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Perfect Baseball Swing

Where Power Secret is & Where to Find it: Perfect Baseball Swing Webinar Part-2…

Here's are the three parts:

  1. Baseball Trainers Near Me? Part-1,
  2. [YOU ARE HERE] Perfect Baseball Swing Webinar? Part-2, and
  3. COMING SOON!!

The following is the continued transcript to the perfect baseball swing webinar part-2… (about 18-minutes reading time)

‘Showing Numbers' and ‘Neck Pressure'Perfect Baseball Swing

00:07

Do you recognize some of these hitters? Some of them have changed unis or one of them at least. Mookie Betts, he's on the Dodgers now, Nolan Arenado is in the middle, Mike Trout.

00:16

Notice the pinstripe on the side of their leg and how it connects into the belt. Notice the positioning of where that is, pelvis is already starting to open. All these hitters are at toe touch or close to toe touch. Notice the numbers on their back.

00:33

Now the righties, because the camera in the major leagues isn't straight on center-field because you have to see the pitcher and the hitter, it's slightly off centered towards left.

00:43

Your righties, you're going to see probably more numbers than you would see lefties doing the same degree of rotation. This started off as showing numbers, it's what we called it. We'll talk in a little bit how we've refined it to creating neck pressure. but notice these.

00:57

Perfect baseball swing webinar experiment results of the big three. The first of the Big Three is showing numbers. When I used a Zepp back in the day, now Zepp is turned in, BlastMotion taken over and SwingTracker.

01:05

When I did about two, three experiments showing numbers, we found that out of 100 swings, not showing numbers and 100 swing showing numbers that that speed was increased on average by four to six miles an hour. That's bat speed.

01:27

Bat speed is the close cousin to ball exit speed, they are not the same, but they're like first cousins. Without bat speed, ball exit speed probably is not going to be there, we got to be able to swing the bat somewhat hard to get the ball coming off the bat as fast.

01:46

Here are three others, you can probably notice these ones again, jerseys might have changed. JD Martinez, on the left, you have Aaron Judge in the middle, and you have Altuve on the right.

01:57

I know I'm as big against the whole cheating thing, as probably many of you are with Houston, the Astros back in 2019. But Altuve, being 5'6, 5'7, he does a lot of these mechanical things correctly. Regardless of whether you knew the pitchers coming or not, he still got to be able to hit it, as far as he does, which I think that year up, you hit 30 plus… 35, even with the playoffs in the World Series, I think he got close to 40 home runs that year.

02:32

Even though you know it's coming, the guy is 5'6, he's not Judge who is 6'8. You can't just write the guy off for “Oh, he's gifted”. There's a lot of things that he's doing in his swing that are very effective when it comes to this perfect baseball swing webinar – spinal engine mechanics. That was showing numbers.

‘Hiding Hands' from the Pitcher

02:51

The second part, it was the third part, we're going to get to the second part of the big three and the second one of the big three, but the other one is we call hiding the hands from the pitcher.

03:01

A lot of times what you will see is at the start of the swing, you'll see the hitter’s hands, and then by toe touch as you can see, all three of these hitters are pretty much a toe touch or right at toe touch. You're not seeing their hands, they're hiding them.

03:15

You can see Judge, they're kind of behind his head over here, Altuve is the same, JD Martinez behind his head, but from where they start with their hands, where their hands are at. Before the pitcher starts or gets in the wind up to when they're at landing, there's this move the hands to go back, and it's not towards the catcher, it's actually back at an angle behind the hitters heel or over the hitters back heel, that's where the hands need to go.

03:43

We see this idea of hiding the hands, now in the swing experiments with that, we found between a one to three mile an hour average increase in bat speed with hiding the hands versus not hiding the hands.

Perfect Baseball Swing Webinar: Spinal Engine Mechanics

03:59

The second one we'll talk about here in a second, it's called downhill shoulder angle, but I wanted to go into the three basic principles of locomotion. There were three books that ruin my life when it comes to hitting in a good way.

04:13

The first one I mentioned was Thomas Myers book Anatomy Trains. The second one was called Dynamic Body by Dr. Erik Dalton, D-A-L-T-O-N. It was a collaboration of different authors that were all along the same lines of springy fascia, Spinal Engine and locomotion, that kind of stuff.

04:30

In that book, Dynamic Body, I found Dr. Serge Gracovetsky's book The Spinal Engine. This is out of the spinal engine, the little thing on the right, which he's talking about a pitcher and talking about side bending, which is downhill shoulder angle, and he talks about axial rotation, which basically means shoulders moving opposite of the pelvis.

04:30

When we walk as humans. our left leg comes forward when our right arm comes forward and the opposite happens. Left arm comes forward our right leg comes forward. That is axial rotation, your shoulders turn opposite your pelvis, and it's like this gear shift that just does this when we walk, our shoulders and our pelvis and they move opposite each other, almost like winding it up, unwinding, winding, unwinding.

05:15

The axial rotation, shoulder, pelvis separation, the side bend, or downhill shoulders, and then the third move of the spine is flexion extension. If you go into an arch, you're extending your spine, you're hyper extending your spine, if you just stand in neutral, your lower back has a slight curve to it, or at least it should, if it does not, then we've had surgery to correct something we put pins in or something, or maybe we've got a lower back that's compromised, but we should have a slight curve in the lower back.

05:46

Dr. Serge Gracovetsky calls it “lordosis”. Just standing there in neutral, with that curve in your lower back, you already have extension in your back, it's not hyper-extension, it's just extension.

06:00

Flexion would be if you were doing a crunch, and you were to go the opposite direction and you flex your spine. You think about whales, they go this way with their tail, right? That's flexion extension of the spine, sharks go side bend, you see this right here, they do a little bit of both, but that's the good example of side bending.

06:17

We use all three of those when we walk. We already have lordosis or that little bend in the lower back. We drop our shoulder into a side bend, and that helps us to initiate the axial rotation where right arm comes forward as the left leg comes forward.

06:31

The story that really got me with this was Dr. Serge had a patient, you see this gentleman on the left, he was born without any arms or legs. He walked on what's called the ischium the bottom of the pelvis, and you can see him here in this perfect baseball swing webinar.

06:50

What he did was he hooked up electrodes, not to shock him but to measure his muscle activation and his ligament activation. He said if you watch and you can go on YouTube, and you can put in Dr. Serge Gracovetsky, try and spell it the best you can.

07:07

It's kind of a goofy name, spinal engine, and he's got a video on there that's like an hour long, and you can watch I think it's around the four-minute mark or three-and-a-half-minute mark, his show has a video of this gentleman locomoting.

07:21

What's crazy, if you remember, this is from birth, this wasn't the guy who had arms and legs until he was 18, got in a car accident or got a bad disease or virus or something where he had to be amputated, he was born this way. It was from the start.

07:36

If you covered the lower half of his pelvis to know he didn't have legs and you watched him move, you would swear he had legs. That begs the premise locomotion is from the beginning.

07:51

As we start going from baby crawling or rocking, crawling to standing to walking, we learn how to locomote this way, this is the best way how to locomote. This gentleman really opened my eyes to wow there must be something here and where it got me to reverse engineer the swing.

Perfect Baseball Swing Webinar: Springy Fascia Secret

08:13

Discover the springy fascia secret. Springy fascia for those of you that don't know out there, we got bones, we got muscles, but did you know, we have connective tissue? Part of that connective tissue is called fascia.

08:25

What is connective tissue? Tendons, ligaments, fascia, to cotton candy or spider web-like material that your bones and muscles float in. It gives muscles their shape if you've gone to the grocery store and bought a bag of tangerines in that, that fishnet type of bag, think of the tangerines as your bones, muscles, and your organs, and the bag being the fascia, so it gives muscles their shape.

08:52

Myofascia or fascia, if you've done myofascia release on a foam roll, you probably felt the pain especially if you do your IT band of that fascia when it gets really tight and clogged up. Cotton candy and spider web-like material, it's made up of mostly collagen and elastin fibers, mostly collagen, but there's elastin in there, collagen is very springy.

09:12

You've seen the Kardashians, how springy it is because they inject it in their face and their butt and everything else. It keeps everything nice and plump and tight. Bones and muscles float in this web, they're composed of compression and tension forces.

09:27

You see a couple of these things you probably recognize as a kid or if you bought these for your kid, that Chinese finger trap and the geometric toys, although I don't know about the Chinese finger traps nowadays, unless you go to some arcade and you can win tickets and get some of those things. Never thought you'd be learning about Chinese finger traps in a perfect baseball swing webinar!

09:42

The idea is compression forces a brick stacked up on top of a brick pushing down, each push against each other tension forces would be like a boom crane and you have the cable. You got the big wrecking ball at the bottom of the cable. You got the structure, the boom crane.

09:58

There's a tension force being exerted on it by the structure of the boom crane and the wrecking ball itself. We have both of these forces, fascia that are acting within our body at all times and resembles more of this toy on the left, this kid's toy, when you push one side of that toy down, it kind of shifts and changes it, one side opens up as you push on the other side. We got those two forces that fascia is into.

10:27

In Thomas Myers' Anatomy Trains, we have three different systems. According to him, we have the neural which is brain spinal cord stuff, the fluid, which is your veins and your heart, and then we have the third one, and hopefully, if you got kids there, there's no naked pictures here, but it can be a little bit unnerving.

10:47

We have a fiber system, which looks like this, they did a lot of cadaver work. This is what the fascial system looks like. It's not just something that is magic and floats, they have done a ton of research on this, and this is your fiber system or your fascial net, it's what Thomas Myers refers to this as.

Finger Flick & Wringing Towel Effect

11:05

What I want you to do is do a finger flick test. Thomas Myers came up or this is where I read this from. To show you the power of the springy fascia spinal engine system, what I want you to do, if you're seated, I want you to take your right hand or your left hand, whatever your dominant, whatever hand is dominant, I want you to put it on your leg on the thigh of whatever side leg, I want you to take your index finger, and I want you to just pick it up by itself and try and slam it as hard as you can on your leg, do it three times, pick it up, slam it, pick it up and slam it.

11:38

That's an example of muscle using muscle to do it. Now we're going to use only the ligament, I want you to take your opposite hand, pull the right finger, or mine is right finger, pull your index finger back as far as you can, and let it snap against your leg, you might be able to hear it on the camera, on the computer three times.

12:01

That is an example of a 100% ligament driving that, you can probably already tell that you're going to bet a bigger snap than you are when you're using your finger muscles.

12:11

The last one is I want you to use a combination of both, use a combination of the elastic or collagen, the ligament tissue, you're going to pull the finger back and as you release the finger, I want you to slam it. I found that that hurts a lot more than the other two.

12:31

What we talked about in the swing is we're using a little bit of both, we're using more of the ligament tissue, which makes it safe on the body, and then we're using some of the muscle, the muscle isn't required, but it does help.

12:45

When we talk about strength conditioning programs and that kind of stuff, that helps, but we want to make sure we get our hitters moving correctly first.  A must you're learning in this perfect baseball swing webinar.

12:53

The other metaphor I like to use is the wringing towel effect. Imagine we got a wringing towel, like you see me in the picture, I got my bat here and to wring a towel, you got to turn one hand one way and the other hand the other way.

13:05

When we combine the springy fascia and the spinal engine, instead of two hands, like we only have two, if I had a third hand like Squidward on Sponge-Bob, I have a third hand down here facing the same direction as the one on top.

13:18

The one on top is my head and my neck, my C spine cervical. The one in the middle is my shoulder and my thoracic spine, the middle part of your spine, the 12 vertebrae, the bottom one is your pelvis and your lower lumbar, the head and your lower back, turn the same direction, they're turning the same direction.

13:38

It's the one in the middle, the shoulders and the thoracic spine are turning the opposite. Imagine a wringing towel, except with two hands, we're using three like Squidward. As you can see here in this video, this is what we're doing with the spine and we're doing it in a safe manner.

13:54

Again, returning to our hitters here. We talked about all these guys, neck pressure, AKA showing the numbers. When it comes to the pressure, what we're talking about is taking the head and we anchor the head in a tracking position, because when I used to teach this is just showing numbers that hitters were showing too much of their numbers, and now they weren't able to see the ball.

14:16

We make sure that their head is the anchor and anchors in a tracking position, the shoulder, the front shoulder comes underneath the chin, possibly even past the chin as far as it can go, as far as the neck will allow the shoulder to go.

14:31

Wherever the shoulder stops, you got to stop, because then we start to pull the head off the ball. When we say neck pressure, that's what we're referring to. Head anchors show front shoulder comes underneath until it stops at landing.

14:47

At stride landing as you see what these hitters here, this is what they're all doing. You can see what their head and I encourage you to go out on YouTube and go start looking for this. You're going to see it, you're going to see the head anchor, you're going to see the shoulder coming underneath, that's the first one of the big three in this perfect baseball swing webinar.

‘Downhill Shoulders'

15:03

The second one, we talked about the side bend or down shoulders. The experiment we did on this added on average when we had down shoulders versus flat shoulders added, on average four miles an hour of bat speed, and again, bat speed ball exit speed, they're similar, not the same, but without bat speed, you're not going to have ball exit speed.

15:23

You can see four these hitters right here, Miguel Cabrera, on the left, you can see JD Martinez in the middle, on the top Mike Trout in the middle, in the bottom and you got a new guy this last year, you probably all have seen him, he had a good year this year, Fernando Tatis Jr.

15:39

You have this slight downward shoulder angle, and I say slight. In golf, you're going to see an extreme just because where the ball is. In baseball or softball, we can't be quite that down because we got to be able to hit balls up in the zone.

15:52

When I say slight, I'm talking about 6 to 10 degrees down, it's not a lot. I tell my hitters, this is 90 degrees, and then, 45 degrees, 22 and a half degrees, 12.25 degrees, it's really small, but you can see the back shoulder is above the front shoulder slightly. You can see with Trout on the bottom, I know that picture is a little farther off.

16:15

You can see with Miggy, he's about eight degrees, nine degrees. JD is probably around that six to eight degrees. Tatis is about six to eight degrees, and Trout is around that same.

16:27

Hiding hands, we talked about this already, so we won't go too far into it. Hiding the hands here you can see also, we talked about being safe with the lower back.

Last but not least in this Perfect Baseball Swing Webinar: ‘Hollow Position'

16:39

What we do is we don't like what we call Donald Duck butt or those of you that know Dr. Kelly Starrett from mobilityWOD used to be and now I can't remember what he changed it to, but taking the pelvis acting like the pelvis is a bowl of water, and we don't want to spill water on our front of our toes.

16:55

We don't want to tilt our pelvis to water spilling forward, we want to tilt our pelvis or our water spilling on our heels. What you can see here, not so much with Betts, you can see Arenado you can see this belt loops are almost flat.

17:09

When you see the belt loops in more of an angle and that also depends on the hip hinge that the hitters taken as well but with Arenado you can see almost more of a flat, he's taken the curve out of his lower back because he is spilling water on his heels.

17:23

Trout, you can see the same, he's flattened it. Judge he might be a little bit curved. Altuve, you can see the same thing, and if I had a picture of Josh Donaldson, you would see flat when he gets at the height of his leg kick, his pelvis is flat.

17:41

If we go into a hyper extended position, what that does is that pushes the vertebrae of the lower back together. That's not bad in itself, we see gymnast when they are swinging back and forth, they're going from global flexion to global extension, flexion would be flexing the lower back, extension would be when they come through the bar and they're extending into like a global arch position, that's okay.

18:03

The problem is since we hit, we have to turn and rotate, we have to, so if you're overarching, your lower back or your hitter's back and then you turn, you arch turn, arch turn.

18:16

It's not going to show up in your younger hitters, but as they get into high school, junior high, high school on up, they're going to start experiencing back pain. What we do when we flex, when we spill water on our heels, and the term we use with our hitters is we take the belt buckle in the belly button, and we try and bring those two points together.

18:35

We hold those two points together through the turn, even into the finish because some hitters will release it into their follow through and they'll get into that arch again, we're still turning as we're arching, we don't want to do that.

18:47

If you can do the pinch, we call it the hollow pinch. If you look on YouTube and just look up hollow position, or hollow exercise, you'll get some cool gymnastic exercises to strengthen that, but we want our hitters to maintain the short distance between the belly button and the belt buckle as we're turning.

19:05

Now, when you do that, the opposite happens to the vertebrae when you're arching, you give space or traction between the vertebrae, and now when you turn, you don't have that friction you're not bone on bone turning.

19:16

Over time, obviously it's a lot safer, and it doesn't take away from performance at all. The swing experiments we did on that, I think it added one mile an hour on average, it didn't add a lot, but it makes the spine safe and when the spine is safe the brain is always about survival. It doesn't care if you can hit a 4- or 500-foot home run or in softball, a 300-foot home run, it doesn't care about your performance.

19:36

It cares about surviving, it cares about keeping your body safe, and if there's an issue with your lower back or your knee, your ankle, your shoulder, it's going to say, “You know what, Neil? I can't let you go 100% on your swing performance, I have to cut you down about 80%”, depending on the severity of the issue, and Neil was talking about his lower back was hurting him in the golf.

To be continued in Part- to this perfect baseball swing webinar…

Baseball Trainers Near Me

Increase Consistent Power In 2-Weeks: Baseball Trainers Near Me Webinar Part-1…

Here's are the three parts:

  1. [YOU ARE HERE] Baseball Trainers Near Me? Part-1,
  2. Perfect Baseball Swing Webinar? Part-2, and
  3. Part-3 COMING SOON!!

The following is the transcript to the baseball trainers near me webinar… (about 18-minutes reading time)

Joey Myers  00:06

Get cozied up to technology over the years, because of the online thing, it is what it is.

Joey Myers  00:14

Let me let these people in. Welcome everybody that are coming in here. Some are coming in by phone.

Joey Myers  00:25

We have a lot of information today, I'm going to try and get through it really quickly, within 30 minutes. It will be good information.

Joey Myers  00:32

If you have any questions, I know, I have a lot of questions, a lot of great questions that Neil relayed over to me, from many of you. There's a lot of them, like I said, 40-50, something like that.Baseball Trainers Near Me

Joey Myers  00:42

I'm going to do my best to really get through those quickly. Obviously, I'm not going to be able to go through them in depth, but if you have any questions after this, feel free to reach out and email me at Joey, J-O-E-Y, like Joey from friends, at hitting performance lab dot com, and I'll have that at the end of this too. You don't have to worry about downloading it into your brain. If you have any baseball trainers near me webinar questions, please, and I will answer them, have them ready.

 

Baseball Trainers Near Me – Our Story

Joey Myers  01:08

I think we're adding them here. As they as they come in, we will add them. Today, we're going to be going over something, about 2012, towards the end of 2012, is when my son, who's now going to be turning eight in three days.

Joey Myers  01:28

When he was born, and the wife was doing the midnight, every two hours, three-hour milk feedings. I had a book called Anatomy Trains by Thomas Myers, same last name. I'm sure on the family tree, we are related in some way, but I don't know him like I would know my brother or my uncle or anything like that.

Joey Myers  01:50

Thomas Myers' book Anatomy Trains was something that really changed everything, how I teach hitting, and how I'm going to teach hitting, and you will hopefully get to see a little bit of that in this baseball trainers near me presentation. So again, welcome.

Joey Myers  02:04

Thank you again, Neil, for putting this thing on and keeping you already to go. Hopefully, we can get a lot of information in and if you got to go, we're going to record this, don't worry, we will get that out. I'll get the recording out to Neil and he can get it out to you guys, so let's get going.

Joey Myers  02:19

This is the baseball trainers near me seminar, teleseminar, whatever you want to call it, how to teach 100-pound hitters who consistently drive the ball 300 feet. This was something that I didn't just cook up and create a product and go. This came to me with the results that my hitters were getting, and hitters were soon to be, what other coaches were learning, and were applying with their hitters.

Joey Myers  02:44

Brought to you by Hitting Performance Lab, that's my website. You got Neil over at MaxBP. One of my favorite quotes is by Ralph Waldo Emerson, you might know that gentlemen,

“As to the methods, there may be a million and then some, but principles are few. The man who grasps principles can successfully select his own methods. The man who tries methods, ignoring principles is sure to have trouble”.

Joey Myers  03:15

Now this is an important quote, because it distinguishes between methods and principles, principles are rules. Think about playing Monopoly, you got to know the rules of the game before you can play the game. The principles to hitting can come in the form of bio-mechanics, physics, engineering, those are the principles that we tend to stick with.

Joey Myers  03:42

What we're going to be talking about today, case studies, why legs fail, and spinal engine succeeds in the power equation, discover the springy fascist secret, how to turn the spine into a safe ball crushing machine. We were talking about this with Neil, I talked to him yesterday on the phone, he was having some back pain with his baseball golf swing, and we'll see if we can get to that in this, but I really want to focus on more of the power side, but we want to make sure the swing is safe, we will talk about that.

Joey Myers  04:17

Before we get there, let's add some more people in here, probably have Neil do this. That's right. Thank you for joining everybody. All right.

Joey Myers  04:35

The first question usually when you go to a wedding is how do you know the bride? How do you know the groom? So, how do I know MaxBP? Well, it first started with the Sandlot Slugger, and then MaxBP acquired Sandlot Slugger, and that's where we connected, and I connected with Neil. That's probably been, I don't know, Neil can probably say on this five, seven years ago, maybe, that this happened. Is that about right, Neil?

Neil McConnell  04:58

Yes, that sounds right. We've been around about 11 years; Sandlot Slugger ran probably about 14 years ago. Somewhere in that mix.

Joey Myers  05:08

I know them because we started the starting lineup store dot com, where I started it back 2010. I was grouping a lot of the hitting aids that really love to work with my hitters that are proven, whether it's through science or just data, and MaxBP, Sandlot Slugger at the time, the MaxBP is one of those hitting aids, I call them the best hitting aids in the world, on the planet. That's how I know Neil and MaxBP.

Joey Myers  05:38

I played four years division one baseball at Fresno State from 2003, I just want to give just a little bit, I'm going to probably rush through this because I know most year, just cut to the chase. I think some of you that don't know me, would be good to just take a gloss… Over 15 plus years in the corrective exercise industry, and those are some of the alphabet soup that I have certification wise.

Joey Myers  06:02

What's funny is in college, I was a criminology major and I really fell in love with kinesiology. I wish if I did it over again, that's what I would have done, but I'm mostly self-taught. I used to train people, I wrote a 2018 Amazon bestselling book, Catapult Loading System, that's the title of this baseball trainers near me webinar.

Joey Myers  06:24

How to teach 100-pound hitters, how to consistently drive the ball 300 feet, and that started me on this journey that this stuff really works, because you really start to get in with a lot of other coaches reteaching the same information, and you really get to see this stuff.

Joey Myers  06:42

It's not just me and my hitters, or my magic, but other coaches are able to do the same thing. I'll have a cool little bonus for you guys, free bonus that you can grab this book at no cost on Amazon. At the end of this baseball trainers near me webinar, we'll talk about that.

Joey Myers  06:58

We'll get a couple more of these, about almost 30,000 online courses, lessons and books product sold online, over 333 blog posts at Hitting Performance Lab dot com, giving away over 8500 copies of Amazon best selling book…

Joey Myers  07:19

We applied human movement principles that are validated by science to hitting the ball. Like I mentioned, I played four years of division one baseball at Fresno State. I didn't play pro ball, I didn't play major league ball, but I played probably more than 95 and 98% of the baseball population.

Joey Myers  07:34

I don't say that to brag, I say that most of the teaching that I teach has nothing to do with how I was taught. I do use some of that stuff. I do use some of the cues and different things like that in certain circumstances, but most of my stuff, if not all of it, is validated by science.Baseball Trainers Near Me

Joey Myers  07:53

The other thing, that we talked about is, I'm working on a new book that's going to be published, we are working on January- February of 2021. It's called “Swing Smarter: Science-Based Hitting Training, Built to Understand How, Why and the Reasoning Behind it”.

Joey Myers  08:09

Those are all things that we stand for and set us apart from a lot of the others that you've probably read, heard, watched out there, purchased their products, watched their YouTube videos.

 

Case Studies

Joey Myers  08:19

Let's get started, case studies, so the only reason I got, I'm not here to brag, and I could give you a hundred other ones, but I want to give you an example since Neil talked about that there's a huge smattering of different people on this call. There are parents that are just coaching their kids, there are team coaches that are coaching a group of kids from 14 to probably 30 plus in high school, professional and there are instructors out there like myself, there are probably academy owners out there.

Joey Myers  08:27

I just want to put it up front on the people that we help and how these human movement principles that are validated by science can help anybody.

Joey Myers  09:04

At 14, a 130 pound hitter that was driving the ball 385 feet and by the way that was with a hickory wood bat. That wasn't the hot metals that everybody says, “oh they always try and explain these case studies away”.  This particular hitter, I think it's Texas Tech, he got a full ride to Texas Tech, Hudson White is his name. I do have a blog post on him that is featured on my blog, but he's one of them.

Joey Myers  09:31

Sixty-seven-pound hitter at the time, soaking wet. I think that 67 pounds, he had eaten a Costco chocolate muffin, that I think after he went to the doctor to get that measurement or something like that, he might have even been easy, 65 pounds before eating that muffin, but he was hitting the ball 180 plus feet and this is consistent.

Joey Myers  09:50

I always tell my hitters that I'm just the compass and the flashlight in the dark, you have to walk the path, I don't have to walk the path for you, I've done that on my own. I've walked the path plenty of times, but now it's the hitters that have to do that. They are 90% of this. I'm just the 10% that gives them the right direction to go.

Joey Myers  09:50

She put a lot of hard work in that summer, and she gained 10 miles an hour and ball exit speed, hitting a softball. We have an indie baseball player, he was pretty much out, he came to me, and in one hour, we increased, obviously baseball, plus 10 miles per hour and ball exit speed.

Joey Myers  09:50

This isn't just a one flash in the pan time, 90-pound hitter driving the ball 300 feet. D-1 college fast-pitch softball player, she was a Fresno State in a summer, now with softball because the balls bigger, many you know in softball obviously, in baseball you should know bigger softball, heavier, more mass, and to gain 10 miles an hour in one summer in two and a half months is a big deal. That's what she did, a lot of hard work.

Joey Myers  10:52

Now those things when they gain that much, the reason why, is because the principles we're going to talk about today, the consistently power principles, and they were almost nonexistent in their swing. If you have a hitter who is nonexistent, you're going to see these big gains using principles seen in this baseball trainers near me webinar.

Joey Myers  11:07

If you see hitters that have maybe a couple of these or one of these, you're not going to see that kind of a gain, just because they're not starting from zero. I want you to understand that this isn't the norm. It's not the norm when somebody started from zero but it's pretty close. It's between six and 10 miles an hour ball exit speed when they're starting from zero, it's what I tend to see.

Joey Myers  11:28

55-year-old slow-pitch softball optometrist online lesson, and he's working with me and doing pretty well. I don't have any gains on that side of it, but it's interesting and 71-year-old senior league baseball player, I worked with him this week, he came up, he read my book, he said, “It makes sense, I love what you wrote. A lot of the other books I've read are hard to understand”. He's an attorney, by the way. Attorneys usually are really into that jargon.

Joey Myers  11:55

He picked it up, he said “I love it”, it kind of come up. He's from Ojai, in California, he drove about three and a half hours. For two days, we worked, and we increased his ball exit speed by nine miles an hour in one hour.

Joey Myers  12:09

The first day we really hit a couple of these principles hard the first day, and he gained nine miles an hour, plus, he had a little bit of back pain when we first started, and we got rid of it in his swing.

Joey Myers  12:20

Again, that's something maybe we'll talk about if you guys want me to. I've worked with major leaguers, whether it's in person or they bought my courses and we've talked online through some of this stuff, professional hitters I've worked with in person, college, Juco, high school, junior high school, little league and senior league.

Joey Myers  12:38

This goes across the board, it doesn't matter what level they're at, these principles work, whether they are male or female, they work, it doesn't matter. Human to human is basically what it works for.  And you'll learn these principles in this baseball trainers near me webinar.

Joey Myers  12:49

If you want to get a lot of the testimonials, and that's just probably, I think it's 50 to 100 of them on my website, I have more, I just had been lazy to get them up, but if you go to hittingperformancelab.com, if you scroll all the way down into the footer, you'll see the about page and you can click that, read a little bit about me, and then scroll down and there's a ton of testimonials there. You can go check out more of those.

 

Why Legs Fail and Spinal Engine Succeeds in the Power equation

Joey Myers  13:11

Enough of that, let's start to transition in this baseball trainers near me webinar… why the legs fail, and spinal engine succeeds in the power equation. Learning principles from water polo, maybe those of you out there have had kids that played water polo or have hitters that have played water polo. I have cousins and hitters that also did it, and the idea came to me, I ran an experiment where I wanted to have my pelvis facing forward, I was using a knob tracker, like a Zepp on my on my knob for those of you who blast motion, same thing, swing tracker.

Joey Myers  13:44

I was facing my hips forward, but I was just turning my upper body to be able to hit the ball. The experiment didn't really turn out really well, but I tried to do it because my mobility in my spine or my shoulders and my pelvis weren't allowing me to actually do the experiment like I should.

Joey Myers  14:02

We had the backspin tee guys, I'm really good friends with them since I met them. They did an experiment where they were jumping up and hitting a ball off the tee and dropping off of a chair hitting a ball before they hit the ground. They were doing a couple different experiments like that, and what they found was when their feet weren't on the ground, and they were just using their shoulders in their thoracic spine, the middle of their spine, that their base when they had their feet on the ground ball exit speed…

Joey Myers  14:27

They had single-A ball players, they had indies or rookie ball, they had golfers that are hitting the ball 300 plus yards or 400 yards now and they had an eight-year professional pitcher who hits pretty well too. They were doing the experiment and they found that about 90 miles an hour was their normal control when their feet were on the ground, but when they were jumping up hitting or when they were falling and hitting, and doing their other things trying to take the lower half of the equation that their ball exit speeds were about 70 to 80% of what their control was, which was interesting.

Joey Myers  15:06

They were about 60 to 70 miles an hour versus the 90 with their feet on the ground. It got me thinking, and then somebody said, “well, that's not a good experiment”, because you know, if you really wanted to do this, you had to hang from a harness, where your feet were hanging in, and then you hit it like that, like, well, who's going to do that? Unless you've got access to a harness, like that, maybe at a farm.

Joey Myers  15:25

I was thinking, what athletes do throw or hit, from that kind of a position? I did a blog post, and it was titled “Is rotating back hip through the ball necessary for power?” Think about this baseball trainers near me webinar thought experiment.

Joey Myers  15:43

I don't know if anybody has actually done this. I probably have to do this next summer, but think about that the fastest water polo throw, if you googled it, what do you think of that speed of that water polo ball. As you can see, the size of that ball is like a volleyball, Croatian Olympic water polo, male athlete, 60 miles an hour.

Joey Myers  16:15

As you can see floating in water, they're not going down to the bottom and pushing up, they're floating in water, so the lower half is minimal to almost zero friction with the lower half, so you're not able to use a lower half like you are when you are standing on land, 60 miles an hour.

Joey Myers  16:31

Think about the pitcher, who is going down the mound, they got gravity, they got access to everything. Fastest pitcher, let's just round it up to 100 miles an hour, so 100 miles an hour, on flat ground, falling down a mound is the fastest pitch.

Joey Myers  16:51

I know 102, 103, we can argue but say 100 easy numbers, so that water polo throw is throwing a big ball, that's going to have an effect. Now, what happens if we put in that Croatian, male Olympic water polo player athlete, we put a baseball in his hand and have them floating in water and have them throw that baseball as hard as you can?

Joey Myers  17:13

What do you think that speed is going to be? It's going to be a lot faster than 60 miles an hour, I can tell you. Is it going to be, instead of 60, is he going to throw at 70? Is he going to throw 80 miles an hour? Let's be conservative and just say 70 miles an hour.

Joey Myers  17:27

You're telling me in water, the fastest water polo thrower throws a baseball 70 miles an hour, while on land, the fastest pitcher throws 100 miles an hour. Easy numbers, 70% we can say, maybe conclude, that without ground reaction forces, that 70% of that velocity is coming from the pelvis, spine, and shoulder combination.

Joey Myers  17:56

Without ground reaction forces, we are very minimal when we're in the pool. I say the spinal engines is responsible for about 70 to 80% of the power equation, and the lower half the legs and ground reaction forces are responsible for the other 20 to 30%. That's what I say. Keep that in mind as we talk through this baseball trainers near me webinar and the spinal engine system.

Baseball Trainers Near Me Webinar

Betts, Arenado, & Trout. Showing ‘dem numbers!

Joey Myers  18:20

Do you recognize some of these hitters? Some of them have changed unis, or one of them at least, Mookie Betts, he's on the Dodgers now. Nolan Arenado is in the middle, Mike Trout.

Joey Myers  18:29

Notice the pinstripe on the side of their leg and how it connects into the belt. Notice the positioning of where that is. Pelvis is already starting to open; all these hitters are at toe touch or pretty close to toe touch. Notice the numbers on their back. Now the righties, because the camera in the major leagues isn't straight on center-field because you get to see the pitcher and the hitter, it's slightly off center towards left.

Joey Myers  18:56

Your righties, you're going to see probably more numbers than you would see lefties doing the same degree of rotation. This started off as showing numbers, it's what we called it, and we will talk in a little bit how we've refined it to creating neck pressure but notice these in this baseball trainers near me webinar.

Joey Myers  19:12

Swing experiments results with the big three. The first of the big three is showing numbers. When I used a Zepp back in the day, now Zepp is turned in blast motions taken over and swing tracker. When I did about two- three experiments showing numbers, we found that out of 100 swings not showing numbers and 100 swing showing numbers, that bat speed was increased on average by four to six miles an hour, that's bat speed.

Joey Myers  19:40

Bat speed is the close cousin to the ball exit speed. They are not the same, but they're like first cousins. Without bat speed, ball exit speed probably is not going to be there. We got to be able to swing the bat somewhat hard to get the ball coming off the bat as fast. There are three others…

To be continued in Part-2 to this baseball trainers near me webinar…

I’ve Lied To You For 5-Years Now About The Best Hitters Baseball Bat Path…

 

 

Breaking down Khris Davis

Khris Davis is 5'10" with a ton of power. How does he generate it?Sean Casey shows how his back elbow and bat path help him get it done.

Posted by Diamond Demos on Tuesday, September 18, 2018

 

…And I'm sorry.  But I will say this, most are being misled on the best hitters baseball bat path.  The principle you'll discover shortly also apply to fast-pitch and slow-pitch softball.

In this best hitters baseball barrel path post, we'll look at:

  • How the best hitters are using the Catapult Loading System,
  • WHY current one-size-fits-all SUPER deep barrel path approaches are losing, and
  • Hitting different “catcher's glove” examples of inner, middle, and outer third of the plate pitches…

 

How the Best Hitters Baseball are Using the Catapult Loading System

…according to Diamond Demo video above: “Breaking down Khris Davis”.

We published last week's Khris Davis swing analysis post because of the Diamond Demo “Breaking down Khris Davis” video.  The overwhelming response I received from readers sharing this video with me truly validates the Catapult Loading System seen in the best hitters.  Don't think so?  Take a look at the following split screen snapshots from the above video (recognize ANY of the hitters??)

Best Hitters Baseball Swings: JD Martinez, Aaron Judge, & Jose Altuve

Observe stride landing positions of JD Martinez, Aaron Judge, & Jose Altuve – ‘showing numbers', ‘downhill shoulders', & ‘hiding hands'. Photo courtesy: Diamond Demo video “Breaking down Khris Davis”

And,

Best Hitters Baseball Swings: Mookie Betts, Nolan Arenado, & Mike Trout

Check out stride landing positions of Mookie Betts, Nolan Arenado, & Mike Trout – ‘showing numbers', ‘downhill shoulders', & ‘hiding hands'. Photo courtesy: Diamond Demo video “Breaking down Khris Davis”

We won't spend a lot of time rehashing last week's post, BUT I do want to bring up an important point that was talked about in the above Diamond Demo segment.  And it has to do with best hitters baseball barrel path…

Starting at about the 2-min, 15-second video mark, and continuing to the end, they talk about this idea of Khris Davis getting his barrel in the zone early, and keeping barrel in the zone late.  And this is where I've lied to you for the last 5-years!  I used to teach my hitters this same one-size-fits-all SUPER deep barrel path.  But what I found was this IS NOT true of the best hitters baseball bat paths…

 

 

WHY Hitters Baseball Current One-Size-Fits-All SUPER Deep Barrel Path Approaches are Losing

Let me tell you a story of how I stumbled onto this principle…

In January of 2018, I was working with one of my hitters, who has been working with me since he was 7 years old.  He's 15 years old now, in the 8th grade, and consistently hits with a low to mid 80's Ball Exit Speed off the Backspin Tee, using a wood bat.

His mechanics are pretty clean compared to my other hitters.  At the time, I was teaching my hitters the same one-size-fits-all SUPER deep barrel acceleration path, as many of you are now.  One day, we were working on hunting pitch zones, inner third pitches specifically, and he responded,

“Coach, I don't feel like I can get to that inside pitch effectively.  Am I showing my numbers too much?”

This got me thinking, so I jumped on Twitter to look at the best hitters baseball bat paths.  Specifically, I was looking for hitters, like the ones on the split screen images above, crushing 94-mph+ on the inner third of the plate, and guess what I saw??

The ones who demonstrated the Catapult Loading System principles well (namely ‘showing numbers'), still did so at stride landing on inside heat! Did you catch that?!  ‘Showing numbers' was irrelevant to crushing the inside pitch.  CLICK HERE for a post I did debunking that.  So what were they doing different on the inner third?

It had to do with what we call hitting a different “catcher's glove”.  I won't go into the details of that here because I already did at the following post titled: “Accelerate Barrel Rearward Like Mike Trout”.  The best hitters baseball barrel path isn't about a one-size-fits-all approach to all pitches and timing.

Here's the DANGER for hitters using a one-size-fits-all SUPER deep barrel acceleration approach…

Signs that pitcher's are smartening up to countering this seemingly effective low in the zone barrel approach?  Pitchers are now using this, which Perry Husband calls Effective Velocity (EV), to exploit hitters with longer barrel paths.

In short, 2018 homers are down, in addition to having a few months in the season where overall offensive strikeouts outweigh hits in the Big Leagues.  This is troubling.  To give a clue, check out Perry's video explaining why Chris Davis (Orioles) is having issues with this one-size-fits-all barrel path…

 

If hitting coaches don't smarten up to this soon, then they'll be rendered obsolete, irrelevant to the hitting community, and ultimately out of a job.  That's not an exaggeration, and is where the puck is going, believe me.  Now, let's look at the behavior of different “catcher's glove” approaches on inner, middle, and outer third of the plate pitches…

Hitting Different “Catcher's Glove” Examples of Inner, Middle, & Outer Third of the Plate Pitches

Inner 1/3 Pitch Barrel Path (“Belly Button” Catcher's Glove)

Mike Trout Homer #38 – 88.1-mph Front View

Chest View

Mitch Haniger Homer #26 – 95.9-mph FF Front View

Chest View

Trevor Story Homer #34 – 93-mph in Front View

Chest View

Middle 1/3 Pitch Barrel Path (“Back Foot” Catcher's Glove)

Matt Carpenter Homers #36 – 84.9-mph Change-up Front View

Chest View

Javier Baez Homer #33 – 87.4-mph SL Front View

Chest View

Khris Davis Homer #42 – 93.9-mph FF Front View

Chest View

Outer 1/3 Pitch Barrel Path (“Real” Catcher's Glove)

Mookie Betts Homer #31 Front View

Chest View

Christian Yelich Homer #32 – 88.7-mph Slider Front View

Chest View

Michael Conforto Homer #27 – 94.4-mph FF Front View

Chest View

Now, how do we train this?  I'm going to give you two complimentary drills we use to sync the optimal “catcher's glove” with the proper direction of force (See – aren't you glad you read my post to the bitter end!?):

  1. “Shorten Swing” Like An Elite Hitter (Not What You Think), and
  2. How To Optimize Directional Force Using The “Pounding Nail” Drill.
Giancarlo Stanton: Closed Stance

STOP Pulling Off The Ball, Increase Batting Average, and Boost Power By Using The Closed Stance?

 

I know, I know,

Some well meaning coaches will think, “Well, a closed stance cuts off a hitter's vision, and/or restricts hip movement”

I get it.  I used to believe the same thing a couple years ago,

…But what I found in my research was counter-intuitive, yet very promising for hitters.

Giancarlo Stanton: Closed Stance

Giancarlo Stanton using his “closed stance”. Photo courtesy: MLB.com

You don't know what you don't know, right?

My process is to chew and digest the science, observe how elite hitters apply the movements, and then try it out!

As you'll soon find out, Giancarlo Stanton did his homework before making this particular change in his swing.

Since there may be many of you raising the same objections I started with, I wanted to discuss:

  • Addressing the above “Study of Planes” video, then we'll move on to…
  • Analyzing the small change that has netted BIG results for Giancarlo Stanton this season.

 

Study of Planes

My good friend Seo Perales shared the above video with me a few years ago.  By the way, he's a multiple level black belt in Brazilian Jujitsu.

We love comparing notes because we both like to seek and explore human movement principles that are validated by science.  The only difference is, in his line of work as a Jujitsu instructor, he wants to learn how to break down the body, and I'm into maximizing its effect.

The above video demonstrates the science of movement planes.  What are considered weak and strong planes of movement from a Judo perspective.

I think you'll find the video enlightening.

Now, you may be thinking, “A Judo video? Really?!  What can I learn from a video about Judo?”

If you find yourself camped out in ONLY baseball or softball circles, then you're missing out on A LOT of useful information that will take your hitters to a whole other level.

The video is very applicable to hitting.

Furthermore,

My good friend Lee Comeaux from Texas, who teaches professional and amateur golfers, also brought the power of movement planes to my attention about a year ago…

He told me draw an “X” in the batter's box from opposite corners, and have the hitter stand on either line when hitting.  He's very versed in Thomas Myers's book Anatomy Trains.  He says hitters standing on one diagonal leg of the “X” encourages the springiness of fascia.  He taught this to his 15yo daughter, who has hit over .600 the last couple years playing Fast-Pitch Softball in Texas, which is one of the hotbeds for both baseball and softball competition in the country.  Oh and by the way, she also hit a half dozen homers as well.

The second part of this post, I wanted to share the tipping point in addressing Giancarlo Stanton's new closed stance…

Giancarlo Stanton & The “Dreaded” Closed Stance

The straw that broke the camel's back for me in writing this post, came from this MLB.com article by David Adler titled, “Closing time: Stanton's stance fueling surge: Marlins slugger's home run tear lines up with change to batting stance in June”.

You can go there and read the full article, but I wanted to tease out the quotes from Giancarlo Stanton (and some of David Adler's commentary), and how Stanton arrived at the batting stance change…

I just said I was going to try it. Honestly, I had about 30 minutes of work, maybe 45 minutes, before the game,” Stanton told MLB.com Sunday, when he crushed his Major League-leading 45th home run against the Mets at Citi Field. “And then 10 minutes before the game, I was like, ‘This feels more comfortable.'”

Stanton was already having a helluva year, so it's interesting to me that he made the change when he did, typically a change like this follows a slump.  However, this wasn't a spur of the moment decision – like it sounds from that quote – he did his homework, which you'll read about shortly…

“My best striking position is closed,” Stanton said. “It's not smart to try to completely change something in the middle of the season. But if you are 100 percent committed to it … well, you've got to be. You've got to trust what you're trying to do. If you change something, you want results right away, otherwise you try to go back. But I trusted it completely and let it ride.”

Sounds contradictory doesn't it?  To have the attitude that you can't completely change something in the middle of the season – especially when you're already doing well!!  But then he says you MUST commit to giving the change time – that is – IF you've done your homework beforehand.

I've heard some parents and coaches say mid-season changes aren't smart.  I don't like to think that way…WHY?  Because if you don't guide the hitter, the hitter will make changes on their own.  And if they don't get highly resourceful on the subject, then this could lead to DISASTER with all the junk hitting info on the net these days.

David Adler did fantastic research illustrating the evolution of Giancarlo Stanton's closed stance in this Tweet:

In the earlier mentioned article, Adler states…

“Stanton's closing of his batting stance has correlated with his massive power surge. On June 18, he had 17 home runs in 282 plate appearances; since June 19, he has 28 in 236.

When Stanton hits from those positions [open or straight up], his front side can come open before the pitch arrives, leaving him exploitable.

The closed stance is a natural counter. When Stanton is already turned inward to start, his rotation drives him into the pitch, instead of causing him to fade away from it.”

By the way, for those not doing the math:

  • From start of season to June 18th, he hit 1 homer every 16.5 plate appearances, and
  • From June 19th on, he hit 1 homer every 8.4 plate appearances

He cut his rate in half!!!!  The closed stance was the ONLY change to his swing in that time frame, so this makes an interesting case study with a decent sample size of plate appearances.  See for yourself with the following David Adler Tweet:

David Adler adds some terms of comparision you may be familiar with…

“With his adjusted stance, Stanton has been driving the ball in the air more often. His rate of fly balls and line drives, per Statcast™, has risen from 41.5 percent prior to June 19 to 50.3 percent since. Stanton's average exit velocity on those balls has increased from 97.6 mph to 100.8 mph, the highest in the Majors over that time.”

I don't care that Stanton is a beast, if you increase your Line Drive and Fly Ball Rates (Launch Angle), and Ball Exit Speeds that much, you'll make a lot of Ground-ball teams VERY VERY upset.  Small hitters CAN and DO take advantage of this formula too.  Statcast has given hitters the cheat codes to increase offensive productivity!

Furthermore, in the Adler article…

“[His stance] gets him in the position he wants to be in. It looks like it's keeping him on the ball more, and he seems like he's seeing it better,” said Christian Yelich, who's played alongside Stanton as long as any current Marlin — since 2013, when he was 21 and Stanton 23. “Some guys have different problems than others. You go about fixing them or covering them in different ways. It's all about feel. That's what works for him, that feel.”

Look at that bold sentence once more because that is one of the most critical keys to this whole thing.  Yelich is also tapping into making extreme adjustments, for example, Stanton's challenge in the past has been pulling off, maybe because of when he tragically got hit in the face a few years ago.  Whatever the reason, the extreme adjustment (a closed stance), helps him stay on the ball longer.

CLICK HERE for a video I did on how to make adjustments…the scientific term for this is “Paradoxical Intention”.

Now, here is where the article gets into the research that brought Giancarlo Stanton to the point of taking the stance change seriously…

“But at a level of the game where emulation is fundamental, success begetting imitators, Stanton found his prototypes: Nolan Arenado, Matt Kemp, Adrian Beltre, prominent hitters who do close off. He recognized past greats, too: Hall of Famer Andre Dawson works as a special assistant to the Marlins, and he hit with a closed stance in his playing career. Stanton didn't copy the technical aspects of their batting stances, but their accomplishments gave him precedent to actually make the change himself.

Some on Twitter have written this change off as a band-aide, avoiding a true fix.  A true fix?  Are you kidding me?!  Cutting his home-run per plate appearance rate in half IS NOT a true fix!?  Dude!!  Success leaves clues.  These people are saying Giancarlo Stanton is “playing to the slice”, where a golfer who chronically slices the ball will angle his body at setup so they don't have to fix the real problem…which is not squaring up the club face at impact.

This is a poor attempt to protect an inflexible teaching philosophy, and sheer laziness on their part to get educated on their craft they claim to know a lot about.  You instructors seriously think Giancarlo Stanton is not “squaring the ball up” at impact since June 19th and is just “playing the slice”?  That is laughable.  You don't know what you don't know, right?

This is the problem I have with instructors with inflexible hitting systems…they're WILLFULLY IGNORANT to experimenting with things that could push their hitters forward, especially movements validated by science.  We're ALL in this together, and we're ALL helping hitters.  It's NOT about your ego or protecting “your brand” coaches.

But I digress…

Here's some insight into Giancarlo Stanton's thought process with the change…

“I just know the guys with success,” Stanton said. “Arenado and Kemp, those guys, you know you can have a high average with it. So that kind of gave me the green light to try it…I knew it could work. Not very many people did it. But I know people like Hawk and them did it in the old days — and it worked for them, too.”

 

The Bottom Line…

Giancarlo Stanton: Tweet About Closed Stance

A day or two after re-tweeting Homer Bush's Tweet about Giancarlo Stanton's closed stance, I received this response from @Omaha_Outlaws4…

I understand your objections that a closed stance may cut off a hitter's vision, and/or restricts hip movement.  You've heard me talk a lot about “keeping the back foot sideways”, well, this plays right into that.

Matt Nokes is religious on restricting hip movement to the point of impact with keeping the back foot sideways.  Homer Bush agrees in this interview.  So are the Backspin Tee guys Taylor and Jarrett Gardner.  LIGHT BULB! The closed stance does this naturally.

The main benefit of restricting hip movement at impact (includes keeping back foot sideways) that you'll hear from Nokes, Bush, and the Gardner Brothers, is to keep the barrel in the hitting zone longer.  This increases BA and Slug%.

Here's my advice:

  1. Chew and digest the science,
  2. Observe how elite hitters apply the movements, and then
  3. Try it out!

If it doesn't work after giving it the ol' college try, then toss it.

As many of you know, I will gladly eat crow and change my hitting system IF you can show me the science, swing experiments, and many elite hitting examples that I can't ignore the issue.

This is an informal Part-1 to a Zepp swing experiment I'll be doing on the Giancarlo Stanton closed stance in the near future.  So stay tuned…

Ground-ball Hitting Approaches May Be Causing You To Lose Out On Producing MASSIVE Runs

Joey Votto: Plane of the Pitch

Joey Votto is one of the best at keeping his barrel on the plane of the pitch for a long time. Photo courtesy: RantSports.com

Now, before getting your panties in a bunch, let me start off by saying, the ONLY time ground-balls are okay, is for situational hitting scenarios. Other than that, ground-balls should be banned.

My friend and retired Major Leaguer Homer Bush, in his book Hitting Low In The Zone: A New Baseball Paradigm, uses Sabermetrics to show how hitters can hit .300 with consistent power, IF they can do two things consistently well:

  1. Elevate the low pitch, and
  2. Hit to ALL fields.

CLICK HERE for an interview I did with him here.

If you're a Ground-ball Hitting Coach, then I address A LOT of your objections in this Ground-ball Rant post, which amassed over 5,400 LIKES on Facebook.

However, the biggest head scratcher for me is the fact that a large majority of pitching coaches around the nation teach their pitchers to keep the ball down in the zone.  WHY?  Because they want hitters striking the top half of the ball, which drives the ball into the ground.  Pitchers want hitters hitting ground-balls!  Then why are hitting coaches teaching hitters to hit the ball into the ground and/or swinging down on the ball?  By the way, the latter produces MORE “worm-burners”, NOT less.

I know, I know, these coaches point to terrible defenses at the lower levels or that there are no “bad hops” in the air, but where those arguments lose traction is:

  • What happens when you face a team with a better defense?  FACT: teams – at any level – that tend to end up in Championship games can play catch better than others.  And,
  • If you're a coach pinning your “hopes” and “dreams” on the other team making an error or booting a ground-ball, then you're teaching your players to control the uncontrollable.  No elite athlete or coach in their right mind – in any sport – focuses on uncontrollables.  This means you're teaching an inferior model.

In this post, I wanted to share the growing MOUNTAIN of evidence being produced by Sabermetric sites, such as Beyond The Box Score, that are churning out, with increased frequency, Major League case study after case study showing that ground-ball hitting approaches are non-conducive to scoring MASSIVE amounts of runs, and non-productive for hitters at ALL levels and genders.

Onward and “upward”…

What Addison Russell's swing adjustment means for 2016

Addison Russell made a change to his swing during the 2015 season, which could alter his offensive impact significantly in 2016.

By: Randy Holt

“The declining ground-ball rate will likely be a bit more significant in the long-term, as those changes continue to go into effect, given that Russell's changed stance means he isn't swinging down at the ball so much. So it's only natural, and perhaps beneficial, that that number comes down. His line-drive rate didn't change significantly, but the uptick in his fly-ball percentage was nice. Especially if you're of the belief that as Russell continues to grow and develop, his strength will increase, leading to a nice uptick from his 11.4% homer to fly-ball ratio.”

Swinging down DOES NOT get the ball consistently AND productively in the air, getting the barrel on an upward plane with the downward traveling pitch does.  Ted Williams said this in his book The Science of Hitting.

 

Scooter Gennett and ground balls

Scooter Gennett's offense has declined every year since he broke into Major League Baseball, are ground balls the reason?

By: 

It’s obvious that an increased amount of grounders is diminishing Gennett’s ability to tap in to his power, and is behind the drop in his offense over the last couple seasons. It’s easier said than done to put the ball in the air than on the ground, but without overwhelming speed it is tough for hitters to last by putting the ball on the ground. It is one of the main reasons we have seen his BABIP deflate from the .380 total he posted in his rookie season. To think that he could return to that total and sustain it is ridiculous, but the he also has gone from well above average to essentially average.”

I included this BTBS post in my book on Amazon titled, “The UGLY Truth About Hitting Ground-Balls”.  Piggy-backing on this, here's a more recent follow up about Gennett's dramatic turnaround…

 

Scooter Gennett: power hitter

Home runs are up all around the league, and Scooter Gennett has joined the power party.

By: 

“In the interest of keeping up with the fads, the first thing I checked was his launch angle difference between 2016 and 2017. He went from 11.7 degrees to 15.0 degrees, which is certainly a change worth noting. It is not, however, in the range of launch angle darlings Yonder Alonso and Ryan Schimpf, who jumpted to 22.1 degrees and 30.2 degrees respectively. Despite not reaching the astronomical levels we’ve seen from some players this season, Gennett appears to have settled in a reasonable range that yields line drives, doubles, and a fair share of home runs as well.

His move towards better contact based on the change in launch angle can be seen through a 5.8 percentage point decrease in ground balls in tandem with a 1.3 percentage point increased in line drives and 4.4 percentage point increase in fly balls. Even with a 21.6 percent HR/FB that’s bound to regress, the underlying improvement of putting balls in the air should allow his increased level of power to continue. That may manifest itself in more doubles than home runs, but that’s still a productive profile.

The Reds got Gennett for nothing. He was in the midst of a multi-year slump in which he provided nearly zero additional value to the Brewers. Then Gennett, like so many others this season, added some lift on the ball and power to his game. The addition of power has helped him become a well above average hitter that should be able to provide 2-3 fWAR by the end of the season. That’s a huge win for the Reds, who simply claimed Gennett off waivers.”

This is pretty damning evidence for those coaches promoting a primarily ground-ball offensive approach.  COACHES QUIT SABOTAGING YOUR HITTERS!!!

 

Has Hanley Ramirez lost his power forever?

Hanley Ramirez is having the worst offensive season of his career. Can he rediscover his power stroke, or are the underlying signs of decline too strong to counteract?

By: 

“Since it is usually advantageous to pull for power, it is no surprise that Hanley's decreasing pull rate has coincided with his rapidly falling ISO and home run totals. Over the past three seasons, Ramirez has seen a simultaneous increase in ground ball rate and decrease in pull rate. These factors, along with increasing age, are probably the main causes of his diminishing power.

So will the power come back? Probably a little bit. As his HR/FB ratio returns to normal levels, some of Hanley's fly balls will likely turn into home runs. And since his hard hit rate has remained consistent, it is reasonable to expect a higher ISO going forward. However, if Ramirez's launch angle remains as low as it has been thus far, a steady stream of ground balls can be expected, which will put major limitations on his power.

Please re-read that last sentence.  On second thought, memorize and burn it into your brain.

 

Bryce Harper is pounding the ball into the ground to no avail

He’s gotta figure out how to elevate more despite pitchers giving him few pitches to elevate.

By: Kevin Ruprecht, Jul 28, 2016

“The batted ball distribution clearly reflects the launch angle, though perhaps the trend up in ground-ball rate started earlier than 75 games into the season.

Harper is walking a ton and striking out less than last year, but his overall production has gone the way of his launch angles – down. His 116 wRC+ this year is a far cry from his 197 wRC+ last year. Pitchers are throwing more outside and lower than last year out of fear of his power, so Harper just isn’t getting many good pitches to hit. Harper will have to adjust to reverse this slump.”

There are beautiful radar charts illuminating the differences in his launch angles in this post (just click the article “title” link above to see them).

Evan Gattis fixed his ground ball problem

With a move back to catcher and a more patient approach Evan Gattis seems to have cured what ailed him early in 2016.

By: Chris Anders, Sep 26, 2016

“Early in the season it looked like Evan Gattis might have been finished as a productive hitter. A player who is limited to DH and doesn’t hit the ball in the air enough to maximize his power is simply not an appealing roster option for most teams. Thankfully for both Gattis and the Astros the early season struggles seem to be merely a blip on the radar. As it turns out, a move back behind the plate and an increase in launch angle was all that was needed to re-energize his career.”

Here's a more recent Beyond The Box Score piece on Gattis about the difference in the two halves of his 2016 season…

 

Evan Gattis’s power surge: Is it real?

The Astros DH/catcher smacked a lot of extra-base hits in the second half of the year. Is this the new normal, or did he run into a few?

By: Evan J. Davis, Jan 8, 2017

“Where the swing might come into play is his batted ball types. Grounders fell nearly 13 percentage points between halves (47.1 percent in the first, 34.4 percent in the second), while fly balls jumped accordingly. Statcast confirms this: Gattis’s average launch angle jumped from 10.8 degrees in the first half to 13.1 degrees in the second. The sizable decrease in his pop-ups (from 5.3 percent to 3.9 percent), in tandem with the softly-hit and ground ball percentage drops, also suggests that Statcast wasn’t missing too many of his batted balls.

Gattis was finding more optimal launch angles to hit the ball. He was getting more loft, and keeping the barrel through the zone.

There's a formula coaches, on how to consistently barrel the ball more often.  Sabermetrics have given hitting coaches the answers to the test!!!

 

Franklin Gutierrez is wasting his hard contact

It helps a player’s cause to hit the ball hard, but that alone won’t make him great. Just ask Mariners outfielder Franklin Gutierrez.

By: Ryan Romano, Sep 30, 2016

“In 2015, Gutierrez put 46 balls in play in the lower part of the strike zone, according to Baseball Savant. 25 of those, or 54.4 percent, went on the ground, which ranked him in the 42nd percentile. In 2016, his ground ball rate on low pitches has leapt to 74.2 percent, moving him up to the 98th percentile. When given a higher offering, Gutierrez will still put it in the air, but that can’t compensate for the spike in grounders down below.

If Gutierrez remains at this level of offense, he’ll be a solid player. Most teams will find a spot for a capable (in theory) defender who can hold his own at the plate. He won’t go back to being elite, however, unless he cuts down on the ground balls. Making hard contact is half the battle; the other part is making sure that contact goes where you want it to go.”

The next piece for those of you Ground-ball hitting coaches addressing the objection that hitting for higher Ball Exit Speeds and Launch Angles contribute to more strikeouts (HINT: causation DOES NOT necessarily equal correlation here)

 

Whit Merrifield is here to elevate and celebrate

The Royals’ breakout infielder is the latest to embrace the launch angle revolution and is making sure he gets a chance to put the ball in play.

By: Anthony Rescan, Aug 5, 2017

“Arguably the most impactful change is what happens when Merrifield makes contact. Currently, his average, observed launch angle is up from 16.89° to 20.51° and he’s seeing a spike in exit velocity from around 84 mph to north of 87 mph.

This has caused a massive shift in how his batted balls enter the field of play. Both line drives and ground balls have been siphoned off to fuel his fly ball spike.

In addition to that, Merrifield has been much more successful at turning those fly balls into long balls. The effect of this change is seen across the board with Merrifield — a near-80-point spike in ISO [Raw Power – Slug% w/out singles factored into the equation] certainly isn’t anything to scoff at.

Merrifield has also become more efficient at the plate. Though he’s experienced a slight dip in walk rate, he’s drastically cut his strikeouts. His previous mark of 21.7 percent has been struck all the way down to 13.1 percent. When looking at his plate discipline statistics from Pitch Info, we can spot the changes. His O-Swing rate has dropped two percentage points, but resulted in a 6.7 percentage point increase in O-Contact rate. He also is swinging at more pitches in the zone by a 3.8 percentage point margin, but his contact rate there dropped from 92.1 percent to 90.9 percent. Overall, his contact rate has jumped to 84.4 percent from 82.6 percent. So, he’s offering at less pitches out of the zone, but doing more with them and also swinging at better pitches.”

Look coaches, the longer the hitter can match the plane of the pitch with the barrel, the more opportunity to drive the ball.  Increasing power doesn't have to sacrifice swing quality.  Plate discipline and pitch recognition MUST also play a MAJOR role in the hitter's development.

Francisco Lindor is enjoying a big power surge

It’s almost as if hitting the ball in the air is better than hitting it on the ground!

By: Luis Torres, May 15, 2017

“What really jumps out at you is the change in his ground-ball and fly-ball rates. He went from hitting way more ground-balls than fly-balls, to being a fly-ball hitter. His fly-ball rate went from 28 percent to 45 percent. That is a huge change.

It used to be that coaches at all levels would encourage their hitters to swing down and keep the ball on the ground. In recent years, hitters are learning how ineffective that really is. Ground-balls will go for base hits more often than fly-balls will, but will go for extra bases less often. It is really hard to score by stringing together a bunch of singles.”

At this point in the post, if you still find yourself a Ground-ball hitting coach, you may be thinking, “So should I teach my hitters to hit fly-balls?!”  Check out this FanGraphs.com article…

 

Which is Better? A Ground Ball Pitcher or a Fly Ball Pitcher

“Let’s take a look at a little bit of data to get started. Here are the results on each type of ball in play from 2014:

Type AVG ISO wOBA
GB .239 .020 .220
LD .685 .190 .684
FB .207 .378 .335

You can see that line drives are bad news for pitchers any way you slice them. They lead to more hits and huge run values compared to the other types of balls in play. But there’s a trade off in the ground ball-fly ball department. Ground balls go for hits more often than fly balls but fly balls go for extra bases much more often when they do drop in for hits.

In other words, if you’re a fly ball pitcher, you can usually sustain a below average BABIP, but you might get tagged for a few extra doubles, triples, and homers as a result. Ground ball artists, on the other hand, don’t often allow homers and extra base hits, but they allow singles to squeak through more often.”

Let me clarify the above graph…ISO refers to Isolated Slugging% (aka Raw Power), which is like Slugging% but with singles factored OUT of the equation.  Weighted On-Base Average (or wOBA) measures a player's overall offensive contributions per plate appearance.

I think every hitting coach can agree on Line Drives being the ultimate hitting objective, but picking between the two “evils” of either a GB or FB is where hitting camps diverge.

And according to the graph above, even though Fly-balls lose 32-points in Batting Average compared to ground-balls, I'll take a boost of 358-points in Raw Power (ISO), and a jump of 115-points in a player's offensive contribution per plate appearance (wOBA) ANY DAY OF THE WEEK.

I want to end with this beast of an article by The Hardball Times, authored one of my favorite authors Dan Farnsworth…

 

Ground Balls: A Hitter’s Best Friend?

“Alan Nathan [retired Physicist] has a great research article posted on his website detailing the math behind hitting a home run based on experimental measured ball flight. In it, he summarizes the results pertinent to this common teaching axiom:

‘For a typical fastball, the batter should undercut the ball by 2.65 cm and swing upward at an angle 0.1594 rad.'

That value in radians converts to a 9.13° uppercut swing, representing the maximized swing path for energy transfer and backspin using a typical major league hitter’s bat speed.

I do not believe this is common practice or knowledge in major league baseball, which is unfortunate. I have heard a lot of second-hand horror stories about the philosophies of many organizations in the game. Especially at the big league level, there is little evidence that a true ground-ball swing will lead to success. Line drives are the key to hitting, regardless of hitter attributes. Speed appears to have less of an impact on a hitter than what popular belief says. While speed may help boost a player’s batting average on balls in play, fast hitters do not have an automatic incentive to hit the ball on the ground, based on these results. They can turn doubles into triples rather than just outs into singles.

The bottom line: leave swinging down to bad hitters at the amateur level, who have no chance at playing at the highest levels of the game. Otherwise, hit the damn ball in the air.”

There is A LOT of great stuff in this Farnsworth article, so I advise you read the whole thing.

And if you think teaching speedy hitters to hit the ball on the ground is a good thing, then let me share this fact from Rob Arthur from FiveThirtyEight:

Let me repeat,

The effect of speed starts to fade only when launch angles exceed 10-degrees, as exit velocity begins to take over as the biggest determinant of a batted ball's fate.”

My friend and retired Big Leaguer Aaron Miles once told me that even the Dee Gordon's of the hitting world have to learn how to drive the ball at the Big League level because the infielders' arms are well above average.

Ground-ball hitting coaches, are you starting to run out of excuses yet?

Let me leave you with some quotes from some “pretty good” hitters, talking about the importance of Launch Angles and Ball Exit Speeds

Now look,

If you still aren't convinced that higher Ball Exit Speeds and Launch Angles are the way to go, then I chalk it up to willful ignorance.  You don't know what you don't know, right?  Hopefully this post moved you to more of a conscious incompetence.  In other words, you now know what you don't know.

Don't worry, I understand, you may not be familiar with how to teach your hitters how to elevate the ball with authority.  The good news is, there are resources.  Get educated because your hitters are DEPENDING ON YOU.

There are quite a few individuals on Twitter teaching this approach (this is by no means an exhaustive list, if you know of others, then please post in the comments section):

Of course, I'd be remiss if I didn't share my online video course titled Pitch-Plane Domination.  Sorry, shameless plug 😛

Mark my words, this hitting approach will be the norm in the next few years.  Just remember that I told you so 😉

Also, if you're on the Twitters, then use the hashtags #GBsSuck, #GroundballsSuck, or #PitchPlaneDomination to spread the “elevate to celebrate” gospel.

Carlos Gonzalez

Carlos Gonzalez: A Killer MLB Power Strategy You Can Use Too…

 

Carlos Gonzalez Spine Angle

Carlos Gonzalez photo courtesy: MLB.com

I'm comparing two Colorado Rockies hitters, Carlos Gonzalez (aka Car-Go) and Nolan Arenado (2014 franchise record 28-game hit streak).  What repeatable power advantage does a guy like Car-Go have that Arenado may not?  Is it height?  Weight?

Neither.  Look how similar Car-Go and Arenado are physically (resource: Baseball-Reference.com):

  • Carlos Gonzalez – 6 foot, 1 inch, 220 pounds
  • Nolan Arenado – 6 foot, 2 inches, 205 pounds

In this video, we're going to:

  1. Compare 5 key offensive numbers (based on a 162-game average),
  2. See what Car-Go and Arenado's swings have in common, and
  3. Reveal the killer MLB power strategy.

 

Comparing 5 Key Offensive Numbers…

Here are key offensive numbers from the charts below, between Car-Go and Arenado:

  1. On-Base% (OBP)…Carlos Gonzalez = .355, Nolan Arenado = .309
  2. Slug% (SLG)…Car-Go = .527, Arenado = .432
  3. On-Base%+Slug% (OPS)…Car-Go = .882, Arenado = .741
  4. Doubles (2B)…Car-Go = 36, Arenado = 40
  5. Home-runs (HR)…Car-Go = 29, Arenado = 15

Sure we have more data points for Car-Go (7-years) than Arenado (2-years).  However, looking at how efficient each moves when swinging the bat, we'll be able to assess the potential for Arenado's performance in the future.  In addition to learning how Gonzalez may be able to improve.

CLICK HERE to get a brilliant Sabermetrics point of view for Car-Go 2.0.

What Car-Go & Arenado's Swings have in Common

Nolan Arenado

Nolan Arenado photo courtesy: MLB.com

These are the human movement rules in common from the analysis:

  • Vision
  • Forward Momentum
  • Tight Turns
  • Engage Catapult Loading System

 

The Killer MLB Power Strategy

In comparing the two swings, what steps would Arenado have to take to hit for more consistent power like Carlos Gonzalez?  One of the secrets to repeatable power lies in the spine angle, which is achieved by the bend in the back knee.  The spine's angle can allow a hitter to:

  • Get the barrel level on the downward plane of the pitch (slight upswing),
  • Stay in the impact zone longer (increased margin for error),
  • Keep the eyes and head from moving forward during the Final Turn,
  • Fully transfer linear (forward) into angular (turning) momentum (increased bat speed).
  • Drive the ball!!