Ok, I’ve gotta come clean on a few things...first, it’s actually OK to go forward in the baseball swing! Wait...this seems like a huge change in philosophy, but in actuality, it isn’t...it’s a small shift in the right direction in how I describe my ‘SuperThrust’ idea.
All this started with a...
Simple Jose Bautista clip. I was watching the clip and I paused it at the top of Bautista’s leg kick. He looked exactly like a pitcher and his back leg was perfectly stiff...his body was moving forward...but not from a push, from the angle of the back leg.
He was relaxing into the forward move; Cevallos calls it a FALL in his book Positional Hitting. I like the idea of a fall, but I want to control the timing of a move; this is important, so I like to control is by 'setting the angle' with a Double Inside Load. As you can see in the clip below, I'm simply lifting my foot and turning it outward towards the pitcher. This is the easiest way to learn this move; instead of lifting the knee in a leg kick movement, pick your foot up and turn it towards the pitcher. Glide forward and land flexed in the front knee. Allow your body to move, don't be afraid of being 'forward.'
When setting the angle of the back leg, the back knee should ‘stay motionless’ as the body goes backward. We do NOT want to intentionally press inward with the back knee, this will stress the MCL. This allows the front leg to simply lift up...and then open the toe of the front foot towards the pitcher. This 'gliding' action is very easy and simple, even for my youngest kids to perform over and over.
Even if you can find big leaguers who get ‘over top’ of their back foot, that’s not a good thing, it’s still a flaw. How many pitches get missed because of an improper load? Getting to the ‘pinky toe’ of the back foot is a very unathletic position. The only benefit I can see from loading over the foot incorrectly, is that it definitely makes it impossible to ‘push’ forward with the calf muscle and the quad muscle of the back leg.
That being said, it’s still inefficient and unneeded momentum stalling movement that can be eliminated from the swing at any level.
Now, doing this at the wrong time can clearly make your way out in front, so when learning this action of 'setting the back leg angle' or 'maintaining a double inside load' you can first simply lift your front foot and open the toe, as I showed in my video earlier. Some of the great benefits of using Momentum/Setting the back leg angle are:
Check out these kids who use momentum and movement forward off of a stiff back leg angle to achieve SuperThrust and then a rearward leaning angle and a very powerful and efficient turn. Some have had lessons in person, some have only had online lessons. Nevertheless, all have shown tremendous improvement with this new movement and momentum. I am proud of them.
Aiden R. 7 Years Old:
Trip B. 8 Years Old:
Grant M. 8 Years Old:
Colin B. 8 Years Old, Only Online Instruction:
Grace S. 12 Years Old:
Zach B. 15 Years Old, Only Online Instruction:
There are people around my facility locally who say we teach moves that are too high level...or that we shouldn’t teach kids to drive the ball in the air...as ‘there are no bad hops to fly balls’.
Here’s my answer:
If you’re being taught to hit hard ground balls...you’ll never make it past high school anyway unless you have a super-elite speed tool. (You need to beat out that grounder to first base, right?) I'm talking about a 4.40 forty-yard dash time...NFL Combine Style. Probably not in the cards for 99.99999% of people.
That approach doesn’t work once anyone in the field can catch and throw. It’s a little league mentality, and it’s not the right way to go.
When I have a child, I will not hinder their progress in anything by teaching them something that I know doesn’t hold up over time.
Some things should be introduced in life at the correct time, like the ‘birds and the bee’s talk’ or the tooth fairy’s real abilities...but hitting isn’t one of those things.
YOUR KID CAN LEARN TOP-LEVEL MECHANICS!!!
So teach them correctly the first time...and be willing to let them struggle at 8, 10, or 12 so they can dominate when they stop signing up for teams and start trying out for them.
The funny thing is...these movements generally are learned very quickly and the production improves almost always within the first month. Some kids can even improve in a day.
Real Results...Really Quick.