The WORST Hitting Drill for Baseball or Softball EXPOSED!

Written by on February 8, 2013 in Hitting Theory - 80 Comments
Bad Drills EXPOSED! ENTER WITH CAUTION!

Bad Drills EXPOSED!
ENTER WITH CAUTION!

 

Many players are getting ready for tryouts at their high schools and some are doing ‘preseason’ workouts for their 12 and under travel teams. I keep hearing the same complaining that some of the drills they are being forced to do are against what makes sense in the swing.  Many coaches will ‘isolate’ the hands with top and bottom hand drills.  I don’t really have a problem with that in moderation as its a great strength and coordination building movement, and can be fun for kids to make games out of.  Coaches will spread hitters out really wide and force wrist isolation as well with more ‘speed toss’ drills which consist of repetitive arm motion to swing the bat accross the chest instead of hip driven turning.  We do this drill in our evaluations to see what kids ‘eliminate’ in their swing in order to hit the balls.  Most kids take their hips out…bad idea.  The best kids with the best patterns naturally keep their hips moving, and more often than not, can hit more balls in number and hit more balls hard.  Coaches also do drills putting kids on one knee, again, taking all stabilization out of the swing (which makes no sense) and forces kids again to create an arms and wrist dominated move, simply because they have no other choice.

While those drills aren’t the best drills, they’re not the worst either.  This is the worst drill you can do for hitting a baseball properly and yet it’s one of the most commonly used drills from little league up, even into the college ranks.  It hurts me to even link to this drill I think it’s so bad…so proceed with caution…

How would that drill look if  I add two tees with photoshop into Ryan Braun’s game swing?

Looks like Braun is doing this drill incorrectly as well...

Looks like Braun is doing this drill incorrectly as well…

How bout Ichiro, a hitter I never teach off of and is known for hitting SINGLES instead of powerful drives, do you think he’s going to miss the high tee?

Even singles hitters must get their barrel in the way of the baseball!

Even singles hitters must get their barrel in the way of the baseball!

Maybe Ken Griffey Jr, one of the best 15 hitters of all time could execute this drill.  I figure he’s noted for hitting for power, average, and just overall being extremely technically sound and having one of the ‘prettiest’ swings ever to grace the game of baseball.  Surely he misses the back tee…

On of the best hitters of all time...destroying the High Tee/Low Tee drill in his real game swing.

On of the best hitters of all time…destroying the High Tee/Low Tee drill in his real game swing.

Do we think the professional players actual movements are incorrect or the drill?  Even worse, if we now know the drill is wrong…how come this is such an accepted part of our fundamental teaching for our youngest players?  The scary part about this drill and the blind following of mechanical teachings, like ‘A to C’ mechanics and ‘swing down’ mechanics, is that they’re not visually supported at all in actual MLB games!  

Remember this clip from the 2012 world series?  Really LISTEN to the announcers’ voices and how they’re excited about debunking the myths and finding out what really happens in the game swing of MLB players.  Think about the advantages of seeing what’s happening so hitters across the country can benefit from more accurate teaching and more drills that make sense.

What would happen to the ‘high back tee’ in that swing?  Honestly, it really makes me sad when I see a kid come into my building with that downward trajectory in their barrel.  It makes me mad when that kid tells me he’s had dozens of lessons and PAID for that information.  I do not expect youth coaches to be experts in the baseball or softball swing.  But I do expect the ideas and drills they have the kids do to make sense.  As stated in our Pitchers vs Hitters article, we know the pitcher is throwing the ball down so we must get our barrel in the way of the baseball and keep it there a long time.  Drills that directly disallow that should not be practiced…and there is no real use for them in training purposes other than to fix a DRAMATIC uppercut and even then there are simply better ways to accomplish a better swing path.

A pitcher’s perspective:

“As a former professional, I would go out and watch BP on the days of my start to gain a perspective on the hitters I would be facing later that night.  Regardless of size, potential, and current statistics at the time , I knew I had a competitive advantage over the hitters whose swings resembled the path of swinging down on the baseball.  I threw a sinker, and a late breaking slider; two pitches that posed to be tough for hitters who were swinging down.  On the other hand, a hitter who dropped his bat in the zone early  and was able to keep the barrel in the zone for a longer period of time, posed a tougher challenge.”  -Justin Orenduff

Chas Pippitt, Leader of the Baseball Hitting Rebellion

 

About the Author

Chas has done over 11,000 hitting lessons since 2006. He is the sole owner of ITS Baseball, Baseball Rebellions research facility. Chas is a Hitting Theory Innovator and the author of Baseball Hitting Rebellion Blog. He invented the Drive Developer and Rebel’s Rack, which are sold around the world. Chas played Division I Baseball at N.C. State and UNC Asheville where he contributed to the winning of the Big South Conference Championship in 2006.

80 Comments on "The WORST Hitting Drill for Baseball or Softball EXPOSED!"

  1. Jimmy Onate February 8, 2013 at 9:38 pm · Reply

    Nice job and I agree – its a matter of bat time in hitting zone and best path for creating ball contact for line drives – nice work!

    • Do August 22, 2013 at 11:07 pm · Reply

      Think about this, all the pictures show tilt. If no tilt then bat angle will be more a to b.

  2. brian allen February 9, 2013 at 7:22 am · Reply

    Great read! Your training equipment has been great for my boys.

    thank you….

    Brian.

    • Chas Pippitt February 9, 2013 at 9:08 am · Reply

      Brian and Jimmy,

      I’m glad you guys enjoyed the article! I hope more people can see how insane telling kids to practice that type of stuff is.

      I have dozens of evaluation videos where kids really swing like that, it’s insane!

      Chas–

      PS: Brian, I’m glad you guys are enjoying the Drive Developer/Rebel’s Rack. A little thought and hard work with the right direction makes all the difference in the world.

  3. Paul Mann February 9, 2013 at 11:54 am · Reply

    Great article Chas. What a crazy video of the downward swing- the guy just showed everyone how to ground out weakly to shortstop. The ball hit the ground before it hit the net 6 feet away!

    Keep up the good work!
    Paul Mann

    • Chas Pippitt February 9, 2013 at 1:04 pm · Reply

      Paul,

      I can’t even believe he POSTED that video…

      Also, we tried to hit a line drive doing that drill…Justin couldn’t even DO the drill without knocking the tee over.

      crazy…

      Chas–

  4. jerry February 11, 2013 at 3:54 pm · Reply

    I cant belive that guys are still teaching this swing down stuff.. I hate to admit it but I taught my 26 yr old this when he was about 12 and struggling with hitting. With a hitting coach like me no wonder he struggled. . But since then it has been proven time and time again thru video that top level hitters do not swing down. some thing ted williams said so long ago .so I consider it neglectful espcially for guys who make money to teach this .downward swing. After so much video proof its wrong ..Swinging down doesnt line the bat and the desending ball for long enough .and it is hard to keep balance when swinging down it makes a batter fall forward and loses balance

    • Chas Pippitt February 11, 2013 at 4:19 pm · Reply

      Jerry,

      I know man, it’s crazy and negligent to me as well! I couldn’t have said it any better!

      Chas–

  5. Jamie February 11, 2013 at 4:36 pm · Reply

    Chas:
    I’m sorry but this guy really is a tool when it comes to any form batting instruction. Even if he believes in the downward swing that he is demonstrating, how can he state to hit the top half of the ball to create backspin. At least if he said hit the bottom half of the ball on a downward swing maybe he could create a little backspin, although it would be very weak at best. But no way by hitting the top half of a ball on a down swing. This is what is scary about youth baseball or even in many high school programs the lack of knowledge when it comes to fundamentals by those that are suppossed to be instructing and if a child doesn’t go along with this kind of instruction from their coach he can be labeled difficult and uncoachable and therefore not played or not even make a team.

    • Chas Pippitt February 11, 2013 at 5:17 pm · Reply

      Jamie,

      That’s a battle our kids have to fight daily. If you take piano lessons, the music teacher doesn’t get mad…she gets excited! If you get a math tutor, your algebra teacher is pumped!

      If you get hitting instruction that makes sense and matches high level video footage…the baseball coach gets MAD!?!? How does that make sense? I have a high school kid in my program right now who hit less than .200 last year and entered the program about 5 months ago. We’ve overhauled his swing, he’s hitting the ball 18 MPH HARDER than he was…and his coach is telling him to go back to his old swing…

      INSANE.

      Chas–

  6. Warren B. February 11, 2013 at 4:58 pm · Reply

    But don’t golfers hit their iron shots with a downward swing to impart backspin? Why not baseball players. Afterall, hitting a thrown baseball with a bat and hitting a golf ball lying motionless on the fairway with an angled club are the exact same thing right??? (Sorry Chas, I just couldn’t help myself!!)

    • Chas Pippitt February 11, 2013 at 5:18 pm · Reply

      Warren,

      HAHAHAHA. Sounds very much like a conversation I had at an in person lesson the other day…

      Thanks for reading Warren.

      Chas–

  7. Bennett Mann February 11, 2013 at 11:21 pm · Reply

    We have done this drill at my Junior College and the next day i get an email from the Baseball Rebellion telling me that the worst drill is one we are doing in COLLEGE nonetheless. You would think that guys that have been all-americans coaching us wouldn’t teach a downward swing and now I’m starting to think that our coaches are full of it. We’ve also done drills on our knees swinging with one hand.
    P.S. The best thing that happened to baseball is the “Phantom Camera” like the the analysts said

    • Chas Pippitt February 12, 2013 at 8:55 am · Reply

      Bennett,

      Remember, your coaches are trying to make you better…and if you’re at a JC, they don’t have time to research the best ways to make swings work. It is really amazing what guys will teach kids/college/pro guys just because it’s what they think they did.

      Here’s my response: Who cares what YOU did if you’re not one of the best ever. AND if you ‘did’ it…prove it on video. The proof is in the pudding.

      Chas–

  8. Troy Frazier February 14, 2013 at 2:48 pm · Reply

    Chas,
    Unbelievable video from a guy who was actually our PITCHING coach for the Evansville Otters in 2011, Marty Kenny. I played for one of the best hitting coaches in the country, John Cohen who’s now at Mississippi State and I can personally say we never did anything close to this drill and mostly the opposite. Looking forward to hearing from you.
    Troy

    • Chas Pippitt February 14, 2013 at 2:56 pm · Reply

      Troy,

      That is crazy. I think it’s just insane how videos like this get produced, watched and BELIEVED!

      Makes me sad man, because, as you know, so many kids get exposed to this instruction and then they wonder why they can’t hit…

      Chas–

  9. Caleb D February 19, 2013 at 3:55 pm · Reply

    Hey Chas,

    I was wondering if you would be willing to explain your “box” drill as a response to this improper bat path video. I know you’ve mentioned it before in videos but hoping you would show it in action. Keep rebelling.

    Thanks

  10. Big D February 21, 2013 at 11:41 am · Reply

    The pictures are great. Isn’t the way to “defeat” that drill (or do it properly) is to swing inside the back tee (not down)? That’s what I teach my kid when he has do it. While his teamates hit grounders doing the drill, my kid hits line drives into the right/center gap. People think its magic. :)

    • Chas Pippitt February 21, 2013 at 12:46 pm · Reply

      Big D,

      Yes, that’s one way to beat it. The way I want to beat it though is by exposing it as terrible so coaches stop doing it entirely.

      Isn’t it sad that your child has to ‘overcome’ his teaching?

      Chas–

  11. Bobby Craig February 25, 2013 at 11:18 pm · Reply

    I have been coaching Travel baseball the last 5 years and see these kinds of things being taught by other teams in practices and pregame warmups way too often. It makes you wonder if coaches even attempt these drills before they teach them. Would have loved to have been there when you guys gave the T drill a shot. To make it worse, I have seen guys that played college and/or pro ball teaching this craziness to kids. Most of them only desire to make money off their names and investing little time to analysis and research. With all the swing analysis videos, photos, physics, and other research materials available on the web, you would would think they would do a little homework (I guess they can’t learn common sense from a computer or book). I appreciate the time and effort you put into your instruction and in helping players of all ages play to their best ability. Hopefully one of these days I can get my son to one of your lessons, in case I am missing something.

    • Chas Pippitt February 26, 2013 at 9:27 am · Reply

      Bobby,

      I couldn’t have said it any better myself. It’s really an ethical issue, in my opinion, that coaches are unwilling to do the VERY LITTLE research it takes to figure out that, at the very least, the best hitters in the world are not swinging down. Or squishing the bug. Or throwing their hands at the ball.

      You mentioned that you hope you can get your son to one of my lessons…You can…all without leaving your house. Let me show you what our video lessons are really capable of.

      Kids from over 26 states already know…

      Chas–

  12. David Williams February 27, 2013 at 4:57 pm · Reply

    Charles,

    Good to see your educating the world on how to hit bombs and not pea shooters over the 2nd baseman’s head. Simple concept I always wondered in my playing days: why are we always taught to “swing down on the ball” if pitchers are taught to throw down in the zone. That results in a ground ball 9 out of 10 times. Only way to consistently drive the baseball is to swing level, if not with a slight upper cut. It’s physics for “Pete’s sake” (Matt Myers reference)…..the more level your swing, the more time your bat spends in the hitting zone, which obviously increases your chance of solid contact.

    Keep up the hitting crusade!

    DW (Pippitt

    • Chas Pippitt February 27, 2013 at 9:17 pm · Reply

      DW,

      Thanks for checking us out man, long time no talk. Swinging slightly up is the way to go, you’re right about that. Geez-O-Pete DW you think we should swing up????

      We’ll keep up the fight man, and feel free to check out our other stuff and chime in. When you coming up here to see the facility???

      Chas– (Pippitt

  13. Jamie March 4, 2013 at 9:30 am · Reply

    Chas:
    Not sure if you caught it on MLB channel yesterday but Freddie Freeman on the Braves was in a batting cage in Spring Training discussing his swing and what drills he prefers to do to get ready. He said he doesn’t like hitting off the tee because he can’t swing down at the ball off a tee in order to create the backspin he likes to get carry, much like the video above states. Instead he prefers front soft toss. I’ve seen Freeman swing, in fact he homered yesterday in a game and it does not apprear that he swings down at pitches at all. I may be wrong but he actuallly looks like he has quite an uppercut swing. Another case perhaps of a guy thinking he does one thing but video shows otherwise.

    • Chas Pippitt March 5, 2013 at 10:02 am · Reply

      Jamie,

      Actually I did see that…and I think that’s what gave me the flu.

      Chas–

      • Steven Mays April 10, 2013 at 9:26 pm · Reply

        Most players believe they are swinging down as that is what they were taught and learned early on. Players that make it to the next level adapted either purposefully or unconsciously. It is really a function of necessity to be able to compete with the top level pitchers they are facing. When they find they are outclassed and struggling, either by instruction, intuition, emulation, or experimentation, they adapt to keep up. The successful ones make it to the next level and vice versus. As a successful player’s swing develops and is refined over the years of countless repetitions, he often lacks a conscious awareness of what he is actually doing, but rather his subconscious develops his motor skills based on successes and failures. What is fascinating is that we see overwhelming evidence that one swing path is the only swing path that is predominantly successful. And what is equally fascinating is how few people recognize this, including the very players that are swinging successfully with this technique.

        • Chas Pippitt April 11, 2013 at 10:27 am · Reply

          Steven Mays,

          You’re right, players do believe or ‘feel’ they are swinging down. But saying a lie tons of times does not make it so (as you’re stating).

          How frustrating is it that making it up to higher levels requires ‘adaptation’ away from what players are taught? People are only willing to change when the pain of staying the same is less than the pain of change. That applies to athletes as well because letting go of their mechanics that ‘got them there’ is a scary idea. Some are not capable…those are the ones that are lost.

          Chas–

  14. Deveren March 5, 2013 at 12:15 am · Reply

    Hi Chas, Im always in search of informed hitting instructors who know what actually happens in the baseball swing of the best hitters vs what most hitting instructors “think” happens. I myself am a professional hitting instructor, former player, and by my calculations have averaged 15-20 hitting lesson a week since 2003. I began teaching the swing path you advocate in 2004. Im one of 2 guys in the West Central Florida area that believes this is the most efficient path to the back of the ball. And all my clients hit for high average, and power, and it doesnt take them a year to see results. Two, three lessons, and you are seeing a totally different hitter. I teach my guys to have a different visual of hitting, a good hitter pulls his hands “out and slightly up” or in the same direction shoulder to shoulder that the “torso” rotates. The direction the pitch came in is the direction you pull your bottom hand into the back of the baseball, just like flying a frisbee with your bottom hand. Thats the visual a hitter needs, in my opinion. Most baseball people look at me like I have 3 heads when I talk hitting mechanics with others because not many people have slowed down the baseball swing to see what actually happens.Thank you for your information, I direct all my clients to any information that will help them understand the most efficient path of the baseball swing. Further proof that the swing path you advocate is more efficient, simply look at two players who signed free agent contracts this offseason, BJ Upton, 75 million, Josh Hamilton 125 million. BJ has twice the tools, and is a few years younger, but BJ swings down on the ball consistently, hence why he carries a sub .250 average, and will never max out his power numbers. BJ arguably if he had a more efficient swing path would have been a 150 million guy. Hamilton has a completely different swing plane, his bat comes from inside, behind and slightly underneath the ball, this swing path is much more efficient. Hence why he hits around .300, and maxes out his power numbers. Sadly I see minor league prospects released season after season because they cant hit, and its because the coaches in their organization advocate that they hit down on the ball. Two seasons of hittiing .205 and they get released. The organization has set them up to fail. This bad hitting advice wont stop until a professional organization is willing to give the swing path that you and I advocate a try with their minor league players. Or you and I get together and make more players aware of what actually happens in the baseball swing. Im ready to get to work when you are. Hopefully, we can connect and pick each others brain on hitting. Excellent hitting info!

  15. Bob Stanton April 19, 2013 at 8:27 am · Reply

    I think this article is a bit insane! I hope you are referring to older, or top of the list, select type kids.

    Have you ever tried to coach an 5,6,7,8, or 9 year old how to swing? Especially the kids at the bottom of the lineup who are currently extremely uncoordinated who think that the way to swing is to drop their hands and try to lift the ball? What do you think happens when those kids get in front of a coach pitching, a pitching machine, or worse live pitching?

    How do you rid of an upper cut and try to give that young child some success and joy from playing the game? Let me tell you what you DON’T do! You absolutely DO NOT show them the swings of major league baseball players. YOU absolutely do that drill at the top of this page.

    These kids have absolutely no hope of learning a real hope until they learn the basics and the basics DO start with learning how to avoid the death move of dropping your hands and trying to lift the ball.

    Once & IF they start to understand that and start to learn some coordination then they can start moving on to more advanced type drills and looking at videos and snapshots of professional players.

    I hate to think that the father of one of the kids at the bottom of my team’s lineup would think if he read that article. After working all year on trying to give the kids some simple keys to put the bat on the ball – he would now think that he is Ryan Braun?!?! and should follow similar instruction!!

    Come on!

    • Chas Pippitt April 19, 2013 at 9:08 am · Reply

      Bob,

      I would direct you to my article on Youth Hitters Featured Here.

      What I can say to you is if you think the “Basics” mean “Teaching blatantly incorrect things” then I agree with you, that drill is a great drill to perform. Our kids can learn high level mechanics, as I’ve proven numerous times in my publication of youth swing changes, and I caution you strongly against using drills that you then have to ‘unlearn’ when the time is right.

      Getting the ball off the ground and into the air IS HITTING! How do guys get promoted? Their Fly Ball Percentage goes UP! On a side note, we had a 9 year old hit 4 home runs (over the fence) in a tournament last year…and we’ve had 8 year olds hit balls over 200 foot fences in games…lets talk about how much joy THAT brought that kid…

      I work with the kids of a Major League Pitching Coach and I have for some time. He constantly talks about “getting ground balls”. So Bob, if the Pitching coaches want to “get ground balls” and the hitting coaches are coaching “hitting ground balls”…someone’s wrong!

      I hope you really think about my response…I am about to be a father…and I know I’m not going to teach my son things that work when he’s 5-9 years old…I’m going to educate him in all facets of his life to the highest level of his capabilities. Kids can learn at a high level at a young age if taught correctly.

      Sometimes the Teacher, not the Student, is the variable.

      Chas–

      • Bob Stanton April 19, 2013 at 9:14 am · Reply

        Ridiculous… again you are NOT focusing on the bottom of the lineup kids who an average 5,6,7,8, or 9 year old coach is working with. If you think the average little league coach can focus on thoracic extension, you are clearly have more time than any LL coach I know! I work with professional coaches all the time and to promote this kind of advice as useful for these kids is the ultimate fallacy.

        For maybe 1/20 maybe.

        We focused on:

        Vision and maintaining the bend in the back leg at landing
        Completely turning and finishing the pelvis movement
        Thoracic extension
        Switching his back shoulder to his front shoulder, forcing a complete turn
        A strong back foot with a high back heel
        Keeping his weight back in his finish and solidly on his back foot

        • Chas Pippitt April 19, 2013 at 9:32 am · Reply

          Bob,

          I guess we’ll have to agree to disagree. Perhaps you’ll allow me to work with your son to give him the type of results we clearly produce.

          High level instruction can be taught systematically, but just as you’re better at your job than I am, I’d probably coach a little league team at a higher level than you would.

          You asked me what experience I have coaching kids this age, probably about 1000 lessons. If you ask me about team coaching, my answer is none.

          What my information clearly states is that in a controlled learning setting you can learn this stuff, but I know from my camps and clinics, that we constantly improve kids ball exit speed and movement patterns in mere hours.

          I also state that the words we use are different and the drilling is modified to allow kids his age to learn.

          So I’d say that in 4 little league practices, we’d have dramatically different results.

          Chas–

  16. Bob Stanton April 19, 2013 at 9:38 am · Reply

    PLUS – My son is an exception. My son works hard at advanced skills (many of which you refer to above which I do NOT disagree with) with advanced coaches.

    I think it is eggregious and arrogant that you poo poo drills that some kids need to be successful. Easy to sit in an ivory tower when you are teaching the best of the best and criticize drills that some of us NEED to get the bottom kids to improve AND for them to enjoy the game.

    The problem is that you are passing this off as advice that works for EVERYONE! I can promise you it doesn’t. The drill you are referring to as being the “The WORST Hitting Drill for Baseball or Softball” is a drill that has allowed numerous bottom of the lineup kids to have a tremendous amount of success and enjoyment from a game that they otherwise would probably not have enjoyed.

    I have done this for many years and will continue to do so, but your arrogance is annoying. And referring to my son… NAH he is just fine thanks

    • Chas Pippitt April 19, 2013 at 9:55 am · Reply

      Bob,

      My information stands. I stand for accurate drills and ideas. I stand for teaching properly the first time, no matter how long it takes. I stand for pattern matching the best players in the world as when kids learn that, they can totally dominate and enjoy the game on a completely different level. I stand for testing to see if movements are working via video and exit speeds.

      Upper level mechanics help every kid, from 9 hole to 3 hitters, and always improve kids. Period.

      Arrogance is one thing, Accuracy is another. I’m not trying to be pompous or anger you, I’m trying to illuminate the fallacy of teaching these types of drills or forcing them on kids in a practice situation. I would say my tone is fair and video is on my side and so are the results of our players. Not every kid is destined to be great or have a ‘perfect swing’, but every kid can learn to do better than what they currently are. Everyone can learn that wants to learn. Everyone can avoid movements that do not make sense.

      I have done a drill called a ‘chop drill’ with some of my players to help with the issue of dropping the hands or fixing a dramatic uppercut, but as I pointed out to a father of an online lesson the other day, at the youngest ages of coach pitch, machine pitch, and kid pitch, the ball comes down at a tremendous downward angle, sometimes as high as 30 degrees. A dramatic uppercut is NEEDED to match that plane and hit the ball hard.

      I don’t want to argue with you.

      I hope you and your son continue to have success in coaching/playing and keep reading.

      Chas–

    • Tony Cisneros March 7, 2014 at 2:19 am · Reply

      Bob,

      It’s a bit weird that you would agree with the hitting principles of the article, yet insist that teaching incorrect principles to kids is correct.

      It’s disappointing that anyone would purposefully hinder a student/athlete by teaching them things that are incorrect and have no chance of helping them in the long run.

      Kids are capable of learning at an extraordinary pace. Their unbiased brains can learn languages, patterns, and yes, bodily movements so much faster than adults…and they have no preconceived notions about them.

      Of course you do not have to go through upper level hitting theory to them as a 5-year old; however, you are LYING to them if you are not having them do drills that are consistent with the best possible hitting mechanics that you know of.

      I do coach 5-7 year olds. You’re right…the weaker kids are weak. But they are there because they want to be there. And they can learn just as well as the stronger kids. And they have much more room to improve. Teaching them correctly takes the same effort on your part as does teaching them incorrectly. Giving them the correct tools gives them the biggest chance for improvement and success.

      Teaching them incorrectly only has one outcome – failure. I hope that you’ve since rethought your position and given the kids the chance to determine their outcome.

  17. mike May 13, 2013 at 8:03 am · Reply

    Chas — I see your point for baseball. What about fastpitch softball? The trajectory of the ball is a bit different. Opinion?

    • Chas Pippitt May 13, 2013 at 10:16 am · Reply

      Mike,

      Actually, it is not. All softball pitches, other than “riseballs” at the letters/neck go DOWN. Many people don’t realize this.

      This isn’t my opinion, it’s documented almost “SportsScience” style in an article I read that I looked for…but could not find.

      For the record, our softball players have an even greater technical advantage than our baseball players as they are generally taught they have ‘limited’ physical capabilities and therefore cannot hit in an athletic way. We disagree strongly with that and know from our own experience that softball players CAN hit this way. They just have to want to be better than what’s generally expected of them.

      Chas–

    • Chas Pippitt May 13, 2013 at 10:44 am · Reply

      Mike,

      Actually, it is not. All softball pitches, other than “riseballs” at the letters/neck go DOWN. Many people don’t realize this.

      This isn’t my opinion, it’s documented almost “SportsScience” style in an article I read that I looked for…but could not find.

      For the record, our softball players have an even greater technical advantage than our baseball players as they are generally taught they have ‘limited’ physical capabilities and therefore cannot hit in an athletic way. We disagree strongly with teaching sofball players to ‘slop’ and ‘fake bunt/slash’ every pitch and know from our own experience that softball players CAN hit athletically and powerfully. They just have to want to be better than what’s generally expected of them.

      Chas–

  18. Patrick Flanagan May 29, 2013 at 5:43 pm · Reply

    I think you should find out why this is being taught. Also why does Matt Kemp do this drill and swear by it? You don’t explain why you don’t like it. You just say it is garbage. You show a couple of clips and draw a couple lines. But really, do you think that major league batters are doing this for no reason or because they are horrible hitting instructors? Drill down into the “why” they do this and I think you won’t like the answer.

    • Chas Pippitt May 29, 2013 at 9:08 pm · Reply

      Patrick,

      This is being taught because it’s ‘easy’. It’s “Baseball Camp” mentality.

      I think we pretty clearly explain “why” we don’t like it with the pictures…because it’s totally irrelevant and inaccurate based on what HAPPENS in game swings.

      Just because these pros can overcome this information does not make it correct. AND, in a skill sport, it’s extremely important that young kids do what’s actually happening instead of practicing and then trying to overcome the practice.

      Say it out loud Patrick: “I want to practice movements and bat trajectories that don’t happen in games”. It’s hard for me to be nice about this drill…it ruins swings.

      I guess I should love this drill…drills like these keep me in business.

      Chas–

  19. Adrian Vore August 28, 2013 at 2:48 am · Reply

    The double-tee drill shown above and the swing it is trying to develop is the absolute WORST technique. It’s incredible that guy has a baseball academy. Parents, if any ‘coach’ ever tells your kid to swing like that, immediately run away. No, and I mean NO, major leaguer hits like that. The pictures Chas shows prove it.

    I had a coach tell me to swing down, and I read a book by a major coach that said to keep your hands below the barrel on contact. It showed a picture of a player posing in this position. Try it yourself. Hold a bat as if you’re right at the point of contact and be sure the barrel is above your hands. What the heck – right? Look at a picture of any major leaguer making contact, and you’ll NEVER see a horrible chop like that.

    The swing-down instruction was the worst i had ever received. Where in the hell did that start and why has it continued? The instruction was bad enough, but then I took it to heart and practiced it and ingrained it. Ug. Now as an adult still playing hardball, I cringe when I hear that terrible, stupid instruction. YOU DON”T SWING DOWN ON A BALL AT CONTACT.

    Also, look at that video of that dreadful double-tee drill. Notice the coach’s front leg when the bat hits the ball. The leg is straight up and down. He’s on top of the front leg. Again, look at any major leaguer in a still picture or freeze it with your dvr. The front leg is angled back, It is NOT straight up and down. Lastly look at the swing of the coach and what happens to the ball. It’s an awkward, forced, unnatural swing, and he tops the ball, resulting in what looks like a comebacker.

    The proper swing is what you see in the pictures Chas provided. Yes, the swing begins down from where the hands are back by the shoulder, but then it comes up. When a major leaguer hits the ball, his hands are above the barrel – the barrel is rising – NOT GOING DOWN AT CONTACT. Ted Williams said it in his book – Up is the way.

    The correct swing looks like a U that’s been pulled open.

  20. show0706 September 14, 2013 at 12:54 pm · Reply

    I cant believe there are idiots like this guy here in the video. He should be ashamed of himself to even post this garbage. I would like to compare a baseball swing to that of a tennis player returning a volley. A tennis player doesnt swing down. He brings the racket down to the plane of the incoming ball and keeps it there and then swings it in the same plane. A baseball player should have similar mechanics.

    • Chas Pippitt September 14, 2013 at 1:11 pm · Reply

      All Shore’s has no shortage of bad information…we’ve used their youtube comedy sketches quite a few times.

      In my recent article, I had tennis shot video. You should check it out.

      Chas–

  21. Susan H September 25, 2013 at 3:45 pm · Reply

    Hi Chas,
    Everyone has an opinion. Here’s mine. Regarding the top hand, bottom hand drill If you isolate it and teach it the way you’re thinking then yes you could absolutely be taking them down a narrow path of destruction. I coach fastpitch (softball). We use the top hand/ bottom hand drill to 1 enforce the palm up palm down at contact and 2, to increase their arm strength. We do not use it to muck up their hips…not sure why you believe that is the case. Now…as for your drop hands and uppercut…not a very good bat mechanic in the game of fastpitch…I as a coach look for that mechanic on my opposing teams and then have my pitchers throw their rise balls and curve/rise…I love you coaches who ‘enforce’ that…it’s a great way of securing an out! Baseball and Softball are two different worlds when it comes to batting mechanics so I’m not sure why you put “softball” in your title of this blog.

    I’m sure your batters have great power and swing for the fences all the time but batting isn’t only about homeruns…it’s about contact and more of it. Teaching kids to hit only homeruns seems a bit narrowminded if you ask me (not that you are). I’ve lost count on how many times a major league team has the tie run in scoring position and the batters are going for the fence only to fly out or strike out. If they were taught how to move runners and score runs rather than up their “homerun” numbers they may win more games. Teach kids to be productive batters….not hero’s. But again…softball and baseball are two different worlds…what you can get away with in baseball is your demise in our game.

    • Chas Pippitt September 25, 2013 at 4:36 pm · Reply

      Susan,

      As you illuminated early in your post, everyone does have an opinion. I’d just tell you that some are more valid than others.

      As for arm strength in hitting, I can’t believe that you think that ‘arm strength’ is relevant in hitting. I implore you to read up on how we teach our powerful turn, perhaps your teams would be so far ahead that ‘moving runners’ could be something that happens for you hitters in the form of doubles and 3-run-homers.

      The ‘Drop the hands and uppercut’ comment really shows how little study you’ve done on our proven, teachable, and video backed teaching methodology. At BR, we advocate for the hands to stay as high as possible throughout the turn and the body posture of the spine allows for the upward trajectory of the pitch. It is a proven fact that all softball pitches go DOWN other than rise-balls that are out of the strike zone. You can read more on that HERE

      Our batters do have great power, but I’ll talk about our softball batters specifically, like the ones who left former Team USA softball players to use our services to great success. And our products being purchased by other top level former players.

      What’s funny to me about this comment is I know for a fact that girls can hit this way and hit for more accuracy and power. The body is stronger than the arms. I don’t need to ‘coach fastpitch’ to know that. I’d love to see one of your players execute a properly done bottom or top and drill. In fact, if you post the video, I’ll break it down for you to show you how much better your player could be if they did not do said drill.

      To your comment that it’s ‘about contact’, I’d say that’s a pretty huge slap in the face to the defenders on the opposing team. And, I’d love to know why so many top programs have girls with completely inept swing mechanics, no power, and terrible batting averages. Girls are CONSTANTLY held back by bad instruction in hitting (SLAP HITTING ARE YOU KIDDING ME) and I just think it’s sexist and unfair. If I have a daughter, I’ll never hold her back and champion ‘contact’.

      Instead of justifying your coaching methods, please tell me the PRINCIPLES of hitting that you’re trying to instill. Hint: Palm up Palm down isn’t supported by video of one hand drills, so try again. I’ll buy the strength aspect, but you should never train a STRENGTH move while doing a SKILL. It erodes the skill instantly.

      Chas–

  22. Susan H September 25, 2013 at 5:36 pm · Reply

    Well…top 3 hitters on my team…625+ average…my “slapper” has a 730 on base average and a 675 batting average. My power hitter…710 two consecutive tournaments…680 season average My next four hitters 500 averages. My bottom hitters are in the 400′s. Opinions aren’t validated by the way facts are. My facts are good and I’m pretty sound in what I coach and how I coach it. I appreciate that you’re selling something and in order for you to sell that product you must instill in everyone and anyone that it is the only way. So who are your Major League success stories?

    • Chas Pippitt September 25, 2013 at 6:38 pm · Reply

      Susan,

      I’m impressed with ‘your’ hitters…I just thought it was about the kids?

      Just imagine how good they’d be if you didn’t hold them back with your methods!

      I hope you keep reading! Again, if you’d like to send me a video to break down, I’d love to do it.

      Also…who are you playing? Doesn’t sound like much competition.

      Chas–

      “When the facts are with you, pound the facts. When the facts are against you, pound the table!” Physics wins. Cooked books and single team sample sizes lose.

  23. person October 6, 2013 at 9:52 pm · Reply

    I think people are just taking this way to serious if you don’t agree with the methods THEN YOU DON’T HAVE TO TEACH THEM!! and to Susan and bob, calm down!! it’s kids baseball it doesn’t matter all that much just teach the kids how you want them to hit and we’ll see how it goes. To chas great article and just keep teaching

    • Chas Pippitt October 8, 2013 at 10:57 am · Reply

      “Person”,

      Thanks for the props but I have to disagree with you slightly, Person.

      I do think it matters that people are out there like Susan, dramatically limiting their hitter’s potential. It makes me sad that all the proof out there won’t change these people’s ‘beliefs’ about hitting. I don’t remember Bob’s comment.

      Chas–

  24. Travis November 13, 2013 at 9:05 am · Reply

    Chas, I’m very desperate at this point for your help..and opinion! My son has a very polished swing he probably could change a thing or 2,like rushing and being tense through his load! But for dome reason his back leg instead of gaining ground forward moves sides ways/ backwards towards the 3rd base dugout.. He’s a righty. I’ve seen this with hanley ramirez quite a bit but obviously there is only ONE hanley.. I can’t figure out the cause for this… He hits for a ton of power and isn’t very big! If you could help me out here I’d love it man, thanks for all the articles! Keep conquering the hitting world!!!

    • Chas Pippitt November 13, 2013 at 12:14 pm · Reply

      Travis,

      I know exactly what you’re talking about. That’s “proof of push” meaning he’s trying to push his hips around.

      He’s got to pull his back foot forward instead of trying to push his hips around. Think Chubby Checker, not Elvis Pressly.

      Chas–

  25. Kevin N December 7, 2013 at 11:03 pm · Reply

    Hi Chas:

    Read your article and agree that the drill performed in the video is incorrect. However the drill itself is used to eliminate the separation of the hands from the body and prevent players from swing around the baseball.
    I would bet that all the players highlighted in this article would miss the deep tee.

    If the goal is to hit off our front knee any swing that makes contact with the back tee would be way too long for most hitters to be consistently successful

    • Chas Pippitt December 9, 2013 at 9:34 am · Reply

      Keven,

      The drill itself is terrible…period.

      There’s very little merit to it at any level for any reason. All the players highlighted in the article would destroy the deep tee, as clearly shown by the drawings.

      I guess I’m just not sure what you’re seeing. I hope you don’t use that drill. It has no place in the game.

      Chas–

  26. Will Fiorelli January 24, 2014 at 10:53 pm · Reply

    Chas,
    How funny to see this article. I am a Travel softball and Varsity high school coach. I was in a heated discussion with a fellow coach for teaching this. I am smiling like crazy now. Just made my day. My first question was how do you expect the girls to stay behind the ball when they are swinging down? Would work for for slap hitters.

    • Chas Pippitt January 28, 2014 at 9:08 am · Reply

      Will,

      I’m glad you enjoyed the article. It’s funny…there’s really not EVER a good reason to swing down…

      Its crazy to sacrifice your opportunity for powerful contact on the barrel for ‘shortness’ to a small contact point.

      Chas–

  27. Johnny Blue Craig February 2, 2014 at 10:20 am · Reply

    For years my kid was taught the downward swing or short and to the ball. His stats were terrible. Not knowing much about baseball I accepted it. I started watching great hitters swings in slow motion and those swings were contradicting what my son was being taught. Finally and fortunately a coach named Jamey Shouppe who coached at Florida State for 22 years and is now head coach at Florida A&M University in Tallahassee, Florida began teaching my son the correct swing path. He is now playing in college and is hitting very good. Thank you Coach Shouppe.! Without you my son’s baseball career would be over. Dad’s, if your kid is being taught to swing down please leave that instructor.

    • Chas Pippitt February 3, 2014 at 10:56 pm · Reply

      Johnny,

      Coach Shouppe actually worked with Justin Orenduff at Team USA tryouts a few years back…small world!

      I’m glad it wasn’t too late for your son…that downward swing has ended many a career.

      Chas–

  28. Corey February 10, 2014 at 10:53 pm · Reply

    Chas – I will certainly take this into consideration. Great info. I’ve been preaching bat velocity with my 10 year old team this year. Never used the back T drill until this year and many felt uncomfortable with it so I stopped it. But one thing I try to teach is bat velocity and keeping hands in and getting away from bat drag. Your article was very interesting and I am a person open to all ideas as every player does differ a little. On a personal note, my 9 year old is a bid power hitter. He’s over 5ft and weighs 125 lbs. He throws very hard and we always do proper drills for arm strength and hits very hard, about a 12-13 year old level. When he gets lift it carries forever but also hits many ground balls. To me it seems like he is not getting proper hand foot separation as he loads while pitcher is in motion and strides with foot and hands at same time. Could this be the reason for all the ground balls?

    • Chas Pippitt February 12, 2014 at 9:34 am · Reply

      Corey,

      I suppose the answer is yes…but I’m totally guessing.

      You should consider our online program, then I could tell you the answer.

      One word of advice: Don’t let your son be good because he’s big…make him good…and let the BIG be the icing on the cake. Not the cake.

      Chas–

  29. Billy Reese February 16, 2014 at 12:40 pm · Reply

    Agree and disagree, and here is why. The guy in the video absolutely has a downward / incorrect bat path and teaching the downward path is also incorrect, in my opinion. He is teaching a kid to have a huge hole in his swing and must have absolute perfect timing to be successful. I do use a high back tee drill, but in a completely different manner. We set the back tee slightly further outside of the front tee, because we are trying to rid them of sweeping and dragging the bat through the zone. We use it to attack the ball from the inside of the back tee, to prevent casting and dragging the bat through the zone.

    • Chas Pippitt February 17, 2014 at 8:53 am · Reply

      Billy,

      That’s great if that’s how you use it, but we’re talking about how THIS GUY in the video is using it.

      There are many ways to skin a cat…and modify drills to make them functional…

      But this drill, as depicted, is awful.

      Chas–

      • Billy Reese February 17, 2014 at 12:16 pm · Reply

        Agreed, sadly places like youtube make it easy for anyone to be a “hitting instructor” and most parents looking to do right by their kids don’t know the difference.

  30. Bill February 23, 2014 at 10:15 am · Reply

    Forgive me, but I disagree, not completely, but to some considerable extent.

    Maybe these drills go too far, maybe they create more problems than they solve, and maybe some coaches emphasize the downward swing too much.

    But there is one basic fact that nearly every internet baseball coach seems to miss when criticizing players and coaches who believe in the downward swing.

    And the basic fact that is missed is that teaching a downward swing WORKS for MANY players MUCH of the time.

    No one would advocate this swing if it NEVER produced results on the baseball field.

    And here is why the advice works. It does not, if done correctly, cause players to literally swing down through impact; rather, it encourages a swing that is simply less of an uppercut than would otherwise be the case. In other words, hitting down is good advice for players whose swing plane is naturally tilted too high. It is obviously bad advice for players whose swing planes are either correct or are tilted too low.

    And the other benefit of TRYING to swing down is that it is a great way to combat the number one scourge of good hitting, in my opinion: bat drag.

    I welcome all responses.

    • Chas Pippitt February 23, 2014 at 8:18 pm · Reply

      Bill,

      I really enjoyed your comment. It was thoughtful and well defended, and I agree with much of it.

      The main issue that I don’t agree with is that ‘teaching a downward swing WORKS for MANY players MUCH of the time’. What has been proven, time after time, is that players do not swing down in a game, which you agree with as well. I just can’t see the need for entire HS teams to be subjected to the ‘downward swing’ and the ‘hit ground balls swing’ and the ‘back side swing’ all practice long all year long.

      The other part of your comment I do not agree with is that ‘No one would advocate this swing is if NEVER produced results on the baseball field’. The fact of the matter is, there are zero High Level Hitters who swing down in games. None. I think baseball, more than all other sports, has proven itself to be backward thinking technically over and over again. Many hitting lessons across the country are glorified story time with a pro. Very few use video, very few are full time instructors, and even less study the game on any level relevant to TEACH and take money for their services.

      I will admit, I use the drill IN MODERATION, and in very specific circumstances, to correct an exaggerated uppercut. However…I would never advocate it in a team setting (which is almost always where this is used, at a hitting station at a team practice) or without the proper supervision of a qualified and engaged professional hitting coach (who is worthy of the title).

      I have done thousands of lessons, so has JK. We see the ‘downward’ swing uploaded and in person all the time. The one that’s taught by little league coaches and HS coaches at team practices. The one that promotes ground balls to ‘take advantage of the defense’. The one that ‘creates backspin so the ball can carry’ You know, the one that creates backside flairs and rollover grounders because the kids are so afraid to let it rip because if they hit a fly ball they have to run a lap. The one that limits kids chances to hit for power, maximize their potential, and play at the next level (college or pro).

      That use and that application is why this is the worst drill in the world. But this drill, like most drills, has its uses and merits when in the proper setting.

      Thank you for your comment, it was one of the best we’ve ever gotten.

      Chas–

  31. Adam March 15, 2014 at 2:01 pm · Reply

    I grew up the son of a former college coach and had the opportunity and blessing to play at a fairly high level at the division 1 level. I agree with what you are saying, but if you watch a game or you take BP at a above average level you can tell some balls are hit that have backspin and some that have topspin. What creates the difference? I know that balls that I hit with backspin were going a lot farther then balls I hit with topspin even when I felt I squared them up. I am not defending the drill or the downward swing I am just curious in your opinion where the difference comes from. I agree there is a huge difference in feeling something in your swing and actually putting into practice while teaching. Any input would be helpful.

    • Chas Pippitt March 17, 2014 at 11:49 am · Reply

      Adam,

      You can swing up and create backspin. Most people are taught to cut the ball to create backspin…so…that really impacts the amount of FORCE you can put into the ball directionally.

      Any downward swing will create backspin…but you really limit your opportunity to generate maximum force into the plane of the pitch.

      We want the MISTAKES to have topspin. Those get through the holes quicker, don’t hang in the air, and drop over the infielders heads. We want our Correct hits to have an upward swing that hits just below center of the ball (or dead center) that will create backspin and carry.

      Chas–

  32. CoachinFool March 22, 2014 at 12:55 am · Reply

    The sad reality is that many travel ball coaches and “professional” hitting instructors teach a linear/down on the ball swing. There are several reasons for this. Initially, they are creatures of habit and rely on what they were taught many years ago before video break-down of swing mechanics was readily available. Additionally, if you are charging people huge bucks to play on your travel team, or huge dollars for hour long “lessons”, the last thing you are going to do is admit that what you were teaching is wrong and change your ways. Finally, many of these folks are arrogant and are too busy giving bad lessons to research what they should be teaching. They are paid for their expertise, so they are going to sound like they are the omniscient when it comes to hitting. With all of these so-called experts teaching bad swing mechanics its no wonder that so many coaches are doing the same thing. Your son or daughter would be far better off with no professional hitting instruction than incorrect professional hitting instruction. The bad muscle memory it develops is very difficult to correct.

    • Chas Pippitt March 23, 2014 at 8:56 am · Reply

      Coachin’ Fool

      Beautifully said.

      Chas–

  33. Rob M April 8, 2014 at 5:59 am · Reply

    The tees aren’t set with the back tee to swing over. That’s proper execution of the drill. The back tee is set so the bat clears the back tee inside the tee, hands inside ball with bat missing tee
    This 2 tee drill is a good drill if done properly. 2 tees set in those positions are fine. Chopping down over top off the back tee is not the proper drill.

    • Chas Pippitt April 8, 2014 at 10:27 am · Reply

      Rob,

      I suppose there’s a ‘correct use’ for every situation/drill.

      Bottom line, the drill is often times (as shown in the video) improperly set up and executed.

      Chas–

  34. Tracy April 9, 2014 at 12:01 am · Reply

    Great article. As I watched that video it is hard not to laugh/cry because what he is describing what the ball will do is PHYSICALLY impossible. It doesn’t even make sense even without video break down of the hitting motion, the video of good hitters doing it the right way just reinforces this reality.

    • Chas Pippitt April 9, 2014 at 10:16 am · Reply

      Tracy,

      I agree. I can’t imagine posting something like that online…rolling over a grounder to the shortstop, and then talking about backspin line-drives…

      Totally baffling.

      Chas–

    • Chad Keller April 12, 2014 at 10:40 pm · Reply

      My son was on a travel team that made the kids do the high tee drill and hit a kick ball to see who could hit it the furthest. I was the only one that could see that every kid on the team hit the ball straight into the ground. When I asked the coach if my kid could hit the kick ball without the high tee and see if it goes further, he just told me, NO.

      • Chas Pippitt April 14, 2014 at 9:41 am · Reply

        Chad,

        If you’re showing people video of pros…and they still say they swing down…you might as well talk to the wall.

        And why do you think your coach said “NO” to your question? He’d have been exposed as a buffoon. Furthermore…if your coach isn’t a professional coach, he should be taking much more direction from you, the child’s father, than it seems that he is.

        Chas–

  35. Chad Keller April 12, 2014 at 10:36 pm · Reply

    I have been arguing with people in my area for years on this subject. I have taught both of my sons to hit the correct way of getting on plane with the ball and other coaches are constantly telling them to keep their hands up and swing down. It’s to the point that I have told my kids to just ignore them and keep doing it the way I’ve taught them. If I bother to explain my beliefs on the subject, they just act like I’m wring and don’t know what I’m talking about. I have even shown people videos and they tell me that they are swinging down and that I don’t understand what I’m looking at. It is so infuriating!

    • Rich May 12, 2014 at 10:45 am · Reply

      It’s amazing Chad. My daughter is 8, we’ve been revamping her swing and the improvement in 2 weeks is dramatic. She’s already smashing balls in the gaps. Yet, every time we are in the cage someone makes a comment about the loop in her swing or how her stride is too big. It’s amazing how everyone is an expert! We’re still learning but I can tell you that her power improvement is dramatic. She’s also easily using a 19oz bat instead of the 14oz. she needed for the A-B-C swing.

      • Chas Pippitt May 12, 2014 at 11:46 am · Reply

        Rich,

        That’s how it works man…physics is undefeated. Use that advantage!

        Chas–

  36. Rich April 29, 2014 at 8:48 am · Reply

    How does this approach relate to softball hitting as the ball is approaching the hitting zone from below?

    • jkhittingrebel April 29, 2014 at 10:30 am · Reply

      Rich,

      There is a big misconception that the softball pitch rises through the hitting zone. In fact the softball pitch does reach a max height and go back down through the hitting zone.

      JK -

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