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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.

Elite hitting Instruction In Baseball And Fastpitch Softball

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

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


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


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

 

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

 

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


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


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


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


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


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

Fast hands a worst hitting cue for baseball and fastpitch softball

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

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


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


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


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


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


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

Hit Line Drives ConsistentlyFor More Success

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

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


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


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


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

 

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


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


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


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


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

Pitching With Your Body For Much More Success

Posted on July 22, 2016 at 4:05 PM Comments comments (0)

In my previous blog I talked about how pitching with your body will help you increase your velocity, control and take stress off of your arm. You look and feel so much more effortless whether pitching or in the field when you use your body to generate the energy when throwing a baseball or softball.   The problem is each student that comes in for lessons throws mainly with their arm because of what they have been taught.   When I start a new lesson with each student I ask what they have learned from coaches, other instructors and on the Internet.   Most everyone tells me the same bad pitching cues they have been taught which are:


 

  • When your stride leg goes up balance on your back leg
  • When front foot hits ground throwing arm elbow should be above the shoulder
  • When front foot hits ground have baseball looking at second base and the glove to home plate
  • To throw take your chest to your glove
  • Keep elbow above shoulder when throwing
  • Twist or rotate hips
  • Snap wrist at release
  • Finish down, pick up dirt

 


Any one of these will make you throw mainly with your arm.   Almost all instructors from Little League to the Major Leagues teach these. They will decrease your velocity and take away the control you need to be more successful.   These are also what causes pitchers to get sore arms because of too much stress put on the shoulder and elbow.  Too many pitchers in baseball and fastpitch softball are having arm problems because of bad pitching cues.  There are so many misconceptions about the proper mechanics of a pitcher.  When pitchers start using their arm more they look tighter, more jerky and they start having problems getting hitters out.


Depending on the statistics you read when a batter in the Major Leagues hits a fly ball 79% of the time it is an out.   When they hit a ground ball 72% of the time it is an out.  When they hit a line drive they are out only 20 to 26% of the time.  This means at any level if a pitcher gets hitters to hit fly balls and grounders they can be very successful.  This means they need the control to be able to hit spots consistently with their pitches to keep hitters from hitting line drives.  If a pitcher loses their control and leaves pitches out over the plate it gives a hitter a better chance to hit a line drive.  Then they won't be as successful.


I video each new student that comes in for a pitching lesson because 99% of them have been taught one or more of these pitching cues. Because of this every pitcher that come in for lessons throws mainly with their arm.  With video they are able to see step by step where and why they are losing velocity and control. They see how much effort they are having to put into their arm to try and throw the ball hard.  I then put them beside a top Major League pitcher so they can see how they actually use their body.  They see how effortless they look especially with their arm.    When they learn how to use their body they are amazed how much harder they throw, their control is so much better and they barely feel their arm.  They are especially excited when they become much more successful.


If anyone would like more information about pitching mechanics and how they can help make you more successful call me at 304-722-6393.

Hit The Ball Harder With More Line Drives

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

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


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


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


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


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


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



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