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.
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.
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.