Batting & Pitching Blogs

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Pitching with your body to add velocity and control

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

For the last eight years every player that has come in for baseball or fastpitch softball pitching lessons use mainly their arms to throw the ball.  When I talk to these players I am surprised at what they have taught by their coaches, pitching instructors, and at pitching camps. Almost everything pitchers are taught take away their body and makes them use mainly their arms. This puts way too much stress on their elbow and shoulder.  This is why so many young players get sore arms and even quit the sport because they hurt their arm.


I keep reading about Tommy John surgeries being performed on pitchers in Major League baseball, High School, and College and even younger pitchers (as young as 12 yrs old) more than ever.  Sadly I have had many baseball and softball hitters come in that aren't pitching anymore because their arms hurt so much.  Why are more and more pitchers hurting their arms?   When you throw with your arm it puts too much stress on the inside of the elbow especially during the acceleration towards the plate.   This damages the ulner collateral ligament (UCL) that connects the bones of the elbow and helps stabilize the joint.   The harder pitchers try to throw, mainly with their arm, the more likely they are to damage the UCL and hurt their arm some ending up even needing reconstructive surgery.


A couple years ago I watched one of the Little League Regional games and there were two pitchers same age and height throwing against each other.  One pitcher used mainly his arm to throw and the other used mainly his body.   The one that used his arm threw as hard as he could looking jerky.  He was able to get up to 62mph on his fastball and got tired during the fifth inning. The one that used his body looked effortless and routinely threw 70 mph fastballs, looking strong the whole game.


One pitcher used so much effort to barely reach 62 mph on his fastball and the other looked so effortless throwing 70 mph fastballs consistently.   Why the difference, did one pitcher have a stronger arm than the other?   No, the simple reason is one pitcher used his body to generate the energy and the other tried to throw hard using mainly his arm.


In football you hear the quarterback didn't throw a good pass because he didn't have his feet set.   This makes him throw the ball mainly with his arm.  When he sets his feet he throws the ball so much harder and is more accurate because now he can use his body.  For example Colin Kaepernick of the 49ers would be so much better if someone would show him how to correctly throw the ball with his body. He throws mainly with his arm, even with his feet set, which causes weaker with much less accuracy.   That is why he can throw three passes 20 yards and one hits the receiver in the chest, the next one goes ten feet over his head and the next pass hits the ground in front of his feet.  If he would throw the ball with his body he could be much more accurate and consistent.   The game would become slower to him because he would be more effortless.


Tim Lincecum at the beginning of his career used his body very  well.  When the two time Cy Young winner said "the arm comes along for the ride",  I liked him even more because he actually knew what he was doing.    His body was creating all the energy that he then released with his arm.  That is how at 5 feet 11 inches and 175 lbs he could throw fastballs at 95 mph in 2008.   In 2012 he lost about 2 mph on his fastball from the first four years because he started using his arm more and his accuracy also suffered because of this.  He fell behind in counts more often causing him to come back with pitches that were hit much harder.  According to Fangraphs.com in his career he had a home run per fly ball rate of just over 7% which means hitters rarely hit the ball solid.  That  year 14.6% of the time a hitter hit a fly ball it was a home run.  Batters hit the ball harder that year because of his control.


In four years 2008-2011 Lincecum pitched an averaged of 220 innings giving up 69 earned runs per year.  In 2012  he pitched 186 innings giving up 107 earned runs.  His ERA was 5.18 almost twice as high as his average year.  Why the sudden decline in velocity, control and production?  He started to throw more with his arm.  If he would go back to letting the arm come along for the ride while using his body to generate the energy he would do as well as he did the previous 4 years.


I watched the College Regionals Fastpitch Softball Tournament and Tennessee had a pitcher that had the fastest motion and arm speed I have ever seen, as she released the ball she flipped or snapped her wrist and the fastest pitch was 61mph, she was pitching with her arm. When the reliever came in to shut down the other team her motion and arm speed looked so much smoother and effortless.  She didn't flip her wrist and her top speed was 68mph, she was using her body.  In baseball and fastpitch softball it is momentum not arm strength that helps a pitcher throw harder.


Don't do any pitching cue you hear that makes you throw more with your arm.  Learning to use the body when pitching and even in the field for baseball or fastpitch softball makes such a difference in velocity and control.  There is so much less stress put on the shoulder and elbow.  When my students learn to throw the ball with the body they progress rapidly.  Pitchers throw harder, able to spot pitches better and have much more success than ever before.   The game slows down to them because they are so effortless.  They develop amazing confidence that they can get anyone out no matter the situation.


I will write a few more blogs about other problems that arise when trying to throw mainly with your arm and how using your body can help in many different ways.  If you would like more information about using your body to throw you can 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.

Why Are Major League Hitters Averages And Power Going Down

Posted on July 22, 2016 at 12:00 AM Comments comments (0)

This blog was originally posted July 1, 2012.  It was updated March 10, 2015


There have been so many more no hitters and perfect games in the last few years than before.  In the last six years 2006-2011 there have been 22 no hitters or perfect games, the previous six years 2000-2005 there were only 7.  On ESPN they say the reason is pitchers are getting better and performance enhancing drugs are out.  Another person say there aren't as many good hitters, very true.  A great statement was from ESPN's Tim kurkjian who said "they swing as hard as they can just in case they make contact".  The last two statements are so true because hitters are swinging more and more mainly with their arms or fast hands.   The ones that swing with their arms aren't hitting the ball as hard as they think they should.  They try to make up for it by swinging hard as they can thinking this will hit the ball harder.  This causes so many problems for hitters.  The reason Major League averages and power are going down is the hitters are getting worse because more and more of them are swinging mainly with their arms.


Since 2006 Major League hitters batting averages and power have gone down significantly.   According to ESPN.go.com below are the averages for a Major League Team from 2006 to 2014:


Year                        AVG                  HITS            XBH           HR            SLG             STRIKE OUTS

2014                      .251                   1387            439           140            .386             1248

2013                      .253                   1403            455           155            .396             1224

2012                      .254                   1402            470           164            .405             1214

2011                      .255                   1409            462            152           .399              1150

2010                      .257                   1418            470            158            .403             1144

2009                      .262                   1451            491            168            .418             1120

2008                      .264                   1466           493             163            .416             1096

2007                      .268                   1499           503             165            .422             1073

2006                      .269                   1502           517             180            .432             1055

DOWN                   .018                     125             78                40            .046             UP 107


These statistics show the average MLB team is down in almost every production category.  Each team was down an average of 40 home runs, 125 less hits, and 107 more strike outs in 2014 than they were in 2006.  Are pitchers getting that much better?  No, it is because most of the things that MLB players and hitting coaches are working on make them swing mostly with their arms.  I have discussed before that when they swing this way it causes the bat to go slower and weaker through the hitting zone than it should.  This is why MLB hitters are seeing their production and power going down.   They are making the pitchers look so much better.


One big problem with swinging mainly with your arms is the hitter has to start their swing earlier, since the bat is going slower to the hitting zone, causing them to swing at or chase more pitches that aren't strikes.  Major league hitters, according to Fangraphs.com, in 2006 were swinging at 23.5% of pitches outside the strike zone as compared to in 2014 they were swinging at 30.6% of pitches outside the strike zone.   From 2002 to 2005 hitters averaged swinging at only 19.3% of pitches that weren't strikes.   The percentage is going up because more hitters have to start their swing earlier.   They aren't able to watch the ball as long and can't be as patient or disciplined at the plate to wait on good pitches that they have a much greater chance of hitting hard.


Another problem is hitters can feel the bat going slower with much less power than they think there should be.  They try to create more speed and power by speeding the bat up with their fast hands.  I hear the former MLB players in the TV booth at games and on ESPN talk about using fast hands, twisting the hips, getting on top of the ball and swinging down almost every game I watch.  This actually will cause the bat to have the opposite result than what they expect.  Instead of the bat going faster it actually decelerates through the ball, moves up and down from rolling the wrists and the bat gets pulled out of the hitting zone way too quickly.  This throws off their timing and causes many more pulled weak ground balls and pop ups to the opposite field.  It also causes tremendous loss of bat speed.


In the future I will talk about other ways that swinging mainly with the arms or fast hands will decrease a hitters power and production. Major League hitters have been doing this more and more the last nine years.  Until someone is able to show them how to use their body the best way and keep working only on that this trend will continue.   Telling them to stay back, use their fast hands and swing down is the main reason for this downward spiral in hitting.  The leaders in home runs and RBI have a much different swing than the average Major leaguer.  They use their bodies and weight in their swing, not their arms..  


Almost 99% of hitters swing with their arms because that is what they are taught.  This significantly lowers their power, production and throws their timing off.  If you would like to learn the correct way to use your body and bat together call Mike Sedberry at 304-722-6393.   You will learn how to use your body a much better way to generate much more force along with bat speed to increase your power and production and reach your full potential.

Home Run Hitters Swing With Their Body NOT FAST HANDS

Posted on July 22, 2016 at 12:00 AM Comments comments (0)

While I am watching Major League Baseball games on TV I keep hearing former MLB players talk about what a hitter is doing when they hit the ball hard, they say:

 

  • He has fast hands
  • He stayed back
  • He twisted his hips
  • He swung down through the ball
  • He got on top of the ball

 

You even hear these things on ESPN when former players are analyzing a hitter that just hit a home run.  When the very best MLB players are hitting their best they are doing none of these.  When they go into a slump they are doing some to all of them.   Any one of these will make you swing mainly with your arms and take your weight out of the swing, causing less force and hit less line drives.   Home run hitters use their body weight to hit the ball with power.  When Josh Hamilton hit his four homeruns during a game four years ago they analyzed it on ESPN, they said he had the fastest hands in baseball, in reality he didn't use his hands, he swung with his 240 lb body to let him hit the ball much harder than a player that weighs less.


I looked at the five top home run hitters from both Leagues. I found out the average height of these ten players is 6 feet 2 inches, average weight is 225 lbs, and average age is 30.   I also looked at five players from each league at the bottom of the home run leaders that have at least one home run and have over 170 at bats.   I found their average height is 6 foot, average weight 189 lbs and the average age is also 30.  This means the home run leaders are 2 inches taller, more importantly, they weigh an average of 36 lbs more than the players at the bottom of the leader board.   Does this mean the leaders in home runs have faster hands than the players with one or two home runs?  NO, this means they hit with more force because they have an average of 36 more pounds to hit with and they are using it to hit the ball much harder.  If they used fast hands, instead of their body, they would hit with much less force and have half of the home runs they do now.


If you would like to learn how to hit the ball with your body the correct way you can call Mike Sedberry at 304-722-6393.   Almost all hitters (99%) swing with their arms, our students learn to use their body to hit with much more force and are then able to achieve tremendous results.  Check our baseball and softball hitting testimonials for some of the amazing results we have had.

Avoid getting bad hitting instruction

Posted on July 21, 2016 at 11:55 PM Comments comments (0)

When looking for someone to teach you how to hit a baseball or fastpitch softball make sure they are going to show you how to use your body and bat correctly.   As most of you know over 99% of instructors, coaches and hitting camps teach things that cause a hitter to use mainly their arms.  Because of this very few hitters use their body in their swing.  This causes hitters to hit the ball much weaker, be less consistent and way off on their timing.


It is very important for parents and players to learn how the very best Major League baseball hitters and Team USA fastpitch softball hitters actually use their body in their swing.  Hitters in baseball and fastpitch softball that learn to hit with their body the same way will see a significant increase in their power, how often they hit line drives consistently and have great timing.   Because 99% of instruction consists of bad hitting cues very few hitters use their body in their swing, the ones that do use their body stand out from the rest.


I have a 14 year old student that three years ago could barely hit the ball out of the infield because he was being taught by his coaches and the High School coach to stay back, twist his hips, swing down and use fast hands.  His dad said he was ready to quit baseball because he was hitting so bad.  We worked hard on getting him to swing with the body, the opposite of what he had been doing.  He and his dad worked on using his body every day and the results have been amazing.  He went from being a hitter that was hitting so bad he wanted to quit, just because of bad instruction, to being the most powerful hitter ever in his Little League.  He set the all time home run record with 22 during the regular season, he hit 5 more home runs in 3 games of all stars and he had a .750 batting average.  He did all this while only weighing 90 pounds because he learned the correct way to use his body when hitting.  Amazing turnaround.


In an elite travel team game on a High School field he hit a homerun well over a 350 ft fence that had a 20 ft wall.  His dad said almost every parent came up wanting to know the bat he was using because there was no way he could hit the ball that far with such an effortless swing. He told them it wasn't the bat it was Mike Sedberry's swing.  They still wanted to know the bat so the next time up he had his son use a wooden bat.  He then hit the ball harder than with the metal bat but it never got more than 10 feet off the ground.  In the video there is a train going by and you can hear it hit the wall between whistles.  The ball hit 10 feet up the fence so hard it sounded like a shotgun blast.  The dad said that really got the other parents buzzing because their kids were swinging out of their shoes like they had been taught and his son was barely swinging.  That's because he was using his body NOT his arms.


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This video is his homerun just swinging with his body.

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This Video is the double off the wall with the wooden bat. His first swing he pulled faster with his arms.  He told me he stepped out, told himself to relax and just use the body, next pitch off the wall. Because he know's what he is doing in his swing he was able to fix it for the next pitch.  This is so valuable.


Even most of the very best MLB hitters have no idea what they are actually doing in their swing.   As discussed in an earlier blog, read Derek Jeter no stride swing update, in 2011 he changed the way he was hitting because the Yankee hitting coach told him not to stride, this would allow him to have fast hands and this would help him watch the ball longer.  He worked on this all spring and into the regular season.   With his new approach, using mainly his arms, he instantly became a below average hitter.   After hitting around .200 the first 10 games and had no power he went away from the no stride and fast hands, went back to a stride and used his body more.  He got his regular swing back and ended with a pretty good year hitting .297.

  

If he knew more about his swing he would never have changed.   When his coach told him these new things he wanted him to do, he would have known there was no way it would work.  Jeter could have told him why it would not work and then he could have avoided the slump that followed.


This seems to be a common theme among active and former professional baseball and fastpitch softball players.   Almost every former player, coach and instructor at all levels have almost the same approach to hitting.  They teach squish the bug, twist the hips, fast hands, swing down, stay back, get on top of the ball, etc.   The best hitters do none of these, if they do any of these they will go into an instant slump.  Most coaches, at every level from coach pitch to the Major Leagues, will "teach" what they have always heard themselves, without taking the time to study and learn what really happens in the best hitters swing.


There are very few instructors that truly know the way the best hitters actually use their body and bat in the swing.   If you are interested in learning what an elite baseball and fastpitch softball swing really looks like and how it can make a tremendous impact in your swing and on your career call Mike Sedberry at 304-722-6393.   With our video lesson, you will see what makes a great swing and you will learn step by step how you can achieve this.   Knowledge about your swing is very important because when you get bad advice you will know why it will not help and you can ignore it so it won't put you into a slump.


We also work with teams or groups that want to greatly increase their productivity and have much more fun in the process.

Timing for baseball and fastpitch softball hitters

Posted on July 21, 2016 at 11:55 PM Comments comments (0)

Timing for a hitter in baseball or fastpitch softball is very important.   Without the proper timing your bat will not be in the hitting zone at the right time, making it much more difficult to hit the ball consistently.  There are two types of timing that hitters need to learn.


The first type is the batters own timing during their swing.


Most people do not think of this but it is very important.   When we video students hitting, most baseball and fastpitch softball players at the half way point in the swing, when comparing 5 different swings, their bat is in 5 different positions up to a two foot difference.   This means the hitters own timing is off and makes hitting a ball so such harder than it should be.  When your own timing is off this makes the pitchers job so much easier.  The speeds in our cages are 45, 65, and 85 mph.  When I watch a hitter during a round it is easy to tell how much their own timing is off.   For example a right handed hitter during a round, with the machine throwing the same speed each pitch, will go from pulling the ball directly left to being late hitting the ball directly right to everywhere in between.  This means at the halfway point in their swing the bat is rarely in the same position. To have your own timing it needs to be in the same position every swing.


Most instruction (99%) as I have discussed in previous blogs will make hitters swing mostly with their arms causing their own timing to be inconsistent, up to a two foot difference.   Hitters need to learn the proper way to use their body with the bat  to have their own timing become very consistent meaning the pitcher will have a much tougher job trying to mess up the batters timing.


The second type is proper timing of the pitcher.


The pitchers job is to try and mess up the hitters timing so they won't hit the ball hard.  Most hitters like I said before do not have their own timing consistent so they make the pitchers job much easier.  Once you learn to get your timing correct now you can focus on how to time a pitcher.


Most hitters wait till the pitcher releases the ball and then tries to time the speed.   This doesn't work very well because if a pitcher is throwing hard they try to swing faster to catch up to the ball and if a new pitcher comes in that throws slower they will be way ahead of the ball and try to swing slower to wait on it.   This means most hitters will use different swings when facing pitchers that throw different speeds causing them to ruin their own timing in the process.


Hitters need to learn to time a pitchers arm.  This makes timing a pitcher so much easier.  For example, say a pitcher is throwing average and you are taking your step when they release the ball and your timing is good.   When a faster pitcher comes in most hitters will take their step again when they release the ball and try to swing faster to hit it.   You want to take your step with a faster pitcher when their arm is about two feet before release so you can take your step and swing normal without having to go faster.  If you change your swing speed you will change your timing which will again make the pitchers job much easier.


Come in and learn to how to use your body and bat in a way that will enable you to have your timing very consistent, you will add so much more force into the ball, and hit line drives up to three times more often.  You will learn how to make the pitchers job much more difficult and how to time a pitcher properly to make hitting so much easier.   Call us at 304-722-6393 for more information, you will be amazed with the results.  

Fastpitch softball hitting update

Posted on July 21, 2016 at 11:55 PM Comments comments (0)

Every new fastpitch softball student that comes in for lessons is looking for the same three things.   More power, hitting line drives more consistently and better timing.  We talk about what they have been learning.  Most have been to hitting lessons or clinics before and everyone of them have been taught some or all of the BAD hitting cues below:

 

 

  • Keep back elbow up
  • No stride
  • Squish the bug
  • Use fast hands
  • Throw hands at ball
  • Twist the hips
  • Swing down through the ball
  • Get the barrel of the bat out quickly
  • Snap the wrists at impact  

 

 

The problem is if a hitter actually tries to do any of these hitting cues they will swing  with their arms which will cause a major loss of power, consistency and make their timing much worse.   Most of these hitters will pull the ball straight into the ground or weak pop ups to the opposite field.  We see this in our batting cages everyday.  This makes too many good athletes give up on softball because they are not having fun being so inconsistent.  This doesn't need to happen. 


The very best hitters in Fastpitch Softball have power, consistency and great timing.   At the highest level they swing with their body.  My students learn how to use the body so they can swing the same as the very best hitters in softball.   As one parent said " this swing puts my daughter into a whole new world with her softball.  I just was hoping to get her to hit the ball out of the infield but now she hits the ball with more power than we ever dreamed of and she looks like she is barely swinging."   


Below is one of my students that is changing from swinging with her arms to using her body.  She is 10 years old and weighs 70 lbs.   Her dad said she was an average hitter with not much power when they started doing lessons this Winter.  Her team started playing in tournaments in the Spring and she already has hit 9 homeruns this year.  She missed number 10 last week by five feet but ended up with a triple.  She is now using her body to swing the bat and has so much more power consistently hitting the ball hard.  



If you want to be the hitter you always dreamed of,  you want to learn the exact hitting mechanics of the very best hitters in fastpitch softball. The problem is very few instructors, coaches and former players teach how to use the body.  It seems 99% of what is taught everywhere are the bad hitting cues from above.   Learn the correct way to use your body and become the hitter you always dreamed of.  


If you would like more information on how to use your body to swing the bat and get more power, consistency and better timing call Mike Sedberry at 304-722-6393 for more information. 

Why successful pitchers keep the ball low

Posted on July 21, 2016 at 11:50 PM Comments comments (0)

A baseball and fastpitch softball pitcher that is able to consistently keep the ball down between a batters knees and thigh will be successful in baseball or fastpitch softball at any level.  The reason is most hitters hit the low pitch right into the ground because they are taught to swing down.  Studies show that 25% of grounders are hits.   In contrast 70% of line drives are hits.  A line drive has a success rate of almost threew times more than a grounder.  These studies show why pitchers want to keep the ball low to get hitters to hit a ground ball.


Another example of ground balls hurting a hitter is Derek Jeter.  When he went to the no stride swing in 2011, because the Yankee hitting coach wanted him to start using fast hands, it turned him into a ground ball hitter.  He used this new approach all spring and even into the start of the regular season.  After the first 16 games he led the Major leagues in ground balls at 72.9%.   That is why during this time his batting average was .219 with only one extra-base hit in 64 at bats according to NBC sports.  By far the most powerless time of his career.


Ninety-nine percent of hitting instruction makes a batter use mainly their arms when hitting a ball.  When the first thing going forward in your swing is the hands you will swing down through he ball.  This means if you are a good hitter and swing with your arms and hit the middle of the ball it will be a ground ball that hits 10 to 15 feet in front of you.  When a good pitcher throws the ball at the knees 99% of hitters that swing with their arms will hit a ground ball.   With 25% of ground balls on average being a hit a pitcher that keeps the ball down will give up one hit every four ground balls making him or her very successful.  I see this proven every day from Little League to The Major Leagues.


Almost every hitter that comes in for lessons has been taught to swing down through the ball.  Even to this day some of my best hitters are being told by their coaches, even on elite travel teams, that they need to swing faster down through the ball.  This is why pitchers that keep the ball low are very successful.  Lucky for my hitters they do the opposite of everyone else.  That is why my hitting students excel so much.  Every dad tells me "they use to swing down through the ball faster but that was the problem.  They are at least twice as good now since they stopped doing that and started doing Mike Sedberry's swing." 


Every pitcher is trying to keep the ball down hoping the batter will hit grounders.  Batters that swing down are what pitchers are hoping for. 


If pitchers would like to learn more about keeping the ball down and/or batters wanting to learn how to hit line drives with the the low pitch call Mike Sedberry at 304-722-6393 for more information.


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