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”

Thoracic Extension Exercises BEWARE

Thoracic Extension Exercises: 3 Mistakes You May Be Making

Thoracic Extension Exercises BEWARE: “A Little Bit Of Knowledge Is A Dangerous Thing”Thoracic Extension Exercises BEWARE

We read an article, see a post or watch a video about a movement we must do to be able to swing, throw or lift better. One movement that we see and read about a lot lately is “thoracic extension exercises”, which is the ability to extend our spine backward in certain movements that are helpful in the launch position for hitting, swinging and throwing.

It is an absolute fact that thoracic extension is a key part dynamic hitting, swinging and throwing, almost every pro we watch does it well.

We go on the internet and search “thoracic extension exercises” and we find a few that look good. We see quotes by experts that say, “lack of thoracic extension causes injury”, which is 100% true, by the way.

We are sold, so we start out to improve our thoracic extension with only the knowledge about how to do a few exercises.  Let's explore some options…

Foam Roller

One of the most common thoracic extension exercises is laying on our back and rolling on a foam roller. The best thing about this exercise is that it is simple and relatively safe. On the other hand, since all the bones in the thoracic spine attach to ribs, it does not really do any permanent good because we just can't extend far enough back on a foam roller to completely activate and strengthen all the muscles that extend the spine.

The “Superman”

Another common exercise we can do on our own is lying on our stomach and doing an exercise called “Superman”. We lift our entire upper body off the floor with our arms out or above our head and we arch backward with our head, upper spine and lower back. This exercise may be fine for some, but there is a risk that we will aggravate the lower back if we have already had any problems in that area.

In my experience, this exercise is counter-productive because we don't want to arch the lower back anymore than it already is, we just want to arch the thoracic spine. Unless we are incredibly flexible already, most of us cannot control the thoracic movement without the lower back getting involved.

Seated Rows

Seated Rows is another exercise trainers teach as a good thoracic extension exercise. While there is nothing really wrong with the seated row for what it accomplishes to strengthen the rhomboid and some other muscles, it doesn't really target the deep muscles that extend the spine.

We can either “go with what we know” or learn “what we don't know that we don't know”.

Here is what most people, even many experts, don't know about creating more thoracic extension.

Before doing any exercise to improve a lack of range of motion or lack of movement, we need to ask ourselves these questions:

  • “What is keeping me from making the movement in the first place?”
  • “Is it just weakness in that one area or is the opposite movement so tight or locked-up that it is keeping me from making the movement?”

If we sit at a desk, work on a computer, text on a phone, read, drive, etc….we may be locked in thoracic flexion, the opposite movement to thoracic extension.

 

5 Things you MUST know about Thoracic Extension Exercises

  1. We have to first activate all movements that keep us FROM going into extension before forcing ourselves INTO extension.
  2. Not only must we activate and strengthen thoracic flexion, there are other movements we must do first that restrict thoracic extension.
  3. If we do thoracic flexion, thoracic rotation, and thoracic side bending, we have cleared every restrictor to movement for thoracic extension. Then it is as simple as strengthening that movement.
  4. Now we are good to go? Wait, there's one more…
  5. If we can create all these movements while rotating our shoulders outward and hips inward against rotational resistance at the same time, then we are golden! Not only have we accomplished every movement, we have created the stability we need in the lower back and shoulders and have also synchronized the same movements we use in hitting, swinging and throwing.

Using the RotexMotion floor models with the following thoracic extension exercises, will save you and your hitter a lot of time, effort, and pain…

[From Joey Myers] Check out this post I did on Rotex Motion.  It's been a game changer for my players, and myself!  This exercise is brand new.  If you're interested in investing in the RotexMotion floor models, then go to TheStartingLineupStore.com, pick floor models, and don't forget to…

Youth Batting Gloves - Amazon's Best

Top-10 Youth Batting Gloves: Where They Are And How To Get Them…Youth Batting Gloves - Amazon's Best

For those interested in how youth batting gloves are made, then check out this How Products Are Made article.

I often get asked by my parents and players which batting gloves to get.  There are many questions that make up a good batting glove, such as:

  • How long do they last?
  • How “grippy” are they?
  • Will the leather keep its softness after sweating in them?
  • How much do they cost?
  • How do they fit? Snugly, loose, tight?

As of this writing, here are the TOP-10 youth bee-gees on Amazon according to average star ratings, youth sizes, and number of reviews…

#10 – Under Armour Boys' Youth Clean Up 19

Youth Batting Gloves - Amazon's Best

#9 – Franklin Sports MLB Teeball Flex Series

Youth Batting Gloves - Amazon's Best

#8 – Under Armour Boys' Clean Up

Youth Batting Gloves - Amazon's Best

#7 – Easton Z3 Hyperskin

Youth Batting Gloves - Amazon's Best

#6 – Franklin Sports MLB Powerstrap Baseball Batting Gloves

Youth Batting Gloves - Amazon's Best

#5 – Franklin Sports 2nd-Skinz Batting Gloves

Youth Batting Gloves - Amazon's Best

#4 – Seibertron B-A-R PRO 2.0 Signature Baseball/Softball Batting Gloves Super Grip Finger Fit for Adult and Youth

Youth Batting Gloves - Amazon's Best

#3 – Franklin Sports MLB Shok-Sorb Neo Batting Gloves (Pair)

Youth Batting Gloves - Amazon's Best

#2 – Youth Louisville Slugger Genuine Batting Gloves

Youth Batting Gloves - Amazon's Best

#1 – Franklin Sports MLB Digitek Batting Gloves

Youth Batting Gloves - Amazon's Best

(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 glove titles and paste into Amazon directly)

Aside from this top-10 batting gloves 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”

Fernando Tatis Jr Baseball Swing Analysis Part-2 YouTube Thumbnail

Arm Bar Like This Fernando Tatis Jr Baseball Swing Analysis?

 

 

Here's what we're talking about in this Fernando Tatis Jr baseball swing analysis:

Fernando Tatis Jr Baseball Swing Analysis Part-2

Fernando Tatis Jr Baseball Swing Analysis Part-2 photo courtesy: MLB.com

  • Distance between feet – Getting to a balanced position on our stride,
  • Staying sideways with lower half – most still want to pivot on back foot instead of with the hip, and
  • Front arm shape – Arm bar a problem?

The following is the transcription from the above video.  Time stamped of course, so you can skip ahead if you'd like. And in case you missed Part-1, then check it out Here.

Enjoy!

00:38

Remember, in part one, we went over some fangraphs stats, Fernando Tatis Jr. We talked about catapult loading system principles and how he uses them in his swing. And we also talked a little bit about staying sideways there as well. We will go in a little bit more depth in this video.

 

Distance between feet – Getting to a balanced position on Fernando Tatis Jr baseball swing's stride

 

00:56

Let's talk about the distance between the feet and getting to a balanced position in the stride. First, I wanted to give you a little context between these pitches, the one on the left, I think both of these are 2020. The one on the right we talked about in part one, but this one is a low and in breaker. Slower than average pitch.

 

01:18

And then this one over here, if you remember was a fastball up and in. Just to give each context there. On the left, we'll go… there's three swings over here. The first one will be this one, and then the other two I don't have the pitchers view on, so we will look at the distance between the feet.

 

01:37

One of the things that elite hitters have in common is they get distance between their feet at stride landing and during their turn. A lot of young hitters tend to either be too narrow, don't get a long enough stride or if they skip their back foot they skip too far, creating more of narrow feet during the turn itself.

 

01:55

Elite hitters don't do that, elite hitters will create distance between their feet. It makes for a more athletic position and allows them to be able to, if they want to use their knees to get to pitches down in the zone like a Cody Bellinger or an Anthony Rizzo or Dustin Pedroia, they can do that.  With narrow feet during the turn, it's not going to happen.

 

02:16

So as this also applies to getting to balance at your stride landing, you're going to notice that in Fernando Tatis Jr baseball swing, that he is not going to be very heavy on that front foot as he lands. You can see that, and we'll get to this a little later in the video, this idea of shifting foot pressure. But if we look at this little ride or float, we like to call the float, Matt Nokes calls the ride and then the stride or the fall we call it the float in the fall.

 

02:49

You can see that there isn't a 100% commitment to the front leg yet. It's a little bit more uncommitted, feeling out, being more controlled, and there's different drills that you can do for this you can put weight on the front foot, like a band pulling the front foot forward or the band pulling the hitters body forward wrapped around their waist, and the coach is out in front pulling the bands, and the hitter's got to resist the band.  Got to resist gravity from landing too hard and heavy on that front foot.

 

03:17

But that's what you're going to see. You're going to see that distance between the foot and as he begins his turn, you will see him maintain the distance between his feet. Look out over here. Very light and hover-y with that front foot at landing. And you see there's a little bit of a glide or skip of the back foot.

 

03:46

Here's another swing.  You can see this really controlled fall, it is a fall because you will see him unweight that back leg completely with the skipping of that back foot or the scissoring into that back foot. But at first before the stride foot lands, you're going to see this very tentative with the weight. He's going to get to the end of his hip, front hip and that's going to allow him to rotate without having to shift more during the turn as he rotates.

 

04:31

A lot of hitters, young hitters, will get to landing and then they'll continue to shift forward with their hips as they're turning the barrel.  In both baseball and softball. We want to get to the end of that hip, front hip. As we land, that's it. There's no more shifting of the hip, of the weight. We should be done shifting, then as we start to turn, that head should stay still, shouldn't move anymore once a stride foot hits the ground.

 

05:07

Here's the fourth swing.  You can see this hover, he's still committing his weight forward, but it's controlled. Again, we can stand out in front of this hitter, and we can wrap a band, resistance band around their waist, we can hold the handles and pull them forward and they have to resist our pull forward, that is a way to help with this… not committing that weight 100% at stride touchdown.

 

05:37

We'll get the hip to the endpoint, which is right there. And then as the turn starts, and on this pitch Tatis is a little bit out in front looks almost like a Jose Bautista swing. But that is a way to stay balanced and making sure we maintain distance between the feet.

Staying sideways with lower half – most still want to pivot on back foot instead of with the hip

05:57

Now let's talk about staying sideways. There's this tendency for hitting coaches out there, and for usually the older kids, the younger ones that are under coached tend to do this correctly. But the ones that have been over coached a little bit will tend to want to pivot on that back foot. And these coaches are teaching them to pivot on the back foot to get the hips through. And that's not what we're looking for.

 

06:20

The hips aren't, rotation of the hips, maximum rotation of the hip isn't where power is coming from, not most of the power anyway.  The hips and the pelvis are about 33% of the equation when it comes to the spinal engine. Thoracic spine, the spine is split into three, the cervicles – the neck, thoracic – the middle, the bigger part of the spine, and then you have the lumbar is the lower part.

 

06:43

Those three sections, along with the shoulders, and the pelvis surrounding that are where most of the power is. The pelvis and the hips are a very small percentage of that, 33% or so, if you split it in three. What we see is this shifting foot pressure, you'll see where you got foot pressure on the outside of the back foot, inside of the front foot up to landing.

 

07:14

And then same over here. This is a different angle. But you can see the inside of the front foot here, can see it over on the right and outside, it's starting to shift. And then as the turn starts, the foot pressure on the part of the foot will shift completely opposite side. Back one will go from outside to inside. You can see the insides already starting to shift here on the left pane. Same thing on the right pane, you're also going to see the front foot do the opposite, it's going to go from the inside to the outside.

 

07:47

Staying sideways and making sure we get to the end of the front hip at landing. We're going to see that bowing in here. The inside of the back foot when we see kids turning that back foot. By this point, the foot is almost vertical. And they're turning what we say is with the middle of the foot instead of the inside of the foot. What we should see is what Fernando Tatis Jr baseball swing analysis is doing, one on the left you're seeing a little bit more vertical but then he pushes that heel down and stays inside.

 

08:25

Remember this pitch was the breaker the slower breaker down and in. He was a little bit out in front of this you can tell just by where the barrel is entering the zone. It's not knocking off the real catcher's glove, which is back here. It's actually between the back-foot catcher's glove and the belly button catcher's glove. A little bit out in front, over here on the right, can see the same inside back foot, you can see the front foot clearly go from inside to outside, pushes that back heel behind him.

 

08:59

The hips are for direction, not for 100% complete rotation.  That's not where the power is coming from, the hips set directional force. Here's another swing, same thing outside of the back foot inside of the front foot. You're going to see that all the way until about landing, and then we're going to see the shift happen inside of the back foot outside of the front foot. push that back heel behind them.

 

09:29

Fourth swing, outside of the back foot, inside of the front foot going to stay sideways, we're not going to pivot on that back foot. Like most young hitters do that coaches have taught him to do that. The youngest hitters 7, 8, 9… They tend to do this on their own if we don't touch them. Same shifting the foot pressure. This one he actually scissors is a little bit more out in front than he was on that first swing, and you can see big time skip and hop, don't like the hop so much, but this is just a compensation, you didn't see that in the other three swings, but he is scissoring here to keep his balance on this swing.

 

10:13

You can see our lower half, combination of distance between the feet. This allows the hitter to keep a balance into their stride by staying sideways, and in doing so, shifting our foot pressure from outside of the back foot, inside of the front foot to, during the turn inside of the back foot, outside of the front foot allows the pelvis in the lower half to control and guide our directional force.

Front arm shape – Arm bar a problem?

10:46

Alright, let's talk about is the arm-bar okay?  I hear a lot of coaches out there like to teach the adjustable swing, meaning look away, adjust in, or look in and adjust the way. And when you start facing better pitching that just doesn't work. We can't get to balls and be able to maximize our ball exit speed inside with an elbow bent at 90 degrees.

 

11:08

You'll see in the four swings of this Fernando Tatis Jr baseball swing analysis; he'll do a very good job of maintaining the shape of that front arm.  Maintaining the shape of the front arm will allow consistency in the performance of the swing. And the longer the front arm, the longer the lever is, an engineering principle, the more the force gets multiplied at the end of the lever. It's both power or ball exit speed, batted ball distance, and consistency.

 

11:40

We can get to an inside pitch, or a pitch up in the zone with a straight barred out front arm, but it's when the hitters barrel enters the zone is what really matters. It's not about the length of the front arm if it's getting locked out. As much as it is when the barrel enters the zone, and the coaches that teach the barrel to get into the zone super early, knocking off the real catcher's glove. Are going to have a hard time getting the barrel to the ball on the inner half part of the plate or getting to the ball on the middle up part of the zone.

 

12:16

But it's not because of the front arm shape, it is because of when the barrel is entering the zone. The best hitters in the world change, instinctively, we can teach it but instinctively change when their barrel enters the zone. That's another topic for another video. But let's look over here at our first swing. Fernando Tatis Jr baseball swing analysis, you're going to see that front arm shape almost from the start of the turn.

 

12:45

Again, this one is a breaking ball that was probably 80-ish miles an hour, located down and in the part of the zone.  You can see the arms fully locked out, see where the barrels at?  Barrel is tight to the back shoulder. And then you're going to start to see him unwind and release the barrel, like I said earlier in this video, is going to be somewhere between the back foot catcher's glove… If you can if you can imagine a catcher's glove in line with his back foot, and a catcher's glove in line with his belly button.

 

13:15

He releases it somewhere in the middle of those, being a little bit out in front of this ball and this ball being on the inner, the lower inner part of the zone. See the front arm shape there, is a different angle, but you can still see he pulls in just a little bit here you can see he's a little bit bent. But he works it to get in, it's very minimal. That will screw up consistency a little bit, if we have a hitter that's doing this all the time. Fernando Tatis Jr is doing this to be able to catch up to this fastball.  And this one was remember, located up and in, in the zone, a fastball up and in…

 

13:27

A little bit, but we don't see a 90-degree chicken wing getting to this ball especially at a contact. You can see that front arm shape is complete, almost completely barred out to get to this ball.  And he's got something we'll talk about another video wrist snap, beautiful wrist snap, you can see in this swing, same thing. Watch that front arm shape. From the start of the turn, you see the front arm shape, almost completely barred out slight bend can be argued with it.

 

14:25

Can see barrel’s entering the zone, again we don't have a pitcher’s view of this pitch, but you can see is entering the zone off his back foot. He's releasing that barrel off his shoulder and then slamming it into the back-foot catcher's glove, not in the real catcher's glove because real catcher’s glove you can see is farther away. But he's releasing it off his back-foot catcher's glove.

 

14:51

But look at the shape of that front arm. Got a lot of consistency there and you have a long lever so that at impact it's going to amplify the force at the end of that lever. Last swing, front arm shape, started the turn, you can see it's almost completely barred out. He's a little out in front on this one, remember, probably more out in front than the other three swings.

 

15:27

You can see the blur of the bat, is happening again, he's releasing this into the belly button catcher's glove. Because he's out in front, we'll see that on timing. When they're out in front, we'll see the barrel get released later into the zone, not early. Later. You see that front arm shape is completely barred out on this one. Trout does this too. If he's out in front, and the balls middle away or middle down, you'll see that straight up front arm, but he's a little different when it comes to middle in, middle up especially if it's something hard. Plus velocity, you'll see a 90 degree bend in that front arm…

 

16:04

But you can see boom, completely arm barred with the front arm at impact. This is going to amplify the force at the end of that lever. And because he's keeping a consistent long shape with that front arm to get to this ball, it's going to lead to some consistency. And in this Fernando Tatis Jr baseball swing analysis, those of you who have been charting him in the 2020 season, have seen the consistency throughout the season. Albeit a shortened 60 game college season. We'll see what happens in the playoffs.

 

16:38

Just a quick recap of this Fernando Tatis Jr baseball swing analysis video,

  • We talked about the distance between the feet getting into a balanced position on our stride.
  • We also went into staying sideways with the lower half a little bit more depth, because most still want to pivot on the back foot instead of with the hip, the front hip we talked about.
  • And front arm shape, is the armbar a problem?  And we saw in four separate swings that Fernando Tatis Jr. in his baseball swing does a very good job of keeping a longer front arm, which helps with consistency and batted ball distance.

Make sure that we're swinging smarter by moving better, and before I let you go…

Hitting Training: What is Directional Force?  And WHY is it Important?

 

 

This hitting training interview with Matt Nokes was pulled from the seventh issue of our Swing Smarter Monthly Newsletter.  What is that?  On a monthly basis,

  • We pick a hitting theme,
  • Write a Newsletter around the theme,
  • Give favorite hitting drill addressing the theme,
  • Prescribe corrective exercises to amplify the drill's goal, and as if that wasn't enough,
  • We also include 2 expert interviews on the subject…

EVERY month!

This hitting training post is POWER packed!!  The above video, Matt put together special for this episode.  The following is the 30-minute audio interview…

Here are some of the hard hitting training points we cover in the Nokes interview (pun intended of course):

  • What’s the Major Benefit to “Staying Sideways”,
  • What is Making the Hips Turn?
  • Dangers to Performance of Over-Rotating the Lower Half,
  • What is Directional Force?  And Why is it Important?  And,
  • Around the Zone Drill for Staying Sideways.

What follows is copy and pasted transcript from the 30-minute hitting training audio interview.  If you want to download the pdf version, so you can print it out, and highlight the heck out of it, then you can download that here: https://gohpl.com/33XxDcI

Enjoy!

Hitting Training - Matt Nokes Staying Sideways

Hitting Training – Staying Sideways image courtesy: Matt Nokes

 

Joey Myers  00:00

All right, hello and welcome to Swing Smarter Monthly Newsletter. This is your host Joey Myers from HittingPerformanceLab.com, and on with me as a special guest a special surprise Mr. Matt Nokes, former Major Leaguer, two time All Star, Silver Slugger award winner.

 

Joey Myers  00:14

And the day that I met Matt was probably three or four years ago, I was introduced, the Backspin tee bros… Taylor and Jarrett Gardner, and we were talking hitting the whole time down in San Diego. I think it's when they had the all-star game there in San Diego. And we were even talking hitting training in parking structures at the different levels. We went to a library we went all over the place. So Matt Noakes, welcome to the show.

 

Matt Nokes  00:41

Good Joey. First, thank you for inviting me.

 

Joey Myers  00:44

You got it, sir. Hey, I wanted to kick off. I wanted to talk about because we're going to be looking at the idea of staying sideways with the lower half, directional force, all that. So, I wanted to get your view, since you introduced it to me and introduced it to the backspin tee guys, what's the major benefit of staying sideways? And maybe a detriment to not staying sideways? Maybe over rotating? Which I see a lot of young hitters do?

 

What’s the Major Hitting Training Benefit to “Staying Sideways”

 

Matt Nokes  01:13

Well, I think there are several reasons. I mean, it's a whole system, right? It's your lower body. And it's been misinterpreted for so many years. Because of well, the communication wasn't necessary.  Let's just say when a major leaguer's talking to another major leaguer, they're just spouting out hitting training words that don't mean a whole heck of a lot. Or it could mean 50 different things. But they're talking to someone who's been watching their teammate. They know what they're going through. It's what they say just a little bit. They know what they're saying.

 

Matt Nokes  01:53

And so a lot of the conversation is nonverbal. And so, this whole thing of using your hips, it's just something that has been brought up to people. And if you think about it, when you're hitting, for people who haven't been hitting, or who don't know how to hit, they don't see the patterns that you and I see or that a high school, college, pro player, or major leaguer, they don't see the patterns that we see.

 

Matt Nokes  02:27

And so, the varying levels of, there's a huge amount of information that you need to know just to see certain things. Right? And so, it's what, it's why there's this confusion. And people just haven't really taken the time to, or they just didn't feel like, feel the need to explain any more. Because, as one of my good friends Darrell Evans always said is well, I can't tell you everything.

 

Matt Nokes  02:56

Like he'll explain some awesome conflict. I go, why don't you tell me that, you know, 20 years ago when we were in the big leagues? Because I can't tell you everything, because you knew.  He hit 400 or over 400 home-runs. But there were some hitting training things that he didn't question. And things that I questioned, and vice versa, I wish I would have had that information from the beginning.

 

Matt Nokes  03:22

And it's not so much that we see the patterns, because everyone sees oh, you know, that front leg straightens out at some point, that must be important. Okay, well, it kind of straightens out when you block. Sometimes it doesn't when your way into your legs.  But the point is, it's blocked, blocking. And because there's rotation, it's going to straighten out, close to contact.

 

Matt Nokes  03:54

Like everybody knows, if you ever thought about straightening out your front leg thinking that that's going to be key, that's going to be one of my adjustments. One of my adjustments, that I'm going to get three hits tonight, you know that, that would be like the worst thing to think about, right? You would leak. You would just pole vault, leak your way up and out over the top.

 

Matt Nokes  04:17

So having said that, it's not enough to see a pattern, you have to be able to go beyond that and see the model, you have to be able to model what's going on, you have to know get to see hitting training in three dimensions as opposed to, drawing triangles, you need to see the pyramid.  You need to see more of really what's happening to understand it. So, when you look at somebody hit, you see their hips turning.  It's like no, they do turn, you know, I mean, I am watching them turn, but you have to look past that and say, what is making it turn?

What is Making the Hips Turn?

 

Matt Nokes  05:03

And when it comes to, why does it turn? And when it comes to all the other comments about using the ground, which is, you hit from the ground up and lead with ground force, and it starts from the bottom and goes up, back foot turns, the back-knee turns, hips turn, in the core turns the shoulders turn, and then you swing.

 

Matt Nokes  05:26

That makes sense if it was geared that way, but it's not. Because your power source is your well, is your trunk, your upper body, or let's call it the core. But I think it's even more general than that, I think you just hit with your upper body, but you use a weight shift, and you need something to swing against.

 

Matt Nokes  05:47

Like, if you're hanging on a rope, you can't really turn.  I mean you could, but you just wiggling.  If you get your feet on the ground, then you can turn your upper body. Anybody that sat on a machine to work their core rotationally, they know that when you sit into the machine, it clamps your lower body down, or your upper body one or the other. So that you can forcefully rotate.

 

Matt Nokes  06:20

Okay, so that's the hitting training concept. If you want to rotate, you need something to rotate against. And yet, we still see the core, I mean, the hips turn, okay? Well, that's because they're attached. And at contact, you've unloaded your backside. And because you've unloaded it, of course, it's free to turn. But it's that much more important that you get in a really good position.

 

Matt Nokes  06:55

The idea of a sideways approach is, you have to get in a good position, it needs to be a consistent position. And you have to be on time. What that does is it helps you be on the ball. So that may just sound some random, random to some people. But I'll give you a hitting training illustration, or I'll give you an analogy. Let's say you're hitting soft toss from the side, I mean, directly from the side. And you know how easy that is. Now, I'm a left-handed hitter, how easy it is to crush the ball over the shortstop head.

 

Matt Nokes  07:39

The opposite way, if it's coming from the side, because you just shift right past it, you smoke it!  You know you're not supposed to pull the ball, but what happens to your lower body.  Think about what is your lower body do when you get soft toss from the side?  It firms up and is basically, it's certainly not as open as it does, from the front, or I'm sorry, like on an inside pitch.

 

Matt Nokes  08:09

So basically, it's that feeling of being on the ball. It's really important that you are sideways, in order to be on the ball. So that you're in position into a consistent position, you know how when you're hitting…let's say soft toss again, when you hit your first ball, and you think, my shoulder needs to be a little bit more closed. And then you hit it again go, oops, my hips are at position, my foot’s in the wrong position, you make those fine-tuning adjustments.

 

Matt Nokes  08:38

Well, you can do that. On soft toss because you can almost automatically manage variables, which you have to manage. Because you're in a controlled setting, it's unlikely, you back it up to 60 feet, and the same hitting training variables that you could manage automatically, without even thinking, the scenario enables your automatic mind to relate it to something you already know or to just be familiar with the motion for it to be common sense. And you can do it.

 

Matt Nokes  09:15

But when you add more variables, well then you have to make sure that your routines and how you practice, that you have those things in mind so that you're prepared to not pull off the ball. But if you do pull off, you know how to make an adjustment to position yourself.

 

Matt Nokes  09:35

And it's one last thing, it's like if you had never seen a Phillips head screwdriver, never seen it or never even seen a screwdriver. And you were showing me that this is how I'm going to hang a painting. And you found the stud finder, and you found the stud, and then you basically shorten it, you screwed it. You twisted in a screw into the wall. And then hung the painting with that wire, right? It's kind of hung and then even it up.

 

Matt Nokes  10:04

So how do you use the screwdriver? Well, there's some utility there. You know what you're doing? Because you've seen it, it didn't take a lot of examples. You're holding the screwdriver in your hand, you're like, I know how to do this. And how long does it take you to become an expert? With that movement? I mean, he says well, it doesn't take expert movement. Oh, yeah?  How does a monkey do that? Or a child?

 

Matt Nokes  10:34

Where a monkey could do other complex things. But not that, because they can't look at it and see the utility. But you and I, and everyone on the planet can be basically an expert in five minutes. Context matters.

 

Joey Myers  10:54

And you know what's unique about our sport is that we only have 90 degrees of fair territory to work with. And whereas you look at bowling you maybe it's what three and a half feet a lane and then even in golf, you can argue that you only have one degree of fair territory and 359 degrees of foul territory, because you get rewarded for the shortest number of strokes to the pin.

 

Joey Myers  11:16

One of the hitting training stories that you told was really cool on this. I don't know if it was Frank Robinson, or who it was that you were talking to. But I think you had gone away from staying sideways. And you started to like, what most coaches and young kids do is over rotate the lower half. And then you said you broke away from what you were naturally doing. And you slumped, and then you came back.  Tell that story?

Dangers to Performance of Over-Rotating the Lower Half

 

Matt Nokes  11:39

Yeah. Okay. So, I always think it's important to add empirical evidence, which is that which can be verified or falsified by your senses, or your experience, your personal experience at the highest level. My first year in the big leagues…well, anyway, I just got up to the big leagues. And it was the all-star break. And I was sitting at the all-star break with 20 home runs, hitting like .320. And like 57 RBI's, you could say I was doing well.  And I was hot. And I was young.

 

Matt Nokes  12:24

And Dave Bergman and Bill Madlock, teammates of mine, were shagging balls at first base. And I guess they were talking to each other. And they came up to me, and they said, man Nokesy, you must really feel on the ball. And I said, Yeah. Because your back foot stays sideways. And well, I didn't know what to make of that. And because I had worked that out that I just knew I was on the ball. I thought, okay, I thought they were saying, well, it's unorthodox Matt, but you make it work.

 

Matt Nokes  13:01

I get to the All-Star game. And I'm watching up on the diamond vision. That's what they called it then.  And watching the highlights and stuff. And I started to notice that that back-knee pinch.  You got to remember; I wasn't really familiar, familiar with the exact things that were going on.  And most major league guys really aren't as much as you would think.  They have a general sense. But there are things that they don't, I mean, they know what it feels like. And they can replicate because of that, and they understand that through feel.

 

Matt Nokes  13:40

I thought, man that back knee looks like it's rotating. So maybe the back foot turns too.  I'm sitting at 20 home-runs, maybe I would have had 30 or 40 home runs by now. I thought, man, I'm going to really drop that knee and kind of now they're saying you got to try the back knee, that kind of thing. It's just as bad as rotating back foot. Even though it does collapse, because…it does collapse because it's passive.  It's passive because you unloaded it, and your upper body doing the rotation.

 

Matt Nokes  14:17

And for the next couple of weeks, I focused on that I focused on my back-knee kind of collapsing and my back-foot rotating. And I didn't get a hit for two weeks. But I felt great in batting practice, I was hitting home runs, I was launching balls, as usual. And my timing was good because, so I couldn't really see the difference in batting practice in order to make an adjustment because I was crushing balls still, but I knew there was something missing.

 

Matt Nokes  14:49

In pitchers shagging were used to me hitting a certain way, actually approaching. They said something wrong. I mean, you're hitting balls well, but it's just not coming off the bat the way used to. And I agreed. I haven't had a hit in a couple weeks. And finally, Dave Bergman and Bill Madlock came up to me after a couple of weeks, because I'm sure you know, they had their own life, their own hitting training problems they were dealing with, and they didn't notice why I was going into a slump.

 

Matt Nokes  15:21

And they came up and said, what are you doing? Like, what do you mean? You've never rotated your back foot like that, ever? And I go, oh, didn't you? Didn't you say I was being unorthodox. I just thought I'd make it better. And they go, you idiot. No, that's your problem. And so, they'd have to say much other than it just shocked me so much that I got back in the batting cage, just start smoking balls, keeping it sideways. And oh, I hit two home runs that game. And then from then on, I was, I knew that that was a hitting training rule. That was a principle I needed to follow it. Even though back then I didn't really understand it.

 

Joey Myers  16:09

That is one of the, of all my young hitters from I mean, now I just work with 11 or 12, all the way up to junior high, high school, college and stuff. I don't work with any hitters lower than that. But usually the ones lower than that age, typically, if they haven't been over coached, do that naturally. They do stay sideways, right? They get coached out of it, for the most part.

 

Matt Nokes  16:32

Absolutely.

 

Joey Myers  16:33

And I would say the ones that have been coached out of it, and I'm just getting them. And it's probably about 40 to 50% of them over rotate that lower half. You talk about this idea of directional force. Talk a little bit about that.

What is Directional Force?  And Why is it Important?

 

Matt Nokes  16:47

Well, you know, it takes 8,000 pounds per square foot, or I'm sorry, per square inch into the baseball to hit baseball 400 feet. And I have no question that even High School players generate way, way more energy than that swinging a bat, that large of an arc, the sweet spot of the bat is moving, you can generate a lot of force with a baseball bat.

 

Matt Nokes  17:16

It's not that they can't generate the energies that can't direct the force. And it's going all over the place. They're not getting the bulk of the energy through the ball in one direction. And, yeah, so basically…

 

Joey Myers  17:34

Being sideways helps with that.

 

Matt Nokes  17:36

Yes, because it stabilizes your lower half, so that your upper body rotation is pure, there's no leak in it. Your energy is not going in a lot of directions. You brought up the point about, there's a lot of fair territory and foul territory. So that's confusing, because the basic 90 degrees, it's that you're hitting the ball in. There's that sliver, where you get a hit, you know, maybe 10 degrees, 36 degrees, it pretty much everything is either a popup or ground ball, right?  And then you got a lot of foul territory, it's not cricket.

 

Matt Nokes  18:18

And then you can hit a ball to the left that you thought you should have pulled, or you could hit ball the right, they just thought you should have hit the other way, or whatever it is, that can get confusing, because you don't necessarily understand right out of the box, where the direction of force should be, or you're not aware of your personal direction of force, until you experience it until you create a scenario where you can actually rehearse it.

 

Matt Nokes  18:46

Because if you get a hit, you don't think you need to go into it very much more. But if you're hammering a nail, there's going to be some consequences. The nail is going to go flying, if you don't hit it with the right force in the right direction. But with hitting, it's confusing, because you can still get a hit and lose a lot of energy, you can still hit it hard and lose a lot of energy. But ultimately, so that's confusing in itself, you hit a ball the other way, one time, you pull the ball the other time. And you think you did it right, even though you lost energy in both directions. And yet, you don't get a hit.

 

Matt Nokes  19:26

The amount of time that you're actually driving the ball consistently goes down. But you're not concerned with direction of course, because you're hitting the ball in all directions. It just gets confusing.  You don't know what's wrong, you don't know what's going on, what's wrong, what's right, what hitting training is working, what's not.

 

Joey Myers  19:44

And you have a hitting training drill, the around the world drill. You can explain that one. That's a pretty good one, I think for demonstrating what you're talking about the direction of force.

Around the Zone Drill for Staying Sideways

 

Matt Nokes  19:54

Yeah, well, in short. Every major leaguer, and advanced hitter has a feel for certain things. And if you get to that level, you figured out a way to rehearse or do a drill. So that it reinforces good habits. Good positions, good timing, good directional force, you may not be aware of it, but you just see the results, the empirical results.

 

Matt Nokes  20:23

And, yes, so the around the zone is around the world there. If you begin from the side, and you get the ball, coming from the side. There are rules, and why the rules? Well, there are rules because you can't just do the drill any way you want, there's a certain way that it'll be effective, there's a certain technique that will be effective, if you don't do it that way, you're not going to get anything out of it.

 

Matt Nokes  20:54

It's the same for every drill, every rehearsal, if you don't know what you're doing, how you're supposed to do it, what it's for, what you're doing, how you're supposed to execute it, why you're doing it, and what it's going to feel like, what feel you're searching for, then you're just wasting your time.

 

Matt Nokes  21:15

And as a young player, I remember some of my great coaches as a young player, you know, they just see me work and work and work and hit it. And I'm hitting up 300 balls into the net, and they're like, stop!  You need to be strategic when you're doing it, like, what are you trying to accomplish right here? I don't know. I just figured if I just keep hitting, it'll come to me.  No, all that's going to do is lead to a million different desperate fixes. That's all that's going to do.

 

Matt Nokes  21:45

And then I'm addressing every system, with timing, the mechanics, and your mindset.  Not addressing those, in keeping the balance between them. There are certain rules. You get a ball from the side. You want me explain it?

 

Joey Myers  22:01

Yeah. So when you say side, you mean chest on? So perpendicular to the hitter?

 

Matt Nokes  22:06

Yeah. Okay. You get, I'm a left-handed hitter. So, imagine you're in the right-handed batter's box, and then just behind it, and so you're throwing it from the side. And so maybe you're throwing it at my back hip, or that kind of thing. The way you set up the drill, and I call a drill with a ball and a rehearsal without the ball, and there's reasons for that, which I'll go into later.

 

Matt Nokes  22:31

But setting up the drill, so you're throwing on it. What I say is, okay, the arc that the ball's coming in on forms the line.  And you need to pay attention to that line, and then draw 90 degrees from that line from where you're standing Joey.  The ball's coming in at me, and then from you out to center field is, would approximately be 90 degrees.

 

Matt Nokes  23:01

And I say, okay, now where's your 45 degrees? And then as long as you hit it inside of the 45, you'll crush it with your weight, you'll get your weight into the ball, because you're shifting into the swing, and past the line that you see. And that may be complicated. Because there's a certain amount of information that you need to know to actually kind of visualize it and understand why it works like that…

 

Joey Myers  23:29

And I can include a link to your drill video too. [The following is the “Around the Zone Soft Toss Drill” video as promised:

 

Matt Nokes  23:31

Yeah, okay, yeah, I break it down. And I show you, I mean, you go 46 degrees, it's going to be a topspin ground-ball. And so, you have to address the drill, you have to follow the rule, that's the easiest way, if I'm going to give a player action steps and not just try to convince them of some hitting theory. And I was like hey, let's get into action. Let's not worry about hitting theory until you already feel what you got to do.

 

Matt Nokes  24:01

Because once you feel it, then all of a sudden, your intuition about why you're doing it, and what it's fixing will be enhanced, and you'll be able to see things that you couldn't ordinarily see. You go from the side. And so now the ball, let's say I'm hitting in that as a left-handed hitter. Initially, I'm hitting the ball, right down the left field line. And then as you work your way around, but you know, maybe at eight, eight or 10 ball down in the left field line, opposite field, because it's being thrown from the side, as long as I shift my weight perpendicular to the line and get beyond the line. I'm getting my weight to the ball.

 

Matt Nokes  24:45

Because good timing is transferring your weight into the ball on time and what you'll find is you'll gain incredible power increases because you're transferring to the ball on time, you're able to regulate that system really well and make fine tuning adjustments, and you're actually hitting the ball in the correct direction.

 

Matt Nokes  25:11

For those of you who don't quite understand it, I can give you an example of, one extreme example, if I was getting that same ball, that I would normally hit down the left field line, which is opposite field, if I'm throwing a ball from the side, I've seen guys in the batting cage, and I would walk in the cage, and they're hitting balls up the middle of that, and I walk by a coach and they say, Hey, do you see anything Nokesy? And, you know, okay, and, and then I'll take the tee and put it out front.

 

Matt Nokes  25:45

Well, they have the tee in the center of their legs, like inside, and like, behind the front foot, or between the legs, and they're hitting the ball up the middle. Well, if you got a ball that far back, you got to hit that ball the other way. But it's not very exciting to hit a ball on into the net three feet away, it's just not that exciting.  But that's the direction you need to be hitting, you need to get your weight beyond that ball, to transfer your weight in the ball, because we're talking about directional force.

 

Matt Nokes  26:19

But what a player will do is they'll run away from the ball, shift, try to stay on their back foot to clear, to give them some kind of room to hit that ball, to hit that ball up the middle.  Because they're thinking about what they're doing incorrectly, they're trying to hit a ball up the middle that they're not supposed to hit up the middle.

 

Matt Nokes  26:41

And so you just work that drill correctly. And then you start moving your soft tosser, you start moving them around, until eventually they're in the front, and you're hitting it down the right field line. And actually, when you do it correctly, you can't hook it foul. Now you think what do you mean?  You could literally have someone right in front of you. Throwing it at your front hip, he can't hook it foul. Why? Because you've got your weight into the ball and your weight is in the ball at contact, you're in line.

 

Matt Nokes  27:11

It may not even be a lot of lag, just enough lag to get that whip. It's just pre final whip. It's just pre where you rollover, it's always going to be if your weight is into the ball.  Think about it, if you don't shift your weight into the ball on time. That's a slap. That's a hook. That's called quitting. So yeah. What you're getting yourself out of is from quitting.

 

Matt Nokes  27:37

And that's what happens when someone is trying to hit a ball that's deep between their legs and trying to hit it up the middle. The only way to hit that ball up the middle is to quit.

 

Joey Myers  27:49

Got it. That's a great drill. And again, I'll add the drill video that you have on YouTube in the post. Well, hey, man, I would love to do a part two at some point, but to be respectful of your time. Where can people find you? Are there any special projects you're working on right now? Just a little bit about where people can go to get more information on you.

 

Matt Nokes  28:10

Yeah, thanks, Joey. You can go to MattNokes.com. I have courses available. And I have a free advanced hitting workshop. And after if you'd like to consult with me, there's a link at the end of the workshop. But you can also go to CallNokes.com and schedule a call with me. We figure out what's working what's not, and create a blueprint. And if I can help you I certainly will. You can also go to YouTube and find my videos you punch my name in, punch in Matt Nokes and you can find a lot of my videos on YouTube like case studies and things like that. It's been a pleasure. Thanks, Joey. Thanks for inviting me on the program.

Fernando Tatis Jr Hitting Mechanics: How To Make Contact Sound Like A Shotgun Going Off…

 

 

In the above Fernando Tatis Jr hitting mechanics video, we're going to discuss:

Fernando Tatis Jr. Hitting Mechanics

Fernando Tatis Jr. Hitting Mechanics photo courtesy: MLB.com

The following is the Fernando Tatis Jr. hitting mechanics video transcription.  After you enjoy this analysis, then check out Part-2 Here.

Enjoy!

0:05
Hey, what's going on? It's Joey Myers from the Hitting Performance Lab, and in this Fernando Tatis Jr. hitting mechanics video, we're going to go over a couple things.

0:13
First, we're going to start with a couple fan graph points of interest, and then we're going to go over how Fernando Tatis Jr. uses Catapult Loading System principles. And lastly, we're going to touch on how he stays sideways using his lower half.

 

Fernando Tatis Jr. Hitting Mechanics Fan-graph Stats…

0:30
A couple things worth noting in the fan-graphs article, as you can see that he is 6'3″, 185 pounds. I may be wrong but that's about what Ted Williams was coming into the league. You could see comparing his 2019 and 2020 seasons, obviously 2020 is going to be quite shortened and 60 games season.

0:53
You can see that with almost half of the amount at-bats, plates appearances. He's got almost as many doubles, and almost as many homers as he did in 2019, where he played in 84 games. And then you can see in his line drive, ground-ball, fly-ball rates that again, this is about half the amount of games in 2019, he played in, and then he's got about half or so that he's played in 2020.

1:24
You can see that, of course, these numbers, the data is going to be a little skewed because there's lower data points, but you have a 22.4% line drive rate league average is 20. Got 16.3 here this year, ground-ball percentage is about average last year 46.6%, or 43% is average. So he's a little bit above average. A little bit even more above average of 48.2 this year, and then his fly-ball rate has gone up from last year. He's at 38, or 30.9%, which league average tends to be, league averages about 34%.

1:58
And then he's almost about average on his fly ball percentage but increasing about 5% from last year to this year. Again, we're talking lower data points.

Catapult Loading System Principles

2:07
Alright, let's really dig into this Fernando Tatis Jr. hitting mechanics video, we're going to look at the Catapult Loading System principles. The best view for these, for most of them, is from the pitchers view. Just to give a little context to this pitch, you can see the location is about up and in, up and in part of the strike zone. And the pitch, you can't see it on the screen. I can't see it on the screen, but it's flashing a nine, here. So it's 90 plus for sure. 92. There you go 92 miles an hour.

Neck Pressure – Showing Numbers

2:34
And now let's check out and one of the big principles is showing numbers or what we call neck pressure, creating neck pressure where the head becomes an anchor point anchors in a tracking position. That front shoulder scap protraction for those kinetic nerds out there, is coming underneath the front chin, shoulder's sliding under the chin, head is holding it's anchored tracking position.

3:01
And you're going to see Fernando Tatis Jr. in these hitting mechanics, you can see him show his numbers on his back because of what that front shoulder is doing moving underneath to pass the chin.

Hiding Hands – Scap Pinch

3:14
The other thing he's doing the other big one is the scap pinch. Some of you might know it as a scap row. You can see the back elbow will peek out behind him. Again the head is at an anchor point and he is doing like a rowing motion with that back arm and scap, and you'll see that back elbow peek out from a pitchers view. Does a very good job.

3:41
We also call this like wringing the towel out, so the head is the top one and the neck, and the shoulders are at the bottom and we're wringing the towel out. The head anchors in a tracking position and the shoulders rolling beneath and their limitation… They're limited by how much the head allows them, front shoulder allows the front shoulder to come in, and then it's also about the back shoulder retracting the scapula retracting back. It's all limited by the head in the tracking position.

Downhill Shoulder Angle

4:09
The other big principle of the three big Catapult Loading System rules is a downhill shoulder angle. Now Fernando Tatis Jr. in his hitting mechanics, he doesn't really get a really high back elbow, you see some hitters like trout will do to angle those shoulders down. He actually keeps his back elbow about the height of his back shoulder.

4:32
But you're going to see this front shoulder dip down a little bit almost like we talk about to our hitters, like the alligator when greater less than signs. So the front shoulder and hip becomes a closed alligator and the back shoulder and hip becomes an open alligator.

4:50
So we want to close the alligator on the front side, so we angle the shoulder slightly down again, slightly down between 6 to 10 degrees down and that goes for both fast-pitch softball and baseball slightly down. If you do it too much, you're going to end up with a big fat uppercut, slightly down, and then we turn from there. Okay, those are the big three of the Catapult Loading System principles.

Staying Sideways with the Back Foot…

5:13
Let's touch on, see how he stays sideways with that back foot. In baseball and softball, we're dealing with 90 degrees of fair territory. So we have to manage our bodies effectively within that 90 degrees.

5:29
To do that we can't over rotate our lower half rotation is okay, at the lower back but not too much. 7 to 12 degrees of rotation is what the lower back the lower lumbar is allowed. Seven to 12 degrees of rotation. The bones in the lumbar aren't made to rotate, they're only made to flex and extend. You can check it out, research it. They aren't made to rotate. The rotation that you see is from the muscles surrounding the bones.

5:58
So we want to allow the lower half to decide our directional force or guide our directional force between the 90 degrees of fair territory. So we do not want our hitters over rotating. What we commonly see is that back foot over rotating.

6:14
But you're going to see here, in this Fernando Tatis Jr. hitting mechanics video is, you're going to see that back heel not rotate all the way over like you see a lot of young hitters do, and he'll actually push it backwards. You can see it going backwards right here. He gets it almost to vertical, and then he pushes it backwards.

Shifting Foot Pressure?

6:33
We call this at Hitting Performance Lab, shifting foot pressure. So what generally happens is we'll see foot pressure on the outside of the back foot, at this point at the stride, all the way to the touchdown, inside of the front foot.

6:47
Then when stride touchdown hits, you're going to see Fernando Tatis Jr. hitting mechanics, he is going to shift his foot pressure to the opposite sides of each foot. So where he's inside the front foot, outside the back foot. Now you're going to see him shifting to the inside of the back foot, outside of the front foot.

7:07
Simple move sideways. You can practice this in your bedroom just shifting back and forth like a dance, shifting your footwork back and forth. Each foot sideways is going to be opposite of the other, where the foot pressure is. So as the swing starts, you're going to see foot pressure outside. Again, back foot. It's going to shift to the inside of the back foot outside of the front foot. You're going to see him stay inside, see the back heel, you might see it get close to vertical but you're never going to see it pop over towards the plate.

7:40
And then you'll see him actually shift it even farther backwards behind him where we say trying to line up this back butt cheek with the back heel, see the outside of the front foot foot pressure, see it go from inside, to outside, and then the back foot… we're going from outside to inside. And then as he's swinging here, you're going to see that back he'll push even farther behind him.

8:07
You can see the bottom of his cleat here, again, remember this pitch was up and in. So you're going to see more the bottom of the cleat, especially when it's middle in possibly middle up depending on how close the ball is, you're going to see the ball or the, you're going to not see as much of the bottom of the front cleat if the ball's middle away or middle down.

8:26
But you can see that shifting foot pressure beautiful for keeping the hitter effectively between the 90 degrees of the field. Alright, remember in this Fernando Tatis Jr hitting mechanics video we talked about:

  • Fan-graphs and a few stats there and how he's 6'3″, 185 similar to the long lanky Ted Williams body back in 1938 or 39 when he broke into the league.
  • We talked about some examples of the Big Three the Catapult Loading System that Fernando Tatis Jr is using, and
  • We also ended on how he stays sideways using the shifting foot pressure and using his lower half effectively.

9:09
Make sure that we're swinging smarter by moving better. And before I let you go…