Some may wonder that even though Todd beat me in bat speed. How did I beat him in exit and velocity. The answer to this question is in absorption.
You can swing as hard as you want but if at impact if the ball pushes your bat backwards then you are loosing exit velocity. The largest gap in these numbers that we have seen is 105 mph swing and a 76 mph exit speed. This was because of a sprained wrist.
The same applies to pitching. If the front knee moves forward at foot plant then you are absorbing all of the linear momentum you have creating therefor a lover velocity throw. We have seen 3 mph jumps just by not moving the knee.
Know the Why
You see it all the time. Coach I hit off the tee all night but I still can’t hit in the game. Well did you do this? Or this? Or That? No but I hit 10 buckets. So what did you work on? I just hit.
The goal of practice is to have “deliberate practice” not perfect practice but a controlled, hi rep, goal oriented practice where you are working on one thing not several. This is the only way you obtain mastery. Doing this is boring. Embrace the boring that where success lives.
In the video below this player has slowed down his movement to a stand still, step by step swing. He is working on his landmarks and is allowing him to feel each area of the movement so that his body can begin to learn what it should be doing. This should be done as slow as the player can go. Then once the movement has been captured go full speed.
This is embracing the boring.
Know the Why
The majority of players don't understand the importance of timing nor how to fix it. You can have the best swing in the world but if you are not on time it does not matter.
Recently we were working with a player who keep getting frustrated at his performance. While observing, I noticed him go through his mechanical checklist making sure his movement pattern was correct. "Your mechanic are not the problem your timing is. Try this. As the pitcher releases the ball yell out Riiiiiiiiiight and Now at contact."
Within three pitches his timing was perfect and he began hitting the ball hard again. In order to perform you must first understand.
Know the Why
While listening to one of our favorite podcasts, the Jocko Podcast Episode 54, Jocko Willink (Ex Navy Seal Commander) breaks down the Armed Forces Officers Manual. During its final moments, a key to the success of an officer is to have his soldiers have open and constant communication during battle. Failure to keep this open communication will result in inevitable loss of battle. Silence is a result of allowing fear to enter into the soldiers minds which will lead to mistakes and hesitation.
Now I am not even going to compare war to baseball but the evidence of silence associated with fear is seen every day on the ball field. Have you ever noticed the team that is losing or the coach that yells always has its players silent.
We at Tomahawk stress open discussion and try to force it at times. The comfortable player does not fear bad questions and understand for him to grow he must process. But the lack of discussion eliminates process of information and will guarantee the failure of growth.
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With many young players that do not have the hand/wrist strength to catch a hard thrown ball, a large amount of past balls are created. This is produced by the wrist bending back as the ball hits the oversized catchers mitt, allowing the ball to continue to the back stop.
Help your kids and your team by teaching them framing. Framing not only allows for more strikes to be called but it also allows for the would be past ball to be funneled to the chest instead of the backstop.
To do this simply teach them to catch the outside part of the ball at all times. High balls wait for it and low balls go get it.
Know the Why
Tagging Up, like base running has become a lost art but if you know what to look for it can be very easy to capitalize on. As we learned just recently can also win a World Series.
You must first understand how an outfielder is taught to catch a ball. Glove at eye level and behind the ball with their momentum headed towards the bag. Anything outside of this, run. The challenge is that you can not wait on your coach to tell you to go. In base running windows are short because you are capitalizing on the outfielder balance or lack their of or attention. By the time the coach yells go he has regained it.
1. 2. 3. Letters of jersey are headed away from bag. If you can't see the letters he can't throw you out.
4. Weight back with body in front of ball (not behind). Being lazy and has to go against momentum to throw.
5. Flat footed and still. Has to waste time to generate momentum to throw.
6. Behind the ball with momentum headed towards bag. DO NOT RUN!
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One of the most overlooked tools an infielder has is the art of the tag.
While on the ball field one of the most common mistakes an infielder can make is to go get the ball. A boxer, who lives and dies by the speed of his hands can move a max of 43.3 mph (according to Guiness World Records). While an average 11 year old ball travels at 50-60 mph.
Simply catch the ball at the bag and lay your glove down as the runner slides into it. Or go get it and he will be safe. For every foot the glove travels the runner gains two steps. This is why we always say a catchers pop time does not stop us from stealing his accuracy does.
Know The Why
Timing and Movement Patterns (mechanics) is something that gets confused regularly. A players job is to make the barrel of the bat hit the ball. In order to do this they will always change their swing based on if they are late or if they are early.
This is why you should never work on one while doing the other. Timing is about feel. Like a dance. The closer you match the beat the better your swing gets.
Movement Patterns should always be developed with a still ball on a tee. The problem we always see is the set up of the tee is usually wrong for that individual. They actually are placing the ball to high or to low and early or late in the swing. Then the tee work won't transfer to the field. If you train to be late you can not hit the outside pitch. If you train to be early you won't hit the inside pitch.
You must train your movement pattern to be neutral. To do this hold the baseball by your side. Walk up to the tee and adjust it to that height. This is your neutral height. Everyone is different. Then check your stride foot. The ball should be lined up with it after strike. Now you have a neutral height and a neutral distance from the ball and its time to train your movement pattern.
Know the Why
Most infielders can catch a ground ball cleanly but have trouble throwing out runners. This is because they throw like a pitcher (long and slow) instead of an infielder (short and quick).
An avg MLB runner can get to first in 4.5 seconds requiring an infielder to have a quicker release while maintaining a high velocity. MLB players also play 162+ games a year so arm maintenance is a must. To achieve their needs they loot towards archers for a more efficient arm slot. Catch the ball, bring to center chest, pull the bow, rotate trunk, and whip. All while maintaining a quick balance shuffle of the feet.
Know the Why
This past weekend we got to work with two players that both were learning timing with their new swings. Both had efficient swings that were not perfect but they both were learning and getting used to it. One was a D1 player (Ga Tech) the other a high school kid.
Todd was throwing so I got to observe. What I saw what that the D1 kid was out performing the High School kid on hard hit balls. So we asked them what they were thinking. Both said, "nothing, just swinging" but when we told the high school to feel not think, he began to match the D1 player.
So what happened? The D1 player was in full control of his at bat. He was an offensive player, he let bad pitches go, did not chase close pitches, if he was not ready the pitcher waited, he even told him to speed up and slow down the throws. He was in control. This is called acting.
The High School player was doing the exact opposite. He swung at everything, let the pitcher throw when he was not ready, and chased and changed his swing at will. He was a Defensive player. This is called reacting.
If you want to have success at the plate you have to act not react. You control the at bat not the pitcher. During BP swing at your pitches because if you don't you won't in the game.
Act Don't React