schwarber through.jpg

I try to emphasize to my hitters that their mental approach directly effects their physical swing. And, I do it often! It seems like weekly (or even daily) I run into another example of how true this is.

This last week, I had a lesson with a student of mine who has been coming to me for a couple years now. To his credit, he has refined his physical swing through many hours of practice. Not only has he put in a large quantity of time, but he has learned to make his work quality time--which is the real key to getting better. For this reason, often his lessons are on pitch locations, off-speed pitches, or a very minor physical que to get him "locked in" again.

But this last lesson, he swung for about 15 minutes before I figured out how to help him. He wasn't hitting bad, and there wasn't anything particularly wrong with his swing. He was just barely missing pitches he normally crushes. The "pop" was just not quite there.

So I simply said to him, "Focus on finishing your swing off. Forget everything other than thinking about attacking the inside of the ball--and most importantly--finishing THROUGH the baseball. In other words, even though you can't see it, hit the middle of the back of the baseball."

The next pitch he smoked one to right-center (his opposite field). Then another to center. Then one to left. He was back! That one thought simplified things for him and corrected his physical flaws, even as small as they were. His front side stayed through the ball, so his barrel stayed in the hitting zone long, and everything else just fell into place. Very similar to the picture of Schwarber above. Notice where his belt buckle is faced even after the barrel is gone through the zone--resulting is an oppo bomb.

Often, keeping it simple and tension free allows a hitter to be at his best. In the end, it's the barrel of your bat and the baseball. Try to watch the ball wrap around the middle of your bat and see what happens!