Hitting Drills For Kids: How To Keep Hitters Productive At Home Despite COVID-19

 

(Correction in above hitting drills for kids video: I said this started last Wednesday, March 25th, but I couldn’t get this up in time, so the next day it was!  CLICK HERE to view Today’s Hitting Workout Of the Day – WOD.

 

Self quarantine.  “Shelter-in-place”.  Losing a job.  Tireless work.  Medical care workers, military, police and fire departments.  Sacrificing sport seasons.  Seniors in High School and College losing their 2020 year.  Politicians bickering – as usual.

I totally understand.  It SUCKS.  And I’m sorry who’ve lost a job or loved one because of this nasty virus. My thoughts and prayers go out to you and your families.  I hope and pray things get better soon.

But you know what coach?  We’re going to get through this.  Together.  Genghis Khan once said:

“One arrow alone can easily be broken but many arrows are indestructible”.

I understand the uncertainty out there.  And if you’re like my family, we have two little blessings (7yo boy and 4yo girl), running around at home.  The challenge is, we have to keep them in productive mode, or else they’re fighting like cats and dogs.  And at the same time my wife and I are juggling work from home in good ol’ shelter-in-place California.

I’m not going to lie, it’s REAL easy to keep the kiddos on their devices all day.  But I don’t believe that’s the best thing for their little developing minds.  Same is true for the teen-osaurs!

Here’s what we’ll cover in this post:

  • How to keep hitters productive at home despite COVID-19,
  • At-home hitting drills for kids challenge rules,
  • Today’s Hitting WOD, and
  • BONUS extra credit to sweeten the deal…

 

How To Keep Hitters Productive At Home Despite COVID-19

One of my online hitting lesson dads posted this Twitter “to-do” list to keep the kiddos busy at home… (he elaborates on this schedule in the comments below)

I would be honored to be a part of your at-home schedule!

 

At-Home Hitting Drills for Kids Challenge Rules

WHEN

The challenge will run from Thursday March 26th, through Easter Sunday, April 12th.  Wishful thinking is that this COVID-19 thing is under wraps by then, and things become as normal as circumstances allow.

Check-in EVERY day at about 8:00AM pacific standard time.  That day’s Hitting WOD will stay up that whole day.  PLEASE NOTE: Each day I’ll take down yesterday’s Hitting WOD and replace with today’s.  So, if you’re busy, I’d suggest stopping in and at least taking notes, so you don’t miss out.

WHAT

Each day, I’ll update this page under “Today’s Hitting WOD” subheadline with a/an:

  • Featured post,
  • Expert interview transcription, or
  • Drill video…

…you can use this as hitting homework.  “Baseball with dad or mom” as Tyson put it in his Tweet.  Each day will guide you in one of 5 areas:

  1. Building more power,
  2. Hitting more line drives,
  3. Getting on-time more often,
  4. Moving better to perform better (body work training), or
  5. Sticky coaching cues.

Like Crossfit, think of this as a Hitting “Workout Of the Day” – or Hitting WOD.

HOW

Every single day, we’ll keep it simple.  I’m just asking at least 5-minutes per day to do the Hitting WOD.

By the way, on some days, I’m going to do random giveaways.  Online hitting lessons.  An autographed copy of my Amazon bestselling book. Possibly hitting aids.  We’ll see what happens.   The more you share this on the socials, the better chance you have at winning!  Best part is, it won’t cost you a thing!

 

Today’s Hitting WOD (DAY-9)

Today’s hitting drills for kids video is one that isn’t public on YouTube.  It’s a part of my NEW secret stash 😉 The swing MUST be safe for hitters.  Learn how to protect your hitter’s lower lumbar.  Here’s the drill video…

In today’s hitting drills for kids ‘Hollow Position’ video, we discuss…

  • Purpose: protect low back,
  • Pelvis is bowl of water, and
  • Pinching belly button and belt buckle.

Hitting homework is: take 5-mins today, and work the hollow pinch.  Progress from dry swings –> tee swings –> soft toss –> then LIVE short or front toss.

 

BONUS Extra Credit to Sweeten the Deal

Hitting Drills For Kids: Swing Smarter Newsletter Monthly

30-Day FREE Trial of Swing Smarter Newsletter Monthly for a Limited Time

Before this whole Chinese Coronavirus thing picked up steam, I was working on a low-cost monthly membership called Swing Smarter Newsletter Monthly.  I will be putting a TON of time and effort into each issue.

Once per month, we’ll be offering up:

  • One training tip video on how to fix a certain flaw,
  • One or two expert interviews from “mad” scientists like: Perry Husband, Matt Nokes, Taylor Gardner, Ryan Lehr, Dr. Tom Hanson, and many others,
  • 1-month in review curated content on Sticky Coaching or Moving Better to Perform Better, and
  • Hitting aid review, how it MUST be used for success, & discounts…

The monthly membership fee was going to be $4.95 per month.  And because the low cost, I wasn’t going to offer a free trial.

Then COVID-19 hit. I think you’re gonna LOVE the Newsletter, but may not be able to afford the commitment right now.  So, sign up to grab access to Issue #1 at no-cost for 30-days, then after 30-days you’ll be charged $4.95 per month thereafter.  No upsells.  Just one more email per month with the goodies.

But wait … there’s more! (sorry, that’s my favorite part on infomercials)

I’m sweetening the deal even more … on month two, if you pay the $4.95 for issue #2, but the Newsletter doesn’t live up to the promises, then I’ll refund you, cancel the membership, and you can keep Issue #2.  No worries.  No questions asked.  No hard feelings.

However, if you absolutely LOVE the Newsletter, then by all means, stay on board.  Every 30-days, you’ll receive one email with a new issue.

Please note: I WILL NOT be offering this 30-day free trial again.  After Easter, it’s gone!  Click the button below to grab access to Swing Smarter Newsletter Monthly

Albert Pujols Hitting Mechanics

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

 

 

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

Albert Pujols Hitting Mechanics

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

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

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

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

Tee Drills: Adam Eaton Speaks High Inside Pitch Approach Truth

 

 

Tee Drills With Adam Eaton

Adam Eaton photo courtesy: MLB.com

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

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

 

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

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

Mike Trout Hitting Golf Ball: Same As Baseball Swing?

 

 

Mike Trout Hitting Golf Ball at Top Golf

Photo courtesy: MLB.com

What we go over in this Mike Trout hitting golf ball compared to baseball swing video:

Let’s get started…

 

“…rear leg is slave to middle of body” Mike Trout Hitting Golf Ball Quote

 

Shifting Foot Pressure

A couple recent posts I’ve done complimenting above video…

 

Catapult Loading System – BIG-3

Recent posts I’ve done on this topic…

Matt Chapman Swing Analysis

Matt Chapman Swing Analysis: Metrics, Shifting Foot Pressure, OK Head Movement, & When Barrel Enters Zone Matters…

 

 

Hey, what’s going on it’s Joey Myers from the Hitting Performance Lab.  In this Matt Chapman swing analysis video post, we’re going to go over a few different things…

Matt Chapman Swing Analysis

Matt Chapman swing analysis photo courtesy: MLB.com

  • We’re going to look at Matt Chapman in FanGraphs – put a little context to him,
  • Talk about shifting foot pressure,
  • Forward momentum and whether head movement is OK,
  • Getting shorter and staying shorter,
  • And then we are going to end with Barrel Path – being on time versus out in front.

Let’s get started…

Part of this Matt Chapman swing analysis is looking at the context of his numbers and metrics.He’s about six-foot two hundred and twenty pounds. In 2019, he had 36 homers, 36 doubles, hit about .249 the year before. Hit .278 with 24 homers and 42 doubles.

A little moderate on the strikeout versus his walk ratio. It looks a little bit more like a three to one type ratio. And if we look at his batted ball totals, 15.5 percent line drive rate in 2019, the league average is 20 percent. So that’s a little bit below average.

His ground ball percentage, 41.5, League average is about 43 percent. So he’s right about league average there.

But you can see here in his fly ball percentage 43.1 Percent, he’s well above average there, average is 37 percent. So definitely something there, to get the ball out of the air a little bit and more on the line drive level.

His home run to fly ball ratio is 19 percent. So it’s actually pretty good. Well above average at 9.5 percent as the league average.

 

Matt Chapman Swing Analysis: Shifting Foot Pressure

All right. Let’s take a look at shifting foot pressure in this Matt Chapman swing analysis, but before we get there…

I want to give context to a couple of the pitches. We’re going to look at three different at bats on three different nights. And with this pitch here from Bartolo Colon, you’re going to see it’s a way out or third. And the pitch speed is about 89-mph, possibly some sort of slider, maybe, that he keeps on the outside corner.

The plate over here, we can see that it’s still outer third, maybe a little bit closer to the middle than the pitch before. 84-mph, probably some sort of change up or slider.

Let’s take a look at the swing here on the left first. We’re looking for shifting foot pressure. And what we want to see up until stride landing, is we want to see foot pressure on the outside of the front one, we want inside of the front one.

And then what we’re going to see is, we’re going to see that switch and over here on this swing, you can see that that toe almost picks up a little bit as he’s transitioning from the outside to the inside. Here you can see the switch happening, swing and transfer.

Now we’re going to switch to inside of the back foot, outside of the front foot. And you can see on the back big toe on that big toe knuckle back here that he is staying on that back big toe knuckle to keep that foot pressure.

And then you see the front foot on the outside portion of the foot. Now, this swing over here, you’re going to see a similar thing happen where he’s going to be more foot pressure on the outside, inside of the front foot as that front foot approaches the ground. You’re going to see this shift happen where you might see the bottom of the foot, slightly. Where it kind of peels off where the pressure transfers from inside to outside.

This time, instead of the back big toe knuckle, you’re seeing it more to the inside of the back, big toe. The third swing in this Matt Chapman swing analysis was located down and in 85-mph. Maybe a cutter or slider down and in.

And you’re seeing the same type of foot pressure where it starts outside the back foot, inside the front foot, till about right here. And then we start to see it shift over and the sides reverse. So, we go inside the back foot, outside the front foot.

A little too much focus is being put with coaches, nowadays, on this back knee, and trying to keep it inside the back foot, where I think an easier solution would be to work foot pressure with hitters.

And this is something that they can just do in the room. They don’t have to hit off of a tee. But I’ve seen hitters that over rotate their lower half, young ones, almost miraculously start looking like Matt Chapman with his shifting foot pressure … when they start doing the shifting foot pressure.

 

Forward Momentum – Is Head Movement Okay?

Now let’s talk about forward momentum and head movement. A lot of coaches out there don’t like to see head movement at all. In this Matt Chapman swing analysis, you’re going to see that him, much like many others, have head movement.  Head goes forward and down. Some just go forward.

What we should see is this forward and down or just forward. Let’s take a look here on the left. You’re going to see the head move from the top back circle to the bottom forward circle.

And then the other important note here is that at landing, the head stops moving, and should stay within that circle there. A lot of times with younger hitters, we see their head move outside of this circle. It keeps moving as they start their turn. We do not want head movement during that turn itself. But all the way from the start of the swing to stride landing, head movement is OK.

Over here in the same, different swing, you’re going to see the same head just shift and stay within that bottom ring. But we see the head move from up and back to down and forward. And then just stay within that circle through the turn itself.

Here’s the other swing on the right. You’re going to see again head starts in the up back circle, and it’s going to end up in the forward down circle. And then from there during the turn, you’re going to stay in the middle of that circle.

Head movement is OK until stride foot landing, and then the head must stay between that circle.

 

Getting Shorter, Staying Shorter

Let’s talk about getting shorter and staying shorter. A lot of coaches out there will teach their hitters to stay tall or to get tall. The problem is, is we don’t see that in elite hitters. We see them getting shorter, staying shorter.

You take the top 50 hitters in the big leagues, the top 100, they’re all going to get shorter and stay shorter. They’re going to create space between their feet. This helps them to control their verticals or their launch angles or attack angles, however you want to think about it. They’re just numbers, they’re just metrics, that we can measure and compare hitters.

But you can see on the left, you can see in this Matt Chapman swing analysis, him drop below that second line and he’s going to stay below that second line.

Getting shorter and then staying shorter over here on the right, you can see the same thing, different swing on a different day. But it’s still the same swing, get shorter and staying shorter.

And the third swing here on the right. You’re going to see him start tall. He will get shorter and then he will stay shorter.

And you saw the difference in those pitches – the first two I showed. Now, these aren’t as synched up as that. But when we first showed, the first two pitches were more away. The last pitch was more down and in.

Barrel Path – Being On-Time versus Being Out-In-Front

OK. In this Matt Chapman swing analysis let’s talk about barrel path, on time vs. being out in front.

Now, typically, if a hitter is on time, we use the different catcher’s gloves. You can see over here is a better example. You can see where the real catcher’s glove is over here. So, we say, imagine you got the real catcher’s glove. You have to imagine a catcher’s glove off the back foot, still where the catchers at, but in line at the back foot.

And then we get a catcher’s glove that’s in line with the hitter’s belly button. Now an on-time hitter…

Outer third part of the plate wants to knock or is what we see…we want to knock this real catcher’s glove off and hit the ball deeper than the stride foot.

If the ball’s middle third, we want to knock off the back-foot catcher’s glove, if there is a catcher’s glove in line with the hitter’s back foot. In line with the straight foot as the impact point.

And if the ball is inner third, we want to knock off the belly button catcher’s glove – to hit the ball more out in front of the front foot. When the barrel enters the zone matters. And the best do this. They aren’t perfect. They tend to stay between. They usually never will go across.

For instance, if the ball is inner third part of the plate, they’re not going to knock this deep catcher’s glove off or do a deep barrel dump, and still be able to hit this pitch out in front of their front foot as an inside pitch.

The same is true in reverse. You’re not going to see them knock the bellybutton catcher’s glove off and hit a ball deeper because a barrel is not in the zone very long. So, can either be barrel in the zone too long, which is a fact, or not long enough.

We generally see them stay between the two. If the ball is middle third of the plate right down central…. sometimes we see them knock the real catcher’s glove off, but they end up hitting it more inside the sweet spot and still can hit it pretty well. I’ve seen home runs it that way.

Or in reverse…it could be, to where maybe they are a little short. Maybe it’s middle of the plate and they’re a little shorter here because they’re trying to catch up. They’re thinking maybe fastball and they end up being a little bit more on front.

So that being said, that is on time. That is optimized. Now, this view over here is a little bit angled than this one. This one’s straighter on, but he’s out in front of all these, for the most part, you can tell just from the swing itself. You can see where he makes contact…

This first one was away, was outer third was the probably the farthest away. And he’s making contact quite a bit out in front. Again, this camera angle’s a little bit skewed, but you can see just by his body how he’s a little bit more out in front of this.

Look at his barrel path. Look where the catcher’s glove is. Again, if we were more side angle, chest view, this catcher’s glove might be more in line at the back foot. I don’t think the catch will be dumb enough to be that close. I think it’s just the angle is causing that to look that way.

But you can see Alex Rodriguez, Pujols, Mike Trout, all of them would be super proud with this “swinging down” type of demonstration. This is actually happening in a game. You can see that the barrel staying above the hands a lot longer … till about right here, it levels off or slightly dips and then you get here because he’s catching this ball a little bit out in front. And he’s cutting the corner with his barrel path.

He’s not starting it back here, and then getting it to here to have a really long barrel path, like some coaches teach, he’s actually cutting the corner in order to get to this ball more effectively. This is OK.

Over here, this was the last swing if you can remember, and this was the one that was down and in. You’re going to see a similar path again … down, middle down, middle away. You want to have a deeper barrel path. But he’s a little bit out in front. He’s going to cut the corner. You can see the barrel appear blurred.

About here, you still see the white of his batting gloves and you can see everything kind of blurring up this way. Barrel above his hands here and then he’s letting it go. A little bit more out in front, but both of these swings are almost more of hitting the belly button catcher’s glove like we just talked about, even though, this one over here was away.

This one is down, which is the middle away versus middle down. We’re going to take similar barrel paths, but we’re going to be deeper. When they’re out in front, you’ll see them cut the corner.

This swing was a little bit more over the middle of the plate, but still middle away. You can see where the catcher’s gloves at. It’s well behind him. You’re going to see this is a little longer swing. He’s going to cast it back, almost hitting the back-foot catcher’s glove. A little bit more optimized on this swing, hitting it a little bit deeper, as you can see. You can see the blur of the ball and the blur the bat kind of meeting at one.

He’s hit this one about where he should be hitting it. Optimizing. Again, he probably could have been a little bit deeper and maybe he hit this one, I think, to straightaway center instead of right center field.

He could have been a little bit more optimized by going back here, but this is imperfect, timing is imperfect. And as long as our hitters are between two close catchers’ gloves there was the real one in the back foot or the back foot in the front, the belly button one, as long as they’re between there somewhere.

We we say there’s three different barrel paths optimizing three different parts of the plate, but we cut it up into two. We say middle in and middle away … middle up, middle down. And then we just allow our hitters to … if it’s middle down, middle away, then we want to be between these two catcher’s gloves back here.

If it’s middle in or middle up, then we want to be between the back foot and belly button catcher’s gloves.

Remember, in this Matt Chapman swing analysis video post, we went over a few things…

  • We looked at Matt Chapman in FanGraphs,
  • Talked about shifting foot pressure,
  • Forward momentum and whether head movement is OK,
  • Getting shorter and staying shorter,
  • And then we finished with Barrel Path – being on time versus out in front.

I hope you like this Matt Chapman swing analysis video post. Make sure that you’re swinging smarter by moving better, like our YouTube channel, like this video, share on Facebook, Twitter.

And before I let you go, I got something for you…

Francisco Lindor Swing Breakdown: Metrics, Big-3 Power, & Wrist Snap

 

 

Francisco Lindor Swing Breakdown

Francisco Lindor swing breakdown photo courtesy: MLB.com

Hey, what’s going on? It’s Joey Myers from the Hitting Performance Lab.  In this Francisco Lindor swing breakdown video, we’re going to go over three different things…

  • The first thing we’re going to do is are going to look at his metrics according to fan graphs,
  • The next thing is the big three in the Catapult Loading System, and
  • And then the last thing we’re going to look at is when the wrist snap happens…

 

Francisco Lindor Swing Breakdown: the Metrics

Now, let’s take a look at some of the stats and give a little context to this Francisco Lindor swing breakdown. You can see he is a smaller hitter, smaller slugger, 5-foot, 11-inches, 190-pounds. He switch hits.

You can see down here in 2019, putting his power in perspective… He’s hit 32 homers in the last years prior, 38, 33. That was 2017. And the video analysis swings we’ll look at in this video are from 2017.  He’s hit about 40 doubles or so in those last three years or the last four years. 30 doubles in 2016, and hits about .284.

And if we look at his batted ball totals as in line drive percentage, ground ball percentage and fly ball percentage…line drive percentage in 2019 was just about average – 20 percent is league average – ground-ball rate is average, league average is 43%. Fly ball percentage is just slightly below average at 36.6%. Average is about 37%, but pretty close to league averages there.

The one thing that is above well above league average is his homerun to fly ball percentage, which is 17.4%. And you can see the prior year 17.3, then 14.0, then 9.9, and 13.0 are all well above average on the 9 or 9.5% of homerun to fly ball ratios as the major league average.

So let’s start with the big three in the Catapult Loading System in this Francisco Lindor swing breakdown. You have the lefty at bat over here and the righty at bat over here. Let’s give a little context to these pitches in the at bats. This is the second one over here.

We’re going to look at the pitch speed, 88-mph. Some kind of breaking ball, maybe a slider, and this one he hit for home run into the right field bleachers or right center field bleachers, over here on the right his righty at bat.

He’s a little bit out in front. We have a 79-mph, probably a slider here. That he pulls in the five and a half hole.

 

The Big-3: Catapult Loading System

OK, so what I referred to as the big three and the Catapult Loading System is the build more consistent power in a swing. There are three buckets. Two, our systems, the different systems we teach, that’s one of them.

The second one is the pitch plane domination system. And that’s all about how to hit more line drives and the reaction time mastery system, which is all about footwork, vision, tracking and timing.

This Francisco Lindor swing breakdown video, we’re going to be going over the first system, the power systems, the Catapult Loading System. I refer to the big three as “showing numbers”, “downward shoulder angle”, and “hiding the hands”.

What you’re going to see here, I have both of these swings synced up, on the left, the homer, on the right, the ball that he was a little bit out in front he pulled into the five and a half hole for a ground ball base hit.

“Showing Numbers”

You can see that if we rewind to the beginning. And just so you know, the camera angle in center field is slightly off center towards the left or left center. It’s in center, but slightly towards left. And that is going to show any kind of right-handed batter as showing their numbers more than the left. So just understand that this isn’t a complete apple to apples comparison, but you’ll still see the difference in their starting positions and their landing positions.

You can see here, you can’t see Francisco Lindor’s number really on the left, and you can start to make it out a little bit here on the right. Again, probably because of off centered camera in center field.

As the pitcher starts to get into the windup, gets ready to release the ball, you can start to see over here on the right … again, with our camera angle, you can see that #12, pretty clear as day at this point.

And what I want you to do is, again, with that skew with the camera, watch the pinstripe. If we put a dot in these spots, as you’ll see Lindor pull in more with the pelvis almost similar to the Javier Baez swing analysis that I did a few weeks ago, you saw Baez extremely turn that pelvis in. And my argument is that we don’t have to do that…

See here that that pinstripe you can’t see any more on the right side, but on the left side you can still see it. Again, we get a skewed camera angle, but it didn’t move quite as much on the left as it did on the right. So, this is something that Lindor actually doesn’t have to do and might be closing himself off just slightly. But nonetheless, you can see you can pretty much make out almost the full one in the two.

I used to teach showing numbers as showing both numbers are showing at least a number and a half, evolved it more to where we want to create neck pressure. If we create neck pressure, then the hitter should be showing their numbers. It’s more of an objective measure of showing numbers because every hitter is different. Their mobility in their neck is different.

In this Francisco Lindor swing breakdown, you can see his head really anchoring down for it in a tracking position and he’s moving his shoulder underneath his chin as far as he can, creating a wringing towel effect between his head and his shoulders. And he’s creating this neck pressure at the T1/C7 vertebrae in the spine, just like wringing a towel out. And he’s creating that neck pressure, which as a result will show his numbers.

And also, could be on the right side since he possibly is inward turning his pelvis a little bit more. It could be why he’s shown his numbers a little bit more besides the camera angle. So that is the first of the big three, showing numbers or creating neck pressure.

“Downhill Shoulders”

The second of the big three is the downhill or downward shoulder angle. It’s the hitter dipping their front shoulder down, creating this downhill shoulder angle that you can see with this back elbow in this Francisco Lindor swing breakdown. You can see his back elbow, if you create this line, not quite as much over here on the right, he doesn’t raise that elbow quite as much as on the left.

And granted, too… If you look at his at bats in fan graphs, he has a lot more at bats, probably 60 plus percent more on the left than he does on the right because he’s seeing probably more righties than he is lefty pitchers. So, you can see he’s probably little bit more grooved on the left anyway. And his power numbers show it. He’s got plenty of more homers on the left than he does on the right. But again, that reflects the amount of plate appearances as well.

He has this downward shoulder angle on the right. He’s not using his back elbow as much. We do use back elbow with the hitters to steer the shoulders down, but not all hitters will click with that. We’ll just tell those hitters that they seem to for telling him to raise the back shoulder at landing. Then what tends to happen is their hands start to balloon up and rise up. We don’t want the hands to get up past a certain height. We want to make sure that their hands are in it in a decent, more comfortable position around the shoulder height – back shoulder height to be able to launch from.

So, if the hitter is having a hard time by bringing that back elbow up, like you see Francisco Lindor over here on the left, then what we’ll tell the hitter to do is just lower the front shoulder.

He’s creating neck pressure, which is showing the number, this is a protraction of the front scapula for you movement nerds out there, you kinesiology nerds out there, and he is creating this downward shoulder angle so that his shoulders can actually flip.

You’ll see the front shoulder pop up in the back shoulder that’s up will go down as he gets to the swing here. You see a complete reversal of that. And we should see in the follow through, we should see a complete reversal again back to almost where his right shoulder on the left over here.

So this front one ends up, starts down, pops up, and then should end up back down again over the other shoulder. And the reverse is true. Over here on the right, we see the left shoulder start down, pops up, and then it should end up back down again, which you see here. That is a proper deceleration of the spinal engine.

“Hiding Hands”

The last piece of the big three is hiding the hands from the pitcher. So you can see the hands here from the left. You can see slightly the bottom hand on the right. And then you’re going to see those hands disappear. You’ll see them reappear back behind his head, on the right, on the left, not quite so much. You see them disappear behind his head. But again, we’re talking about a different camera angle here.

And some call this the scapula row or a rear scalp retraction for the kinesiology nerds back there.  We should see both a protraction of the front scapula, which is showing the numbers/neck pressure.

And we should also see a retraction of the rear scapula. We see both. We do not, especially in hitters like Lindor, who are 5’11”, 190 pounds. We do not see the ones that hit for power anyway. We do not see them only retracting the rear scapula and not showing their numbers, or not using neck pressure. We see both.

It is very hard for a hitter the size of Francisco Lindor to hit 30 homers a year for the last three or four years, without showing numbers and just doing the rear scapula retraction.

Not going to happen.

So those are the big three as it is to the Catapult Loading System, showing numbers, downhill shoulder angle, and hiding the hands. Now let’s check out the wrist snap…

 

Wrist Snap

A lot of young hitters, what they tend to do and there’s quite a few hitting instructors out there that are teaching this deep barrel dump and to “chicken wing” with the front elbow, 90-degree bend as it comes through impact.

The problem is, and this is what I’m seeing with both the hitting instructors and the hitters of the hitting instructors, and even in some of my hitters, as we train this out of their swing is, they create a lot of space between their front arm and their chest as they’re coming through.

You can see this was the pitch that was middle in that Francisco Lindor hit a homerun on to right. You can see how tight he keeps this barrel, and we talk about the belly button catcher’s glove

Imagine a catcher’s glove in line with the hitter’s belly button and a catcher’s glove in line with the hitters back foot. This is important when it comes to pitches middle in and middle up because we want to be knocking off those catcher’s gloves and not knocking off the real catcher’s glove was back here.

But you can see in this Francisco swing breakdown. You can see him, his barrel entering the attack zone at the back-foot catcher’s glove, he’s actually a little bit late here, he ends up speeding it up with his wrist snap.

But what you’re going to see is almost like there is a wall happening here… And he’s going to get to this wall… And his hands are going to stop moving forward.

What we see with young hitters is we’ll see these hands continue forward and they end up way out over here, chicken winging with the elbow and their arm, front arm drifting far away from their chest, which we don’t want to do if we want a proper transfer of body to barrel to ball force.

We’re going to see the best hitters will stop, their hands will stop moving forward at a certain point, which you see is right here. It’s like the hands hit a wall and we have a wall drill for this, a wall turn or a phone booth drill that we use to help the hitter out with this, plus a wrist snap position.

You see, as he releases into the back foot catcher’s glove, you’re going to see him pivot. Imagine a red laser coming out of the knob and you get a green laser coming out of the barrel of the bat. And we see at a point where he’ll flip it, he’ll flip the red laser for the green. But you see this wrist snapping. Some may call pronation.

As he gets through this ball and you’re going to see post impact … both arms get extended, full extension. Both arms. Power V. This isn’t the power V that was taught about a couple of decades ago to happen at impact, that’s not what we’re trying to do.

This is the power V that happens after impact, and with a proper transfer from body to barrel to ball we should see this passed impact.  But it uses a combination of the big three of the Catapult Loading System and the wrist snap. At one point, the knob has to stop moving forward linearly and has to let the wrist snap and pronate with the top hand.

Make sure that we’re swinging smarter by moving better … Like this video … Subscribe to our YouTube channel … and before I let you go…

Anthony Rendon Swing Analysis: “Getting Shorter & Staying Shorter”

 

 

Anthony Rendon Swing Analysis: Get Shorter, Stay Shorter

Anthony Rendon Swing Analysis photo courtesy: MLB.com

Hey, what’s going on, it’s  Joey Myers from the Hitting Performance Lab.  In this Anthony Rendon swing analysis, we’re going to go over a couple of things…

  • Inward turn of the pelvis pre-stride touchdown?
  • “Hip slide” as a stride technique,
  • Shifting foot pressure, and
  • Get short, stay short…

Transcription of above Anthony Rendon swing analysis is what follows…

 

Inward Turn of the Pelvis Pre-Stride Touchdown?

First off, I wanted to show a pitcher’s view and talk about how really insignificant the turning in of the pelvis is. I have Javier Baez over here on the right, and I’ve done a swing analysis on him where we talked about this.  Anthony Rendon is over here on the left.

You can see the difference in how much that they turn their pelvis in or don’t turn their pelvis in. And my argument is that we really don’t need to do that. We talk about putting the hips on a skewer … where the skewer goes through the hips towards the pitcher and that the hips slide on that skewer.

The only time they can come off the skewer is during the actual turn itself as the pelvis starts to open. But we don’t want to see it come off the skewer, by turning into the skewer before that, which we see Baez doing over here. You can see both butt cheeks pretty much from there, which you really only see one butt cheek over here with Anthony Rendon.

I wanted to start this off and show you this view and just take my word for it … there are many swings here of Anthony Rendon, who’s doing the same thing in all of them. It’s not just because this pitch is inside.

 

Anthony Rendon Swing Analysis: “Hip Slide” as a Stride Technique

Now, one thing I wanted to highlight, in this Anthony Rendon swing analysis video is the hip slide as a stride technique. And what you’ll see here is Anthony Rendon really doesn’t have much of a stride. You can argue here that maybe he’s got a little bit of a toe tap where he kind of sets the foot out there. He’s got his weight at about a 60/40 type of position. And then what you’re going to see is his hips slide forward on that skewer. And then he’s going to start his turn.

I have some hitters that do this, and that choose to do this especially with two strikes or when they’re facing somebody, a pitcher that’s got above average velocity, and that is OK. The stride in our system is not meant for power. In the stride, I argue for any hitting system doesn’t really contribute much power to the swing. You might get a half a mile per hour ball exit speed with a longer stride versus no stride. But a stride’s main purpose is timing.

If my hitters are getting on time more often or they’re comfortable with their timing and their stride, then we don’t touch anything. However, if they’re having a hard time with their timing and they have a high leg kick, then we may experiment with the toe tap or we may experiment with this hip slide style.

 

Shifting Foot Pressure

One thing I want you to check out in this hip slide is the shifting foot pressure, no matter what the hitter is using as a stride type, whether it’s a leg kick, medium or high, a toe tap, a hip slide, or a slide step.

Does it really matter?

You’re going to see them using shifting foot pressure. We should see in the beginning before the turn happens, before the hitter starts turning, and we should see foot pressure on the outside part of the back foot and the inside part of the front foot up until the start of the turn.

As you can see here, this is the start of the turn here. He’s starting to load and take slack out of his system. And then you’re going to see that shifting foot pressure go to the opposite side of what he started with. You’re seeing on the outside here is going to shift to the inside of the back foot and it’s going to shift from the inside of the front foot to the outside of the front foot.

Oftentimes you see hitters, some hitters more than others, where you can see the bottom of their front foot because they’re on the outside or on the fifth metatarsal of the foot – the pinky bone in the foot. You see the bottom of their foot as they do it. Now, this isn’t a teach. I don’t talk about doing more or less than that. Typically, when the ball is closer to the hitter, you’ll see more of the bottom of the foot. They’ll be more on the outside part of the front foot.

And if the ball is more away, you’ll see the foot a little bit flatter. Now, in this Anthony Rendon swing analysis, you can see that he stays pretty stable, pretty grounded with it, the sole of his foot, although it can be argued that he is definitely on the outside part of his foot, but more of the bottom than other players.

So this is the idea of a hip slide. It’s OK for hitters to use, especially facing high velocity pitching, or maybe a two strike approach. But the objective of this is, if you’re going to use a hip slide, minimal stride, minimal feet off the ground. The objective is to get on time more often. It isn’t about gaining power, or taking away power. It’s a timing mechanism.

 

Get Short, Stay Short

In this Anthony Rendon swing analysis, I’m going to show you a couple of swings exemplifying him getting shorter and staying shorter or getting low and staying low.

The benefits to this are when the hitter gets taller, as some coaches teach, getting their hitters to get tall or stand tall or stay tall or whatever. What tends to happen is, it pulls the hitter up on the plane and the pitch. They tend to hit the ball on the ground more, and if they are a little bit more mindful about their batted ball outcomes, and they are hitting more ground balls as they’re swinging, getting taller…

What they’ll end up doing is they’ll compensate by using their hands more to get under the ball. We don’t want to do that. We want to let the hands just swing. We want the body to get the barrel on the plane of the pitch.

What you’re going to see at the start of the swing, even with a hip slide, you’re going to see him drop below that bottom line. At the start of his turn, this is a typical at stride landing position, so if a hitter wasn’t using this hip slide … they were using a slide step or leg kick or whatever, you would see the best hitters drop below the starting line.

Or maybe if they’re more crouched like a Victor Martinez was, he’ll start at this bottom line and stay under. This line down here. So, you’re going to see he doesn’t really pick this back foot off the ground. He just kind of goes to the toe, shifts his weight against a braced front side, which is “a” OK.

As long as there is a shift going on there, of the center mass, we’re not squishing the bug or putting out a cigarette butt.

But you’re going to see him stay below this line. So, he’s going to get short. He’s going to stay short. And he’s using his knee action. He’s using the distance between his feet to do this. Players that tend to skip too much, they skip their back foot six inches will end up taller above this line. And as they’re swinging, they’re getting taller.

This messes with vision and tracking. It messes with them getting on the plane, Anthony Rendon even actually gets lower during his turn. You see him getting lower and staying lower.

Here’s another at-bat you can actually see from the beginning. You can see this hip slide toe tap, staying shorter principle where he’s starting at his head setting the top line. Then you’re going to see him set that foot out there. And he is going to, what we’re going to talk about it in a minute, he’s going to sit into this back hip, or his back-hip pocket.

Then you’re going to see him as his hip slides before his turn happens. You see him sink below the bottom line and he’s going to stay short or stay under that bottom line. Now, we talked about the neutral position that his pelvis, or hips, start in versus Javier Baez earlier in this video. You can see that here. And then what he’s going to do as he gets that front foot out there is, he’s going to sit and sink.

A couple of things we work on with hitters…

Sometimes our hitters will, as they stride, will straighten this back leg and will make them taller, obviously. Wherever they start, they’ll end up above the line. Well, what we do is there is something in there that that hitter is trying to take slack out of this system, trying to create and hunt and seek out stability to be able to move from as they move into their turn. And they will straighten this leg out, which there is stability in straightening the knee out. And also, possibly going into kind of a hip extension where you come out of a hip hinge, or an athletic position.

We want to promote or encourage our hitters to be in more of an athletic position, which you see in this Anthony Rendon swing analysis. You can see that’s what he’s doing. One thing we do is take this back toe … instead of it pointing straight at the plate or perpendicular to the plate. We turn the back toe in slightly, which now gives the hitter a little bit of hip torque in the back hip.

The second thing that we do is, as you’re seeing Anthony Rendon do here, is you’re seeing him sit or sink into this back hip or back hip pocket. He’s just kind of like there’s a harness going over the back butt cheek. So, for a righty, the right butt cheek, and for lefty the left butt cheek.

Maybe they might feel that they’re pinching their back groin a little bit, but they should feel like they’re bone in their butt is peeking out of that back-butt cheek, they’re sitting into that harness back there and it’s not a rotating inward of the hip. We saw that at the beginning of this video comparing it to Javier Baez.

We saw Anthony Rendon not inward turn his hips. He sat into his back-hip pocket. That’s more like what we’re trying to do. We’re trying to keep the hips on the skewer.

You see him sit. He goes from this kind of neutral position and then you see him take that stride and you see him sit into this back hip, which creates an environment of taking slack out of the system.

You turn that back toe in, creates back hip torque. And now we sit into that back-hip pocket and now we’re all ready to go with the pelvis.  Again, not an inward turn. He’s just sitting into it. It’s more linear, but in a diagonal fashion, it’s not back towards a catcher, but it’s kind of more behind, in line with the hitters back butt cheek.

Here it is again. Anthony Rendon swing analysis. You can see the getting shorter, staying shorter.  He starts at the top. He gets out to that stride, that 60/40 weight distribution, you can see this back toe turn slightly in. You can see him sit or sink into that back-hip pocket. It’s like he’s sitting down on one side of his butt cheek.

You’re going to see him move as he’s getting close to the turn. You’re going to see him move under the bottom line and he’s going to stay shorter and stay under the bottom line.

What’s also interesting to note here is this pitch is in and up, in or up, in and or up, and you’re going to see the barrel path… He’s not snapping it backwards like you see a lot of coaches doing. And teaching. It’s okay to snap it backwards… when we’re talking pitches middle away or middle down.

What he’s doing is he’s imagining that there’s a catcher’s gloves set up at his belly button and he is knocking that catcher’s glove off.  In order to get to this pitch, which is middle in and/or middle up. At a higher speed, this is how we catch up or how the best hitters catch up to pitches depth wise that are closer to their eyes and faster.

All right, last swing in this Anthony Rendon swing analysis, you can see, again, all the principles. In conclusion of this video, you’re going to see him maintain his distance between his feet. He’s going to start at the top before his swing starts, he starts to turn. He’s going to drop below the bottom one by maintaining the distance between his feet is going to help him to get shorter and staying shorter.

You can take a PVC pipe with your hitters. You can set it at about their nose level and have them practice getting shorter, staying shorter by using their knees. We also don’t want them to skip too far. We tend to like the one to three-inch skip and it all depends on how tall the hitter is and how young the hitter is. We maintain the distance between the feet. We use the knees.

You can see Anthony Rendon using his back knee. Even though the front knee gets straight, which some hitters like Anthony Rizzo, Cody Bellinger, Adrian Beltre … they tend to on pitches down in the zone, will keep this front knee bent and won’t actually get it to straight. But they’re also using their knee action to stay shorter, to stay below the bottom line.

 

How To Train Hitters with this…

And how do we do this? How do we train this into our hitters by taking this back foot, turn it slightly and towards the pitcher to create some hip torque back here. We are going to have the hitter sit or sink into that back hip. They’re going to feel like a bone is sticking out of their back-butt cheek.

And they’re going to ride that feeling up until their stride landing position. It also might help by using shifting foot pressure, getting the hitter to understand that they’re going to start on the outside of the back foot, inside of the front foot. And as they approach stride landing and about this point, you’re going to shift it to the opposite side of each foot. Outside becomes the inside of the back foot and inside becomes the outside of the front foot.

And this is an easy way to practice this. They can just do it in the room by just standing sideways like they’re hitting, grabbing their thumb, their top hand thumb and practice, shifting back and forth, back and forth, back and forth.

Again, in this Anthony Rendon swing analysis video, we talked about:

  • The hip slide as a stride technique,
  • Shifting foot pressure,
  • The difference between Javier Baez and Anthony Rendon and how they inwardly turn the hips pre stride landing or they don’t, and
  • The benefits of getting shorter, staying shorter, what to look out for distance between the feet, minimal to zero skip …
  • Using the PVC pipe…

…make sure that you’re swinging smarter by moving better. And before I let you go, please like this video on YouTube, like our YouTube channel, and check this out…

Javier Baez Swing Analysis

Javier Baez Swing Analysis: Why Inward Turn Of Hips Is Wasted Movement…

 

 

Hey, what’s going on it’s Joey Myers from the Hitting Performance Lab, and in this Javier Baez swing analysis, we will cover:

  • Fangraphs metrics,
  • Over-rotation of low half during pre-loading phase,
  • Amazing C/T spine mobility (neck pressure), and
  • Barrel tilt…

Here’s the transcription from the above video…

 

Javier Baez Swing Analysis FanGraph Metrics

Javier Baez Swing Analysis

Javier Baez photo courtesy: MLB.com

Let’s get into the fan graph metrics. As you can see here, look at the six foot, hundred ninety-pound Javier Baez in the swing analysis we’ll be looking at in 2019. You can see his line right here. You can see a .281 batting average, 38 doubles, four triples, 29 homers, and you see a big giant balloon over here, one hundred fifty-six strikeouts and only twenty-eight walks.

Now, if we look at his line when it comes to ground ball, fly ball, line drive percentages, and his fly ball home run ratio and his pull and hard contact numbers, we look at his line drive rate being eighteen point one. You can see his averages over the amount of years he’s been in the Bigs is 19. So, a little bit down from his average.

You can see his ground ball percentage was up quite a bit, fifty point three, which was down in prior years as low as 44 percent and 37.3 percent.

You can see the average line drive rate is 20 percent or so. So as long as they’re around 18 to 22 percent, that tend to be about league average. The ground ball percentage, league average is about 43 percent or around 40 percent. You can see he’s well above average on the ground ball percentage and fly ball percentage typically floats around 37, 38 percent at league average.

So you can see he’s below well below average when it comes to the fly ball percentage homerun to fly ball ratio, the percentage at 24.4, league average is around 9 to 11 percent. So, if he gets the ball in the air or his fly balls, the percentages of his fly balls going out are almost 25 percent.

What’s also interesting to note is if you look over at his soft percentage contact medium and his hard contact percentages, you can see that his medium actually outweighs his hard percentage contact. Some interesting things going on from this Javier Baez swing analysis, might shed a little bit of light on that.

But I thought interesting to note that his hard ball contact percentage at 37.4, you can’t see it on the screen, hard contact percentage. And then you can see as medium here is 44.6.

 

 

Over-Rotation of Lower Half During Pre-Loading Phase

All right. Let’s get into the Javier Baez swing analysis, and the breakdown of his mechanics. Let’s give this a little context. This is a two thousand nineteen swing, I think, in May or so. And this pitch looks like a ninety-one mile an hour slider that ends up, as you can see in the K zone in that lower outside quadrant. And he hits this one out to right center a little bit more towards center but right center.

One thing I want you to take a look at is over rotation of the lower half. This is something I think Ted Williams said in The Science of Hitting. And a lot of instructors out there will take this to the extreme. And they think that by turning the pelvis in towards the catcher, so imagine a hitter’s belt buckle turning in to face the catcher. Like there was a flashlight coming out of the belt buckle and that you’re shining the flashlight at the catcher to get the hips some momentum.

Now, I think this is wasted movement when it comes to function of the spinal engine. Not my opinion, but if we look at springy fascia, the spinal engine, what we want is we want to see this front shoulder … we’ll get a chest view here in a second … we want to get this front shoulder to go down in and towards the back hip. And we want this back shoulder to move away from this front hip.

When you move the pelvis in or you move the front hip bone in along with the shoulder, is that now the hip and the shoulder are chasing each other instead of doing the opposite in what we would find in a wringing towel type of scenario, whereas one hand being the shoulder, the other hand being the pelvis.

We’re seeing a lot of these coaches that will say if and when the pitcher shows you his back back pocket, then you show them yours. This is clearly what Javier Baez is doing in this swing analysis. You can see him really showing his back pocket versus this neutral position that he starts off in, really rolls in with that hip.

Now, if we take a look at another hitter, Khris Davis of the A’s, this is the 2018 swing of his. But he actually steps in the bucket a little bit. You’re going to see a little difference to the hip positioning. Khris Davis really doesn’t waste any motion pulling that belt buckle, this flashlight on the belt buckle, trying to shine it in the catcher’s eyes. He actually keeps it in a neutral position and steps out. Into the bucket.

What both of these players do really well, and I think, Khris actually does better than Baez is because of the lower half over rotation in the pre loading phase of the swing before stride touchdown, we see Khris will keep his hips in a neutral position … but will use this neck tension, which we’ll talk about here in a second to counteract. And he’s really good, Khris, at going the other way, where he hits this one. This is a 94 mile an hour fastball somewhat up in the zone. And he hits this to straight away center.

He does very well going to the opposite field, even though he’s stepping out now, I wouldn’t advise young hitters to do that. And we have a stride drill that fixes getting the stride more in line.

Khris makes this work because of the way he uses his spine. Here’s a chest view of Javier Baez swing analysis, it’s a little angled here, but you can see that kind of over rotation of the pre loading, pre loading phase of the pelvis, the lower half versus what Khris Davis was doing.

You can see him really coiling up with the lower half, which he really doesn’t have to. And you’re seeing the what I was talking about is taking this front shoulder down and in towards a back hip and we should actually see this front hip move away from the back shoulder.

When you bring that front hip in, you’re chasing the back shoulder instead of moving away from it, which that’s how springy fashion works, how we load the body like a spring or a catapult. And we want to bring that front shoulder down and in which he is doing. But when you turn the pelvis, it’s almost like the corresponding shoulder is chasing the corresponding diagonal hip bone.

Now, if we look at Khris Davis on the same swing, you know, this view’s a little bit more chest view than the angled version we’re getting with Javier Baez. But you can see that that hip stays in neutral and then you’ll see him bring his front shoulder down and in towards the back hip and you’ll see this front hip move away from the back shoulder.

Some people might call this the scap load that is covering this line here, this diagonal line to scap load. But we also that’s a retraction of the back scap. What we should see is a protraction of the front scap or the front shoulder moving down and in. So, we’re going to see the hitter’s numbers when the hitter does that. We should see both moves, not just one. And you’re seeing Khris Davis do this very well because he keeps his pelvis in neutral.

You can see here and just lets his upper half preload and let his lower half just do what it does and let it open as it does to take the rest of the slack out of the spinal engine.

And one more quick thing before we move on from this in this Javier Baez swing analysis … as you can see, as he coils up him in Davis, pretty much end up in the same spot, at landing. Look at where his pelvis is at landing. So, it’s almost like he gets a running start with his pelvis. I don’t think it really relevant because we’re getting the same effect with the bounce effect with Davis as we are with Baez. It’s just I think Baez’s closing himself off more. And I wouldn’t teach this to young hitters.

I wouldn’t over rotate the pelvis or turn the pelvis inward towards the catcher to landing, because at landing, you see he’s in the same position. And as long as he’s getting his neck pressure, which will be transitioning to here, as long as you get into neck pressure, he’ll be wound up top. And then once the lower half starts to open, as he starts to swing that rest of that slack, will get taken out and then everything will go as it’s supposed to.

Amazing C/T Spine Mobility (neck pressure)

Now, let’s talk about creating neck pressure. The idea of this is like wringing a towel out except for one hand represents the head, the other hand represents the shoulder. So, the hand’s turn in opposite directions. And what we’re trying to do is it’s not so much about how much of the numbers the hitter shows, although Javier Baez in the swing analysis, you can see you can see everything. If he had a triple digit number, you could see three digits on his back. You can see his back elbow. You can see all the way across the shoulders. If he had a 20-word last name, you could see it from armpit to armpit. You can see pretty much everything, almost his rear oblique. You can see because he’s shown his numbers so much.

Whereas we look at a Khris Davis on this one. Similar, but not quite as turned in because he’s not turning the pelvis in. He doesn’t have to. He can create this Catapult Loading System just by keeping the pelvis in neutral and let the pelvis open when it does. He needs to create that bounce with the lower half, create that neck pressure up top.

You can see that he’s locked in, his head is anchoring a tracking position so he can track the ball and keep vision on the ball. It’s not this idea of what some of these coaches call “false separation”, which when these coaches show on video, what false separation is there over rotating the upper half. Now, we don’t want to over rotate. We can’t lose sight with the back eye. And that’s not Davis here. Maybe he is. He is clearly along with Baez. They are clearly showing their numbers, showing their last name. You can see that is clear as day.

There is a pro attraction of the front scap. There’s a retraction to the back scap. You’re seeing both of those things happen in two different hitters on two different teams. And what both of them do are doing and having common is they are wringing the towel out head and shoulders. The head creates an anchor point. Their shoulders rotate under the chin as far as they can while creating this neck pressure in the T1 (Thoracic section of spine, vertebrae-1) and C7 (Cervical section of spine, vertebrae-7) area.

So there’s like a two, three-inch area that if the hitter does this right, they create that pressure there with the head anchored with the shoulder pulled under as far as it can do. And they’ll feel this pressure up until the turn and they can go from there. That’s taking slack out of this system early. If this doesn’t happen, there is going to be compensation somehow in that there may be a front shoulder pulling out early. There might be a barrel that’s dumping deep and early into the zone to try and hurry up, get the barrel to the ball.

But above all, hitters must, even hitters as young as eight, nine, 10 years old need to feel that pressure if there is going to be power the minute that pressure is taken off between the head and the shoulders, that is when we’ll be letting air out of the balloon.

The reason that I’ve moved to more of a neck pressure, creating neck pressure versus showing numbers is that every hitter is going to be different when it comes to their mobility in their neck and their thoracic spine or their shoulders being able to turn the head this much as much as Baez or Davis. Davis isn’t quite as much there. Maybe it’s just with Baez because he’s inward rotating his lower half. It’s allowing him to turn more.

I think that again, hinders it can take our vision and tracking off the ball if we do this with younger hitters, what Baez is doing. So, I would recommend more of what Davis is doing, albeit without the stepping out part of it. But we want to create the neck pressure. That is the rule. That is the principle, the movement principle, the wringing towel principle to the Catapult Loading System in spinal engine, springy fascia.

It is not so much to show both numbers. The numbers will probably show, but it will depend on the hitter’s mobility in their neck. So, every hitter might be different.

 

Barrel Tilt

One last thing in this Javier Baez swing analysis is the barrel tilt. There are some coaches out there that like this barrel till where you can see where Baez tilts the barrel towards the opposing batter’s box or kind of off towards first base and to get the barrel momentum going into the swing.

Now, this might be something that Baez needs to do because he is rotating that lower half inward towards the catcher. And to get some barrel momentum is going to help him to get around, especially on pitches in pitches up in the zone.

I don’t teach this per se. I don’t think it’s a bad or good thing it can be a bad thing. If they tilt too much and I think Baez in the past has tilted too much and it’s got him in trouble, it causes more of an uppercut type of swing. I’ve had hitters that do this and they hit the ball in the air more often than the hitter that doesn’t tilt the barrel this much.

We’ve seen Donaldson from I think it was 2013 to 14. He was tilting too much and we saw his fly ball percentage go up and his batting average go down. So, I would not really mess with this too much as long as we are creating that wringing towel effect between the head and the shoulders, creating the neck pressure.

And we are what I like to tell my hitters is to act like there’s a skewer going through their hip bones that is keeping him on a straight line, keeping hip bones on a straight line towards the catcher. And they just slide along that skewer until the front foot hits the ground and they can turn out of it, but they can’t turn into the skewer up until landing … has to stay in a neutral position and they manipulate the neck pressure at the top to create the tension that we need to be able to instantaneously swing the bat and increase our ball exit speeds.

The barrel tilt is just not something that I would teach my hitters. I would let my hitters do it. But if it’s affecting their fly ball, line drive, ground-ball ratios and we would definitely change it. Now, I hope you like this Javier Baez swing analysis. Make sure that you’re swinging smarter by moving better.

And before I let you go…

Longest Home Run Ever “Principles” May SURPRISE You…

 

 

Longest Home Run Ever? 696-Feet!

Photo Courtesy of: SmarterEveryDay YouTube channel

But before analyzing the longest home run ever ‘principles’, I want to share a few important resources…

Some of you may remember first reading Physics Professor Robert Adair’s book The Physics Of Baseball.  Think of the above video as the “engineering” of baseball – ahem, hitting specifically.  Many of you know our motto here at Hitting Performance Lab and HOW our hitting approach is different than most out there …

We apply human movement principles that are validated by Science, to hitting a ball … (unlike the willfully ignorant ‘bro-science’ approach to hitting).  

Another good longest home run ever engineering principles book resource is The Golfing Machine authored by Homer Kelley, who was an aeronautical engineer that worked for Boeing during the Great Depression.  He fell in love with golf and applied engineering principles to the golf swing, which were meticulously described in the book.

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

The SmarterEveryDay YouTube channel is a MUST subscribe.  They’re a bunch of engineering geeks that put together fascinating experiments and tests that challenge things like the longest home run ever (above) to the backwards brain bicycle.  Their videos are very entertaining, funny, and extremely informative.

What I have for you below are time marked bullet points I found interesting in the above longest home run ever SmarterEveryDay video.  Big THANK YOU to the golfing sensei, and my good friend, Lee Comeaux for the share…

  • At 1-min, 25-sec mark, he acknowledge the “Launch Angle” craze, their focus is to “…point at the fence and swing a bat as fast as we can.”
  • Safety first kids!!  These guys took many many safety precautions when running this experiment defending against batted balls (200+ mph!), broken flying wood and metal bats, or even broken shards of machine.
  • At 2-min mark, they discuss how they setup the scenario for higher probability of moving ball hitting moving bat
  • At 2-min, 45-sec mark, talked about who these guys are and 3-phase power, “…dads who love to build things.”
  • At 4-min, 40-sec mark, discussed how wood bat broke during first phase of experiment, “tension” break
  • At 5-min, 45-sec mark, 2nd phase of experiment, metal bat broke off at plastic knob (slo mo at 6:40), and flew 581-feet!!
  • At 7-min, 45-sec mark, interesting to note the imbalance of the “Mad Batter Machine” when one of two metal bats break off…think about a hitter that isn’t counter-balancing their body when swinging (e.g. breaking one-joint rule – rear ear closing in on rear shoulder during turn, OR shifting weight during stride, then continuing to go forward during turn – lunging).
  • At 10-min, 15-sec mark, fantastic frame-by-frame of bat ball collisions – ground-ball, high fly-ball, hit too early … as power was turned up, they started breaking bats … crazy how much fun these guys were having doing this.  I’m so envious!
  • At 11-min- 35-sec mark, talked about fastest ball exit speed being Giancarlo Stanton (123.9-mph), one hop double play grounder to second baseman, their pitching machine was throwing balls at 50-mph, while their high speed bat was hitting batted balls at 240-mph!  This goes to show pitching velocity isn’t the best predictor of batted ball distance (1-mph of added pitching velocity only adds 1-mph to ball exit speeds) … bat speed is (1-mph of added bat speed adds 4-mph to ball exit speeds).
  • Thought experiment … imagine if these guys angled the Mad Batter Machine in an extreme downward or upwards plane – what would happen?  I think this experiment would take them months, not days.  Think about it, a couple engineering guys, didn’t care about the ‘Launch Angle’ craze, and just angled it to where it’d hit the majority of balls … hmmmm, let that sink in 😉
  • At 12-min, 10-sec mark, history of longest home run ever tape measure shots: Mickey Mantle – 565-feet, Babe Ruth – 575-feet, and Joey Meyer – 582-feet (no immediate relation :-P)
  • At 12-min, 45-sec mark, they show the longest home run ever… (full power!!!)

Top-10 Most Popular Hitting Performance Lab Blog Posts Of 2019 (both Facebook & Twitter)…23 Of Our Most Popular Hitting & Sticky Coaching Social Media Links In 2019

  • #10: Teach: How To STOP Hitting Excess Of Ground-balls & Fly-balls – Perry Husband long form video interview discusses: “How do I get my son to stop hitting an excess of ground-balls (or fly-balls)?”, How swing intention is great, but its benefits can be suppressed by physical limitations, The key ‘tinker & test’ learning principle helping hitters learn faster, Why a hitting coach’s job is to eliminate their job, And much more!
  • #9: How To Turn A Beach Towel Into A Hitting Demonstration – short video is great way to help coaches and players understand taking slack out of the system, demonstrating the power of the spinal engine.
  • #8: Why You SHOULD NOT Teach Hitters To Hit Homers? – Perry Husband long form video interview discusses: Formal Introductions, Perry Husband & Joey Myers FB Jam Session #1 Carlos Pena and Boston Red Sox hitting coach phone conversation for segment on MLB Now Show, Bro-Science v. REAL Science, How to know who/what to follow, Demystifying Launch Angles, and Q&A…
  • #7: How To Use “3-Dimensional Hitting” To Optimize Timing, Using All Fields, & Launch Angles – The target rich environment of pitchers throwing into barrels results in ANY hitting approach being effective.  But what happens when the target rich environment disappears?  Read more…
  • #6: Discover Where An Elite Hitter’s Secret Weapon Is Found – short video discusses how most coaches understand the function of bones and muscles in the body, but don’t understand springy fascia. Simple demo you can use with hitters to help them understand the role of springy fascia…
  • #5: How To Make Teaching Proper Weight Shift In Swing More Understandable To Hitter – Perry Husband long form video interview answering: “Making teaching of proper weight shift in your swing and more understandable to the hitter?”Perry Husband & Joey Myers Hitting Jam Session #3, 1000’s of swing experiments confirm benefits of releasing backside: higher Ball Exit velocity, better ball flight, and swing consistency, How to fix hitters that over stride, Why ‘force plate’ studies DO NOT mean a darn thing, unless they correlate these two critical metrics, And much more!
  • #4: 5,000 Swing Experiments Validate Locked Out Lead Arm Is Superior To Bent – Perry Husband long form video interview discussing: Instructors confusing what “casting” is and is not, What if only fastball Mike Trout gets is what produces the 80.8-mph avg. BES, would that change his offensive stats? Hitter using bent lead arm comes at a cost, “Deep barrel dump” – great barrel path for down/away pitches, but TERRIBLE for up/inside pitches, And much more!
  • #3: Reaction Time Versus Timing (What’s The Difference)? – Quick 4-minute demo video coaches can use to teach their hitters the difference between reaction time and timing. Can timing be taught?
  • #2: Belly Buttons, Center Of Gravity, & Quick Way To Solve A Flat Bat – One of my favorite 3.5 minute hitting demonstrations helping hitters understand the need to stack the bat’s “belly button” above theirs. A flat bat at landing can cause 3 negative swing flaws, and how to fix…
  • #1: Is “Swinging Down” Okay Since Alex Rodriguez Said So? – Perry Husband and I do a hitting analysis of Alex Rodriguez’s hitting hitting analysis, and did he come off disconnected from describing the elite swing?

 

Top-13 Most Popular Non-Hitting Performance Lab Sticky Coaching Links From Our Facebook Fan Page…

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Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!

And before I let you go, please take 1-minute to enter for a chance to win an autographed copy of our Amazon Bestselling hitting book…