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Thread: Hitting Instruction for Young Players

  1. #76
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    Many guys do it with 2 strikes. They do it so that there foot is down, they are loaded and then they just look for the ball. Less chance of being fooled or way out in front of something.


    sounds like a 90 footer at best
    it disrupts the flow.

    BUT THEN AGAIN.no striders do it all the time,but then again the toe turn might be their trigger?

  2. #77
    Ohfor, first for taking the time to match the two swings. It's a great help in illustrating your point, although I think much is lost when you draw too many conclusions from it. And, like everything from a gun to a car to the fence drill (remember THAT thread on hitting-mechanics.org?), it can be misused and overused by the ignorant. It's good to know that we're all the "one in a thousand" here who OhFor believes will know how to use it.

    What is missed here is that for many hitters, there are two components to the "foot plant", although not for the big hitter on the right. For them, you first land on the inside of the big toe of the plant foot, keeping that heel up. Then, when the pitch is timed, they slam that heel down as they rotate. So, conceivably, these hitters could launch the ball by tapping the string with their toe, then doing the heel down/rotate when the ball reaches the right height. It seems that it would take some practice to hit the string with that small (big toe) surface area of your foot, but I guess it's doable.

    And, as seems to be universally agreed by everyone but OhFor, there are going to be times you do a full foot plant but have to delay your swing because you've been fooled by the speed. We sometimes see too much in clips of perfect swings and forget that most of our swings require adjustments to the speed and location of pitches. I'd like to see the other ten or so swings that lefty batter in OhFor's clip took in that game.

    As noted above, I have problems with the device that others have articulated quite well. I don't like the eye path that it forces the batter to take; it's completely antithetical to following a real pitch.

    I don't dispute that OhFor is right about the ultimate dangers that steady use of the device might create, but if it gives a cue that solves a basic problem with younger kids and if coaches supplement it with other instruction and stop its use at the appropriate time, it's not going to ruin a kid's swing. And most importantly here, this kid seems to have more confidence in his swing (and much better bat angle, which probably is more of the cause of the good swing than the trainer is). In 9-10 year old ball, that swing will get a lot of balls to the outfield, which is all you want.

    Where's there's an implicit message in OhFor's post that bears discussion is this: coaches may sometimes confuse a quick fix and let kids use bad technique because the kids get a short term lurch in batting average. The converse of that is coaches (or parents) who are reluctant to move their kids up to the next level of technique because it causes a short term decrease in results as the kid adjusts.

    So, my advice would be to largely keep that puppy away from kids who either (a) don't use a two-step foot plant as described above, or (b) already are able to keep their hands back and don't need the help. But, if the kids treat it as a magic pill that gets their mojo working, well, maybe let 'em use it a little under close supervision.

  3. #78
    Quote Originally Posted by hiddengem
    So, what would this kid do if he started his swing thinking it was a fastball, and then realized it was a change up? Just take that beautiful swing that you guys talk about and miss it by 3 feet?
    First of all, if he's starting his swing before he realizes the pitch, he's not going to play very long anyway. He'll get eaten up early in the food chain. Not to say it doesn't happen. But, it doesn't happen that often with good hitters.

    Secondly, what you're really missing is how quick the swing is from launch to contact. Roughly .2 of a second. And the point is, when your swing is quick enough you can wait long enough. If it isn't quick enough, you have to start early and it's those people who won't be playing very long. Quicker swing means longer wait which means better read which means better results.

    The quickness you see out of this live hitter gives him the opportunity to make last second adjustments with his hands to get to a pitch. Actually with his arms. His arms will hold the hands in or let them out a little as needed. But the first adjustor used is the posture. Very good hitters make the majority of their adjustments with posture......not their arms or hands.

  4. #79
    Quote Originally Posted by hiddengem
    ...they are loaded and then they just look for the ball. Less chance of being fooled or way out in front of something.
    Very poor hitting technique. There is no "loaded" so they can wait for the ball. There is only loading and unloading. To load, stop and wait is exactly what the HBH forces you to do. And it will kill your ability to hit.

  5. #80
    Quote Originally Posted by wogdoggy
    The age difference has nothing to do with this issue. Put the college player against the hands back hitter and he has the same problem as the kid.
    This is exactly right. Age is no issue in this discussion.

  6. #81
    Quote Originally Posted by wogdoggy
    ...no striders do it all the time,but then again the toe turn might be their trigger?
    No, no striders don't do it all the time. In fact, their loading is somewhat easier to see and understand because it isn't "hidden" by the stride. In other words, most people misinterpret the stride. Reality is there is no such thing as a stride. There is a movement of the center while loading.......which many call a stride. But there is no stride.

  7. #82
    Quote Originally Posted by Ursa Major

    What is missed here is that for many hitters, there are two components to the "foot plant", although not for the big hitter on the right. For them, you first land on the inside of the big toe of the plant foot, keeping that heel up. Then, when the pitch is timed, they slam that heel down as they rotate. So, conceivably, these hitters could launch the ball by tapping the string with their toe, then doing the heel down/rotate when the ball reaches the right height. It seems that it would take some practice to hit the string with that small (big toe) surface area of your foot, but I guess it's doable.
    The issue is not whether the toe touches first and then the heel is pushed down by rotation. The issue is the time between the two. If you look at 100 swings from the same guy, a very high percentage of them you won't be able to tell a difference in the time between touch and drop. Probably as high as 90% in the very best hitters. Everyone is fooled now and then, and they make the best adjustments they can............but for the life of me I see no reason to practice a poor swing. And that is exactly what a "delay between touch and drop swing" is. It's what you do when fooled. But you don't want to be fooled. The answer to being fooled is to learn how to not be fooled. Not..."this is how I handle it if I'm fooled." Which by result will be often.

    And, as seems to be universally agreed by everyone but OhFor,
    I've already acknowledged that you do this when fooled. My question is why practice a poor swing? Why make your poor swing YOUR swing. Which is what you do by using the HBH.

  8. #83
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    And that is exactly what a "delay between touch and drop swing" is. It's what you do when fooled. But you don't want to be fooled. The answer to being fooled is to learn how to not be fooled. Not..."this is how I handle it if I'm fooled." Which by result will be often.

    EXACTLY,the hands back hitter devolops a swing that looks like you've been fooled.
    It just cant be good to wait that long for that ball to pop up.

  9. #84
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ohfor
    This is exactly right. Age is no issue in this discussion.
    How we teach 9-10 year olds versus older athletes is. Kenesiologist, bio mechanics experts, and medical professionals all agree that the pre-pubescent, post-pubescent and adult bodies all work differently, never mind the muscle memory that the older players have developed over thousands and thousands of swings.

    I don't think anyone here believes the hesitation in the 10 year old's swing is a good thing, but if the devise is used as a step toward an ultimate goal then why not use it?

    Why do we use tees, hitting sticks, soft-toss, etc? Strickly to teach.
    Last edited by Jake Patterson; 01-10-2006 at 12:22 PM.

  10. #85
    Quote Originally Posted by Ohfor
    Very poor hitting technique. There is no "loaded" so they can wait for the ball. There is only loading and unloading. To load, stop and wait is exactly what the HBH forces you to do. And it will kill your ability to hit.
    You sound like you've got this all figured out. How high of a level did you play and have success?

  11. #86
    Quote Originally Posted by Ohfor
    First of all, if he's starting his swing before he realizes the pitch, he's not going to play very long anyway. He'll get eaten up early in the food chain. Not to say it doesn't happen. But, it doesn't happen that often with good hitters.
    Have YOU ever stood in the box facing a right handed pitcher(assuming you are a right handed hitter) that can bring it 95mp with boaring action on your hands, along with a good slider at 85mph or change with the same arm action at 85mph?

    You make it seem like its just "ho hum" that you just sit there and wait to see the ball and don't make a swing movement until you've seen the ball, and know what it is. I personally don't think you have a clear understanding of what it takes to actually "hit" at a high-level. I think you have a pretty good understanding of what a nice pretty swing looks like when everything is on perfect timing. I think you've been studying these pretty beautiful swings too much, you need to look at some swings where good hitters are fooled and still have success. What happens then?
    Last edited by hiddengem; 01-10-2006 at 12:38 PM.

  12. #87
    You sound like you've got this all figured out. How high of a level did you play and have success?
    HG, in general I value what you say here... but every time you disagree or don't have an answer for something, this is your fallback question.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Logical_fallacy

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Appeal_to_authority

  13. #88
    Quote Originally Posted by hit-it-hard
    HG, in general I value what you say here... but every time you disagree or don't have an answer for something, this is your fallback question.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Logical_fallacy

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Appeal_to_authority

    I appreiciate you valuing what I say, but maybe you could explain to me how I get through to somebody that has never experienced what I'm talking about? Nyman knows,ohfor knows and lots of others know what happens when a hitter takes a good swing. Ok fine, but to be able to be succesful at a high level (not take a high-level swing) takes alot more being able to take a pretty swing. And I don't think somebody can have an understanding of that unless they've had the opportunity to hit on a consistent basis at a high level. Thats all. Understand?

  14. #89
    Quote Originally Posted by Jake Patterson
    ...

    Why do we use tees, hitting sticks, soft-toss, etc? Strickly to teach.
    None of them require a delay in the swing.
    Last edited by Ohfor; 01-10-2006 at 01:09 PM.

  15. #90
    Quote Originally Posted by hiddengem
    Have YOU ever stood in the box facing a right handed pitcher(assuming you are a right handed hitter) that can bring it 95mp with boaring action on your hands, along with a good slider at 85mph or change with the same arm action at 85mph?
    I have and I still do.

    You make it seem like its just "ho hum" that you just sit there and wait to see the ball and don't make a swing movement until you've seen the ball,
    Nice try. Is it your intent to cloud the discussion by using "don't make a swing movement" until you've seen the ball, instead of "launch your swing".

  16. #91
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    You make it seem like its just "ho hum" that you just sit there and wait to see the ball and don't make a swing movement until you've seen the ball, and know what it is.

    HG I think you and ohfor on on the same page here.You cant wait that long to make a decision.The hands back hitter makes you wait.The toe touch and plant rotate happen so fast that the HBH would either have you flat footed or landing on your toe waiting and waiting.

  17. #92
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ohfor
    None of them require a delay in the swing.
    You've missed the point....

  18. #93
    Originally Posted by Ohfor
    None of them require a delay in the swing.
    You've missed the point....
    Exactly. All drills and devices to some extent create an artificial circumstance that differs from game conditions so as to allow elimination of one or more game variables in order to isolate on an area that needs work. So, you can say that a tee is no good because it doesn't simulate the adjustment required of a batter to deal with pitch movement.

    Also, drills will often exaggerate a movement that an athlete must make to overcome a flaw in technique. For example, many young pitchers rush their motions right through the posting/lifting of the glove side leg. So, my son's pitching coach has them drill so that they stop and hold the leg up until he calls for them to continue their motion. So, for hitters who start their swing before their foot plants, the exaggerated wait may have some initial benefit.
    The issue is not whether the toe touches first and then the heel is pushed down by rotation. The issue is the time between the two. If you look at 100 swings from the same guy, a very high percentage of them you won't be able to tell a difference in the time between touch and drop. Probably as high as 90% in the very best hitters. Everyone is fooled now and then, and they make the best adjustments they can............but for the life of me I see no reason to practice a poor swing.
    We're not talking about using the HBH with the very best hitters. The question is whether or not it will lend some help to young, weaker hitters with a specific flaw. And, even if we're talking about the best hitters, well, they wouldn't need HBH for pitches they've timed well. But it might come in handy on those pitches that they haven't timed well. You don't always practice for the best of times, but sometimes for disasters as well. And it's not practicing "a poor swing"; just a delayed one where you try to make the rest of the mechanics approach your "good swing".

    But since you're raising the issue of high level hitting, I think it permits HiddenGems to raise the issue of OhFor's experience in hitting. (True, that's not the only test; if OhFor had coached high level players and demonstrably made a difference in their outcomes, then we'd give him credit for that too.) This all started with OhFor saying, "First of all, if he's starting his swing before he realizes the pitch, he's not going to play very long anyway. He'll get eaten up early in the food chain. Not to say it doesn't happen. But, it doesn't happen that often with good hitters." This suggests his belief that a hitter would rarely initiate his swing before he had the pitch completely timed (at least that's what I think the phrase "before he realizes the pitch" means). HG has sat in pro and major league dugouts for several years, faced the best pitchers in the world, and been trained by professional coaches, and thus is in a pretty good position to know (a) what kind of hitting training will ultimately get you to that level, and (b) what kind of training is necessary to successfully adapt to something that pitchers are paid tens of millions of dollars a year to try to do, which is to mess with hitters' timing on every pitch.

    So, someone who suggests that a hitter at that level rarely initiates his swing earlier than is optimal better be in a pretty good position to see and confront that problem. HG's not arguing conceptual theory with physicists here; he's talking about what pro hitters face on a daily basis. If OhFor has a source for his belief, I'd like to hear it, as well as the basis for his statement that he has and does face pitchers who "can bring it 95 mph with boring action on your hands, along with a good slider at 85mph or change with the same arm action at 85mph". Must be one helluva league he plays in.

  19. #94
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ursa Major
    Exactly. All drills and devices to some extent create an artificial circumstance that differs from game conditions so as to allow elimination of one or more game variables in order to isolate on an area that needs work. So, you can say that a tee is no good because it doesn't simulate the adjustment required of a batter to deal with pitch movement.

    Also, drills will often exaggerate a movement that an athlete must make to overcome a flaw in technique. For example, many young pitchers rush their motions right through the posting/lifting of the glove side leg. So, my son's pitching coach has them drill so that they stop and hold the leg up until he calls for them to continue their motion. So, for hitters who start their swing before their foot plants, the exaggerated wait may have some initial benefit.
    Thank You Ursa Major, that is exactly what I was thinking as I've been reading through these posts. We use the HBH as a station, not as the sole method of batting practice.
    I would love to see a thread on drills: pros and cons of each one, brought up.
    Especially to hear what works and what doesn't. Why certain ones work better and what they cure. Of course I want this info to use at 10-12 yr old practices.

  20. #95
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    Quote Originally Posted by tadlock11
    I would love to see a thread on drills: pros and cons of each one, brought up.
    Especially to hear what works and what doesn't. Why certain ones work better and what they cure. Of course I want this info to use at 10-12 yr old practices.
    Tadlock - this would be a great idea, but we would have to all figure out how to post clips of what we're talking about. The venacular, terminology and names we use may present problems, but I like the idea!

    Ursa Major Also, drills will often exaggerate a movement that an athlete must make to overcome a flaw in technique.

    Ursa, It is sometimes difficult to make others understand the difference between doing and teaching, especially those that haven't coached. "The measure of a good coach is not how well he can play the game, it's how well he can teach it."

    This thread has reminded me of the old joke about the young bull and the old bull walking over a rise and seeing a herd of cows. The young bull says to the old bull, "Let's run down there and have our way with one of them cows." The old bull replies. "Let's walk down and have our way with them all."

    Those of us who are old bulls are not trying to prove our genius in the game of baseball or prove who knows more than who. I'm just trying to figure out a better way to teach what we know to the young bulls. Thanks for your comments!

    HG - your experience is well appreciated. Again knowing how it should be done is very helpful when trying to close the training gap with young players.

  21. #96
    Quote Originally Posted by Ohfor
    I have and I still do.
    I'm not concerned with proving you wrong, but it would help us all if we new what the highest level you have played at is.


    Nice try. Is it your intent to cloud the discussion by using "don't make a swing movement" until you've seen the ball, instead of "launch your swing".

    Actually I'm making that exact point. Here let me try and explain it a different way.

    If you think that you are so good that you can sit in the box facing a pitcher that can spot 95 on your hands and then spot a changeup on the outer part of the plate at 85 with the same arm action and think for one second that you can cover both pitches, you are crazy or Barry Bonds masked as "ohfor".

    There is a very small chance that you could anticipate him throwing a changeup and still be able to cover 95 on your hands. The same goes for looking for a fastball in and being able to be in a optimal hitting position on a change away.

    Why do you think we rely so heavily on advanced scouts? We are looking for tendancies, and patterns pitchers fall into. Its impossible to cover all pitches and all locations, if you try to you'll hit for crap. Thus is the reason many hitters get their foot down early and into a "launch" position with 2 strikes so that all they have to do is react to the ball and unload. The downfall is that you lose alot of power because you are basically trying to put the ball in play, the positive is that you might sneak in a "Duck Fart" for your 3rd hit in 10 Ab's by getting jammed out of your mind with a heater in, trying to protect for the slider away and have it fall into shallow right field.
    Last edited by hiddengem; 01-10-2006 at 10:54 PM.

  22. #97
    I would love to see a thread on drills: pros and cons of each one, brought up. Especially to hear what works and what doesn't. Why certain ones work better and what they cure. Of course I want this info to use at 10-12 yr old practices.
    Are you talking about hitting drills or drills in general? The latter is too general a topic to discuss in a thread; I'd think you'd want to ask folks for books or other resources from which a coach can pick and choose. There are thousands. Just keep the kids busy and don't have eleven kids watch one kid take batting practice.

    If you're talking about hitting drills, it depends on which hitting system you're using. The expert advocating the system will (or should) have a series of drills built to train the kids using it; the training, not the raw technique is the most important part. And, of course, you've got to play it by ear depending on what is working with the kids.

    * * *
    Jake, thanks for the joke about the two bulls and the cows.... and your delightfully archaic eupemism for, you know. I hadn't heard it in some time.


    My amusement increased in reading HG's most recent response to OhFor. Not to take sides on it, but just the colorful heat that flowed out. I wished we were all sitting around with beers and pool cues in hand to hear him say it in person. Somehow it brought back to mind the scene in the classic movie Airplane, where Kareem Abdul Jabbar, who's playing the co-pilot and insisting all along that he's not "that basketball player," is confronted by a kid passenger who says his dad says that he, Jabbar, doesn't hustle enough. Jabbar's character's pleasant demeanor suddenly changes, and he grabs the kid and growls:

    "The hell I don't. LISTEN KID. I've been hearing that crap ever since I was at UCLA. I'm out there busting my buns every night. Tell your old man to drag Walton and Lanier up and down the court for 48 minutes."

    As I say, somehow HG's diatribe reminded me of that... in a good way.

  23. #98
    Quote Originally Posted by Ursa Major


    My amusement increased in reading HG's most recent response to OhFor. Not to take sides on it, but just the colorful heat that flowed out. I wished we were all sitting around with beers and pool cues in hand to hear him say it in person.

    As I say, somehow HG's diatribe reminded me of that... in a good way.
    Thanks John...I'm a terrible writer but I'm glad you can understand the passion and respect I have for "the game".

  24. #99
    Quote Originally Posted by hiddengem
    Why do you think we rely so heavily on advanced scouts? We are looking for tendancies, and patterns pitchers fall into. Its impossible to cover all pitches and all locations, if you try to you'll hit for crap...
    You're making my point. With this "advanced" knowledge we are expecting/looking for a certain pitch in a certain area. Now, from there, we have to get a good swing on it. OR DON"T SWING.

    IF we are swinging, you won't launch until you've made your decision. Still could be wrong. Sometimes we are. But, nevertheless, you don't swing before you know where you're swinging.

    And, you failed to cover the difference between "starting your swing movements" and "launching your swing." Makes you look better I guess.

    The fact remains, I do get the point about the devices that coaches use to help players. I do get the fact that we try to isolate things that need improvement. That we may overemphasize certain aspects of a swing to "get it" better.

    That in no way supports the damage the HBH does to young hitters. The first thing young hitters need is a better mental picture of just how quick the swing needs to be. In fact, this fact alone can straighten out many flaws. Many flaws exist because there is time for them to exist. Hitters swings are so slow (in comparison to what they need to be) that they fill this time with inefficient movements. And then these inefficient movements are in the way of a quick swing. They go to launch and they can't. If and when they get the understanding of how quick the swing needs to be, you'll find much of the inefficiencies disappear. Of course, not all, but a good deal of it.

    I'll give you a drill that will make a huge difference in your players understanding. Take them to a batting cage that throws very hard (hopefully 90 but 85+ is good). Hopefully Iron Mikes. Tell them to swing as quickly as they can as soon as they see the ball. Tell them the goal is not to hit the ball but to complete their swing as quickly as they can.....but only after they see the ball. If you're working with young hitters, 95% of them will see the ball, swing quickly, and then a few fractions of a second later the ball will come into the zone. THIS IS AN INCREDIBLE TIDBIT OF INFORMATION FOR YOUNG HITTERS TO HAVE. They are now seeing, probably for the first time, that they ARE quick enough to hit 85+ or 90 mph. It was demonstrated for them by ASKING THEM NOT TO HIT THE BALL. Why? Because their efforts to hit the ball precludes them from being quick. Their "mental image" of what to do is so far from accurate that they have no chance of ever doing it right. Now they have an image of what has to happen. And, now they know the quickness exists in them. Now, they realize they don't have to cheat by starting early. After some repetition they will learn the length of time it takes them to execute their quick swing. Which is much shorter than they imagined. Now, once they have that memorized (will take much longer than one session to memorize it for good) they need to swing with that quickness every pitch REGARDLESS IF THEY HIT THE BALL. Now, have them move forward toward the machine until their execution is in sync with the machine and watch them launch rope after rope after rope......against very fast pitching.

    This is a first step only. This doesn't make them great hitters immediately. BUT, if you want to see a kid start to believe, have him do this. You talk about a great expression on a kids face when he just roped 85 or 90mph pitch after pitch after pitch. I guarantee you'll have a believer on your hands.

    The long and the short of it is, their "timing process" needed to be rewired. They have been trying to time a very fast pitch, with minimal reaction time, with their slow, slop and slack filled swing. That is next to impossible to do. And, that is what the HBH teachers them. Be slow. Have slop in the swing. Now, try to time 90 mph.

    Once the kids have done this a few times, now they have to learn to maintain that quick swing WHILE learning to time it to the pitch. Not an easy thing to do. But, only now do they have half a chance at being a good hitter. Not until they understand just how quick they need to be can they learn to time pitches.

    You'll have to get on them next time they go to the cage because they still don't "have it" yet. They'll have to go through the process again. Once they "feel" the quick swing, they will learn to wait and launch it at the right time. They have no prayer of ever being a hitter if they are not "waiting" for a 90 mph fastball. The only way they can learn to "wait" for a 90mph fastball is to be quick enough to do so........And, the HBH is anti-quickness.

    The best thing a coach can do for a hitter is get him more time to make better decisions.
    Last edited by Ohfor; 01-11-2006 at 08:16 AM.

  25. #100
    Quote Originally Posted by Ohfor
    You're making my point. With this "advanced" knowledge we are expecting/looking for a certain pitch in a certain area. Now, from there, we have to get a good swing on it. OR DON"T SWING.
    Easier said than done. But I understand your point.

    And, you failed to cover the difference between "starting your swing movements" and "launching your swing." Makes you look better I guess.
    Well, The start of my swing entails the loading of the scap, some weight shift, maybe a knee cock ect. When I get those things done and set, if I decide to swing at the pitch I launch. I try and make these movements slow and under control so that I slow things down and make that 90 look 80. If I have shart fast movements that 90 can look 100 at times. Agree?

    They have no prayer of ever being a hitter if they are not "waiting" for a 90 mph fastball. The only way they can learn to "wait" for a 90mph fastball is to be quick enough to do so
    I agree
    Last edited by hiddengem; 01-11-2006 at 09:21 AM.

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