Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Specific Swing Training - Load the Hips

__________________________________________________________________________
"Sports specific strength training means coordination training against resistance"
__________________________________________________________________________

This description comes from the intro to Frans Bosch's book - Strength Training and Coordination: An Integrative Approach

I've been thinking and working on more ways to "integrate" three things:

1. weight room exercises
2. specific swing training drills (ie. implement training)
3. hitting instruction (ie swing mechanics)

Toss in some video, and I guess it's really 4 things.  Separately, I think these can become overwhelming.  But application doesn't have to be - this is where 'coaching' comes into play.

Here is a recent example of this application:

This is a HS player with a D1 commitment - he's already a pretty good player.

At 10:08 am I filmed him doing a drill for max bat speed with a regular weight bat.  Then I showed him an illustration of the action of his hips during his load compared to a more efficient position.

Initial swing comparison

We had a resisted lateral bound drill inside the gym as part of our circuit and used this drill to specifically teach the loading pattern of the hips.  When he got the action correct, I showed him an image of what it looked like.  You can see from the time stamps in the pictures - this took 4 minutes!

comparison of swing to resistance exercise

Without any further verbal instruction on the swing, this player got back out to the swing portion of the circuit and.....

before (left) - after (right)

*time stamp in last image is 1:08 PM because I made it at a later date.  The actual time of the "after" swing on the right side is at 10:27 AM.  So the whole process of video review, teaching/learning new action and implementing into similar swing drill took about 11 minutes total and changed the rest of the swings and drills in the workout.






Monday, November 21, 2016

Circle of the Hands

Search for the Perfect Swing is a cool book from 1968 that lays out a model of the golf swing.  Here's an except related to swing plane.

"The circle of the Hands" (p21):

"The swings...show very clearly the way the hands are swing in a circle about a point somewhere in the upper part of the chest."

We talk a lot about swing path being up, down or level.  Most often we're referencing the path of the swing in reference to the ground or the pitch.

But reading passages like these, and other related work, has changed my thought process to think of the swing path in relation to the body instead.

Path of hands and club relative to body

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Minnesota High School Baseball Coaches Clinic

Thanks to all who attended the 2014 John Wilkens Fall Clinic

Here is a link to many of the images I used in my presentations:


click for Hitting Pics

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Only hit a good ball

I've ended up reading and watching a good amount of Ted Williams over the years, including his book The Science of Hitting, a biography titled Ted Williams: The Biography of an American Hero, and also viewed a couple hours of old videos where he is talking hitting with minor league players.

This clip reminded me of those videos:


Interesting to me that there were many references to the hands and wrists being quick, but no reference made to use of the hips for rotation, which Williams wrote about in his book.

Something that Williams was known for was getting a good pitch to hit, and my favorite line in the clip above is "only hit a good ball".  How simple.



Monday, January 7, 2013

Action of the Hips in the Baseball Swing

Eric Cressey posted an article over the weekend that I wrote for his blog covering the topic of hip extension and rotation in the baseball swing.  I wanted to hit on this issue because hip extension is a very powerful movement of the posterior chain, but it isn't often thought of or taught as part of rotation, especially in the baseball swing.

Here's a couple videos from the post that give a close up look at hip rotation from the side and front views:

Hip Rotation Side View

Hip Rotation Front View


The article itself describes what's going on in the videos based on EMG research from both golf and baseball, and has some thoughts on how you can work on your hip action in the weight room as well as the batting cage.

One line from the article warrants repeating here:
Here’s the key point: good hip rotation has an element of hip extension!

Give the article a read and spend some time at Eric's website or follow him on twitter.  He's doing a lot of good things in the world of baseball training.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Developing a Plate Discipline Mindset

Plate discipline, pitch recognition, strike zone awareness are each different building blocks of a successful hitting approach.  Mechanics and strength training might get more attention, but baseball skills that center around controlling the strike zone are becoming more and more valuable.  How important is plate discipline?  I'll reference Chicago Cubs president, Theo Epstein, here:


I believe 90 percent of the game revolves around controlling the strike zone



Theo unfiltered on Cubs' on-base woes
Theo says: Know thy zone

____________________________________________________

If you don't want to take Mr. Epstein's word for it, here are a pair of interviews from minor league prospects who are getting recognized for their approaches at the plate:

418 AB's - 78 BB/26 K in 2012




David Laurila just did an interview with O'Neill over at FanGraphs (full interview) :
DL: Does a hitter need to take a lot of strikes to have a high on-base percentage?

MO: Not necessarily. I’m not up there looking to walk. I’m looking for a specific pitch and if the pitcher doesn’t give it to me, I’m taking until I get it. I’m not going to swing if it’s out of the zone I’m looking for. That’s kind of what generates walks for me. I’m patient, and once I get my pitch, I’m swinging. I’m attacking the baseball. I’ve just been fortunate to get a lot of walks, especially this year.



And Jay Kolster recently gave a in-depth look at Andreoli's hitting approach and off-season training (full interview):

John Andreoli interview with Jay Kolster
412 AB's - 75 BB/89 K in 2012

Hitters need to take their walks. When they don’t hitters end up miss hitting a lot of pitches and get themselves out. The key here is to know what pitch you want to hit, to put a good swing on it when you get it, and not be afraid to take a pitch.

_____________________________________________________

With all the training out there addressing baseball's 5 traditional tools, it's important that we don't overlook one of hitting's most fundamental skills - knowing the strike zone.  Learn to identify your strengths and weaknesses within the strike zone, pay attention to what the pitcher can and can't do in the strike zone...now you're on your way to having a plan at the plate!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Sports Vision Training comes to the Warehouse

Special thank you to sports vision specialist Dr. Larry Lampert who recently stopped by the Swingtraining.net Warehouse to do vision testing on several of our hitters. With all the work these players have done training for bat speed, swing quickness, reaction time, mechanics, and plate discipline, it was only natural that we address the often overlooked aspect of vision training.

Very interesting that despite 20/15 vision in a couple of the hitters, Dr. Lampert was quickly able to find areas for potential improvement - vergence, convergence, peripheral vision, focusing, tracking, and teaming of the eyes are all examples of how the eyes work to provide information to the brain.

Fortunately, these areas can be improved and the muscles controlling the eyes can be strengthened like other muscles in the body.  After Dr. Lampert's evaluation, he set the players up with his internet based vision training program with directions specific to their areas of need.

[caption id="attachment_3058" align="aligncenter" width="572" caption="vision training in the warehouse"][/caption]

Dr. Lampert is local to the Palm Beach area with an office in Boca Raton.  He's worked with top level athletes of several sports, not just baseball.  Here are some links where you can find more information: