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Interesting time spent with MLB hitting coaches

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  • Interesting time spent with MLB hitting coaches

    Just worked a camp with several MLB hitting coaches and hitting directors. It was very fascinating to see them teach. They were very knowledgeable on the approach and mental aspects of hitting. Swing mechanics, not so much....but then again they arent gonna be messing with Joey Votto's swing, right?

    SC

  • #2
    Originally posted by Swing Coach View Post
    Swing mechanics, not so much
    Voodoo is rampant.
    efastball.com - hitting and pitching fact checker

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    • #3
      My sample size is small as I only personally know two MLB players. (Friends that I grew up with) I think all the swing analysis, mechanics ect is second behind the mental aspect of baseball. If you are mentally weak and can't accept failure, then baseball is not the sport for you. It's the wild card that ultimately decides who makes it and who doesn't. Swing mechanics is a personal thing. It's something that will work for one person and not help another. Ofcourse you need to have the basics down, but after that all the tweaks are on an individual basis.
      When my MLB friends father works with my son on hitting 75% of the conversation is talking mental stuff. The other stuff is basics. There is no discussion of minute details. My son has a very good looking swing and he basically leaves it that way.

      So I think there's something to be said from your observations at the hitting clinic.

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      • #4
        I'll also add that he works with my son free of charge. He does it because we are long time family friends and he sees potential in my son. I see the differance of how he coaches random kids and how he coaches my son.

        The other kids he treats it like a job and doesn't get into the mental part. Doesn't get into how to think about the pitcher when you're at bat. He teaches mechanics and when the kids leave he complains to me about how the kids don't practice at home so when they show up for lessons they've simply regressed to where they were the week before. And he has the point there. He doesn't go the extra mile sharing the recipe that he used to make his son a MLB player because he doesn't see 99% of the kids he's training as serious.

        It's not to say my son will ever amount to a pile of beans in baseball, I'm just saying from the standpoint of someone who has made it, the mechanics is the easy part. It's the inside notes in the mental aspect of baseball that is so rarely shared by those with the knowledge.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by themaker75 View Post
          When my MLB friends father works with my son on hitting 75% of the conversation is talking mental stuff. The other stuff is basics. There is no discussion of minute details. My son has a very good looking swing and he basically leaves it that way.
          I wholeheartedly agree with teaching the mental aspect of the game. I'm just wondering - how old is your son? My son is nine and played his first season of kid-pitch in the Fall. Since he's a decent pitcher, we talk more about the mental aspect as a pitcher than as a batter. For 9U, I just tell him to swing hard at the first good-looking pitch he sees - because in our league, there's not a lot of good ones to choose from

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          • #6
            He will be playing 11U this year. Alot of people on here may think 11 is too young to be taking it serious, but Im amazed at what a focused 10 year old can do. Je gits to the opposide field when he needs to, looks to hit with power when he gets an inside pitch, can slap a single if thats all thats needed, and he is getting very good at hitting up the middle.

            He also pitches and yes the mental aspect there is obviously also huge. The difference there though is unorthodox mechanics can lead to you being injured so be careful. I've never worked on him with a pitching coach though. I'll let all the other kids through their arms out, then he can start taking pitching seriously if he wants in a few years.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by themaker75 View Post
              He will be playing 11U this year. Alot of people on here may think 11 is too young to be taking it serious, but Im amazed at what a focused 10 year old can do. Je gits to the opposide field when he needs to, looks to hit with power when he gets an inside pitch, can slap a single if thats all thats needed, and he is getting very good at hitting up the middle.

              He also pitches and yes the mental aspect there is obviously also huge. The difference there though is unorthodox mechanics can lead to you being injured so be careful. I've never worked on him with a pitching coach though. I'll let all the other kids through their arms out, then he can start taking pitching seriously if he wants in a few years.
              Are you a coach? If so, allowing your players to throw their arms out is clearly not in the best interest of the player. Just sayin.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Standballdad View Post
                Are you a coach? If so, allowing your players to throw their arms out is clearly not in the best interest of the player. Just sayin.
                Agreed. As a coach, I take exception when a father tells me that his kid isn't going to pitch. I'm not saying that is exactly what is going on with maker75. My philosophy with younger players is that everyone will pitch so that the innings are distributed in a manner that will best insure that no one has to be overused. A player who refuses to pitch, therefore, puts more of a burden on the arms of his teammates.

                This can be difficult to do if you have a couple of studs and everyone else is weak as a pitcher. However, that's a coaching problem. Sure, your studs are going to pitch more innings. I don't advocate EQUAL pitching time. However, we all have games that we know aren't that important to win and these are games to get some innings in for the pitchers who are works in progress. However, this is the key. Those kids have to be worked with, even if they aren't going to be contributing significantly from the mound RIGHT NOW. In fact, these kids may be huge contributers two or three years down the road if you take the time to work with them nowwhen they don't help you much.

                This is also why I believe the arguments of pitcher overuse is not one that applies to the very elite teams on the travel circuits. Those teams have deep pitching staffs and their studs don't have to carry the load because seven or eight other guys can pitch 4 or 5 innings in pool play. I ran off the grid on this one, huh?

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Roothog66 View Post
                  Agreed. As a coach, I take exception when a father tells me that his kid isn't going to pitch. I'm not saying that is exactly what is going on with maker75. My philosophy with younger players is that everyone will pitch so that the innings are distributed in a manner that will best insure that no one has to be overused. A player who refuses to pitch, therefore, puts more of a burden on the arms of his teammates.

                  This can be difficult to do if you have a couple of studs and everyone else is weak as a pitcher. However, that's a coaching problem. Sure, your studs are going to pitch more innings. I don't advocate EQUAL pitching time. However, we all have games that we know aren't that important to win and these are games to get some innings in for the pitchers who are works in progress. However, this is the key. Those kids have to be worked with, even if they aren't going to be contributing significantly from the mound RIGHT NOW. In fact, these kids may be huge contributers two or three years down the road if you take the time to work with them nowwhen they don't help you much.

                  This is also why I believe the arguments of pitcher overuse is not one that applies to the very elite teams on the travel circuits. Those teams have deep pitching staffs and their studs don't have to carry the load because seven or eight other guys can pitch 4 or 5 innings in pool play. I ran off the grid on this one, huh?

                  No prob, just didn't like the tone of makers comment.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Standballdad View Post
                    No prob, just didn't like the tone of makers comment.
                    Yeah, I know. I always bristle when I hear "my kid ain't pitching. Let his teammates throw out their arms." However, I don't think (and I hope) he really didn't mean it that way.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Roothog66 View Post
                      Yeah, I know. I always bristle when I hear "my kid ain't pitching. Let his teammates throw out their arms." However, I don't think (and I hope) he really didn't mean it that way.
                      Well of course he didn't mean it that way.....because he never said or implied that.
                      He also pitches and yes the mental aspect there is obviously also huge. The difference there though is unorthodox mechanics can lead to you being injured so be careful. I've never worked on him with a pitching coach though. I'll let all the other kids through their arms out, then he can start taking pitching seriously if he wants in a few years.
                      All he said was he's not having his son get pitching lessons, nothing about not letting his son pitch.

                      Which as I read it, not needing him to be the superstar on the mound right now, and if others what that from their child, so be it. They can have the innings and glory, he'll wait until later to see his son attain that...."IF he wants to in a few years".
                      In memory of "Catchingcoach" - Dave Weaver: February 28, 1955 - June 17, 2011

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                      • #12
                        "The difference there though is unorthodox mechanics can lead to you being injured so be careful."

                        My point is that 8, 9, 10, 11 year olds often don't have enough of a command of their own body to use the proper pitching mechanics. So even the LL limit with bad pitching mechanics can hurt their arm. My son throws harder than most and I just see him doing some things wrong and I don't want to take the chance. I have asked that he only be used to close games and I don't feel bad about that. I let him pitch to help his team, but at the end of the day my son is a hitter and a position player. I won't allow an arm injury to affect what he really likes doing in baseball. As his parent it's well within my rights to monitor his pitching at such a young age.

                        In travel ball in my area the kids are required to also play LL. And in travel ball their is no pitch count and in tournaments it usually goes by innings pitched. So the pitch count could add up per week very quickly when you add in LL and travel and tournaments. As the parent it's up to me to make sure everything stays in check. My comment about letting the other kids throw their arms out has more to do with the parents than the coaches. You have the parents who think their kids are invincible. They are constantly pushing the limits and I won't even go close to the limits. Even LL pitch counts are deceiving because it doesn't take into account all the pitches between innings and warm ups.

                        I have found it's better to discuss these limits before the season starts because these teams get caught up in the moment and I've seen it where they stretch kids out a bit too far. Especially the better ones which my son happens to be. I'm not accusing anyone here of doing it, but the fact of reality is that many travel coaches and tournament teams stretch things out further than need be. I've heard "Can you give me one more" With me, it's clearly stated before the season even started that it's 2 innings in travel and 1 inning in LL. There is no can he give us one more. Because for me, if there is 5 pitchers on the team, they should all pitch 1 inning each or 2,2 &1. But I see it all the time. The starters going for 3, 4 and 5 innings. I've even seen 10 year olds go 6. If those kids parents want to let the kids do that, then that's up to the parent. I won't.

                        People get ultra competitive these days and it blinds people. As parents we have to be careful and we can't always put faith in the coach that they will do what's best for your kid.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by themaker75 View Post
                          "The difference there though is unorthodox mechanics can lead to you being injured so be careful."

                          My point is that 8, 9, 10, 11 year olds often don't have enough of a command of their own body to use the proper pitching mechanics. So even the LL limit with bad pitching mechanics can hurt their arm. My son throws harder than most and I just see him doing some things wrong and I don't want to take the chance. I have asked that he only be used to close games and I don't feel bad about that. I let him pitch to help his team, but at the end of the day my son is a hitter and a position player. I won't allow an arm injury to affect what he really likes doing in baseball. As his parent it's well within my rights to monitor his pitching at such a young age.

                          In travel ball in my area the kids are required to also play LL. And in travel ball their is no pitch count and in tournaments it usually goes by innings pitched. So the pitch count could add up per week very quickly when you add in LL and travel and tournaments. As the parent it's up to me to make sure everything stays in check. My comment about letting the other kids throw their arms out has more to do with the parents than the coaches. You have the parents who think their kids are invincible. They are constantly pushing the limits and I won't even go close to the limits. Even LL pitch counts are deceiving because it doesn't take into account all the pitches between innings and warm ups.

                          I have found it's better to discuss these limits before the season starts because these teams get caught up in the moment and I've seen it where they stretch kids out a bit too far. Especially the better ones which my son happens to be. I'm not accusing anyone here of doing it, but the fact of reality is that many travel coaches and tournament teams stretch things out further than need be. I've heard "Can you give me one more" With me, it's clearly stated before the season even started that it's 2 innings in travel and 1 inning in LL. There is no can he give us one more. Because for me, if there is 5 pitchers on the team, they should all pitch 1 inning each or 2,2 &1. But I see it all the time. The starters going for 3, 4 and 5 innings. I've even seen 10 year olds go 6. If those kids parents want to let the kids do that, then that's up to the parent. I won't.

                          People get ultra competitive these days and it blinds people. As parents we have to be careful and we can't always put faith in the coach that they will do what's best for your kid.
                          Your position is more than fair and, as a coach, much appreciated. In fact, over the past couple of years, I initiate that very conversation with every parent. I want them to understand what I expect and I also want them to understand that limits will be established on an individual basis. One problem comes with the parents who don't understand why their kid, who's a stud pitcher isn't getting in 8 innings every tournament or why I "threw" a game by pitching an obvious lower quality pitcher when I had better pitching available. I've never been in a parent position as I have always been the coach, but I think how a coach handles his pitchers and how many kids are used to distribute the load would be a major factor for me in deciding where my kid plays.

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                          • #14
                            I wish every coach thought like you and I give you A LOT of credit for sticking to your guns in the face of over zealous parents. I coach basketball, so I don't have to deal with the potential injury issues baseball coaches have to deal with but I get enough crap from the parents.
                            From the stands I hear parents complain when their son gets taken out. "Why did coach do that? He was pitching great. He could have gone one more" People are nuts lol

                            In regards to your last statement about how the coach handles the pitching would determine where the kid plays, unfortunately especially at 9,10,11,12 as parents we just don't have that many options. My son has a few more options because tournament teams/club teams invite him to play, but the majority will only have LL or the town travel teams as options. If the coaching there isn't up to par the kid is SOL. So then the parent has to be extra vigilant. I choose at this age to just leave my kid on the town travel team, because it's where he has the most fun. Alll his friends are there and he feels comfortable. The coaching is good, but not perfect, so I keep my eyes open.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by themaker75 View Post
                              I wish every coach thought like you and I give you A LOT of credit for sticking to your guns in the face of over zealous parents. I coach basketball, so I don't have to deal with the potential injury issues baseball coaches have to deal with but I get enough crap from the parents.
                              From the stands I hear parents complain when their son gets taken out. "Why did coach do that? He was pitching great. He could have gone one more" People are nuts lol

                              In regards to your last statement about how the coach handles the pitching would determine where the kid plays, unfortunately especially at 9,10,11,12 as parents we just don't have that many options. My son has a few more options because tournament teams/club teams invite him to play, but the majority will only have LL or the town travel teams as options. If the coaching there isn't up to par the kid is SOL. So then the parent has to be extra vigilant. I choose at this age to just leave my kid on the town travel team, because it's where he has the most fun. Alll his friends are there and he feels comfortable. The coaching is good, but not perfect, so I keep my eyes open.
                              I also coach a competitive basketball team and that, as I'm sure you well know, has it's own problems. Here, we don't have any middle school sports. So, this year, I explained to the parents of my seventh grade team that in order to be the most competitive we can be, that I will be treating the team as if it were a school team. I explained that playing time would not be even close to equal - that it is earned and that the better players would get the lion's share of the PT. Everyone agreed that was a great way to handle things. Of course, every single parent thought that their kid would be among the players who would get all the playing time. There have been grumblings. However, it has certainly been a big help when it was first demonstrated that if you miss a practice for any reason, you get more bench time.

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