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Mini wiffle Ball Pitching Machine MaxBP Reviews

Mini Wiffle Ball Pitching Machine MaxBP Reviews: What Does It Mean To ‘Build The Database’ When It Comes To Hitting?

 

 

Mini wiffle Ball Pitching Machine MaxBP Reviews

Wiffle Ball Pitching Machine MaxBP Reviews

In this mini wiffle ball pitching machine MaxBP reviews interview with owner and founder of MaxBP Neil McConnel, we’ll go over:

  • You’re doing a lot of really big things over the last year or two? Go ahead and let them know what you guys are up to?
  • What are some of those tools? I know you have a bunch of them, but say like top two or so outside of the actual pitching machines?
  • It’s not just about a whiffle ball pitching machine to hit on?
  • What does it mean to ‘build the database’ when it comes to hitting?
  • You guys have done a lot of cool stuff with using max BP with catchers, how do you guys use that?
  • “Where you’re making them make a decision and ignoring one color versus being locked into another color…”
  • “You can honestly get work in and probably 10-15 feet. 20 feet is a good space….”
  • Do you guys test them before they go out?
  • Where can people find you, the website, the social media, all that good stuff?

CLICK HERE for the mini wiffle ball pitching machine MaxBP reviews video transcription in PDF form, or jump around the video using the following full transcript… (29-minutes reading time)

ENJOY!


Mini Wiffle Ball Pitching Machine MaxBP Reviews Video Transcription…

Joey Myers  00:09

Hello and welcome to the Swing Smarter Monthly Newsletter or the swing smarter hitting training podcast, it’s your host Joey Myers from hittingperformancelab.com. With me, it’s always an honor to have Neil McConnell on representing mini wiffle ball pitching machine MaxBP reviews.

Joey Myers  00:21

We’re going to talk a lot about what…there he is right there, about MaxBP reviews. It’s not what it was about five years ago. It’s bigger. But first, I want to welcome into the show, Neil.

Neil McConnell  00:32

Thanks, Joe. I appreciate you having me on.

Joey Myers  00:36

We’ve had webinars together; we’ve done all kinds of MaxBP reviews stuff. We’ve talked endless amounts on the phone. I think the wife is wondering if I’m cheating on her.

Neil McConnell  00:48

Tell her to meet up at ABCA.

Joey Myers  00:51

Exactly. Tell the audience about mini wiffle ball pitching machine MaxBP reviews, for those that know about MaxBP reviews, maybe they bought something from you, a machine or whiffle ball pitching machine back in the day, but that’s not all you guys sell.

Joey Myers  01:06

You’re doing a lot of really big things over the last year or two? Go ahead and let them know what you guys are up to?

 

You’re doing a lot of really big things outside of mini wiffle ball pitching machine products over the last year or two? Go ahead and let them know what you guys are up to?

Neil McConnell  01:13

I’m just to give you a quick snapshot that will fold into that. We’re going on our 12th year in business. When we started this, really it was about having a machine that allowed us to get more batting practice.

Neil McConnell  01:26

Fairly quickly, I cooked up with several vision guys, Ryan Harrison is one of them, his father, his late father, Dr. Bill Harrison, pioneer vision in Major League Baseball from the 70s, quickly helped me understand just how much more this product was.

Neil McConnell  01:43

It’s not about the reps, it’s about the eyes, the vision and the reaction training. That’s where we really pivoted early on and really focused on those reps that you get to work on your eyes that’s often an overlooked aspect.

Neil McConnell  01:57

People are working out they’re eating right, they’re taking BP, they’re fielding ground balls and so forth. Now sleep is a big one, the eyes, and what are people doing on a daily or weekly basis to really improve that sports vision.

Neil McConnell  02:16

Then take that a step further, what we’ve done over the last three years, is really focus on the reps. While we have this machine that throws a high velocity ball to allow you to have max reps.

Neil McConnell  02:29

In fact, I’d love to rebrand the company, Max Reps, but we spent 12 years doing Max BP. We’ve been slowly adding products that are the best of the best, that allow you to have more reps.

Neil McConnell  02:44

That’s whether you’re on your own, you’re with your parents, you’re with your friends, you’re with your team. We have from the MLB level on down, we sent machines to Japan for both baseball and softball just a month ago.

Neil McConnell  03:00

We have over 500 colleges, you look at a top 25 and majority those elite teams are using our stuff. All of our products, again, compared to a wholesaler that’s selling everything, we’re really focused on those key tools to throw in your kit and allow you to get reps whether you have people to help you or you’re on your own.

Joey Myers  03:25

Now, what are some of those mini wiffle ball pitching machine MaxBP reviews and other tools? I know you have a bunch of them, but say like top two or so outside of the actual pitching machines?

 

What are some of those tools? I know you have a bunch of them, but say like top two or so outside of the mini wiffle ball pitching machine?

Neil McConnell  03:32

Outside of the machine MaxBP reviews, probably the one we’re most excited about is the heavy swing bats that we added earlier this year. So heavy swing similar clientele to ours, they’ve been around about 10 years, pretty amazing start for them, they had David Freese World Series MVP, that World Series, he had their bat in the on-deck circle.

Neil McConnell  03:54

This is a tool that allows that light heavy game bat sequence, working it off the tee and then working off a machine. They have hand weighted bats that are going to help you build strength which translates to bat speed.

Neil McConnell  04:11

For younger folks that haven’t refined their swing path, it’s going to help them reinforce that correct swing path hands inside. That’s the one we’re probably the most excited about.

Neil McConnell  04:25

We’ve got another one that we recently picked up as the web glove. I don’t have one around here.

Joey Myers  04:35

Like real pancake ones, but it’s a web?

Neil McConnell  04:37

Yeah, and this one it just attaches to these two fingers, they’re very small it’s for catching small whiffle balls, it showed up on LSU’s pre-season video this year for their softball team.

Neil McConnell  04:51

Again, to me, it’s about the reps and I feel like these days whether it’s the travel ball or parents thinking their kids going pro, they’re just kind of grinding on him right and so there’s some of that fun taken away.

Neil McConnell  05:04

To me, this is a great tool that kids can have a catch and a pair, and you’re really refining, because you’re catching something smaller, right? It just changes it up.

Neil McConnell  05:15

When you and I were kids, to me, it was about, go find that shovel that was broken, I saw off the shovel and hide the broken shovel or whatever.

Joey Myers  05:25

Throw rocks at each other.

Neil McConnell  05:26

Yes, we work on a new grip, throw rocks or whatever, throw the bottle caps, anything. We’re kind of inventing our own games. I feel like, in a bunch of ways, we must help the kids find these things, they’re going to get out and, and they’re going to get their reps on their own.

Neil McConnell  05:45

Parents and coaches can grind on the kids all they want, there’s great support, right? You don’t want the kids to quit, you want to stick with it. But they also need to find that extra time on their own to explore.

Neil McConnell  05:57

Again, just about every product we have, it allows the athlete to get working on their own. A lot of times, that’s where some great development happens, they’re experimenting with different grips.

Neil McConnell  06:13

They can see the results, right, and they can make the adjustments. To us at the end of the day, it’s all about reps and finding ways to put that time in.

Joey Myers  06:25

I love that, and probably five years ago, the reps thing was, to me was just like, but they got to be quality reps. I didn’t really learn the lesson on that, what you’re saying, until I started coaching my own son’s team.

Joey Myers  06:39

We started at the tee ball, and then we did the last year was the first year of player pitch. We’re teaching them all that stuff. But if for anybody who has coached a team, a young team like that, where you’re talking 6-7-8-9-10 year olds, reps are huge.

Joey Myers  06:55

There’s a little bit of, make sure you get your butt down, if you’re feeling ground balls and things like that. Or if we’re catching things, you don’t want to catch a ball like this, because where you have the glove up, if the balls up above the waist, you want to do that, because we always tell them what happens if the ball goes in the glove, and then out of the glove, we want to make sure we turn it over.

Joey Myers  07:15

There’s big things like that, obviously. But what I love about mini wiffle ball pitching machine MaxBP reviews and the glove you’re talking about is one of the things that we did, we didn’t have the glove because it was just first time I heard about the glove that you guys have.

Joey Myers  07:27

What we did was, right before we start playing catch, we have a little drill, it’s just a catching drill. The no hands like no gloves, they just use their hands and we have them do 10, they partner up like their catch partner.

Joey Myers  07:41

They just under hand the ball they’re not throwing it from about 10 feet is the first the first one. They’re just under handing the ball to each other. And the first round, they’re catching it with both hands, catching the ball both hands 10 times, and then we back them up. We go length.

Joey Myers  07:58

Now, same thing, they throw it to each other. But now they’re at 15 feet, or 20 feet, they’re lobbing the ball to each other, catching in both hands. They learn how to release the ball the right way to put it in a way where the person can catch it, because at first you know the ball is going over their head, and it’s going way over here, because they don’t know how to underhand the ball that’s controlled.

Joey Myers  08:15

We do four total phases, we do two hand catch the first one, close, two hand catch far. And then we do single hand catch. Whatever their glove hand is, so for me being righty, my left hand, so they can only catch it with their glove hand.

Joey Myers  08:30

They do the 10 feet again, 10 throws each and then they back up to 15 feet, 10 throws each and they’re catching it with this hand and tossed him with this hand. We did that every single practice but like you’re saying repetition, it’s not so much that you have to get super technical and specific about things, but that’s something that they can do.

Joey Myers  08:53

It’s a mini wiffle ball pitching machine that you can hit on max BP, but it’s also a machine you can catch it you can catch things, throw you grounders, you can have it throw you fly balls with the attachment that puts a fly ball and nothing’s better than repetitions of fly balls trying to catch a whiffle ball that’s not going to hurt them.  What are the MaxBP reviews?

Joey Myers  09:09

It’s not going to give them a bloody nose or black eye or anything if they miss it and it hits him in the face. It’s such a versatile machine like you said it’s not about back in the day.

Joey Myers  09:20

Can you remember what the first one was? I learned about you guys through Sandlot Slugger. I came in and you acquire them and then you took their machines in and stuff and that’s how I came to you, but it’s not just about a mini wiffle ball pitching machine with great MaxBP reviews.

 

It’s not just about a mini wiffle ball pitching machine to hit on?

Neil McConnell  09:34

Yes, absolutely. In fact, my favorite pop-up drill. Again, I learned this when I had my kids run it through their progression. How come my kid can’t catch or every time he moves to the side.

Joey Myers  09:48

Ole, ole, ole

Neil McConnell  09:51

I saw this guy online. He’s doing the drill, and just tossing the ball and having the kids take it off their forehead and he’s using the golf balls. Just throwing it off the forehead and that gets you in that position and lines up the eyes, right?

Neil McConnell  10:06

The ball is going to hit you in the forehead, it’s in the right line to be in front of it and catch it, and you’re maintaining that line of vision, same thing I’ve been.

Neil McConnell  10:15

It’s interesting. I always wonder, as I’m explaining these things, just lately, I’ve been working anywhere from the pros all the way down to five, six-year-olds just getting started, but like the fielding, in that butt down and aligning the eyes so that the more that that balls coming, coming, right, and it’s in line with your eyes, same with like bunting and explain them, hey, hands way out.

Neil McConnell  10:38

As opposed to kids want to keep that bat back, right? Or they move it back but having it way out. So you’ve got that line of sight that’s coming, and the line is not diverting from this to this, it’s more of a straight line.

Neil McConnell  10:53

Just building up the reps becomes a reaction. At the end of the day, the kid level, a lot of times, it’s going slow enough that they can think about all of the pitch. But somewhere along the way, the game speeds up to where it must be a reaction.

Joey Myers  11:10

Then it’s the reps like you said, that’s a rep set builds that right? It’s that constant pattern of okay, the balls in this line here, and then oh, the balls in this line here. I’ve seen it over and over and over. Oh, and now the balls down here, it’s in this line, or it’s coming this way, right?

Joey Myers  11:26

They see this, that tunnel, or that bridge over and over at different areas, and that’s what’s going to give them at the higher speed level as they go up, that when it starts moving faster, well, now it’s not so much that we can see the ball all the way like you’re saying it’s going 35 miles an hour, and we can track it all the way.

Joey Myers  11:44

Well, now when it starts to get to 45, 55, 65, 70, 85, then it becomes a blur, becomes a line it becomes like we call them tunnels, right? Then you’ve built up enough of the repetition, where when it was slow enough where you can track the whole thing?

Joey Myers  11:58

Then it just does this and then all you’re looking at is you’re looking at that tunnel, is it up here? Is it here? Is it here? Right? I love that great MaxBP reviews, go ahead.

 

What does it mean to ‘build the database’ when it comes to hitting on the mini wiffle ball pitching machine?

Neil McConnell  12:08

I was just going to add on to that. ABCA I would guess maybe 15 years ago in San Diego saw Don Slaught speak. He’s got his Right View Pro. I just loved how he talked about building the database.

Neil McConnell  12:21

Your brain and all these reps, as I’ve always taught, again, I evolved with my kids and listening a lot more over the last 10-15 years. I always ask people, hey, where do you set up the tee and they set it up in that one perfect spot.

Neil McConnell  12:39

Every kid wants to set up and that one perfect spot, great, you’re going to be good at hitting that one pitch? It’s one out of about 50 or so locations.

Neil McConnell  12:50

So we talked about battleship. In fact, we have a couple blogs on our website, we relate it back to the game of battleship because you’ve got this grid, right of all these potential pitch locations, where there’s that famous to cover the Ted Williams book, all the zones.

Neil McConnell  13:04

Those are the ones we want to work. So anyhow, that translates over incredibly to the max BP, because like they did a study, this might have been Slaught’s one as well. It might have been Mike Epstein at ABCA, but they talked about hitting off the Iron Mike.

Neil McConnell  13:25

They had pros hit five, six balls off the Iron Mike, and then they covered one of their eyes, depth perception, and they were still just crushing. The point was there wasn’t enough variation location.

Neil McConnell  13:38

It’s the same as like, pitchers are taught you never throw the same pitch to two pitches in a row. Almost no matter how bad the guy is. Same pitch, second time around. The guy’s going to boom.

Neil McConnell  13:52

Anyway, so the max BP got this beautiful variation that’s working around the zone, that reinforces that whole battleship concept and really building that database.

Joey Myers  14:04

Also whiffle balls in the wind, if you’re in a windy area, you’re going to have that variation anyway, and so we teach in extremes. When we use our MaxBP mini wiffle ball pitching machine, that’s one of our stations, we do our small private groups, between two and four to six hitters in a group.  My hitters have favorable MaxBP reviews.

Joey Myers  14:19

The max BPs one of the stations and usually I’ll use it as like a righty slider for my juniors, High School guys and gals, gals not so much the slider, but we use that righty slider because they’re going to see more righty sliders and they are lefties, but you get all that movement.

Joey Myers  14:37

What I’m trying to get them to do is I’m trying to get them to see this, this, this, this over and over, like you’re saying that pattern, right?

Joey Myers  14:45

The other one we like to use is just the high fastball, so we crank it up the turbo, we get it to where it’s coming across their letters, and so they’re getting used to getting on top of the ball and what we say is hitting it through the tube.

Joey Myers  14:56

Imagining the ball coming through a tube, from the MaxBP machine, and it’s coming to the hitter at a certain height that tube is, and we’re trying to hit it right back through that too.

Joey Myers  15:06

Those are the two biggest ones that we use with the MaxBP mini wiffle ball pitching machine. But what I wanted to ask is there’s a lot of catchers out there, a lot of parents with catchers, coaches with catchers, and you guys have done a lot of cool stuff with using max BP with catchers, how do you guys use that and what kind of MaxBP reviews have you received from catchers?

 

You guys have done a lot of cool stuff with using max BP mini wiffle ball pitching machine with catchers, how do you guys use that?

Neil McConnell  15:24

Everything from just starting learning how to receive the ball to if you look on the website, we’ve got one of the all-time great college catchers Chelsea Goodacre, who played at U of A and played professionally, was in Japan this last year, but she has this great drill that she did that was basically trying to get on, with the glove hand, she would tap the ball as it came in and have it hit home plate.

Neil McConnell  15:48

By doing that she was getting on the outside of the ball. Again, reps, reps, reps, reps, reps. So, learning to receive, learning to block, there’s kind of just countless catchers from the big-league level on down that are just trying to get the work in and learning positioning, the new where they’re starting with the glove down low and coming up.

Neil McConnell  16:14

That’s something you subscribe to, again, how are you going to get your guy hundreds of reps a day, without getting beat up, because a lot of the benefit out of the max BP is the reps without the fatigue you would get catching the balls.

Joey Myers  16:30

When you guys also have colored balls. It’s not just like the whole balls yellow, or the whole balls red, which you do have, but you have split colored balls. One of the other things we like to do is we’ll do our drills, but we’ll have a mix, like complete mix, like you gave me a mix, but I even made a mix of the mix.

Joey Myers  16:47

Sometimes what we’ll do is they’ll have to say the color before they hit it. If it’s a two-tone colored ball, so it could be yellow and white, or it could be blue and green or whatever, they have to say the first color that they see before they swing.

Joey Myers  17:02

That also with the catching can really help because again, like the Harrison stuff, right? The eye stuff, you’re trying to get them to identify and then make it. It could be to where maybe they don’t catch the greens. Maybe you have a mix of red and greens. Or they catch the greens, and they don’t catch the reds, like red light, green light, right?

Joey Myers  17:21

Where you’re making them make a decision and ignoring one color versus being locked into another color.  Something else you may not pick up from online MaxBP reviews.

“Where you’re making them make a decision and ignoring one color versus being locked into another color…”

Neil McConnell  17:29

I would say to me the most transformational drill with this one. Again, I believe that more every single day. It’s incredible, because as we get testimonies coming in, and there’s one after another kid, my kids swung in and miss pitches all the time, and now he barely swings and misses.

Neil McConnell  17:45

We get those every day. It’s incredible.

Neil McConnell  17:48

But the tracking catch drill if you’re doing that. Take the bat out of the hands, you’re in the hitting position, load, and then you’re catching left hand, catching right hand, you’re trying to catch the ball as deep as possible.

Neil McConnell  18:03

Kids initially will want to come out front and slap the ball. Right. It’s getting them to track it deep getting them to, and then the second phase pass out, one is the track and decide.

Neil McConnell  18:14

That’s what the multi colors you’re just talking about. What’s happening in your brain there is it’s differentiating between a difference in color. The same thing that’s helping you make that rapid decision, because then that’s translating to a left hand or right hand or letting it go.

Neil McConnell  18:32

That’s the same thing that you’re picking up from a pitcher’s hand, a different release, different release point that might indicate fastball versus curveball, or slider. So those micro differences that your brain is recognizing quick.

Neil McConnell  18:46

This is colors versus a grip or a small spin, but that same thing, and that rapid decision making is training your brain,

Joey Myers  18:57

That’s cool. There’s a lot of difference if you bring up the subject of pitch recognition. Those are different phases. We teach my hitters that that might be like four different phases.

Joey Myers  19:07

Number one, the signals that you’re looking for, could be the pitcher hasn’t even started his wind up or her wind up yet, and they’re giving away what they’re doing. I tell my hitters, when I was in college, we had a lefty, who threw about 94, had about an 88 mile an hour slider.

Joey Myers  19:24

I loved hitting lefties, but he was devastating to a lot of different hitters. What he would do is that when he would go fastball, he would just get his sign, and then he would do his thing.

Joey Myers  19:35

If he got curveball, he would take his glove and he would go here and then up and then go, so he gave it away right away. Then in their wind up, even before the wind up, there’s the pattern recognition of okay, what are they throwing, what do they tend to go to a hidden account? What do they go to behind in the count? What do they tend to lean on more?

Joey Myers  20:00

That’s a big part of our homework, I tell my hitters you got to be critical thinking hitters. Before that pitcher even throws a ball, before he even gets a sign, you need to have a bulk of information that you’re dealing from then wind up, he gives something up or maybe his release point, he gives something up, he does this with the curveball throws it to 12 to six, and a fastball throws out here more three quarter, he’s given it up based on his arm angle.

Joey Myers  20:25

We’re not necessarily looking for detail in his hand but we can see this versus this, fastball versus here.

Joey Myers  20:32

There’s spin, so once I get here, there’s given stuff away, and then there’s spin, right you were looking at. A lot of this we can work on with Max BP, a lot of this with the coloring you’re talking about is ignoring one color but hitting another color or saying the color out when you’re hitting it or putting it in a zone and just getting the reps in that area so that you’re getting used to that movement. I love being able to have that as an option for kids, like you said with the repetitions of it.  This can be helpful for someone looking for MaxBP reviews.

Neil McConnell  21:04

Absolutely and again, they can set it up on their own. That’s one of the beauties, so it’s small space. Incredible.

 

“You can honestly get work in and probably 10-15 feet. 20 feet is a good space….”

Neil McConnell  21:12

I caught up with an old college friend who was with the nationals and asked him hey, what’s max BP given the whole thing? He was, oh, that’s your company. He’s like I got, who’s Daniel Espinosa. He grabs me and we go down on the road games in the hotel and find like a room that’s open and he’s firing balls at them and clean up and all that.

Neil McConnell  21:36

If you got a…

Joey Myers  21:38

Cellar, basement.

Neil McConnell  21:39

Yes, anywhere. You can honestly get work in and probably 10-15 feet. 20 feet is a good space.

Joey Myers  21:47

Yes, I mean how many settings? There’s like what five settings for speed. There’s regular speed. There’s turbo, you even have fast to where the dial where you can set it to righty curveball, lefty curveball, and then yes soft toss. You have like a couple other speed things there too. There are so many different options that you can use.

Neil McConnell  22:07

Absolutely.

Joey Myers  22:09

I got a question for you that I usually get. I’ve asked you this in the past, is people will say, well, I got another whiffle ball pitching machine and it’s a lot cheaper. What are the differences between MaxBP reviews and others? What’s the answer you usually give to that?

Neil McConnell  22:24

Well, the most obvious is the velocity. Our exit velocity is much higher than anything out there. If you’re wanting to set it up further away, or get the ultra-high velocities, like we had, I’m going back maybe 8,9,10 years ago.

Neil McConnell  22:42

Raúl Ibañez, when he was still playing, I believe he was with Seattle at the time, and he was about to buy one of those tennis ball machines that are 10 – $14,000 or something, and they throw the balls, I want to say 140 miles an hour.

Neil McConnell  23:00

They require an operator, they jam, they have a handful of issues, but they’re great for training. In fact, if you watch some Edgar Martinez retirement videos, he talked about his eye issues he had through his whole career. That was one of the things he did to really put in all that extra work to be the Hall of Fame player he was.

Neil McConnell  23:19

Anyway, Raúl, quickly got exposed to our machine and realized, this is going to do the same thing. That ball is fast, it’s portable. If you go down the list, so it’s fast as the most obvious, it’s more durable.

Neil McConnell  23:37

If you feel it, obviously there’s a difference, holds more balls, so it allows more reps. The number of speed and the curve changes. On the pro model, there’s three different righty curves, there’s three different lefty curves. Maybe we call like slaughter slider cutter curve.

Neil McConnell  23:58

The pitch interval, on the pro there’s a rapid-fire option that allows a ball to fire every second. Instead of the fastest being three seconds, you got a ball coming every second so whether it’s a bunting station, there’s other drills you can do bunt, take, swing.

Neil McConnell  24:14

The rapid hand catch drills, whether you’re a catcher or even in the hitting position, in fact that one Sean Casey on MLB network demonstrated that one about four years ago with the rapid fire.

Joey Myers  24:31

Do you guys test them before they go out because that can be helpful for someone looking for MaxBP reviews?

 

Do you guys test them before they go out?

Neil McConnell  24:33

A lot of testing. We’re built here in the US so we do have good parts you can’t get anywhere in the world but China still, but the build is done in the US, we hand pour our wheels, we test, there’s multiple test spots at every single step.

Joey Myers  24:54

I know that was one of the big things with the cheaper model was that people would get them, they’re all over the place, they’re not tested basically before they go out.

Neil McConnell  25:04

Yes, and one of the other keys, we’ve stuck with whiffle brand balls so those guys are out of Connecticut, 63 year old company, three generation, our customers were amazing and stuck with us, they ran out of the plastic and they had empty warehouses for the first time in their 63 years of history this summer.

Neil McConnell  25:25

We were rationing balls like saltines in a bomb shelter or something. That’s one of the keys though, so they maintain the weight, the size and all that. People, too, they say, hey, these balls are expensive.

Neil McConnell  25:44

Again, it’s high quality, we say you must lose them for them to become useless. They don’t ding, they don’t have the little burrs that create imperfections. Very high-quality product that’s made here in the US, in Connecticut. There was one other difference, what the heck was it?

Neil McConnell  26:10

I’ll think of it.

Joey Myers  26:10

There’s a lot to take in regarding MaxBP reviews.

Neil McConnell  26:12

Yes, there’s a bunch. It’s high-quality product and the thing we stand by is our customer service. We’ll work with the customers, we’ll help them through drills, we’ll help them through set up and all that kind of stuff.

Neil McConnell  26:29

We’ve got some great new setup videos that are out on the website. We pulled away the paper instructions a few years back and went to an FAQ text and got a few complaints like hey, we’re expecting a step by step, but we’ve created some really great videos, everything from setting up the tripod attaching the pop up to just a general unboxing and here’s what you get.

Neil McConnell  26:52

The drills we’re about to shoot another drill run. The first that we did was probably four and a half years ago with the guy Tyler Hyneman, catcher out of UCLA, most of his time at Triple A he was with the Astros at the time.

Neil McConnell  27:05

Last year thanks to Buster Posey taking a year off, half the summer caught opening day for the giants.

Joey Myers  27:12

So cool.

Neil McConnell  27:13

Just one of the more awesome dudes in baseball, just as nice as they come, and I just fall in love with these guys that put in the work. It’s almost like when I met Scott Hatteberg, about 10 years ago, I was more interested in talking about Michael Lewis and spending a week with Moneyball, getting ready for Moneyball.

Neil McConnell  27:36

One of the guys that was with me asked Hatteberg a question was like, hey, so how do you foul off a pitch and managing an at-bat and just foul off and wait for good pitches.

Neil McConnell  27:47

He’s like, I was never able to do that, he’s like, I felt lucky just to make contact and the amount of work I put in, and when you talk to guys like that, that just grind and they put in the work, if I had that time machine, I would give myself one of these machines in the 80s.

Neil McConnell  28:06

I love putting in the work but having the tools, I say, kids these days, and athletes in general, the tools at their disposal are just off the charts. The science on eating and sleeping.

Neil McConnell  28:22

Harrison did a series of webinars when COVID started and it seemed like every webinar we did, sleeping was coming up. It was incredible. But those are things that we just had no clue of back in the 80s.

Joey Myers  28:37

We were doing what the outfielders’ combined sleep was like three hours. We had a game like that in college. We used to do a brunch on Sunday at Fresno State, beautiful brunch and especially my freshman year, towards the end of the season, I played the first half of the season and then pretty much sat the last half of the season.

Joey Myers  28:59

Sunday, it was always the rule if you were playing you can pretty much eat what you wanted as much as you wanted. If you weren’t playing you had to be careful if you ate too much that you were going to fall asleep on the bench, but we had one of those Sundays to brunches, we had our complete outfield.

Joey Myers  29:17

I wasn’t one of them, but our complete outfield had like accumulative sleep the night before because they’d all gone out like four hours, four hours of sleep. Don’t do that.

Neil McConnell  29:32

Memories.

Joey Myers  29:34

Well, hey, I want to be respectful your time, Neil. So where can people find you, the website, the social media, all that good MaxBP reviews stuff?

 

Where can people find you, the website, the social media, all that good stuff?

Neil McConnell  29:41

So MaxBP.com, that’s probably the quickest way to jump all our social links. We just rolled out a new website about a week and a half ago, the fifth website in 12 years. A lot of great content up there.

Neil McConnell  29:54

We’re here to help you get more reps. We’ve got another cool announcement here in the next couple of weeks, another product that we’re bringing on board, we’re teaming up.

Neil McConnell  30:06

The one thing I quickly realized as we were doing ABCA and NFCA and all these shows is there a few big companies out there like the Wilson who picked up ATEC and Louisville Slugger and Marucci has since gotten purchased.

Neil McConnell  30:13

There were just several 100 amazing small companies that had really cool products and sell them and had a tough time getting visibility to the masses.

Neil McConnell  30:39

It’s funny I have a handful friends always call me the gizmo guy like I’ve got one Gizmo after another but I’m always testing things, but I have a very small kit of tools that I use when I coach.

Neil McConnell  30:53

That’s reflected on our website I refuse to take on hundreds and hundreds and just sell everything in anything because I really believe you work on hitting, you work on the mechanics on a tee, getting some reps there and now you’ve got to hit a moving ball and then how are you going to get lots of reps doing that and we strongly believe MaxBP’s the best way to do that.

Neil McConnell  31:16

Thanks a ton for having me and visit www.maxBP.com and reach out to us, any questions you have, we got a ton of great blog articles. We’re grateful for the partnership with Joey going back long ways and hopefully see him in person.

Neil McConnell  31:34

Are you going on NFCA, I think that’s our first show out the gates this December?

Joey Myers  31:40

We’ll see. I think I kind of want to see how all this political stuff pans out on the traveling side of things. If it’s closer I can drive probably better deals, but we’ll kind of see on those I will eventually get back out there again.

Joey Myers  31:56

I can’t wait to get together in person, not saying that we’d have one of those nights where it would be four hours of sleep between us but maybe that might happen.

Neil McConnell  32:10

Thanks. Yeah, you also improve my golf driving yardage. I think I had a good 30-40 yards consistently. Thanks for the bellybutton squeeze.

Joey Myers  32:21

Well, the reason I recommended that to you because you were saying you got that back pain.

Neil McConnell  32:25

Exactly. The back pain is gone. I love how these things they translate over to other sports because, when I was golfing last summer through COVID I hadn’t played in seven years.

Neil McConnell  32:39

I love how these pieces come together, and then that reminds me, too and when I’m working with my hitters. What are they doing biomechanical and you’ve got that stuff nailed.

Joey Myers  32:50

Exactly. Cool, dude. Well, hey, any scratch my back. I scratch your back type of thing. Alright, Neil. Well, hey, have a good rest of your week and we’ll do this again some other time, MaxBP reviews.

Neil McConnell  33:02

Thanks.

Joey Myers  33:03

Alright brother.

Hitting Training For Baseball & Softball Swing Trainers | Hitting Performance Lab

Christian Yelich Video Says Baseball Swing Trainer Barry Bonds Taught Him A Drill That Changed His Career…

 

 

Typical baseball swing trainer BEWARE!

I agree with ‘swing down’…

Baseball Wwing Trainer: 'Swinging Down' in the 'Launch Angle' Era?

Christian Yelich and Barry Bonds swing comparison. Photo courtesy: Jomboy Media YouTube channel

Let that sink in for a bit.

Some are pissed I just said that.  But those who’ve followed me for some time are nodding their head in confirmation because they know better.

Because guess what?  It depends.

‘Swing down’ shouldn’t be used as a baseball swing trainer blanket teach.  I have two things for you…

  1. Jomboy Media VIDEO: “Christian Yelich says Barry Bonds taught him a drill that changed his career” (watching it will reveal its relevance to this post), and
  2. Below is Chapter-2 of the new book I’m working on.  It’s a longer post, but I think you’ll like it.  Goes well with the Yelich-Bonds video above, like grass fed red meat and a fine red wine.

Thank you Grandpa Mike for sharing the baseball swing trainer video.  You know who you are.  Enjoy!

———-

WHAT AN OLD SCHOOL SWING FEELS LIKE & THE PROS AND CONS?

In Chapter-2, we’ll look at what an old school swing feels like and the pros and cons.  We’ll be discussing:

  • How can someone tell Mike Trout, Albert Pujols, or Alex Rodriguez what they say about hitting is wrong?
  • Pros to old school feel mechanics,
  • Cons to old school feel mechanics, and
  • So, how do we interweave brainless data and confusing real v. feel hitting cues?

How Can Someone tell Mike Trout, Albert Pujols, or Alex Rodriguez what they Say about Hitting is Wrong?

Now, some of you out there have seen the video of Alex Rodriguez demonstrating how he swung down. Maybe you saw the preseason interview of Mike Trout discussing how he gets on top of the ball.

Or how about Albert Pujols on the MLB Network revealed he swings knob down to the ball?

‘Swing down’.  ‘Getting on top of the ball’.  ‘Knob to the ball’.  ‘Keep barrel above hands’ is another one.  Nowadays, these are some of THE most despised baseball swing trainer hitting coaching cues on the market.  I was one of them.  “Was”.  About 2-3 years ago.  Now I have a different perspective and approach.  These cues DO work.  But it depends on the case.  And if reading or hearing those words made your blood boil…you can change too, believe me.  Here’s how…

First, let’s clear up and define “swinging down”. Well yeah, the hands do go down to the ball. And depending on how high or low the ball is, the hands will go down more or less. This is true.  But coaches HATE these cues for a different reason.  Here’s the thing… if you watch players like A-Rod, Mike Trout, and Albert Pujols physically demonstrate what swinging down means to them, you see them using a chopping motion. Yes. The barrel and hands travel down to the ball. But not ‘hands drop’.  That’s different, and is a swing flaw we MUST fix.  In the high level swing, we see the barrel go down before coming up.

Here’s my beef with ‘swinging down’…

When swinging down is translated by the baseball swing trainer into a NEGATIVE attack angle.  Meaning the barrel is going down towards the impact point.  Is not coming up.  And this is what hitting greats like Alex Rodriguez, Mike Trout, and Albert Pujols are demonstrating in interviews.  And where the confusion starts.  If you watch their actual swing on film, slow motion swing, what you’re going to see is a POSITIVE attack angle.  Meaning, barrel elevating up to incoming ball descending down. Yes, even in Fastpitch Softball (more about this in Chapter-7).  Barrel coming up to impact, positive. Barrel going down to impact, negative.  We clear?

So if what these great hitters are saying and demonstrating isn’t what they’re actually doing, then what’s REALLY going on?

Well, here’s the thing … it’s the mysterious case of real versus feel What’s really happening on video doesn’t square with what the high level hitter feels they’re doing.  Two completely opposite things.  Take Mike Trout.  Let’s look at his real (9-year career average batted ball numbers before start of 2020 season):

  • Ground-ball rate: 36.8% (League average is 43%)
  • Fly-ball rate: 40.8% (League average is 37%)
  • Line drive rate: 22.4% (League average is 20%), and
  • Homerun to fly-ball ratio: 21.4% (League average is 9.5%).

Significantly below average ground-ball rate.  Check.  Slightly above average fly-ball rate.  Check.  Slightly above average line drive rate.  Check.  And well above average home-run to fly-ball ration.  Checkmate!  This proves his performance – the real – doesn’t jive with his feel of ‘getting on top of the ball’.  I want you to go to YouTube, search “Mike Trout slow motion swing”, and watch…

His barrels goes down, then comes up to the ball.  Up.  Positive barrel attack angle.  Not down.  Not on top.  Not a negative attack angle.

Before the baseball swing trainer gets upset I’m telling Mike Trout, “You know ‘nothin’!”  Here’s the beautiful crazy of this whole thing.   Coaches, understand this … the body is always one or two steps behind the brain. Thinking happens fast. There’s zero friction with thoughts.  Nothing. It just goes, goes, goes, goes, goes.  No heavy bones, muscle, organs, and fascia required to move before a thought can fire off!

The secret to unlocking the real v. feel mystery can be revealed through a psychology term called paradoxical intention…

Pros to Old School Feel Mechanics

We have to understand what Mike Trout is REALLY saying.  Bring context to the numbers.  Remember Chapter-1?  Trout will say, “I’ll take 10 swings off the tee or during batting practice to feel like I’m getting on top of the ball”. You see, his natural tendency is to uppercut. An extreme uppercut because he uses a significant shoulder tilt to effectively feast on balls down in the zone.  And this works well with pitchers targeting down in the zone, and away.

Although, this is different than the slight uppercut Ted Williams talked about in his book The Science Of Hitting.  Williams talked about barrel meeting the plane of the pitch.  Trout’s natural tendency runs counter to this.  And what he tells himself, remember the body is one or two steps behind the brain, is to do the exact opposite of what his natural tendency is.  He tells himself to get on top of the ball. And what’s the result?  The barrel ends up somewhere in the middle of extreme uppercut and negative attack angle downswing.  That’s what he’s trying to get for his real… to get to the middle.

The true old school baseball swing trainer hitting tragedy…

Some say hitters like Alex Rodriguez, Barry Bonds, Pujols, and Trout are – or were – fantastic at doing, but not very good at translating what they did into teaching. Take Barry Bonds. Who was the Florida Marlins hitting coach in 2016.  Then they let him go.  Former Marlins President David Samson said this,

“Bonds was worst hitting coach of my career.”  

So why wasn’t Barry Bonds able to translate the way he hit to his prized pupils like Giancarlo Stanton?  Bonds is the career Major League home run leader after all. Some say he can do, but he doesn’t know how he does what he did.  I disagree these hitters aren’t good at teaching.  Again it’s a translation issue.

Dr. Victor Frankl, Psychologist and survivor of four Nazi death camps, in his book Man’s Search For Meaning, calls this “paradoxical intention”.  Hitters like Trout and Bonds use extreme physical cues to establish a consistent slight upward swing plane.  This strategy is a “trick” played on the body, which is a step or two behind.   Paradoxical intention.  Take any hitter with an extreme uppercut, tell them to chop down (negative Attack Angle “feel” cue), and their barrel path ends up in a slight uppercut.  Just like Ted Williams said – like magic!  Feel cues are fantastic for making simple swing adjustments.

If you’re coaching youth hitters, let’s get into that world for a moment…

A lot, and I mean A LOT of youth players ages 7 to 12 years old uppercut.  Extreme uppercuts. Casting.  Loooong swings.  They don’t need to be taught this!  This is typical, before they’ve built enough strength in their bodies.  In their core.  In the dynamic nature of the spinal engine.  They tend to cast the barrel out.  Meaning, the barrel casts away from the body, leaving the back shoulder too early. This causes a long swing.  Thanks to gravitational forces, centripetal and centrifugal forces*.  As they swing, they end up underneath the ball.  On inside pitches, they end up getting jammed a lot.  And swing under a lot of pitches up in the zone.  A LOT.

(*Centripetal Force is a center “seeking” force. Like twirling a rock on a string. The rock exerts force back to the two fingers holding the string. Centrifugal Force is a center “fleeing” force. Letting go of the twirling rock on a swing, causes the rock to shoot off in a tangent direction away from the original circle.)

There are other factors causing an extreme uppercut, like hands drop or constant deep barrel dumping.  But with youth hitters, the rules of Physics are bigger offenders. Here’s the good news … swing an overloaded bat.  Overloaded bats help young hitters build strength to do that.  Regardless of mechanics.  More on that protocol later in the book.

Those are the pros of an old school feel mechanics. Now, let’s look at the cons…

Cons to Old School Feel Mechanics

These are what the baseball swing trainer “metrics people” will typically bring up. You’re so out of touch.  No numbers to support your gut feelings?  What does that mean?  How can I trust your “gut”?  Because you played or coached 20 years in the Big Leagues?  That’s not good enough!!  What’s measurable is manageable.  If you can’t use numbers to support your gut, then I’m not listening.  This is a common conversation you’ve probably seen, heard, or participated in.

The old school coaching cues we just discussed in the pros to old school swing section can also be included in that gut conversation.  It’s bad if the old school cues are used as a default. In a one size fits all way. For example, Johnny’s coach sees Pujols demonstrate a chopping down swing on MLB Network’s Diamond Demos. That coach goes to Johnny’s 10 year old team practice on Monday evening, and tells every one of his hitters to swing like Pujols does. Chop, chop, chop. And he tells them with the conviction, vigor, and energy of a Sunday Pastor, that they can hit like Pujols.  How can you argue with Senor Alberto?  From his lips to coach’s ears out of coaches mouth to kids’ ears.  If Albert Pujols said it and it worked for him, then we MUST take the message literally!  He is Prince Albert for jimminies sake!

Here’s the problem with that. Remember when I mentioned the translation issue?  By feeding the ‘swing down’ or ‘chop down’ mantras as a default hitting strategy to every 10 year old on your team, I’m sorry to say it, but you will lose. Let me illustrate with a thought experiment…

Apply the “one-third rule” to your team. In this example, assume a third of your hitters pop the ball up a majority of the time. Another third of hitters hit line drives a majority of the time.  And the remaining third are majority ground-ball hitters.  So, what if you tell the whole team to swing down or get on top of the ball?  A blanket statement to all.  Default old school baseball swing trainer hitting cue.  What do you think is going to happen?

Based on what was discussed with Dr. Victor Frankl’s paradoxical intention – remember extreme uppercut, tell them to ‘get on top’, and they end up in the middle?  Slight uppercut.  Inline with incoming pitch.  Here’s what will happen to our team if we tell all to chop down … a third of the team that used to pop the ball up a majority of the time, will hit more line drives. Those middle third hitting line drives a majority of the time, are going to hit more ground-balls. And the ground-ball a majority of the time group, are going to hit even more worm burner ground-balls.  So how did the thought experiment turn out with a blanket statement old school hitting cue?

The only group on the team that benefits are the beginning fly ball hitters. The ones hitting fly-balls a majority of the time.  Those are the only ones you’ll see a significant difference, for the better.  Look ground-balls are great.  Especially hard ones when the defense can’t play catch.  But what happens when they can play catch?  When would your team come across a team that can play catch?  That’s right!  In all-stars.  In playoff and championship games.  Not good if you just converted line drive hitters into ground-ball hitters.  And ground-ballers into hitting more worm burners.  Read our infamous Ground-ball Rant post.

Now, let’s cook up a different scenario.  A more simple yet elegant solution.  Instead of giving a blanket statement, a blanket swing down, chop down to the whole team. But instead, I let the line drive hitters do their thing. Just keep doing what you’re doing. I took the fly ball hitter and told them to swing down, chop down.  And I instructed the ground-ballers to hit the ball in the air.  Like pop the ball up instruction.  How do you think that baseball swing trainer thought experiment would go?

If I did that…now my pop-fliers AND ground-ballers are both hitting more line drives.  Remember Victor Frankl’s Man’s Search For Meaning paradoxical intention?  Overall, my whole team is hitting more line drives. Now my line drivers aren’t lonely.  They have more competition to deal with.  Competition makes everyone better.  Hungrier.  Especially when they’re experiencing success.  Does that make sense?

The cons of an old school swing are when we apply a blanket statement shared by one of the best hitters on the planet.  Don’t do that.  Bad coach.  You DO NOT pass go, and you DO NOT collect $200.

One swing fits all cues are a bad. And you wouldn’t know this without data to measure and optimize. Gut feelings and hunches are like throwing darts in the dark.  It’s like shooting an arrow and calling whatever you hit – after the fact.  It’s guessing.  If you aren’t collecting numbers using a PocketRadar, Rhapsodo, HitTrax, BlastMotion, or SwingTracker, then you’re flying blind. You aren’t going to know. And those hunches will just be hunches.

Same goes for blindly following what a Hall of Famer or future Hall of Famer says or said about hitting.  Become a scientist.  Test, test, test.  Blindly following a leader without question, will make you nothing more than a sheep.  Question, question, question.  Even question me and EVERYTHING in this book.

So far in Chapter-2, we talked about:

  • How can someone tell Mike Trout, Albert Pujols, or Alex Rodriguez what they say about hitting is wrong?
  • Pros to old school feel mechanics, and
  • Cons to old school feel mechanics…

We talked about how what’s real and what’s feel are two totally different things. The scenery can be very confusing. The waters choppy.  How does a coach cut through the clutter and calm the waters?  The simple truth to make hitting easier – it’s not easy, but we can make it easier – is called paradoxical intention.  Doing the exact opposite of what just happened to get the middle.  Extreme swing up?  Tell them to swing down – hit a chopper.  Extreme swing down?  Tell them to swing up – hit a pop-fly.  There’s more to it of course, and we’ll get into it more later.  Let’s move on to…

How do we Interweave Brainless Data and Confusing Hitting Cues?

This DOES NOT cause that, and that DOES NOT cause this.  Question: Coincidentally, if I wear a green shirt and it rains, then is it reasonable to think I can make it rain by wearing a green shirt?   This is the exact dilemma many instructors find themselves in with what they teach.

Some teach ONLY using data.  Some teach ONLY using old school hitting cues.  Some claim to base their teachings on millions of hours watching ONLY the best hitters.  Some validate Science with their hitting theories (proudly saying their system can’t be found in Science!!).  And others validate their hitting philosophy with Science, which is what we do.  Who’s right?  Who’s wrong?  Can we use a mix?  And if so, how do we know if we’re on the right track?

Are you throwing dynamite in the air and expecting rain?

I want to share a true story from the book Dust Bowl: An Illustrated History by Ken Burns and Dayton Duncan. The story will illuminate how to filter the hitting information available today. Interestingly…

Right before the Great Depression hit the Oklahoma panhandle, rain was plentiful.  This caused 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 of the era.

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.

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 rain coming.  NO crops growing.  Super high winds are eroding dry barren soil and tossing it up in the air.  Grazing cattle have nothing to eat but tumbleweeds brought over by Russians (people often sprinkled salt to eat them as well).  The livestock soon get sick and die.  The drought is fatal for the majority who stay, others move west.  This is where we get John Steinbeck’s book “Dust Bowl”.

Stick with me, because here comes the lesson…

The farmers who stayed behind were so desperate for rain, they hired self proclaimed rain experts to “create” rain, literally out of thin air.  The belief at the time was that an explosion in the air could bring clouds, and with clouds, rain would fall from the sky.  In plenty.  So what did these self proclaimed rain experts do?  What any self proclaimed rain expert would do!!  They sold the idea that if they lit a stick of dynamite, timed the throw just right, they could get a perfectly timed explosion that would bring rain-a-plenty.

…And as luck would find it, the “racket” seemed to work a couple times.  This only fed the foolishness we all see now – hindsight is 20/20.  Yes, this wasn’t a proud time in American history.  You have to understand, people back then were DESPERATE.  Their hope blinded them to the MANY times throwing dynamite in the air didn’t work.  People lost limbs, fingers, etc. from timing the throw wrong.  Head scratcher  I know.

When it comes to baseball swing trainer, we have to be careful of the causation-correlation relationship.  Is studying video and teaching only what the “best” hitters are doing enough?  I would argue it is not.  How do you know what you’re looking at, if you don’t know what you’re looking for?  We see Pujols demonstrating a negative attack angle swing on MLB Network.  But then we see him NOT do that in real-time.  We bring that same Pujols gold nugget to Johnny’s team, blanket teach it, and the end result looks nothing like what we see Pujols do during competition.  This DOES NOT cause that, and that DOES NOT cause this.

I’m going to reveal a secret about why coaches are terrible at the causation-correlation relationship.  Like shooting a random arrow and calling whatever is hit.  Here’s a quote summing it up from Scott Adams, in his book Loserthink: How Untrained Brains Are Ruining America:

“There are three important things to know about human beings in order to understand why we do the things we do. [1] Humans use pattern recognition to understand their world. [2] Humans are very bad at pattern recognition. [3] And they don’t know it.”

So how do we escape this seemingly inescapable prison of baseball swing trainer misdiagnosis?  After reading thus far, you know it.  Be less subjective and more objective.  KeyDifferences.com says this about subjective versus objective:

“Subjective means something which does not show the clear picture or it is just a person’s outlook or expression of opinion. A subjective statement relies on assumptions, beliefs, opinions and influenced by emotions and personal feelings.  An objective statement is based on facts and observations.”

Use the Scientific Method.  Develop a hitting Question…make a predictive Hypothesis…do the Research…collect the Data…form a Conclusion.  Swing experimentation.  We apply human movement principles validated by REAL Science to hitting a ball.  Scientific principles pulled from:

  • Physics,
  • Engineering,
  • Biomechanics, and
  • Body work.

How do we figure out if this DOES cause that?  Or if that DOES cause this?  Not by wearing a green shirt!   To know what you’re looking at, you have to know what you’re looking for.  DO NOT validate Science through your hitting philosophy.  DO validate your hitting philosophy through Science.  Set a higher standard for your hitters.  It’s okay – watch your millions of hours of video…employ those expensive measuring gadgets…and flaunt those old school hitting cues.

But above ALL of that … understand what the rules to human movements are FIRST.  Once you know that, all other domino’s fall where they’re supposed to.  In conclusion of Chapter-2, we looked at what an old school swing feels like and the pros and cons.  We discussed:

  • How can someone tell Mike Trout, Albert Pujols, or Alex Rodriguez what they say about hitting is wrong?
  • Pros to old school feel mechanics,
  • Cons to old school feel mechanics, and
  • So, how do we interweave brainless data and confusing real v. feel hitting cues?

In Chapter-3, we’ll answer the question of what leads to hitting more predictable line drives and less strikeouts.  Where we’ll dive into:

  • What does “predictable” mean and why does probability matter?  And,
  • Difference between ‘Launch Angle’ and ‘Attack Angle’…

Onward…

———-

Hitting Training For Baseball & Softball Swing Trainers | Hitting Performance Lab

Get Rid of Pitch Recognition, Plate Discipline, & Timing Challenges Once and For All 

Photo courtesy: News.Missouri.Edu

In this post,

I answer the following three fan questions:

  • How do you practice picking up the pitch early?
  • Do you have players swing at everything during batting practice or let them be selective? What drills are good for teaching a player to hit a ball where it is pitched? And,
  • Why is Timing not taught throughout majority instructors? Great mechanics are good but without Timing principles, you just look good going back to the dugout. What are some of the different ways you would teach/describe Timing?

The following is a compilation of resources I wish I had when I was still playing.

Coaches, if you aren’t taking full advantage of these, then you’ll be slowly losing ground in games over the next 5 years, that I can assure you.  Get out ahead!

Onward…

 

How do you practice picking up the pitch early?

Check out the feedback software you can use to work on getting GREAT at pitch recognition.  Dr. Peter Fadde calls this ‘video occlusion’, which allows a hitter to focus on pattern recognition for the first 10-20 feet of ball flight.  CLICK HERE for a blog interview I did with Dr. Fadde for more information on the benefits of his ‘video occlusion’ training.

As Jaime Cevallos said in this interview, “pitch recognition” is an untapped area for players these days.

The greatest thing about the GameSense software, is that coaches can keep track of their players’ use of the software with real numbers.  What’s measurable is manageable.

As a player, I would’ve eaten this up when I was younger.

And yes, it requires a subscription, and the pricing plans differ depending on usage.  On the homepage, GameSense is offering a free trial, so you can check it out and see if it’s right for you.

CLICK HERE to grab your FREE trial of the GameSense app that focuses on pitch recognition training…i.e. picking the ball up early out of the pitcher’s hand.

By the ways, gS Pitch-IQ was named one of the best products at the 2017 ABCA convention in Anaheim!

 

Do you have players swing at everything during batting practice or let them be selective? What drills are good for teaching a player to hit a ball where it is pitched?

I’m not sure I’d ever let hitters swing at everything during batting practice.  Everything we do at practice, as coaches, MUST have a purpose.  And that purpose MUST prepare our players for the game environment.

CLICK HERE to watch YouTuber Trevor Ragan compare the benefits of training “ugly” in a post I did showing how to EFFECTIVELY transition grooved batting practice swings into game ones.

Here’s why swinging at everything in the cages DOES NOT translate into games…motor skill learning in a competitive environment MUST follow these three steps:

  1. READ – i.e. pitch recognition and spin
  2. PLAN – i.e. timing
  3. DO – the swing

You see, when a hitter swings at everything in the cages, most of what they’re working on is in the “DO” portion.  There’s very little READ or PLAN present, which is required in a game environment.

“Massed Training”, as defined by SchoolOfThinking.org, is said to be a far less effective strategy for retaining knowledge or developing skills. In other words, practicing the same thing over and over again WITHOUT a break and evaluation period is inferior to spaced and/or ugly training.  CLICK HERE for my Hitting Outcomes Evaluation Checklist.

So what does being selective in the cages look like:

  • After every 5-swing round, the hitter is asked, “How many strikes did you swing at?”  (and they’re affirmed or corrected based on their answer)
  • You can also do what I call is a Reverse Strike-Zone round.  This is where they MUST swing at “balls” – within reason, you don’t want them throwing their bat in the cage – and taking “strikes”. WHY would you do this?  It helps define a hitters strike-zone/hitting zone, and offers a better variety of body movement which the body’s springy fascia LOVES!!  This will melt their brain by the way 😛 lol
  • CLICK HERE for this post I did on plate discipline – splitting the plate up into 2/3’s and 1/3 is another great way to teach your hitters to be more selective.
  • This answers the second part to the reader question above…you can also turn on READ, PLAN, DO by limiting what parts of the field you want the hitter to hit to, OR limit certain elevations you want the hitter to hit at, regardless of pitch type, location, and speed.  Addressing the former…you can setup targets out in the field preferably in spots where you don’t find any fielders (gaps/down the lines), and hitter has to hit the target as hard as they can.  Addressing the latter…I’ve seen some coaches place shagging screens about 30 to 50-feet from the batter’s box creating a barrier to hitting ground-balls, and the objective is to hit the ball hard over the screens.
  • Random pitch type rounds – an example of this is randomly throwing either a 2-seam fast-ball or a curve-ball, and having the hitter stick to seeking out one pitch over the other for one 5-swing round.
  • 2 or 3-plate drill rounds – where the hitter moves from different plate distances between or during 5 swing rounds.  The plates can be placed about 3 to 5 feet apart.  This is a GREAT timing drill.
  • Doing situational hitting rounds…hit-and-runs, move runner over, and bunts/drags/pushes.

I’m sure other coaches have cool deviations of the above, so please SHARE in the comments section below.

The point is, hitters should have a purpose when taking batting practice, NOT just swinging at everything, IF they want to match the game environment.

 

Why is Timing not taught throughout majority instructors? Great mechanics are good but without Timing principles, you just look good going back to the dugout. What are some of the different ways you would teach/describe Timing?

Totally.  I tell my hitters that the most effective mechanics in the world don’t mean a thing if they can’t get on-time.

Surprisingly, some hitting instructors don’t think timing can be taught?  I disagree.

Now, let me clear up a common misconception…do you know the difference between timing and reaction time?

I got the following demonstration from my good friend Taylor Gardner, co-inventor of the Backspin Tee.  Do this with your hitters…

Tell them to stand in front of you, and hold a baseball/softball an arm’s length away from you at about the height of their head.

Then tell them you’re going to drop the ball at a random time…try varying the times you drop the ball, and you’ll find it’ll be a challenge for them to catch it.  Repeat two more times.  This my friend is a demonstration of reaction time.

Then tell them you’re going to drop the ball after counting to 3 (no tricks here coaches)…count to three, then drop the ball.  Repeat two more times.  This my friend is a demonstration of timing.  And as you may guess, this will be much easier to catch for your players.

Timing can be taught with the right methods.  Here are my top three:

  1. The TWO or THREE plate drill mentioned above,
  2. Switching bat sizes and weights between or in the middle of 5-swing rounds, and
  3. Switching ball types at random…using baseballs, softballs, whiffles, golf whiffles, racket balls, Smush balls, and tennis balls.

Thank you Mike Ryan from Fastball USA for the last two.  A hitter will have to re-calibrate their timing between swinging a longer heavier bat than a lighter shorter one.  The different balls mentioned will fly through the air at different speeds making for a perfect off speed practice environment.  This can be really challenging for the hitter, and a lot of fun.

But be careful coaches, slowly layer in the difficulty, don’t do ALL three above at the start.  Some hitters excel quickly, while others take more time.

Do you see how important training beneath the READ, PLAN, & DO umbrella is?

I hope this helps coaches!!

Please share any other effective methods you do with your hitters that improve what was talked about above.  THANKS in advance!