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

 

It may be how you’re using it…

Giancarlo Stanton: Video Analysis Software Causing You To Lose Out On Repeatable Power?

Giancarlo Stanton bat lag. Photo courtesy: SBNation.com

The other day, I received a YouTube comment on my Adrian Gonzalez video:

“Ken Griffey Jr’s swing doesn’t display any handicap to the optimization of his angular momentum. His lead shoulder is pulled back leaving his hands quite close to his body.”
This viewer is referring to an early arm bar.  This is okay in golf, because they’re hitting a stationary object and not worried about timing.  Not okay in baseball and softball…
The preceding viewer doesn’t know how to manipulate the Conservation of Angular Momentum (think spinning ice skater) to time an unknown moving pitch and hit it consistently hard.  They’re mistaking the forest for the trees.
In this video post, we’ll look at:
  • Priorities: video analysis software v. human movement rules,
  • What do a bucket, hanging object, and hitter’s front arm have in common, and
  • The 90-degrees from the spine rule

 

Priorities: Video Analysis Software v. Human Movement Rules

Video analysis software: PowerChalk.com

This is the video analysis software I use from Powerchalk.com

I used to be “that guy” who poured over slow motion swing footage using state of the art video analysis software.  Slow motion analysis of hitters has become a peeing contest in hitting forums.  You know the type…they’ve studied the video…they’ve worked with [fill in the blank name] professional hitter(s)…they coached 30+ years at a high level.

These “paper tiger” credentials don’t mean a thing to me now (and they shouldn’t to you, regardless of your experience in the game)

I’ve been in corrective fitness for 10 years, and see a never-ending pattern of inefficient and flawed hitting mechanics.  FOUR reasons why today’s hitters – YES, even the professional ones – are inefficient with their swings:

  1. Athletes are more sedentary nowadays,
  2. Hitting mechanics are often over-coached and micro-managed,
  3. A majority of instructors or coaches teach what I call “backward hitting strategies”, and
  4. Mechanical cues are general, misunderstood, and ineffective.

So who has the upper hand in today’s hitting forums, when it comes to video analysis software use?  The person who understands human movement rules.  One has to understand “the rules” first.  As a result, this will cut slow motion video analysis time in half!  This is seeing the forest before the trees.

Here’s an example of what I mean…

What Do a Bucket, Hanging Object, and Hitter’s Front Arm have in Common?

Giancarlo Stanton: 90-degree bat to spine rule using video analysis software

Giancarlo Stanton from the pitcher’s view…90-degree front elbow to spine at start and impact. Photo courtesy of MLB.com

We’re going to science for optimal placement of the front upper arm to set the plane of the pitch early, before the Final Turn.  Here’s an email response I sent to one of my hitting friends, Bob Hall from Canada, about this very topic:

“Imagine a bucket with a large lip.  Punch a hole in the lip and tie a string with a rock attached to the string at the bottom.  Now, the level of the bucket lip is the shoulder angle.  If you tip the bucket towards where the rock and string are attached, the rock will continue pointing “down”, and the space between the bucket and string will widen.”

Before the Final Turn, the efficient hitter will utilize a downhill shoulder angle (tipping the lip of the bucket).  The elbow will continue to point down because of Gravity (the rock hanging from the lip), causing the light gap under the front armpit to widen.  If the hitter artificially points the elbow up or down from this natural position, then muscles will activate making the hitter’s chances of getting on pitch-plane inefficient.

This is looking to human movement rules first.  Now, let’s look under the hood using video analysis software…

 

The 90-Degrees from the Spine Rule

Giancarlo Stanton: 90-degree angle bat to spine rule from the backside.

Giancarlo Stanton from the backside: 90-degree angle rule. Photo courtesy: MLB.com

One of my readers, Kyle Harrington, posted this comment on the blog recently:

One principle is that the bat only really accelerates efficiently when it is on a single plane. The only way to get maximum acceleration of the barrel is to have the swing path at 90 degrees to the spine angle. The only way to do this is to have the lead arm high and also 90 degrees to the spine. If the hands are too high or too low when both these other conditions are met, then the swing will be off plane.”

Using Powerchalk’s motion analysis software, we can see this pretty consistently with top hitters like Giancarlo Stanton.  We can adjust to pitch height by bending at the waist, but the barrel should follow the 90-degree from the spine rule.

So, using motion analysis is good, but should take a “back seat” to understanding scientifically proven human movement rules.

Carlos Gonzalez

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

 

Carlos Gonzalez Spine Angle

Carlos Gonzalez photo courtesy: MLB.com

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

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

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

In this video, we’re going to:

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

 

Comparing 5 Key Offensive Numbers…

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

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

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

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

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

Nolan Arenado

Nolan Arenado photo courtesy: MLB.com

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

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

 

The Killer MLB Power Strategy

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

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