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  • Hard Work Seems To Be Paying Off

    I've been trying to keep you all updated on the progress of my 10 yr old. As I stated earlier, my son plays on a 10-under travel team in which the coach is a believer in the 'hands to the ball' philosophy. After spending time here reading, studying, and trying to apply what I've learned about the rotational swing mechanics, my son seems to finally be getting it. Though he says it feels awkward, I attribute that to the untraining that we are having to do from the hands to the ball. I few points that I'd like to make after four days of practicing (about 100 hits off of the tee and 100 soft tosses) each day.

    1. he seems to be making MUCH better contact, both off of the tee and from soft toss (we haven't pitched live yet)

    2. He is starting to finish around his shoulder much more often...

    3. He doesn't want to stop practicing, even though his tongue is hanging out.

    A couple of concerns that I've noted:

    1. Before starting his swing (after his stride and as his hips begin to rotate) it appears that he is making one final push backwards with his hands and the bat wraps around his head. I know this can't be good as it will have a negative effect on his timing.

    2. He seems to be having problems keeping his back elbow down close to his side. He wants to extend his arms straight out at times.

    Also, if any of you would be interested in receiving some video footage and/or pictures, please let me know. I really appreciate all of your help and I'm grateful to this board for what I know will be a great turn around for my son.

  • #2
    Originally posted by Sonny
    A couple of concerns that I've noted:

    1. Before starting his swing (after his stride and as his hips begin to rotate) it appears that he is making one final push backwards with his hands and the bat wraps around his head. I know this can't be good as it will have a negative effect on his timing.

    2. He seems to be having problems keeping his back elbow down close to his side. He wants to extend his arms straight out at times.
    Both of those are VERY common actions of the vast majority of kids that age, don't feel bad. Just work on fixing it.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally Posted by Sonny
      1. Before starting his swing (after his stride and as his hips begin to rotate) it appears that he is making one final push backwards with his hands and the bat wraps around his head. I know this can't be good as it will have a negative effect on his timing.

      2. He seems to be having problems keeping his back elbow down close to his side. He wants to extend his arms straight out at times.
      As for problem 1, at least it's an error of aggressiveness. That combined with his unwillingness to quit your practice/learning sessions is a sign of a hungry young hitter.

      A couple of possible ways to hasten the cure of this, well, for want of a better term I'll call it a 'hitch', even though that usually refers to dropping the hands at that point. Obviously, keep up with the tee work. Try it with some no-stride swings to groove the "no-hitch" motion, then work the stride back in.

      Also try some close in wiffle toss or put him in a batting cage with faster pitches than he's used to seeing. Monitor it closely, but either drill may force him to go straight to the ball. (I say monitor it, because facing ultra-fast pitching may lead to other breakdowns as the hitter tries to get around on the ball.)

      As JBooth says, this is common with hitters at that age, particularly talented ones who don't have the patience to wait quietly and explode at the last moment. It just takes practice.

      As for problem 2, I'll refer you back to my advice to you in the "barrel rotation" thread now going on in this forum -- the drill that I'd cribbed from Mark H:

      With the thumb and index finger of her top hand, grab the shirt at the shoulder (back shoulder) seam. Keep the rest of the fingers around the bat as usual. Stride as usual but figure out how to get the bat headed in the direction of the ball without letting go of her shirt, to maintaining the box. Just before contact at maximum hip/shoulder rotation, release the shirt and let the hands/bat just flail out to the ball.
      sigpicIt's not whether you fall -- everyone does -- but how you come out of the fall that counts.

      Comment


      • #4
        I wanna keep goin'

        Originally posted by Ursa Major
        That combined with his unwillingness to quit your practice/learning sessions is a sign of a hungry young hitter.
        Precisely, Ursa. You beat me to it. I liked this part of Sonny's post too.
        This is a very good thing.
        It's a good thing when Dad gets tired, looks at his child and says,
        "Looks like you could you break."

        LClifton

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Ursa Major
          I'll refer you back to my advice to you in the "barrel rotation" thread now going on in this forum -- the drill that I'd cribbed from Mark H:

          With the thumb and index finger of her top hand, grab the shirt at the shoulder (back shoulder) seam. Keep the rest of the fingers around the bat as usual. Stride as usual but figure out how to get the bat headed in the direction of the ball without letting go of her shirt, to maintaining the box. Just before contact at maximum hip/shoulder rotation, release the shirt and let the hands/bat just flail out to the ball.
          Sonny: I like all of the suggestions UM has made both in this thread and the other Barrel Rotation thread. The above drill is a pretty good one in my experience and is similar to one Steve Englishbey uses.

          The whole point to the suggestions made by UM (if I understand him correctly) is to address one vital motor program issue with your young hitter: Both problems you cite indicate one central, fundamental problem: His motor program is to use his hands and arms to move the bat head to the ball, especially the top hand. The drills UM suggests are designed to take the hands out of the picture and get him to learn to rotate the bat barrel to the ball. In terms of creating momentum and powering the swing, MLB hitters' hands are functionally "out of the picture" throughout the first 2/3 of the swing. Until he learns to do this, he will never maximize his athletic potential as a hitter, in my opinion.
          Last edited by fungo22; 02-26-2006, 11:15 AM.

          Comment


          • #6
            Thanks fungo and Ursa Major.

            I agree with what you are saying. It has been very difficult to take the hands out of the equation thus far. His tendancy is to still want to start everything with his hands. He has come a long way though and he and I understand that we still have a long way to go. I'm thankful that he hasn't given up, nor has he got to the point of utter frustration. As a dad, I couldn't be more proud, and as a coach, I could only hope to have a whole team of 10 year olds with his desire.

            Comment


            • #7
              Some kids have a need to " find or feel the hands" . Hand loading, cocking can lead or coincide with the hip coil. Hips coil as hands cock. When the hands cock the barrel works to splitting the helmet and back.

              See Arod and read post for other more unpopular points of view. Many players cannot hit with " dead hands".

              Is Arod, loading scaps, cocking hands bottom under top or does he know? It is my personal feeling that he is cocking his hands mentally but thats a guess obviously. Many MLB players talk about their hands. I think the negative move of the hands cocking is important to hitters.

              If your son wants to think hands maybe you should teach him what to do initially with them rather than try to kill them. Thats a long way from home.

              http://s6.invisionfree.com/Hitting/i...0#entry4067318

              When you get tired of pulling everything to 3B try this.
              Last edited by swingbuster; 02-26-2006, 01:40 PM.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by swingbuster
                Some kids have a need to "find or feel the hands" .
                I wouldn't think this would be a problem. I'm not recommending a novacaine injection.

                When the hands cock the barrel works to splitting the helmet and back.
                This has more to do with hand position than with hands contributing anything to the swing.

                Many players cannot hit with "dead hands".
                Many players won't be able to develop high-level swings either. Not sure what "dead hands" means. Doesn't sound like something I'm recommending, but you can never tell.

                Many MLB players talk about their hands.
                An MLB hitter could write an essay about his hands and it wouldn't change what a young hitter needs to do. The MLB hitter already has a high-level swing powered from the middle. This misses the point. I think you need to pay attention to what was written and better understand what a hitter with an hand/arm swing needs to do developmentally to overcome this hand-dominated motor program. To force him/her to learn do what feels extremely unnatural - to stop swinging with his hands/arms and to initiate and power the swing by rotating from the middle - it may be necessary to take his hands out of the swing picture. It's an old principle received on pretty good authority: "If your hands cause you to sin, cut them off." Not literally. It's just a figure of speach. But you get the idea. Once he learns to power his swing by rotating from the middle with good connection, then he can talk about his hands like a real big leaguer.
                Last edited by fungo22; 02-26-2006, 03:23 PM.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Fungo,

                  If your first hand move is a negative move then the emphasis gets switched elsewhere instantly. That is the point. You can replace a bad habit easier than trying to "stop doing something".

                  I am not trying to be popular , I am giving the guy something to try. I can make it work in 6 year olds. If it doesn't work them bite your shirt or something.

                  It works for many players.

                  If I wanted to be real popular then I would say "use your middle" but his hands are giving him a problem.

                  Not sure what "dead hands" means. Doesn't sound like something I'm recommending, but you can never tell.
                  Dead hands is killing all feeling in your hands and holding on to the sleeve until your shoulder turn pulls them away.

                  If your hands cause you to sin, cut them off."
                  Lets just teach them how to load and play their part in the right order

                  This has more to do with hand position than with hands contributing anything to the swing.
                  The elbow action called scap loading could be resulting from the players feel for hand positioning /loading. When you tell a player to load his bottom hand under his top he does it quickly without thoughts of the elbow action.

                  I have never heard one coach say that communication of the rear scap loading has made anybody a better hitter or one single MLB player even know what the hell anybody is saying. It is without a doubt the most useless information ever brought to bear as far as teaching is concerned.
                  Last edited by swingbuster; 02-26-2006, 03:53 PM.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by swingbuster
                    If your first hand move is a negative move then the emphasis gets switched elsewhere instantly. That is the point. You can replace a bad habit easier than trying to "stop doing something".
                    If you're going to join this discussion and argue with me, I wish you'd quit jousting with straw men. Nobody said anything about just trying to "stop doing something." We suggested a drill to force them to stop doing it.

                    I am not trying to be popular , I am giving the guy something to try. I can make it work in 6 year olds. It works for many players.
                    We have your word of your extensive success with countless young hitters. Like Mr. Guerry, we've never seen any video demonstration of any of this success. From what I've read of your posts, I'm real skeptical as to what you might consider "success."

                    If I wanted to be real popular then I would say "use your middle" but his hands are giving him a problem.
                    No, if you wanted to be right, you'd say "use your middle." Why are you bringing popularity into the discussion? No one that I know of accused you of playing to the crowds or trying to be "popular." Straw man number two.

                    Dead hands is killing all feeling in your hands and holding on to the sleeve until your shoulder turn pulls them away.
                    Then I'm not for dead hands. Don't kill all feeling in them. Just hold onto the sleeve until your momentum pulls them away.

                    The elbow action called scap loading could be resulting from the players feel for hand positioning /loading.
                    Like I suspected: No clue. "Scap loading" is not an elbow action. Furthermore, a player's "feel for hand positioning/loading" may or may not result in scap load. There is no direct relationship between any hand action and scap load.

                    When you tell a player to load his bottom hand under his top he does it quickly without thoughts of the elbow action.
                    If you told me to "load my bottom hand under my top hand," I wouldn't know what the hell you were talking about. I've read your usage of the phrase many times and still have no clear idea of what you're trying to get hitters to do.

                    I have never heard one coach say that communication of the rear scap loading has made anybody a better hitter or one single MLB player even know what the hell anybody is saying.
                    Your point?


                    It is without a doubt the most useless information ever brought to bear as far as teaching is concerned.
                    Even if it were true (I bet I can "bring to bear" a lot less useful information than this), what's your point? Nobody I know ever advocated talking about scap loading on the field. This has been pointed out to you before and yet you keep bringing it up as if it is significant. Another straw man. Congratulations: You really tore him a new one.
                    Last edited by fungo22; 02-26-2006, 07:13 PM.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Fungo, thanks for an excellent post. You jumped on everything I was too timid to say for fear of piling on poor Swingbuster. And thanks for rephrasing my analysis ("if I understand UM correctly") in a way that makes me look smarter and my points more helpful than either deserve.

                      I love the phrase "If your hands cause you to sin, cut them off." To get kids' attention (and as a frustrated old community theater actor), I'm constantly giving instruction in some dialect or other. I can pull out my Jimmy Swaggart impersonation with that line and surely draw their attention long enough to get them to try the "behind the back" drill. Of course, here in Berkeley, none of the kids will have the slightest idea what a Southern Baptist evangelist sounds like, but they'll get the point anyway.

                      To be sure, the "dead hands" comment is a complete straw man. My concept of "dead hands" is of those hands that die at or just before contact, usually as a youngster is trying to aim the bathead at the ball. The cues and instruction you and I discussed, by contrast, are intended to make sure the hands' power is enhanced by (and isn't dissipated before) the body's rotation.

                      ((Side note to Fungo: that DVD we discussed will go out in today's mail.))
                      sigpicIt's not whether you fall -- everyone does -- but how you come out of the fall that counts.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        If your son wants to think hands maybe you should teach him what to do initially with them rather than try to kill them. Thats a long way from home.
                        If your hands are coming straight to the ball and getting ahead of the core rotation then create a hand set and hand move with a cocking and bat plane change where they cannot come straight to the ball and one that will force them to go back at swing initiation. Getting them back at initiation might just get them in the momentum plane and follow a good shoulder turn.

                        How do you know until you try this first? Why rebuild his swing when you haven't seen it. Maybe this kid have great feel and timing...who knows. A different hand set could fix it in 50 swings.

                        Again ...maybe the Dad will give this a try. It has helped a lot of kids in just a few swings. Maybe he can play better well THIS season.

                        Guys that are playing MLB or the guy running the guru lab have never coached at the youth baseball level for a week much less 10 years or more. THey have no idea what these kids understand and what gets results...no idea. THey have never worked several seasons with the same kids applying different cues and thoughts and seeing real life results.

                        Looking at perfect swings placed on perfect pitches by MLB players and telling people what they are doing takes no special talent.
                        Last edited by swingbuster; 02-27-2006, 04:26 AM.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by swingbuster



                          Guys that are playing MLB or the guy running the guru lab have never coached at the youth baseball level for a week much less 10 years or more. THey have no idea what these kids understand and what gets results...no idea. THey have never worked several seasons with the same kids applying different cues and thoughts and seeing real life results.
                          Uhh, I've played MLB baseball and I've been coaching youth kids for about, oh 7yrs now, seeing many kids for multiple years now. Steve has been coaching for quite some time as well, with youth all the way to the Big League level. I've seen real life results and so has he. The one "real life" issue I witnessed just 2 days ago was how Steve had to spend about 2 hrs trying to fix a kid that was all messed up from using the Hands Back Hitter. He had zero weight shift, was stuck sitting and spinning on his back foot and had a 2 part swing. That was a real life issue that needed some real life help.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Gem,

                            What is wrong with a kid cocking his hands and hips. The number one reason LL kids cannot hit............


                            drum roll please.....their hands do not come cocked when their front foot touches.

                            If you don't believe that then you haven't been there. You cannot unhinge the wrist bat angle if it never formed and it hardly ever does in youth ball. I have fixed 100s of kids doing this wrong and they hit immediately better.

                            Gwynn said it too" when every good batter's front foot comes down his hands come to a cocked position"

                            If he had that 9th batting title maybe somebody would listen to him.
                            Last edited by swingbuster; 02-27-2006, 10:33 AM.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              "drum roll please.....their hands do not come cocked when their front foot touches. "

                              EXACTLY! I am curious as to what you do with these kids initially to solve this problem.

                              My older son (11) has this figured out, however my 8 year old does not seem to get it.
                              "Tip it and rip it" - In Memory of Dmac
                              "Hit the inside seam" - In Memory of Swingbuster

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