Don’t Teach Rearward Barrel Acceleration Softball Drills Without Understanding Pitch Depth First
There are a few softball drills “gurus” out there promoting a rearward barrel acceleration, which I agree with. However, in teaching young hitters the concept over the past few years, with no disregard for pitch depth, some of my most clean hitters – mechanically – were having challenges getting to the inside pitch. Rearward barrel acceleration is good, but MUST not be a blanket teach for all pitch depths. The best hitters, like Mike Trout, alter the timing of the barrel’s release off the back shoulder. Here’s a similar post I went in more depth on this concept with many examples.
Enter the softball drills content of this video. Here’s what I tried to do in the above Mike Trout swing case study:
- Select Mike Trout home-run swings that were based off similar pitch type, location, and pitch speed,
- Same game would assume same catcher and catcher’s position relative to the hitter,
- Same camera view, and preferably the same camera zoom setting,
- Comparing inner third of plate pitch location barrel path versus outer third, and
- Same pitcher would help control timing variable.
This was A LOT to ask, so truth be told…unfortunately, not all these points are affirmed in this case study. Let’s compare Mike Trout’s 200th and 201st career homers on September 29, 2017…
- Gonzalez was the pitcher
- 86-mph FB? outer third part of the plate, mid-thigh high
- Homer to LCF
- Vincent was the pitcher
- 90-mph FB, inner third of the plate, mid-thigh high
- Homer to LF
A softball drills note on Mike Trout’s “alligator arm” swing on Pitch #2:
- Okay if late on the inner half of the plate (purpose is to barrel up ball and that’s what Mike Trout is doing on pitch #2),
- NOT okay if doing off a tee, if on-time during soft-toss, or during dry swings (basically when timing is irrelevant or minimal), and
- CLICK HERE for a recent post on how to fix alligator arms, and how to practice what Mike Trout is doing with hitting the different “catcher’s gloves”.