Training Your Swing With Intent

Written By: JK Whited

After watching the video above, I think you would be able to say that every single swing was taken with authority, purpose, and  the plan of ruining a pitcher’s day.  If your player is not training with these same qualities, they are, without a doubt, wasting their time.

As researchers and instructors, we are always looking for the technical advantage for our players.  We study how the human body is supposed to work and how it can be used in the most efficient way to strike a baseball with accuracy and force in the shortest amount of time possible.  We want our players to understanding of the key components and principles of a great swing pattern.  The principles include vision, hip and shoulder separation, stride direction, etc.  All of these things have a very important place on the “hitter’s totem pole” so to speak.  Without these components working together as a system,  the player can not reach their potential.  This is not to say they can’t still be good players, they simply just won’t be working at maximum potential.

Important as all of those principles are, there is one underlying concept that seems obvious but is rarely seen.  Intent.  There are many variations of the word “intent,” but put simply it means “what you are planning to do.”  If your dream is to be a great hitter, then there is only one kind of intention that works and that is the intent to crush the baseball – all of the time.

intent to swing hard picture

When a new client comes in for an evaluation, one of my favorite questions to ask them is,  “So when you come up to hit, what are you trying to do?”  Nine times out of ten, the response I get is, “To hit the ball.”  My second question is,  “Hit the ball how?”  The answer to that question will always be “To get a hit.”  Now, these answers seem to be reasonable in theory, but are they the right ones?  I suppose the answer is yes and no.  If the determinant of success is a player’s statistics, then “trying to get a hit” is a good answer.  I would argue that success lies in taking a great swing with great intentions, whether they get on base or not.  If they have the swing pattern and more importantly the intent, I don’t worry about the results – they will come.

Baseball Swing Intent

This diagram illustrates the fundamental idea that intent should always be visible when working on any aspect of the swing.

As a staff, we tell our players that mistakes at less than top-speed don’t matter.  We want top-speed and aggressive mistakes.  It does the instructor and the player no good to make mistakes while going slow to ensure contact.  Don’t get me wrong, there is a phase of a player’s training where they must learn to walk before they can run. However, they need to top-speed as soon as possible. The hitter must be willing to take aggressive swings and fail in practice in order to become more successful in games.  I will fully admit that one of my biggest challenges as an instructor is to not be over technical.  Quality instructors spend a lot of time analyzing every single movement from a technical view, which they need to do.  They also must be careful not to fall too deep into the technical hole which will produce good technique in a robot fashion.

The young lefty you see above is a example of a great kid who has changed his swing for the better.  He has worked extremely hard and kept a phenomenal attitude through the good and bad times of his training.  However,  he never fully came into his own until he understood and believed that he could take the hacks you see him take now.  If you notice in the series of pictures below, he was able to have almost identical swing patterns with intent to crush the ball on all pitch locations.  This entire series of eight swings took place during two rounds of five where he crushed every ball at every location.  It was a very inspiring round for him and myself, hence the video and this article.

The educated instructor could go through each of these eight swings and pick out the subtle flaws, in stride direction, hand position,and vision.  However it is interesting enough to know that like pure body size and mass, intent can also mask some technical mistakes.  When Mike Trout lands with a closed front foot, most high level instructors know that this is wrong and for multiple reasons.  If Mike Trout wanted to perhaps rotate further and eliminate some stress inside his knee, he would have the ability to hit the ball a little harder. The only thing is, he hits the ball plenty hard enough and often enough to be one of the best players in baseball.  Does he really need to hit the ball further than he already does?  Like our player in the video, Trout’s highly efficient (but not perfect) swing pattern is powered by intent.  Without the intent, the rest doesn’t matter.  Our young player now knows that no matter where a pitcher might want to throw him, he can handle anything and handle it with force.  As a player, does it get any better?

Baseball swing contact positions

Young lefty shows both technical skills and serious intent to crush the ball at all locations.

The moral of this story is that no matter which swing pattern you choose to follow, make sure that you and your player understands what their true job really is.  Most players can be capable of so much more if they just have the right intentions. As parents, coaches, and instructors, we need to help and allow those intentions to be realized.  The right intentions paired with a proper swing pattern will allow a player to find out just how high their ceiling can be.

 

JK Whited

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titan193
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titan193

I’ve been training my son with the Rebels Rack and Drive developer over the last two years, he’s 11 now. This past June he was selected for the 10/11 yr old All Star team. His first at bat on a 2-2 count, he crushed a home run to deep center, over the score board.

I want to say, we’re firm believers in training to build form and the exercises we received from BR has no doubt increased my sons success at the plate.

Thanks BR.

sean moss
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sean moss

JK

Can u elaborate or refer me to any previous articles on barrel turn

thanks

luis
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luis

hello what i have noticed with mlb hitters and here on BR that in order to kill the ball the front should goes up am i correct in that? i have been doing the drills of the rebellion but i dont see how in real speed the front knee moving back to turn my hips is correct. what can u tell me about that? also i feel if i only move my front hip the back hip will follow causing my front knee to lock in. when im turing my back hip my hands stay in the same position but… Read more »

luis
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luis

thanx for the message.. i notice alot of the hitters on your program do a leg lift and it also looks like a weight shift back and then forward.. do you recommend a leg lift or just a str8 stride forward? do both produce the same amount of power and batspeed? AJ that kid who swings over 100mph has a leg lift. one more thing my bat path is a problem for me? is it safe to say that the bottom rotations with the hips and the hands goes forward knob to the ball effect? thanx JK

luis
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luis

thanx man hopefully i will become a better hitter. one more question the back knee when you stide forward and about to rotate the front hip does the knee go str8 down in a linear or does it rotate together or seperate from the back hip?

luis
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luis

im sorry i meant the BACK knee not the front knee. if it goes str8 down or rotate with the back hip together or seperate

luis
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luis

what i meant if the back knee goes str8 down while the back hip is turning. the back knee creates the back hip to rotate. but i believe from what your telling me is that the back knee turns together with the back hip

Randy Puaatuua
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Randy Puaatuua

The one thing I have trouble with is getting my player to have “intent” to smash the ball. From the looks in the video there wasn’t much intent either and then something clicked along the way, of course with the improved swing. What was it?

Other than “intent” to replace the shoulders in rotation and many other improvements in the swing it just looks like the boy turned on the “beast mode” switch from the old, sad, drabby days lol. Well, if the article is still being attended would like to hear what made the boys intent click.

Ethan Curtis
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Ethan Curtis

Can you explain the back shoulder row.