Discover The Back Foot Variance Drill Secret
I wanted to share a couple things in this post…
- An updated video of the Back Foot Variance Drill, and
- A testimonial from one of my online lesson dads from Tennessee (I'm in California!).
Back Foot Variance Drill UPDATED
Since putting this drill together a few years ago, I've improved on it to reflect what the best are really doing. Here's an outline of what we talk about in the above video:
- Objective: to shift body-weight into ball and un-weight the back foot,
- Squishing bug?
- Variance Drill – fix hitters who skip too much v. not skipping, and
- Options: skip backwards (scissoring).
Back Foot Variance Testimonial
I prescribed the Back Foot Variance Drill to Lawrence (Jr.) back on July 9th, along with the Babe Ruth Drill (forward momentum), and the Snapping Towel Drill (angling the body back over the catcher during turn).
Before I show you a couple BEFORE/AFTER images of his swing, please read what dad emailed me…
Wanted to sit down and let you and your readers know how much of an impact you make on players lives. The key is to listen and follow what you say.
First my background. I played at the Juco level, independent ball and amateur ball until i was 39. I pride myself on knowing the game and thought I was a pretty good hitter and taught hitting. I walked away with three amateur world series rings and no regrets on my playing career.
I have taught my son hitting since he was 4. As any parent has, I am proud of my son with probably some dad goggles on. But fact is he is a gifted physical specimen at 15, he is 6'1 and 175-lbs.
For this I'm just going to focus on the facts. He ran into some hitting issues I was having trouble correcting this Spring. But I know hitting, right? And my son still listens to me so I should be able to help him. But it was not happening, we both were getting frustrated. As a freshman he still hit over .300 in varsity. But something was off.
Then while researching, (yes people if you or your coach does not have a growth mindset do yourself a favor and go do something else.) I ran across you this Spring. After studying what you were saying and swallowing my pride I decided to have you give my son video lessons online.
Best thing I ever did for my son. We are only half way through the lessons taking our time to digest and work on what you have suggested, but here are the results. This after 3 months and 2 lessons…
My son exit velocity before you was 86-mph it now sits at 91-mph. He recently did a show case with perfect game. On the hitting metrics they use he is between the 93-98 percentile on all players they have seen. In batting practice he would routinely hit the ball 325-350 feet using wood or bbcore. He is now hitting balls in excess of 400 feet.
While taking batting practice on a high school field yesterday dimensions of 320 down the line and 370 to center he hit 16 out of 45 pitches out including 3 in excess of 400 feet. I sent you video of a game he played last night. To have you evaluate, that home-run was to dead center which was 360 feet. The ball was a line drive and landed in the road over 40 feet behind the fence.
Yes the catapult loading system works. He is hitting baseballs with a wood or bbcore bat at 2.5x his body weight. Using those bats and at his age is just as impressive as 3x body weight.
I mentioned before he is a big kid at 15. But he is still a kid, he has not begun to physically mature yet. He does not shave, no hair on chest, no definition of muscles. I fully expect to see within the year as he starts maturing he will be hitting baseballs over 500-ft. In three months working with you he has gained over 50 feet consistently. It now looks like he is on the little fields again taking bp.
Thank you for what you do and giving my son confidence moving forward, you helped a young man more than words I'm writing will ever be expressed.
Here is what he accomplished since we started using you. Named all world series team for the 15u babe ruth world series where his team finished second. Playing for 15u south east team Rawlings led team in batting average for the summer. That team went 6-1 in the wwba perfect game world series where he was named to the all tourney team.
Named all tourney to perfect game summer showdown as well. Before you he had played in three events with perfect game with no all tourney nominations. He has also been approached as a rising sophomore by a high level D1 head coach that is interested in him.
Thanks Joey for everything, and for not only being a great person to get to know, but being so knowledgeable on the scientific metrics on hitting.
All the best
Thank YOU Lawrence for such a glowing testimonial. And thank you Junior for being such a respectful and coach-able student of the game. By the way, originally Lawrence (dad) left this as an UNSOLICITED message on my phone, and I asked him to put it down on virtual paper, so I could share it with you.
Before sharing the BEFORE/AFTER images, let me address naysayer objections I frequently read on the Socials, speaking out against my book, “The Catapult Loading System: Teaching 100-Lb Hitters To Consistently Drive The Ball 300-Feet”, this email clearly dispels:
- “In High School homers virtually disappear because of BBCor bats”,
- “15yo High School hitters can't hit balls in excess of 400-feet at 175-pounds”,
- “Sure, your system may increase power, but it will be at the cost of Batting Average and Strikeouts”, and
- “This kid is just a freak [or they may use the word ‘mutant']”
All this is FAKE NEWS Coaches!!
The last one always makes me laugh…I say take me to VEGAS then, because I'm running into A LOT of mutants!! Buahahaha
And you know why homers “virtually disappear” with BBCor bats in High School?
Because many of these coaches are teaching their hitters to HIT THE BALL ON THE GROUND! Please STOP! It's insane these coaches don't want their offense to score more runs and win more games. Ground-balls SUCK for hitters! The reverse is true for pitchers by the way 😉
I have faith, “winners” will make the adjustment and not whine, complain, and come up with every excuse in the book as to why hitting the ball HARD IN THE AIR doesn't work. Sad.
Boosting Ball Exit Speed and Launch Angles is a formula folks. With hard work, attention to detail, and dedication, more hitters can achieve what we're sharing. The Catapult Loading System takes care of the former, and Pitch-Plane Domination the latter.
Here's a BEFORE/AFTER image of Lawrence's back foot skip (too much) on July 9th…
Here's a BEFORE/AFTER image of his August 25th 360-foot dinger…
Now, as you remember, we made three changes to Lawrence's swing back in early July:
- Increase forward momentum,
- Create more space between his feet, and
- Increase spinal tilt during the turn…
…so it's hard to tell which one of these was THE ONE thing that made the biggest difference. My argument for the Back Foot Variance is this:
- In past swing experiments, Forward Momentum hasn't been shown to increase Bat Speed at Impact significantly.
- Increasing spinal tilt is great, but doesn't work if the hitter's feet are close together – like a golfers.
- The greater the distance between the feet (although not too much), the more consistent the hitter can get to the bottom half of the ball.
Also, if you read this Washington Post article titled, “Bryce Harper: A Swing of Beauty”, you'll discover:
“Glenn Fleisig, an expert in the field of biomechanics, said the majority of hitters he’s studied transferred 90 percent of their weight to their front foot and kept 10 percent on their back leg at contact. Harper, of course, would move 100 percent of his weight forward at contact when his back leg lifts. That, Fleisig said, would enable him to generate a ground rotational force equal to 150 percent of his body weight.”
At Bryce Harper's current weight of 215-lbs, that would be 322.5-lbs of force transferred at impact! Any weight transfer less than 100% would be an inferior model, so that's why ‘squishing bugs' isn't optimized.
Coaches, be careful who you're following. Make sure they're sticking close to the human movement principles that are validated by science. If not, then quickly abandon ship.
Please keep me updated on your hitters' progress using the Back Foot Variance Drill below…