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  • Ursa Major
    replied
    Teaching requires cues AND CREDIBILITY

    I said: "Have the back knee chase the front knee." This helps foster both aggressive and efficient hip movement, but it reminds them to not open the front knee too soon.
    CoachB25 replied: I understand all of these and especially for the age group you've described. I use the knee chase a lot as well. Nice list!
    Thanks. In view of the recent brouhaha over alleged 'plagiarism' for use of quotes from advisers, full disclosure requires that I conceded that I stole that "chase the front knee" cue from Steve Englishbey via his DVD. He had a number of different cues and drills for movement of the lower body, but that one stuck because it helps kids envision the need to keep their front hip/knee closed during the first part of the hip turn, to help bring the back hip around the front leg (in the hope of avoiding spinning in place and pulling off the ball). I vaguely recall that Steve said he got that cue from elsewhere, so I don't feel so bad in sharing it.

    Thinking back to Steve's DVD's many alternative cues reminds of one of the additional benefits of the use of a variety of cues to describe similar actions and the importance of gaining a kid's trust. During our pre-season, I'm working with a number of kids for the first time and, because we've moved up a level, some of these are already skilled hitters. My attitude is that everyone can improve somewhere, so lets take a shot at "pimping" their swings a little in the pre-season, since there's little risk in doing so. (They can always revert to their old form if something doesn't feel comfortable -- and even then they hopefully have incorporated some of the more advanced swing elements into their swing somehow.)

    One of the technically sound kids was assigned to me for one-on-one work and was very dubious about my qualifications to teach him. His upper body is great and I won't touch it, but his lower body is a little lazy, so I wanted to convince him to work on improving his hip action. Based on what I've learned from a variety of sources (including Steve's DVD) -- and with a bit of review to make sure I was prepared -- I could give him a quick 3-minute presentation of the physics of a good swing, the need to get the back hip around the front hip, the best way to do it, and three or four drills/cues to do it. I might have been completely full of bullcrap, but the mere fact that I could pull up all this information in one logical and comprehensible chain made it look like I was really an experienced instructor, and the kid bought into what I was teaching. (I think.)

    Too often you see coaches working with kids and trying to impart good advice, but they're unprepared and unfocused. As a consequence, the kid feels like he's getting pre-packaged, "one size fits all" advice that has not been thought through to make sure it deals with his issues. (For example, the cue "keep your back elbow up", which is not a universally necessary mechanic.) And the kid rolls his eyes and half-heartedly goes through the drill and abandons it thereafter. Credibility counts.

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  • CoachB25
    replied
    Originally posted by Ursa Major View Post
    I'm hoping that Jim Booth will pop in here, as I think he's got a good read on "cues". I remember him saying while working with my son something to the effect that it's good to have about 30 different cues available to describe the same action, because you'll never know which one will "click" with a kid.

    There are very few universal cues, as the text and manner of presenting one to a kid depends so much on his skill level, intelligence, desire, aggressivenesss, and the amount of time you ahve to tinker with his swing -- both in the particular session that you're there and until the next time the kid is hitting in a game. (We tinker more in pre-season than during the season, for obvious reasons.)

    The ones I use the most now (for 12-14 year olds) are:

    1. "Load in the swing plane" (after I've explained what that means). This reinforces that the shoulder, front elbow, hands and bathead should all travel through the same plane, and also helps alleviate hands dropping before the swing. Conversely, for kids who tend to drop their bathead before swinging, we work on "tip and turn".
    2. "Have the back knee chase the front knee." This helps foster both aggressive and efficient hip movement, but it reminds them to not open the front knee too soon.
    3. "Aim the back shoulder at the ball," for kids who (a) are determined that their hands should be doing something during the first part of the swing, and (b) tend to pull off the ball.
    4. "Throw a left handed karate chop at the third base coach", for (righthanded) kids who don't complete their swings or roll their wrists prematurely, and it also helps deal with kids trying to hit the ball too far in front of the plate.

    In years past when stepping in the bucket was more of a problem, I too used the "step toward the second baseman" cue in hopes that a kid thinking that way would at least step at the pitcher. Very valuable cue.

    I understand all of these and especially for the age group you've described. I use the knee chase a lot as well. Nice list!

    Leave a comment:


  • FiveFrameSwing
    replied
    Finish the push forward BEFORE the lead leg blocks!

    Leave a comment:


  • Ursa Major
    replied
    I'm hoping that Jim Booth will pop in here, as I think he's got a good read on "cues". I remember him saying while working with my son something to the effect that it's good to have about 30 different cues available to describe the same action, because you'll never know which one will "click" with a kid.

    There are very few universal cues, as the text and manner of presenting one to a kid depends so much on his skill level, intelligence, desire, aggressivenesss, and the amount of time you ahve to tinker with his swing -- both in the particular session that you're there and until the next time the kid is hitting in a game. (We tinker more in pre-season than during the season, for obvious reasons.)

    The ones I use the most now (for 12-14 year olds) are:

    1. "Load in the swing plane" (after I've explained what that means). This reinforces that the shoulder, front elbow, hands and bathead should all travel through the same plane, and also helps alleviate hands dropping before the swing. Conversely, for kids who tend to drop their bathead before swinging, we work on "tip and turn".
    2. "Have the back knee chase the front knee." This helps foster both aggressive and efficient hip movement, but it reminds them to not open the front knee too soon.
    3. "Aim the back shoulder at the ball," for kids who (a) are determined that their hands should be doing something during the first part of the swing, and (b) tend to pull off the ball.
    4. "Throw a left handed karate chop at the third base coach", for (righthanded) kids who don't complete their swings or roll their wrists prematurely, and it also helps deal with kids trying to hit the ball too far in front of the plate.

    In years past when stepping in the bucket was more of a problem, I too used the "step toward the second baseman" cue in hopes that a kid thinking that way would at least step at the pitcher. Very valuable cue.

    Leave a comment:


  • ShawmLee
    replied
    Coach,

    That cue seems to be one that works the best for my son as well. If I don't reinforce letting the ball get deep, he consistently tries to catch everything out front and pull it. You know the result when they start hitting the outside corners.

    I think this is the single biggest problem I see with kids in the 12 to 15 age group, some of whom have pretty decent swings. I think they are always afraid of someone blowing it by them. Plus, it feels pretty good to pull a middle in pitch and they forget that they can't do that with everything.

    Leave a comment:


  • Go Cardinals
    replied
    Originally posted by wogdoggy View Post
    If your are actually trying to hit someone, you seldom load or cock you hand back.

    love to step in the ring with you,your punches must feel like patty cakes.
    just foolin with ya
    I cheat, I bring in my two guns...

    Leave a comment:


  • wogdoggy
    replied
    Originally posted by Go Cardinals View Post
    Fine a golfer...
    If your are actually trying to hit someone, you seldom load or cock you hand back.

    love to step in the ring with you,your punches must feel like patty cakes.
    just foolin with ya

    Leave a comment:


  • MSandman
    replied
    To help kids remember to tilt over the plate, "Shoulders over toes" has worked for us.

    For youth hitters who step in the bucket, I've had some success w/ "stride towards the second baseman" (for righties). True, I don't really want them to do exactly that, but by thinking of that, they often stride right towards the pitcher.

    Regarding some "tried and true" old-time cues, I wonder if some of them have been poo-pooed due to having lost their meaning over the years, when perhaps they're still relevant - as Deemax said, depending on the explanation that accompanies them:
    1. "Back elbow up": I've seen so many coaches barking this out to youth hitters during their stance, when it doesn't much matter where it is then. But it's probably a good idea to have it up after the stride (just before launch) to promote proper upper body load?
    2. "Keep your lead shoulder closed": Obviously, at some point, the shoulders turn and the lead shoulder opens. However, is it a good idea to think of keeping it closed until the shoulders tilt, rear elbow slots, etc.? IOW, keep it closed until the bat is well-connected to the torso to avoid spinning out and leaving the hands/bat behind?

    Leave a comment:


  • CoachB25
    replied
    Originally posted by ShawmLee View Post
    You never boxed. did you? I wish you guys would quit using that analogy. Richard used it all the time too. If your are actually trying to hit someone, you seldom load or cock you hand back. You throw it from where it is. If, all you are doing is hitting a heavy bag then you can load all you want and get as much power as you want becuse the bag doesn't hit back.

    It's kinda like a slow pitch swing. You could probably hit a baseball farther with a huge slowpitch swing, if you could hit the ball. Probelm is, it's by you before you get the bat around.

    Shawn, I had a friend, Tommy Wilson, who was a Gold Glove. He grew up in the same neighborhood as I called, The Defense Area." NOT A NICE PLACE! He toyed around with me teaching me boxing. Every time I took my hands back, he beat me to the punch. Well HE BEAT ME. The key was that everytime I "loaded" the punch, it left an opening for his quicker hands. I think most would agree that watched boxing back in the 70s and 80s if they recall what they saw with those guys. (Don't see much boxing on TV anymore.) BTW, thanks for the comment, it brought up an old memory.

    Deemax, the problem with cues is that they mean different things to different people. It is important that any Coach explain and demonstrate the cues that they use to all of their students before they give them lessons. In my case, just after cuts were made. Then, the player will have verbal and visual demonstrations of what is expected. Don't forget also that these cues sometimes take the form of analogies. Example from basketball would be "put your hand in the basket" when referring to shooting. I think that the "extension" Phrase is a good example of one person's cue not being the same for another.

    Per the intent of your thread, I like the phrase/cue, "Let the ball get to you." I use it a lot.
    Last edited by CoachB25; 02-22-2008, 09:41 AM.

    Leave a comment:


  • LClifton
    replied
    Originally posted by deemax
    What I want to avoid is an arguement why you feel someones cue is wrong, handle torque, which guru knows more, and anything Mike Marshall related.
    Deemax,
    It was a good goal.

    Leave a comment:


  • Go Cardinals
    replied
    Originally posted by ShawmLee View Post
    You never boxed. did you? I wish you guys would quit using that analogy. Richard used it all the time too. If your are actually trying to hit someone, you seldom load or cock you hand back. You throw it from where it is. If, all you are doing is hitting a heavy bag then you can load all you want and get as much power as you want becuse the bag doesn't hit back.

    It's kinda like a slow pitch swing. You could probably hit a baseball farther with a huge slowpitch swing, if you could hit the ball. Probelm is, it's by you before you get the bat around.
    Fine a golfer...

    Leave a comment:


  • ShawmLee
    replied
    Originally posted by Stealth View Post
    If you are a boxer and throw a punch, what do your hands do? They go back (body loads) before you throw the punch.

    You never boxed. did you? I wish you guys would quit using that analogy. Richard used it all the time too. If your are actually trying to hit someone, you seldom load or cock you hand back. You throw it from where it is. If, all you are doing is hitting a heavy bag then you can load all you want and get as much power as you want becuse the bag doesn't hit back.

    It's kinda like a slow pitch swing. You could probably hit a baseball farther with a huge slowpitch swing, if you could hit the ball. Probelm is, it's by you before you get the bat around.

    Leave a comment:


  • LClifton
    replied
    Originally posted by Deemax View Post
    Describe cues given to hitters who have dead hands... How do you get thier loads started when they dont have one?
    "Could you move the knob toward the catcher as you stride?"

    (I watch what the rear and front elbows do, and watch for bat "wrapping".)

    The goal is to get the lead shoulder stretched, rear shoulder pinched.
    If they are too tense / tight,,,they tend to counter rotate.

    Leave a comment:


  • Stealth
    replied
    If you are a boxer and throw a punch, what do your hands do? They go back (body loads) before you throw the punch.

    Leave a comment:


  • Deemax
    replied
    Describe cues given to hitters who have dead hands... How do you get thier loads started when they dont have one?

    Leave a comment:

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