Baseball Rebellion Products and Launch Angle Tee Affiliate Program!
I’m writing today to announce our brand new affiliate program for all Baseball Rebellion and Launch Angle Tee products! For the first time ever, YOU can sell Baseball Rebellion products like the Rebel’s Rack, Bat Drag Buster, and Drive Developer as well as the Launch Angle Tee, the most innovative and cost-effective tee design in years! The best part is, you don't have to carry any inventory! All the sales happen through the Baseball Rebellion or Launch Angle Tee websites, so all you have to do is get people there with your personalized link or promo code.
By signing up HERE for the Baseball Rebellion Products Affiliate Program, you can make a commission for publicizing and selling our Baseball and Softball training products that are proven to create more power, bat speed and better mechanics within the swing. I’m so excited to see how you, the people who REALLY USE these products, describe the benefits of Baseball Rebellion products to bring this methodology and proven results to more and more people across the country. Promote and sell the Baseball Rebellion Product line using the pictures and videos we provide or use your own! The more you sell, the more you make!
If you just like the Launch Angle Tee and its Adapter Top, then you can sign up HERE for the Launch Angle Tee Affiliate Program! Promote and sell the Launch Angle Tee using our pictures and videos that we provide. The more you sell, the more you make!
Sign up for one, sign up for both, it is up to you! We’ll support you the entire way, retweeting and promoting your promotion to help you benefit from your willingness to publicize and sell Baseball Rebellion Products and Launch Angle Tees and Adapter Tops. Thank you again for all your support of Baseball Rebellion over the years and welcome to the Rebellion Family!
Chas Pippitt, CEO Baseball Rebellion and Launch Angle Tee
Sign up for the Baseball Rebellion Affiliate Program!
Hitting a low and inside pitch is really really hard. Many right-handed hitters have even more trouble with this as most breaking pitches break away from them and in towards the left-handed batter’s box. Something we do at Baseball Rebellion to make sure our hitters can get their bodies in position to drive the low and inside pitch is the launch angle tee noodle drill.
First, we use the Rebel’s Rack to feel a flat turn (which is how you hit a high pitch and how we start our learning to turn process). Then, you add the Launch Angle Tee with the pool noodle as a barrier to go ‘under’ with your back shoulder and the Rebel’s Rack. Sometimes, hitters need a longer instrument to ‘see’ their hip hinge and side bend working so we use a dowel rod or a broomstick. Using the Launch Angle Tee’s angle as a guide, turn your body so the dowel rod works under the noodle and complete the turn as normal. Lastly, we take full swings, with no ball at first to feel the hip hinge and side bend that the best players in the world use to crush low and inside pitches. You can use another tee to hit balls under the noodle, or, if you have a great tossed (like the guys here at Baseball Rebellion) you can hit a moving ball either in front toss or batting practice with the noodle still in place.
The Launch Angle Tee Noodle Drill will dramatically help your range of motion inside your turn and make it effortless to get your body in position to smash low and inside pitches and ruin pitcher’s days.
A lot has happened at Baseball Rebellion since February 8th, 2013. On that date, I wrote “The WORST Hitting Drill for Baseball and Softball EXPOSED”. In that article, I highlighted the high tee/low tee drill where the high tee is in back of the low tee where the ball is. The hitter must go ‘over’ the high tee and then hit the ball on the low tee. Since Baseball Rebellion moved into a new 12,500 square foot space in Durham, North Carolina, we now have had team rentals here in our new team rental space. The move has been good from a business perspective, getting new people in the door, showing others our beautiful new facility and weight room and all the technology we use from Hittrax to Rhapsodo. It has also exposed us to a lot of youth coaches that uses some questionable setups, drills, and demonstrate a complete and utter lack of understanding how to stay behind a screen when you toss to a hitter. So now, the NEW and UPDATED versions of some of the WORST HITTING drills we’ve seen since our move.
Rapid Fire BP:
This is when the coach, thinking more reps is better, just chucks balls at the hitter as fast as he can over and over. JK mentioned this in his 5 swing clogging moves to avoid article a while back, you can revisit that if you like. This is bad for obvious reasons: not allowing the hitter to get set, inaccurate tosses, and rushed movements which are inherently bad (and unrepresented) in hitting. This drill not only leads to frustration for the hitter but also develops poor swing mechanics. A better drill would be simply allowing the hitter 3 seconds from the time their swing finishes to set up for the beginning of the next pitch.
Behind the Batter Toss with Bounce Tosses
Behind the batter toss is also a horrific drill…now add TIMING challenges to that drill and you’ve got a real chaos training monster! The hitter is looking the wrong direction, and almost always forced into a reaching position just to make contact with the ball. The Behind the Batter Toss Drill makes the hitter have bad posture and bad arm movements…No good at all! The main issue with this drill is the head movement forward towards the pitcher this causes during the toss. A hitter’s head only moves ‘back’ towards the catcher in the swing, see my “Headlight Headright Drill” (Seen here and here) and this is the opposite movement. This neck move teaches a ‘pull off’ move of the head and front shoulder, no good! An alternate drill would be a ‘ball drop’ drill once the hitter is already in their stride position. This alternative drill will help with the quickness of the hitter’s turn and doesn’t hurt hitter vision and neck movement.
INFLATED Basketball Front Toss (this one was so bad we stopped it)
So I suppose there could be some value in hitting a weighted baseball or softball or a DEFLATED basketball to help a hitter who is very weak at contact. But an INFLATED ball just shoots the back at the hitter’s face…NOT SAFE, DO NOT ATTEMPT!! Alternative drill: take some air out of the basketball or just do some pushups, pull-ups, abs, and med ball throws to increase your power.
Partner Med Ball ‘Juggling’
Another drill high on danger and low on results is the Partner Med Ball Juggling. This drill has two players tossing med balls at each other, at the same time, so the balls cross while in the air and then the ball must be caught. A proper med ball throw is a powerful anabolic and ballistic movement. The hitter also having to focus on the “catch” of a jam or med ball in this exercise takes away from the power the hitter can generate in the throw and puts them in awkward and possibly injurious positions. Alternate Drill: Use a somewhat bouncy med ball and a cinderblock or brick wall. The wall will give the ball return and deceleration work the coach may be looking for, without the inaccuracy of young med ball throwers.
Thanks for reading! If you’re doing these drills, it’s OK…just stop them. We’ve all made drill mistakes, I’ve made my share as well, remember the ‘saw drill’ with The Drive Developer? Sheesh.
Chas Pippitt, CEO Baseball Rebellion
The Turn Behind The Turn is designed to help the hitter eliminate all pushing or driving of the knob in the baseball (or softball) swing. Turning the bat behind the back hip allows for the deepest barrel acceleration and the longest area the barrel can be on plane with the pitch. When the bat accelerates early, and in the way of the ball deep in the swing path, the hitter has the most room for error with timing and can easily drive the ball to all fields with accuracy and power.
-Chas Pippitt, Leader of the Baseball Rebellion
Years ago, I wrote an article on Hand Path that featured the Rebel’s Rack. If you have not read that article, or it has been a while, please visit that article first by CLICKING HERE before reading on. It is a quick read so enjoy.
Now that you’re back and have refreshed yourself on see-saw elbow movements and hand pivot concepts, let’s talk some more about how we show hitters how to turntheirbody to turnthe barrel and not pull their hands across their chests to hit.
There are two main drills that we have started using to illustrate the difference between a ‘hand path’ swing and a ‘body turn’ swing. At Baseball Rebellion we want a ‘turn dominated’ body swing that uses as little arm extension as possible to generate power. Arm extension swings eliminate timing adjustments and make the hitter much more likely to swing at changeups or curveballs. We want a longer ‘hand path’ to be a timing adjustment not a necessity in our hitter’s swings. When arm extension is used as a timing adjustment, instead of a power generator, the hitter can hit the ball much deeper in the zone, allowing for more adjustments if late on a fastball. Conversely, a hitter can also extend to a pitch they are early on after accelerating the barrel with the turn instead of the
The first article about Hand Path (which you hopefully just read) showed how we use the Rebel’s Rack to ‘learn to turn’ and deemphasize the use of the hitter’s arms in the baseball swing. Turn driven swings are more adjustable and faster than arm driven swings because they use larger muscles of the body to move the bat head. Using your large muscles in your turn-dominated swing creates more power for hitters of all shapes and sizes. Also, using the body to turn the bat allows a later decision to turn, which helps eliminate bad swings at poor pitches to hit. Next, I’m going to show you 2 new drills we use to help hitters ‘learn to turn’ instead of ‘push’ their bat forward in the swing.
The first drill is the Ball in The Back Arm Drill. One of my professional clients named his back arm ball “Kevin”. Kevin goes everywhere with him and you can even see him on the field in pregame warmups as he goes through his hitting ‘feels’.
The Ball in Back Arm Drill:
Keys to the Ball in Back Arm Drill
Get a ball that’s ‘rubbery’ in texture, we use a TAP ball
Put the ball in your back arm so it’s touching your skin, not your shirt
Hold the ball pinched in your back arm all the way until ‘contact’ would occur.
You can hit front toss or balls off a tee using this drill if you’d like, either finishing the entire swing or holding the ‘turn’ position with your arms like I do in my dry work. If you take a full swing, the ball should ‘shootout’ towards where you’re trying to hit the pitched or tee ball. It should not drop out of your arms before you hit the ball. If the ball drops before contact, you extended your arms, which shuts down the turn in the swing.
The Barrel Support Drill:
Another drill we use is the Barrel Support Drill which teaches hitters how to handle the ‘weight’ of the bat as they swing it. Supporting the barrel is a MUST because as you turn faster with heavier bats, the bat itself PULLS AWAY and DOWN, extending the arms, and disconnecting the hitter’s bat from the powerful turn engine of their swing.
Keys to the Barrel Support Drill:
Pick a weight the hitter can handle, but still feels heavy with your arms extended
make sure the hitter has a strong back shoulder and biceps, but a loose backhand wrist
make sure the weight TURNS with the body in a full supination of the back arm
once the hitter can handle a horizontal shoulder turn, start to add side bend to turn to different pitch locations
These two drills have really helped our hitters both in-house and online and are staples of how we train our MiLB and MLB clients as well as our top softball players. I’m excited to share these and update the “Look Ma, No Hands” article I wrote years ago. Look for more updates and re-writes as needed when our information advances and changes.
Many hitters roll over the ball way too often. “Rolling Over” is when the hitter’s top hand in their stance pushes up and over the top of the bottom hand just before and during contact. Rolling over causes top spinning grounders and generally weaker contact than without this movement. Rolling over is a constant problem in lower levels of baseball and softball. If the problem isn’t fixed, it can carry over to high school and beyond
What Rolling OVER Looks Like
As you can see, the front elbow collapses DOWN and close to the hitter’s body. The hitter’s hands pull across the stomach and over the top of the bottom hand. These poor, subtle movements all cause the bat to have a little ‘hump’ in the swing plane as well as pull the bat out of the hitting zone. Rolling over is quite a large issue for many younger hitters who do not have the strength yet to turn the barrel effectively. Interestingly, we at Baseball Rebellion have had a lot of success in the top hand working UNDER the bottom hand when cueing the lead elbow working ‘up’ during the turn.
What Turning UNDER Looks Like
As you can see, when the hands stay high and the front elbow works UP, the hitter’s top hand turns UNDER the bottom hand and the barrel stays in the zone much longer. This keeps the barrel supported by the body instead of disconnected from the larger muscles that supply the power and speed of the turn. Interestingly, the front elbow direction is key in avoiding the rollover and maximizing the turn under of the top hand. So how do we train IN the turn under move and train OUT the roll over move?
How We Train Turning UNDER at Baseball Rebellion
Whenever we see a hitter turn over their hands during lessons at Baseball Rebellion, we always get them on the Bat Drag Buster. When using the white band of the Bat Drag Buster, it is easy for the hitter to FEEL the success or failure of keeping his front elbow up in the turn. The white band stretches between the elbows, and if used properly and the stretch is maintained, the barrel turns under the hands well and the bat is powered by the body turn. It is amazing how quickly the white band on the Bat Drag Buster fixes rolling over and get the body back in sequence to support a fast turn and power through the barrel. Other drills can work, but this is the fastest way we at Baseball Rebellion have found to eliminate the “Roll Over” of the top hand and program the Turn Under” of the top hand into all of our hitters both baseball and softball.
As Baseball Rebellion/Softball Rebellion has grown, we have decided to be more open with the “HOW” of our process instead of just the results.This, for years, was not the case at BR/SR, as we wouldn’t even let clients film the movement progressions we do with hitters.We are all excited about how showing these movements can help players of all ages turn faster and hit with more power.Releasing our movement progression has been something I’ve considered for a long time.We haven’t done it, until now, and will be including an even more detailed breakdown inside of the Rebel’s Rack Drills for those who have and are going to purchase the Rebel’s Rack.All in all, the movement progressions we are about to show you have built what we do here at BR/SR.Without them, the Hittrax data we produce, the scholarships, draft picks/bonus money, and the opportunities for our position player athletes would be greatly diminished.We at Baseball Rebellion are extremely excited to show our process and continue to push ourselves to be more transparent and give more back to the game that have given us so much.Enjoy!
On May 29th, 2012, I launched the Rebel’s Rack, a rotational power trainer and ‘hitting aid’ that helps baseball and softball players hit the ball harder and farther.At the time, Baseball Rebellion had no Hittrax machines, so all we had was a stalker gun we held up at the hitter to test their exit velocities.Softball and baseball players of all ages and ability levels were radically increasing their ball exit speed in matters of minutes using our movement progressions and the Rebel’s Rack.
Over 55 Rebel’s Racks being shipped!
Over the years, the Rebel’s Rack has changed some.No longer yellow in color, the Rebel’s Rack now has 4 sizes that fit kids as small as 50 lbs up to 250lbs.The ‘wings’ on the Rebel’s Rack are longer now, limiting any pinching that the first iteration of the Rebel’s Rack could cause.More importantly, how we USE the rack has changed, as we’ve learned the nuances of training rotation and preparing to rotate and timing that rotation to a moving ball.At the time, I had no idea how much I’d grow to love training movement and improving rotational range, speed, and power.The first lessons with the Rebel’s Rack, the ‘non-hitting’ lessons, are my most favorite to teach.The foundation of movement quality and speed built there translates into game acceleration, adjustability, speed and power almost immediately for most players.Watching a player find out what ‘FASTEST’ really is inside of their bodies and inside of their turn/swing for the first time and their eye’s light up and the green numbers flash on the Hittrax is what I love most about my job.The Green Bell has been a great culture builder, pushing players to want to come out of their comfort zones to get the applause of those in the building when they ring the bell after a new personal record.
BUT HOW do we as instructors help players, even pros, generate so much more distance and exit velocity so fast?Over the past 5 years, through trial and error, painstaking video analysis, and constant exit velocity and distance monitoring, the team of instructors at Baseball Rebellion have created the Rebel’s Rack Movement Progression. Below, you will see the three (3) main moves we use, and make hitters MASTER before they are allowed to hit (in the cage) again in our program.These foundational moves are practiced over and over, deliberately, with internal cues that the hitter must make on their own before he or she re-earns the right to hit.
Movement One: The Stride (Tempo Based, Slowing the Game Down)
Once any hitter returns for their first ‘lesson’ after the evaluation they don’t even need their bat.We head over to a mirror and the hitter is instructed to stride ‘at the mirror’ as if the mirror were the pitcher.I want the hitter to see themselves move and hear our cues. “The mirror is the best teacher in the building” is often said at BR/SR.Another favorite is, “your eyes are for the mirror, your ears are for me”.The hitter, strides and strides and strides.Over and over.All while watching themselves stride in the mirror and reacting and evolving their movements based on the cues and instructions of the BR Instructor.
Keys to the Stride:
Extremely Slow in the landing
Open front foot/kneecap towards the mirror (pitcher)
Heel to Heel Landing position
No opening or ‘flinching’ of the chest at landing
Head BACK over Back Hip (this is a change from what we taught years ago, as hitting is more than just generating rotational power…you have to be able to hit and lift a moving ball)
Once these keys are achieved, we move on to the Rebel’s Rack Movement Progression to Movement Two.
Movement Two: The Show (Preparing to Turn, Storing Energy)
Now, the hitter has mastered the slow stride (this can be a leg kick, small lift, toe tap, pretty much anything the hitter wants) with an open front leg/kneecap towards the mirror.The hitter’s head is back and he or she is not ‘flinching’ or opening their shoulders at any point in the movement or at landing on the front foot.The hitter has earned the right to progress into the “Show” phase of the Rebel’s Rack Movement Progression.Still in the mirror, facing the mirror as if it were the pitcher, the hitter is instructed to stride exactly as they did before with a few simple, and extremely important changes.As the hitter lands, they are instructed to open their pelvis towards the mirror as they keep their front shoulder closed.Cues we use range from “show your belly button towards the pitcher” to “open your stomach as far as you can while you show the back ‘wing’ of the Rebel’s Rack in the mirror”.Essentially, we are twisting up the body in opposite ways.The lower half is opening, and the upper half, specifically the upper back and back arm, are resisting that opening as hard as they can.This stores energy and prepares the body to TURN as quickly as possible.EVERY SINGLE THING done in “the Show” phase is preparing the body to turn quickly and instantly.Store as much energy as possible and completely wind yourself up as far as you can without losing sight of the pitcher with your back eye.
Keys to the Show:
Open the pelvis from ABOVE the pelvis, using your lower back and stomach muscles.
Soft and slow landing with the front side, no ‘bouncing’ into the ground or ‘stomping’.
Keep your front shoulder totally still or ‘slightly close’ your front side shoulder by pulling back with your upper back and resist the opening/turn/swing with your back arm/upper back.
Movement Three:The Turn
Now the hitter has mastered the MOVEMENTS of slowly striding and slowly storing up as much energy for the turn as possible.It’s time to put that energy to good use!The hitter goes into the “Show” phase of the turn move and lands and stops.From here, we teach the hitter the turn, from a dead standstill.Basically, the turn is three basic movements that happen all at once.
The hitter must SIMULTANEOUSLY pull their back hip forward from above the pelvis (this moves the back foot as well), forcefully straighten their front leg into the ground through the front heel of the front foot, and turn their belly button past the pitcher and back shoulder all the way to centerfield.Usually, there are many different mistakes that happen, and almost ALL of them are caused by the hitter turning too slowly.Remember, the turn must be LEARNED FAST while the preparation to turn must be learned and executed slowly.The faster you turn…the faster you learn!Slowness in the turn causes the hitter’s head to drift forward, the front leg to fail to straighten out, the back foot/hip not moving forward far enough or too far (both can happen) and the shoulders not to turn all the way.Many balance issues arise when the turn is slow…and the hitter MUST be totally committed to the idea of achieving maximum speed in the turn from the beginning to the finish.There is no slowing down…no easing into it…the turn must GO and be done.
Keys to the Turn:
The hitter must turn as fast and completely as possible, there is no ‘almost’ or ‘kinda fast’
The hitter must lock out his front knee completely and hold the finish
The hitter must pull the back foot forward with no dragging of the toe
The hitter must land on the ball of their back foot and not let the heel drop
The hitter’s back knee must be in front of the hitter’s face at the finish of the turn (swingman finish)
The back shoulder must completely replace the front shoulder and be higher than the front shoulder at the finish
If a hitter is willing to spend the time mastering this movement progression with these executable internal cues, then the ‘chaos’ of hitting gets much much easier to deal with.Problems like a change of velocity or break are more easily solved by ‘sinking into’ the front side.Remember, we learned the turn from a dead stop position (Show Position), so now the hitter knows he or she can go fast from there.If a hitter gets fooled, they have a better plan…and it’s built in.Mr. Miyagi did this to Daniel Son by having him Wax on, Wax off and Paint the Fence.These repeatable actions became ingrained in him so when Miyagi attacked Daniel, he knew how to defend the different punches. Likewise, hitter’s posture and turn aggression become what we call ‘unbreakable’. The “unbreakable” posture and turn speed can be practiced daily and once these movements are mastered, they become subconscious and are instantly recalled by the body when needed in games. In minutes, a hitter can do hundreds of turns with the rack without any failure at all! Imagine how efficient your training could be if you took away the stress of hitting? No more frustrated faces from a rollover or a pop up…No more hitting until your hands bleed…no more confusion about WHY you went 0 – 4…you’ll know why you failed…your posture and speed of the turn broke. The less a hitter ‘breaks’ within the game turn, the better he or she will hit. Period.
Training movements away from the cage and then taking them into the cage is common in instruction nowadays. But much of that training and ‘feel work’ doesn’t translate and is just feels for feels sake.We want everything a hitter does to increase their ability to accelerate their turn, time their turn, and find their top speed as fast as they can with their BODY, not with their arms and hands.We even take the Rebel’s Rack into the cages at first, before they hit, so they can time a moving ball with their turn after they time their load with the pitcher’s arm swing or windup.This sequence leads to the fastest improvements we have ever seen on Hittrax, the fastest ‘ah ha’ moments for our clients, the most confidence in our shared process, and the fastest carry over into games.
Writing this article and posting these videos was scary for me.I’ve had many, many people tell me ‘they just don’t understand what you guys do’ when people come at us on social media.Players we’ve helped say, ‘Chas, if they knew how fast you and the guys did it, and how you guys did it, then they’d understand’.For years we have hidden this information from ‘outsiders’.Now, we at Baseball Rebellion and Softball Rebellion are going to bring you behind the curtain and you can try to duplicate our results for yourself.Get some Racks, and learn how to turn.Enjoy the success this will bring you, your team, and or your players.The Rebel’s Rack Movement Progression is a secret no more, now let’s unlock whats inside your body already…the fastest turns you’ve ever experienced!
Chas Pippitt, Leader of the Baseball and Softball Rebellion
It’s early in the season in Major League Baseball and even earlier in the minors. Some guys have as many as 50 at-bats, others far less. 50 at-bats in high school in North Carolina, is about half your season though! So what are some things you can do if you’re starting off the season a little behind where you want to be? What can you do to make sure you continue on the successful tear you’re on if you’re having a great season? Here are some quick ideas you can try to make sure you’re staying ahead of the pitchers and get your season back on track if needed.
Swing Early in the Count
courtesy of @derekhassel4 on www.twitter.com
Nothing frustrates players and parents more than ‘bad calls’ from the umpire. That being said, that bad call almost never is the reason a hitter strikes out or struggles with weak contact. Most often, those players afflicted with ‘bad-call-itus’ are the same ones who are TAKING STRIKES early in the count or fouling balls off that are crushable pitches. Pitchers want to work AHEAD in the count, so make sure you’re ready for that first or second pitch fastball strike and punish it! Nothing makes a pitcher work like backing up bases and watching the scoreboard for the hitting team light up…a few extra pitches thrown won’t chase a pitcher as fast as a few doubles or homers in an inning.
Practice Smarter Not Harder
Often times, after a bad game, a hitter will head to the cages. 2 hours later, bloody hands and sweated through gloves in tow, the hitter heads back to his or her car no closer to solving whatever ‘problem’ caused the bad day at the ball field. These type of marathon hitting sessions can, in some cases, have a good purpose. However, the lion’s share of these types of sessions just erode the body and the mind and bring more negative thoughts and negative swing movements. Ditch the 300 swings post-game after an 0-4 game and get in some low-intensity mirror work on your stride. Get your tempo right and your mind relaxed so the next game you’re working towards success instead of still recovering from the blisters and frustration of the long session postgame.
Do Your Work Before Practice
Want to be a great infielder? Put down your iPhone & grab a tennis ball! The Wall Ball Drill is a simple drill that can be done to help cover multiple hop variations. It also allows young infielders to get themselves into a good fielding position while trusting their glove hand pic.twitter.com/LNDDA8MDFt
Many players are relying on their coaches to give them the practice they need in a team setting. Unfortunately, there is simply not enough time to get all the individual work you need in with a team setting, where there are often 15 players who need to hit. From a defensive perspective, a tennis ball and a wall are all you really need to get pretty handy with the glove. Hitting wise, grab a tee, make sure you’re giving your swing the time it deserves and needs to stay primed and ready. Team practice has tons of value, but from an individual development perspective, you’ve must be willing to work while no one else is so you can gain ground on those who are more naturally gifted than you and keeping the distance between you and those who are coming for your spot from behind.
Eat, Sleep, and Repeat
Up all night playing Fortnite after a bad game? Eating fast-food every day? How you recover and fuel your body is everything to an athlete. Make sure you’re getting the vitamins, minerals, protein and water intake needed to keep you in prime physical condition come practice and game time. High school kids have tons of activities to do: homework, practice, and having a social life. Sleeping well (and enough) and eating well (and enough) are hard for many driven kids who have good grades and high expectations on the field as well. Make sure you’ve gotten a good night sleep (7-8 hours) before games and that you have your protein bars and water bottle during the day and on the bus to the game so you aren’t running on empty by the 2nd inning.
Glass Half-Full Mentality
Nobody likes a Negative Nancy or a Debbie Downer. Be positive not only with yourself but also with your teammates. Look for ways you can help the team that doesn’t just involve going 3 for 5 with a few doubles or making 3 diving catches in the outfield. Are you picking up the other team’s signs? Are you figuring out patterns in how the other team is pitching your top players or you? How about how long the pitcher holds the ball with runners on first base or 2nd base? After a K or an error, are you taking that back out to your position or into your next at-bat? If you’re positive with your self-talk and trust your preparation, you can take an 0-2 and turn it around! Get your mind on a positive wavelength and prepare for your next chance for success!
Chas Pippitt, Leader of the Baseball Rebellion
When an 8 year old walks into Baseball Rebellion for a hitting or throwing evaluation, the process is simple and the same every single time. First, we let the player warm themselves up how they ‘normally do’, then they are evaluated in their skill. The instructor videos each player, sometimes from multiple angles, puts on the Hittrax or Rapsodo, and then a comparison occurs between them and someone their age and size and the video and metrics their swings or throwing mechanics delivered. Normally, we find some pretty significant swing problems from bat drag, to bad footwork, to closing their eyes during the swing or pitch (which is much more common than you think). Thousands of amateur baseball and softball players have been through this process, and due to their age and the fact that they pay to play instead of getting paid to play, its assumed there are things we can find and fix to elevate their game. No instructor would assume an 8-year-old is an ‘expert’, because obviously, they are not.
Now, what happens when a MiLB, MLB or high-level college baseball player walks in? What if an All-American Softball player comes through the door? What if a possible softball Olympian comes in? What happens now? In most facilities around the country, there is an assumption that a high-level player is already an expert. What generally happens is the player just uses the facility. An instructor throws them BP or they use the pitching lane to throw their bullpens. Some of these professional-level players go back to colleges that they either attended or live near and just go hit or throw and lift amongst themselves. This relationship happens for 2 reasons:
The player thinks he/she doesn’t need any help. They’re already at a top 15 school or were a high draft pick or MLB player, what could this local facility possibly provide to that level of a player in terms of help?
The instructors/facility owners also are unsure of what they can actually do to help a player of that level as they don’t have much real experience working with young men and women with that level of talent. In most cases, they usually don’t also have the technology that the top players look for to measure and track their improvement over time.
At Baseball Rebellion, we do NOT assume a player is an expert when they walk in the door regardless of their past accomplishments or current playing status. This allows us to take a fresh look at each athlete as they enter our program and run them through our entire process of intake. Exactly as the 8-year-old we referenced earlier in the article, the player will warm up his/her way. Perform their skill in front of an instructor, be measured using Hittrax or Rapsodo, and then be videoed from multiple angles. The elite player now goes into a video room where their metrics and video are broken down vs players of similar skill levels and size. Now, here’s where the difference lies between the 8-year-old and the high-level player. The 8-year-old does not have much track record of success while the high-level player (HLP) does. The HLP is usually much more reluctant to change their actual swing. They should be reluctant and skeptical of people offering ‘advice’, especially if it costs money. These players are the ones with the careers, the ones who throw the pitches, swing the bats. These players are the ‘men in the arena’ and they have to perform.
I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again. Baseball Rebellion instructors are much closer to movement improvement specialists than baseball coaches. Yes, we played the game, and we coach skill specific training to improve game performance. But HOW we do it is drastically different when compared to what most players are expecting. And, once they allow themselves to try the movements, they realize their swings and throwing mechanics aren’t being changed…the player’s understanding of creating and exerting force, and therefore how to execute force production the best way for them, is what’s changing. Baseball Rebellion instructors can literally tell a hitter or pitcher ‘we’re not going to change your mechanics, we’re going to show you how to improve your rotational speed and power or simply show you a few movement drills to do before you throw or hit’. Then, the player throws or hits from their exact same stance, setup, stride or delivery that they had before.
Then, a Fascinating Thing Happens…
The player’s movements inside of their own swing or delivery changes. Their bodies absorb the movements perfected away from their specific skill…and feed off the new speed and power. Yes, their swing or pitching delivery has changed…but the athlete’s body CHOSE the change. The HLP was not manipulated by drills during their training or forced to ‘swing or throw’ a different way. IF an instructor can show an athlete a faster way or a more efficient way, the BODY of the athlete will want it and want it, over and over.
None of this discovery can happen if the High-Level Athlete is assumed to be an expert. Dave Shinskie just wrote an article, you can find it here, where he mentions ‘Unconscious Competence’ which is where many athletes live their playing careers. The goal of instructors working with HLP’s should be to get them over to ‘Flow’. Build movements that keep their athletes clear-minded, calm and trusting in their own processes. And much like the Katas I referenced in my last article, these movement progressions help build a movement solution that is, in itself, adaptable.
Rebellion Real-Time Example
A great example of this adaptable movement quality is Ronnie Dawson. Here is his initial intake video and his HitTrax numbers that he generated with his swing and no Baseball Rebellion Turn Training at all.
Obviously, Ronnie is a former Big-10 Player of the year, a high draft pick, and someone with obvious athletic gifts. Hitting the ball 100mph is not surprising at an evaluation. What IS surprising is how much velocity and distance he added after our Turn Training and no other drilling or changes whatsoever to his swing. Ronnie’s evaluation video and baseline numbers were taken on 1/18/18 at 12:28 pm. Here are his ‘post-turn work’ session details, taken at 2:03 pm 1/18/18. Notice the date and time of these two sessions in relation to each other, less than 2 hours have passed, and the results of the work are stunning. Ronnie made gains of 5 mph in exit velocity and 102 feet in distance gains. He pulled more balls, and drove balls high in the air at high exit velocities.
Now here is Ronnie’s Video from a few days later, we did not video his 2:00 session on the 18th. As you can see and hear, he’s very happy with what he’s worked on.
What you’re seeing above is real turn driven adjustability. I’m throwing him fastballs, curves, and changeups and he doesn’t know what’s coming…and it doesn’t matter. (Ronnie also said that “You have the best BP curveball I’ve ever seen.” which was kinda cool as well.) He knows the feeling of being ‘able to turn whenever he wants’, again, his words not mine. And now, after dominating in the spring he’s never been more excited about the possibilities of this upcoming season. You can follow Ronnie’s progress HERE and watch as his numbers develop over time.
While we do not assume high-level players are experts, we also approach them with an ample amount of respect for their unique abilities. Ronnie, like most pros, didn’t need to be ‘fixed’. Ronnie needed help finding a faster solution to the problem of hitting in games. Mentally, Ronnie has a much improved approach to how he trains. He can go back to movement rules of how the body rotates and generates power instead of anecdotal ‘evidence’ about how someone else ‘felt’ when they hit years before. Ronnie can head to his hotel, do a few minutes of movement, and maintain his body strength and mobility and energy much easier than if he headed to the cage to hit dozens of balls after a game. Learning to Turn appears to be a turning point in Ronnie’s career. He can elevate more balls to all fields and has developed the pull power the Astros wanted him to find. Listen to more of Ronnie Dawson here on the Baseball Rebellion Podcast.
Chas Pippitt, Leader of the Baseball Rebellion
Just for fun, he’s another video of Ronnie on his last day here of his 2nd visit. Again, he does not know what’s coming…Yikes.
EXIT VELOCITY is quite the buzz-worthy topic these days. Just as pitchers have gone through the unrelenting quest to increase their throwing velocity, hitters are doing the same thing with bat speed and batted ball exit velocity. These revolutions are happening for good reason…more velocity on the mound or in the batter’s box gives a player more chances to be successful.
There are plenty of ways to build exit velocity in hitters. Hitting coaches from all over favor techniques like lifting tons of weights, hitting weighted balls, swinging bats of different loads and lengths, CNS training…you name it, it’s on #hittingtwitter and freely on display.
First, let me be clear, I’m not here to tell you that I’ve researched EVERY SINGLE TYPE of Exit Velocity Development Program out there. I haven’t. What I am telling you is that we at Baseball Rebellion lean on different principles in our development. Everything at Baseball Rebellion is based on principles of human movement. Those principles, like how a normal healthy knee flexes and extends, are not up for debate. Therefore, we use these movement facts to cue and coach and athlete into positions that generally result in optimal movement quality for normal and healthy people. Similar to how martial arts has used the practice of Katas, (detailed choreographed patterns of movements, used for centuries to develop disciplined quality fighters, practiced either solo or in pairs to build muscle memory in martial artists) we use similar rhythmic movement patterning in our coaching of hitters on a daily basis. The Katas were performed over and over to ensure the effortless use of the movements in the field of battle or in a fight. Here is longtime UFC champion fighter Georges St. Pierre using a Kata in his open workout before his UFC 129 bout.
Now, before everyone reading this has a conniption fit about the Central Nervous System solving problems and constraints, allow me to frame our movement improvement ideas first on improving turn speed within the body and therefore Exit Velocity with the batted ball. We at Baseball Rebellion believe most, if not all hitters, come into our doors with many misconceptions about how to turn their body to generate power. Most have been over-coached to incorrectly use their arms to hit the ball, but some, even with no coaching at all, have many movement issues inside their swings (turns) that prevent them from exhibiting maximum force or adjustability. Even our MLB and MiLB clients who were highly drafted or have years of service time benefit from the ‘katas” we teach to help them learn to turn. Then, once that is finished, their bodies naturally use the new speed and new movement ideas within their natural patterns.
Here is a video of some novice martial artists who are in need of some different movement solutions…
These ‘martial artists’ are clearly giving it their best attempts at their ‘karate moves’ but much like many of our baseball/softball athletes, he does not have an efficient or powerful movement solution within his required sport. These novice fighters in the previous video have no chance of finding their own ‘movement solutions’ to moving like a martial artist in any type of efficient timeline. When someone hires a paid instructor to train their hitter, or themselves, in a skill…they expect results in a quantifiable and time efficient manner. We must, as full-time instructors, spend the time to gain an informational advantage over the coaches or teachers they get at their little league or school-ball practices so that we can achieve results that are both better and faster than the methods already available to them. This does NOT include just asking them to ‘hit the ball harder or higher’ and bombarding them with gimmicky drills or bats covered in tape. Later in the process, once the athlete has a turn solution that makes sense; weighted balls, bats, varying constraints can have a lot of use and success, but before the hitter’s movement quality has been built, it’s just unethical.
Basically our theory is this: IF a hitter comes into the program, after their initial evaluation and their testing, and they clearly do NOT have a workable movement solution to hitting the ball harder and movement effectively and efficiently while attempting to hit the ball hard, than we have to build that movement pattern solution for them. Initially, this looks like the movement progression article we put out a few weeks back: The Movements That Made the Rebellion. From a mastered Rebel’s Rack Turn, the athlete will naturally modify their learned pattern of hitting into something that is faster and more powerful within their own stance, hand set, and swing. For example, hitters may have toe taps, high hands, leg kicks, small short strides or early leg lifts with a hang in our program. As long as they can time their turn and execute a fast rotational move, they’re in their own ‘optimal pattern’ within the confines of actually hitting a moving ball.
Another way we look at movement is through the eyes of a strength or speed coach. For instance, let’s pretend this lifter walked into our ‘gym’ and this is how they squatted in their movement screen.
If a novice lifter attempts bodyweight squat with this type of technique…would ANY strength coach let them LOAD that lifting technique with weight? I am sure SOMEONE out there would…but the vast majority would answer that “NO!” Any strength coach, with any sort of experience, would not allow that type of lifting technique to be under a bar with any weight on it what so ever. Loading that horrible squat technique is very likely to end up with this type of outcome…
Obviously, it is not any coach’s intent to hurt an athlete. That being said, loading the inefficient and weak swing or throwing motion of a delivery with either underspend or overspend instruments is not only dangerous it is often times negligent. Loading bad patterns in any sport or athletic activity may slow not only the short-term development of the player over time but can put an artificial technical ceiling on the player that limits the altitude of their careers.
Why is baseball/softball hitting training different? Why would a parent or pro baseball/softball client want to load a faulty pattern? Can you get some Exit Velocity gains? Of course, you can! But now, after your premature weighted bat or ball training, the hitter is just swinging POORLY, FASTER. Bat speed is good, obviously increasing bat speed and exit velocity is better than not increasing those metrics. But we want to do these drills in ways that make sense. Learn a correct pattern that works, then load it! Again, going back to the Movements that Made the Rebellion article, you can see that we train the movement OUTSIDE of the actual discipline of hitting. That allows the athlete to re-pattern their turn speed and distance internally so when their goals change (hitting a double, moving a runner, driving the ball with a 2 – 0 count) they’re able to utilize their subconscious mind to achieve the turn, and hopefully the desired result. Internal cues are given frequently, in short bursts, during the movement to direct specific focus to areas that need improvement. This internal cuing can happen by demonstration accompanied by verbals as well as manual instruction or help from the instructor as well.
Once the turn is learned through our Rebel’s Rack progression, we load it and then we speed it up. Here is exactly HOW we load and speed up the turn to increase exit velocity when hitting.
We usually add a hesitation move in the assisted turns first to really emphasize the need to drive down into the ground with your front heel to help drive the front hip back into the rotation. This also helps in stopping the face from moving forward during rotation.
From here, we have now strengthened and trained the faster turn process of the body and we are ready to hit. Sometimes we use the rack for timing drills as well inside the cage with a moving ball but no bat (see video below). These are more stable environments where verbal internal cues like “Open your pelvis without opening your shoulders” are vital for skill acquisition. Once these skills are acquired and the faster turn has been patterned, then the athlete is put in a less stable environment where cuing is less frequent, less verbal, less internal and more results or outcome focused. For example: “Turn your hips sooner” is the cue we would use during rack movement, while during hitting, Baseball Rebellion instructors may say “Pull the ball into the gap”. Both are used. Both work. But we have found much more success when using internal cues FIRST to build and acquire skill and THEN external cues in support of those cues after to develop in-game performance and retention.
Recently, I had a conversation with Robert Butler, DPT who now works with the St Louis Cardinals. He referenced Motor Control and Learning, A Behavioral Emphasis a textbook from his Movement Sciences 600 level class he taught at Duke University. Robert, and the research inside the book, talked a lot about internal cues as needed for skill acquisition and learning in the first phases of skill development and then external cues as the keys to continue the execution phase of the skills within varied environments or games. It was good to hear someone with a doctoral level of motor learning and motor control talk to me about the HOW skills are first learned in a vacuum, and then transferred to the chaos of the ever-changing game environment. Too many coaches in hitting are skipping the verbal cues needed in the acquisition phase of learning and jumping right into the adaptive phase of in-game use. At Baseball Rebellion and Softball Rebellion, we think that teaching the adaptive LOAD phase before the acquisition LEARNING phase is a mistake. Consider that before your next weighted bat or weighted ball session…do you really have the technical proficiency to load your movement or do you need to go back and acquire more movement acquits?
Chas Pippitt, Leader of the Baseball Rebellion
P.S. We created the Rebel’s Rack to help teach rotational power, which directly correlates with increased exit velocity! Buy your Rebel’s Rack today and get the drills that will help you BOOST your POWER at the plate!