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How #HittingTwitter Must Change if Hitting is Going to Change

Written By: Chas Pippitt

#HittingTwitter is like the Wild Wild West.  There’s lots of opinions out there…some better and more informed than others…and mostly, when a disagreement happens, instead of trying to “Get it Right” most of #HittingTwitter just wants to “Be Right”.  This has to change if we, as an internet baseball community, really want to change how most middle school, high school, and college baseball and softball coaches see and teach hitting.  Now, I’ll be the first to admit that Twitter hasn’t always been something I’ve been great at.  I’ve taken more than my fair share of shots at different people and organizations. Sometimes I crossed the line at times even questioning the swing of the son of a particularly outspoken tweeter. That time superficially and a few other times were not my finest moments.  Most of those I ‘attacked’ on twitter I’ve reached out to and apologized to…some publicly, some by DM, and others I haven’t made time for the apology they deserve.

What brought this article on was simple: I saw a GIF on Carlos Correa and a conversation that occurred about the gif and what was happening inside of it.  You can find a youtube video of the gif below…

A few guys from #HittingTwitter were talking about what they ‘saw’ in the video.  Very quickly, questions became assertions, assertions became assumptions, and before you could say “relax guys, it’s just HITTING”, multisyllabic medical terms were being tossed around left and right.  (You see what I did there with that large word??? It means words with many syllables.) The thing about language is it’s amazingly powerful. How you express yourself as a coach or talking head on Twitter effects many people’s opinion of you and of your ability to do your job.

Speaking of my job…As someone who does video analysis and in person hitting lessons for a living, and who talks about movement quality and consistency almost exclusively with the clients I work with both in person and online…I think some of the things I see tweeted as ‘what pros are doing’ as simply laughable. As a little more background to myself and my staff, the entire staff is FMS certified so we can identify movement deficiencies quickly and objectively with that baseline test. We understand ‘fun’ words like ‘adductor, abductor, posterior, anterior, saggittal, transverse, proximal, distal and other technical words most people just use to sound smart. We also employ KC Judge (FOLLOW HIM ON TWITTER HERE) who has an undergrad in exercise science, a CSCS, FMS level 1, and EXOS level 1 speed certifications. Baseball Rebellion hired him all the way from Las Vegas where he has worked with such names as Troy Tulowitzki and Bryce Harper…not to mention many many other MLB level pro players. Part of WHY we hired KC is his experience working with high level athletes and explaining his information to them as well as his time working directly with children. I wanted to reach out to KC, like my entire staff does EVERY TIME there is a ‘movement’ disagreement over what muscles do what and how those muscles do it, about how his coaching has changed over time.

baseball rebellion, coaching cues, chas pippitt, kc judge twitter

Chas Pippitt and KC Judge talk about coaching cues

Basically, I just see a lot of “exclusive” language at the #HittingTwitter cool kids table, and I think it needs to be the opposite.  There’s nothing wrong with accuracy in language, but I think there’s a lot wrong with a constant over-complification in word choice that simply muddies the waters for the average dad, youth coach, middle school or high school coach looking to get better.  And that same coach now has a choice to make: Decode the thread or teach what he/she’s always taught and the information they have the most confidence in.  I had a coach once tell me, “It’s only a good throw if the first baseman catches it.”  That’s how I feel about a lot of the discussion I see on #HittingTwitter.  Honestly, I think it’s intentionally complicated to make those on the “inside” feel smarter.  My staff and I can easily talk about this swing by saying,

Correa was simply abducting his rear femur in an attempt to delay his pelvic rotation as well as his front side hip and knee extension. That action would allow his proximal clavicle (relative to the ball) to stay pointed to centerfield and maximize the stretch between his left oblique musculature and his right latissimus dorsi, all while amplifying the scapular load through his rear posterior deltoid and rotator cuff increasing the angular velocity of his rearward barrel deflection into the plane of the leather sphere hurtling towards the pentagram of destiny, or more commonly referred to as, home plate.”

Instead we just say something like this,

 

Correa has always had that interesting little ‘tic’ in his swing and it clearly doesn’t hurt him at all.  Maybe he’s using that weird knee action as a delay mechanism for an off speed pitch but it is apparent in many of his fastball swings as well.

Now, in a different time…I would call out someone specifically on here and make an example out of them…but I’m not going to do that as I just don’t think that’s the point of this article or what I’m trying to get #HittingTwitter to do. I want #HittingTwitter to make a real effort to INCLUDE people with how we tweet and how we describe hitting. What’s interesting, is one of the main ‘contributors’ on #HittingTwitter actually has on his website,

 

The goal with this is the same as it is with my Twitter account: information exchange. Hitting is becoming very big on Twitter, and there are plenty of great minds involved. With this site, that information exchange can grow larger and I can maintain one of my main passions in life; helping make the game better than it was when I found it.

What’s interesting is most of what I see this person do is make snarky ‘cool kid’ comments that don’t promote information exchange or make anyone feel good other than himself, and I have NEVER seen a post of anything other than ‘analysis’ of hitters instead of actual coaching ideas or young hitters this person has worked with. Now, I’m not linking to their site, or posting their twitter handle here…as I’m not sure what good that would do. I also have no idea if this person actually works with hitters or not…or if this person’s Twitter handle is actually their real name!!! What I am asking is everyone within #HittingTwitter to actually be about what this person’s site says it’s supposed to be about…Sharing information and helping improve the games of baseball and softball.

As I said before, and I’ll say again, I have not always shared in this mantra of sharing and helping.  I’ve gone at some people pretty hard…and most of that I feel bad about. I’m just tired of the cyber-courage of the 140 characters and a picture of a 5’9” actor instead of yourself or your business.

I know we can do better as a group.

I know I can do better as a man.

And we are going to do better at Baseball Rebellion as an information source and business.

Tweet at us your thoughts and help us change #HittingTwitter @BRrebellion

Chas Pippitt, Leader of the Baseball Rebellion

 

PS…That doesn’t mean we aren’t going to talk about bad drills and Youtube videos that are blatantly false and incorrect and hurt hitters/pitchers everywhere…

But it does mean that if you ask us a question on twitter, or our blog…we’re going to answer as courteously as possible and we’re going to continue to show our young hitters we actually work with getting better and HOW they’ve gotten better. This will actually make the game “better than it was when I (we at Baseball Rebellion) found it”.

6 thoughts on "How #HittingTwitter Must Change if Hitting is Going to Change"

  1. Steve Johnson says:

    Chas – interesting read as usual. But have you ever thought that people within EVERY industry have jargon that is their own. For example, in the teaching world we have IEPs and SGOs, “differentiated instruction,” “lateral thinking,” etc. If i used some of that terminology in the real world nobody would know what I was talking about. To your point, I’d come across as someone trying to sound intelligent (because I know these words and you don’t). Conceptually, outsiders would understand what it meant when explained; but they aren’t in the field so the jargon is foreign to them.

    So I agree that using industry specific jargon to outsiders is simply a means for one to sound more intelligent than they are. However, when talking to people WITHIN the industry those are simply the terms that are used. Similar to the medical field, financial world, law businesses, etc. in which you see industry specific terms. So #hittingtwitter seems to be people WITHIN the industry having discussions. Like you said – verbally and conceptually (anatomically) you knew everything they said but you are WITHIN the industry so you can speak to the points of adduction, ER, etc. Similar to your conversations with KC (who’s an awesome follow), I assume you two use terms in your conversations that your clients wouldn’t understand. And as the good coach that you are – you wouldn’t use those words to your clients (as you noted in the above).

    So I guess my point is: if #hittingtwitter is a discussion between people within the industry (or people who want to think they are); shouldn’t they use the industry jargon that everyone in the industry would understand? Or, are you suggesting, that #hittingtwitter should be a general conversation between “professionals” and non-professionals alike – and therefore using anatomical terms would be extraneous (see what I did there)?

    1. Chas Pippitt says:

      Steve,

      I do understand your point, and in a DM, yes for sure. But Twitter, in my opinion, is not intended to be a conversation between 2 specific people. I have 2600 followers. I’m imagining every time I tweet that i have 2600 people listening in on my conversation. If I’m leaving out 90% of them or more with my word choice, that simply makes no sense.

      That’s what I see happening over and over on #HittingTwitter and that’s what my challenge to include more people is about.

      Another example would be my speech at a conference in Maryland. I intentionally used words that anyone in the audience could relate to and understand so they could learn the most from our ideas at Baseball Rebellion and get the most out of their time and money the audience spent to hear the talk. I also think that if I were standing with you, and a few of my friends were as well, and you needed to talk to someone about your field, you wouldn’t intentionally leave us out with those types of words. I bet you’d somewhat include us in your conversation, like an electrician would if you needed new wiring or (hopefully) an auto mechanic would if something failed on your car and you needed to understand the repairs needed.

      My conversations that are NOT around others occasionally use some of those words but very rarely as we constantly make a real effort to speak with normal language so we can constantly sharpen our description skills that are usable in our practical lives (when we’re teaching/explaining information to hitters/parents).

      I think #HittingTwitter is NOT a discussion between two people…and has never been presented that way. It’s presented as ‘information sharing’ and a ‘game growth platform’ which I just don’t see often, especially when exclusive diction rules the conversation.

      Chas–

      and I like what you did there…ha!

  2. Don Ervin says:

    As usual you guy’s bring out some very informative information. Being interested in pitching I really enjoy your videos and in depth explanations on proper body movement up/within the kinetic chain.
    I am curious as to what your thoughts are on the term {swing,} Due to the fact that the bat/barrel does not entail a swing to it until after barrel to ball contact I call the movement/approach to contact a {stroke,}
    Great Base Ball-N
    Don Ervin

    1. Chas Pippitt says:

      Don,

      I almost never say “swing” when I’m teaching. I say “turn”. “turn the body, Turn the barrel, turn your nose back to the ball, turn the hips”

      Turn turn turn.

      Chas–

  3. Steve Nichols says:

    Hey Chas,

    Great post! I”m still trying to get the hang of Twitter, too, trying to make productive conversation without being a sarcastic doofus in 140 characters or less. You’re opinionated with a little bit of an edge sometimes, but I’ve learned more from you and the guys in the last two years in print and in virtual lessons, than in the first 15 of my coaching. I look forward every day to the good-swing videos and the breakdowns of a good move, by you and some very knowledgeable coaches. Keep up the great work!

    1. Chas Pippitt says:

      Thanks Steve!

      I’m really trying to walk the line between the ‘rebellion’ side of what i do and the helping side.

      bottom line is this: We at BR want to help, and have helped…with tons of free content and engagement (like this comment and article for instance) and get great results with hitters we actually work with…and we post it.

      Most of the ‘cool kids’ don’t…but more likely…can’t ‘show their work’ as there is none to show.

      Chas–

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