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Rebel’s Rack HitTrax Comparisons

This article is going to have a lot of numbers. So, prepare yourself. That being said, it’s very easy to understand and see what I’m going to highlight, if you choose to believe what you see.

 

Below, I’m going to show a few hitters’ HitTrax data from their evaluations and then from their next sessions.  Some of these hitters are from ‘back to back’ sessions. This means they had their evaluation and then we had a lesson right after that. Others had an eval and then did a Rebel’s Rack Progression lesson where they did NOT hit. Afterwards, they had a week of movement work at home with the Rebel’s Rack based on what they learned at their Progression lesson.

In all the ‘2 week or less’ lessons, the ONLY intervention was the Rebel’s Rack Progression and Rotational Speed and Skill Training with the Rebel’s Rack. No other hitting drills of any kind were used. Front toss for the evaluation, then the Rebel’s Rack progression was introduced, then front toss was done again.

Instant Results? Yeah Right!

These 4 examples were after 25 minutes of Rebel’s Rack Training:

As you can see, All four players saw immediate gains.

The first player beat their maximum distance and exit velocity in only 2 swings. We stopped after that as we ran over on the evaluation portion, where we break down video and explain her first set of numbers from HitTrax.

Gabi Wilson Rack Results

This player already hit the ball very hard. We wanted the player to hit the ball higher more often to increase the average distance and slugging percentage of their hits. Interestingly, this increase in average launch angle also resulted in a massive batting average increase as well.

Taylor Ensley Rack Results

The next player went up in all major metrics in 25 minutes of movement progression work with the Rebel’s Rack. Average Velocity, Max Velocity, Average Velocity, Max Velocity, Average Launch Angle, Batting Average and Slugging Percentage. Every ball at every launch angle she hit in her 2nd round was harder and farther than every ball she hit at her evaluation, 25 minutes before.

Sterling Hariston Rack Results

What about over a few weeks?

Now, obviously, some players may take longer to make gains. And it’s also important to make sure that players continue to make gains over time. The next player’s data is 2 weeks from their initial evaluation. In these cases, they did their evaluation, came back for 1 lesson in which they did not hit at all. In the first ‘lesson’ they only did Rebel’s Rack Progressions and Rotational Speed and Skill Training. During that lesson, they were taught their homework and then were instructed to continue that at home. After a week, they returned for their 2nd lesson, their Rebel’s Rack homework was checked, and then they hit front toss, just like their evaluation.

Ayanna Mears Rack Results 2 weeks

As you can see, this hitter went up in all major categories, like the previous hitter did as well. The main focus here was pulling the ball more and hitting the ball higher when we pulled the ball as well when the ball was hit to centerfield.

Ok...What about Long Term Changes?

The next 3 hitters are after 2 months, 3 months and 3 months respectively.  The 3rd hitter is the same hitter as shown in the 2 week transformation. Her 2nd week numbers are compared to her 12th week numbers.  Continued rotational skill work happened for all of these hitters. While some ‘hitting drills’ were used, their homework was always the same, Rebel’s Rack Progression work that was specifically designed for them.

This hitter needed to hit the ball harder. Period. By hitting the ball harder, this hitter showed the ability to hit some extra base hits, as well as increased their batting average substantially. The area between the stars on the chart on the bottom shows that every ball hit between the designated launch angle window for the highest success rate was hit harder than 2 months before.

Emma Roberts Rack Results

This hitter needed 11-12 weeks to see really impactful gains.  You can see from the spray charts how many more home runs were being hit. Also, you can see the average velocity go up 3.5 mph as well as her average distance going up 34 feet. What’s really remarkable is the ‘carrying of her velocity’ as she hit the ball higher. You can see that in her launch angle chart at the bottom of the screen where the star is. When she was hitting the ball 35 degrees in the air before her Rebel’s Rack work, she was hitting it only 46 mph. After her Rebel’s Rack work, she was hitting it 70 mph. An amazing 24 mph difference!

Ellie Goins Rack Results

 

Now on this 3 month transformation, we took this hitter from more powerful to just all around better. This is the ‘2 week’ hitter from earlier compared to 10 weeks after her 2 week lesson.  As you can see, not only have all the major metrics improved (other than average distance) but her launch angle is actually LOWER!  Sometimes, it’s good for even a power hitter to hit the ball lower. We found that out with this hitter and made the needed changes. One of the main things we talked about was eliminating fly outs to centerfield. As you can see in the top middle of the page, in her May 15th session she’s hitting the ball almost twice as low as she was in February. This eliminates those wasted at bats of lazy fly balls and maximizes the chances of not only hits but productive powerful hits. We took the fly ball percentage of 60 percent and dropped that to 36 percent, giving a higher batting average and more doubles with less easy outs.

Ayanna Mears Rack Results 3 Months

Basically if you want fast results, use the Rebel’s Rack. If you want to take a few weeks to get results, again, use the Rebel's Rack. If you want sustained growth over time, guess what? The Rebel’s Rack works in that way too! And exactly ZERO changes were made to these hitter’s swings. Stances and hand positions all remain almost the same. What changed is their aggression, skill and speed of their turn. The results speak for themselves.

Dealing With Hitting Struggles

High school seasons are ending here in North Carolina and Playoffs have started. Most high school seasons are over and almost all travel ball is in full swing. Many players are struggling with new teams or to find their stroke at the plate. Here are some helpful tips on how to help your hitter when he or she is struggling at the dish. And what NOT to do if you want to actually help them hit better fast!

Don’t: Overwhelm them with Mechanical Advice

Most of the time, hitters look at their swings when they struggle as it is. Parents, many of whom never played past high school and all of whom mean well, will give lots of advice about a hitter’s swing. This is almost always the WRONG thing to do. Even if you, the parent, are correct about what your son or daughter is doing incorrectly, they just don’t want to hear it from you. Oftentimes, they tune out, or worse, talk back and that leads to an argument.

What to do Instead: Let them Cool Down, then Ask Questions

“Tough game there bud, what did you feel went wrong?” has a much better chance of starting the ‘fixing process’ than telling them the 3 things you saw from the stands that they could have improved upon. This gives the hitter a chance to vent some, and work through the frustration of failure before landing on a plan to do better in the future.  If questions like the one above still illicit little to no response, then just let it be. Trust me, no one feels worse about a 3 strikeout day than the hitter who did the striking out.

Dont: Blame the Umps or Coaches (or Let the Hitter Blame them Either)

This leads to excuse making and a ‘transfer of blame’ mentality. Sure, bad calls happen, but the 3rd strike that was outside didn't cause your hitter to foul off the 2 middle middle fastballs early in the count did it? Blaming the umps for a bad call is weak minded. So is blaming the coaches for taking a player out or batting someone in a different spot in the lineup. Baseball and softball are both games of dealing with failure. The better a hitter learns this from their coaches and parents the better player they will be in the long run.

What to do Instead: Talk about Execution of an Aggressive Approach Early in the Count

Every game is a chance to succeed or fail, there are always two sides to that coin. Embrace the chance to compete even in adverse conditions. Not every umpire is great! We all know this. So take the ‘ball or strike’ call out of his or her hands! Hunt fastballs early in the count, talk about swinging at strikes with confidence and aggression. Help your hitter understand that being aggressive early is going to help them have more success and enjoy the game more. No one hits well with 2 strikes, no matter what stories you hear. The facts are the longer the at bat goes, the more likely the pitcher is to win. Ambush fastballs, and watch your hits soar!

Don’t: Blame the Bat/Buy a New Bat

It’s the carpenter who builds the best benches, not the tools he uses to build them. The batter gets the hits, not a magical ‘hot’ bat that’s $399 with overnight shipping at $49.99.

REFUSE to allow ‘different bats’ that ‘work better’ in different situations. That’s just not reality. Grab your club and wield it like Thor’s Hammer. This isn’t golf. You’ve got one bat, use it like a beast. And make sure the time your hitter spends with the bat is more with it in his hands instead of the back of your car while the hitter drinks his 4th Gatorade of the day.

Own the failure. Run towards the competition. Own your swing and your thoughts. The slump will be over soon if you execute the right plan with the right mindset.

Learn How to Throw to Your Hitters

It is the start of the season and you need your practices to be smooth and efficient. And you know that is not possible if you don't have a good batting practice thrower. We know that throwing BP isn't easy. It has taken us a lot of practice to become a professional BP thrower. Today we are going to take you inside the training we make our employees go through to become better batting practice, front toss, and side toss throwers.

If you watch these videos and practice using our tips, you're going to see a dramatic change in how you throw to your hitters. And trust us, your hitters will appreciate it!

Tips for Throwing Batting Practice

  1. Set Up a Target
  2. Four-Seam Grip Always
  3. Loose Arm Action- Don't be Stiff
  4. Firm Throws on a Downward Angle- NO Lollipop Throws (THIS IS TERRIBLE FOR HITTERS!)
  5. Stay Behind the Screen!

Tips for Throwing Front Toss

  1. Stiff Wrist on the Toss
  2. Sit Down for Better Accuracy
  3. Downward Angle at the Hitter
  4. Get Farther Back from the Net Than You Already Sit/Stand
  5. Aim at a Target

Tips for Throwing Side Toss

  1. Four-Seam Grip
  2. No Wrist Action- Keep it Firm
  3. Throw to Middle of the Hitter
  4. Straight and Strong Throws
  5. Sit on a Bucket or on a Knee

Your Hitters Will Thank You

If you can learn as a coach or parent how to throw effective batting practice to your team or kid then you are helping them out more than anything you can buy them. That $400 bat won't do your kid any good if he doesn't have any strikes to hit with it. Learn how to throw BP and your hitters will thank you and want to hit more.

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Create More Power By Loading Through the Back Heel

Many articles have been written about loading into the back hip and activating the posterior chain when hitting. I wanted to show a quick drill that will add more power to your hitter’s swing instantly when executed and cued properly.

The Problem: Early Plantarflexion of the back ankle (pushing off back foot)

Many hitters have been taught drills like this which crush a hitter’s ability to stay away from calf and quad activation and deactivate the hamstrings, glutes, and lower back.

The problem here is the early calf activation that pushes my body forward and into my ‘pushing muscles’ in front of my body. I cannot ‘pull’ my hips into rotation anymore and I now have to ‘push’ my pelvis forward into the turn.

The Fix: Toes off the Ground Drill

Recently, the heel plan of the back leg and keeping it planted as long as possible has become a hot topic here a baseball rebellion. Eric and I specifically have gone back and forth on the best ways to teach it and get hitters to ‘feel it’. My favorite way and the fastest way we’ve found is the toes off the ground drill.

This forces the hitter to make sure they push their back heel down into the ground and hold their hinge into the rotation of the pelvis in the swing. Some hitters even do this drill barefooted to make sure they can really feel their heel in the ground. Remember: if you hold up your toes, you know where the weight goes!

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Youth Practices Fun

3 Hitting Drills To Make Youth Practice Fun!

One of the biggest problems when trying to create a good practice environment for youth players is keeping them focused for the entirety of the practice time. One of the best ways to help keep your youth players interested and focused is to implement some fun and basic drills. We’ll take a look at three drills youth players can do to help their bat path, rhythm, and power at the plate, while having fun and staying focused.

My Post (1)

How To Hit Off A Tee

Many little league coaches and parents love coaching and working with kids, but don’t have a ton of experience teaching hitting. This article points out the key points that will help your young players who are beginning their journey in baseball or softball. It is super important that every player has a solid base and a good turn so that they can develop properly and have more fun in the sport!

Missing Under the Ball Consistently? Here’s Why and How to Fix it!

Pop-ups...Everyone hates them. Coaches, Parents, Hitters…(pitchers don’t count). If you are missing under the ball consistently, we're here to help.

How Missing Under The Ball Causes Pop-Ups

So why do pop-ups happen? There are a few obvious reasons like swinging too low or dropping your hands. If you think dropping your hands is the problem, check out the videos below and get that fixed asap.

However, one reason is a little less obvious, and the time your spending on your ‘mechanics’ may be a complete waste of time.

The Shape of the Swing

Essentially, The swing looks like a Nike Swoosh. We have all seen the Nike Logo perhaps millions of times in our lives. The swing is a checkmark, with the bat head accelerating back behind the hitter, sideways into the zone, and then carrying on forward towards centerfield.

The main issue I see with players with a good bat path and swing mechanics who foul balls back and hit too many pop-ups is they’re simply late! Check out the video below for more information on depth and how being ‘further out on the swoosh’ will eliminate most of your foul balls and pop-ups assuming your mechanics are good.

Most hitters instantly think ‘MECHANICS!!’ when they’re struggling with pop-ups or foul balls. In fact, many times the players simply aren't giving their bat enough time/distance to travel UP the slope of the swoosh before contact. 

Tee Work CAN Make this WORSE! Tee Placement Matters!

So, if you’re training by yourself, check on where you’re putting the tee when hitting off the tee. Are you hitting balls ‘too deep’ in your path and creating a contact point that’s on the bottom of the swoosh? If so, put the tee further out in front.

That’s part of the reason the Launch Angle Tee and Adapter are both angled forward. Don’t train yourself to feel ‘comfortable’ with a super deep contact point. The power is out front! So swing sooner, and hit the ball further ‘down the line’ of the swoosh and your pop-ups will be a thing of the past.

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UNLOCK POWER WITH BETTER SEPARATION

Create Better Separation with the Rebel’s Rack

The ability for an athlete to rotate in proper kinematic sequence allows for maximum speed gain throughout rotation. The first step in this sequence is proper hip shoulder separation. Oftentimes in rotation, the first mistake is the worst mistake. Learning to properly disassociate pelvic rotation from shoulder rotation is key in creating bat speed.

Stop Spinning Off the Ball

What No One Tells You About Hitter’s Spinning Off the Ball

Every coach, instructor or parent that has ever worked in baseball has dealt with a hitter ”spinning off”. If it’s so common and has been dealt with so often, why is it still around? Here is what no one is saying about “spinning off”.

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Unlocking Your True Potential at Baseball and Softball Rebellion

The softball community at all levels has been very welcoming and open to the movement ideas here at Baseball Rebellion. Because of this, many schools are adopting the Rebel’s Rack movement progression.  This movement work allows coaches and instructors to unlock the hidden potential inside of their athletes while adding the ability to hit for power. On March 22nd, 2016 Tomika and Takia Nichols walked into Baseball Rebellion. Here is Takia’s unedited evaluation video. Baseball Rebellion HQ had zero Hittrax at this point, so we used a Stalker Sport 2 radar gun to collect her exit velocity data.

Takia’s Evaluation Video, Taken on March 22, 2016

Tomika’s Interview

For this article, Tomika, Takia’s mother, was gracious enough to answer some questions about her and her daughter’s experience here at BRHQ.  Our questions and her answers are as below.

Question 1

How did you hear about Baseball Rebellion and what made you want to come for lessons?

“One of the parents from Takia’s travel ball team and I were talking.  I was telling him how we had tried several different hitting instructors.  At the time, I was driving from Hillsborough to Raleigh and she was not showing any improvement.  He told me about a place in Hillsborough, Baseball Rebellion, that provided hitting training. It was close to home, so I thought I would give it a try.  I scheduled her first evaluation and the suggestions that were given seemed to click. So, we scheduled our first lesson and the rest is history.”

Question 2

What would you say the biggest difference in your daughter is since she starting training here at Baseball Rebellion?

“The biggest difference is now she is hitting for power. If it’s not over the fence it’s hard line drives. The speed of the ball coming off her bat, for the most part, is unstoppable.”

 

Question 3

What do you think the biggest misconception about Baseball Rebellion and the training here at Baseball Rebellion is?

“The biggest misconception from my point of view is the methodology. In the beginning, she was asked why does she swing like that. People have seen her videos in the cage and ask and can she hit like that in a game. And the answer is, yes. For me the numbers on the Hittrax are fine but what keeps me coming back is her performance on the field. When I saw my daughter who was then 12-13 years old hit the ball to the parking lot, I was amazed. Then I watched girls move out of the way of a ball that is moving so fast they  don’t even attempt to catch it, I was sold. She is still working hard to improve but when she is focused she can be unstoppable.”

Question 4

Finally, Can you describe the way you and your daughter have been treated at Baseball Rebellion and the learning environment here at BRHQ?

“The environment at Baseball Rebellion is honestly like no other facility that we have been to. It’s a very friendly environment. We are actually treated like family. She has trained with everyone there and each trainer genuinely cares about the individual.  This personal interest extends past the cage and on the field to school and life in general. I recommend Baseball Rebellion and Softball Rebellion to everyone! You cannot go wrong if you are willing to put in the work and trust the process.”

83.2 mph at a 30 Launch Angle Produces 308 Feet, WOW!

Hittrax Spray Chart from 308 Session

IMG_3590

Takia’s Most Recent Video

Final Thoughts on Takia

Clearly, I have a lot of respect and admiration for Takia and her mother.  The sacrifice both have put into getting Takia here consistently has been tremendous.  Takia’s work ethic is exemplary.  Her focus and drive to be great are also as high as we have here at BRHQ.  Because of this, she has turned herself into a sure-fire Power 5 recruit.  That being said, I wouldn’t call her drive ‘different’ here.  Many players exhibit the same drive, work ethic and similar gains to what Takia has earned.  In the coming months, I will highlight more and more players as they do more and more incredible things.

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Do you know today’s most commonly used hitting terms?

If not, this article will be extremely helpful for you. It’s important for moms, dads, coaches, and players to understand these terms. Knowledge is power, and knowing these terms and what they mean will help everyone learn faster and share hitting information better.

Exit Velocity

Exit Velocity: The speed the ball comes off the bat, this has nothing to do with the bat itself, just the ball once it’s hit. Another term that means the same thing as Exit Velocity is Ball Exit Speed

100mph Exit Velocity

Bat Speed

Bat Speed: this is the speed at which the bat is swung.  This has nothing to do with Exit Velocity of the ball as Bat Speed is only about the bat. Another term that means the same speed as Bat Speed is Swing Speed.

74.2mph Bat Speed

Launch Angle

Launch Angle: The angle at which the ball leaves the bat once it is hit.  Every ball has a launch angle, grounders are negative angles to slightly positive angles (-90 degrees to about 6 degrees). Line Drives are about 7 Degrees to about 24 degrees, and fly balls are higher than 25 degrees generally. Contrary to popular belief, there is no such thing as a ‘launch angle swing’. Another term that means the same thing as Launch Angle is Exit Angle.

30 degree LA

Attack Angle

Attack Angle: This is the angle from when the bat enters the hitting zone until contact with the ball. For example: if you swing down and chop at the ball, your attack angle will be a negative number (-15 degrees). If you swing flat and level to the ground it will be 0 degrees. And if you swing upward it will be a positive number, anywhere from 1 to about 25 degrees. Contrary to popular belief, Pop-ups are mostly caused by negative or flat attack angles. Alternatively, line drives and hard grounders are from positive attack angles. Another term that means the same thing as Attack Angle is Swing Plane Angle.

Attack angle/wing plane 16 degrees attack angle

Pitch Plane

Pitch Plane: This the angle that a pitch comes in on, in the major leagues, most fastballs come in between -4 degrees and -8 degrees. The best contact hitters have attack angles that are opposite of these numbers. Home run hitters tend to have higher attack angles than the pitch plane so they have more swing and miss in their swing.

Pitch plane

Area of Impact

Area of Impact: this is how long the bat is in the hitting zone and behind the ball. A perfectly matched attack angle to pitch plane has the longest area of impact, which is around 3.5 feet.

Area of Impact

Hip Hinge

Hip Hinge: this is bending at the waist towards home plate from your stance position. Another term that means the same thing as Hip Hinge is Pelvis Bend.

Hip hinge

Side Bend

Side Bend: this is bending towards home plate at the contact position.  The body has rotated to this ball now so the hip hinge in the stance has transitioned to side bend. Other terms that mean the same thing as Side Bend are Pelvis Side Bend or Torso Bend or Inward Tilt.

Side Bend

Hip and Shoulder Separation

Hip and Shoulder Separation: this is the angle of the front of the pelvis compared to the angle to the shoulder girdle/collar bone of a hitter or thrower.  Generally, the more different the angles of the chest and hips, (more open for hips and more closed for shoulders) the harder a player can swing a bat or throw a ball. Another term that means the same thing as Hip and Shoulder Separation is X-Factor Stretch.

Hip and Shoulder Separation

Hopefully, this article has cleared up some of the murkiness of the internet in regards to hitting terms.

At Baseball Rebellion, we want people to feel included in our discussions instead of excluded by hard to understand terms. If there are others you think we should list and identify, please comment below.

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Three Infield Drills for Softball and Baseball

Trying to find ways to get your infielders better at practice? Check out three drills that you can teach them to do at practice or at home to help your infielders improve their fielding.

We all know that fielding a groundball, whether it's in softball or baseball, is one of the most technical parts of the sports. Check out three drills from our newest partner, Meg Rem Softball, that your infielders can learn today!

Meg Rem Softball

Infield Drills- Technique on How to Field a Ground Ball

In this video, you will learn the proper technique on how to field a ground ball. The 3 main points being discussed in this video are:

1. Glove Work

2. Body Positioning

3. Footwork This video applies to all infielders at any position and will serve as your reference point to further develop your infield skills.

Softball Infield Drills- Footwork & Direction

Attention Innies (Infielders)…. In this video, we will work on a drill that emphasizes the importance of footwork and direction towards the baseball to help you align your body with your target. This video will help you enhance your foot speed, athleticism, and will help put you in the best position possible to field a ground ball and make a strong throw to your target.

Softball Infield Drills- Quick Hands, Quick Feet

The keys to an infielder’s success begin with their hands and feet. In this video, you will learn a helpful drill to help enhance your foot speed while maintaining balance and athleticism within your body and glove.

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One Way to Get Your Season Started Right

How Proper Communication Can Help Your Kid Become a Better Player

Baseball and Softball seasons are starting all over the country.  Travel ball parents, little leaguers, high school players, and pros getting ready, the time is now to get hyped!

Communication Circle

Many players have spent countless hours in the weight room, batting cage, or on the pitcher's mound honing their skills for the season. Coaches are having tryouts, starting practices, or games are in full swing.

How do we as instructors or coaches deal with these players and their new 'skills'?

How can we be the best we can and reward the player for their work in the offseason?  The answer is building the "circle of communication"!

There is no reason a relationship cannot be established between coach and instructor.  In fact, I think it's pivotal with today's youth culture, travel parents, and lesson culture that these coaches and instructors get together and work WITH each other instead of AGAINST each other.  This completes the "circle of communication".  Once the circle of communication is complete, it goes on forever and never stops.

The Lines of Communication

(click each box to expand)

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Youth Practices Fun

3 Hitting Drills To Make Youth Practice Fun!

One of the biggest problems when trying to create a good practice environment for youth players is keeping them focused for the entirety of the practice time. One of the best ways to help keep your youth players interested and focused is to implement some fun and basic drills. We’ll take a look at three drills youth players can do to help their bat path, rhythm, and power at the plate, while having fun and staying focused.

My Post (1)

How To Hit Off A Tee

Many little league coaches and parents love coaching and working with kids, but don’t have a ton of experience teaching hitting. This article points out the key points that will help your young players who are beginning their journey in baseball or softball. It is super important that every player has a solid base and a good turn so that they can develop properly and have more fun in the sport!

How to Stop Dropping Your Hands and Casting the Bat

Nothing is more frustrating than popping up or getting jammed because you’ve dropped your hands or cast them away from your body.  We see this mistake all the time.  Especially in youth hitters. Almost always, the reason is that they do not understand the forces acting on them by the bat. Or how to counteract them with their bodies.

The Bat Pulls Away From You

When a hitter turns to swing the bat, the accelerated bat begins to pull down and away from the batter’s hands. Being able to stabilize and control the bat is the most important skill a hitter can have as they learn to turn. The faster the body turns, the harder the bat pulls away from the hitter. 

Stop the Drop and the Roll! End Hand Casting and Hand Dropping NOW!

  • Casting away from the body and dropping the hands in the swing is actually the SAME MISTAKE.
  • When the back elbow ‘opens up’ instead of staying bent on pitches that don’t need it, you’ve cast or dropped your hands.
  • This causes constant pop-ups and rollovers and lots of jam shots that just plain sting!
  • Check out the drill below, with 3 variations, to fix casting, hands dropping, or both at the same time.
As you can see from the drill above, barrel support is simple to train but harder to maintain. Try this drill now with a Rebel’s Rack and Bands or a Complete Rotational Power Package from Baseball Rebellion and end the casting and dropping today!

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How to Fix a Long Swing

Coaches, parents, players, and instructors: We have all seen players or had at one time a long and loopy swing. 

Recently, I was working with an All-American Level player and she was having trouble with her on plane and on plane efficiency scores on the Blast Motion (At Baseball Rebellion/Softball Rebellion we prefer the Diamond Kinetics SwingTracker, but they do similar things).

So We made a simple change to improve her scores. **Because she’s a current college athlete, I cannot use her video, name, or where she goes to school, So I have to re-create it.**

Vertical Bat and Hand Cast

So this player, we will call her Lexi, tends to have a vertical bat and a front to back load. Obviously, this can lead to the hands pulling down or going ‘at’ the ball and reaching out and around anything that’s low or inside. Coming around the ball can be an issue for Lexi, so we wanted to address that.

Also, the higher her bat is vertically, the more she cannot turn the bat around her head/body. This leads to a very direct path, bad early connection scores, and on plane scores that are not good. Also, this can lead to a large “C” in your swing by your hands. Check out what that means in the video below:

Large “C” hand Path

The “C” of the hands can work down to the ground or out to the opposing batter’s box. Either way, this ‘casting’ movement creates a long swing and bad plane and direction issues. Hands ‘dropping’ down causes lots of ‘cut’ balls with tons of bad backspin as well as a huge vertical angle late in the swing path.

The ‘casting’ out away from the body causes the hands to get over the plate instead of the barrel. This leads to either a hard pull across the chest/stomach or lots of rollovers and grounders pull side. For powerful hitters especially ones with less than optimal speed, this really hurts the slugging of the player as well as just turns many hard hits into singles.

The Loopy Swing Fix

Flatter Bat Loading Around the Body

What we changed was simple: we flattened her bat out in her stance and load. This allowed her hands to stay high during the turn. We emphasized her connection to her body in her swing, creating a smaller ‘hand path “C”’ which made it much easier to barrel balls both up in the zone and limit pull side rollovers.  Here are her blast scores from before and after the change on her Plane Score, which is just how long her bat stays in the hitting zone. 

Before
Before Diamond Kinetics
After
Diamond Kinetics 22

As you can see, Lexi still has room to grow her plane score higher, but this was a clear jump in a metric she and her coaches had been working on for over a year.

Today, she reached out to me and said she’d gotten up into the 60s! A major milestone for her. Just another way that rotational skill and understanding how the body should move will help your hitters get better and better.

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UNLOCK POWER WITH BETTER SEPARATION

Create Better Separation with the Rebel’s Rack

The ability for an athlete to rotate in proper kinematic sequence allows for maximum speed gain throughout rotation. The first step in this sequence is proper hip shoulder separation. Oftentimes in rotation, the first mistake is the worst mistake. Learning to properly disassociate pelvic rotation from shoulder rotation is key in creating bat speed.

Stop Spinning Off the Ball

What No One Tells You About Hitter’s Spinning Off the Ball

Every coach, instructor or parent that has ever worked in baseball has dealt with a hitter ”spinning off”. If it’s so common and has been dealt with so often, why is it still around? Here is what no one is saying about “spinning off”.

As I wrote earlier in the year, High School Freshman Takia Nichols has completely changed her swing with Rebel’s Rack progression training at Baseball Rebellion HQ. Now, how do we continue to make sure Takia, and players like her, stay on the path of production during the season and throughout her career?  Game results matter much more than HitTrax numbers once the season starts. Because of this, we make sure to keep tabs on our hitters during the season. And we also emphasize the importance of communication with them about their game success and struggles.

Communication

communication

The first component of continued improvement for Takia and all hitters is communication. She must be able to tell us how she’s doing in games, both good and bad.  Without this information, we cannot give her holistic and complete instruction to maximize her on-field results. The home runs are fun, and there are already many of those to report, but the failures are just as important. Teaching hitters not to be ashamed of strikeouts or hitless games is paramount at this time. Many underclassmen are embarrassed by struggles. We run towards those games as instructors to identify and correct movement issues that cause the hitters to struggle.

Intervention

After we’ve communicated about success and failure, it is our` job to intervene and correct the struggle points. If a hitter is seeing a lot of slower pitchers or spin, we work on adjustments. Many times, once a player hits a few home runs, throwing more off-speed pitches is how the league's teams adjust to a new player with power.

The best drills for timing work on slow pitches are hesitation moves both with the Rebel’s Rack and Timing Turns with the Rebel’s Rack/Rack Bat (video below) as well. Also, we will use our Spinball machine set on slower than normal pitching to force the hitter to ‘time a slow fastball’.  Once a hitter masters this ability to time slow pitches, then we can throw in even slower pitches with spin. Surprisingly, the ability to maintain posture and wait on offspeed pitches is the main thing we work on with our top athletes.  

Fastball Timing

Often times, high-level players will have success early in the season because they facing weaker, non-conference opponents. The hitter will then get into conference play had start seeing a drastic increase in velocity. We help hitters prepare for this transition by working on Fastball Timing. Fastball Timing is exactly what it sounds like, teaching a hitter to time the pitcher’s fastest pitch.  Once a hitter has their stride ‘timed’ to the pitcher’s fastest pitch, then we can work backward with slower pitches or moving pitches.  None of the ‘timing spin’ work we do here at Baseball Rebellion works if the fastball timing is off. Because of this, learning to be ‘stubborn’ with the stride movement and tempo is extremely important.

The Pitcher's Real Job

“Stubbornness” with the stride is not allowing the pitcher to do anything that changes the hitter's stride ever.  This includes stride movement quality, tempo, or timing in games. Many times, hitters will try to ‘hover’ in the air or slow their stride down to deal with changes in velocity in games. This is the exact WRONG thing to do as it changes your movement's tempo. Because of this, it helps the pitcher get you out.  Remember, the pitcher’s job is to just make you change anything about your movement that makes your fair ball weaker. When you look at the pitcher’s job this way, it makes it easier to work on movement stubbornness rather than getting hits.

Timing Spin Based on Fastball Timing

Now that the hitter is ‘stubborn’ with their stride movements, they can learn to delay the turn for spin. There is always an opportunity to delay the turn with the front leg, but there is never a chance to ‘speed up’ the turn if the hitter is late. Lateness is the biggest swing killer we see here at BRHQ, as it eliminates all adjustability. Being early, even to a fastball, is a much better movement plan than being late ever is. No matter the pitch, if the ball isn’t in the hitting zone at front foot landing, you can just sit ‘down’ into the front side.  This movement maintains the head posture, hand position, and turnability of the athlete. Because of this, the hitter can still take an ‘A’ turn towards the pitch, and in softball, demolish the ball to or over the fence.

Communication, Fastball Timing, Stride Stubbornness, and Spin Timing

These are the main hitting areas where we will continue to work with Takia and all our hitters as their seasons' progress.  Communication and honesty is the first roadblock. And once a hitter is no longer scared to tell us about their failures, the sky's the limit. Takia has grown leaps and bounds in this area. This growth will allow her to dominate high school pitching even as a freshman on varsity.  

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