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Mental Marker Series – Head Back Positioning

JK Whited’s Mental Marker Series- Head Back Positioning

This new Mental Markers tip came in the form of a question from a premium member. He was wondering how to help younger players get their head in the correct positioning during the stride without leaning over their front leg.

Here is a quick Mental Marker to help your son or daughter immediately.

Thanks for watching!

If you like this video, check out JK’s other Mental Marker Drill Videos only available to BR Premium subscribers!

Mental Marker Series- Timing

Mental Marker Series- Swing Plane

Mental Marker Series- The Stride

Mental Marker Series- Keep the Hands High in the Swing

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JK Whited’s Mental Marker Series- The Backfoot Movement

Allowing the back foot to move forward has been a staple in the Baseball Rebellion methodology for a long time.  It can really help hitters become the best rotational athlete they can be.  Sometimes, however, too much back foot movement can really hurt a hitter’s posture, among other things.  Here is a quick Mental Marker to help you or your hitter know exactly how far is too far. Thanks for watching!

In This Video You Will Learn:

-The Importance of the Backfoot Movement
-The Right and Wrong Way to Move Your Backfoot
-How it Can Help Increase Consistency and Power

If you like this video, check out JK’s other Mental Marker Drill Videos only available to BR Premium subscribers!

Did you like JK’s Drills? Take an online lesson with him today!

Loading in the Back Hip for More Power

When it comes to maximizing your rotational power there are a lot of things that will come to mind.  Here at Baseball Rebellion, we know for a fact that your body has to work a certain way to do so. In this article, I will be explaining how creating torque with your back foot in your hitting stance can lead to better and more efficient swings. Most importantly, how loading into the back hip can help increase your power.

What is Torque?

The scientific definition of torque is simply applying rotational for to and object.  Meaning that it is twisting motion. This concept is mainly applied when moving weight during a bench press, squat, and deadlift. 

When you create torque you create tension allowing your body to work in a more efficient and safe way. The gif below is a good visual of what torque is.  As you can see when to externally rotate my hands and arms I can bend the PVC pipe.  This is torque and what I have created is more tension.

gif for torque1

Why You Need to Create Torque

Creating torque with your back foot is something that every hitter can accomplish.  The swing starts from the ground and works up through your body. As a hitter who is trying to create more force, it all starts with you preparing your body to do so. Such as loading into the back hip.

Creating torque with your back foot creates tension through the inside of your foot, leg and all the way up into your back hip. This allows hitters to truly feel what it is like to turn into their back hip.  As a result, the hitter will start there swing from where they feel the tension. This is stored energy allowing you to use it when you rotate into the ball.

Lastly, another benefit on why you need to create torque from the ground up is that you gain hip stability.  Meaning that you will have better body control allowing you to have a better swing direction.

Banded Knee Drill

I know I am performing the drill barefoot.  But you do not have to, just make sure you are activating your foot properly within your shoe or cleats.  Do not try to externally rotate too much.  If you try and screw yourself in the ground too much you will become too stiff and slow.  Therefore do not try and create 100%  torque it should feel like you're in the ground but not exaggerating it.

Final Thoughts

If you want to maximize your rotational force, power and consistency understanding how to use torque is something that you need to consider.  As I have said before there are a lot of things that go into having a good swing.  Meaning as a hitter there is always something that can be tweaked or slightly changed to improve.

The goal is to hit the ball hard, far and consistently and that all starts with how you prepare your body to do so.  My favorite quote ever from my former head coach Sam Riggleman goes like this "The accumulation of little things, in fact, is not little".  This is something that I try and apply to my life every day and now hitters need to apply this same mindset as well.

Therefore, taking the time to not hit a million balls off the tee or front and truly break your swing down to work on the little things will be key to your success.  Athletes who make it far take ownership of their mistakes and what they need to work on. If you want to be the best you have to practice and spend time fine-tuning your skills.

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3 Tee Drill

Get Consistent Hard Contact with the 3 Tee Drill

If your hitter struggled to make contact to all fields last season check out our version of the 3 tee drill series & how it can help them develop a consistent bat path

Help Your Swing By Striding Forward

In regards to tempo and timing, the Long Stride Drill is great when done correctly.  Hitters who feel that they are spinning off the ball are probably caught on their backside.  Being able to move forward during your stride is key to getting the most out of a hitters swing. 

This is for hitters to gain a better understanding of how early they start to load, the tempo they move at, and overall body control.  

What Are We Trying to Correct with this Drill?

  1. Tempo: I am very big on how fast and how smooth my hitter’s stride in lessons.  When hitters are forced to start in a more narrow stance they have to start earlier to time the pitch.  The early preparation gives them time to set up their body with a good hinge at the hips and a slight turn in with their upper body. Moving smoothly while staying controlled is key here. 

2. Swing Direction: Since we are striding farther the hitter's body will move forward more than normal.  When hitters keep there head back as they move forward this helps set their body up in power positions.  The forward motion will help their swing go where it needs to go. Since the ball comes from the middle of the field (pitcher) we need our body to stride that way properly so we can react to the pitch with the correct swing direction. 

3. Getting off of Your Backside-  As I mentioned before, hitters who have a tendency to get stuck back and spin-off the ball have minimal forward movement. Feeling the longer stride, in my opinion, will help free up the hitter's movement patterns and get them comfortable with starting early and moving the hips forward. 

Keep in Mind

Hitter's, especially young ones, will have a tendency to drive their head forward during this drill. This is extremely detrimental to hitters and put's them in terrible positions that hinder their success.

If we have the hitters focus on striding with their hips and moving them out farther, then we are creating the proper angles needed to drive the ball into the outfield.

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Check out this simple drill that can be done indoors to help improve hitters' head position during their stride which allows them to swing the bat faster.

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Why We Teach It: Head Movement

Hitter’s understanding that the swing happens ‘below’ the head and not ‘with the head’ is key in maintaining posture and head position. Ideally, we want zero head movement forward while the body is rotating. Zero head movement in the turn gives the hitter the best vision as their eyes move minimally and help ensure that they keep their posture back away from the ball to allow space for the barrel to move up towards contact.

Good: Head Movement

  • Once hitter lands in step and shows the position and begins to rotate, they do not move forward at all anymore in the swing. Imagine the hitter’s head landing inside a circle after the stride, and throughout their turn, the hitter must maintain their head position inside the circle. 
  • Rotation is clean and fast without any wasted forward move of the head and spine. 
  • Back shoulder drops down and behind the ball supporting the bat and allowing the hitter to make adjustments to different pitch heights. 

Bad: Head Movement

  • The hitter pushes off their back leg and causes the hitter to shoot their head/chest forward and severely alters their bat path to a more downward swing plane, causing more pop-ups and ground balls. 
  • The hitter moves their head ‘outside’ their circle. Moving their eyes and limiting their ability to see the ball.
Hitter's Head Jumps Forward
Hitter's Head Loses Ground Back

How We Teach It: Head Movement

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