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Rock Into The New Season with This Power Starter

Written By: JK Whited

One  of the more difficult things we ask our clients to do here at The Baseball Rebellion, is to develop their own sense of rhythm and fluidity in their movements. Some players will naturally have a feel for their own rhythm and therefore have good tempo and timing in their load no matter what type of pitcher they are facing or what windup that pitcher uses. Unfortunately, not all hitters have a natural feel for tempo, so we've got to teach them how to feel themselves move in concert with the pitcher.

Here is a great guide for anyone interested in starting their swing off with a really nice "sway"  move that I call the "Rock and Lock". Not everybody will feel accustomed to this move initially, but teaching this calm, repeatable, and easily practiced move is a good way to get the ball rolling.  The "Rock and Lock" may end up being what works for you or you may modify it to meet your own personal comfort level and athletic gifts.

 

With time and practice this simple start can really help the hitter generate more power.  It is so important the the player truly knows his or her own rhythm and tempo so that they also have great timing with each pitcher they face.  Without an understanding of one's own athletic movements tempo, good timing with the pitch will be next to impossible and the added power of this 'falling' forward move will rarely show up.  Thanks for watching!

JK Whited, Leader of the Baseball Rebellion

PS: The best part about the "Rock and Lock" is that you can practice it ANYWHERE...as you don't have to swing or hit in order to perfect it.  Any move before the TURN is about trust and discipline and the willingness to put time into the move in a mirror or with a Rebel's Rack to train your body and mind to relax and allow the calmness needed to perfect your "Rock and Lock" load.

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23 thoughts on "Rock Into The New Season with This Power Starter"

  1. Walter says:

    Great article. The “rock and lock” phrase and move should be a really good way to get my sons started with their move toward the ball by activating their back knee as a way to initiate their forward fall. I understand that establishing a rhythm and showing what the hitter should do with their back leg is the focus of the demo, but I question the position of your front foot and knee at landing. I showed the video to my son and the first thing he said was, “he’s not landing right on his front side.” You do not demonstrate opening the hips and landing with front knee and foot facing the pitcher. Is that an aspect of the swing that you don’t agree with or is it just that you didn’t want to focus on the front side landing for this demo?

    1. jkhittingrebel says:

      Walter,

      I wanted this article to just be about establishing a fluid and rhythmic start to their movement forward. I think around 1:20 or so I mention that I am not worried about how I’m landing on my front foot, but that was very good catch by your son. Remember that the front hip/knee/foot opening will only happen fully when the hitter decides to actually swing. Since I am not taking any swings, there is no need for the front side to open. I fully agree that when the player decides to swing, they need to have a fully open knee and foot.

      JK-

      1. Jon Ball says:

        Also, your head is getting way ahead of center. Do you want your head to get that far forward?

        I also think your pelvis and hips start to open at toe touch on a take and a swing. Thoughts?

        1. jkhittingrebel says:

          Jon,

          The head will stay directly over the pelvis with a slight angle forward to get the entire body weight moving forward. Once I get to my front side, in a real swing, my front leg will stop any more head movement forward as I commence into my rotation. Again, I wanted to demonstrate a way to move forward with rhythm and consistency. What happens in the swing after I land, in this drill, I don’t really worry about until I feel good with this.

          This pelvis/knee/foot will open on takes as well(depending on the quality of the pitch), you are correct there. If the pitcher throws a ball early enough the less the front foot will open in my opinion. The hitter should be taught a late and explosive opening of the front foot started by the rotation of the core. If the the pitch is a ball that is a closer to being a strike the hitter will open the font side with a quick flinch of the core. This is due to the lateness of the decision to swing or not swing.

          JK-

  2. Vince Villavicencio says:

    Is the “Lock” in the “Rock and Lock”, the straightening of the back knee?

    1. jkhittingrebel says:

      Vince,

      Correct.

  3. Bob says:

    I really like this segment, simple yet profound. Great instruction!

  4. Steve Nichols says:

    Great lesson, J. K. It’s simple to understand and execute, and will make it easy to coach the move.

    1. jkhittingrebel says:

      Thanks Steve!

      JK-

  5. Travis Oakley says:

    Great stuff as usual JK. Been following you guys for awhile and really appreciate your willingness to share. I really like this article and when actually executing the “Rock and Lock” move I feel like it has provided more intrinsic feedback of the forward move than any other thing I’ve tried. I do need some help though. With locking the back knee and even going onto the back heel how does this square with an earlier article written by Chas that discusses the DIL which weights the instep of the back foot and creates a solid anchor? On the surface these seem like opposite ideas. Having read every single article you guys have put out I know I am missing (or over analyzing) something and you will help me with clarification. Thanks again.

    1. jkhittingrebel says:

      Travis,

      Excellent question. I was hoping that someone would bring this up.

      As a staff, we are constantly pushing. We push our players, each other, and our information. We are always checking and questioning even our own material in the hopes of finding a better way or maybe just adding on another idea to make the original thought more complete. The Double Inside Load is still very true and a HUGE part of being athletic in the swing. Keeping the DIL on the sway or “Rock” phase of what I am talking about is where that comes into play. If the player does not have a solid DIL, the back leg, knee, or body weight will be allowed to move over the back foot. This will put the hitter in a nonathletic and “stuck” position. This will lead to many other issues down the sequence.

      Once the proper move forward starts, the “Lock” mechanism or straightening of the back leg, combined with a good DIL will allow for the hitter’s body to fall. The heel will be used in order to keep the DIL. So in essence the weight distribution on the back foot will just be more even between the ball and heel but still on the inside of the foot. Once the player develops the proper sequencing of these moves, they can begin to have a repeatable rhythm and tempo. In my opinion, this move is an advancement on an already great idea. Hope this cleared things up!

      JK-

      1. Steve Black says:

        JK – I fear the Rock back – many hitters get stuck over the back foot. Here’s a technique I’ve used that I’d like your feedback – when we began working with Chas – we used a wedge on the back foot – this is like a Training aid that was called the power wedge (pitchers and hitters) – I don’t see it anymore – I see SKLZ has one for Golf – but better than the wedge was just keep your pinkie toe off the ground.

        Lift the pinkie toe is on the back foot and only the pinkie toe is lifted so no weight can go there. It creates a wedge forcing you to go forward.

        So now I cue the hitter – ‘lift your pinkie toe’ then they cannot rock back over their back foot.

        1. jkhittingrebel says:

          Steve,

          Yes I have seen the “power wedge” device used before. Keeping the double inside load position with the back knee inside the back foot is they key. This can be done without the wedge but it can make it easier for some people. I think if the hitter is getting stuck on the back foot, they just need to practice keeping the DIL with a wedge or not, and make sure on the “rocking” phase they keep pressure on the inside of their back foot.

          I like the cue your using for a younger player to give them the idea but I think explaining what actually needs to happen is better in the long run.
          I really like the rock back. I think it creates optimal tempo and rhythm for a hitter and allows a more athletic move. Just picking up the front foot and moving forward is okay for a player just getting started who might be having issues with moving forward. This can sometimes just be too quick of a move and therefore getting the player down too early cause all sorts of other problems. Like Bautista, you can have a really high leg kick with a rock back as long as you keep the angle on the back side. They player just has to put the time in to master it. Like most things in life.

          JK-

          1. Steve Black says:

            I never thanked you for the great reply.
            Many good thoughts – but the best part I took from it is just picking up the front foot and moving forward is good when just starting – but there is more to be had.

            steve

          2. jkhittingrebel says:

            Steve,

            Thank you for reading and being a part of the discussion!

            JK-

  6. tony says:

    can you talk about after you stride forward do you keep the front foot open 45 degrees with the bent front knee? after that the first knee moves back creating the swing?

    1. jkhittingrebel says:

      Tony,

      We have a lot of great information in more depth in other articles from the past. Once the hitter begins to swing, the core will begin to open which in turn will open the front hip, knee, and foot. The most optimal degree for the foot to be open from the start is 45 degrees because it allows full hip rotation and max speed. This may not happen ALL the time on EVERY swing in games, however in practice, you should strive to get the 45.

      The front knee will push back to help create the rotation from the front side.

      JK-

  7. Zekai says:

    I would like to say thank you for all these great information, I truely believe in them. However my parents and coaches dont seem to get it. I have one major question i would like to ask regarding to getting barrel on plane as early as possible. For the last two years, i was taught a no stride loading mechanism, and it also happens that the last two years are the worst baseball seasons i have ever had. Simply because i never seem to be able to get the barrel on plane in time. This off season, i’ve decided to change things up, because its insane to do the same thing and expect different results. I added a leg kick, because it feels a little more athletic and natural, and i thought it would help me use my lower half correctly. however i still cant seem to get away from the upperbody dominant swing i’ ve developed in the last two years. Can you tell me the most important thing in a correct, powerful, and efficient swing powered by the lower half to core. And how to get out of a swing powered by the upper half?

    1. jkhittingrebel says:

      Zekai,

      Sorry to hear about your last two seasons. Sadly there are so many players out there that are afraid to seek out help in fear of what their coaches might say or do. Hopefully we can begin to change all of that.

      As far as THE most important thing to have a “correct, powerful, and efficient swing”. I think you already said it. You have to remain athletic and have athletic practice methods. Very rarely do we do any drill or movement work that is non-athletic. Weather you have a high leg kick or not, moving in a way that allows you to reach potential power and yet remain adjustable to different pitches and pitch locations will always be the key ingredient to any successful swing. As far as a specific move, they are all important and they all work in a system together. One move will not function correctly without another doing it’s job so it is hard to tell you exactly ONE most important move. Sounds to me like you are on the right track and thinking like an athlete!

      JK-

  8. rfernandez86 says:

    i was always told that when your about to swing your front side should never open cuz that creates a long circular swing.. is that correct? the videos i see on here all the great swings have an open upper body. please explain better

    1. jkhittingrebel says:

      Mr. Fernandez,

      That IS NOT correct. In order for the player to create the most power that he/she is capable of, they must open their front side. There is a lot of great information already on this site and others that clearly proves the opening of the front knee/foot from the explosive rotation of the core. The hard part is how and when to do it. Once this is done, the upper body will then follow the rotation of the hips open with the barrel coming around with the back shoulder. Sorry to hear that you have been told not do so, I hope this site can help you down the right path. Thanks for reading!

      JK-

  9. Brian Sigler says:

    Would you recommend locking up the back knee in an actual hitting situation?

    1. jkhittingrebel says:

      Brian,

      I like this move in order to get my body moving forward and not getting stuck over the back knee. Once the hips begin their rotation the back knee MUST bend as it gets pull around. So Yes I like this move in the loading phase but not as part of the swing. The knee can not stay straight.

      JK Whited

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