I talk to many coaches, all over the country, on a monthly, weekly, and daily basis. One of my favorite coaches (we will call him “Eric” which is not his real name) texted me today. Here’s some of our conversation, that I think illustrates a lot of confusion and frustration in the social interaction within the hitting community over what is expected by the coaches themselves, the parents of the players, and the players taking the lessons.
So there’s a lot to digest in those first few comments. First, Eric talked about what most hitting coaches do and what he does, then he painted the common perception of me / Baseball Rebellion Instructors as ‘starting from scratch’ with our ideas and building the swing from the ground up. As you can see based on my response, in our initial phases of working with professional athletes (and all athletes for that matter) we rarely actually HIT. We allow the athlete to really understand and learn a higher quality movement pattern that supports an explosive turn, so that the athlete’s body chooses this optimal movement automatically once player begins to hit again.
Eric then went on to talk about his own issues with the Rebel’s Rack and his feelings on how his players use the Rebel’s Rack. He said:
Again, lots to see here and think about. Lots of coaches I talk to greatly overcomplicate things. Shoot, you can find 5000 word articles about every tiny little movement a professional hitter makes. Those articles have their place, and I’ve even written a few hyper-technical articles in the past. But I know that’s not how athletes learn and writing articles like that is the most sure fire way to confuse dad’s and mom’s everywhere who are just looking for a few correct and actionable coaching points to help their child hit better. Baseball Rebellion isn’t about ‘simplifying’ the baseball swing…baseball campifying it into “7 steps of hitting”….CUE THE WORST HITTING VIDEO EVER…
Yikes…We’re about simplifying how the complicated and explosive hitting sequence is Taught by Coaches and Learned by Athletes. Eric then mentioned the “toothbrush drill” which is a Baseball Rebellion Favorite and really engages and coordinates the large muscles of the core that turn the pelvis in the swing. See my demonstration of the toothbrush drill below and incorporate that into your pre-swing routine to activate your muscles and enhance the speed and completeness of your pelvis turn in the swing. The reason we call this drill the toothbrush drill is because you should do it twice a day…in front of a mirror…after you brush your teeth. (Clever huh?)
After the “toothbrush drill” comment, we went into some more technical teaching stuff, and then we were back to Rebel’s Rack and turn conversation:
Eric is a really smart guy. Matter of fact, I really enjoy talking to him, that’s probably why I talk to him so much honestly. The thing I like most about him was his initial skepticism in how the Rebel’s Rack could help his players and even how the turn works in general. We still talk about the Bat Drag Buster and how/if the arms work that way…but that’s for another time…and I appreciate that he’s willing to challenge me but also willing to HEAR my thoughts and TRY to see my side of the story. I do my best to treat his information exactly the same, and I know he appreciates that as well. As you can see from the texts above, he’s searching to be better, which is AWESOME. I wish more coaches were progressive and willing, as those who reach out to me get a lot in return once they show they really want to engage and share. You can see how he taught the turn in steps, which we try not to do quite so rigidly, as Baseball Rebellion teaching a series of movements not positions which can clog the swing and the brain of a young and impressionable hitter. If you’re a coach trying to teach this style of hitting, and very few of your students can do it…they’re telling you something…about YOU. That’s what Eric knows and that’s why we talk the way we do. So we can help each other reach more people in baseball and softball. Then I started talking about my ‘stubbornness’ as a coach, not with hitting, but with the movement improvement drills we do with the rack in the mirror and with resistance.
Most instructors feel pressure from parents to make the kids better. I know I feel it. But I remember the end goal: (Parents) want their kid to mash as fast as possible. That’s a simple fact. And if you set the expectations in the evaluation or first time with the kid/team, then you can introduce new movement patterns and drills that will accelerate the players’ development. Another thing I’d strongly advise, and many coaches do, is they show video not just of professional hitters, but of young hitters that are similar in age and size to the player they’re talking to. This shows the kid that he/she CAN do the moves, but they have to do the program that gets them to the movement progression they want in their swing. Often times, those moves DO NOT involve hitting a baseball. I say this all the time: You don’t learn math DURING the math test, or by TAKING MORE TESTS over and over. You take a test, see what you did wrong, the teacher breaks down the mistake…you practice that part of the problem over and over and then you re-test. Many people try to hit their way to a new swing, when they are just reinforcing the same patterns that got them to need lessons/struggle in the first place. Lets make this new year a time of change in how the game is taught, spoken about, evaluated and learned. Baseball Rebellion, and our growing group of coaches all over the country, are on the front lines of teaching and and educating the masses about the fastest way to learn.
We’re here. We’re friendly…all you have to do is engage. Hit me up on twitter @BRrebellion. I’d love to talk some hitting.