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Jaime Cevallos Part-2 Interview: What are the 3 most Important Things to Consistent Power?

 

 

In case you missed any of the 3-part series…

Here's what we're going to discuss in Part-2 of the Jaime Cevallos interview:

  • What are the BIG-3 for consistent power?
  • How do you wind up the body to deliver more force?
  • What is the Main Thing that Separates the Great Hitters from Average?
  • What are the 3 most Important Things to Consistent Power?

The following is the transcription of the above video.  You can find Jaime Cevallos at the following places:

Enjoy!

 

What are the BIG-3 for Consistent Power?How To Wind Up The Body To Deliver More Force

Joey Myers  00:06

…the application of it basically. And in the beginning, there was the big three is what I call it. So that was showing the numbers, so hitters showing their numbers to the pitcher, there was the downhill shoulder angle. So that's the side bend side of it. And then there was the hiding of the hands.

 

Joey Myers  00:20

And I know you came to kind of a conclusion about that front arm shape being barred out or even slight bend, but pretty close to being barred out. So, the hands don't necessarily they used to teach walk away from the hands, right? So that to me is translated as the hands going back towards the catcher, but it's actually should go back at an angle back where we say hiding the hands from the pitcher. So, the hands should end up at landing somewhere above or behind the back heel.

 

Joey Myers  00:49

So if the pitcher is watching this hitter, and again, go look at Mike Trout, go look at JD Martinez. Go look at Mookie Betts. Look at all these guys and you'll see them number one, showing their numbers. Number two, not all of them have a downward shoulder angle but many of them do; Miggy Cabrera, Ted Williams if you want to go back in the day, a lot of hitters in the Stan Musial, they used to say that it looked like he was a little kid peeking around the corner. Right.

 

Joey Myers  01:16

And it was that the showing numbers part of it. And you see them all hiding their hands. So, from the minute they start to at landing, you see their hands disappear. So those are the big three and what's happening fascia wise is we're taking the front shoulder, we're taking the front shoulder and we're bringing it down and in towards the back hip.

 

Joey Myers  01:37

So that gives you that slight down angle and it gets you… we've evolved showing numbers to more creating neck pressure. Because every hitter is different, you and me being a little bit older, although we do a lot of movement work on our own body so we probably move better than people our age. But a lot of hitters are different in how far they can get their head here because one of the biggest…. one of the biggest things that people hated was showing the numbers was that, well, it pulls the hitters eyes off the ball.

 

Joey Myers  02:04

And yeah, if you do it too much, but the head's got to anchor down in a position, so if I go sideways, so the head's got an anchor in a tracking position, not necessarily square off to the pitcher, but intercept where the balls coming in.  All Dr. Peter Fadde's stuff and head anchors and then we just pull that shoulder underneath as far as you can. And that's going to create some tension in the neck.

 

Joey Myers  02:28

So it's like a wringing towel, like we're wringing a towel out. So, where your head is on top, the top hand and that your shoulders are the bottom hand, and we're just wringing as far as we can. We're taking that spine, that section of the spine, and we're just bringing it as hard as we can until landing and then we just let it go.

 

Joey Myers  02:44

So it's kind of like, I call it more of a spring than some people call it rubber bands like get the rubber bands really tight and then let them go like a rubber band system. Kind of but it's more it's more spring, springy. So those are the big three if you connect the dots between what fascia is what the spinal engine is, it's easy way to think about it is a wringing towel, like you're wringing the towel, it's loading that system up and then letting it go.

 

Joey Myers  03:10

And like I said, I ran quite a few swing experiments that proved that showing numbers versus not showing numbers, you add between four to six miles an hour bat speed, and I can't remember if I did a ball exit speed one, but bat speed and ball exit speed are very similar. They're like first or second cousins. So it's very translatable. The down shoulders added four miles an hour of speed. And the showing numbers I think was three miles an hour, or one to two wasn't quite as much. The big one was showing the numbers or creating that neck pressure.

 

Jaime Cevallos  03:41

So what this does is it winds up the body so that you can then deliver more force…

 

How do you Wind up the Body to Deliver more Force?

Joey Myers  03:48

Yes, yeah, it takes the slack out of the system. So slack being a little different than what how the human body because we talked about it's more compression tension forces that's taking slack out, but it's almost like If you think about a car that goes into a ravine and then you have a Jeep with a winch on the front that you can take the cable, hook it up to the bumper of the car that's been dropped in the ravine and to pull that car out, right, so you turn the winch on…

 

Joey Myers  04:15

And if you have slack in the cable that's connected to the bumper, and you turn that winch on right away, because there's slack in the cable, it's going to just pull the bumper off, it's not going to pull the car out of the ravine.

 

Joey Myers  04:25

So what you have to do first is after you hook it, hook the bumper, is you got to slowly take that slack out of the cable of the winch line and then turn it on and it'll pull the whole car out. So that's slack versus no slack. Some people out there have been on a what a toboggan on the lake, and you've been on a boat pulling you along, and you're holding on to the ski line or whatever you hold on to the ski bar, right and they're pulling you along.

 

Joey Myers  04:52

And we had a buddy who did this with us. And at the time, I was super strong. I was lifting a lot and he goes I'm going to do it as hard as I can to you, alright do it, bring it, bring it, man. So, he got it to where he's pulling me at first. So, there was no slack in the line; line was nice and tight. And then he got me to where I started coming up to the side of the boat. So, he kind of slowed it down a little bit. And then I started kind of floating up and started putting slack in the line and then he floored it! And boom, and that I held on and there was one time I think I ended let go, but that amount of force all at once. It was a slack in the line.

 

Joey Myers  05:30

Oh my gosh. So what happens is…

 

Jaime Cevallos  05:34

You're lucky you didn't hurt yourself.

 

Joey Myers  05:36

Right? Yeah, dude, we were like 25 years old, right? ever get hurt. But that's the thing. So when youth hitters, a lot of times what I see is these coaches say, keep your shoulders square. Don't show your numbers to the pitcher for all these different reasons we can go into some other time, but they want the shoulders square. They don't want you tilting them. They don't want you turning them in. They want them square and then they want the hips to do everything.

 

Joey Myers  06:04

And so what's happening is it's putting slack in the system. Because to take slack out we just talked about is like that wringing towel, we have to wring the towel and then let it go. And that's where you get a nice powerful move, consistently powerful move, and it's safe on the spine versus the opposite where the coach wants this shoulder square doesn't want any turn it in or down or anything like that. And they want the swing powered by the pelvis or the hips, they say explode the hips, load and explode the hips.

 

Joey Myers  06:34

And what happens there is you're taking the equipment of the lower back, the set of five vertebrae is in the lower lower back, who actually are not made to rotate. They're not made to, they're not built to rotate the bones. Okay. All they can do is flex and extend. The rotation that you see is about seven to 12 degrees and this is via Tom Myers, and a pretty prominent, I can't remember his name right now, physical therapists been around forever in the strength conditioning world [Charlie Weingroff, DPT, CSCS, a physical therapist, a trainer in New York City, and is pretty high up on the human performance food chain], seven to 12 degrees of rotation is all it's allowed because of the muscles surrounding those bones.

 

Joey Myers  07:13

So that's the rotation you see is that set that seven to 12 degrees rotation, you see, is because of the muscles surrounding the bones.  The thoracic spine, so shoulders and then the rest of it that attaches up to the top of the lumbar, the lower back is made to rotate is actually made to rotate 40 degrees, four-zero in both directions.

 

Joey Myers  07:34

So I should be able to do a good moving human body can move 40 degrees to the left and rotate 40 degrees to the right. So when you employ a part of the body that isn't allowed to rotate, to rotate and to not only rotate but explode, like absolutely explode. Now what happens is we start wearing holes in the lower back, we see back spasms. We see herniated discs. 

 

Joey Myers  07:35

We see all kinds of stuff in the swings we were referring to earlier about the barrel moves the body, not the body moves barrel. So those ones that are teaching barrel moving the body, what I see in those swings is I see these hitters on Twitter where their back is arching their arching and you can almost draw for righties, you can draw a reverse C shape. And for lefties, you can draw a C shape like from their head, down their back and out their leg because they're arching so much you can see this kind of C shape going on.

 

Joey Myers  08:32

And the problem with that is extension is okay, so if you arch your back in just a normal, a normal sagittal plane like a front to back plane, like you do a lunge or squat in a normal extension is fine. An arching of the back is fine. You see a gymnast when they swing the bar when they're swinging under the bar, right? You'll see them go into a globally flexed position where their spine kind of looks like this and then as they swing through, they go into a globally arched and global just means the whole body is arch. There's not one little point that's arched, say like in my head if I went and I just dropped my head back and I went into an extended position with my neck and not using my body as well, that's that would be a local extension.

 

Joey Myers  09:17

Those aren't usually good when they're coupled with their rotation. So, when the hitter is going into an arched position, that by itself isn't troublesome. But the minute you add a rotation in with that, now, when you arch you're pushing the vertebrae together in your back when you arch. Okay, now that again isn't a big deal, but the minute you start rotating, now you're grinding and that is a problem and that's what I see when you teach hitters the barrel moves the body and to snap the barrel back way back here.

 

Joey Myers  09:51

When I see those swings, I see those hitters arching their back and turning and it just makes me want to throw up because these coaches either, they're, it's like a cat, right? Cats are either really, really smart or they're really, really stupid. And to me, it looks like those coaches don't know any better. And they're getting their information from some guy who doesn't know any better, who knows better, but he's not teaching the right thing and it's just it's horrible to see these young hitters doing that.

 

Jaime Cevallos  10:25

So, what you would say is the main thing that separates the great hitters from the average or the just the good has to do with this sort of building tension not creating slack in the torso area and the upper legs basically, of the body.

 

What is the Main Thing that Separates the Great Hitters from Average?

Joey Myers  10:51

Right, exactly. So if you go back and Ted Williams you look at Stan Musial, you look at even Babe Ruth, and not all of them have them have every single principle like they could have and they could have done better. You could even look at Tony Gwynn, right? There was an article I do that every time I put it up on social media, I said something in the article or in the headline to the effect of, could Gwynn have had more power?

 

Joey Myers  11:16

And I just did an analysis and took a look at his swing and pointed out areas where he could have maximized or optimized power. A lot of people don't like that. You know, Tony, how could you be? You know, how many hits? Did you get the big leagues in? How could you take on Tony, when you don't know what you're talking about?

 

Joey Myers  11:31

I was like, no, it's dude. It's a thought experiment. I'm not going after the guy, right. He didn't want to hit for power. Although, when he had his talk with Ted Williams, his power numbers sure went up a little bit because Teddy told him, Hey, you might want to pull the ball and own your pull field a little bit more. And that year after he had that talk with him, I think he went from like 11 home-runs a season I think he hit maybe 20 or 18 or something like that.

 

Joey Myers  11:54

But this idea that Ted Williams is probably one of the best one of the best at it, you see the showing numbers, or his in his case “the number” nine, you see his down shoulder angle. You see him hiding the hands. You see this locked out front lead arm when he started his swing.  Like he's got it all, all of it.

 

Joey Myers  12:14

The only thing I don't agree with that it's not a bad thing per se. Extra motion, is the idea where he turned his hips in slightly. So, he kind of turned the hips in like he was turning towards the catcher. And I did this read a book you know that in high school and college and stuff like that because that's where I thought power was in the pelvis.

 

Joey Myers  12:37

But if you think about, when I turn my hips in and I'm creating my neck pressure showing my numbers and I'm pulling the shoulder in well if my hips going away from my back hip, which I'm supposed to be taking my front hip and bringing or my front shoulder and bringing it to my back hip, with my back hip is going away and my front shoulder is chasing what you're continually chasing. So, you never get to that point. Right?

 

Joey Myers  13:00

So if we just keep the pelvis in neutral, so belt buckle, pointing at home plate we don't inward turn or anything, and just let the shoulders do what they do. Creating neck pressure showing numbers going into that position there. Then now we're compressing where we need to and what happens is when you inward the pelvis and we're seeing data on this, ZenoLink.com – Chris Welch.

 

Joey Myers  13:26

So he does a lot of experimentation. He's kind of physical therapist guy, and very, very knowledgeable and he's got a lot of data. He's got force plates he's got all this different stuff. And so, I had one of my online hitters went to him, Chris's on the East Coast, went to him to go through all his testing evaluation stuff.

 

Joey Myers  13:45

And Chris was saying that this particular hitter's barrel speed was super maximized behind him, which is again, the same people that teach barrel swings the body right so the barrel speed was increased or was maximized behind him, but by the time he got to impact it was slowing down. So answer that, how are we teaching something that's actually slowing down your barrel by the time you get to impact…

 

Joey Myers  14:15

And there's a couple different factors in that we can go into if you want, but that was the whole thing he was in inwardly rotating his pelvis and he was a lefty. So he was taken in rotating his pelvis in towards the catcher and then get to landing and then he would he would rotate, he would rotate back, you know the pelvis back and explode into the ball, but that was causing him to have a premature maximizing of bat speed. It wasn't helping him it wasn't maximizing his ball exit speed.

 

Jaime Cevallos  14:46

Now, so the most important thing, you mentioned three things, say those, again…

 

What are the 3 most Important Things to Consistent Power?

Joey Myers  14:54

The spine, of the spine?

 

Jaime Cevallos  14:57

Well, just that I think there were just three things that were…

 

Joey Myers  14:59

You're talking about?

 

Joey Myers  15:02

Oh, oh, oh…the three things the big three, okay, so showing numbers or create neck pressure.  If I'm here, I'm here. So, my head anchors in a tracking position, shoulder comes pulling underneath as far as I can just like you're wringing a towel out right, my head and my shoulders. I'm bringing that towel out, creating pressure in the neck. So that's number one that's showing numbers neck pressure.

 

Joey Myers  15:27

Number two is downward shoulder angle. From this view, is more of a slight down shoulder. So, it's like you're doing a side bend. So, the shoulders the back shoulder goes up, the front shoulder goes down. And with that, you don't want it to be too much. The sweet spot there is like six to 10 degrees down so it's not a lot, but what helps a lot of times is controlling where that elbow goes.

 

Joey Myers  15:54

I back this up a little bit, give you guys a little bit more room. If I can use my elbow to pull the elbow or pull the, or bring the shoulders down, steer the shoulders down. That's a way to do it. But you can also focus on taking this front shoulder down and then towards that back hip that'll help to create this down shoulder. Right.

 

Joey Myers  16:14

And what's interesting in the swing, if we want our body to accelerate and decelerate properly, is we want the shoulders to start down. And then as we swing, then they're going to tilt. This front shoulder starts down, left shoulder, and then as I swing, it's going to go up. And then in my finish, think about the Ted Williams pictures and Lou Gehrig and Babe Ruth and all these guys, how did they finish they end up finishing in this position.

 

Joey Myers  16:45

So what we should see is we should see… left shoulder starts down, pops up, and then it should end down. So down, up, and then down on the finish. You know those Ted Williams pictures where he's like, position right. It's this one, it's his left shoulder as a lefty starts, or he starts here. His left shoulder here starts up, and then it goes down. And then it finishes up. Right. So that's a proper accelerating decelerating into the spine. So that's the second thing that's the down shoulder.

 

Joey Myers  17:23

And then the last one is the hiding hands from the pitcher. One more time again. We got so if I start my swing, this way, you can see my hands and the minute I get to landing, I'm creating what you see this back elbow peeking out behind me. So that's they call it a SCAP row, or SCAP load, SCAP pinch wherever you want to call it. So that's the move there. Where now you can't see my hands.

 

Joey Myers  17:49

And now what I'm doing is this front shoulder for those those Kines geeks out there. The front shoulder is a Scap protraction so the scalp is coming in the scapula is coming this way coming across. And then my back SCAP is retracting. They're doing the opposite of each other protraction retraction, right?

 

Joey Myers  18:10

So if you watch any gymnastics, or Olympian doing a spin, ice skater, if they do a spin, that's what you're going to see. And a lot of people out there will say, Well, I like to scap pinch, but I don't want this front shoulder coming in. And like you're not, that's not how the human body works, dude, you're not getting 100% optimization out of the rotation.

 

Jaime Cevallos  18:35

So the showing numbers has been something that people didn't want to do?  I was not aware of that…

 

Joey Myers  18:41

It was and still, yeah, it's crazy.

 

Jaime Cevallos  18:45

Why did they say you didn't want to show numbers?

 

Joey Myers  18:47

Good question. The irony by the way, these same people that don't like it, swear by video, swear by video analysis. They say well we're going to look and see what the best hitters do and that's what we're going to do.  And you see them do it. You can again look at Miggy look at Ted Williams look at Trout look at just look at the top 10 power hitters right now and even in the in the day, and you see all of them do it.

 

Joey Myers  19:13

So I don't understand why they're all about video analysis, but they choose to see what they want to see. Right. So what they say is the problem they say with it is that it takes the hitters eyes off the ball, but I just talked about, we create neck pressure. The head is the important part. That's the piece that's the anchor. It's like a boat and I ask my hitters, what does an anchor do on a boat, it either stops the boat or it slows it down, right?

 

Joey Myers  19:37

So the head is the control piece. Wherever the head goes, the body follows. So the head takes a tracking position and anchors down and then it's the shoulder that comes in as far as it can while we're wringing the towel out. And that's what's going to get you to the show numbers.

 

Joey Myers  19:53

Now lefties if you watch lefties because the camera angle at Major League ballparks is slightly off center towards left field right… (To be continued in Part-3…)

Here’s A Quick Way To Help Hitters Understand Springy Fascia Power…

Most coaches understand the function of bones and muscles in the body, but don't understand springy fascia, which is:

  • A cotton candy or spider webby like material,
  • What bones and muscles float in,
  • What gives muscles their shape,
  • Made up of mostly collagen fibers (and some elastin) – ask the Kardashians,
  • To the human body as steel is to the building industry,
  • Great at resisting change in shape,
  • A material of the body that DOES NOT need much in nutrients (e.g. food) to move like muscles do,
  • An injury to connective tissue (springy fascia) can take over 200-days to heal, whereas a muscles can take only 90-days to regenerate,
  • Like the bag carrying potatoes you buy at the supermarket, whereas the potatoes represent the bones and muscles.

CLICK HERE for a post we did titled, “4 Tips On How To Train Springy Fascia”.  In the above video I use the Thomas Myers Anatomy Trains ‘snapping finger' test to demonstrate the power of springy fascia.

The Sooner You Know How To Train Springy Fascia The Better

I frequently get questions on how to train springy fascia. The following 4 tips from Tom Myers, author of the book Anatomy Trains, will help shed light on how to do just that. The following videos are NO MORE THAN 2-mins long each. Enjoy!

 

Tip #1: Varying Vectors

  • Includes tendons, ligaments, and fascial fabric of the body…not the same as training muscles and nerves.
  • Vary the vectors – difference between working on gym machines v. Rope systems, throwing things, etc.
  • Machines are good for rehabbing muscles, but don't prepare you for life's movement challenges.

How does this apply to hitters?

Tom Myers Anatomy Trains: Image of Fascia Stretching

How to train springy fascia. Image is of fascia stretching. Photo courtesy: Tom Myers Anatomy Trains YouTube

Functional training in the weight room is great for this. Squatting, lunging, hip hinging, twisting, rolling, crawling, single leg hopping, single arm pressing, horizontal pushing, vertical pushing, horizontal pulling, vertical pulling.

Training on different planes: Sagittal, Frontal, and Transverse. Some of the best environments for varying training vectors are Gymnastics, Martial Arts, Dance, Rock Climbing, Yoga, Pilates, and playing on the playground bars.

A quick tip for training this when hitting would be to do the reverse strike zone drill, where the hitter has to swing at pitches outside the strike zone, and take anything in the zone.

Also, CLICK HERE for a great how to train springy fascia YouTube resource of exercises from David Weck at the WeckMethod using the Rotational Movement Club (RMT).

 

Tip #2: Lengthening (Stretch)

  • If trying to lengthen fascia, then to be safe, lengthen slowly. Slow sustained stretching like you'd find in Yoga, this avoids damaging the fascia.
  • Fascia isn't well vasculated, meaning blood doesn't move to and through fascia very well, so repair of fascial tears takes a lot of time to heal. Muscles regenerate after 90-days, but ligaments can take over 200-days!!
  • If you want to stretch the fascia, then think Yoga or Tai Chi speeds. NOT athletic speeds.

How does this apply to hitters?

Studies show today's athletes are sitting 80% of their day, so again, Gymnastics, Martial Arts, Dance, and Rock Climbing are great counter-balancers to this reality. Long slow stretching in the mid-split, front split, and stretching associated with handstand work are great for young athletes spending a lot of time with their seat on a seat, and spilling their brain out on mobile devices developing “text neck”.

 

Tip #3: Hydration

  • Most important that fascia gets hydrated…did you know your Achilles tendon is 63% water?
  • Hydrating fascia IS NOT necessarily about how many bottles of water you drink.
  • The question is, does water get to specific bottlenecked areas of fascial fabric in the body, such as the Achilles tendon. Hydration matters – where the water you drink gets to.
  • “Squeezing the sponge” – big muscular effort helps this, Fascial rolling using a Self-Myofascial Release tool (SMR), self or professional massage, Rolfing.

How does this apply to hitters?

A couple things…

  1. Young athletes MUST drink water, how much? According to world renowned strength and conditioning Coach Charles Poliquin, take half their body-weight, add 30%, and drink that in ounces. A 100-lb player for example, 100-lbs/2 = 50 X 30% = 15 + the halved 50 = 65-ounces of water throughout the day (that's about FIVE 12-ounce bottles of water).
  2. Remember, what matters is WHERE the water you drink gets to. The best speedy recovery principle to “squeeze the sponge”? Click for this post, “Speedy Recovery? Ice Bath Benefits Not What They Seem”, and
  3. CLICK HERE for a SMR foam rolling routine video I did a few years back.

 

Tip #4: Elasticity (Bounce)

  • Stretch-shortening cycle – we stretch out the muscle to get it to contract (shorten). Fascia works the same way.
  • We can encourage and cultivate elasticity in fascia. Elasticity is a property of youthful tissue. If baby falls down stairs, they bounce. Grandma falls down stairs, she doesn't bounce.
  • Ballistic stretching. Rhythmic motions such as running, jogging, jumping rope, etc…cultivate “bounce” within a 0.8 to 1.2 second stretch-shortening cycle.  This is the opposite of Yoga and Tai Chi speeds.

How does this apply to hitters?

If you want the fascia to perform, then we have to do rhythmically bouncy movements where the stretch-shortening cycle lasts between 0.8 to 1.2 seconds. Running, jump rope, jogging, skipping, single leg hopping, etc.

I'm beginning to sharpen my thoughts on this as it pertains to the Catapult Loading System. I used to teach the hitter had an option to start in the CLS position, in the stance like Hunter Pence, then hold and maintain until stride landing. But now I'm reconditioning my hitters to do a later CLS move (during the forward momentum phase), and to bounce from that into the turn. Miggy, Trout, Khris Davis are great examples of this. As a matter of fact, most elite hitters you see using the CLS, time the move with a bounce into the turn.

What's funny is, this post has been “bouncing” around in my head the past week (pun intended), and speak of the devil, my good golfing friend Lee Comeaux recently text me a new-to-me resource for training springy fascia. It's called the Rotex Motion (YouTube channel). Some cool stuff there!

best swing in baseball

Best Swing in Baseball: Here is a Method Helping Mookie Betts – And Many Others – Consistently Crush The Ball

 

In this best swing in baseball video, we'll discuss:

  • Data and reasoning because personal opinions are seldom useful,
    Best Swing in Baseball: Mookie Betts hitting inside pitch and 'showing numbers'

    Mookie Betts (via my Twitter feed) ‘showing numbers' at landing on inside pitch…Hitting Guru #57 “should NEVER ‘show numbers' on inside pitch” objection based on personal opinion with ZERO data to back claim :-/

  • Anatomy Trains, The Spinal Engine, Dynamic Body, WeckMethod, Matt Nokes, Homer Bush, Aaron Miles, and numerous past and present professional hitters agree with CLS,
  • Objection #1: Increases Time to Impact because turning away from impact – twisting balloon analogy,
  • Objection #2: Hitter loses vision and tracking of the pitch – “back eye test
  • Objection #3: Not on inside pitches – hitting “belly button” catcher’s glove,
  • Can eat soup with spoon, fork, knife…but only one way is more effective. Teaching hitting is the same.  Apply human movement principles that are validated by REAL science, NOT “because-I-said-so ‘bro-science'”, and
  • The information is out there, so hitters will find it for themselves, either you will be able to take credit for teaching it or you won’t. Results don’t lie.

Still don't believe the best ‘show numbers'?  CLICK HERE for a post I did recently titled, “Why I Teach Hitters To ‘Show Numbers’ (And Maybe You Should Too)”.

Don't be like opinion-based Hitting Guru #57…have solid data and reasoning to back up your “opinions”.

How “Loading & Exploding The Hips” Can Be VERY Dangerous To The Lower Back…

We'll get to the above video, but first let me be clear…

I'm not saying the pelvis doesn't play a role in the swing, because it does.  However, I feel this spot reserved in the swing's sequence of movements is hyper-focused on by a majority of hitting gurus.  More and more research is saying extreme “hip thrust” or “loading and exploding the hips” can be VERY damaging to the lower back over time.  You'll see why in a moment, but for now please note that in this podcast episode, former USA Men's Gymnastics Coach Sommers says the lower back portion of the spine isn't made for a high degrees of rotation, but the T-Spine is.

Another thing I want to clear up,

We don't teach a 100% pure rotational mechanics here.  We teach a blend of linear-rotational.  Please CLICK HERE to read our thoughts on this.

In this post, we'll cover:

  • How the spine stacks up (quick anatomy lesson),
  • Does consistent power come from the ground? And,
  • Teaching hitters a safer more effective swing.

Let's get started…

 

How the Spine Stacks Up

Photo courtesy: MayfieldClinic.com

Here's a quick anatomy lesson of the spine:

  • Cervical – the vertebrae in your neck, consists of 7 vertebrae, are allowed to flex, extend, and rotate,
  • Thoracic – the vertebrae in the middle of spine including shoulders, consists of 12 vertebrae, which are also allowed to flex, extend, and rotate, and
  • Lumbar – the vertebrae in lower back, consist of 5 vertebrae, and are allowed to flex and extend ONLY.
  • Sacral & Coccyx – there are 5 fused vertebrae here, and the Coccyx is sometimes referred to as the “tail” bone.

Did you catch that about the Lumbar?  It's important, so it bares repeating…the vertebrae in the lower back IS NOT built to rotate!  Right now, you may be thinking: “Wait a minute, how's that?!  I've seen millions of swings, and the hitter's pelvis (and lower back) are rotating!!”

According to Charlie Weingroff, DPT, CSCS, a physical therapist, a trainer in New York City, and is pretty high up on the human performance food chain, says this:

“Only your thoracic spine (which consists of the 12 vertebrae in your upper and middle back) is designed to rotate significantly — about 40 degrees in each direction, according to Weingroff — when under compression. The lumbar spine (lower back) should rotate no more than about 12 degrees.”

Some movement experts (like Thomas Myers, author of the book Anatomy Trains), says the lower back can rotate no more than 7-degrees.  So according to the experts, 7 to 12-degrees is a good rotational range for the Lumbar section of the spine. That's NOTHING compared to the 40-degrees of rotation – in each direction – of the middle and upper back section of the spine (which includes shoulders).

So what's happening then?  You see, since the lower back vertebrae are not designed to rotate, it's the surrounding muscles that are rotating a fixed object (non-rotating Lumbar), and is why you do see rotation.   The T-Spine vertebrae are built to rotate (again, this includes the shoulders), hence is why hitting coaches should put their rotational focus there and NOT the hips, pelvis, or low back.

Is rotating back hip through the zone necessary for power? Not in the way most coaches think.  Consider this quote from Physicist, Electrical Engineer, and author of the book The Spinal Engine, Dr. Serge Gracovetsky:

“The axial rotation of the spine cannot happen unless the spine is flexed by the right amount on the correct side. Coaching an athlete to throw without a proper spinal position is an invitation to severe torsional injuries.”

Dr. Gracovetsky is referring to this “flex” as a side bend with the shoulders.  The point is, USE THE SHOULDERS to accomplish rotational power.  Warning for coaches: if you shrug this information off because of ego or pride, and continue to teach pelvis, hip, or lower back dominant twisting swings, then you're wearing holes in the low backs of your hitters.  Be careful because the link is there, and one can be held liable.

Don't worry, I'll show those coaches doing this unknowingly a safer way, at the end of this post…

 

Does Consistent Power Come from the Ground?

Water Polo Throw

Water Polo throw photo courtesy: YouTube Egy image from video

You may be thinking, but consistent power comes from the ground…the pelvis is the first to interact with Gravitational Forces, and that's why you teach “hip thrust”. I agree with Ted Williams that the ‘Hips Lead the Way', but they don't contribute as much to consistent power as most think.  I know this may sound earth shattering for some, so please stay with me here.

CLICK the following link to a post I did titled, “The Swing DOES NOT Start From The Ground & Move Up?”

This brings me to the water polo throw video above…

Let me ask you a question, what do you think the “fastest throw in Water Polo” is?  Doing a Google search using those keywords brings up the following statement:

The overhand shot from a Croatian senior men's national team player is recognized as the fastest shot in the world at 60 MPH (96.5 KPH). The overhand shot is the standard throwing motion in water polo. It is the same arm motion as a pitcher uses in baseball.”

So, let's think about this.  In water, there are little to no Gravitational Forces, and the best human floating in water, can throw a volleyball-sized ball 60-mph?  What do you think the speed would be if this person was floating in water and threw a baseball-sized ball instead?  75-mph?  80-mph? 90-mph?  Okay, so let's say this top-of-the-food-chain water polo player throws a baseball floating in water 80-mph.  You're telling me a top-of-the-food-chain pitcher in the Big Leagues, throwing down a mound, can only throw 20-mph more (assuming 100-mph) than someone throwing the same ball floating in water?!

I dunno, but this begs the question, does the pelvis (and lower Lumbar), OR the shoulders (and T-Spine) contribute the most to pitching velocity AND Ball Exit Speeds?

If you need to see more examples about this, then CLICK HERE for a swing experiment titled, “How Much Ball Exit Speed Does Pelvis Contribute To A High Level Swing?” 

Consider this Tweet from one of my readers…

And I added the following comment…

So what role do I think the pelvis and low back play in the swing, if not power?  Directional force.  Allows the hitter's swing to convert Centripetal into Centrifugal Force.  In a nutshell, the hitter's “belt buckle” must point in the direction of the batted ball.

So what's the answer?

 

Teaching Hitters a Safer more Effective Swing

Here are some resources to get you started, outside of the ones already mentioned:

Coaches, PLEASE get educated.  Don't let ego or pride get in the way of helping hitters swing safe.  Like Tony Robbins says,

“If you aren't growing, then you're dying.”

‘Showing Numbers' to Pitcher is a Quick Way to Solving Consistent Power Problem

 

Question: How does ‘Showing Numbers' to the Pitcher Effect Bat Speed at Impact versus ‘NOT Showing' them?

Aaron Judge Showing Numbers to the Pitcher

Aaron Judge (Showing Numbers), unloads a solo home run to center field on 10/17/17 to put the Yankees on the board in the 7th inning.

Using the Zepp (Labs) Baseball app, I wanted to use the Scientific Method to analyze if a hitter showing their numbers to the pitcher at landing adds to or takes away from key swing performance metrics like Bat Speed at Impact, Time To Impact, and Attack Angle.  This swing experiment is revisiting two other experiments done analyzing the same thing.

 

Background Research

Since we're REVISITING two previous swing experiments on ‘Showing Numbers' versus NOT, here are the original posts and data to get you up to speed:

In 2016 ‘Show Numbers' swing experiment, this was what the averaged out Zepp data looked like:

  • 5-mph INCREASE in Bat Speed at Impact with ‘Showing Numbers’,
  • 0.5-mph INCREASE in Hand Speed Max with ‘Showing Numbers’,
  • .003 second DECREASE in Time to Impact with ‘Showing Numbers’,
  • 3* INCREASE in Bat Vertical Angle at Impact with ‘Showing Numbers’, and
  • 1.5* INCREASE in Attack Angle with ‘Showing Numbers.

Now, let’s see how the Ball Exit Speed averages compare:

  • 76.02-mph BES when ‘NOT Showing Numbers’,
  • 77.32-mph BES  when ‘Showing Numbers’,
  • That’s a 1.3-mph average INCREASE when ‘Showing Numbers’, and
  • Translates between 5.2-feet to 7.8-feet of EXTRA batted ball distance – depending on if you calculate using 1-mph BES = 4-feet of distance OR 1-mph BES = 6-feet of distance.

In this experiment, if you look at the ‘NOT Showing Numbers’ swings, they were actually ‘Showing Numbers’.  In other words, the subject in the swing experiment, Preston Scott, already shows his numbers well causing a challenge to not show them.  Therefore on the ‘Showing Numbers’ swings, he showed them more.  I think that’s why we didn’t see as much of a difference in Ball Exit Speeds.

In 2014 ‘Show Numbers' swing experiment, this was what the averaged out Zepp data looked like:

  • Bat speed for NOT showing numbers at landing: 73-mph,
  • Bat speed for showing numbers at landing: 79-mph (+6-mph),
  • Highest bat speed for NOT showing numbers at landing: 82-mph,
  • Highest bat speed for showing numbers at landing: 88-mph (+6-mph),
  • Hand speed max for NOT showing numbers was: 27-mph, and
  • Hand speed max for showing numbers was: 29-mph (+2-mph).

Between both swing experiments, we saw an average Bat Speed at Impact increase between 5 to 6-mph.  In 2016 we saw a .003 second drop in Time To Impact ‘Showing Numbers', while in 2014 we saw a .003 increase.

The research on increasing bat or ball exit speed can be seen in the following two books on springy fascia and spinal engine mechanics:

You can also get application of previously mentioned books through the following HPL video blog posts.

  1. Miguel Cabrera and the timing of torque.
  2. Josh Donaldson v. Jose Bautista: how spine engine mechanics are amplified by Gravitational Forces, and
  3. Adrian Gonzalez: how-to naturally spring load the body.

For those versed in Anatomy, for explosive movement on the Transverse Plane (twisting), there must be a protraction of the front scapula (‘showing numbers'), and a retraction of the back Scapula (what's often referred to as ‘Scap Row').  Scap Rowing by itself doesn't engage full range of springy fascia.

 

Hypothesis

Based on the above research, I'm expecting to see a dramatic bump in Bat Speed at Impact, Hand Speed Max, and possibly a reduction in Time To Impact.  I think Attack Angle and Bat Vertical Angle at Impact will remain unchanged.

 

Showing Numbers Swing Experiment Part-3

Equipment Used:

SwingAway Bryce Harper model

This is the SwingAway Bryce Harper model hitting station used for the ‘Showing Numbers' experiment.

Setup:

  • SwingAway Bryce Harper bungy suspended ball was set equal to the landing foot, and ball height was about knee height.
  • I broke each swing down into three steps: 1) Get to landing, 2) Pause for 2-secs, and 3) Swing.  The reason for this was to better control whether I was showing numbers or not.
  • The two tests in the swing experiment were counter-balanced.  Which consisted of eight blocks of 25-swings done in the following order ABBA BAAB.  ‘Showing Numbers’ was letter ‘A’, and ‘NOT Showing Numbers’ was letter ‘B’.  200 total swings were completed in the experiment, 100 per test.  Counter-balancing helps remove the “getting tired” and “warm up” factors.
  • The ‘Showing Numbers' swing shoulders were set to about 2'o'clock, if pitcher is 12'o'clock.  The ‘NOT Showing Numbers' swing shoulders were set to about 12'o'clock.

 

Data Collected from Zepp Baseball App:

'Showing' v. 'NOT Showing' Numbers to Pitcher Zepp Numbers

Data Analysis & Conclusion

Zepp data analysis comparing the averages:

  • Bat Speed at Impact INCREASE of 3-mph ‘Showing Numbers',
  • Hand Speed Max DECREASE of 1-mph ‘Showing Numbers',
  • Time To Impact INCREASE of 0.014 ‘Showing Numbers',
  • Bat Vertical Angle At Impact DECREASE of 4-degree ‘Showing Numbers', and
  • Attack Angle INCREASE of 6-degrees ‘Showing Numbers'.

The drop from previous ‘Showing Numbers' swing experiments was surprising, in addition to a small 1-mph drop in Hand Speed Max.  There was also a slight increase in Time To Impact.  The interesting numbers were the ones that indicate Launch Angles, both Bat Vertical Angle at Impact and Attack Angle.  We hadn't experienced such a dramatic uptick in those in past experiments.

A couple notes…

  • The past two experiments were done in a cage, off a tee, so I could see ball flight, and maybe that had an effect on the swing metrics.
  • Some hitting coaches speak highly of Time To Impact and want to reduce at all cost, but I disagree. There's a healthy range for that, you don't want it too short or too long.  I'm not going to get into why here, maybe in another post.
  • To explain the dramatic increase of the barrel's upward trajectory in ‘Showing Numbers', I may have been getting more of a downward shoulder angle at landing.

Controversial Swing Experiment Video: What Happens To Ball Exit Speeds When We Eliminate Use Of Lower Half?

Do you consider yourself an open minded coach?  If not, then this post MAY NOT be for you.

Do you consider yourself a coach willing to try new movements before criticizing them?  If not, then this post MAY NOT be for you.

Fair WARNING…this video will make most feel uneasy because it strikes at the heart of their teaching.  I believe the quality of our lives and the success we experience in it, depends solely on the questions we're willing to ask our-self.

In this video, the Backspin Tee Gardner Brothers (Taylor & Jarrett Interview here) recently did a small thought provoking swing experiment that looked at how much value the pelvis contributes to the swing.  Most popular hitting instructors treat the pelvis like a JoBu shrine in the movie Major League.  Don't get me wrong, the pelvis has a role, but I disagree on the importance most put on it.

Using the Scientific Method…

 

Question

Backspin Tee Swing Experiment on Not Using Hips

Taylor Gardner doing a Jumping No Hips Swing

They looked at how much value (measured in Ball Exit Speed) the pelvis contributes to the swing by restricting its movement.

 

Background Research

Taylor read my book The Catapult Loading System: How To Train 100-Pound Hitters To Consistently Drive The Ball 300-Feet, and it got him thinking about how much the pelvis actually contributes to power compared to the shoulders?  Earlier I mentioned how much the movement of the pelvis in the swing is worshiped by so many hitting coaches.  “Fire the hips!” “Hip Thrust baby!” Sadly, the torsional forces are taken to the point of being unhealthy for a young hitter's low back.

Consider what Charlie Weingroff, DPT, CSCS, a physical therapist and trainer in New York City said this:

“Only your thoracic spine (which consists of the 12 vertebrae in your upper and middle back) is designed to rotate significantly — about 40 degrees in each direction, according to Weingroff — when under compression. The lumbar spine (lower back) should rotate no more than about 12 degrees.”

Let me give a clue, coaches want better separation, torque, lag, etc. in their hitters right?  We see that a high level right handed hitter's pelvis starts rotating counter-clockwise at the start of the turn, leaving the shoulders temporarily behind, this is the essence of “lag” or “torque”.  But what coaches aren't seeing is what's happening before the ‘hips lead the way'?  The compression and tension forces happening in the torso beforehand, to make that move possible.

If hitting coaches would do their homework on basic bio-mechanical locomotion and function of the spinal engine as a whole, then they'd find they're missing  60-70% of the performance puzzle (as you'll soon see), and quite possibly wearing a hole in the lower backs of their hitters.

I constantly see well intention coaches posting videos on Twitter of their young hitters savagely twisting the pelvis and low back (lumbar), in addition to the hyper-extension of the lower lumbar.  Quite frankly, it's painful to watch.  CLICK HERE for an exercise to correct this.

Did you know there's a much safer way to achieve those high BES numbers and more?  Some books to get you started on the right track:

By the way, Dr. Serge Gracovetsky is a Physicist and Electrical Engineer.  He said the Spinal Engine can operate in space without Gravitational Forces.  His research shows arms and legs aren't necessary for locomotion, they're an improvement.  Please read that sentence again because it's important to understand locomotion.

Can explosive high level athletes perform without the aid of Gravitational Reaction Forces?  Check out the following videos:

Derek Jeter makes jump throw…

Jeter is jumping up and away from his target, taking his momentum in the opposite direction of first base. This should put him at a disadvantage, but it doesn't hurt him too much, as you can see.

Big air motocross freestyle jumps…

Notice how these athletes use the head to control their body.  No Gravitational Reaction Forces to help here either.  But man can these athletes put a big smile on your face while watching this video!

Don't seek the footsteps of others, seek the footsteps they sought.

 

Hypothesis

The Gardner brothers thought this mini swing experiment would show more of a minimal role of the pelvis in the swing, compared to the “pelvis worshiping” hitting coaches out there.

 

Experiment Setup Details

  • 4 different hitters (Taylor – High School level hitter College Track & Field athlete, Jarrett – professional pitcher, Rookie in pro ball, home-run record holder at Div-1 college)
  • Took Full Swings prior to experiment swings (the Control group), so they could compare to when the lower half was restricted
  • Backspin Tee used on all swings (I know, shocker!)
  • Chair used to hit ball while falling
  • Pocket Radar to measure BES
  • Used 2 judges for checks and balances
  • Goal was to eliminate use of lower half
  • Every one used the same metal bat, a Copperhead C405 34 inch, 30 ounce (-4)

 

Data Collected

Based on control swings, this graph shows average BES as % of the control swings, Highest BES as %, & Lowest BES as % of each of the four hitters. Photo courtesy: BackSpinTee.com

 

Graph shows top BES per hitter on control swings, when Stationary No Hips, when Jump Float No Hips, Falling Float No Hips, Lead Leg Only No Hips, and Avg. BES. Photo courtesy: BackSpinTee.com

 

Data Analysis & Conclusion

Small sample sizes can cause a lot of problems, so there definitely needs to be more data points to make a conclusive decision.  However, with the data we have, the fact four different hitters participated on all swing experiments, in looking at the last graph, you can see that when the lower half was restricted, Ball Exit Speeds were around two-thirds of top exit velocity of control swings (normal swings).  Think Jeter making his jump throw!  So from this small sample size, we can say the pelvis contributes about one-third to the Exit Speeds of these four hitters.

I'd love to hear your thoughts in the Comments section below.  Be nice, be respectful.

How To Use Knowledge To Help Hitters Reach Their Full Potential

(Before getting into this post, I have to pre-frame it with the fact that cuing a hitter to ‘swing down', ‘keep barrel above hands', and ‘get on top' can be helpful for hitters whose barrel paths are extreme upper cuts or for non-productive fly ball outcomes.  Other than that, these cues ARE NOT conducive to scoring A LOT of runs for teams) 

Jake C.: Swinging Down

One of my HS Frosh hitters swinging down at the beginning of one of our first lessons together. We're using the RopeBat to fix this. Photo courtesy: ME

The objective of this post is to persuade those who disagree with the title, to see hitting through cleaner sharper glasses.

Kudos to Sean T. Plouffe on Twitter for posting the above Tweet…

Seeing this post on my Twitter news feed dang near stopped me in my tracks.

That was actually ME in the above video!

This was a two tee drill video I did a long time ago for my old site SwingSmarter.com, between 2008 and 2010.

Unfortunately for my hitters this was the Dark Ages of my teaching, when I regurgitated swinging down on the ball because it was what I was taught during my playing days.

It felt like looking back at old High School pictures when you were fat and had more craters on your face than the moon 😛 lol

Apparently, I'm not alone in ‘teaching what I was taught' after my playing days were over…

We'll discuss:

  • ‘That's what he was taught',
  • The journey that led me away from conventional wisdom, and
  • The bottom line… (how to fix)

 

‘That's What he was Taught'…

Take this email I recently received from one of my readers, Bryan Nugent:

“Good morning,

My predicament is that over the last year or so I have been working with my son using your style  (catapult loading) from your book. My son is like a night and day difference when he doesn't load like you point out. Some of my cue words I tell him are tuck, hide, see and drive.

  • Tuck – for his shoulder
  • Hide – his hands
  • See – keep his eye on the ball
  • Drive – hit through the baseball

Ok, now to the issue his baseball coach is trying to get him to have a different approach, stance and pretty much a different swing all together. From what we have been working on. How would I or what is the best way to approach the Coach and tell him to leave his swing alone in your opinion?”

And here was Bryan's response after I emailed him a couple questions…

“Thank you for responding to my email. My son is 10. This past Saturday morning before our first pool play game we went back to the cage and got back to doing what we have learned from you. His results were outstanding including a solo shot that the opposing coach told him he hasn't ever seen a 10 yr old hit the ball that far before.

The coach is young(23) just graduated from a local college where he played baseball. Not knocking him in any way but when talking to him he states ‘that's what he was taught' quite a bit. So maybe since this is his first time to coach young boys he is trying too hard, if that makes sense.

I did talk to him a little bit and told him I would bring him your book so he can see where we are coming from. Hopefully he will see there are 2 ways to skin a cat to get the same result. Which is to be able to get the kids to reach there full potential. Thanks again”

Thank you Bryan for sharing and for your continued support.  And yes, I asked his permission before sharing with you coaches.

 

The Journey that Lead Me Away from Conventional Wisdom

I can honestly say that I was where this young coach is when I first started teaching hitters.  And I know many of you coaches out there, if you're being honest with yourself, can relate.

I had stopped seeking knowledge about the swing…stopped reading…stopped asking questions.  My mindset was VERY fixed.

Needless to say, I came to the realization that my hitters weren't getting better.  At the time, my local lessons weren't growing.  I was teaching what everyone in my area was teaching.  There was zero differentiation.  And you know what Mark Twain once said,

“When you find yourself on the side of the majority, it's time to pause and reflect”.

It wasn't till about 2011 that I started asking questions, and bought Jaime Cevallos's book Positional Hitting (who's a good friend of mine).

Then met Chas Pippitt of BaseballRebellion.com, and helped him develop an online presence in 2012.

This was a good start, but there were still A LOT of unanswered questions that I had.

You see, I found a passionate curiosity for corrective human movement science back in 2005.  I got educated by gathering a large wicker basket full of alphabet soup certifications.  In a short time, I was training athletes and non-athletes by helping them troubleshoot their mobility and stability issues to improve performance or quality of life.

This led me down a rabbit hole that went pretty deep.

When my son was born at the end of 2012, I had an epiphany after reading a couple highly influential resources.  I digested the following books over and over, using them to reverse engineer the swing from a human movement principles validated by science perspective:

 

The Bottom Line…

If you're a young coach – or more seasoned – who still teaches swinging down on the ball, squishing the bug, and that the hips are where the power is at…I know how you can feel married to these because you've put a lot of time, effort, and emotion into them while coaching and/or playing.

Believe me, I felt the same way.  Looking back now, it was a form of collective wisdom brainwashing that runs rampant in baseball and softball circles.

Here's what I found teaching young hitters to apply human movement principles that are validated by science to hitting a ball:

  • My hitters see and feel productive outcomes within a reasonably short amount of time (huge for getting them to ‘buy into' the system),
  • The online and local lesson part of my business has increased 5-fold (the word is getting out!),
  • The coaches that learn this from me are getting the same productive results with their hitters – if not better (and their hitters are raising the eyebrows of other coaches), and
  • The best news is, the knuckleheads on social media have a VERY difficult time arguing the true science of the swing!

My recommendation is this:

  • Educate yourself like I did with previously mentioned books,
  • Question very things you teach by asking, “What don't I know?”
  • Do swing experiments like I do to see if a hitting mechanic is inferior or superior to its counterpart (CLICK HERE for a post on how to do this), And…
  • Above-all, be big enough to swallow your pride, regardless of how many years coaching or playing, or if you had the privilege to coach or play at the highest level, and admit you may be wrong.  Because let me tell you, many are, so you're not alone.

Rest assured, if I can change, then so can you.

Believe me, your hitters will THANK YOU.  Learning can start when ignorance admits its ignorant. You don't know what you don't know, right?  Well, now you do 😉

Zepp Swing Experiment Attempting To Put Value On Role Of Pelvis In Swing

Question: How Much Does Pelvis Add to Bat Speed at Impact?

According to InnerBody.com, the pelvis is a sturdy ring of bones that protects the delicate organs of the abdomino-pelvic cavity while anchoring the powerful muscles of the hip, thigh, and abdomen. Several bones unite to form the pelvis, including the sacrum, coccyx (tail bone), and the left and right coxal (hip) bones. Photo courtesy: OrthoInfo.aaos.org

Using the Zepp (Labs) Baseball app, I wanted to employ the Scientific Method to analyze how much turning the pelvis (some refer to this as the hips) adds to Bat Speed at Impact.  The ‘Front Facing Swings' are an attempt to isolate out the role of the pelvis in the swing, so we can analyze how much the pelvis adds to swing performance.

Just a heads up, the “pelvis” and “hips” are not the same thing.  The hips are a small part of the pelvis.  However, most coaches refer to “hips” when instructing the swing, when most likely they mean “pelvis”.

 

Background Research

For those coaches with a Growth Mindset that want to find out more about the science of locomotion.  I'd recommend reading the following technical books:

If working through the weeds isn't for you, then you can click the following HPL posts that synthesize the information contained in the previously mentioned books:

I've done two swing experiments revealing the role of the shoulders in the swing that tested the value of ‘Showing Numbers' versus ‘NOT'.  These showed an average increase to Bat Speed at Impact – Showing Numbers – of between 5 to 6-mph.  In addition, one of the experiments showed an average increase to Ball Exit Speed of over 9-mph ‘Showing Numbers'! That's between 38 to 48-feet of ADDED batted ball distance by ‘Showing Numbers':

This Zepp swing experiment is attempting to put value on the role of the pelvis in the swing.

 

HypothesisThe Science of Hitting by Ted Williams

Ted Williams, in his book The Science Of Hitting, said the ‘hips lead the way'.  This observation is irrefutable when watching slow motion video of elite hitters.  A majority of coaches teach primarily a ‘hips only' strategy, which I disagree with.  I feel ‘firing the hips' is over-taught and over-valued, while the role of the shoulders is under-taught and under valued.  The objective of this experiment is to see what benefit the pelvis (or hips) add to swing performance.

I predict ‘Regular Swings' will have a substantial increase in Bat Speed at Impact than the ‘Front Facing Swings'.

 

Performance Benefit of Pelvis Swing Experiment

Equipment Used:

Setup:

  • Yellow dimple ball feedback markers to keep starting footwork the same = bat length…I used two yellow dimple ball markers to make my stance setup consistent.  One was placed inside my back foot, close to the plate.  The other was placed one bat’s length ahead of the back marker.
  • Tee was set one baseball's length behind the front feedback marker, and tee height was about mid-thigh
  • We stayed as consistent as we could with keeping the ball height and depth the same for most swings.
  • The two tests in the swing experiment were counter-balanced.  Which consisted of eight blocks of 25-swings done in the following order ABBA BAAB.  ‘Front Facing Swing’ was letter ‘A’, and ‘Regular Swing’ was letter ‘B’.  200 total swings were completed in the experiment, 100 per test.  Counter-balancing helps remove the “getting tired” and “warm up” factors.
  • The objective of ‘Front Facing Swings' was to start the ‘belt buckle' pointing at the pitcher, and to minimize pelvic movement.
  • Experiment Day-1 on 6/19 we completed 75 total swings (25 ‘Front Facing' & 50 ‘Regular').  Experiment Day-2 on 6/26 we completed 125 swings (75 ‘Front Facing' & 50 ‘Regular').
  • We had to break the 200 total swings into two days, with the second day coming 1 week later, because of time constraints.

 

Data Collected (Zepp Baseball App):

‘Front Facing Swings' Days 1 & 2 side by side…

Front Facing Swing Averages

‘Front Facing Swing' AVERAGES for the following metrics: 77-mph Bat Speed at Impact, 30-mph Hand Speed Max, 0.177-secs Time To Impact, -24.5* Bat Vertical Angle at Impact, & 3* Attack Angle.

‘Regular Swings' Days 1 & 2 side by side…

‘Regular Swing' AVERAGES for the following metrics: 81.5-mph Bat Speed at Impact, 33-mph Hand Speed Max, 0.130-secs Time To Impact, -28.5* Bat Vertical Angle at Impact, & 0* Attack Angle.

 

Data Analysis & Conclusion

Zepp data analysis comparing the averages of averages:

  • 4.5-mph INCREASE to Bat Speed at Impact in ‘Regular Swings',
  • 3-mph INCREASE to Hand Speed Max in ‘Regular Swings',
  • 0.047 DECREASE to Time To Impact in ‘Regular Swings',
  • -4-degree DECREASE to Bat Vertical Angle at Impact in ‘Regular Swings', and
  • -3-degree DECREASE to Attack Angle in ‘Regular Swings'.

 

Notes

  • The increase in Bat Speed at Impact and Hand Speed Max confirmed my hypothesis, and didn't surprise me since the first piece of The Spinal Engine to interact with Gravitational Forces is the pelvis.
  • It's also interesting to note, that you can see from the side-by-side video of the swing, that I wasn't able to keep the “belt buckle” ‘front facing' as much as I would have liked to on ‘Front Facing Swings', so possibly the pelvis could have added a bit more.  I was feeling inside right knee tightness when forcing pelvis to stay facing forward.
  • The DECREASE in Time To Impact with ‘Regular Swings' could have been due to the increased step and/or unfamiliarity with the movement, while doing ‘Front Facing Swings'.
  • In past swing experiments testing ‘Down Shoulders' and ‘Showing Numbers' I increased my Attack Angle – in the positive.  I think the 3-degree increase in positive Attack Angle for ‘Front Facing Swings' was due to better execution of those elements.
  • We were testing Ball Exit Speed in the beginning but had equipment malfunction (batteries went dead).  I was too many swings in when the equipment was fixed, so we threw BES out in this experiment.  I'd love to see BES measured in a future review of this swing experiment.
  • One last thought, because my pelvis inwardly turned toward the catcher – drastically – on ‘Front Facing Swings', we saw quite a drop-off in production.  Does this give evidence that an inward turn before the swing may be inferior to keeping the pelvis in neutral (or belt bucket facing plate)?

Little Known Way To Optimize Bat & Ball Exit Speeds By Rotating “Under Load” (not what you think)

In today's video, you'll learn how to fix your flat feet

…(insert record scratch sound effect)…

“Wait a cotton pickin' minute, so you're showing me a video on how to correct ‘flat feet'?!  How is this suppose to help my hitters?”

…Someone somewhere might be saying 😉

The above video will be a game changer for the progress of your hitters.  It may even improve bat and ball exit speeds over time.  It may even fix some of the hitting faults you're having a challenge correcting right now.  The content in the above video will improve both the rotational effectiveness and efficiency of your hitters.

Strength & Conditioning Coach Naudi Aguilar understands and applies Thomas Myers's springy fascia principles in Anatomy Trains, and that's WHY I follow him.  I highly recommend you CLICK HERE and “Subscribe” to his YouTube channel FunctionalPatterns and look into the courses on his website.  He already has  183,942 YouTube subscribers!

Oscar Pistorious Blade Runner

Oscar Pistorious (the Blade Runner) won 3 Gold Medals in the 2008 Olympics. Photo courtesy: DailyMail.co.uk

He's a locomotion expert, and by the way – he talks really fast!  Here are a couple notes I took while watching the above video:

  1. Naudi talks about how the body doesn't need lower leg to sprint at the highest level. Don't believe me, CLICK HERE to watch this video of South African sprinter Oscar Pistorious who won 3 Gold Medals in the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games (about 0:45 minute mark).
  2. Relationship between pecs, lats, and glutes – anterior and posterior oblique slings, highly neglected part of training and carries a bigger influence on efficient movement (about 1:45 minute mark).
  3. Leg and knee should land as close to neutral as possible when running or walking with effective rotation.  If deviation occurs, then most likely there's a deficiency in either the anterior and/or posterior oblique slings (about 3:05 mark).
  4. The idea of rotating “under load”. Using feedback mechanism – the resistance band – to “feed the mistake”.  Click to get WODFitters Pull Up Assist Bands on Amazon. (about the 4:45 mark).
  5. Practice functional movement patterns, walking, running, or hitting while using the feedback bands (about 8:30 mark).

 

In Application…

About point #1 above, as most of you know, I've been promoting a spine driven swing for the past 4+ years.  If you read Dr. Serge Gracovetsky's book The Spinal Engine and Thomas Myers's Anatomy Trains, then you'll discover that the legs aren't necessary for locomotion, they're an enhancement.  CLICK HERE for a post on this titled, “The Swing Does Not Start From The Ground And Move Up?”

About points #2 & #3 above, some experts call this the “Serape Effect”, “Power Slings”, or Thomas Myers labels these a combination of Spiral, Functional, and Lateral fascia lines.  Hitters, both young men and women, will have a deficiency here. Since a majority of hitters DO NOT take the same amount of swings and throws from the opposite side, there will be an imbalance created that MUST be addressed.  Diversifying in other sports does help, but most likely, there MUST be correction.

About point #4 above, Naudi Aguilar uses a band that's much longer than the one I use at home, so you may not need to wind it around the mid-section as much as he does in the above video.  For me (I'm a right handed hitter/thrower), to correct dysfunction in rotational locomotion, I wrap my band over my left shoulder, then around my middle back, and then loop the end around my left leg.  You'd do the reverse to enhance rotation for a lefty.  I put this on at least 5 days per week, and wear it for about an hour while doing my morning routine.  I've found the tightness in my right foot, Achilles, and inside part of my right knee almost vanished within 3-4 weeks of doing this.

Also, CLICK HERE to learn where I talk a little more about “feeding the mistake” using Reactive Neuromuscular Training, or RNT to correct ‘stepping in the bucket'.

About point #5 above, Naudi mentions rotating “under load”.  Coaches, I'd advise having hitters experiment using the feedback bands while hitting, and recommend they wear it at home too, as a recovery tool.

These bands are a great way to counter-balance the imbalanced movements baseball and softball inherently promote.  If your hitters move better, they're perform better.  Swinging smarter by moving better.