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Does Miguel Cabrera Hit Backwards?  Common Mistake #3 (of 4)…

 

Miguel Cabrera REVEALS Torque Timing

Photo courtesy: MLB.com

The third installment to the Hitting Backwards: 4 Common Mistakes Hitters Make video series, stars 8-time All-Star & 2-Time AL MVP Miguel Cabrera.  I’ll show you how hitting instructors get torque timing wrong, causing reciprocal inhibition to occur in reverse.

In this Miguel Cabrera video, we’ll look at:

  • Why walking mechanics hold the key to repeatable power,
  • Whether we should land front foot closed or open?  And
  • Why the timing of torque is important.

Thanks to Bob Hall from Canada for the subject of this video blog article.

 

Walking Mechanics: Key to Repeatable Power?

The following “compression signal” sequence is according to Dr. Serge Gracovetsky’s spine engine mechanics:

  1. Left front leg heel strike – compression signal travels up the leg into the pelvis telling it to open to the right,
  2. The signal continues up the spine into the shoulders, telling them to counter-rotate (left), and
  3. This is why your opposite arm and leg come forward at the same time.
Walking Mechanics

Photo courtesy: WalkezStore.com

Land Front Foot Closed OR Open?

Ryan Braun Front Toe Open

Photo courtesy: OnMilwaukee.com

Big guys like Barry Bonds and Miguel Cabrera land closed (less than 45-degrees). Small guys such as Ryan Braun and Jose Bautista tend to land open (more than 45-degrees).  Which way is the right way?

4 reasons to keep the front toe open (minimum of 45-degree angle):

  1. Joint Connection – Toe closed? So is knee and pelvis.  The compression signal travels fast after heel strike, so pelvis must be in neutral (or parallel to the plate) in order to open without friction,
  2. NO Separation – If toe, knee, and pelvis are closed after compression signal, then front shoulder has to compensate by flying open the same time as the pelvis.  This doesn’t engage our elastic energy systems.
  3. Compensation is Inevitable – We find the closed toe in hitters like Barry Bonds and Miguel Cabrera just end up peeling or jumping open anyway at or shortly after contact.  So why not get the toe out of the way to begin with?
  4. Pitchers Land Open – And also if you look at Olympic Throwers and Shot Putters, they all land open before they throw or “put” their objects.

 

Why the Timing of Torque is IMPORTANT

Jose Bautista Front Toe Open

Photo courtesy: OttawaLife.com

Torque timing in the swing, also known as shoulder-pelvis separation, is often cued wrong.  Instructors often yell, “Fire the Hips!”  In high level swing mechanics, we find the hips (or pelvis) does fire first.  But, the timing coaches cue on is all wrong.  Shoulder-pelvis separation occurs before the front heel touches down, NOT after.

If you missed the following parts to the Hitting Backwards: 4 Common Mistakes Hitters Make video series:

  • CLICK HERE for Common Mistake #1 featuring Ryan Braun
  • CLICK HERE for Common Mistake #2 featuring Adrian Gonzalez

Stay tuned for Common Mistake #4, where we debunk whether the friction-free swing is pushing or pulling the backside through

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Joey Myers

I’m a member of the American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA), the International Youth and Conditioning Association (IYCA), and the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR).I’m also a HUGE supporter of the Positive Coaching Alliance (PCA).

I’ve spent 11+ years in the corrective fitness industry, and have too many alphabet-soup certifications to bore you with.I also played four years of Division One baseball at Fresno State from 2000-2003.

It’s NOT how you study, but what you study that counts.I apply human movement principles (or rules), validated by science, to hitting a baseball and softball.
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20 replies
  1. Disco Inferno
    Disco Inferno says:

    Joey … you’ve been saying for a long time that the hitter needs to ceate tension (separation) by ‘over-rotating’ their upper half. As you said in this presentation … that is built right into the stance and doesn’t need to be done after heel plant. If a player tries to create tension after heel plant by firing the back hip before the shoulders, they’ll be lucky to hit a ball 200 feet, unless they’re using a tin bat and have really strong arms. They’ll also have to start their swing earlier. The cues you are giving here are spot on son! What happens at toe touch is the hips go, due to the front foot opening, at the same time the back elbow slots in. Guys that keep their front foot closed at foot contact are guys that dig their heel in and spin on their heel – or roll over onto the outside of their foot. They usually drop their hands in a bit earlier as well, but that’s for another day. Bautista opens his hips a millisecond before his foot even hits the ground. He’s turning it as he’s coming down – so he’s doing it in mid air when there’s no reststance. Most players do this (in fact … there are very few who don’t). The ‘separation’ that most instructors talk about is just as evident front to back, as it is top to bottom. Good work again Joey. Look forward to your next vid. By the way … who does your hair? ‘Cause if you need the name of a guy …

    Reply
    • Joey Myers
      Joey Myers says:

      Bob, awesome comment! I forgot to mention, as you did, that Bautista and others start opening their pelvis before the front foot even touches down. You da’ man! Also, thank you for spurring this video. The “real” timing of separation needed to be said because a lot of instructors out their are stuck on the old, “Well, Bonds closed his front foot!” mantra. When we look at the science, a different story is revealed. I’m glad you love my hair styling…one day, I’ll have flowing goldilocks like Bryce Harper 😛

      Reply
  2. Ryan West
    Ryan West says:

    Really enjoy the information you’re putting out Joey! I’ve recently fallen in love with baseball again after a 20+ year hiatus (brief j.c ball) when my 9 y.o. son began playing. Trying to digest it and put it into play through my son (and admittedly, myself!). Thank you for cutting through the clutter and misinformation. We look forward to forthcoming information.

    -Ryan (Visalia, CA)

    Reply
  3. Joe
    Joe says:

    Joey,

    You said above that “Shoulder-pelvis separation occurs before the front heel touches down, NOT after.”

    A question: Does the front hip begin to open before toe touch, at toe touch, or at heel plant?

    Joe

    Reply
  4. David
    David says:

    Joey;

    I’ve been seeing what you have documented in this article in slow motion video of hitters (ie. Joey Gallo Texas Rangers) (Blaze Jordan amateur hitter Power Showcase ) who have great range of separation in their hips prior to toe touch/heal plant in their swing. This seems to generate a tremendous amount of power. This motion is also extremely hard to emulate without alot of practice. It also leaves a person sore as you are using muscles that are not frequently used in that sequence. It feels like this is not a natural motion for the body and has to be trained by specific repetitive motions. Are there exercises you could recommend to assist in achieving better hip/pelvis separation?

    Reply
    • Joey Myers
      Joey Myers says:

      David, it’s natural for this movement to feel unnatural to a hitter who doesn’t do it. Just like writing your first and last name in half the letters feels weird initially. But after 10 tries, it’ll take 1/3 the time to write your name in half the letters versus writing your full name. Learning new hitting movements is the same. Mirror drills are the best. Close the eyes facing the mirror like it’s a pitcher, get to landing showing numbers, open eyes, and see if you’re showing two digit numbers.

      Reply

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] studying the swings of Miguel Cabrera and Ryan Braun in particular (swings you yourself can study here and here), and talking a lot about hitting approach with Andrew McCutchen, a close friend of his […]

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  3. […] Miguel Cabrera: Common Mistakes Hitters Make #3 (Timing of Torque) […]

  4. […] missed Part-1 to the Hitting Backwards: 4 Common Mistakes Hitter’s Make video series.  And CLICK HERE for Common Mistake #3, where we look into why a friction-free hitter SHOULD NOT land with the front […]