Batting & Pitching Blogs

Hitting in fastpitch Softball

Posted on August 7, 2016 at 9:45 PM Comments comments (0)

The very best hitters in fastpitch softball swing mainly with their body.  Almost every other hitter (99%) swings mainly with their arms.   Why is this, what is the problem?   The problem is fastpitch softball hitters are all being taught the same bad hitting cues (listed below) by their instructors, coaches, former players, at hitting camps and even from other parents:                                              

 

 Below are the WORST hitting cues being taught because they make you swing the opposite of the very best hitters

  • No stride or no step                                                                
  • Squish the bug
  • Twist your hips
  • Swing down
  • Fast hands or swing fast
  • Don't let the back shoulder dip
  • Get the barrel of the bat out quickly
  • Snap wrists at impact
  • Stay back

 


When the very best hitters swing with their body they are doing none of these bad hitting cues.  Any of them make you swing with your arms which causes a significant decrease in your power, consistency and big problems with your timing. 


I video every new fastpitch softball student that comes in for lessons so they can see frame by frame what they are doing in their swing.   The reason is everyone of them comes in swinging with their arms because they have been taught the hitting cues from above.  I show them their swing compared to the very best Team USA batters.  They are amazed that their swing looks almost the complete opposite of the very best hitters.  It's only because everything they have been taught makes them swing with their arms whereas the very best hitters swing with their body.  


Below is one of my 10 yr old students swinging with her arms because of what she had been taught before.  She rarely hit the middle of the ball.  She mostly hit foul balls, weak grounders and fly balls.  Her dad said she was just an average hitter. This is what almost all hitters (99%) look like swinging the bat because of the bad hitting cues (listed above) being taught by almost everyone.  


I was at one of her tournaments after ahe had 5 or 6 lessons and she was still struggling because she still felt she had to swing fast to hit the ball hard.   Between games I told her to swing with her body like she was learning in her lessons.   I told her to concentrate on what we have been working on, just use your practice swing and trust it.  Her dad said see what happens, it can't get worse.  The photo below is in the next game using her body, you can see the swing looks the opposite as before (above) and the results are also the opposite. The result of this swing was a hard line drive to the left center field fence for a double.  I heard a few parents say "how did she hit it that hard, she barely swung."   Her dad says "she now has 9 homeruns this year and missed number 10 by only 5 feet when it hit the bottom of the fence.  This swing is amazing".


 

When our students learn to swing with their body, like the very best hitters on Team USA fastpitch softball, they hit the ball with so much more power consistently, like the student above.  They look so smooth, effortless and powerful.  They also have much better timing because their bat is in the same position from swing to swing (at the half way point of the swing).   With better timing, whether playing baseball or fastpitch softball, we have seen our students hit the ball 2 to 3 times harder and hit line drives 3 to 4 times more often than they did before.   It is really an amazing difference as you can see from the pictures above.

 

Anyone interested in learning how to become a much better hitter and see an amazing improvement in their timing, power and consistency can call Mike Sedberry at 304-722-6393 for more information. 

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.   

 

You need Adobe Flash Player to view this content.


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.

 

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.

 

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.

 

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.