For the first time ever, Baseball Rebellion is going to start revisiting old articles and updating them. Far too often, I see conflicting teaching methodologies in the baseball/softball realm. That goes for pitching and hitting but for the sake of this article, we'll be addressing hitting. I've looked at numerous other baseball/softball training websites. To be honest, many of them have information that is outdated. I am currently the Head of Athletic Performance for Baseball Rebellion. I'm transitioning more into a hitting instructor role but with that transition comes a transition of thought. In strength and conditioning, if information is outdated or isn't currently being practiced, it's IMMEDIATELY updated. Unlike hitting, if you're a trainer and you're advocating exercise technique that compromises the safety of your clients, you're increasing the likelihood for injury. As a current trainer, if a client gets hurt under my watch, I'm more than likely going to lose that client. So, trainers (the moral ones) feel it only necessary to constantly update their knowledge for the safety and betterment of their clients. At least, that's how I feel when training an athlete or anyone in general. If there is a better way that brings about better results and is safer, I'm constantly seeking it out.
Note: In the video above, I left the high five in on purpose. It was a solid high five. Now, back to hitting. Lots of coaches and instructors lack a need to update their information. I'm not saying that is correct, at all, but it's the truth. At the end of the day, physical injury from a swing doesn't happen nearly as often as injuries that occur due to poor lifting technique in the weight room. So, the sense of urgency, for a vast majority of hitting instructors, is not as great as the sense of urgency trainers (higher level ones) have for keeping their clients safe. That is where we, at Baseball Rebellion, are changing. This goes for all of our instructors here. Our clients careers are of the utmost importance to us. We want the best information for our clients so they can perform the best at whatever level they are at or get to.
The article being revised is the Fix Your Posture, Fix your stride, and Much More article written by Chas in October of 2014. If you aren't familiar with it, you can read it here. In the article, Chas demonstrates how keeping a taller spine angle throughout your stride and turn is what you want in the swing. This is something we have gotten away from. I would absolutely agree taller posture helps you turn easier. If every pitch were at your letters, I'd be an advocate of staying tall. The truth is, the majority of pitchers are trying to get hitters to hit the ball on the ground. They accomplish this by throwing low in the zone. From a pitchers perspective, the hitter who stands too tall, and doesn't hinge at the hips as he strides, is the easiest hitter to get out. That's why pitchers are constantly affirmed to pitch low in the zone.
Secondly, hip hinge is CRUCIAL in the swing. When teaching any hip extension related exercise (RDL, Kettlebell swing, glue bridge), in the weight room, the number 1 error I see in athletes is their inability to load their hips to set themselves up to subsequently extend their hips to the best of their ability. When you do a hip hinge, your spine HAS to change angles. To keep the spine tall and upright would rob you of your ability to load your hips properly. Therefore, if the load isn't efficient, how can one expect to unload properly? Here are a couple examples of hitters spine angles changing pre and post stride.
I also felt it necessary to write this article at this time because we are in an instruction era where a major of the hitting world is hyper focused on the turn or the unloading of the swing. Although that is important, it is the sequence of events leading up to it that allows optimal unloading to happen. The real aspect of the swing that is vastly undervalued is how a hitter loads. The elite hitters, have a combination of hip hinge and rotation in their lower bodies before they decide to launch the barrel or take the pitch. This hinging and rotation in the lower body, causes a definitive change in spine angle. There will be numerous examples of this sequencing at the end of this article.
Bottom line is, we are getting away from cueing hitters to stay tall in theier strides. Are we advocating excessive hinge at the hips in the stride to the point that the chest is parallel with the ground? No, but there should be a definitive spine angle change, led by the loading (hinging) of the hips in the stride. This move is simply a trait shared by many of the games best hitters and one, we at Baseball Rebellion, want to be clearly visible in the hitters we work with. Here are a couple more examples. Please comment below with any questions or comments. Thank you for reading.