Batting & Pitching Blogs

Hitting: Become The Best Hitter You Can Be

Posted on August 1, 2016 at 10:45 PM Comments comments (0)

How do you become the best hitter you are capable of being, the one you always dreamed of?  How do you reach your true hitting potential?   Whether you are a hitter in baseball or fastpitch softball it is actually much easier than you think if you learn how to do it the right way.

 

Hitting at your full potential means everything is working in proper sequence as the bat comes through the hitting zone.  This means you need to have proper timing of the pitcher and you want to generate the maximum force with your bat to hit the ball.

 

Since force = mass x acceleration, this means we simply need to figure out how the hitter can produce the most mass and acceleration into the hitting zone and through the middle of the ball consistently.

 

First, how does the batter increase mass (weight) when hitting a baseball or fastpitch softball?    I have heard a heavier bat will help but it will only add a few ounces to your mass.  Lets make it simple and use your body properly to add significant mass or weight to the bat. Most hitters, about 99%, swing with their arms because they are being taught by everyone to twist their hips, squish the bug, fast hands, stay back and swing down.   This is why almost all hitters only use about 30% of their body mass or weight in their swing. If you learn to use your body the correct way, you can increase your body mass or weight up to 90% in your swing.

 

We see with our video lessons most baseball and fastpitch softball batters (about 99%) decrease the mass in their bat at impact, when they are using their arms, because the bat is being pulled down and across the ball.   When the bat is going down if they do hit the middle of the ball it will result in a weaker ground ball because it hits the ground 10 feet in front of the batter.  Just under the center of the ball results in a back spin weak fly ball.  If they hit it just perfect is will be a floating line drive.

 

We also see on video when these same hitters start using their body correctly the bat gets to go out farther through the ball because they are no longer pulling it left (for a right handed hitter).  With the bat going out farther much more mass is put into the ball. We see if they hit the middle of the ball it will result in a 10 foot high hard hit line drive into the outfield.   Just above the middle of the ball results in a 50 foot line drive with overspin that no one wants to catch.  If they hit just under the center of the ball it is a home run.

 

Second, how does the batter increase acceleration?

 

We see in our video lessons almost every new student that comes in, again about 99%, is swinging hard as they can with fast hands for acceleration but end up just pulling the bat out of the hitting zone way too soon.  They have to be perfectly timed because their bat is in the hitting zone one foot or less.  Their swing looks jerky, out of control and because they swing so hard they often lose their balance.  They have to slow the bat down to stay in the hitting zone longer to hit the ball consistently which then decreases their acceleration and force.

 

We also see on video when these same baseball and fastpitch softball hitters, again, start using the body correctly their bat goes out farther and with more mass the bat now accelerates through the ball with much more force. Their bat is in the hitting zone for three feet or more making their timing and consistency much better. Their swing now looks effortless and they hit the ball with so much more power than ever before.

 

I get many calls from parents that say the same thing "you were right the team is now using his/her bat because they are hitting the ball so hard and they look effortless.    After the game no one hit it harder and I told them it was your swing not the bat."

 

We even had a student get his bat taken away after a long homerun.  The other team told the umpire "he couldn't hit the ball that far unless his bat was illegal because he barely swung the bat."  They made him use another bat and the next at bat he hit the fence. The next time up he hit a home run 20 feet farther than the first one.  The dad told them it's the swing not the bat.

 

All of my students noticed on the homerun derby this year when Giancarlo Stanton swung hard he pulled the bat left faster and he hit grounders and fly balls.  When he looked like he was barely swinging the bat is when he hit the long homeruns.   He was putting much more force into the ball the correct way.

 

Anyone that would like to learn how to use the body correctly and become a much better hitter call Mike Sedberry at 304-722-6393 for more information.

 

 

Hitting Quality Instruction In Baseball And Fastpitch Softball

Posted on July 22, 2016 at 6:05 PM Comments comments (0)

It is hard for parents to know if they are getting good quality hitting instruction for baseball and fastpitch softball.   Almost everything taught by former players, coaches, hitting instructors and at hitting camps makes a batter swing with their arms.  Parents and students are starting to realize when they use their arms it becomes difficult to have both power and hit the ball hard consistently.   They can swing hard for power but have little consistency, mostly pulling weak ground balls and soft popups to the opposite field or foul. They can slow down and get more consistent but then have much less power.  I see this everyday from baseball and fastpitch softball hitters of all ages.


I get many calls from parents and players around the United States telling me I am describing the problems they are having when hitting.  I recently talked to a college player and his dad from New York.  They wanted to know if he was using arms or body in his swing. They sent me a video and I could see he was using mostly arms.  When talking to him I asked if he had power and consistency.  He said if he wanted to make consistent contact he couldn't swing for power.  When he tried to swing for power he didn't make contact consistently.  This is true for hitters from Little League to High School to College and even to the Major Leagues.   You don't want to learn hitting cues that make you use your arms because it will cause a weaker and inconsistent swing.


When learning to hit with the body most parents and students even at the end of the first lesson will tell me that for the first time what they are learning about hitting actually makes sense.  They say it is almost the opposite of what they had been taught by every other instructor, coach and what they read on the internet.  They have been working for months and years on hitting cues that make them use their arms with little success.  One dad even said " I have wasted over a thousand dollars the last two years woking on staying back, swing down, twist the hips, fast hands and squish the bug.  My son has become powerless and hits mostly weak ground balls.  Tonight in just his second lesson he hit a few balls harder than I have ever seen him hit the ball.  Your swing is amazing."


I get about one coach per week that brings in their son or daughter for lessons and they are surprised how I teach hitting so different. They have been teaching what they learned from coaching clinics, other coaches and also from the internet.   Even in the first lesson with their son or daughter they tell me you can see and hear the difference on how hard the ball comes off the bat when they start using their body. They can't believe how they look so much more relaxed, smooth, athletic and powerful.


A parent the other day told me it was his job to find the best instruction possible for his son and daughter. It was my job to teach so that the parent and the student understand the changes I was making in their swing and why it would make a positive impact for them.  It was then his job to make sure his kids worked on this correctly.  It was the students job to learn these moves and execute them while hitting.  If they were more successful, then they knew they were on the right track and wanted to learn more so they could become even better.  If they were doing the changes correctly and there was no positive change in their hitting they knew this wasn't going to work and they needed to find another instructor with a better approach. This is great advice for every parent and student.   If your son or daughter is doing the changes they are taught and they don't see immediate improvement it is time to move on.  Don't spend more time and money hoping it will someday work.


The problem is about 99% of instruction makes hitters use mainly their arms which means the hitter will not be able to have the power and consistency they are capable of.   Many baseball and fastpitch softball players even quit because they aren't having fun batting .200 or sitting on the bench.   Almost all of them aren't bad hitters, they were just told the worst hitting cues that didn't let them reach their real potential.  


Parents and players need to know below are the worst hitting cues being taught.  These will make them swing with their arms, the opposite of the very best hitters.

 

  • Elbow up
  • Squish the bug
  • Fast hands
  • Stay back
  • Twist or rotate the hips
  • 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 faster


Make sure you don't have a lesson where you learn some of these worst hitting cues and then the instructor sits on a bucket or stands and throws you batting practice, after each pitch just says good swing, now swing harder.  


Make sure during a lesson an instructor provides you with:

Video of your kids swing compared to the very best hitters in baseball and softball

Be able to compare the differences in the swing 

On the video show you the changes they are going to make and why

At the end give you drills to achieve these changes


Parents and students should understand all of these during a lesson.  It is very important for parents to know what to look for to ensure the hitter is correctly performing the changes they were taught.   It is very important the student do the drills and do them properly.


If they are performing the changes correctly and there is not immediate improvement move on.   When baseball and fastpitch softball players learn the best way to use their body in the swing, and perform the changes correctly, they will see an immediate improvement in their power and consistency.


If you would like to have more information on how to use your body to become a much better hitter call Mike Sedberry at 304-722-6393.

Hitting with your body is a process not a quick fix

Posted on July 22, 2016 at 4:10 PM Comments comments (0)

People keep writing and calling asking for tips on how to swing with your body rather than mainly using their arms.   They tell me I am describing them when I write about how swinging mainly with your arms will cause you to pull weak grounders and hit soft fly balls to the opposite field.   I tell them it is impossible to just give a tip to learn how to do this correctly.   Hitting with your body is a process that takes time and work.    It is almost the complete opposite of swinging with your arms.   It is really worth learning because the results are amazing.


Students and parents that come in for baseball batting lessons and fastpitch softball batting lessons quickly find out it is different than they thought to learn how great hitters swing the bat.   When you learn to hit the actual way the very best hitters in  Major League baseball and Team USA fastpitch softball do the results are amazing.


We start our students with a video for the first lesson so they can see how their swing looks now.  We discuss the hitting cues they are working on now and what coaches or other instructors have been telling them to do.   I then show them what I see they are doing now and what we will be working on to add power and consistency.   Then I put them beside a Major League baseball or Team USA fastpitch hitter so they can see frame by frame the difference in their swing and the ones of the best hitters.


This is such an eye opening moment for every student and parent because it is so different than what they thought.   Almost every parent says it is the opposite of what they have heard or been taught.  I had a student that had been going to an instructor for almost three years with little success.  They told them the problem was they needed faster and stronger hands.  During the video I showed him the things he had been working on (fast hands, stay back, twist the hips and swing down) none of the top hitters do in their swing.  He was swinging with his arms not his body that was the problem.   At the end of the first lesson he was using his body better and his dad said he improved twice as much as he had in the last three years of lessons.  He said " I wasted so much money learning what everyone else is teaching and it doesn't work.  Everyone on our team swings with their arms, that is why we are so inconsistent."


I hear this almost everyday.  When you work on what the very best hitters are actually doing in the swing you will see tremendous improvement.


Learning to swing with the body is a five step process.   The great thing is students experience a tremendous improvement in their swing and production after each step.  Most parents can't believe the difference in their kids. They are much more confident and consistently hit the ball so much harder than before.


If you would like to learn how great hitters use their body to hit the ball hard consistently and still look so effortless call Mike Sedberry at 304-722-6393.

Elite hitting Instruction In Baseball And Fastpitch Softball

Posted on July 22, 2016 at 4:10 PM Comments comments (0)

If you are looking for hitting lessons that truly make a difference in a baseball or fastpitch softball players career make sure you find an instructor that can show you how to use your bat and body correctly.  The problem is almost everyone is being taught bad hitting cues that are causing them to have bad hitting mechanics.  How can you figure out what is right and what is wrong?  Do your homework, make sure they don't teach twisting or rotating the back foot or hips, fast hands, staying back swing down, or any other bad hitting cues (listed below).   Make sure they teach you how to use your body and bat together.   Make sure they can back up what they teach with video using the swings of the very best hitters in Major League baseball and Team USA fastpitch softball.   Don't take someones word for it that they know hitting or they were a good player.  Just because they were a good player doesn't mean they know or can teach hitting.


We average ten or more new students each week for baseball and fastpitch softball hitting lessons. They drive in from West Virginia, Ohio, Kentucky and Virginia.  Almost every one of them have been to hitting camps, clinics or to other hitting instructors.   On our website I say we teach hitting differently and you will be amazed at the results.  When people call they say their kids are being taught all the things that on our website we say you don't want to do in your swing.  They are looking for something different because the lessons they are getting now aren't helping.   I tell them to come in and get a video lesson, then they can see step by step the way the very best hitters actually swing the bat.  They also will see and learn why almost everything they have been taught actually makes hitters worse.


At the beginning of the lesson I ask them about previous instruction and what hitting cues they have been told to use in their swing. They all tell me virtually the same bad hitting cues like:

 

  • Back elbow up
  • Squish the bug
  • Twist your hips
  • Use fast hands 
  • Throw your hands at the ball
  • Swing down
  • Stay back

 

These are hitting cues you never want to tell a hitter. These make a hitter use mainly their arms which causes them to hit the ball with much less power and hit more soft grounders and pop ups. Their swing looks jerky and out of control because they are swinging so hard with little power.  Swinging this way is why most hitters don't get close to their real potential.   I give many hitting evaluations every day and almost every hitter I see is at only 35 to 50% of their full potential because of what they are being taught by their coaches and other instructors.


I then ask how they transfer the energy from the bat into the ball at impact, students and parents both have no idea.   This is a very important aspect of the swing but is not being taught.   If you don't transfer the energy correctly it will significantly reduce the amount of force that is put into the ball.   This will reduce power, cause the ball to float off the bat and even sting their hands because the ball is actually over taking the bat.


Very few coaches and instructors (about 1 in 100) know the correct way the very best hitters in baseball and fastpitch softball actually swing the bat from start to finish. This includes Major League hitting coaches that tell their players to swing down through the ball, twist the hips, get on top of the ball and use fast hands. You hear the same thing from former players every night on ESPN. That is why hitting stats have been going down so much in the last decade. You see some of the best hitters each year going into long slumps and staying in them for long periods of time because the coaches and players have no idea how to fix it.  


Elite instruction is when players and parents are taught the complete swing from start to finish.  With the help of video you see and learn what each step in a great hitters swing actually is and how they work together in the correct sequence to create a more powerful and consistent swing.  When you see it step by step, you now know this is the way you want to swing the bat.   You then learn how to improve each step and why it will make such a tremendous impact in your swing.  Learning to use the body correctly you will see your swing become much more powerful, be able to hit line drives more consistently and improve your timing significantly.


True elite instruction will teach you why great hitters look so effortless, smooth and so powerful in their swing.  There is an actual art to it. One parent said it was like a magic trick because he couldn't believe the change in his son.   Once he learned to swing correctly he couldn't believe this was the same hitter.  He never imagined his son could hit the ball so hard while swinging so effortlessly.   We see results like this every day with baseball and fastpitch softball hitters.


If you feel you are not hitting the ball as hard and consistent as you would like or your timing is off and want to learn more about elite hitting instruction call Mike Sedberry at 304-722-6393.

Fast hands a worst hitting cue for baseball and fastpitch softball

Posted on July 22, 2016 at 4:10 PM Comments comments (0)

Everyday in our batting cages I hear fast hands being told to hitters by their parents and coaches.  I even hear former Major League Baseball players on ESPN talking about using fast hands.  New students that come in for lessons, whether baseball or fastpitch softball, have been taught by their former instructors and coaches to use fast hands and have even been told they need to make them stronger.


I have talked before that fast hands will put baseball and fastpitch softball players into slumps immediately.   Alex Rodriguez is a prime example, a great hitter that has been in a six year slump because his hitting coach wanted him to stop taking a step, just put his foot up then down so he could stay back and use his fast hands.   He went away from using his 230 lb body and started using mainly his arms.  Very Bad Move.  He went away from his normal stride he had been using for 16 years (with great success) and took his body out of the swing. This one change started the decline of his power and production when he went to using fast hands going into the 2010 playoffs.   He continues to get worse because he doesn't have any coaches able to show him how to get out of using his arms and fast hands.  It has become so bad that he was pinch hit for and even put on the bench during the 2012 playoffs.   He hasn't lost his ability to hit with power. The hitting coach changed him from being one of the most powerful hitters of all time into a singles hitter just because he wanted him to hit with fast hands.  Until he changes back to using his body he will continue to decline.


When players are taught to hit with fast hands they will end up swinging mainly with their arms which causes loss of power and makes it extremely hard to hit the middle of the ball (line drives) consistently.  Players that use fast hands feel the bat go out and then pull it back in taking it out of the hitting zone way too fast.  This creates a small area (up to one foot) that the bat is in the hitting zone.   Their timing has to be almost perfect to hit the ball hard.   This makes off speed pitches very tough to hit hard because batters with fast hands pre commit or start their swing too early and can only slap at the ball if their timing is just a little off.


When a hitter uses their body correctly they can generate significantly more force that can be transferred into the middle of the baseball or softball consistently.  Their hands are not pulling the bat out of the hitting zone but actually allowing the bat to accelerate three to four feet through it.  This means a batter has a three times larger area to hit the ball hard in and gives them a larger window which improves their timing significantly.   When you swing with your body there is no committing early to your swing because you don't need to.  With a more direct path your bat is faster to the hitting zone (up to 50% faster), you can watch pitches longer, a big advantage to every hitter.


We provide video lessons for each new student so they can see how they actually swing compared to the way the very best hitters in baseball and fastpitch softball swing the bat.  Students and parents are amazed when they see how much slower their bat is to the hitting zone when they are using fast hands.  Many are even half way through their swing before they finish their stride because the bat takes such a longer path to the hitting zone and they are always trying to catch up to the ball.  Our students learn how their body allows a more direct path to the hitting zone making their bat faster and heavier to the ball.  They start feeling so effortless and are amazed to see how the ball can explode off the bat.  It is such an amazing difference.


If you would like more information or would like to learn how to use your body correctly you can call Mike Sedberry at 304-722-6393.

Hit Line Drives ConsistentlyFor More Success

Posted on July 22, 2016 at 4:10 PM Comments comments (0)

In my last blog about pitching I mentioned that depending on whose research you look at when you hit a line drive you have a 70 to 80% chance for it to be a hit.  When you hit a grounder there is only a 25 to 29% chance it is a hit and a fly ball has a 20 to 22% chance of being a hit.  These percentages are virtually the same for High School, College and Major Leagues hitters.


This means that you have a three times better chance of getting a hit with a line drive.  Players in baseball and fastpitch softball that consistently hit line drives have higher averages and increased production.   The simple fact is hit more line drives and you will be much more successful.  Easier said than done.  Almost all batters (up to 99%) hit many more grounders and fly balls than they should because of the way they swing the bat with their arms.  They would hit many more line drives just by learning how to swing correctly with their body.


When batters come in for their first lesson, whether baseball and fastpitch softball players, I first ask what hitting cues they are trying to do in their swing. The students and parents tell me the hitting cues that their coaches and other instructors have told them to do, these are just some of the worst ones:


  • Back elbow up
  • Squish the bug
  • Twist your hips
  • Use fast hands
  • Throw your hands at the ball
  • Stay back
  • Swing Down 

 

I then have them hit live pitching and video them.   I now get to see how many of the cues they actually use in their swing.   What I tend to see are the players that are doing most of these hitting cues are really struggling.   The average hitter in a slump will use 3 or 4 of them and a better hitter not hitting as good as they want will use a couple of them.


When Major League players are hitting their best they are doing none of these.  If they are doing even one of these they will go into a slump until they get back to using their body correctly.  The problem is if you do the first one, squish the bug, you will end up doing all or most of them.   


We have many students come in from Little League to college.  Almost everyone of them use mainly their arms to hit whether they are a baseball or fastpitch softball player.  After they hit a round we discuss what they have been working on and 99% tell me the same bad hitting cues listed above.   I show them on the video where and why they are losing their power, bat speed and ability to hit line drives consistently just because they are doing these hitting cues in their swing.   It is fascinating to see the looks on their faces when I put them beside the very best Major League or fastpitch softball hitters and they see that they aren't doing any of these hitting cues, they are actually doing the opposite.


When taught the proper hitting mechanics it is remarkable how batters become so much more powerful and they are now able to hit line drives consistently.  They look so effortless and the ball explodes off the bat. The game becomes slower and so much easier.


If you would like more information how you can hit more line drives and become a much better hitter call us at 304-722-6393.

Hit The Ball Harder With More Line Drives

Posted on July 22, 2016 at 12:20 AM Comments comments (0)

Almost every batter that comes in to use our cages whether they play baseball or fastpitch softball swing basically the same way, mainly with their arms.  They will start the first round swinging hard as they can using fast hands and usually miss the first few pitches till they get their timing down and then hit mostly weak grounders and pop ups.  They then slow down their swing a little to try and hit line drives.   The problem is when they hit the middle of the ball it usually floats off the bat and the bat tends to slow down at impact.   Then they are told to finish their swing. They try to swing harder to finish their swing and go back to hitting mostly weak  grounders and pop ups. Then they try swinging slower again to hit line drives and the process starts all over again. This is why most hitters are not consistent.


Parents and coaches don't understand why the batter usually doesn't finish their swing when they hit the middle of the ball.    When they swing harder so they can finish their swing why do they hit the ball weaker with mostly grounders and pop ups?  The simple reason is they aren't allowing the bat to hit the ball with enough force.


As I have talked about in my past blogs almost everything that is taught (up to 99%) makes a hitter use mainly their arms or fast hands to hit the ball.   When a hitter swings this way they actually take force out of the bat, making it lighter to the ball, so they hit the ball much weaker.   It is much harder to hit the middle of the ball with fast hands.  If you do hit the middle of the ball it will be more of a slap which causes the ball to float off the bat.  This is why the bat slows down at impact and also causes the stinging in the hands many hitters experience.


Major League hitters that use fast hands go into slumps immediately because they hit the ball so much weaker.   Look at Alex Rodriguez who has been in a six year slump because he is using fast hands.   He is hitting the ball so weakly he is now being called a singles hitter only because what he has been taught actually takes force out of his bat.   If someone showed him how to use his body correctly like he did before he could hit the ball so much harder than he has the last six years.   Sad that a great career has spiraled down so much only because he went away from swinging with his body because he was told by the hitting coach to start using fast hands.  


Your body can provide the forward momentum needed for you to create the maximum energy and force to put into your bat.   With more force your bat will become much heavier to the ball and will accelerate through the middle of the ball much more often.   You will hit the ball much harder and it will now explode off the bat.  My baseball and fastpitch softball students tell me they barely feel the ball now when they hit it, almost like they are hitting air, no matter how hard the pitcher is throwing because the bat has so much more force.  With more force the bat goes straight through the middle of the ball (line drives) much more consistently like a sledge hammer.


When you correctly use the body and bat together the game will slow down.   All great hitters when they are hitting well are in a zone and everything seems in slow motion.  This is what makes hitting a baseball or fastpitch softball so much easier.  When doing this it is amazing how much better any hitter can become.  If you would like to learn how to use the body correctly and hit more line drives with much more force call Mike Sedberry at 304-722-6393.


Why Major League Hitters Averages And Power Are Going Down part 2

Posted on July 22, 2016 at 12:15 AM Comments comments (0)

Originally posted August 19, 2012

I wrote a few weeks ago why Major League hitters averages, power and production were going down in each of the last six years.  I talked about how Major League hitters are getting worse because more and more of them are swinging mainly with their arms and not using their body like they should.   I talked about a couple bad habits this will start.


One is they now will have their bat going slower into the hitting zone with less power.  They will then pull the bat faster to try and gain more speed and power but this will just pull the bat out of the hitting zone too fast.  Also with the bat going slower they will start their swing earlier which means they will swing at more bad pitches than they need too.  They can't be patient and relaxed at the plate.


I started writing about this because it doesn't need to happen.   I keep hearing the pitchers are getting better, no they aren't.  The hitters are getting worse and that makes the pitchers look better.


When you watch a game almost every hitter during their at bat doesn't look like they are over matched at all.  They watch the pitches and swing at the ones they think they can drive.  They usually get at least two pitches in an at bat that they can drive.   The problem is when the average Major League hitter swings at a pitch they should be able to hit hard, they swing as fast as they can mainly with their arms.  When doing this they tighten their hands and the rest of their body.  They end up pulling the bat out of the hitting zone way too quickly and because they swing so hard they will often lose their balance.   It is so difficult to hit the ball hard when your body is tight and also trying to stay balanced. This is what causes good hitters to go into slumps and stay in them until they relax and start using their body again.


When you see a player consistently hitting the ball hard, they almost always look so loose, effortless and they stay balanced throughout the swing.  They are using their body to bring the bat forward and this enables them to put much more force into the ball, called effortless power.  Your body needs to be balanced to consistently hit the ball hard.   This is much easier to do when you are letting energy go forward into the ball.


When you see a hitter in a slump from Little League to the Major Leagues they are swinging completely different.   They are mainly hitting with their arms, swinging out of their shoes.   If the hitter tries to hit it harder with their hands they will pull the bat faster in (right handed hitter will pull to the left) and it will become more of a slap, called powerless effort.  This is what most hitters do because 99% of what is taught by instructors and coaches in baseball and fastpitch softball make a hitter use mainly their arms.


A great concept is short to the hitting zone and long through it.   The problem is swinging mainly with their arms hitters do the opposite, longer to the hitting zone and short through it.   Hitters will then need to have almost perfect timing or the bat will not be in the hitting zone at the correct moment.   This is why hitters at every age, including the Major Leagues, are getting worse because they are not taught how their body can add more force and help them hit the ball much better.


You want to correctly learn as a hitter how using your body correctly can help you:

 

  • Increase your bat speed into and through the hitting zone
  • Add so much more force forward into the ball
  • Keep the bat in the hitting zone over a much larger area, three to four feet
  • Allows your bat to go through the middle of the ball much more often (line drives)
  • When you are swinging mainly with your arms you are doing almost the opposite with the bat:
  • Bat speed is slower because of tight hands and a longer bat path (out then pull in)
  • When pulling in you pull force away from the ball making the bat weaker
  • Because of the bat path, the bat is in the hitting zone up to only one foot
  • Your bat will move up and down when you roll your wrists or pull to add more power

 

Every hitter from Little League to the Major Leagues could make hitting much easier if they learned how to use their body correctly.   Great hitters use their bodies completely different when they are hitting the ball well than when in a slump.   Examples are Alex Rodriguez and Albert Pujols who listened to their hitting coaches.  Instead of taking a step and using their body they were told to put their front foot up then down (no step) so they could use their fast hands.   This led to disasterous results with Rodriguez losing his power and production for the next 6 years and Albert Pujols going from the best hitter ever his first 11 years to an average hitter.  MVP level hitters were average hitters only because they used their arms more in their swing.  They had much less power and production because they took their 230 pound bodies out of their swing which completely changed how their bat was going into and through the hitting zone.  If they would have kept stepping forward and using their bodies like they had for so many years they would have been just as productive today. 


If Major League hitting coaches could better understand and teach proper mechanics, how to use the body and not fast hands, hitters wouldn't go into slumps with no idea how to get out of it.  Hitters need to be taught the correct way to use the body and learn how effortless and powerful it feels.  They could then immediately tell when they used their arms more than the body, feeling much more effort with less power.   This would allow a hitter to feel the difference and know how to make the correction immediately, even make the adjustment back to using their body in the next at bat, not going two months or more with no idea what is happening.  Hitters don't all of a sudden stop seeing the ball well, lose their bat speed or power.  They just started swinging more with their arms and that, like I said above, makes your bat come into and through the hitting zone doing almost the opposite of what it was before. That is what makes a player go into a slump.


If you have any questions or want more information on how you can learn to use your body much better in baseball and fastpitch softball call Mike Sedberry at 304-722-6393.

Hitters What Hurts A Swing In Baseball And Fastpitch Softball

Posted on July 22, 2016 at 12:10 AM Comments comments (0)

Everyday I hear so many things told to baseball and fastpitch softball hitters that will not help them.   I see batters confused when they come in for a new lesson because they are told so many different things they need to do when they are hitting.   It seems almost every coach and instructor teaches hitting differently.   The problem is most most of what is taught, up to 99%, will make the hitters even worse. Every hitter that comes in for lessons just wants to hit the ball harder more consistently.   The bad thing is they won't be able to do this if they keep working on the BAD hitting cues they are being taught.


Some of these bad hitting cues taught are:

  • stay back
  • keep back foot down or planted
  • no stride or step
  • fast hands
  • throw your hands at the ball
  • use top hand
  • snap wrists at impact
  • roll wrists at impact
  • back elbow up
  • rotate or twist your hips
  • squish the bug or pivot back foot
  • swing down or level
  • extend your arms at impact
  • don't dip back shoulder
  • keep barrel of the bat above your hands
  • hold the bat tighter

 

Everyday we get calls from parents that say their kids are being taught these hitting cues.   These bad hitting cues are being taught from tee ball to the Major Leagues.  These are what 99% of coaches, hitting instructors, High School, College, pro hitting camps and even other parents are teaching their hitters.


A hitter actually doing any of these will not be able to hit their best or even close to it.   All of these hitting cues will make a hitter swing mainly with their arms.  I see this everyday.   Kids come in and are pulling the bat so hard with their arms, hitting mostly weak grounders and fly balls, their timing is very inconsistent.


If they do hit the middle of the ball their bat almost stops and then they pull the bat in to try and get it moving again.   The parent or coach will tell them they need to finish their swing.   They can't finish their swing because the ball is actually overtaking the bat at impact causing it to almost stop.   When swinging mainly with their arms a hitters bat is slowing down and is being pulled out of the hitting zone while still trying to hit the ball.   This causes batters to have many more weak hits than they should because the sweet spot of the bat is going forward only six to twelve inches then it is pulled out of the hitting zone.   Your timing has to be perfect to hit the ball hard and as pitchers get better this makes hitting the ball consistently so much tougher.  When the very best hitters in the Major Leagues are swinging mainly with their arms they are in slumps and stay in them until they start using their body and bat correctly.


Most hitters can hit up to three times more line drives than they do now if they learned how to use their body and bat a better way.   You want the bat going forward and accelerating out through the ball at impact.   When performed correctly the sweet spot of the bat will be on the plane of the pitch for at least three feet making your timing so much better. This makes it much easier to hit the center of the ball on the sweet spot of the bat much more consistently.  Major Leaguers are hitting their best when their bat is going forward for three to four feet through the hitting zone.   This is why great hitters, when they are hitting the ball well, look so effortless and powerful.


When our baseball and fastpitch softball students learn to do this correctly it is amazing the difference how the ball comes off the bat. Parents tell me they can see and especially hear the difference.  Hitters tell me they feel like they are hitting through air because you barely feel the ball going off the bat.  The ball will actually ricochet off the bat rather than float off.   They hit many more line drives, so much harder and much more consistently.   They can't believe how this makes hitting so much easier.   My students learn what a great swing feels like.   Now if they feel something different in their swing, they know how to self adjust even during the same at bat.   Being able to do this allows hitters to better avoid getting into slumps.


If you would like more information or want to learn how to use your body and bat a much better way call Mike Sedberry at 304-722-6393. Learn how you can make hitting so much easier in baseball and fastpitch softball.

Slow The Game Down To Become A Great Hitter

Posted on July 22, 2016 at 12:10 AM Comments comments (0)

I want to thank everyone for taking the time to read my blogs about hitting and pitching.   I really appreciate the emails, calls and comments asking for more information.  Many baseball and fastpitch softball players have come in interested to learn how to swing with their body rather than their arms.  The results have been amazing.   Students that couldn't hit the ball out of the infield are now hitting homeruns with high batting averages.  Parents keep telling us how much more power their kids have and how they are hitting so many more line drives.   My students say one of the things they have noticed, as they started swinging with their body the game has seemed like it is slower and they see the ball so much better.   They are becoming confident because they are now hitting the ball hard consistently even off the best pitchers that they use to dread hitting against.


I have also been hearing from a few people saying that you have to swing with your arms and use your hands or wrists (fast hands) to make the bat go faster.  You have to rotate to bring the bat around then use your wrists or top hand to snap through the ball.  Most people think this is how you swing because that is what they have always heard.   These teachings are what makes hitting a baseball or fastpitch softball consistently much more difficult than it needs to be.  It makes the game faster, the opposite of what you want.


You can see when players are in slumps they swing fast, look very jerky and they don't see the ball as well.   The game now becomes so fast to the hitter that  they feel they have to swing faster to keep up with it.   This causes them to swing at more bad pitches, hit the ball weaker and makes their timing worse.


When a hitter is hitting their best they are using their body, the correct way, to generate tremendous force and transferring it into the bat and through the ball.  This is a completely different swing than using your arms or hands, it looks so effortless and is so powerful.   They see the ball much better and the bat is in the hitting zone up to three times longer.   Since the bat is going faster to the hitting zone they can watch the pitch a little longer before starting their swing.  This is what slows down the game for a hitter.


Josh Hamilton for example had a fantastic first two months of the season in 2012 when he hit .368 with 21 HRs and 57 RBIs.   He suddenly went into a terrible slump for two months in June and July hitting just .202 with 8 home runs and 27 RBIs.   Why was he so productive the first two months, then the next two months he was less than half as productive.   He went into the slump because he started swinging harder with his arms and fast hands instead of his body and the game became much faster.  He hit 4 homeruns in one game and on ESPN they showed all 4 of them in slow motion.  The former players kept saying he accomplished this because he had the fastest hands in baseball.  I could see during all four swings he wasn't using his hands at all they were just going out with the bat.  He was using his body and that was slowing down the game making hitting very easy for him. 


He then started swinging faster and immediately went into his two month slump.  During the slump his bat was doing almost the opposite through the hitting zone, coming in slower and being pulled right or out of the hitting zone way too fast.  He wasn't letting his hands go out with the bat he was now using his hands to make the bat go faster.  The problem was it was going faster out of the hitting zone.   He used so much effort with very little power.   He was swinging at so many bad pitches because he was starting his swing earlier to catch up with the ball.


He finally came out of the slump in August hitting .310 with 7 HRs and 28 RBIs.  Why was he in the slump for so long?   Because everything he was told to try made him still swing mainly with his arms and the game stayed too fast.   He stayed in the slump until Hamilton said "he stopped listening to everybody and made the game slow again".  It is that simple.  He simply went away from swinging with his arms and back to using his 6 foot 4 inch 240 lb body to hit the ball harder much more consistently.  Using his body and not arms or fast hands, allowed his bat to be faster to the hitting zone so he could wait longer before starting his swing and be more selective at the plate.  The bat can now be in the hitting zone up to four feet which allows him to hit many more line drives consistently.  He again looked effortless and so powerful when he swings with his body. The game again slowed down to Hamilton and it is much easier for him to hit at the high level he is capable of.


It is amazing how one of the best athletes and hitters in baseball can have MVP numbers with so much power and production the first two months just because he made the game slower by swinging mainly with his body.   When he started swinging more with his arms, the next two months, the game became faster and he became a below average hitter.   There was a major decrease in his production to less than half only because he stopped using his body and started using his arms to swing the bat.   If only he had someone that could help him feel and know the difference between the two swings.   He then could feel the difference right away and have the knowledge how to fix it, even for the next at bat, not after two months when he finally quit listening to everyone telling him to swing faster.


Almost every hitter (99%) that comes in to hit in our batting cages mainly swing with their arms because of what they are taught.    They hit more weak grounders and pop ups than they should and maybe have only four hard hit balls out of 16 pitches. They swing so hard and the ball seems to float off the bat so soft.


We show hitters how they can hit at an elite level just by using their body a much better way.   The difference is amazing when you see students hit the ball hard 14 or more times out of 16 pitches.   They look so effortless and the ball seems to jump off the bat.  When they hit this way the game seems slower and makes it so much easier for them to hit at the high level they are capable of.


Come in and see how we can help you slow the game down and hit at your highest level.  For more information or questions call Mike Sedberry  304-722-6393.