Answered: “Helping Get Youth Players To Stay On Plane And Not Dip Their Bodies When They Swing?”

 

 

In the above video, we’ll be discussing:

  • Relationship between spinal engine and shoulder behavior in healthy effective swing,
  • Causes of unhealthy “dipping” of body in swing,Do You Recognize The 6 Early Warning Signs Of Hitters Dipping Their Bodies?
  • Head stability,
  • Arching low back,
  • Straightening out back leg,
  • Over-rotating upper half,
  • Over-rotating lower half, and
  • Core instability.

Hey, what’s going on. It’s Joey Myers again from the “Hitting Performance Lab. In this video, we’re gonna answer a reader question, this one is asking for advice to:

“Helping get youth players to stay on plane, and not dip their bodies when they swing”.

Now a couple things we have to define here, what ‘dipping’ is…

 

Relationship between Spinal Engine and Shoulder Behavior in Healthy Effective Swing

This is important to cover. Because there is some dipping that goes on, but I want to define what’s good versus what’s bad. What we should see with hitters, and good healthy spinal engine mechanics is, say with the righty, the shoulders will start in somewhat of a slightly down position, we call this the ‘Downhill shoulder’, and it’s just a side bend.

David Weck, founder of the BOSU ball, the RMT Club, and a lot of other cool stuff. He talks about this idea of the head over foot technique. The head shifts slightly over towards the front stride landing foot.  The side bend is crucial to the actual opposite action that’s gonna happen during the swing.

We’re gonna see the teeter totter effect of the shoulders starting down, and then they’re gonna flip up as I start my turn. Then what we should see is this shoulder, if we track the left one for a righty starts down, pops up. As we finish, should be back down again.  Think about those beautiful images of Mickey Mantle, Ted Williams, Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, in their finish, and the righties are kind of in this position. The lefties are in the opposite position.

We want to see a healthy accelerating-decelerating spinal engine, that is the healthy dipping that we should see if the shoulders or side bending.

 

6 Causes of Unhealthy “Dipping” of Body in Swing

1. Head Stability

I call it a ‘Collapsing backside’, so one of the causes of this is head stability. We’ll see a hitter will go chin to chest, when they’re at impact, going right into their sternum with their chin. Sometimes we’ll see the head go up (like looking up into the sky), we’ll see the bill of the cap go this way, and we’ll see the rear ear going to the rear shoulder, so for righties, right ear to the right shoulder. For lefties, left ear to the left shoulder.

There are some hitters in the big leagues that do this a little bit, they used to do this actually more in the past, they’ve been cleaning it up. But Andrew McCutchen used to go chin to chest, Bryce Harper would go rear ear to shoulder, Prince Fielder did what Harper did.  You even see Nolan Arenado more chin to chest. Because he tries to leave his head at impact, which I don’t recommend for younger hitters. When the head is in an unstable position, this creates a threat to the central nervous system. Wherever the head goes, the body follows.

If the head “rolls” (like Harper/Fielder)…when we’re rolling the head this way, you’ll see a collapsing of the backside, you see the whole body will dip, and it’s not a very strong position. Head stability is one of them, one of the causes of an unhealthy dipping of the body in the swing.

2. Arching low back

Arching the lower back, kind of similar to the neck, the C-spine. When we start arching the lower lumbar during rotation, which isn’t very good because you’re pushing the vertebrae together, and then rotating them, so you’re basically grinding. So, we don’t want to do that, and if we’re doing that, sometimes we’ll see this collapsing to the backside as well. You want to do it what’s called a ‘Hollow position’, or a ‘Hollow hold’, you can go on YouTube, and search “hollow hold gymnastics”, and you can find a video on how to practice this.  It’s basically taking the curve out of our lower lumbar, or lower back.

Imagine you’re lying on your back, on the ground, like you’re gonna do a crunch, you got your feet on the ground, your knees are up, and you go to do a crunch. What you have to do first is push your lower back into the ground, just want to push hard in the ground, create some pressure into the ground through your lower back.  That’s taking the curve out of your lower back, and doing what we call a hollow position. It’s a posterior tilting of the pelvis for those kinetic nerd jockeys like me.

3. Straightening out Back Leg

The other thing that could be causing dipping of the body in the swing is straightening out the back leg.  This tends to follow both head instability, and/or arching of the low back.

The glute fires, the back glute, for righties the right glute, and the right quad fires to straighten the knee. It’s the hamstring that we see in professional studies of hitters, back hamstring that’s turning on a lot more than you see in amateur hitters, where they tend to try and lock that back knee out. The glute locks out, and what’s happening is that back glute is trying to support and create stability in the lower back. Because it’s going into a bad position, a compromised position. As long as we can fix the hollow, get them into more of a hollow position, we fix the head movement with the neck brace drill. Not a stiff neck brace, but a soft one.  We don’t want to immobilize the head, just create feedback for movement.

If you can correct this, you can crack the lower back – metaphorically speaking of course – then you can start to work the hitter into bending that back knee a little bit more, using the hamstring, lesser the quad, and lesser the glute. Those are again trying to protect that lower back, that can be a major cause of unhealthy dipping in the swing.

4. Over-rotating Upper Half

I am starting to actually see this in some of my hitters, not in a lot but a few of them.  Where they’re actually over rotated at impact. They’re making contact almost behind themselves, and their sternum in the middle of their chest is out over in left field (for righties, reverse for lefties). We must get them to under rotate, so we do a lot of “deep” tee drills, and get them to try and pull the ball off a deep positioned tee. You set it up almost in line with the hitter’s belly button, and get them to kind of hook it, and hook it around to slow down that sternum.  The hitter should look and feel like they’re swinging their arms across their body. 

The upper half over rotating, we can also over rotate the lower half…

5. Over-rotating Lower Half

So, we use a VeloPro to strap it to the back hip and back ankle.  We get them to try and keep the back heel on the ground (like George Springer), and keep the back foot sideways. If they’re over rotating, it could cause a collapse of the backside as well. Again, we want to be effective between our 90 degrees of fair territory, and when we over rotate either the upper or the lower half, then what we’re doing is we’re sliding our 90 over into foul territory, which doesn’t do us any good, any of our hitters any good.

The last thing I want to add in this video is fixing core instability…

6. Core Instability

There are things that you can do at the gym with your trainer, hopefully your trainer is versed on mobility and stability exercises (certified in the Functional Muscle Screen – FMS, or in TPI). When we’re talking core stability, you want to do a lot of things like planks:

So, you’re creating some rotation in there as well. You also want to do like ‘Hollow holds”, you want do things like that, you want to do maybe suitcase carries, where you’re carrying a dumbbell on one side of the body and trying to keep your shoulders square, things like that you can do. You can ask your trainer on how to create more core stability, but those are some things to think about if you’re asking yourself the same question as our reader: “Helping get youth hitters to stay on playing, and not dip their bodies when they swing”.

Work on the things we discussed, clean them up, and check them off your list. Your hitter will be in a more healthy body “dipping” position. Make sure that we’re swinging smarter by moving better, and before I let you go…

Throw The Ball: How To Teach Accuracy & Making Good Throws

Throw The Ball Advice To Reader Comment: “Throwing accurately making good throws”

 

 

This throw the ball video and post has nothing to do with hitting, but at the same time, has everything to do with hitters.  In it, we discuss:Throw The Ball: How To Teach Accuracy & Making Good Throws

  • Mechanics are a big part of this, but this video will not go into that (Texas & Florida Baseball Ranches & Top Velocity)
  • The art of “variance” – bean bag toss study
  • Depth and Lateral
  • Ground-balls and different wall targets at home
  • Belt-to-hat target game
  • Arm care program – Jaeger Bands

Hey, what’s going on. Joey Myers here from the ‘Hitting Performance Lab’. In this video, I’m going to answer a reader question. This is a big question, and if you have a hitter, they’re gonna be throwing – the throwing is a given of playing baseball or softball.

 

To Throw The Ball: Mechanics are a Big Part of this…

It doesn’t really excite me to talk pitching mechanics, but I will direct you to some sources that you can go to that promote healthy pitching mechanics. It’s not all about velocity, velocity should come, it should be a byproduct, it’s really where you move the ball around the zone that can upset hitters timing. So, I will make a couple suggestions…

So again, here’s a question, throwing accurately, this reader needed some advice on “Throwing accurately, making good throws”. So, whether this is a player asking the question or a coach on how to put a practice together that promotes or encourages accurately making throws.

So, mechanics again are a big part of this. I would advise you to go to TopVelocity.net, and look into Brent Pourciau or go to the Texas or Florida baseball ranch.  You can go online and get some of their stuff. From what I’ve heard, I haven’t looked at it in detail, but what I’ve heard, a friend of mine Mike Gillen, who is my pitching guy locally. I send my hitters to him locally, who want to pitch. He teaches based off of top velocity’s stuff.

It’s a very healthy, not putting your players in bad positions with their arms. A lot of what I’ve heard is really good stuff, in addition to the Texas and Florida baseball ranches. I’ve heard good stuff; I’ve heard players that go in to have some arm pain or elbow pain whatever. They go in and start working their mechanics. They get so much better, they can throw without any kind of pain. So, any kind of program that has that as part of their focus and priority is a good program.

Don’t listen to some of those people out there, where to throw the ball is all about velocity, velocity and throwing hard. Because what’s gonna happen is you’re gonna be short-lived that season, that career is gonna be short-lived.

You want to be careful with arms and shoulders. So, with that being said, mechanics are a big part of it. But we’re not going to talk mechanics in this video…

 

The Art of “Variance” – bean bag toss study

I want to talk to you about the art of variance, this was a huge thing for me when I learned about it. I learned about it in Make It Stick by Peter C Brown, check it out, there were like eight principles, the “science of successful learning” is the subtitle. But the art of variance, it can be demonstrated in this way…

There was a beanbag study, they cited in the book. So, imagine that we’re in a grade school class, sixth grade, fifth grade, grade school class.

I think they were 11, 12 year olds. They split the class into two. For group one, they put a bucket that was three feet away, get those kids beanbags and have them practice throwing in that three foot bucket. That was for 15 minutes.

They had group two, they gave them two buckets, one was two feet away, and the other was four feet away. So, no three-foot bucket, there was a hole at the three foot, so only two and four. They gave them beanbags and had them practice for 15 minutes throwing in the two buckets.

At the end of the 15 minutes, they had them all test on a three foot bucket, which group…? Group one who is practicing on the three foot or group two who is practicing on the two and four foot buckets, no three foot. Which group, one or two, did better?

You probably think this is a trick question, and you want to pick the three-foot bucket, but you know that there’s something going on, and this probably isn’t true. Well, you are right because the three-foot bucket practicing half of the class, actually did not do better, they ended up losing to the part two group, that was two- and four-foot bucket part of tossing bean bags – second group half of the class.

So, why though, why did group two win? I asked my players this, and it’s because they had two frames of reference, a two and a four foot bucket. They didn’t have the three, but they can, when they go to the 3-foot bucket, they say, I know if I toss toss in a four-foot bucket, which would be over the three. I know what tossing in a two-foot bucket, which is just short of the three. I know what both of those feel like, so I’ll just throw it in the middle of both of those.

You see, they have two frames of reference, whereas the three foot bucket, they only have one frame. They had to either make it or they didn’t, but they weren’t practicing trying to throw it too far or too short. When we talk about the art of variance and practicing to throw the ball, we apply it to throwing, and throwing accurately.

 

Depth and Lateral – how to practice throwing accurately and making good throws at practice

What we did with my son, who is now going to be 7yo in December. We did it with his baseball ball team last season.

We had stations in our practices, and one of the stations was a throwing accuracy station. We have them lined up, three players at a time, I would toss a ground ball to one player, and we taped the numbers 1, 2, & 3 behind me on the chain-link fence in green frog tape. They were spaced enough apart, not being super close, you’re getting this variance of depth for them, this is to practice depth to throw the ball.

I rolled on the ground ball.  And at first, before I rolled it. I would say, I want you to hit number one. I’d go down the line. I will say, I want you to hit number two before I rolled it. So, they would get pretty good at being somewhere around the numbers, and then I would roll it.

A kind of a progression to that… I would roll it, and I wouldn’t tell them any number until I rolled it, and I would say “all right, hit two”. As they were fielding it, they’d have to make the decision, and look up and try and hit the target.

Then I was changing it up on them, that was the next progression. As you got these three players on the line, well we would move them, move kind of like in a volleyball game where the players kind of shift around. You want to move them around so they’re getting different perspectives of hitting the number one, two, and three.  It’s going to be different if they’re in the middle versus the left or the right side. So, you want them to kind of feel the difference of different positions of their body of where they’re at in space and time.

The other thing that we did was, it was more of a across the field drill as they got pretty good with the accuracy of hitting static targets.

Then we moved to create some depth for them. So, we would have a first baseman set up, but we’d have the real first base, we’d have a first base at about five feet down the line towards the home plate, and we would have another first base that was about five feet down the line towards right-field. So, it was just on the foul line, it was spread out this way laterally, then we had them practice kind of similar to what I just talked about. But they’re hitting two different targets laterally.

So, you got the real first baseman, and then you would work variance at depth. So, arm distance or being short of first base.

We would have real first baseman, we would have a first baseman about five feet more towards the pitcher, or towards the fielder throwing the ball. Then we would have a first baseman beyond the real first baseman, almost like an overthrow. So, I can under throw the ball overthrow, and then you have the first baseman changing positions, and each player is testing at different positions.

It’s almost like they’re getting six different frames of references as they throw the ball to first base.  This helped clean up throwing with a bunch of five-year-olds all the way up to seven year olds … this cleaned up throwing accuracy so quickly. It was amazing.  It was crazy.

 

Ground-balls and different wall targets at home

Wall targets at home…this is something that I’m gonna be doing at our house. We’re gonna have a swing open gate, right now it’s just kind of a small swing open, we’re gonna make a big swing open. On that gate we’re gonna put some kind of vinyl material, that’s not gonna ruin the wood. My son can throw the ball against the wall, and it’s not gonna ruin our fence, and we’re gonna create targets. We’re going to put targets up on the fence, as they field the ground ball, throw the ball against it, ball bounces back, we’re gonna have different targets up, down, middle.

He’s gonna get to pick a target before he throws the ball. Then throw, and try and hit that target. Just different targets, putting them up all over. So, that’s an idea at home that you can do.

 

Throw the Ball Belt-to-hat target game

Also, when we play catch. I learned this at Fresno State, you can use a belt to hat game. Players are playing catch down the line, if they hit the hat, it’s three points. If they hit the chest, it’s two. If they hit the belt, it’s one, and anywhere else outside of that range is zero. It’s called belt to hat game. So, that’s a good one that you could play while playing catch.

 

Arm care program – Jaeger Bands

Also before in this video, I want to make sure that you are aware of arm care exercises that you should have your hitters, throwers, and pitchers do. They’re never too young to start some sort of an arm care program. They need to take care of their arm, younger obviously not quite as needed as they are when they’re junior, high, and high school on up. But I recommend Jaeger bands, you can go on the – search Jaeger bands on Google. Find their website, go on, and check it out.

They have a lot of videos, I’m pretty sure they’re on YouTube. Just go on YouTube, and search, get to their channel. Jaeger bands channel, and they have tons of videos on how to do different exercises and things like that. Pick and choose, get a get a bunch of them, maybe five to ten of them. Doing them every day, make sure that you’re providing arm care for your little hitters. Hope you learned something in this video.

Make sure that we’re swinging smarter by moving better, and again this video was about “Throwing accurately and making good throws”. Before I let you go…

Backspin Tee: How To Set Up Batting Tee Locations

Backspin Tee: “I have a question about contact points for hitting inside/outside pitches. What’s your opinion on how you should set up your tee for working both of these locations?”

 

 

Good question…here’s what we discuss in this Backspin tee video above:

Backspin Tee: How To Set Up Batting Tee Locations

Photo courtesy: Yours truly.com

Hey. What’s going on? It’s Joey Myers from ‘Hitting performance lab’. In this video, we’re gonna answer another reader question:

“I have a question about contact points for hitting inside versus outside pitches. What’s your opinion on how you should set up your Tee for working both of these locations?”

This is a great question, and this is what I got in from email. I thought, I have gotten it quite a few times, it’d be nice to just put in a post, and that when people ask, I can just send that out to them instead of having to explain it.

So, here’s the general rule in setting up Tee for the pitch depth, whether it’s inside, middle, or away. Now, I know this requires some visuals. I will take a picture (image to the right), and during this video, I will put it up, so that you can see that image while I’m actually talking you through it. Because I realized that it would be kind of tough to do that in this video setting without actually being out on the field…

 

How To Set Up Inside Batting Tee

So, on the inner third of the plate, realize that when you set the Tee up you want to be on the inside inner third of the plate.

The other thing that you want to make sure you’re doing is ‘at stride’ landing. So, all these positions are at stride landing, okay. It’s not at the start of the swing. So, you have to get your hitter at the stride landing, and then you can kind of figure out how far up, middle, or deep you want to put the Tee. On the inner third of the plate, ball is on the inner third, you want the ball to be set up whether using a BackSpin Tee or Tanner Tee or whatever Tee. You want it to be set up about six inches to a foot out in front of the stride foot, okay.

Again, lined up on the inner third of the plate. But in relation to where the foot is, you want it to be about 6 inches to 12 inches. Perry Husband actually says when we’re using the front arm shape, we’re locking that front arm out, for some players could be as much as 18 inches. So, it’s going to depend on the age of the hitter. Obviously, if there’s 7 years old you’re not going to put the ball, if you’re working in or third, you’re not gonna put the ball 18 inches out in front of them.

But maybe a high school or college or pro guy or gal you want to basically use your common sense to where you need to put that in. It might take a few swings for you to finally find that sweet spot. Because it all depends on the length, and seven-year-olds arms are definitely not as long as a 22 year old’s arm. So, in the inner third, about 6 to 18 inches out in front, of the stride landing foot.

 

How To Set Up Middle Tee

Middle third of the plate, you’re gonna be somewhere around the stride landing foot, in line with it to about 6 inches give or take, 3 to 6 inches, 3 to 8 or so, give or take.

But somewhere at middle should be around stride foot landing, or in line of the stride foot over the middle third of the plate.

 

How To Set Up Outer Tee

Now, the outer third part of the plate you want to set it up on the outer third, and it’s gonna be deeper off the stride foot. So, it’s gonna be farther back, closer to the catcher. So, you want to make sure that that’s gonna be a range. I know, you probably don’t like ranges, it would be nice for me to just say we’ll do it 6 inches from.

But it’s all going to depend on your hitter, the younger the hitter, the less the discrepancy between staggering these balls, the less distance between the contact points. Because the arm, the front arm shape or length isn’t as long as a 22-year old. So, it’s gonna be the range between 6 and 12 inches I would say, or 3 and 12 inches, just again play around with it. But what should happen is when they hit it, when they hit it optimally, they should be on, if it’s on the outer third correctly, should be going to right center field. Inner third, it should be about left center.

Again, the farther out you move it, the more they’re going to pull it off those lines. So, you want to make sure that’s kind of a ballpark of where you want to put it. Think about it this way, this is what I tell my hitters. When we’re talking depth, hitting depth, whether opposite field middle or pulling the ball is think about like a pinball machine. Now, some hitters don’t know or never played on a pinball machine, you can show them. But think about the flappers on a pinball machine, if I had the left side flapper or right-handed, if they’re a right-handed hitter.

So, if I want to hit the ball across the table, opposite field. Then I’m gonna let that ball travel deeper and then my flapper is going to hit ball deeper. If I want to pull it across the table then that ball has to be more inside or coming more where the flapper is, and that flapper has to hit the ball more out in front in order to get it to go. Now obviously, it’s a little bit different when we’re talking about a hitter in a flesh-and-blood human being, but the bat is like the flapper, and the human body is just an extension to that.

That is how you set up the Tee.

 

Using Art of Variance To Train Off Tee

Now, a couple things that you want to do when you’re working and training off the Tee. Because there are some people out there anti Tee, they are “Never Tee’rs”, never batting Tees. Working on the Tee has its place, it shouldn’t be something that you do all the time. But if you’re gonna work on the Tee, make sure you use what I call the ‘Art of Variance’. So, you want to vary where the pitch height is, and the pitch depth. Whenever we’re on the Tee, we’re on the backspin Tee, or Tanner Tee. We have our hitters, after every swing, we move the Tee up or down.

Doesn’t have to be a lot, just a little bit. Just giving them a different height to it, then what we’ll do is say a five swing round, is the odd swings, the 1, the 3, and the 5 swings, or the first three swings will actually have them swing inside. We will have the Tee set up on the inner third, and we’re moving the ball up and down. Then the last two swings, we’ll move it to the outer third, and we’ll move the swing up and down.

Then, the next round, the next round of five, we will reverse that. So, the first three swings are on the outer third moving it up and down. We’ll move it to the inner third, and then for the last two swings, and we’ll move that up and down.

So, you want to make sure that you’re varying the ball, whether it’s height or depth on the Tee when you’re working off the Tee. Because the pitcher is not going to be throwing it in the same spot every time. So, the Tee definitely has its limitations, it does not obviously simulate a moving pitch. But we can work on the Tee whether, it’s mechanics, we can work on it on getting hitters to understand pitch depth. Where you’re hitting the ball deeper, they hit at the other field, or pulling the ball, we can work on it using especially overload training is really good. We can set the Tee really high and inside, up and in. So, we can get them to work on some things with the overload bat, to get them not getting under the ball.

 

Backspin Tee v. Regular Tee Swing Experiment

So, there’s some cool stuff we can do with the Tee. Just make sure we are smarter with it, and the difference between a backspin Tee and a Tanner Tee or any of any other Tee. Because every other Tee is way different than the backspin Tee, there was an experiment I did. A swing experiment where I hit, I took a hundred swings off a backspin Tee, and a hundred swings off a regular Tee. I split those hundred swings up, I mixed them. So, I had say A, B were split in 25 swing chunks. So, I would say A, where backspin Tee swings. I would go A, B, B, A and then the last round of 100. I would go B, A, A, B.

‘A’ represented backspin Tee swings; the ‘B’ represented regular Tee swings. I took identical pictures of the cage. Then plot it, when I take some swings out the backspin Tee where the ball would go, and then I would do the same on the Tanner T.

But what the difference was, off the backspin Tee, 100 swings looked like a tornado or a tree. The swings off the regular Tee kind of looked blockish. There were some up above the top of the Tee or a top of the gate, but it was more blockish. What was interesting is the “backspin Tee effect” is what I call it, after changing from a backspin Tee swing to a regular Tee swing. The backspin Tee effect where I was still driving the ball up, lasted for about 10 swings or so. Then, the last 15 of the 25 swings on the regular Tee, I’d noticed that the ball would start to kind of drag down. Then, when I go back to the backspin Tee, would go back up again. It was just an interesting backspin Tee effect.

So, in this video, we answer reader your question:

“I have a question about contact points for hitting inside versus outside pitches. What’s your opinion on how you should set up your Tee for working both of these locations?”

I hope this video answered that question…make sure we’re swinging smarter by moving better. And before I let you go…

Juan Soto Swing Analysis Reveals How-to Of ‘Line-To-Line’ Directional Force… 

 

 

In this Juan Soto swing analysis, we’ll discuss:

  • Juan Soto swing analysis quick stats,
    Juan Soto Swing Analysis

    Juan Soto photo courtesy: MLB.com on FOX

  • Lower half sets directional force,
  • Hitting it back through tube, and
  • Catapult Loading System…

 

 

 

 

 

 

Anthony Rizzo Swing Mechanics

Like Anthony Rizzo Swing Mechanics, You Too Can Optimize ‘Line-to-Line’ & Launch Angles By “Bending The Knee”? 

 

 

We’ll be chatting about the following 4 things in the above Anthony Rizzo swing mechanics video:

Anthony Rizzo Swing Mechanics

Anthony Rizzo photo courtesy: MLB.com

  • Anthony Rizzo quick stat chat,
  • Bent front knee,
  • Sideways back foot, and
  • Spinal engine – pelvis opens, shoulders block…

 

 

 

 

 

Mookie Betts Swing Analysis: Build Massive Power For Small Sluggers Like Mookie Betts & Trea Turner…

 

 

What we’ll be contrasting in this Mookie Betts swing analysis compared with Trea Turner:

Mookie Betts Swing Analysis Comparing Trea Turner

Mookie Betts and Trea Turner photo courtesy: MBL.com

  • Mookie Betts stats on Fangraphs AND Trea Turner stats on Fangraphs
  • Catapult Loading System principlesCLICK HERE to watch this video post I did on taking slack out of the spine with the “wringing towel” metaphor…
  • Pitch-Plane Domination catcher’s glove barrel path principleCLICK HERE to watch this video post on WHY we may have barrel path all wrong…
Freddie Freeman Swing Analysis

Freddie Freeman Swing Analysis: 109-MPH Ball Exit Speeds, 455+Foot Batted Ball Distances, & 25-Degree Launch Angles Like Freeman AND Ronald Acuna Jr.

 

 

Here’s a Freddie Freeman swing analysis compare and contrast video between him and Ronald Acuna Jr.:

Freddie Freeman Swing Analysis

Freddie Freeman photo courtesy: MLB.com

  • Freddie Freeman (6-foot, 5-inches, 220-pounds) & Ronald Acuna Jr. (6-foot, 180-pounds) offensive stats at BaseballReference.com,
  • Discuss critical “line-to-line” principles Freddie Freeman talks about in Fox Sports South interview video below,
  • Best time to use “hands inside ball” cues with youth hitters,
  • Freddie Freeman using rounded back, showing numbers, staying sideways, and longer front arm shape,
  • Explanation of a long swing (not in long lead arm), but having to do with hitting the “different catcher’s gloves”,
  • Overload training to help young hitters to control their barrel, and
  • Ronald Acuna Jr. not using rounded back (neutral), showing numbers a little, and longer front arm shape…

 

“Braves star Freddie Freeman gives in-depth tutorial on how to hit off a tee” Video

If you liked this Freddie Freeman swing analysis, then you may want to take a look at this…

Pete Alonso Swing Analysis: Here Is A Method Helping Him To Crush 53 HR’s & 30 2B’s His Rookie Year 

 

Pete Alonso Swing Analysis

Pete Alonso photo courtesy: MLB.com

Here’s what we cover in this Pete Alonso swing analysis:

  • A quick look into his height, weight, line drive, ground-ball, and fly-ball percentages,
  • Look at how many Catapult Loading System principles are mixed into his swing: Finger Pressure, Stable Head, Hollow Position, Showing Numbers, Downhill Shoulders, Hiding Hands…and
  • Look at how many Pitch Plane Dominator principles are a part of his swing: Barrel Path, Distance Between Feet, Back Foot Skip, Forward Momentum…

The Bottom line?

In doing this swing analysis, it looks like there is a little room for improvement that could move the needle in the following 4 ways:

  1. Raising his line drive rate,
  2. Raising his batting average,
  3. Lowering his fly ball percentage, while also
  4. Maintaining, if not surpassing, his current level of power…

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.

 

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