from them because they’re “just trying to sell something”

And by the way, just because someone sells a hitting product, DOES NOT automatically relieve them of credibility on the subject.  Test their theories, philosophies, or products, and if they don’t work within 1-3 weeks, THEN call them a snake oil salesman.

That aside, one more thing…

Today (8/15) is my birthday!  39-years young.  For some of you, I’m still a young buck…to others, an old fart…and for those around my same age, what did you think about the Beverly Hills 90210 reboot? 😛 lol

“Okay, I get it, lots to celebrate, so what can you teach me in the above Yordan Alvarez swing analysis video?”

 

Yordan Alvarez Swing Analysis Video Includes…

This Yordan Alvarez swing analysis video explores where hitters SHOULD build “adjustability” in the swing (HINT: it’s not in the upper half or the front arm).  Here’s what we go over:

  • Sideways back foot,
  • Skipping back foot,
  • Front knee used to buy time, and
  • Back leg bend versus straightening.

 

Enter to WIN Our Surprise Giveaway!

How To Turn Hitting Process Into Predictably Productive Results

I got to finally meet Mr. Sean M. at 2019 ABCA in Dallas. I love seeing these hitters who love learning.

This is a video from the Detect & Correct Hitting Blueprint online video course.

For Back to School this week, we’re opening up the $100 OFF Flash Sale one more time.

And for those working with hitters this Fall, this is a great time as any to make up ground before the 2020 regular season kicks off.  Only 5 months away!!

What’s inside this particular video?

Learning Principles to Use in Training

  1. Writing name in half the letters
  2. Grading process at first, not performance
  3. One focus at a time (other things may “break”, but ignore for now)
  4. Process of trial and error
  5. Minimum effective dosage, 4-days per week, 5-mins per day
  6. When to “publish” swing changes into games

To discover how the Detect & Correct Hitting Blueprint online video course can benefit you and your hitters, you can…

Small Slugger Hacking Featuring Alex Bregman Hitting Mechanics

 

Alex Bregman Hitting Mechanics: Comparing Jose Altuve, Ronald Acuna Jr., & Yordan Alvarez

07/20/19: Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman and Yordan Alvarez launch back-to-back-to-back home runs in the 3rd inning to give the Astros a 4-0 lead. Photo courtesy: MLB.com

What we’re going over in this Alex Bregman hitting mechanics video:

Line Drive Hacking With Josh Bell Swing Breakdown

 

Josh Bell Swing Breakdown

Josh Bell Swing Breakdown photo courtesy: MLB.com

In this Josh Bell swing breakdown, we cover:

  • Size,
  • Interesting metrics
  • DeRo analysis
  • 2018 RCF Homer: 5/31 83-mph breaking ball/SL, down/away VERSUS 2019 LCF Homer: 7/3 96-mph FB, mid/up
  • Some interesting things in swing analysis: Float, Fall, Barrel Path – CB down/away v. FB mid/up (and late), how well he matches plane of pitch (tube)

CLICK HERE to view the size and metrics data on FanGraphs.

Here’s the Josh Bell swing breakdown Mark DeRosa video referenced above… (watch at about the 2:38 minute spot)

And before I let you go…

2019 MLB Home Run Derby – Vlad Guerrero Jr Swing Breakdown

In this Vlad Guerrero Swing Breakdown video, we cover how to build more consistent power using the principles found in the Catapult Loading System…

Vlad Guerrero Jr Swing Breakdown

Photo courtesy: MLB.com

HPL Hitting Clinics Coming To A California Spot Near You!

The above video was news coverage of a ball exit speed challenge we did at a local hitting academy.  Just a taste of what could be coming into your backyard…

For the past couple years, I’ve been asked by many out-of-town Academy owners and coaches to help put on hitting clinics.  With two young kiddos, I’ve had to decline the travel because I was needed at home.  Well, I’m still needed at home, but the ages of my kiddos are much more manageable (3 and 6yo).  My hitters and parents know, I’m VERY protective of family time, and is WHY I’ve chosen to build a primarily mobile hitting business.

I’m currently working on a new hitting book that will go into how to hit more line drives, while reducing strikeouts (due to release by end of summer), and am looking to go on an HPL California Hitting Clinic and speaking tour.

Since 2013, we’ve affected tens of thousands of coaches, in turn quite possibly affected hundreds of thousands of their hitters.  My goal with the release of this next book, hitting clinic tour, and going on the coaches speaking circuit is to affect hundreds of thousands of coaches, and in turn affect millions of their hitters.

If you don’t know much about us, then please CLICK HERE to visit our About page.  There are A LOT of unsolicited testimonials at the bottom of that page.

 

The HPL California Hitting Clinic Gory Details…Hitting Performance Lab California Hitting Clinics

In following, I’m going to be very open, honest, and transparent with the details.  If there’s a question, then please ask.  If you’re an Academy owner, hitting instructor, or coach who wants to host an HPL California Hitting Clinic, then here are the who, what, when, how, and whys:

  • NorCal, CenCal, or SoCal?  Yes, yes, and yes.
  • Indoor or outdoor.
  • Can be on the weekend or a day or two during the week.
  • Up to you which hitting theme you’d like me to teach on: Catapult Loading System (more consistent power without sacrificing swing quality), Pitch Plane Domination (hitting more line drives and reducing strikeouts), or Reaction Time Mastery (footwork, vision, tracking, & timing).  Or we could do a mix.
  • I’m only booking 1-2 clinics per month (starting in June), so scheduling is limited, and first come first served.
  • At least 20 hitters/coaches (this can be a mix).
  • Following groups are chunked for efficient age appropriate teaching: 11-13yos, 14-16yos, or 17+yos.  If these groups are mixed, then sessions will be disjointed, awkward, and move slow.
  • Baseball AND softball.  Mixing genders is okay, just make sure age appropriate chunking stays intact.
  • At least 4-hours required to make the trip (could be 2 hours, break for lunch, then another 2 hours).
  • *$30/hitter/hour, so with minimum standard, 20 hitters X $30/hitter-coach/hour, for 4 hours = $2,400 (that’s only $120/hitter for the time).
  • Academy owners, instructors, or coaches can charge above and beyond the $30/hour/hitter, if a “fee” is desired on your end, but that’s my minimum.  In other words, round up to $150/hitter/4-hour day and take a $30/hitter fee on top of mine, so your facility makes $600 (20 hitters X $30).
  • If it’s a 2-day, then my hotel, food, and travel cost will be added to the quote (depending on the area cost, that could be between $200 and $400 on top of my regular fee).
  • I only want to focus on California, but for those interested out of state, since a flying would be more time effective, then a round trip flight, hotel, food, and travel costs will be added to my quote (again depending on the area cost, that could be between $400 to $800 on top of my regular fee).
  • Also, there’s an opportunity to earn a 50% commission on my online video courses.  CLICK HERE to check out our affiliate program (and sign up!). While I’m there, I would promote YOUR affiliate program link, and NOT cut out the “middle man”.
  • I will also give a ONE-TIME 10% commission for each PAID Academy owner, instructor, or coach you refer for a HPL California Hitting Clinic.
  • Video recording of the clinic, and sharing of the information is okay just as long as credit is given, and you tag Hitting Performance Lab (@HitPerformLab, #HittingPerformanceLab, #CatapultLoadingSystem, #PitchPlaneDomination, or #ReactionTimeMastery).
  • After each clinic, I would love to get your advice on how to make the clinics better, and would be honored if you shared testimonials with me, either written or video, the latter more preferred.
  • Bottom line: I’m NOT looking to steal your hitters, I’m looking to enhance your business either online or offline and ultimately want you and your hitters to spread the good word. Any “extra” time we have together, I’d love to grab a beer or sweet iced tea, and talk about how to market your business better (no charge!).  I know a little about this: wrote an Amazon bestselling book, over 12,000 books sold or downloaded, over 18,000 products purchased by coaches, 40,000 coach emails, 34,000+ Likes on Facebook, almost 9,000 Twitter followers, almost 6,800 organic YouTube subscribers.  I’ve also been doing online hitting lessons since 2014.  Locally, I do small private group hitting groups (2-6 hitters/group) with over 30+ active weekly hitters, where I make up to $180/hour.  Six-figure per year business. Help me help you 😉

*Prices are subject to change, depending on demand, so the price reflected on this page at time of booking will be honored.  If price increases, then it increases for everyone.  $30/hitter/hour is for between 20 to 30 hitters/coaches.  Over that, my price is negotiable.

 

What’s the Next Step to Connect?Joey Myers

Remember #1 (of 2), I’m only booking 1-2 clinics per month (starting in June), so scheduling will be limited, and it will be first come first served.  Look, maybe you’re a parent or coach that cannot take advantage of this, but you may know someone who can, so here’s reminder #2, I will also give a one-time 10% commission for each paid Academy owner, instructor, or coach you refer for a Hitting Performance Lab California Hitting Clinic.  That could be at least a $240 finder’s fee!

CLICK HERE to contact me via email, and then we’ll connect via phone to put something on the schedule. I’m looking forward to working with you, your coaches, and hitters 😀

– Joey Myers

Here Are 6 Christian Yelich Swing Analysis Hitting Mechanic Strategies Helping Him Dominate (or Not? 🤔)

 

 

Christian Yelich Swing Analysis - Hitting Mechanics

Christian Yelich ‘showing numbers’. Photo courtesy: MLB.com

WARNING!  This Christian Yelich swing analysis video has been done tongue-and-cheek…sarcastic…mocking…joking…so please don’t send me HATE email because of this cheeky Christian Yelich hitting mechanics video.

Here are some of the topics we cover…

  1. Head movement,
  2. Back knee inside back foot,
  3. Over rotating back foot,
  4. Getting taller,
  5. “Launch angle” swing!
  6. Keep shoulders square (no counter rotation!!!)

By the way, at the beginning of the video, we look at the following Forbes article titled: “NL MVP Christian Yelich, Bucking The Launch Angle Trend”.

Analysis of A-Rod Hitting Analysis: Perry Husband & Joey Myers

Analysis of Alex Rodriguez Hitting Analysis: Real Versus Feel, How To Be An Effective Hitter, & Sabermetrics v. Experience…

Before you watch the above video interview with Perry Husband, please watch the following 7-min video of Alex Rodriguez sticking-it-to-the-hitting-man lol (I promise you, it’s rather entertaining)

Wow!  The Social hitting community had a blast with this video.  Coaches talking how:

  • Cool his blue pool (which turned purple periodically throughout the video), and green lush backyard were…
    Analysis of A-Rod Hitting Analysis: Perry Husband & Joey Myers

    Alex Rodriguez YouTube channel titled, “HOW TO HIT HOME RUNS | TIPS FOR THE BEST APPROACH AT THE PLATE”

  • He added some sweet after effects into his video…
  • He may have had a couple bottles of wine (not glasses) pre-shoot, probably at the cautioning of his gal-pal J-Lo…
  • And the elephant in the room, how he seemed disconnected describing the elite swing…

There was A LOT to unpack in A-Rod’s video…here’s what he covered in only 7-mins:

  1. Real v. Feel – How to get the ball up…Swing down to get the ball up…swing down for “line to line”
  2. How to be effective as a hitter (Launch Angles, Line to Line) – forget “Launch Angle”, “Line to line” (beat the shift)…Legs underneath you with leverage, knee down to the ground…Think with “Ferris Wheel” launch angle…Ferris Wheel & “blind spot”…can’t catch up to fastball up?
  3. Sabermetrics v. Experience – Top 4 of last 5 winning teams, #1 in contact, least in K’s…Sabermetrics v. Experience…”an out is an out”, “K’s are overrated”…”Made to measure” approach, contact is king.

So now back to the video analysis Perry Husband and I did (tippy-top video) of A-Rod’s video analysis.  Here are some bullet points of what we cover:

  • Does hitting 100-mph ball exit speed mean you’re maxing out?  How do you know what your max is?
  • How applying tested human movement principles validated by REAL Science results in almost instant changes to key metrics,
  • Why hasn’t analytics given more value to Perry’s Effective Velocity?
  • Are there instances that “swinging down” is okay to teach hitters?
  • Why fastballs down, hit on the ground, reveal some of the highest ball exit speeds & why curveballs are some of the farthest hit balls…

As always, the following are quick reference points you can use to jump around in the supplemental analysis:

  • At about the 0:00 minute mark, talking about Alex Rodriguez explaining feel and “swinging down”, “squishing bugs”, and knee going to the ground, A-Rod said only way to lift is to “go down”
  • At about the 5-min, 30-sec mark, three major issues A-Rod brings up in the video: 1 ) Real v. Feel, 2) How to be effective as a hitter, & 3) Sabermetrics v. Experience, coaches go to one side or the other, A-Rod is right and wrong at the same time, lets get player (ahem, A-Rod) on tee and measure ball exit speed and launch angle – test it!  Let’s quantify and prove it or disprove it, early barrel dump works if pitchers aren’t elevating fastballs, very little on internet is testable, guys not liking ball exit speed and heavy ball tee swings for evaluation – Why not wanting a baseline?  Just because you’re hitting 100-mph exit velocity, is that your maximum?  How do you know without a baseline?
  • At about 14-min 30-sec mark, 3-dimensional hitting – verticals, horizontals, and timing or pitch velocity, where does power come from (according to A-Rod)? what do certain mechanics contribute to verticals, horizontals, power, or timing? Testing a hitter off the tee with regular ball, then heavy ball, then test it LIVE with ball, can see where hitter is deficient, out of 7-8 new kids (current hitters Perry is working with) have increased avg. 7 to 8-mph ball exit speed almost instantaneously, cleaning up mechanics aren’t like getting stronger and more coordinated, which takes more time,
  • At about 22-min 30 secs mark, Launch Angles are numbers without brains and coaches treat it like a character in a movie! Has Aaron Judge or Giancarlo Stanton ever hit a ball at their max in a game?  “Ferris wheel” swing and the “blind spot”, what happens when the low fastball disappears, from TM’s perspective what is the “Ferris wheel” swing or is he using the WORST metaphor ever?! “Merry-Go-Round” versus “Ferris Wheel” swing, having a little bit of both depending on pitch height, depth, and timing, 150 locations within the strike zone – can you take same swing to each of those?
  • At about 30-min mark, Perry talks about his swing was in low-80’s in Ball Exit Speed when 100% purely rotational swing, but in the high 80’s low-90’s when releasing backside, there are consequences to mechanics you choose, are you afraid to test it? Perry is starting a club doing a bunch of different tests and demos on the mechanical side and effective velocity (show hitters what they’re missing), 18 of 19 Reds losses came on an EV inefficient pitch,
  • At about 35-min, 30-sec mark, what’s your hitting operating system? Best hitters in the world miss 80% of the time and hit it on the screws 20% of the time, is your hitting OS to reduce strikeouts above everything else? What are you giving up because of your primary hitting OS?  Looking away and adjusting in works IF pitchers keep throwing fastballs outside and/or down, and leaving off speed stuff up, what happens when Trout doesn’t see one fastball down?  Or one off speed or breaking pitch up?  Why hasn’t analytics given more value to Effective Velocity?  Because they don’t acknowledge measurement of timing,
  • At about 43-min mark, how can a pitcher be effective with Trout, he chooses to adjust to pitches not sit on them, he gives up a longer front arm on pitches up and in to get extended on down and away, how do you move away from the “adjustable” swing, 2015 Trout hit 6 bombs in the up/in box – made adjustment to pitchers changing, Trout almost has a recession-proof swing,
  • At about 50-min mark, if did study May of 2019 – fastball use top of strike zone would be up, couldn’t do 100% ferris wheel or 100% rotational, A-Rod is right and wrong at the same time, “swinging down” is okay for uppercut hitters, the brain is one step behind the brain, however in REAL swinging down on the ball DOES NOT make it go up consistently – center to center contact does (or slightly below center), gotta get hitters better at verticals, horizontals, and timing, can’t be 100% metrics OR 100% experience, “econ” hitting coaches? Linking Sabermetrics to the Scientific Process – asking question, form hypothesis, research subject, gather and compare data, then come to conclusion,
  • At about 57-min mark, Perry discusses how overrated backspin is and the importance A-Rod gave to it, why fastballs at bottom of zone have high exit velocities on the ground – from hitter’s perspective fastballs have backspin, struck grounders don’t change direction of pitcher’s spin…same with curveballs, Dr. Robert Adair in The Physics of Baseball said CB’s are hit the furthest – think about it, from hitter’s perspective CB’s have topspin, and when a hitter puts “backspin” on it, this doesn’t change direction of pitcher’s CB spin, so a pitcher should reverse that, locate fastballs up and curveballs down,
  • At the 1-hour, 2-min mark, Perry’s starting paid membership club at 65% OFF* (for limited time only) to get people started, daily Monday through Friday, demos, study of hitter or pitcher, at bat that stood out from EV standpoint, 15-20 min video that shows in personal locker, do for baseball and softball,
  • At HittingPerformanceLab.com FREE book just pay $8.95 S/H, TheStartingLineupStore.com use coupon code: GET10OFF at checkout
  • At about 1-hour, 6-min mark, I talk specifically how to lock the front arm out – direction-wise – to get ‘showing numbers’ and ‘hiding hands’ as well, killing three birds with one stone

*The regular price on that will be $299 for the year, but the first 100 will get 2/3 off or $99 for the year.  They get their own personal online locker where the videos will be delivered Mon through Friday.  15-20 minute videos that will feature pitching strategy on sequencing, pitch design, hitter profiles, pitcher profiles and breakdowns, at bat of the day with data and Ev breakdown.  In other words, the truth about what’s really going on within the game, timing breakdown. 

“What is the most productive practice for hitting for a 10U softball team where we practice only twice a week and need to cover A LOT of aspects of the game?”

My 6yo son Noah did this in his class. I love “I hit a line jrive.” So cute! 😍

I don’t have a lot of experience coaching teams, but I do think I have a unique perspective on this

Since 2013, I’ve been teaching human movement principles validated by REAL Science to local and online hitters.  Over the past year-and-a-half I’ve been running small private group hitting lessons ranging from 2 to 6 hitters per group, for 75-minutes.

And the last 2 years I’ve had the honor of coaching my son’s 7u baseball team.  First year I was an assistant coach in t-ball, in which I did this post titled: T-Ball Drills: How To Coach Without Going Insane

And the second year I was coach for machine pitch.  I learned a lot about how to put together a productive practice for hitting, fielding, and throwing.  Here are my notes – I hope they can help get you started in the right direction…

  1. First of all, what is one of the most important concepts to work on at practice?  Playing catch.  CLICK HERE for an interview with legendary Hall of Fame collegiate baseball Coach Bob Bennett, where he goes into depth on this progression-regression.
  2. What’s one of the best drills to learning how to play catch that costs ZERO dollars, and you don’t need a partner?  Check out this Tweet –

  3. To make the above throwing and catching drill better?  Put multiple targets (could be shapes) in different locations up and down, left and right, on the wall using frog tape.
  4. Three hitting focuses we used with 7u machine pitch: 1) Feel what swinging “up” feels like, 2) Feel what swinging “down” feels like, and 3) Swing across their face, not chasing their face.  The latter was because almost half the hitters were pulling their head.  Later we added the three plate timing drill to help them understand what “swing earlier” or “swing later” means (CLICK HERE for this post which showcases the 2-plate drill – you’d add one more plate).  This takes care of 2 of 3 hitting dimensions.  I talk about 3-dimensional hitting in this post.
  5. Main hitting flaws I see most often in youth hitters (based on one-on-one and group hitting lesson experience): barrel path verticals, horizontals, and timing (see 3-D hitting above), pulling head out (swing across face not chase face), stepping out (CLICK HERE for this post), fear of getting hit by the ball (CLICK HERE for this post).
  6. If working on one or two things, focus on those specific things while ignoring any other flaws that may crop up.  Get to 60-80% movement proficiency and execution on either soft toss or LIVE toss, before moving onto the next thing.  Make your focuses a constant drum beat.  Remember, the swing, or any other aspect of the baseball or softball game, is an elephant and you don’t want to eat it all at once!
  7. Before games, prime your hitters with that week’s focus, but during the game let them compete.  Things like Finger Pressure, swinging across their face, swing up or down, knock the shortstop or 2nd baseman’s hat off, are okay adjustments to make during games.  But internal cues like ‘showing numbers’, ‘dropping hands’, or ‘hiding hands from pitcher’ are not a good ideas to mention in games.
  8. To make swing adjustments, we used the concepts talked about in this video post titled: “Discover the ‘Paradoxical Intention’ Secret To Making Adjustments”.
  9. Our challenge for 7u was one practice per week for only one hour.  We did four stations (about 3 players per station): 1) Taking ground-balls while throwing and hitting multiple targets (we weaved frog tape in shape of a 1, 2, and 3 on the chain link), 2) 5 Tee swings with Hitting Jack-It weight on bat (high tee – hit it down, low tee – hit it up), 3) Ground-ball communication between corner and middle infielders, and 4) LIVE hitting on field with “soft” ball machine (to get used to machine pitch).
  10. If it’s just a productive hitting practice you’re looking for, then see how I run my small private group hitting sessions in this post titled: “How Do You Have Hitting Drills In A Small Time Window?”.
  11. Depending on age, don’t overdo practice.  I would force practice times into 60-mins up to age 12u.  90-mins 7th and 8th grade. 2-hours max in High School.  And I would say no more than 2 to 3 hours in college – weights would be extra.  Force yourself to pick THE most essential things to work on.  Long practices at youth level scream coach doesn’t know what they’re doing, and that not using time wisely.  Most likely A LOT of standing around is the culprit.  CLICK HERE this post for a refresher on what most “essential” means.
  12. The Science Of Sticky Coaching: How To Turn Ordinary Athletes Into Extraordinary book is great for winning coaching principles as a whole.
  13. One of the best bang for your buck hitting drills EVERY coach MUST have in their hitting stations is overload trainingCLICK HERE for an interview post I did with the father of over/under load training applied to baseball and softball hitters.

Any coaches have any other advice on how to put together a productive practice for hitters I didn’t mention?  Please share in the comments below… (Thank you in advance!!)