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Power Failure! BBCOR Bats Expose Flawed Hitting Mechanics!

Written By: JK Whited

Baseball Rebellion BBCORE Bats Expose Flawed Hitting Mechanics

With the College World Series upon us, I thought it would be interesting to bring up a topic that stands out in college baseball.  Where is the offense?  The college baseball game has changed from an explosive offensive show, to three or four run ball games.  From the ACC to the PAC 12, there has been an alarming fall in power numbers in college baseball.  Home Runs, doubles, RBI’s, and slugging percentages have taken a drastic fall in the last four to five years.  Before 2011, schools were putting up numbers like never before, consistently hitting over 100 home runs a year.  Heck, In 1999 Marshall McDougall, of FSU, hit six home runs in one game!  My question is simple…why the sudden change?  If you follow baseball (which I am sure you do), I know what you’re going to say.  The bats.

Here is a list of the top four, Division 1 Universities in team home runs for the 2010 season.

  1. Auburn                131
  2. Georgia Tech     122
  3. Coastal Car.      111
  4. Miami(FL)           106

Now, here are those same four teams the next year (2011).

  1. Auburn                39
  2. Georgia Tech     48
  3. Coastal Car.      51
  4. Miami(FL)           33

If you didn’t do the math, that is a drop of -92 (Auburn), -74 (Georgia Tech), -60 (Coastal Car.), and  -73 (Miami,FL).  Did all the power hitters leave in one year?  Did the fences go back 20 feet?

In the 2009 NCAA Tournament, multiple test were performed on 25 random bats. These tests were to find the  BESR or Ball Exit Speed Ratio of aluminum bats being used in the tournament.  The tests found that 20 of the 25 bats failed the BESR.  The players were finding ways to roll bats or alter their trampoline effect.  In 2011, the NCAA stepped in, by requiring all players to use BBCOR, (Batted Ball Coefficient of Restitution) Certified Bats.  The NCAA’s goal was to ensure safety during games by lowering the average exit speed of the ball off the bat. This would seem like a very easy target to blame for the decrease of offensive numbers in college baseball. While the introduction of BBCOR caused a major riff in the world of college hitting, the bats only masked true causes for the offensive numbers to plummet.

Through my research; personal experiences; and speaking with coaches and players, the power issues, especially in college baseball, are chalked up to the weak and flawed mechanics used and taught, not just the change in bats. The college baseball hitter’s weak, knob to the ball, backside mentality of the last 15 to 20 years, is finally being exposed. All of these movements are very static and un-athletic, but the metal bats of old have been masking the efficiency and effectiveness of the the mass produced, “cookie cutter” swings for years.

College players today are part of the “baseball camp technique” generation.  Coaches at the highest levels have been teaching “easy” mechanics to athletes instead of creating more explosive movements.  Why?  Coaches do not have the time or the skills and are usually busy with things like practice plans, study hall, getting the field ready, and the recruiting process.  This does not leave much room for mastering hitting ideas.  There is just too much demand of their time.

Once again not every college hitter is put into this boat.  There are high level athletes and movers that, despite the information they get everyday in the cage, overcome flawed mechanics. Chas mentioned A-Rod overcoming bad advice in a previous article that you can read here. However, I believe that every college hitter can be put into a high level pattern, if they dedicated their time to learn and rebel against the “modern” approach to hitting.

Like I stated earlier, there are players out there whose natural explosiveness can not not be stopped.  Kris Bryant, third baseman for The University of San Diego, (recently drafted 2nd overall by the Chicago Cubs), has been a prime example of a college hitter that uses the same techniques that Baseball Rebellion teaches. Even with the BBCOR certification in place, Kris has continued to have offensive success.  Here are some of Kris’s offensive numbers this year:

Batting Average: .329  Doubles: 13  Home Runs: 31  RBIs: 62  Slugging %: 820  Strike Outs: 44

DJ Peterson from the University of New Mexico is another guy on top of the power number charts this year.  Let’s take a look at some of his numbers this year.

Batting Average: .408  Doubles: 25  Home Runs: 18  RBIs: 72  Slugging %: 807  Strike Outs: 35

As you can see from DJ’s video there are a lot of lower half similarities between him and Kris.  In DJ’s video, he clearly gets his back foot “over the bug“, not squishing it, and lots of good hip and shoulder separation.  It is hard to tell if he is as good as Kris with his arms from the view. Even though it seems he let his arms get away from him on this particular swing, overall their mechanics are similar and very close to what Baseball Rebellion teaches.

Now, how come Kris and DJ did not see the huge drop in offense that most of college baseball saw when the BBCOR Bat Certification was put into place? It is because most of the college baseball players use and are taught the same anemic “cookie cutter”, “hands to the ball”, low level, little league mechanics.  When college hitters lost the huge advantage previous bats gave them, their numbers dropped and their flaws were exposed. Kris and DJ are proof that if you have the right mechanics, it does not matter what bat you use. Even with the BBCOR bat, Kris hit 2 fewer home runs as the WHOLE  MIAMI TEAM hit in 2011.

Final Thought

Should we as parents, coaches, and instructors just teach what is “easy” for them to do and hope they turn out to be physically superior and then stumble into having explosive movements?  Some might say this is baseball’s way of naturally selecting players that will move on to higher levels one day.  With the BBCOR Certification in place that day of natural selection is going to come sooner than before. For our hitters at I.T.S. Baseball and Baseball Rebellion, we want to delay that ‘Judgement Day‘ as long as possible.

If your son or daughter is receiving lessons somewhere, open your eyes and ask yourself… Do they just hit balls the entire time?  Can they back it up with video evidence?  Are the drills explosive?  If not, how long do you think the handicaps from the bats and competition allow your son or daughter to continue playing and have success playing with or against players who are preparing the right way.

JK Whited, Baseball Rebellion

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20 thoughts on "Power Failure! BBCOR Bats Expose Flawed Hitting Mechanics!"

  1. James says:

    I was not able to watch the video bc it said they were private. However, I do agree with the article. Young boys are taught early the mechanics of how to win games at their immediate level. Hit ground balls and the other team will boot it. Im happy for UCLA’s CWS win, but their style is going to be misunderstood and further ingrain the ground ball mentality. TD Ameritrade is also going to change the landscape of college baseball, bc teams can’t win they they did to get there. I’m not even talking about the 15 balls that should have left the yard. Only one ball in the whole CWS, 15 games, got to the wall safely between the corner outfielders. The sad thing is there is really no way to change it bc of the prevailing southerly winds. So, if teams follow the ESPN analysts’ idea of constructing a team that can win in Omaha, we will have 20 more years of hit it on the ground and hope… I’m afraid punch and Judy just got a huge swing in their favor after CWS 2013.

    1. jkhittingrebel says:

      James

      Thanks for the multiple comments! Really good break down of the problem of youth baseball and college world series. I could even make the argument that you can see it at the pro level. I even heard at one point the announcers were talking about changing the ball to create more offense in college baseball. Everybody wants that quick fix to the power loss. Hopefully this will change the game back to a more “old school” way of moving and we will see more offensive numbers put up. I think people will see the need to change, even if it is only one hitter at a time. Trust!

      JK Whited-

  2. James says:

    Just looked up both guys on YouTube. Bryant could use a little double inside load, but his size helps him out with leverage. Their is a prospect video on YouTube of bryant and at the end it shows a clip of a tee drill. It is apparent that whoever is teaching him has an out in front mentality. Again, I think leverage masks his deficiencies. Peterson is average size, but appears to get all out of his body and make deep contact. He also did it against UCLA pitching, but wasn’t in TD Ameritrade.

    1. jkhittingrebel says:

      James

      The videos have been put up for the public now so can be viewed now. Funny you mention that video about Kris in the cage. I also watched that and contemplated putting that video in the article. Some guys can not be held back from being an explosive athlete. Kris has obviously found a way to overcome some things. I think USD has done a good job keeping his head still in the zone longer. I do see him coming out of that wide stance later on.

      Thanks for reading!

      JK-

  3. Drew says:

    As always this is a great article. It’s a shame that the college coaches don’t put in the time to teach the boys better hitting skills to get the to the next level.

    1. Admin says:

      Sorry for the Video Error, We have it Fixed and they are all Viewable

  4. Jeremy Johnson says:

    JK I love the article and totally agree! You guys talk about using ur hips as if power is obtained from them though. I believe the hips are too high on the kinetic chain. Everything starts from the ground. I would like to see u guys talk about leg drive or whatever term u want to call it. Its gotten from hip resistance. As the leg drives, the back hip then opens but its resisting being open. Thanks for the analysis, its good stuff! Maybe we can talk hitting soon

    Ive also recently bought the rr and dd. They are phenomenal products!

    1. jkhittingrebel says:

      Jeremy

      Wow, great comment! We always get a little concerned with words and ideas that start with “leg drive” and/or the word “push”(which is what drive really means) If you encourage a strong leg drive and use those words, you will immediately place your hitters at a disadvantage. You can not “push” or “drive” a high level turn of the pelvis. To create the resistance you speak about, there has to be two opposite pulling actions. In a hitter’s case, the pelvis will suddenly pull away from the same plane as the shoulders with the putting down of the front heel and rowing motion of the back elbow and shoulder. This is clearly seen in Chas’s breakdown of Bautista and timing article.

      Hey man we are always open to talk hitting! Thanks for reading!

      JK-

  5. Bob says:

    All this info is right on I was just at a show case and the hitting coach was telling the group that you have to swing on a downward a path and all this other non sense

    1. jkhittingrebel says:

      Bob,

      Yes unfortunately there are a lot of misinformed coaches. We know that it can be frustrating. Our door is always open for hitting and pitching conversations if a coach ever wanted to talk. Thanks for reading!

  6. Gabe Ortiz says:

    Great insight on a very hot topic! I would be interested in seeing video analysis of hitters from the UCLA lineup or other programs that are ” built” to win in similar fashion the Bruins do. Outstanding work keep it up!

    Gabe

    1. jkhittingrebel says:

      Gabe,

      I think I can already tell you the types of patterns we would see. In college baseball, especially in the west, teams build around hit and run type guys. This is just how they operate out there. Can not argue the coaching philosophy considering all of the CWS championships they have won lately. Again though, they set their guys up for perhaps a rough beginning in professional baseball in my opinion. Not every player is in this boat, but the hitting ideas of one coach tend to be applied to the whole team. We believe the college athlete is capable of way more explosive and natural movements than they are being taught. Even the smaller players!

      Thanks for reading!

      JK-

  7. Ryan says:

    I love this site and the articles. Very informative. We are 100% baseball rebels at our house, eventhough it seems like everything i teach my sons is contrary to what they hear at practice. luckily, i have been able to help coach both my sons and can intervene when needed. That being said, my 10 year old jacked 7 homeruns in batting practice yesterday. He has always been a great hitter, but is starting to stand out on a very good competitive team. Just to put it into perspective, there is only one other kid who has hit one out in practice. I have found out that when they are hitting well, most coaches won’t offer advice or changes. Sorry for the long back story. Now to my question: What bats do you recommend for youth hitters? My 10 year old son uses a wood bat for occasional batting practice and drills, but in games uses a 30 in (-10) would you recommend using wood bats in games or going to BBcor bats now? or is it something they should start working into in the next few years? Thanks in advance and keep up the good work!

    1. Chas Pippitt says:

      Ryan,

      I figured I’d jump in on this question, but if you want JK’s opinion as well, just let us know.

      First of all, that’s awesome that you’re enjoying our methods and have examined the alternative teaching styles and make the adjustments for your son. It’s great to hear people reading the blog, thinking critically about what they’re teaching their children, and committing to a choice to give their kids a technical advantage. It may be the ‘long way’ to a great swing as there are no ‘short cuts’ to a pro level swing, but it’s the path of proper learning.

      There should be a HUGE difference between ‘coaches’ and ‘professional instructors’. Coaches at the level you’re at, want to win games and have some fun for the kids. Most coaches should take the ‘if it ain’t broke don’t fix it’ approach to coaching kids. Professional Instructors should always be finding new ways to teach and able to defend and prove the ideas that they do teach any client. They should also teach new and higher level mechanics proactively to avoid the failure of the baseball field changing or bat rules making a hitter swing heavier bats. Example: Most parents read to their children LONG before the child can read…you do this to help your child learn and prepare for his or her own reading development. Why would hitting be different from a learning perspective?

      At Baseball Rebellion and I.T.S. Baseball, our kids swing ‘real wood’ bats from either Charleston Bat Company OR EARL Bat at every lesson and every time they hit at home on their own. Some of our best hitters, youth and high school, swing wood every day all the time at practice but all of our hitters swing metal in high school, middle school, and little league games.

      Preparing for the future of baseball (big fields, big bat requirements) allows our clients and all hitting rebel’s out there to have an even greater technical advantage at one of the most important times in a player’s development: Middle School Tryout Day.

      Long answer made short: You don’t need a BBCORE or a heavy metal bat. Get him a youth bat that’s the SAME LENGTH as his game bat and replace it as his game bat lengthens. Make sure his Game and Practice bats are ALWAYS the SAME LENGTH as we don’t want to move his sweet spot around.

      Chas–

      1. Ryan says:

        Chas –

        Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions.

        Ryan

  8. Mike says:

    Great article JK. Enjoyed visiting with you at ITS in June (when Chas was out with his newborn) Thanks for showing us around.

    MIke

    1. jkhittingrebel says:

      Mike,

      Awesome to see you guys in the building! Can not tell you enough how much we appreciate you and everybody that supports what we are trying to do. Hope to see you guys again really soon.

      JK-

  9. evan lowe says:

    i totally agree

  10. Daniel Campbell says:

    This is a question in regards to Chas’ comments July 17, 2013 post at the end you mention getting the same length wood practice bat as a player’s game bat. I get that about the sweet spot and that makes sense to me. But, what about weight? My son 9yrs. swings an Easton metal bat 27″ weighing 17.625 oz., yet his Louisville Slugger 125YBW Youth bat at 27″ weighs a whopping 24.625 that’s nearly a 1/2 pound difference. So I guess I can try to find a wood bat that can get me closer to that -9 or -10, but my real question is it seems the conventional wisdom from the coaching i hear always says “go lighter.” Well how much lighter? And what are the tell-tale signs of a bat being too light during a young player’s swing? While a too heavy bat seems a little bit easier to identify. FYI, the kids & parents here for the most part are just guessing at what a kid should be swinging. I see big kids swinging super light bats and smaller ones trying to swing heavier with no rhyme or reasoning in considering length or weight.

    I love wood bats and if there wasn’t so much peer pressure and marketing using a metal bat out there I would have my son solely swing wood, but does that really matter at young ages 7-12? Or will a young player get a greater long term benefit only using wood if his coach would even allow that in game situations?

    Finally, just choosing a wood bat these days is more complex then just a simple ash bat. What’s best or what are the different characteristics pro & con to ash, birch, maple, bamboo etc.? So any advice greatly appreciated as I’m flailing (pun intended) over bats these days. Peace …….dc

    1. Chas Pippitt says:

      Daniel,

      The weight of a ‘real’ wood bat is about a -4 to -5 ratio for youth bats. Anything less than that is essentially a metal bat anyways.

      I think the added strength a wooden bat can add is solid, but sometimes, swinging a bat that’s too heavy can cause some drag issues in the upper body, BUT will force the lower body and poster to be more athletic and powerful.

      If your son is only swinging a 27” bat, i’d not worry so much about this wooden one yet. Get him up to a 30” and go from there.

      Chas–

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