Batting & Pitching Blogs

Albert Pujols How He Can Become A Great Hitter Again

Posted on August 10, 2016 at 10:15 AM Comments comments (0)

Originally Posted December 29, 2013


I have been writing for a few years about why some of the best hitters in baseball go into slumps and stay in them for such long periods of time.  Their slump can last from one, two or more months to even years.   The reason they stay in them for such a long period of time is they aren't working on the correct hitting mechanics to get out of the slump.

 

The reason a great hitter goes into a slump in the first place is they change the way they are using the body in the swing.   They go away from using mainly the body and start using their arms and wrists more.  This brings in many problems for the hitter.  Three big problems are hitters will lose power, timing and start to swing at more bad pitches.  These problems will not go away until they go back to using mainly their body.


Albert Pujols is a great hitter that went into a slump and became an average hitter because he started working on some things that took most of his 230 lb body out of the swing and made him use his arms instead.   I watched a video July 11, 2011 on MLB.com called Diamond Demo: Pujols on hitting.   I wanted to watch it because of all the players I have seen talk about the swing, Pujols would know what is really happening in a great swing.   I was amazed that what he was working on, with then hitting coach Mark McGwire, is almost the opposite of the way he used his body his first eleven years in the Majors.   Everything they were working on would make him swing mainly with his arms.  I hoped he would never actually start doing this in a game.


At the end of 2011 you could see Pujols start swinging more with his arms, the things they were working on starting to creep into his swing.   He didn't have a very good World Series except for one game and the last two years his stats have steadily become worse because he is actually swinging mainly with his arms in games.   Below are stats from the last three years compared to the previous three years.

     

      Years                       AVG         AB/HR        Base On Balls %        % Swing at bad pitches

 2008- 2010                 .331         13.3 AB              15.8 %                                24 %

 

 2011- 2013                 .283         18.8 AB                8.7 %                                34.%

 

You can see the last three years Pujols has lost power and his average is down almost 50 points. His walks are way down because he is now swinging at more bad pitches.  He has shown little consistency.   This shows even a player that had perhaps the best first eleven years hitting ever can become an average hitter just by working on things that make him use his arms more.

 

Pujols needs to go back to what he did the first eleven years, use his body to go forward.  Pujols now just puts his heel up and then down to start his swing, there is very little forward momentum.  With his body out of the picture he now works much harder to bring the bat around with his arms.  This changes his swing completely and makes it almost the opposite to what he did before.

 

 

         What is happening now                   VS                     What Pujols did before

 

 No stride, heel goes up then down                            Would take a four to five inch stride

 

Rotates and arms pull bat forward                              Body went forward pulling bat forward


Bat rounder much slower path                                     Bat straight forward much faster path

 

Start swing earlier                                                           Waited longer to start swing

 

Swings at more bad pitches                                          Swung at less bad pitches

 

Much less torque and force in swing                            Much more torque and force in swing

 

Bat goes down through the ball                                     Bat on the plane of the pitch

 

Bat pulled across body and left too fast                        Bat more out through the ball

 

Smaller hitting zone, 1 to 2 feet                                      Larger hitting zone, 3 to 4 feet

 

Hitting mainly with his arms                                            Hit the ball with his 230 lb body

 

Less power and consistency                                          Great power and very consistent

 

Game seems faster to him                                               Game seemed much slower

 

In three year slump ( for him)                                           One of best first eleven years ever

 

Pujols is one of my favorite players and I hope he figures out that all he needs to do is go back to taking a small step and then going forward with his body. He needs this forward momentum to be able to hit the ball with the power, timing, and consistency he did before.

 

This same thing is also happening to so many other Major Leaguers because they are working on hitting cues that make them swing mainly with their arms.

 

If you would like to learn how to hit the ball with much more force and power using your body call Mike Sedberry at 304-722-6393 for more information.

 

Mike Trout And Bryce Harper The Real Hitting Difference

Posted on August 9, 2016 at 11:20 PM Comments comments (0)

Originally Posted August 24, 2012


Mike Trout and Bryce Harper are two of the most exciting young players I have seen in years. They both are very young with very special skills. Excellent fielders, have great speed and have strong arms. They both made the all star game. They both are such great athletes.

 

They are very different when it comes to their hitting statistics.

 

                                Mike Trout                  Bryce Harper

 Height                        6' 1 "                                6' 3"

 Weight                       200                                  205

 Games                      102                                  101

 At Bats                       414                                  392

 Average                    .345                                 .247

 Home runs                24                                     12

 RBI                             72                                      37

 

Why such a big difference?   Harper is hitting almost 100 points lower and has half the home runs and RBIs.  Is Trout that much better? No, Trout uses his bat and body much better than Harper, and it really shows in their averages and production.

 

Trout uses his lower and upper body well together, in the right sequence, which allows him to generate the maximum amount of power that he then releases it into the ball.   With using his body this way his bat comes into the hitting zone faster and and it allows the bat to stay in the zone and on the plane of the pitch for three to four feet.  This means he doesn't need perfect timing to hit the ball consistently hard, this makes hitting so much easier.  His bat is actually accelerating out through the ball which allows him to hit the ball harder and hit line drives much more often.  He looks so relaxed and effortless because the way he uses his body.  Like every great athlete he has true effortless power.

 

Harper uses his lower body the same way as Trout which is very athletic and generates so much power.   The problem is the upper half of his body is doing the opposite of what Trout is doing.  It isn't working well with the lower body at all.   He is swinging hard, mainly with his arms, which means his bat is longer and slower to the hitting zone.   His right arm extends as it pulls the bat, causing it to go out and then forcing him to pull it back in to the right.   With his upper and lower body out of sequence he is losing much of his power.  He can feel this and then tries to swing even harder to make up for the lost power but this makes it even worse causing him to pull out of the hitting zone even faster.  His bat is in the hitting zone and on the plane of the pitch for only about one foot as opposed to Trout's three to four feet.   He now needs perfect timing to hit the ball hard which makes hitting much tougher.

 

Harper's swing makes him very susceptible to pitches on the outside of the plate because he pulls the bat out of the hitting zone so fast. He is also susceptible to off speed pitches because with being slower to the hitting zone he has to start his swing earlier causing many more problems.  This has really come to light the last two months.    His last 45 games he is hitting only .214 with 4 home runs and 15 RBIs.  He looks so tight at the plate because he is swinging so hard with his arms, he is giving so much effort to not hit the ball hard very often.

 

Harper is such a great athlete, he could become such a better hitter if someone knew how to help him get his lower and upper body to work together in the right sequence.   This would allow his bat to come into the hitting zone faster and stay in there for at least three to four feet which would allow him to hit the pitches on the outside part of the plate much easier.   He wouldn't have to start his swing earlier which would give him more time to recognize off speed pitches and hit them more consistently.   He would then have the power he should have at his size by using his body to hit the ball rather than his arms.   He could raise his average above .300 where it should be for a player of his ability because the bat would go forward through the ball rather than being pulled to the right around it way too fast.


I know what could help Bryce Harper become the hitter he knows he should be.   With his ability it would be easy to show him how his upper and lower body can work so much better together.  He would then feel how much more power it would provide in a much larger hitting zone. I t would give him a three to four foot error rate to hit the ball hard in rather than his current one foot area.   I would be happy to work with him anytime.

 

If you would like to learn to use your body like Mike Trout is doing now call Mike Sedberry at 304-722-6393.  When your body is working in the correct sequence it is amazing how hitting seems so much easier and you can consistently hit hard line drives.   Call now and learn how you can have effortless power.

 

 

 

 

Video Lessons "A Must" For Hitting And Pitching

Posted on August 7, 2016 at 9:40 PM Comments comments (0)

This is an exciting time for all baseball players, fastpitch softball players and parents.  A new season with hopes of it being even better than last year.  Some moving up to the next level wanting to show they belong there.  With the proper hitting and pitching mechanics players can improve each year.  I have been writing for over five years that good quality instruction for hitting and pitching involves learning how to use the body not the arms.   The problem is 99% of the hitting and pitching cues being taught by coaches, instructors, former players, at hitting and pitching camps, and even by other parents make you use your arms not your body.  This is the opposite of what the best players actually do.  Parents and students looking for baseball and fastpitch softball hitting and pitching lessons need to make sure they are getting the best quality instruction possible.

 

I see parents trying to help their kids in our batting cages because they are struggling to hit the ball consistently.  They will say remember what you were told back elbow up, stay back, twist your hips, faster hands, swing down, extend at impact, etc.  The hitters become so frustrated when they actually do these hitting cues because these make them swing with their arms.   Parents tell me these are the things they have been taught but they aren't helping.  I tell them the best hitters in baseball and fastpitch softball use their body to swing not their arms.   They do none of these hitting cues or they would also be struggling.   

 

Parents ask about pitching lessons because their son or daughter isn't throwing very hard, is getting a sore arm or has control problems when they are trying to throw harder.  Every time they are throwing with their arm because of what they have been taught.  To get control they have to slow down.  I tell them the best pitchers in baseball and fastpitch softball use their body momentum to throw the ball, not the arm.   More and more Major League pitchers are now getting Tommy John surgery because they throw mainly with their arm.  What they have been taught from when they were little to the Major Leagues makes them throw with their arm.   The pitchers that last ten or more years without arm problems use their body not their arm.

 

With so much bad instruction out there make sure you get a video lesson whether you are a hitter and/or pitcher in baseball or fastpitch softball.   Every new student that comes in for hitting and pitching lessons use their arms.  The students and parents both think they are correctly doing what they have been taught, most of the time they are, but in hitting they don't have much power, consistency or timing.   In pitching they aren't throwing very hard and when they try to their control suffers.


I video every new student so they can see what they are doing now compared to the very best hitters and pitchers in Major League baseball and Team USA softball.  When they see themselves compared to the very best hitters and pitchers they are amazed what they have been taught is almost the opposite of what the best players are doing.   Many are upset because they went to the instructor everyone said to go to but they were teaching bad hitting and pitching cues.  Do not let this happen to you, learn only what the very best are actually doing.  Don't learn anything else.


Don't let anyone tell you they know how to teach, no matter how good a player or coach they are or were.  What they tell you to do and what the best actually do will be the opposite 99% of the time.   You want someone that can compare you to hitters like Mike Trout, Ken Griffey Jr, Miguel Cabrera, etc.   Make sure they can show you the differences in the swings so you can see it and understand it.  


For example even Major League hitters and coaches will teach these bad hitting cues.   Don Mattingly in his book Hitting is Simple writes: I'm swinging down on the ball as if I'm chopping down a tree with an ax -- taking the knob to the ball, keeping the barrel of the bat above the hands.  In the video below he talks about the hands on a downward path to the ball with a level swing to stay in the hitting zone.  When he played he swung the opposite of what he teaches, his bat went up on the path of the pitch with the barrel below the hands as picture on right.   

 

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Another example is when Mark McGwire became the hitting coach for the Cardinals he gave an interview and said "you have a round ball with a round bat and there's only one way to hit it squarely. " You have to go down to it."  He told the reporter "Albert Pujols has the perfect swing and now trying to hone in on why Albert is so successful.  That's one of the reasons' he drives down through the ball."   He said he would teach everyone to swing down through the ball like he did.  The problem is neither McGwire or Pujols swung down when they were in their prime as shown below.  They look almost exactly the same and they are doing the opposite of swinging down. 



A third example is I watched Albert pujols as he talks hitting on MLB.com  with Harold Reynolds.  I thought if anyone knew how they hit the ball it would be from the man that had arguably the best first 11 years ever as a hitter.  I was surprised when he demonstrated how he swings, he said he went down to the ball so he can cover the ball and get on top of it.  Then he says you don't want to come from the inside with barrel down because you will hit lazy fly balls.  When they show him hit a homerun he isn't doing anything he says he does in his swing. He is actually doing exactly what he says not to do in your swing.  


These three examples shows, you need to beware of getting hitting and pitching lessons from anyone without video of the best players to back up what they are going to teach you.   No matter how good of a player or coach they are or were.  There is a big disconnect between what the very best players do in their swing and what they are taught.  That is why 99% of what is taught in hitting is wrong.


Parents want to make sure the instructor they choose is able to video their students for hitting and pitching.   They can then put them next to the very best  Major League baseball or Team USA fastpitch softball players and show you a detailed frame by frame comparison.   Only then will you be able to see how the best hitters and pitchers actually use their body, not their arms.  This is very important because almost every new student and parent we have come in can't believe what they have been taught and what they see a professional actually doing is almost the opposite of each other.


A video lesson is the only way to truly see what your swing or pitching motion looks like now and have it compared to what the best players are actually doing.


If you would like to learn how to use your body correctly to improve your hitting and pitching call Mike Sedberry at 304-722-6393 for more information. 

Be A Better Hitter Learn what The Very Best Do

Posted on August 7, 2016 at 9:40 PM Comments comments (0)

I have been teaching baseball and fastpitch softball hitting for eight years now and still at least one time per week I am asked by a new parent or student if I teach the rotational swing or linear swing.   From the very beginning I have told them neither one, I teach how the very best Major League baseball and Team USA softball hitters actually use their body when they swing the bat.   For years most of them gave me a puzzled look because their coaches and former hitting instructors had taught them one or the other.   Almost all hitting websites say these are the two swings that are used by hitters.

 

Recently I have read some instructors, even one that has taught the rotational swing for years, say they don't teach the rotational or linear swing they teach a combination of both.  This is a little better but it still isn't the way the greatest hitters swing the bat.

 

I teach how the very best hitters in baseball and fastpitch softball actually swing because they don't use rotational, linear or the combination of both.  The average professional hitter does use them.   The best hitters have a different swing and that is what separates them from the average hitter.   But when a great hitter starts using any of these swings they will go into a slump and become an average hitter until they go back to using the body the way they did before.

 

Every day we have baseball and fastpitch softball batters come in to practice their hitting in our batting cages.  They are mostly between six years old all the way to playing in college.   Almost every hitters (up to 99%) swing is linear, rotational or combination of both because that is what they have been taught.  You can really tell this when high school baseball and fastpitch softball players come in to hit.   Almost all of them average only 3 to 4 line drives out of sixteen pitches.  They hit 12 to 13 weaker pop ups and grounders.   Right away you can see they are using one of these styles of hitting because they are swinging with their arms as hard as they can swing.  Half of the swings they lose their balance and they are not consistent.  It's not that their not a good hitter it's just the way they are swinging the bat, with their arms, makes hitting much more challenging.   


One reason rotational, linear hitting and even the combination of both makes a batter inconsistent is the bat will not be in a good position during the swing.  The very best hitters have the bat consistently in very specific positions during the swing so they can use their body and not their arms.   If it is in the correct position, hitting becomes so much easier.   When looking at the very best hitters in baseball and fastpitch softball at the half way point in their swing their bat is ready to go forward every time, that is why they have good timing and are very consistent.  


Almost every hitter that comes in has their bat behind them at the half way point in their swing by one to two feet from swing to swing.  If the bat is not in the correct position the batter can't swing with their body.  The batter will now have to get their arms involved.  This is where more problems start for the hitter.  Depending on how far behind the bat is at this position, determines how fast the batter has to twist and pull the bat to catch up to the ball.  This is why almost all hitters don't have good timing and are not consistent.  

 

The problem is, the teaching that is making hitters inconsistent starts at the highest levels and trickles down to Little League coaches. Major league hitting coaches and even former players on ESPN say a hitter needs to rotate and trust his hands, he needs to swing down through the ball and use fast hands, he needs to get on top of the ball and many other bad hitting cues that will make a hitter use mainly their arms.  Coaches and instructors teaching these are why Major League hitting stats have gone down so drastically the last nine years. Below is the league average from 2006, 2013 and from this year 2014.

 

YEAR       AVG         HR        RUNS          RBI           HITS        DOUBLES        SLUG

 2006       .269        5386      23,599       22,491      45,073         9135                .432

 2013       .253        4661      20,255       19,271      42,092         8222                .396

 2014       .251        4186      19,761       18,745       41.595        8137                .386


As you can see averages, production and power are way down. That is because almost every hitting cue out there makes a hitter use mainly their arms and this puts the bat out of position.  This makes hitting so much harder than it should be even for Major League players.

 

The three things I am asked for by students and parents are more power, consistency and better timing.   Then they want to know how long it will take to see results.   Other instructors have told them once they learn what they are teaching it will take about three to five months to see improvement.  The problem was they still didn't see much improvement.  I tell them as soon as they learn to put the bat in the proper position by using their body (not arms) they will see more power, consistency and better timing immediately.

 

When a batter learns how to get the bat in the proper position with their body during the swing, hitting becomes so much easier.   The best players in baseball and fastpitch softball make hitting look so easy because they have their bat consistently in the same correct position. When they use their body the correct way this is easy to accomplish. This is why they look so smooth and effortless, hit the ball so hard and have great timing.   Students that learn how to use the body to get the bat in the best position improve their timing and start consistently hitting harder line drives because the bat is where it should be, they don't have to speed it up to get to the ball.

 

Anyone that would like to learn how to use the body like the very best hitters in baseball and fastpitch softball can call Mike Sedberry at 304-722-6393 for more information.

 


More Line Drives In Baseball And Fastpitch Softball

Posted on August 7, 2016 at 9:35 PM Comments comments (0)

I enjoyed watching the College Baseball World Series this year.   I kept hearing the announcers saying they needed to get on top of the ball with fast hands.  Almost every hitter was swinging this way, hard as they could mainly with their arms and fast hands.   The problem was this made them swing down and out of the hitting zone way too soon.  The result was many foul balls, weak grounders and pop ups even when the pitch was right down the middle.   This is the same for the College Fastpitch Softball World Series.  

 

The former players in the booth kept saying for the hitters to hit the ball on the ground instead of in the air so they would have a better chance for a hit.  I have said before research shows that only 20 to 22% of fly balls are hits. With ground balls you have a 25 to 27% chance of it being a hit.  Line drives have a 70 to 75% chance of being a hit.   This shows very little difference between ground balls and fly balls. There is a huge difference with line drives, a three times better chance for a hit.   This is why all baseball and fastpitch softball hitters need to learn correctly how to hit more line drives.  These stats are the same for High School, College and Major Leagues.

 

To hit line drives your bat needs to be going straight through the middle of the ball.   The path the bat takes getting to the hitting zone determines how big of an area a hitter has to hit line drives.   Most good hitters time the ball to their front foot.  What I have seen is hitters that are swinging mainly with their arms have only about a six inch area to hit line drives.   The reason is their bat gets to the hitting zone with an out to in path.  Because of the weakened path they feel the need for more force and try to add this by tightening their grip and use fast hands.  To pull the bat faster the hitter will rotate, causing them to come out of their tilt, the hands will then go down to the ball and start to roll over just before impact, causing the bat to also roll over and pulling it out of the hitting zone way too quickly.   All of this is happening as the player is trying to hit the ball at their front foot.  This makes hitting line drives very difficult with so much going on.   Many hitters think they will add more power with fast hands but this actually takes force out of the bat, resulting in weaker and less consistent contact.

 

My students and their parents have seen the very best hitters hitters use their body (kris Bryant, Mike Trout, Ken Griffey Jr, etc.) can have up to a three foot area in the hitting zone to hit line drives much more often.   When using your body properly, there is no need to use fast hands because you will feel so much more force. The bat is coming forward with the body and can now go at least two feet past your front foot through the ball.   The more a hitter uses their body the larger the zone to hit line drives.   Since line drives give you a three times better chance of getting a hit wouldn't you want to have a full three foot area in your hitting zone to achieve this rather than just the six inch area like most hitters.   Using your body properly, instead of fast hands, makes hitting line drives so much easier.


Below is one of my students that was ahead of the ball but because he was using his body his hitting zone for line drives was much bigger. The result was a line drive that hit at the bottom of the fence for a double.  He is a Freshman and the best hitter on his team because he has such a large hitting zone.  If he was twisting his hips, swinging down, using fast hands and staying back he would have a much smaller hitting zone for line drives like 99% of hitters.  He would, like most hitters, have pulled this pitch foul, hit a weak grounder, popped it up or totally missed the ball.



When hitters learn to use their body to bring the bat forward, instead of the arms, they experience an amazing difference in how hard they hit the ball and the increased consistency of hitting line drives.   Students and parents tell me it is a night and day difference between the two swings.  My baseball and fastpitch softball students are hitting the ball so much harder, consistently and it even sounds different coming off the bat because the ball is hit more solid.   I have many people tell me other parents want to know what bat they are using because they are hitting the ball so much harder than anyone else and look so effortless.  They tell them its the swing not the bat.

 

Learn to use your body correctly and hit more line drives consistently.   This helps players to have a much more successful career and not quit at a young age like so many players are doing now.


If you would like to learn how to hit more line drives by swinging with your body and become a hitter with more power and a higher batting average call Mike Sedberry at 304-722-6393 for more information.  Click on our batting and pitching testimonials for baseball and softball on the left.  We are having amazing results with our students.

 

Why Are Major League Baseball Averages And Production Still Going Down

Posted on August 7, 2016 at 9:20 PM Comments comments (0)

Originally posted Sept. 29,2014


In 2012 ESPN was talking about Major League Baseball batting averages and production being down. They discussed reasons for this, the pitching getting better and ped's are out.  They also talked about the real reason, maybe hitting was getting worse.   Tim Kurkjian had the best statement "they swing as hard as they can just in case they make contact".   His statement sums it up perfectly.   I was curious and looked into the stats.  I was amazed how much they had gone down especially the last six years.  I wrote two blogs in 2012 titled "Why Major League averages and power are going down", showing the downward trend and the reasons hitting is worse.

 

This year many of my students and parents watched the 2014 all star game and they couldn't believe how hard so many of the hitters were swinging and missing the ball or fouling off pitches that were even down the middle.   From our lessons they could tell these hitters were mainly using their arms and looked jerky in their swing.   They could see the best hitters looked completely different using the body and were much smoother in their swing like Trout, Utley and Cabrera.

 

Getting this feedback made me revisit those two blogs and check out the statistics for the last three years. I was amazed to see the stats are still going down. Below shows stats according to Fangraphs.com and ESPN.com from 2006, 2011 and the last two years.

 


Year          AVG        OBP        SLG        HR        AB/HR        K's          K's %

2006         .269        .337        .432       538         31.7         31,655      16.8

2011         .255        .321        .399       4552       36.4         34,488      18.6

2013         .253       .318         .396       4661       35.6         36,710      19.9

2014         .251       .314         .386       4186       39.6         37,441       20.3 

 

This shows batting average, on base percentage and slugging percentage are still going down.   At bats per home run are going up which means power is also still going down.  Strikeouts are going up every year.   The 20.3% strikeout percentage this year is the highest in Major League baseball history.  In fact each of the last seven seasons has seen a new all time high in strikeout percentage from then the highest of 17.5% in 2008 up to the 20.3% this year.  Why is this happening?

 

Two years ago I had many people tell me the pitching is getting better but I very rarely see a Major League hitter look over matched in an at bat.   According to fangraphs.com the average fastball in 2006 was 90.5 mph.   In 2013 and 2014 it is 91.7 mph, an increase of only 1.2 mph.   With less than two strikes I see hitters swing mostly at "their pitch", the pitches they want to drive.   The problem is when they swing at these pitches many are not making solid contact like they should.

 

Even at the highest levels most hitters are taught fast hands, swing down through the ball, extend at impact, twist the hips, stay back and other hitting cues that make them swing mainly with their arms.  The batters that do any of these hitting cues will be slower to the ball, meaning they have to swing faster and pull the bat out of the hitting zone way too quickly, their swing looks more jerky and the ball seems to float off the bat.   They tend to pull weaker ground balls or hit soft fly balls to the opposite field or foul.

 

If your bat is slower to the hitting zone it causes another big problem.  It now takes a rounder path rather than going straight forward.   This means you have to start your swing earlier so they can't watch the ball as long as they would want.   By startingearlier  many hitters will now swing at more bad pitches out of the strike zone especially with two strikes.   According to fangraphs.com in 2006 hitters were swinging at 23.5% of these pitches.  The last four years Major League hitters are swinging at over 30% of the pitches outside the strike zone.  This is because they have to start the swing earlier since they are swinging with their arms.

 

The best Major League hitters will hit 'their pitch" harder more consistently.   Why is this?  Because they mainly use their body when they swing.  The bat goes straight forward into the hitting zone much faster and stays in much longer, up to four feet.  These hitters can wait longer to start the swing, a big advantage.  This slows down the game for them and their swing looks smooth, more effortless and the ball seems to jump off the bat.   If the average hitter would just learn to use their body, like the very best hitters, they could have so much more success.

 

Every new student that comes in for lessons swings with their arms because of what they have been taught.   They give so much effort in the swing with little results.   When they learn to use the body like the best Major League hitters it is amazing the difference in their power, consistency and confidence.

 

If you would like to learn to use the body in your swing or when pitching you can call Mike Sedberry at 304-722-6393 for more information. Thanks and good luck to everyone.

 

 

 

 

Timing In Hitting Why Such A problem

Posted on August 7, 2016 at 9:15 PM Comments comments (0)

Everyday in our batting cages I hear coaches and parents tell hitters they need to time the ball better because they are not consistent. Each of our cages throw the same speed every pitch so most batters are able to get the timing correct during their first couple rounds.   The problem is most batters are inconsistent from pitch to pitch because the timing in their own swing is off.   I have been writing for a few years about hitters in baseball and fastpitch softball needing to learn how to use their body and not their arms when they swing the bat. There are so many reasons for this and another one is your timing.


The bat needs to consistently come forward on the same path and speed for a hitter to get their timing.   If you swing mainly with your arms, like almost all hitters, this will be nearly impossible to accomplish.  The reason is when hitters use their arms there are too many moving parts trying to pull the bat forward.   The hands, elbows, hips and shoulders all try to help.  The problem is with so many moving parts it is hard for them to be consistent.  The bat can come forward on different paths and speeds depending on how hard they pull the arms, how much they rotate, how tight their hands get, etc.    If the bat comes forward on different paths, the hitter keeps changing speeds on how fast they pull with their arms, and changing speeds on how fast and how much they rotate the hips it makes hitting a ball so much more difficult.

 

In our video lessons we show new students and parents where the bat should be at certain points of the swing.   For example I will show them where their bat is at the halfway point of the swing.   When I show a comparison of a few swings at the halfway point, they are amazed how the bat position can be a foot or more different from swing to swing.   This is what causes hitters to be inconsistent because their timing is off.  When hitters swing with their arms their own timing is a big problem.  This makes the pitcher's job much easier.

 

I then show them where the bat is at the half way point for the very top professional baseball and fastpitch softball hitters.  It is eye opening when you see they have the bat in the same location each swing.  This is one of the reasons top hitters are so consistent with their timing. Parents and students are also amazed when they see their bat is one to three feet behind the professionals in the same position. They now see why their timing is off because the bat is behind where it should be at the half way point and in different positions from swing to swing.  This is why they can't get their timing better.

 

If you learn to use the body correctly like the very top hitters in baseball and fastpitch softball actually do you will be amazed at the difference this will make in your timing and your career.   You will have one moving part, the body, and your bat will come forward faster on the proper path in the same position each swing.  Your timing will become consistent and you will hit the ball much harder.  This will make hitting in baseball and fastpitch softball so much easier for you.  It will make the pitcher's job of you not hitting the ball hard much more difficult. 

 

I have developed a five step process that teaches batters how to use their body exactly the way top baseball and fastpitch softball hitters use theirs.   When they start using the body correctly their swing becomes so much better it is like a night and day difference.   When this is accomplished our students immediately see an improvement in their timing, power, consistency and confidence.

 

If you would like to take your hitting to the next level and learn how to get your own timing much better by using the body you can call Mike Sedberry at 304-722-6393 for more information.

 

Bryce Harper Why hitting better

Posted on August 7, 2016 at 9:10 PM Comments comments (0)

Originally posted August 11, 2015


In August of 2012 I wrote a blog Mike Trout and Bryce Harper the real hitting difference. I talked about them both being great athletes but they were swinging the bat completely different. Harper's batting average was almost 100 points lower and he had half the home runs and RBIs as Trout. Trout was hitting better because he was swinging mainly with his body not his arms. The difference is by using his body Trout's bat stays in the hitting zone three to four feet, with much more power, giving him better timing and he looks effortless. Harper was using his body like Trout but he was trying to add extra power by pulling hard with his hands and arms. This made his swing look fast but he was really pulling the bat out of the hitting zone way to soon. His bat was only staying in the hitting zone up to one foot causing inconsistent power and timing.

 

This year Bryce Harper is hitting so much better for average and power.  His average this year is 50 points higher than his career average. He has already hit more home runs than any year in his career.  He is now a more powerful and consistent hitter. Why such a big change?

 

I have seen many people give their opinion on how he has changed so much.   Some say he is now staying back more and others say he is going forward more.  These aren't the reasons for him being a better hitter.  He is using the body the same, he isn't trying to add as much power with his arms.  This is letting his bat stay in the hitting zone longer.  It is simple as that.  I watched a game early in the season and noticed he had slowed his swing down by not pulling the arms so hard to the right.    Now his bat is in the way of the ball much longer than before giving him more power and consistency.  If Harper learns how to have the bat go out through the ball even more he would just continue to get better.  If he goes back to pulling harder he will get worse.

 

Its simple, if the bat stays in the hitting zone longer you have a much better chance to hit the ball hard consistently.  This is true for both baseball and fastpitch softball.   Almost every hitter that comes into our cages swings mainly with their hands and arms.  When they get their timing they can hit the ball in the middle more often than not but with little power.   The parents wonder why the lack of power and tell them to swing faster.   This makes it even worse because they now pull the bat faster out of the hitting zone causing them to miss the ball or hit weaker pop ups and grounders.  They then slow the swing down to hit the ball more in the middle but again with little power.   Then they swing faster for more power but again start missing the ball or hitting weaker pop ups and grounders.   Most will go back and forth like this the entire time hitting.   They are making hitting the ball hard consistently much tougher than it needs to be.

 

We teach our students in baseball and fastpitch softball how to use the body correctly so they can have the bat go out through the ball as far as possible with tremendous force so they can hit with much more power and consistency. Anyone wanting more information can call Mike Sedberry at 304-722-6393. Good luck to everyone and have fun.

 

Hitting For More Power And Consistency

Posted on August 7, 2016 at 9:10 PM Comments comments (0)

 

In our batting cages I often hear to get more power you need to twist your hips faster and have faster hands.  When they twist and swing faster they either miss the ball, foul it off or hit the ball softly.   Trying to hit this way rarely works because if you are using mainly your arms, the faster you swing, the faster you are pulling the bat out of the hitting zone or away from the ball.  This means you won't hit the middle of the ball as often and there will be much less power at impact.

 

For more power and consistency the bat needs to go out through the ball, not be pulled in and out of the hitting zone fast.

 

Every new baseball and fastpitch softball hitter that comes in for lessons is looking for more power, consistency and better timing.  I video them hitting live pitching and then show them what they are presently doing in their swing.   I ask what they have been learning and get the same answers like twist the hips, squish the bug, fast hands, stay back, swing down, etc..  I then put them beside the very best Major League hitters like Mike Trout, Ken Griffey Jr., Miguel Cabrara, etc or the best Team USA fastpitch softball hitters to show how they use their body to swing the bat.  They see the best hitters do none of the hitting cues they have been taught.   What they have been learning is why they have less power, consistency and bad timing.

 

An example of losing power by trying to swing faster with your arms is Joc Pederson of the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2015.  According to baseballsavant.com the first 15 weeks of the season, when he made contact his average exit velocity of the ball was approximately 6 mph faster than the mlb average.  The last eleven weeks of the season his average exit velocity was .2 mph under the league average.  There were some very interesting stats on fangraphs.com showing how his power and consistency went down the second half of the season.

 

                                    First half              Second half                                                                                                                                                          

Line drive %                17.1%                       3.6%
HR vs Flyball %          25.3%                      11.3%
Infield Flyball %          10.1%                      22.6%
Hit Ball Soft %            14.9%                      29.4%
Hit ball Med %            43.6%                      40.3%
Hit Ball Hard %           41.5%                      30.3%
Batting Average         .230                          .178
Homeruns                     20                               6
Slugging Average       .487                         .300
At Bats per HR          15/HR                       30/HR

 

Why such a big turnaround?   The first half of the season he was using his body to swing the bat.  He was going forward and looked so smooth and effortless. In the home run derby, the first two rounds, he was swinging so smooth and hitting the ball so hard with alot of homeruns. The commentators went on and on how smooth he looked, they couldn't believe his power and they said he wasn't even breaking a sweat when he was swinging.  The last round he started swinging much faster with his arms and didn't hit the ball nearly as hard or consistently.  He wasn't smooth at all and didn't hit near the homeruns.

 

Over the next week I had at least ten students and parents come in and mentioned seeing him in the homerun derby.  They said they could see that he was swinging so smooth and powerful but he started swinging much faster the last round and the faster he swung the worse he did.   Now they were understanding more what I had been teaching them, that when you swing faster with the arms even Major League batters hit the ball with less power and consistency.


Why did he have such a tough second half of the season?    He started doing everything that is taught in The Major Leagues.  He started taking a smaller step, staying back, twisting his hips, swinging down and using fast hands.

 

The second half of the season he kept swinging fast with his arms.   A dad of one of my students said "he went from swinging so smooth to now swinging out of his shoes."  He started swinging so hard he lost his balance after almost every swing.  His swing from the first half to the second half of the season looked almost the opposite.   In the second half of the seaon his swing looked more jerky, he was now giving maximum effort for much less power.  He was speeding up the game.  This is what took away his power and consistency. He just needs someone to work with him that knows how to use the body correctly.  He could easily fix this, then he could relax and slow the game down again regaining his power, consistency, and timing.

 

To gain power and consistency you just need to learn how the body can pull the bat forward so much better than the arms.  It is a process that when done in sequence correctly has amazing results.  You look more effortless, slow the game down, have better timing, hit with much more power, see the ball better and have more consistency.  You don't have to be a great athlete to be a great hitter if you are using your body correctly when you hit the ball.

 

If anyone would like more information about using your body correctly you can call Mike Sedberry at 304-722-6393.








Bad Hitting Cues That Cause Bad Hitting Mechanics

Posted on August 7, 2016 at 9:05 PM Comments comments (0)

Almost every (99%) baseball and fastpitch softball hitter that comes into our cages swings mainly with their arms.  The very best hitters in Major League baseball and fastpitch softball swing with their body.  That means almost all hitters are swinging the opposite of the best hitters.  Why is this?

 

They swing with their arms because bad hitting cues (listed below) cause bad hitting mechanics. The problem is batters keep hearing these bad cues from their hitting instructors, coaches, former players, at college and pro hitting camps, their neighbors and other parents.

 

I get asked everyday how can a batter add power, hit the ball harder consistently and get better timing.  I tell them they need to learn to hit with the body not the arms.   They say they think their son or daughter is learning to hit with the body but they don't have the power and consistentcy they would like.  They also seem to swing too early or late often when hitting.  I ask what they are learning and 99% of the time it is these same bad hitting cues.   That is the problem, what they are learning is actually taking their body out of the swing and making them swing with their arms.

 

These bad hitting cues cause bad hitting mechanics. They make hitters swing with their arms, the opposite of what you want:

 

 

  • Elbow up     
  • Squish the bug
  • Fast hands
  • Stay back
  • Twist or rotate thehips
  • Don't dip back shoulder
  • Bat knob to the ball
  • Don't step or no stride              
  • Swing down
  • Keep back foot down or still
  • Swing harder 

 

 

When the very best players in baseball and fastpitch softball are hitting their best they are doing NONE of these hitting cues.   Their bat is able to stay in the hitting zone and on the path of the pitch up to four feet because they swing with their bodies. Their swing looks effortless and is very powerful, consistent, and they have great timing.

 

When these same great hitters are in slumps they have started swinging more with their arms, their bat is in the hitting zone and on the path of the pitch for one foot or less because they are doing one or more of the above bad hitting cues.   Their swing looks faster and jerky with much less power, timing is off and very inconsistent.

 

I hear these bad hitting cues being told to almost every batter as they start their rounds in our batting cages.   The results are the same. They start out swinging fast with the arms but hit mostly weaker grounders and popups.  Then they swing faster for more power but now hit foul balls or even miss the ball because they are pulling the bat out of the hitting zone even faster.  Then they slow their swing down to just make contact but have even less power.  Then when they think they have the timing down they will swing faster, again with the arms and go back to hitting weaker grounders and popups.   It is a continuous cycle.

 

If you want more power, consistency and better timing you want to learn the exact way the best hitters in baseball and fastpitch softball really swing the bat.   We video every new student and compare their swing to the very best baseball and fastpitch softball hitters.   They are able to see how they are swinging with their arms compared to the best pro hitters that are using their body.  They get to see what they are going to be learning is exactly how the very best hitters hitters actually swing the bat.

 

Our lessons show every baseball and fastpitch softball hitter how to get out of the arms and start using the body like all of the very best hitters.  This is a 5 step process and it is well worth learning.   Students and parents are seeing tremendous results even after the first step. If you would like more information call Mike Sedberry at 304-722-6393.

 

We now have special pricing for students that drive in 3 hours or more and stay overnight. Most of these students will do 2 to 3 hours of lessons each day and we give a 15% discount on your lessons.    We have also worked out special discounts at a local motel.  Call for information.