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Introduction, and the inevitable swing analysis.

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  • Introduction, and the inevitable swing analysis.

    Hello. I found this site last spring after my sons second game in his U9/10 season playing rec ball. His buddy ignored the third base coach to turn a triple into a home run and I was wondering what other coaches would say about that. My opinion at the time was pull the kid back to third and erase the run. I did not find a definite answer to that question, but I did find fascinating reading materials for weeks on this website. Read most of the Sparks and Root threads.

    As the season went on my son developing baseball fever in his fourth year of playing rec ball. He had a great season, holding down the #4 batting spot and the #1 pitching rotation all year. They made it to the championship game after an undefeated regular season. He pitched three innings in that game allowing zero runs, but our second and third pitchers struggled as did our bats and we lost the game. We sat at the field long after everyone else left, in fact after they turned out the lights. My son said "Dad, I want to be a better hitter. Their first pitcher was fast, and struck me out." He was right. Their starting pitcher was fantastic, and dealt my son only his second strikeout of the year.

    A little about me, I only played a few years, from age 7 to about 10. I am not a sports fanatic. I enjoy it, but my son definitely has more passion than I did for sports. My interests were more mechanically inclined. I have grown to love baseball now more than ever, as it is our thing to do together and he will haul me to the field across the street to have me throw to him in the tunnels or hit him grounders seven days a week if he can. I spent much time reading this site and others this spring and summer as my son made the all star team, which meant the travel team that our rec team feeds gave him the hard sell on playing travel ball. For a couple reasons we opted not to try out for that program, but did try out for another one. That was a new startup team, and I just did not get a great vibe from the coach. Long story short we plan to ramp up the coaching this off season and I will look at splitting some semi-private lessons with one or two of his friends that are also quality players to continue his development.

    As it stands right now he is playing about 18 games in the spring, and 12 in the fall. His current and future rec coach is an older guy who coaches his grandson. The coach spent a small period of time with the White Sox, and played high level ball a long time. He is a great guy. My son has several of his best buds and classmates on his team. Every year he is still wanting more baseball, and eager for every practice. For our busy family this is a great fit for now. What happens in the future we shall see. I have no plans of college scholarships, or college ball, or even high school ball. Right now if he could play on his 7th grade team in two years (he just started 5th) that would be a fantastic accomplishment. I know not playing travel currently is not ideal for that goal, but we will see what develops. Anyway I am getting much ahead of myself. After reading the Sparks and Root stories though I know the fine people that post here appreciate the back story.

    So without further ado the first swing video...I took these last night at a local batting cage so that I could video while he hits. They have three cages, slow, medium and fast. These are medium...whatever that is. Basically his instruction so far has been 'hit the ball', so we are starting at the ground level. This happened last nigh, scared the crap outta me...he was less rattled. Rebound ball. Let me know if the video is viewable for you or not...first try here.
    https://photos.app.goo.gl/SaHWPq4vLgwH1Wx46
    ~Jim
    Last edited by glider90; 12-10-2018, 02:21 PM.

  • #2
    Hoping the first link worked...here is a typical swing series. He has always been able to make contact, since he was 3 hitting wiffle balls. I just want to start developing a proper swing as he is getting older. This cage is definitely faster than I can pitch to him comfortably, and at the upper level of what he is seeing. If he does not make solid contact he usually fouls it up and off to the right as seen here. I throwing him a bucket of 40 balls, I can usually get him to miss on maybe one or two.
    Try the link directly below. The bolded link further down does not work, and I cannot remove it for some reason.
    https://photos.app.goo.gl/wb7YeMZKUWdAGxcXA
    Last edited by glider90; 09-08-2018, 09:14 AM.

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    • #3
      Don’t be concerned with comparing him to other players. Compare him today to yesterday. Always be looking to be better. It doesn’t matter is a coach or instructor or coach played pro ball. Can he teach the game? There are a lot of ex pros making a lot of money who can’t teach kids. His swing looks great for his age. I would like to see it in slow motion. There may be a slight dropping of the back elbow (bat drag). If so, it’s nothing to be worried about at this time. Just watch to see if it gets worse over time. Dropping the back elbow/bar drag makes for a long, sweeping swing. When pitchers get older they get these hitters out by pitching inside on the hands.
      Last edited by JettSixty; 09-08-2018, 10:07 AM.

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      • #4
        After seeing that ball ricochet back at him, I probably wouldn’t use those cages again. Actual bat speed looks good. Needs a little more work from the ground up. But again, if I’m thinking the batted ball may rebound and hit me, my focus would probably not be in my swing

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        • #5
          I agree. He has a bit of bat drag and balance isn't great as he is falling backwards on some swings but the swing is decent for the age and good batspeed.
          I now have my own non commercial blog about training for batspeed and power using my training experience in baseball and track and field.

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          • #6
            Shoulders are upside down, at toe touch you want his back shoulder higher than his front shoulder. Work on keeping the front shoulder "down and in" at toe touch. This will free up the back elbow to move higher at toe touch. Cue Song.
            Never played baseball, just a dad of someone that loves to play. So take any advice I post with a grain of salt.

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            • #7
              Just wanted to let everyone know I read the responses and am hoping to do some high-speed video at some point. This will be more for my own analysis and learning of terminology than for freaking out over his mechanics. It sounds like for his age he is not doing anything catastrophically wrong which was my main concern as a non-baseball trained parent.
              I see there are some things he can work on to improve. He is a smaller kid right now in his age group, and that is only going to get worse when he jumps to 11/12. Based on his genes, he is never going to be a big kid, so as he moves forward he will need good mechanics to keep up with the other kids as they grow. We are two games into fall and he is 7 for 7 with four singles two doubles and a triple, so I am not going to mess with him too much. This fall looks to be a great season. All the boys know each other and genuinely get along.
              Thanks, will be in touch.
              Have to ask...what song?
              ~Jim

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              • #8
                I had to upgrade my phone and it dawned on me that it has slow mo on it this weekend when my son begged to go hit at the batting cages. I was able to edit the video to just slow-mo the swing and not all the pre and post swing rituals. Here are six consecutive swings for analysis....
                https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cArvibd9Hu8

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                • #9
                  I'm just stating what I see but I'm just a dad with a kid who plays, no expert.

                  -His stance is closed off and he strides close which will make any inside pitch hard to barrel up for a youngster and it cuts off back hip rotation IMO.
                  -Bat drag and what looks to be some early eblow extension in the front arm (This is a major flaw if not fixed will cause issues the older he gets when he faces better and faster pitching)
                  -He is not balanced and looks to be falling all over the place. I know it's after contact so some will say it doesn't matter but it does IMO. Your son seems to lean back towards the catcher too much for my liking and every swing he is finishing on his heal.
                  -The front shoulder up and back shoulder down at heel plant (launch)
                  -No inward coil as he strides forward
                  Last edited by coachrjb; 12-13-2018, 10:41 AM.
                  Instagram: gavin_thereal34

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                  • #10
                    I got a good chuckle out of him diving out of the way in that first video because that rebound was quite unexpected.

                    I've coached youth rec and travel for a lot of years and in that time I've found that for most kids at the 8 to 11 or 12 year old age keeping things simple keeps them engaged in practices and games and yields tangible results they they can feel proud of accomplishing. Sure, there are always kids that are exceptions. But for the average kid breaking down a dozen different things in teh swing leads to frustration because the kid is worried about too many things. So for the average kid here are the few things that I stress with them:

                    1. Teach a good, athletic stance. If the stance is all over the place they have very little chance of having a decent swing.
                    2. Hands up. Too many kids start with the hands low and go even lower in their swing.
                    3. First move back. The weight has to shift back before it goes forward. Exaggerate this in practice off of the tee. I did not see any weight shift back in the videos you provided.
                    4. Stride / swing. Not a small step and not a giant stride. Just enough so that when they finish their swing they are not falling over or back. In the videos your son was off balance on most of his swings.
                    5. Hands up (again). For example, in your videos the hands are dropping below the belt on most swings. I don't tell them that their hands should be here, or here, or there, just that they keep the hands above the belt even on low pitches. In those videos I saw your son's hands drop to or below the belt.
                    6. Finish the swing (accelerate through the ball) and finish high. Too many kids decelerate the bat at impact. Most kids tend to finish their swing by wrapping the bat around their waist.

                    In a nutshell it's broken down to: stance / hands up / load / stride / swing through the ball.

                    And when they swing, try to hurt the baseball.

                    At this age keep it simple and let them wail on the baseball. When they get older (12+) then they can work with a hitting coach and cover the finer points of the swing.

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                    • #11
                      Are you sure the hands need to be 'up'? If so, when? How far is 'up'?
                      efastball.com - hitting and pitching fact checker

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                      • #12
                        Yea, As another poster said his shoulders are upside down. That gets fixed by having him load his hands as he moves forward in his stride...he stacks back on his back side...He needs some instruction, but hey he is 9/10 so it is about right for now...

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                        • #13
                          I will have more to say in a little bit. However, this swing and the other swings are typical of what I see when players hit off of a machine without some type of timing mechanism. IOWs, he doesn't load properly and probably due to the fact that the ball is in flight and he is rushed trying to hit the ball. I agree with the shoulder comments as well. giranheart's comment about the hands is spot on.
                          Granny said Sonny stick to your guns if you believe in something no matter what. Because it's better to be hated for who you are than to be loved for who you're not.

                          I am an ex expert. I've done this long enough to know that those who think that they know it all, know nothing.

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