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  • How To Fix The Hitting “Guru” #57 Problem Once And For All – A New Year’s Resolution…

Consider the following Tweet from Matt Pierce, who I highly respect in hitting circles…

I love what Matt is saying here, and I agree with him 100%!  I’ve wanted to address this for some time, but couldn’t figure out how to frame it without coaches thinking I’m delusional.  However, I’m about to reveal this is a Mount Everest “ask” because:

  1. We can’t control what we can’t control (e.g. other people’s actions or reactions).
  2. We don’t know what we don’t know (knowledge – and/or common sense – isn’t always what people are seeking).
  3. People don’t want to leave their chosen “tribe” (when we put many years into thinking one way, it’s hard to change, no matter the mountain of evidence to the contrary).
  4. Fixed Mindset is a REAL thing (nothing is more fragile than a 40-year-old male ego).

At the end of this post, I will share 11 things I think cuts to the heart of the debate (HINT: it has to do with a case of “mistaken identity”)

PLEASE NOTE: I’m no saint in this conversation, so let me get that out of the way.  I’ve been called “unprofessional” in some of my responses on the Socials.  I own that.  I’m not a robot devoid of emotion.  To my defense though, I do let people have their say, and seldom “hide” or delete Social media comments – no matter how ridiculous – because I feel coaches should see us with all bumps and bruises.

Now, let’s address Matt’s big asks:

  • Want for coaches to stop mocking other coaches.
  • Want for coaches to stop blasting guys bc of the level they coach.
  • Want for coaches to stop using the word guru in describing a coach that they disagree with.
  • Want for coaches to spread info without the need to attack others in their teach…

It starts with the fact…

 

We can’t control what we can’t control (e.g. other people’s actions or reactions)

Here is one of my personal rules for posting on Social media: DO NOT respond to another hitting person’s Social media post, Tweet, etc. that I don’t agree with.  And I see A LOT of garbage out there, believe me.  But I don’t feel the need to tell them so…I keep my hands to myself.  Imagine for a moment, you sell a hitting aid, book, or online course, and you get one the following dandy comments… (think about how you’d react)…

And here’s a YouTube comment on one of my videos…

If you can’t read the YouTube comment, then it’s because the image is too small…here you go (incorrect spelling and grammar intact)

“This video is silly to me.  First and most importantly, you do not teach any player especially a young player how to hit deep fly balls or “in the air with power.  Why and the hell would you do that? Don’t pollute the internet with this garbage any longer.  Btw, every hitter “gets shorter”. It is impossible to gain any ground and not drop. There is no strategic advantage in it nor should it be stressed in instruction.  It’s a natural part of any swing and has nothing to do with power or hitting fly balls.  Your messing up swings with shit.”

By the way, the above comments aren’t too bad, I have others 10X as bad.  Look, I don’t mind healthy debate, but it MUST be respectful, and no respectful conversation can start with any one of the above comments.  Sue me for coming off as “unprofessional” in responses.  Good times is Taylor Gardner (Backspin Tee), Matt Lisle, and I snapshotting them on our phones, and laughing over drinks…true story.

So NO, we cannot control how others react or respond.  Building the case of our “mistaken identity” solution is starting to take shape.  Now, let’s address the fact…

 

We don’t know what we don’t know (knowledge – and/or common sense – isn’t always what people are seeking)

As you were reading those dandy comments above, were you thinking, “I don’t think this person knows about the Hitting Performance Lab.”  Therein lies the frustration.

To their defense, they’ve only seen ONE post or ad from us on the Socials.  They…

  • Don’t know us from “Adam”.
  • Haven’t done their homework.
  • Have been burned by others in the industry (a clue to our “mistaken identity” solution…).

I don’t take the comments personal anymore.  They don’t understand how we’re:

  • Applying human movement principles validated by REAL Science to hitting a ball, NOT because-I-said-so “bro-science”.
  • Leading close to 40,000 coaches on this journey.
  • Sharing nearly 300 FREE blog posts that hold nothing back when it comes to breaking down the what, how, and why of our system.
  • Blessed to have an Amazon best selling book on hitting, over 11,500 books sold and downloaded, and has accumulated well over 100 Amazon books reviews with an average star rating of 4.3 out of 5 (includes both first and second edition of The Catapult Loading System).
  • Gifted frequent positive testimonials from our readers on a weekly basis via Social media and over email, which you can read on our About page.

So yes,

  • We’re dealing with people who don’t know what they don’t know.  And,
  • We can’t control what we can’t control.

…Coaches, we MUST understand this.  Building the case of our “mistaken identity” solution is picking up speed.  Now, let’s address the fact…

 

 

People don’t want to leave their chosen “tribe” (when we put many years into thinking one way, it’s hard to change, no matter the mountain of evidence to the contrary)

I talked to Dr. Tom Hanson about this recently.  Consider the “Church of Baseball” or “Politics of Baseball”.  The idea is that based on our life experiences, we stick close to our current “tribe” for fear of missing out, being ostracized, and/or being abandoned when seeking another tribe.  Even if the “other” tribe provides a mountain of evidence to the contrary of our thinking.

I call it wearing hitting “beer goggles”.  Refusing to take off the distorted glasses to seek real facts and actual truth.  In 2013, I completely jumped out of the hitting industry, refused to read or watch anything hitting, and completely pivoted to researching Physics, Bio-mechanics, Engineering, Body Work, etc.  I didn’t understand it at first, but kept reading and re-reading – eventually it started to sink in.

We’re seeing this “beer goggle” theory play out in the Politics right now.  Most of you have seen ridiculous comments on your Facebook feed from others…past or current friends about Political issues. I’ve seen people on both sides “un-friend” each other because one believes one thing and the other believes the complete opposite.  People are retreating to their tribe’s boxing corner, and staying there.

Look familiar?  Because it’s happening to our hitting community.  People become attached to certain hitting “gurus”, a word I know Matt said not to use.  I had quite a few talks with a current professional hitter, who has had quite a few cups of coffee in the Big Leagues, saying many “gurus” are out there trying to reinvent the wheel.  And what he means by that is, they’re teaching the same thing as everyone else but calling it something different and claiming ownership.

The reality is originating something new occurs with far less frequency than innovating something new.  Give credit where credit is due coaches.  If people took the time to research where ideas originated, then the number of “tribes” people stick to would shrink to one or two.  And even with those, hitting agreement would probably reach 98%.

So yes,

  • We can’t control other people’s actions or reactions.
  • Knowledge – and/or common sense – isn’t always what people are seeking. And,
  • When we put many years into thinking one way, it’s hard to change, no matter the mountain of evidence to the contrary.

We’re almost done building the case for our “mistaken identity” solution.  Now, let’s look at the fact…

 

Fixed Mindset is a REAL thing (nothing is more fragile than the 40-year-old male ego)

I won’t get into this here because I got into it here AND here.  But I will say this, I’ve fallen into the Fixed Mindset trap.  It’s like a cozy warm blanket, and much easier to misplace blame when we don’t know the answer.  For example, how do you explain a kid by the name of Hudson White at 14-years-old blasting 11-dingers in a row at the National Power Showcase, averaging 395-feet in batted ball distance – when he’s only 5-foot, 7-inches, weighing 135-pounds?

“What bat did he use?” …a few may ask…metal minus-5…“See!!” they exclaim, “The bat is HOT!!”  But what if I were to tell you eye-witness accounts have said that Hudson consistently hit balls 395-feet with an old Hickory wood bat?  How do we explain something we may not understand?

  • “He’s just a special case”
  • “He’s using a HOT bat”
  • “He can’t do that in a game though”
  • “They’re lying or mistaken about the distance”

These are FIXED Mindset coaching responses (from real people by the way!).  Look, it’s okay to say you don’t know, and here’s an even better TIP…if one does not know something, then keep the “pie-hole” shut.  The above bullet point comments take away from the hard work these hitters have and are putting into their swings.  Shameful.

Instead acknowledge maybe your knowledge is limited and seek to understand, not to be understood.  Ask “WHY”, not “Why Not”.  Every day, ask: “Is there something I may be missing”.  This is what Growth Mindset coaches do.

So yes,

  • We can’t control what we can’t control.
  • We don’t know what we don’t know.
  • People don’t want to leave their chosen “tribe”. And,
  • Nothing is more fragile than the 40-year-old male ego.

 

Fixing the issue of “mistaken identity”

Before getting to fixing the issue of “mistaken identity”, let’s review Matt’s big asks:

  • Want for coaches to stop mocking other coaches.
  • Want for coaches to stop blasting guys bc of the level they coach.
  • Want for coaches to stop using the word guru in describing a coach that they disagree with.
  • Want for coaches to spread info without the need to attack others in their teach…

Before agreeing to his “asks”, I want to scribble in a few more…

  1. Parents and coaches start conversations with respectful first comments.
  2. Parents and coaches seek to understand first, then to be understood.
  3. Parents and coaches be willing to try a new-to-them concept first, before resorting to being a negative Nancy armchair quarterbacks.  And,
  4. I think if the previous three are checked off, then setting ego aside and looking at issue from a Growth Mindset perspective will be 10X easier.

Possible?  Maybe, but it’s a TALL order.  If those points cannot get checked off, then I claim my 1st Amendment right to call out Hitting “Guru” #57.  Do we have a deal Matt!?

Now, to solve the case of mistaken identity…

For those who know how we operate at the Hitting Performance Lab, remember reading through those Facebook and YouTube comments in the beginning of this rant, and thinking they’re falsely associating and projecting a bad experience they may have had with another hitting “guru”?  Here are my BIG “asks”:

  1. Quit basing your teachings on because-I-said-so “bro-science” (What is that? CLICK HERE). It doesn’t work predictably.  I know because I used to base my teachings on it, and can now compare our hitters’ performance to what we teach now – WOW! What a difference.  Apply human movement principles validated by REAL Science.  Success leaves clues, and principles work predictably.  Btw, failure leaves clues too!
  2. It’s not about how many years you’ve coached.  It’s not about what high level you played at.  It’s not about how many hours of video analysis you’ve masterbated with.  It’s not even about how many long hours you’ve put into the cages.  At the end of the day, it’s about getting your hitters predictably positive hitting results.  Think of human movement principles as a shortcut (a good one) to spotting common patterns amongst elite hitters – saving you many hours of spinning the tires.  Work smarter not harder.
  3. Data IS NOT Science.  Data is a component of the Scientific Method, not the end-all-be-all.  Basing your teachings ONLY on data or video analysis without human movement priorities is like randomly shooting an arrow and calling whatever you hit.
  4. Don’t strike fear into parents that if they don’t spend money with you, they’ll be doomed to hitting purgatory for eternity.  This is a bonehead move, and I’m tired of getting these projected comments thanks to bad business practices.
  5. Help people by actually helping them.  Over the years, we’ve written nearly 300 free blog posts that detail our system.  Don’t just try and sell people…help people…then selling becomes the next logical step.
  6. Ben Brewster Twitter quote: “In the process, a few percent of our followers are willing to invest big time to know that last 2%. But I hate the paranoid, protective mentality thinking that people might steal your one good idea or philosophy. They might. Keep innovating and learning, you’ll have many more.” Right on!  SHARE what’s working.  Keep learning.  Keep innovating.  Give credit where credit is due.  You will be greatly rewarded, believe me.
  7. Moderation is key.  Hitting IS NOT rotational OR linear.  It’s not Launch Angles OR ground-balls.  It’s not sacrificing swing quality for power.  It’s NOT swing down OR swing up.  We can build a hitter that embodies linear AND rotational elements…who hits more line drives…who can hit for power AND average without dramatically increasing strikeouts…who can use “swing down” cues to fix an uppercut AND use “swing up” cues to fix a down swinger.
  8. Understand we can eat tomato soup with a spoon, fork, or knife but only one tool is more effective.  Teaching hitters is the same.  There may be many ways to teach hitting but there’s one MORE effective way…by applying human movement principles validated by REAL Science to hitting a ball.  The principles remain constant and limited, but I do agree there are hundreds – if not thousands – of ways (methods) to teaching them.  Listen, I don’t “own” these principles, I just happened to look where most weren’t looking, and stumbled onto them.
  9. If someone posts a video of a swing online, DO NOT pick apart without the owner asking you.  Video analysis of a hitter is a snapshot in time of the swing.  It’s a work in progress.  So unless otherwise solicited to give your advice, don’t.  I see a few “gurus” out there “red-lining” through swings of 8yos, 12yos, and 16yos – unsolicited, to prove a point.  That’s a real kid, someone’s son or daughter…niece or nephew…or client.  STOP doing this, or you’re a bully.
  10. Don’t drunk dial Social media.  Don’t lie, you’ve done this (I know I have)Don’t drink the liquid courage and then comment.  Remember what I said about taking off your hitting “beer goggles”?
  11. Coaches, if you promote digital products, books, and/or membership programs, then STOP “tricking” people into signing up.  Be upfront and honest with people.  It gives the rest of us working to do it right a BAD name.

I think a combination of Matt Pierce’s “asks” and my additional “asks” will turn this ship around.  OR, we’ll get much of the same thing in 2019!  Coaches, go forth and make awesomeness…

 

 

What Deserves The Label: “Bro-science Fixed Mindset Garbage”?

I want to share a story…

Right before the Great Depression hit the Oklahoma panhandle, rain was plentiful, causing Doctors and Lawyers to quit their practices and join the ranks of farmers to buy land and plant crops that were being subsidized by the US government.  In other words, the gold-in-them-hills was harvesting and selling wheat and other bumper crops.

Millions of acres of 6-foot high beautiful Buffalo blue grass were plowed under to make room for crops.  Fast forward to the beginning of the Great Depression, the rain dried up, and so did the crops.  Unbeknownst to the new farmers who moved to the area, typically rain was sparse in the location, and by coincidence, they had just experienced a rare wet 5-10 year period.

So now there’s NO rain.  And you know the 6-foot high beautiful Buffalo blue grass they cut down?  Well, it used to hold the soil down despite seasonal 60 to 70 mile-per-hour wind gusts.  So NO crops are growing now.  Grazing cattle have nothing to eat but tumbleweeds brought over by the Russians (people often sprinkled salt to eat them as well).  The livestock soon get sick and die.  Wind is eroding dry soil and tossing it up in the air.  The drought is fatal for the majority who stay, while other smarter – in hindsight – individuals move west.  Enter the “Dust Bowl”.

The farmers who stayed behind were so desperate for rain, they hired so-called rain experts to “create” rain.  The bro-science at the time went that an explosion in the air could bring clouds, and with clouds, rain would fall from the sky.  So what did these so-called experts do?  They sold the idea that if they lit a stick of dynamite and timed the throw just right, they could get the explosion that would bring water.

…And doggonit, it worked on the rare occasion, convincing everyone that this was a predictable-enough strategy for “creating” rain.  I know this sounds like a stupid idea, but you have to understand, the people were DESPERATE for rain.  However, nobody paid attention to the countless other times that followed, where it didn’t work and people lost limbs, fingers, etc. from timing the lit dynamite wrong.*

(*By the way, the above passage – in which I paraphrased – came from interviewed first hand accounts in the book Dust Bowl: An Illustrated History.  Fascinating stories of how a dust storm rolling in looked like a slow moving wet dog haired tornado turned on its side, miles high and wide.  True story.)

So what deserves the label: “Bro-science Fixed Mindset garbage”?

Hitting “bro-science” is:

  • Blindly trying methods, ignoring principles.
  • Like throwing dynamite in the air and expecting it to rain.
  • Running east looking for a sunset.
  • Missing the forest for the trees.
  • Shooting an arrow randomly and calling whatever you hit.
  • A bad decision waiting to happen.

Urban dictionary defines “bro-science” as:

“Word of mouth knowledge passed off as fact, primarily among bodybuilders + weightlifters. Generally spouted most by guys who have used loads of steroids and are huge, have no idea what is happening to their bodies and then share that same cluelessness with others who make the false assumption that their experience means that they have knowledge.”

Furthermore, Bodybuilding.com defines “bro-science” as:

“Broscience is the predominant brand of reasoning in bodybuilding circles where the anecdotal reports of jacked dudes are considered more credible than scientific research.”

You can easily substitute “bodybuilders”, “weightlifters”, & “bodybuilding” in the above definitions with “baseball” and “softball” hitting coaches.  It’s a Fixed Mindset. Believe it or not, I saw a comment on Twitter, with my own eyes, of a so-called hitting guru (I won’t mention him by name so as not to give him oxygen, but you would know him), claim what he teaches isn’t found in Science – Ha!!  True story.  He’s as fraudulent as those dynamite “rain men”.

Look, we have to be careful as coaches with the correlation equals causation link.  Just because the dynamite might have worked on the rare occasion, doesn’t mean it will work bringing rain on a predictable basis.

REAL Science, the opposite of “bro-science”, is held to a higher standard.  The Scientific Method, as a matter of fact.  Sure, there’s Bad Science out there, but we’re looking for testing, experimentation, and research showing that correlation and causation of specific inputs are more predictable, not less.  Just like how success leaves clues, so does failure.

A Growth Mindset coach will zero be hyper-focused on this.  Sure there are 100’s of ways to teach hitting, but if you had the choice to eat tomato soup with a spoon, fork, or knife, which tool would you use to be most effective?

Teaching hitters is the same.

By applying human movement principles validated by REAL Science to hitting a ball, you’ll be eating tomato soup with a spoon.  NOT shooting an arrow randomly and calling whatever you hit.  And definitely NOT strategically throwing dynamite in the air hoping and praying the explosion will make it rain.

The above video and following Chapter are from the Introduction to my 2017 Amazon best selling book: The Catapult Loading System: How To Teach 100-Pound Hitters To Consistently Drive The Ball 300-Feet, which has amassed over 100 Amazon reviews with an average 4.3 out of 5-star ratings!  Over 11,500 copies have been sold or downloaded.  The Chapter topic?  Growth v. Fixed Mindset coaches…enjoy!

 

“In times of change, learners inherit the earth, while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists.” – Eric Hoffe

Fixed Versus Growth Mindset Coaching

When it comes building consistently powerful hitters, this book will provide you with the mechanical pathway to get there.  However, I think the most important aspect to coaching has to do with Mindset.  Coaches can be split up into two categories:

  1. Fixed, or
  2. Growth Mindset.

…and which Mindset a coach falls into a majority of the time, can make or break a young athlete’s development.  Don’t believe me?  According to Dr. Carol Dweck, in her bestselling book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success,

“In a fixed mindset, people believe their basic qualities, like their intelligence or talent, are simply fixed traits. They spend their time documenting their intelligence or talent instead of developing them. They also believe that talent alone creates success—without effort.”

Here are some things you hear FIXED Mindset coaches saying,

  • You can’t teach a Little Leaguer to hit like a Major Leaguer because they aren’t strong enough.
  • Hand speed can’t be coached.
  • Natural hitters are just born.
  • Hitting is subjective and is different for everybody (this leaves them off the hook if player doesn’t succeed with their guidance).
  • The greatest hitters just have great hand-eye coordination.
  • That 12u 100-pound hitter can consistently hit the ball 300-feet because they’re hitting with a HOT bat.
  • He/She can hit the ball hard and far because of their body mass.

All of those are to the contrary of Dr. Dweck’s definition of a Growth Mindset coach:

“In a growth mindset, people believe that their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work. Brains and talent are just the starting point. This view creates a love of learning and a resilience that is essential for great accomplishment.”

These coaches find a way. They ask the right questions. They ask, “Why not?”  They don’t rest on elite-level playing or decades of coaching experience.  The objective of a Growth Mindset coach is to learn human movement principles first, or the “rules”. Then, design methods to stay within those lines.  Predictably positive hitting results don’t work the other way around. You’ll learn more about this in CHAPTER 1.

I’ll let Billy Murray give Growth Mindset coaches a heads up in dealing with Fixed Mindset coaches:

“It’s hard to win an argument with a smart person, but it’s damn near impossible to win an argument with a stupid person.”

I’m not saying Fixed Mindset coaches are “stupid”.  What I am saying, in my experience in dealing with them, is they let their ego and pride get in the way of helping hitters get consistently better.  They make emotional arguments, NOT rational.  Here’s more evidence from Henry Ford:

“If you think you can do a thing or think you can’t do a thing, then you’re right.”

One puts the forest before the trees (versus missing the forest for the trees), while the other is swatting a piñata with one eye blindfolded and both arms pinned behind their back!  Trust me, I get it.  We all want to be heard and validated as being knowledgeable in a subject, but seemingly high credibility in the wrong place is misleading for everyone involved.

Some go to extreme lengths to IMMEDIATELY make their presence known. Here are some Fixed Mindset saying tip-offs:

  • “I’ve played [X-number of] years professionally and I should know.”
  • “I’ve been coaching for 30+ years, and this is why you should listen to me.”
  • “I’ve studied millions of hours of video analysis of only the best hitters. I know what I’m talking about”
  • “I’ve put a lot of work into the cages, and that’s how I know what I’m talking about”

Don’t get me wrong, the last two points have their place and can be effective in learning and seeing successful movement patterns, BUT massive effort going in the wrong direction can be gross negligence.  Besides, it takes A LOT of effort in the cages and hours of video analysis to stumble onto the right answers.  The problem I have with this process is it takes too dang long!  Especially for the new coach.  Rest assured, I have a more elegant solution that will dramatically cut your learning curve in half!  You’ll know what to look for, so you can SUPERCHARGE your time in the cages and when doing video analysis.  You’ll read about this in CHAPTER 2.

Willful ignorance.

As you probably already know, coaches defend their hitting philosophy and theories to the death, even if human-movement principles validated by REAL science, reveal the opposite.  Just like in Politics and Religion.  I mentally play the “What if I strip them of…” game with Fixed Mindset coaches.  WHAT IF this person NEVER…

  • Played in the Big Leagues…
  • Coached for 30+ years…
  • Studied millions of hours of video…
  • Put a lot of work into the cages…

…IF we stripped them of their primary credibility indicator(s), THEN I ask:

  • What do they actually know and why?
  • Who or what have they studied? (i.e. Physics, Bio-Mechanical, Psychology, Exercise Science sources? Not baseball or softball)
  • What kind of consistent or inconsistent results do they get with their hitters? (Truthfulness in scale is key).  Look, a blind squirrel can find a nut every once in awhile, but it’ll inevitably starve.

Don’t worry, we’ll get deeper into the Credibility Fallacy in CHAPTER 3, so you can navigate the red flags effectively.  Look, Fixed Mindset coaches are stuck, and what I find is they regurgitate the same information they’ve been taught in the past without question. They may even say their hitting philosophy is a science, but it’s not.  It’s a pseudo-science, or what I like to call a “because I said so ‘bro-science'”.  Their copy and duct-taped together hitting philosophy reeks of uncertainty. It’s a paper tiger.  A house built on sand.  Their hitters deserve better information…and can be better. We’ll get more into that in CHAPTER 4.  Consider one of my favorite quotes by Dan Farnsworth:

“Doing a thing and understanding a thing do not automatically qualify you to teach a thing.”

It’s so true!  I can tell with 100% confidence that I have not:

  • Played Professional baseball,
  • Coached for over 30 years (yet!),
  • Studied millions of hours of only the best hitters on video, or
  • Put in as much work in the cages as others say they do…

So, why listen to me?  Because of:

  • What I actually know,
  • Who and what I’ve studied (outside baseball/softball circles), and
  • The predictably positive results my hitters are getting.

We’ll drill deeper into these points in the following CHAPTERS.  What I think is VERY IMPORTANT to know, for those who never played ball past Little League or 12u softball, is that you too can be a hitting expert.  Yes!  You don’t need professional playing experience (or even college!).  You can be new to coaching.  You don’t have to clock in millions of hours of video analysis.  You can even be new to instruction.

All you need is a passionate curiosity to learn and apply the human-movement principles that are validated by REAL science, NOT “bro-science”, to hitting a softball or baseball.  I’m going to teach you how to conduct fool-proof swing experiments, so that you can use your findings to show people who won’t take you seriously.  You’ll learn my swing experiment blueprint in CHAPTER 4.  And I’m going to break it down for you, so don’t worry if you didn’t do well in science class.

CHAPTER 5 will take you through the science of springy fascia and spinal-engine-mechanics. This is the WHY behind the methods we discuss in the later chapters. You can skip this one, but please return to it later, so you have ammunition for Fixed Mindset coaches who won’t believe the predictably positive results your hitters are getting.

CHAPTERS 6 through 11 will take you through the practical methods my hitters are using to consistently triple, or at least double, their body-weight in batted ball distance.

Lastly, CHAPTER 12 will walk you through how to train these newly-learned hitting techniques. I believe the training is as important, if not more critical, than the mechanics you’ll be learning in this book.  To give you an example of the value, I had a third-year pro-hitter drive up from San Diego (about a 7-hour drive, one way, without running into Los Angeles traffic), comment that he thought the training by itself was worth the trip! And he spent a small fortune in time and money to work through a whole weekend with me.

What You’ll Learn

Here’s what you’re going to learn in the upcoming pages:

  • Why hitting philosophy fails and principles that are validated by science succeed.
  • Why you shouldn’t make video analysis FIRST-priority, when modeling elite hitters.
  • What 30+ year coaching experience and pro players won’t tell you, and how the information source you focus on can dramatically cut down your learning curve.
  • How to become a hitting expert when you’ve never played higher than Little League.
  • There’s a BIG advantage to learning how the body actually loads (and it’s not what you’re thinking).
  • A simple method that helped Babe Ruth to consistently crush the ball with some of the heaviest bats ever used.
  • Elite-hitters revealing ways to hit balls with High-Exit-Speeds, swing after swing, using three elements even a 4-year-old can understand.
  • At last, the secret to transitioning grooved batting practice swings into game at-bats is revealed.

And to reiterate what’s new in the 2nd edition of this book:

  • This Preface addressing major objections to the first edition,
  • “How to drill” section at end of each Principles Chapter complete with drill video, sticky coaching cues, and STEP-BY-STEP breakdown to teach,
  • Appendix Chapters covering: science of successful learning, how to transition practice into game swings, is rotating back hip through zone necessary for power, how to smooth out ineffective swing paths, & hitting low in the zone and to opposite field,
  • Updating of each Chapter, new sticky coaching cues, metaphors to help get concepts, condensed paragraphs (more formal paragraph structure and less like I write for the blog), less bold font, and fixing of minor spelling mistakes,
  • And lots more links to free blog posts to see elite MLB hitting examples applying the principles.

WHY is this Important to you now?

There are four reasons…

Most “hitting stuff” we’ve learned is DEAD WRONG. It’s based off philosophy, theory, and “bro-science”, and with the technology available today, we can test the value of those hitting philosophies.

Nowadays, everyone seems to be Hitting Guru #57. How do we differentiate between an effective versus an ineffective approach? This is important because it’s not how PRO someone is, how many years of coaching they’ve accumulated, how many man-hours of video analysis they’ve done, or even how many hours of lessons they do in a given year. There are hitting academies out there teaching wonky information, working with literally thousands of hitters in a year, and one parent would be better off wiping their butt with the money. Don’t worry, we’ll help you navigate these waters.  You can’t argue with REAL science and predictably positive results.

“Confusion” between mechanical causation equaling correlation. Can you put backspin on a ball by swinging down on it (i.e. negative barrel Attack Angle)? Yes, you can. But, will the hitter consistently get the ball in the air that way? No. Unless you’re playing slow pitch softball.  In the case of hard-ball and fast-pitch softball, swinging down does not consistently put the ball in the air with authority, and IS NOT what the best are REALLY doing.

Big difference between what’s “real” and what’s “feel”. When Mike Trout says he works at ‘getting on top of the ball’, that doesn’t mean Johnny’s coach should go out and share with his team this method. In fact, Mike Trout says this to himself to protect his swing from HIS natural tendency to upper cut too much, like he says to ‘chicken wing’. The cues that MLB and professional hitters use are often lost in translation to the coach, and inevitably with the younger-end user.  We can use these cues too, but it depends on specific hitting adjustments.  You’ll discover what’s referred to in psychology as “Paradoxical Intention” in the Appendix Chapters.  This will teach how to make educated hitting adjustments.

Is the Information in this Book for you?

First, we WILL NOT be talking about:

  • ‘Squishing bugs’,
  • ‘Swinging down on the ball’, OR
  • ‘Loading & exploding the hips’ (this is harmful to your lower back by the way).

Second, this is specifically about how to apply human movement ‘rules’ to hitting a moving ball, and not about hitting ‘philosophies’, ‘theories’, or ‘bro-science’ that DO NOT predictably work in LIVE case studies at scale.

Third, the information in this book is based on the success my personal hitters have had both online and locally, plus literally thousands of coaches who’ve duplicated the results, if not bettered them, by using this system.

The House Rules

Enough of what this book is promising, now let me be clear about what it’s not…

  1. No “get powerful hits, quick”.
  2. No “do nothing, and crush the ball”.
  3. My results aren’t remotely typical.
  4. Most people who buy ANY “consistent power” hitting product, will not have success with getting consistent power in their hitters.

I addressed this previously, but it bares repeating…

Some of my 12u hitters and younger, weighing around 100-pounds, don’t start consistently driving the ball 300-feet right away. Some take 2.5 years to get to consistency, whereas before they do it “every once in awhile”. Other hitters, although rare, achieve this in less than 6-months.  It depends on good old fashion effort, work ethic, and the athlete’s ‘learn-ability’.

I encourage my hitters to work hard on the things we go over, and to keep on trying even after hitting major obstacles.  Most young hitters don’t do that. They just show up for a lesson or gather information and “get ready” to work…or they throw in the towel and quit at the first bump in the road.  It took a lot of hard work for my hitters to start seeing favorable hitting outcomes.  Interestingly, it was the work with my hitters that gave me the inspiration to write this book.

The bottom line is, I have no idea what your results may or may not be.  And it’s not my place to try to predict that. Your success is up to you, as always.

In following, you’re going to discover why the coach who understands human movement principles, can successfully select his own hitting drills. But the coach who tries drills, ignoring principles, will have trouble optimizing hitters.

 

How To Turn Your Fixed Mindset Into A Growth Mindset (and WHY your Hitters will THANK YOU later)…

 

Growth Mindset versus Fixed Mindset

Fixed versus Growth Mindset illustration photo courtesy: KaylaCelliott.com

Nothing is more frustrating – and disappointing – than running into a Fixed Mindset coach…

All you get are excuses…excuses…EXCUSES!!

Think about the Fixed and Growth Mindsets, from Dr. Carol Dweck’s book Mindset, like the operating system for your computer or mobile device.  Each Mindset (or operating system) will take you down a different path to problem solving.

Some may say, well, the examples you give are reveal “closed minded coaches”, not a Fixed Mindset.  I disagree.

Look, I’m sure at times there are some closed minded Growth Mindset coaches, but I’m willing to bet my first born on that there are exponentially more closed minded Fixed Mindset coaches.  You see, closed mindedness is a subset of a Fixed Mindset coach, NOT a Growth Mindset one.

Before I get into taking you through the story, I wanted to let you know what I have for you:

  • An 8-min, 25-sec video from Trevor Ragan outlining the difference between a Fixed v. Growth Mindset (video above)
  • Address 7 DEVASTATING Fixed Mindset coaching EXCUSES that are killing the progress of smaller power hitters, and
  • The Fixed versus Growth Mindset Introduction from my new book.

Back to the story…

I ran into a couple of them on social media this past week about the promise I make in my Catapult Loading System book: How To Teach 100-Pound Hitters To Consistently Drive The Ball 300-Feet.

Particularly, they were commenting that Hudson White, the hitter I covered in this blog post, weighing 130-pounds hitting the ball 398-feet – and that includes wood – was an over-exaggeration.

To their credit, they did concede it’s possible.  But then oh man, here came ALL the excuses, taking credit away from the hitter’s dedication to his craft…

  1. “The bat was hot”,
  2. “Isn’t the norm, or has athletic ability – I wouldn’t take credit for that”,
  3. “Average kids don’t use there body’s efficiently as someone with above average athleticism can regardless of training”,
  4. “Only in batting practice and not in games”,
  5. “130-pound hitter wouldn’t make our Varsity team”,
  6. “Working with the exception, not the rule”, and the kicker comment about hitting ground-balls…

“I’ve never played or coached this game from a text book or a state sheet and never will. I do just what I’m doing here, I talk shop with knowledgeable people. Scouts, college coaches, minor league players and coaches and once in a blue moon with hitting instructors. I have very rarely come across any one of them that is as passionate about getting the ball in the air so much. Most of them try to keep things as simple as possible, which means barrel the ball, hit it hard. Period. No emphasis on air v ground, just barrel it.”

Addressing Excuse #1

Hudson White has hit balls over 398-feet with a Hickory wood.  My over half a dozen hitters tripling their body-weight in batted ball distance (i.e. 100-pounder hitting ball 300-feet), are not using hot bats, and neither did Hudson at the National Power Showcase Home-Run Derby Competition put on my Brian Domenico at the Texas Rangers ballpark in Arlington in 2016.

Addressing Excuses #2 &3

What does athleticism mean exactly? What are your rules that say one kid is athletic and another is not? I’d hallucinate yours are different than mine.  However, the question is, can we make a seemingly nonathletic kid average or even above average athletically?  Not all, but I think we can make EVERY kid move better.  And next week’s post interview with the founder of the Bosu Ball, David Weck, will shine more light on how to do this.

I brought up examples of Michael Jordan, Tim Tebow, and one of the best cricket players in the world weren’t able to or currently are not doing well enough to make it to the Big League level. It can be argued these are non-baseball athletic examples, but you’re saying above average athletic ability is one of the main causes for young hitters tripling their body-weight in batted ball distance.  It’s speculation.

I’d argue “train-ability”, as referenced in the Heritage Study from David Epstein’s book The Sports Gene: Inside the Science of Extraordinary Athletic Performance, as a more crucial element than above average athleticism in explaining why my hitters (and other coaches’) can triple their body-weight in batted ball distance.  Learning is learning, but they still have to learn the most effective mechanics.

Take for instance my 67-pound hitter blasting a 180-foot dinger – in a game – after working with me for 6-months.  When we first started he couldn’t hit his way out of a wet paper bag.  So in 6-months did he auto-magically go from below average to above average athletically?

Addressing Excuse #4

I have game footage film of two of my hitters tripling their body-weight in batted ball distance:

By the way, Temo now is around 135-lbs and is consistently driving the ball 370+ feet.  Also, Hudson White is driving the ball 400-feet in games as well.

Addressing Excuse #5

Are you KIDDING ME!?  To write a player off based on the “eye test” is ignorant. It makes me sad how many of these “under-weighted” young hitters are not being given a chance because some coach DOESN’T HAVE A CLUE how to get educated in all things effective.

Coach, if this is you, then you’re going to love the Introduction to my book that follows, on Growth v. Fixed Mindsets…

But first,

Addressing Excuse #6

This one made me laugh.  I responded back with something like, man I must be running into all these exceptions then!  Myself and the hundreds of coaches – who’re getting the same, if not better, results than I am by the way – teaching the same system, must be exception magnets!!! lol

Addressing Bonus Excuse #7

Look I agree, line drives and barreling the ball AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE should be every coaches objective for their hitters.  However, the question is raised, if you were to have your hitters miss, would you rather have them miss hit the ball in the air or on the ground?  I’m not going dive deep into this here, because I did that already in the Ground-Ball Rant, but I do want to say High School coaches (on down) are getting a false sense of achievement with the ground-ball because fielders aren’t what they are at the D1 and Pro levels.

Now, listen closely…

If you’re not teaching your hitters to consistently drive the ball (in the air), then YOU WILL HAMSTRING them at the higher levels, if they make it that far.  And by then, it’s too late.

I was just on the Coaching Minds Podcast by host Justin Lewis (Please follow him on Twitter @The_Coach_Mind), our interview I’ll be posting in 3 weeks or so, shared that he works almost exclusively with High School and College level fast-pitch hitters.

The horror stories he revealed the new hitters he’d get in college, reported they were only taught to slap the ball their whole life because of how “tiny” they were.  What happens to these girls at the college level?  When a hitting situation would come up to drive in runs, you know what the college coach does to these “tiny” slap hitting specialist?  

They pinch hit them.

If ground-balls were so great, then why not let this slapping specialist slap?!  Ground-balls are her specialty!!  Let me give you a clue, ground-balls work less at the college level…and EVEN LESS at the Pro level.  Don’t let this happen to your hitters.

And after hearing ALL these excuses, it was refreshing to get this email message from a coach after watching my webinar (I can’t say he uses my system though, but the message speaks for itself):

“The 135-lb pound kid…that is good but not that impressive…not too many kids at the age of 12 and 13 that weigh 135 pounds…he should be hitting the ball that far…now the 67 pound kid…that is impressive (one of my players at 75 pounds can hit the ball 225)” – ulley13usparks (username)

Now, he was talking about my two 13u  hitters Eddie S. and Temo C. both weighing 135-lbs and driving the ball 370+ feet, and my 67-lb hitter I spoke of earlier in this post.  “…should be hitting the ball that far…”, man, how refreshing to hear.

This leads me to the MAIN ISSUE…the above excuses are from Fixed Mindset coaches.  The video above is fantastic education on the Fixed versus Growth Mindset debate in under 10-minutes.  Rest assured you’ll be a more effective coach after watching the video.  And if you like the video, then you’ll love Dr. Carol Dweck’s book Mindset.

And to drive the nail home, below I’m including the Introduction to my new book The Catapult Loading System: How To Train 100-Pound Hitters To Consistently Drive The Ball 300-Feet, that people are loving by the way…just read the Amazon book reviews so far.

Without further adieu, here’s the Fixed v. Growth Mindset Intro…

—–

“In times of change, learners inherit the earth, while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists.”

– Eric Hoffe

Fixed Versus Growth Mindset CoachingGrowth Mindset: The Catapult Loading System Book

When it comes building consistently powerful hitters, this book will provide you with the pathway to get there.

However, I think the most important aspect to bridging the gap between what the coach teaches and what the player absorbs has to do with Mindset…

Coaches can be split up into two groups.

  1. Fixed Mindset
  2. Growth Mindset.

According to Dr. Carol Dweck, in her bestselling book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success,

“In a fixed mindset, people believe their basic qualities, like their intelligence or talent, are simply fixed traits. They spend their time documenting their intelligence or talent instead of developing them. They also believe that talent alone creates success—without effort.”

Here are some things you hear FIXED Mindset coaches saying,

  • You can’t teach a Little Leaguer to hit like a Major Leaguer because they aren’t strong enough.
  • Hand speed can’t be coached.
  • Natural hitters are just born.
  • Hitting is subjective and is different for everybody.
  • The greatest hitters just have great hand-eye coordination.
  • That 12u 100-pound hitter can consistently hit the ball 300-feet because they’re hitting with a HOT bat.
  • He/She can hit the ball hard and far because of their body mass.

All of those are to the contrary of Dr. Dweck’s definition of a Growth Mindset coach:

“In a growth mindset, people believe that their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work. Brains and talent are just the starting point. This view creates a love of learning and a resilience that is essential for great accomplishment.”

These coaches find a way. They ask the right questions. They ask, “Why not?”  They don’t rest on elite-level playing experience or decades of coaching experience.

The objective of a Growth Mindset coach is to learn principles first, or “rules”. Then, design methods to stay within those lines, not the other way around. You’ll learn more about this in CHAPTER 1.

I’ll let Billy Murray give Growth Mindset coaches a word of caution in dealing with Fixed Mindset coaches on social media:

“It’s hard to win an argument with a smart person, but it’s damn near impossible to win an argument with a stupid person.”

Why?

From Henry Ford:

“If you think you can do a thing or think you can’t do a thing, then you’re right.”

One puts the forest before the trees (versus missing the forest for the trees), and the other is swatting a piñata with one eye blindfolded!

I get it, we all want to be heard and validated as being knowledgeable in a subject, but high credibility in the wrong place is highly misleading.

Some go to extreme lengths to IMMEDIATELY make their presence known. Here are some Fixed Mindset saying tip-offs:

  • “I’ve played [X-number] years professionally and I should know.”
  • “I’ve been coaching for 30+ years, and this is why you should listen to me.”
  • “I’ve studied millions of hours of video analysis of only the best hitters. I know what I’m talking about”
  • “I’ve put a lot of work into the cages, and that’s how I know what I’m talking about”

Don’t get me wrong, the last two points above have their place and CAN be effective in learning and seeing success patterns, BUT massive effort going in the wrong direction can be gross negligence.

Besides, it takes A LOT of effort in the cages and hours of video analysis to stumble onto the right answers.  But, I have a more elegant solution that will dramatically cut your learning time in half!

You’ll know what to look for, so you can SUPERCHARGE your time in the cages and also for when you’re doing video analysis.  You’ll read about this in CHAPTER 2.

Willful ignorance.

I heard this term on Facebook and love it!  People online defend their hitting philosophy and theories to the death, even if human-movement principles validated by science, reveal the opposite.

I mentally play the “What if…Strip” game with Fixed Mindset coaches…

WHAT IF this person NEVER…

  • Played in the Big Leagues…
  • Coached for 30+ years…
  • Studied millions of hours of video…
  • Put a lot of work into the cages…

…IF we stripped them of their primary credibility indicator, THEN I ask:

  • What do they actually know?
  • Who or what have they studied? (Physics, Bio-Mechanical, Psychology, Exercise Science sources? Not baseball or softball)
  • What kind of consistent or inconsistent results do they get with their hitters?

We’ll get deeper into the Credibility Fallacy in CHAPTER 3.

Fixed Mindset coaches are stuck. They regurgitate the same information they’ve been taught in the past without question. They may even say their hitting philosophy is a science, but it’s not.  It’s a pseudo-science.  Their copy and duct-taped together hitting philosophy reeks of uncertainty. We’ll get more into that in CHAPTER 4.

Here’s one of my favorite quotes by Dan Farnsworth:

“Doing a thing and understanding a thing do not automatically qualify you to teach a thing.”

And it’s so true!

I can tell with 100% confidence that I have not:

  • Played Professional baseball,
  • Coached for over 30 years,
  • Studied millions of hours of only the best hitters on video, or
  • Put in as much work in the cages as others say they do…

So, why listen to me?

Because of:

  • What I actually know,
  • Who and what I’ve studied, and
  • The results my hitters are getting.

We’ll drill deeper into these points in the following CHAPTERS, but what I think is VERY IMPORTANT for those who never played ball past Little League or 12u softball,

…That you too, can be a hitting expert.

All you need is a passionate curiosity to learn and apply the human-movement principles that are validated by science, to hitting a softball or baseball.  I’m going to teach you how to conduct fool-proof swing experiments, so that you can use your findings to show people who won’t take you seriously.

You’ll learn my swing-experiment-blueprint in CHAPTER 4.

And I’m going to break it down for you, so don’t worry if you didn’t do well in science class back in school.

CHAPTER 5 will take you through the science of springy fascia and spinal-engine-mechanics. This is the WHY behind the methods we discuss in the later chapters. You can skip this one, but please return to it later, so you have ammunition for Fixed Mindset coaches who won’t believe the results your hitters are getting.

CHAPTERS 6 through 11 will take you through the practical methods and drills my hitters are using to consistently triple, or at least double, their body-weight in batted ball distance.

Lastly, CHAPTER 12 will walk you through, how to train these newly-learned hitting techniques. I believe the training is as important, if not more critical, than the mechanics you’ll be learning in this book.

I had a third-year pro-hitter drive up from San Diego (about a 7-hour drive for me, one-way), comment that he thought the training by itself was worth the trip! And he spent a fortune in time and money to work through a whole weekend with me.

What You’ll Learn

Here’s what you’re going to learn in the upcoming pages:

  • Why hitting philosophy fails and principles that are validated by science succeed.
  • Why you shouldn’t make video analysis FIRST-priority, when modeling elite hitters.
  • What 30+ year coaching experience and pro players won’t tell you, and how the information source you focus on can dramatically cut down your learning curve.
  • How to become a hitting expert when you’ve never played higher than Little League.
  • There’s a BIG advantage to learning how the body actually loads (and it’s not what you’re thinking).
  • A simple method that helped Babe Ruth to consistently crush the ball with some of the heaviest bats ever used.
  • Elite-hitters revealing ways to hit balls with High-Exit-Speeds, swing after swing, using three elements even a 4-year-old can understand.
  • At last, the secret to transitioning grooved batting practice swings into game at-bats is revealed.

WHY is this Important to you now?

There are four reasons…

Most “hitting stuff” we’ve learned is DEAD WRONG. It’s based off philosophy and theory, and with the technology available today, we can test the value of those hitting philosophies.

Nowadays, everyone is a hitting “expert”. How do we differentiate between an effective versus an ineffective approach? This is important because it’s not how PRO someone is, how many years of coaching they’ve accumulated, how many man-hours of video analysis they’ve done, or even how many hours of lessons they do in a given day. You can’t argue with science and powerfully consistent results.

“Confusion” between mechanical causation equaling correlation. Can you put backspin on a ball by swinging down on it (i.e. negative barrel Attack Angle)? Yes, you can. But, will the hitter consistently get the ball in the air that way? No. In this case, swinging down does not consistently put the ball in the air with authority, and IS NOT what the best are REALLY doing on slow motion video.

Big difference between what’s “real” and what’s “feel”. When Mike Trout says he works at ‘getting on top of the ball’, that doesn’t mean Johnny’s coach should go out and share with his team this method. In fact, Mike Trout says this to himself to protect his swing from HIS naturally tendency to upper cut too much, like he says to ‘chicken wing’. The cues that MLB and professional hitters use are often lost in translation with the younger-end user.

Is the Information in this Book for you?

First, we WILL NOT be talking about:

  • ‘Squishing bugs’,
  • ‘Swinging down on the ball’, OR
  • ‘Loading & exploding the hips’.

Second, this is specifically about how to apply human movement ‘rules’ to hitting a moving ball, and not about hitting ‘philosophies’ or ‘theories’ that DO NOT predictably work in LIVE case studies.

Third, the information in this book is based on the success my personal hitters have had both online and locally, plus the hundreds of coaches, who’ve duplicated the results, if not bettered them by using this system.

The House Rules

Here’s what I’m not promising…

  1. No “get powerful hits, quick”.
  2. No “do nothing, and crush the ball”.
  3. My results aren’t remotely typical.
  4. Most people who buy ANY “consistent-power-swing” training, will not have success with getting consistent power in their hitters.

Addressing point numbers one and two above…

Some of my 12-years-old and under hitters, weighing around 100-pounds, don’t start consistently driving the ball 300-feet right away. Some take 2.5 years to get to consistency, whereas before they do it “every once in awhile”. Other hitters, although rare, achieve this in less than 6-months. This seems to be the range for the hitters I work with.

It depends on work ethic and what David Epstein calls ‘learn-ability’, in his book, The Sports Gene: Inside the Science of Extraordinary Athletic Performance.

Addressing point numbers three and four above…

I encourage my hitters to work hard on the things we go over, and to keep on trying even after hitting major obstacles.

Most young hitters don’t do that. They just show up for a lesson or gather information and “get ready” to work…or they throw in the towel and quit at the first bump in the road.

It took a lot of hard work for my hitters to start seeing favorable hitting outcomes.

Interestingly, it was the work with my hitters that gave me the inspiration to write this book.

The bottom line is, I have no idea what your results may or may not be.

And it’s not my place to try to predict that. Your success is up to you, as always.

Onward…

—–

CLICK HERE to order your copy of The Catapult Loading System on Amazon today…