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  • #31
    I teach my kids to finishwith their belly button pointing towards the pitcher, not worrying about the trailing foot at this point. Is that the wrong approach for 7 year olds?

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    • #32
      The trailing foot should be a result, not a teach, so I wouldn't worry about that. As always, compare everything you are teaching to slow motion video of the best in the world as a self check.

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      • #33
        Originally posted by Chris O'Leary View Post
        It can let you recruit more, bigger muscles into the swing.

        It will only increase your power if your timing is right (due to slow pitching or starting the swing very early). It can just as easily cause lots of swinging strikes and pushing the ball.
        I understand incoorperating the bigger muscles, but I have always considered a connected swing using the hips into the "power L" position at contact, activates the bigger muscles of legs, hips, and torso while keeping stored energy (for no better term) until contact allowing for explosion through the ball at impact and extension. My oldest son does this extremely well and for an average to smaller player, hits with greater and more consistent power then most on his team.

        Are you equating the bat drag with more of a "whip potential" of bat head speed into contact as power generation?


        As a side note: I believe my son picked up the drag when he overemphasized his correction from a long swing to shorter swing, trying to "keep his hands inside the ball". What other verbal cues do you guys use to shorten the path to the ball? "Hands inside the ball" worked well for my older son and all of my other hitters, but for some reason, my youngest has equated it to almost having his hands on his body and causing them to be too far ahead if his hips, to the point that his hands are out in front at contact and extension is a non factory for trajectory.

        As far as timing, he still makes great contact, seldom strikes out, and uses the entire field, but he has lost elevation of the ball and is hitting hard grounders, versus the line drives he had with the longer swing.

        Thoughts? . . . . thanks
        In memory of "Catchingcoach" - Dave Weaver: February 28, 1955 - June 17, 2011

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        • #34
          Originally posted by Chris O'Leary View Post
          Rather than teaching a kid to do something that they will have to unlearn when they get older, I prefer to teach them to do the right way the first time.

          Also, unlearning things can be a very painful process, as I am learning with some of my 13Us who were never taught to hit or throw the right way the first time.
          Jesus, why are u so hung up on the bug thing? I believe we share the same thoughts. They only difference is approach with an 8 year old, and I believe you teach shifting your weight to a stiff front leg if I'm not mistaken. I believe rotating the on a stationary axis. Weight forward is a result of the swing, not a weight shift. These are too different thoughts. My kids, including my son are very successful. My 9 year old is tearing up AAA pitching and the only 9 in the league. There are different rules of thought, I didn't join to get my ideas bashed in. The swing I'm teaching is what they teach for the Oakland A's., these are not my ideas...geez.

          Don't follow the bright light people!

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          • #35
            Originally posted by rkbenn View Post
            The swing I'm teaching is what they teach for the Oakland A's.
            Rkbenn, you've referred to the "swing they're teaching the A's" a couple times now and I'm wondering, is it Van Burkleo's methods you are teaching or somebody elses? I'm curious to hear what Van Burkleo is teaching, he was the roving hitting instructor with the Angels' farm teams for six years and they have some pretty decent hitting up and comers (Kenrick, Aybar, Kotchman, Wood, Napoli, Willits, Mathis . . .) that I wonder if Van Burkleo had any influence on.

            How did you get Van Burkleo's teachings, I haven't seen any books or videos from him, do you have info on where to find his stuff?


            MV9
            In memory of "Catchingcoach" - Dave Weaver: February 28, 1955 - June 17, 2011

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            • #36
              Originally posted by rkbenn View Post
              These are little kids, squish the bug is something an 8 y/o understands to get great rotation of the back foot. Where not talking about developed kids. Make it fun to keep them interested and keep the game fun. Even if you say you rotate the hips like you're doing the Cha Cha, what does it mater. Every kid is not the sale and you can't take the same approach. My boy doesn't squish the bug, he's beyond that. You guys are really taking this too seriously. If they kid was 10, or 12 or 15, I'd take a different approach depending on the kid. One size doesn't fit all.

              I spoke with a scout for the KC Royals for a couple hours at a College game. His advice is to make baseball fun so the kids will have memories for the rest of their life. This is not at the expense of teaching the fundamentals.
              I would rather have no instruction, than bad instruction.

              When I was 8, no one ever told me to "squish the bug". In fact, I can't remember anyone telling anyone to do that at that age, where I played. Since the kids I grew up with, several are playing D1, two have been drafted, and several others have been very productive in their college careers thus far. We seemed to turn out just fine.

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              • #37
                Originally posted by rkbenn View Post
                I believe rotating the on a stationary axis. !
                After weight shift/momentum development, sure. Paul was right when he said you have to have some forward momentum to rotate well. You don't have to have a lot, but you have to have some. If you will watch elite hitters you will see the hips, or more, shift foward before/into rotation. It's not really arguable looking at video of elite hitters. I bet if you watch your better hitters carefully, especially on slow motion video, you will see they have figured this out on their own intuitively. The nature of the shift and momentum conversion gets argued all the time but rarely is the existence of a shift/momentum development argued.

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                • #38
                  Originally posted by cosmo34 View Post
                  I would rather have no instruction, than bad instruction.

                  When I was 8, no one ever told me to "squish the bug". In fact, I can't remember anyone telling anyone to do that at that age, where I played. Since the kids I grew up with, several are playing D1, two have been drafted, and several others have been very productive in their college careers thus far. We seemed to turn out just fine.
                  Well to take the other side for a moment I don't think he's arguing there can't be other good cues. He just likes this one. Perhaps when he begins to understand the nature of good rotation and how and why the back foot rolls up onto the toe rather than pivoting on the ball, he will change his mind.

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                  • #39
                    Originally posted by mudvnine View Post
                    Rkbenn, you've referred to the "swing they're teaching the A's" a couple times now and I'm wondering, is it Van Burkleo's methods you are teaching or somebody elses? I'm curious to hear what Van Burkleo is teaching, he was the roving hitting instructor with the Angels' farm teams for six years and they have some pretty decent hitting up and comers (Kenrick, Aybar, Kotchman, Wood, Napoli, Willits, Mathis . . .) that I wonder if Van Burkleo had any influence on.

                    How did you get Van Burkleo's teachings, I haven't seen any books or videos from him, do you have info on where to find his stuff?


                    MV9
                    I took my son to ABC Camps, Greg Sparks was the instructor, Hitting Coordinator for the A's.

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                    • #40
                      Originally posted by rkbenn View Post
                      I took my son to ABC Camps, Greg Sparks was the instructor, Hitting Coordinator for the A's.
                      a guy on my team said he took some lessons from a hitting coach from the a's

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                      • #41
                        Originally posted by Mark H View Post
                        Well to take the other side for a moment I don't think he's arguing there can't be other good cues. He just likes this one. Perhaps when he begins to understand the nature of good rotation and how and why the back foot rolls up onto the toe rather than pivoting on the ball, he will change his mind.
                        I do understand and it is a cue for an 8 year old, and yes my kid, and the others I coach finish high on their back toe, not heel.

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                        • #42
                          Originally posted by Mark R View Post
                          I teach my kids to finishwith their belly button pointing towards the pitcher, not worrying about the trailing foot at this point. Is that the wrong approach for 7 year olds?
                          Last year I taught my t-ballers to point their belly buttons at the start of the swing to where they want to hit the ball. I had much better luck with this cue than "squishing the bug". And these were 5 and 6 year olds. Although I think it helps to look at the back foot as a cue. I tell them that if their back foot doesn't rotate, then they aren't pointing their belly button at the pitcher.

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                          • #43
                            1. If (and only if) a little kid has poor rotation, I see it as a logical first step to teach him how to squish the bug. Once he is rotating correctly, then I would start working on weight shift.

                            2. The boy in the original post has an incorrect swing plane...down through the ball. This also creates a very small hitting zone and does not allow the bat any direct momentum into the ball. THis is why he may be grounding out a lot and hitting for little power.

                            3. Jim Thome once told me he would spend hours throwing up tiny rocks and smashing them over an imaginary fence. Like a fungo hit. Any kid who can throw a ball up and hit it into center field has the base for a sound, mechanical swing. The boy in the video would find this activity impossible. But workign on it would be fun for him and his mechanics would begin to improve along with his success at the drill.

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                            • #44
                              Originally posted by Swing Coach View Post
                              1. If (and only if) a little kid has poor rotation, I see it as a logical first step to teach him how to squish the bug. Once he is rotating correctly, then I would start working on weight shift..
                              If he's squishing the bug he's not rotating correctly.



                              Originally posted by Swing Coach View Post
                              Any kid who can throw a ball up and hit it into center field has the base for a sound, mechanical swing.
                              That's what Epstein says but then Epstein, given the pictures he has posted, has no notion of the problem of bat drag. He seems to have little opinion or clue on arm action other than the weather vaning nonsense. I once asked him in person how his hitters transition away from the bat on the deltoid. He looked like he'd never heard the question before and answered, "Well..., some never do".

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                              • #45
                                Mark, I guess the Epstein weather vaning "nonsense", as you refer to it, is much like the Englishbey nonsense of hold onto the bat (aka dead hands) and rotate like a mother. Is that what you're talking about?

                                Mike

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