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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…

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…

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