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One Way to Get Your Season Started Right

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)

Player to Instructor

Player to Instructor

At the beginning of the offseason, every player probably has a plan of what they want to improve on.  If it's hitting, then they go to a hitting coach.  Perhaps they want to get stronger, so they lift some weights.  Getting more velocity behind their throw could be a goal.  Because of this, the player gets on a velocity program.  The player dictates what they want out of a program. Then the coach dictates how they, as a team, go about achieving these goals.

Instructor to Player

Instructor to Player

Once the offseason winds down, now it's the instructor's turn to communicate.  The player must understand how to articulate his work to his coach.  They must be able to explain the 'why' of what they worked on and how they measured and achieved their results.

Instructors must make sure the player is prepared for any and all conversations with their team coach.  And the player has put in the work and trusts the instructor.  Because of this, the Instructor must help the player get the team coach excited about the 'new and improved' player he's acquired.

Player to Coach

Player to Coach

Player to coach communication is probably the most important piece of the puzzle.  Because of this, that puzzle piece won't fit unless the first two communication points occur. The player must schedule the meeting with his coach when he gets back to school. 

Then, he sits down in the coach's office or maybe in the batting cage hitting to discuss his changes.  Hopefully, the coach listens, watches, and sees the improvement in their game.  When that happens, and the coach is enthused with the player's offseason of work, the last two pieces of communication is possible.

Coach to Instructor

Coach to Instructor

Hopefully, the coach will reach out to the instructor for more in-depth information about the player's offseason program. Now the lines of communication are fully open and clear.  This is in the best interest of all involved, the player, the coach, and the instructor.  All of these three people want the same thing: the player to do well for the team!  Once the coach opens this line of communication to the instructor, the sky is truly the limit.

Now, the coach can communicate exactly what he or she saw in practice and games to the person helping with development in the offseason.  Because of this, deficiencies in the player's game can be specifically targeted in a one on one setting instead of a group or team setting.  The player gets the best of all worlds, a coach who knows the work he did over the offseason and an instructor taking cues from his coach about what can continue to improve.

Instructor to Coach

Instructor to Coach

I have a great relationship with some coaches across the country. Many of which have players they know I train or I recommended to them when the players were in high school.  As someone who works with young athletes, I don't want my job to be 'done' when they head off to college or the pros.

I want to work hand in hand with the player, his family, and his new coaches to help further his development.  In addition, I'd hope any coach who signs any of my players sees some value in the type of work we did with the player and the player's dedication to our program.

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Hitting drills to warm-up properly

Warm-Up Hitting Drills for Hitters of All Ages

Front shoulders flying open, pulling off the ball are mainly due to posture being compromised in a hitters swing. The two drills in this article will help hitters understand the right posture and a hitting drill that I do everyday during in person lessons.

When Should Hitters Start Their Stride_

When Should a Hitter Start Their Stride?

Timing. The most sought after attribute in hitting can often be the most difficult to obtain. With any timing, there has to be a beginning as well as an end. When it comes to hitting the ending is when the bat makes contact with the ball, so what is the beginning? When the hitters starts to lift their front heel and begin the process of striding is the start to timing. So when should that begin? Lets take a look.

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!

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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Hitting drills to warm-up properly

Warm-Up Hitting Drills for Hitters of All Ages

Front shoulders flying open, pulling off the ball are mainly due to posture being compromised in a hitters swing. The two drills in this article will help hitters understand the right posture and a hitting drill that I do everyday during in person lessons.

When Should Hitters Start Their Stride_

When Should a Hitter Start Their Stride?

Timing. The most sought after attribute in hitting can often be the most difficult to obtain. With any timing, there has to be a beginning as well as an end. When it comes to hitting the ending is when the bat makes contact with the ball, so what is the beginning? When the hitters starts to lift their front heel and begin the process of striding is the start to timing. So when should that begin? Lets take a look.

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.

Did you like this content? Check out some of our Products or Other Articles!

Hitting drills to warm-up properly

Warm-Up Hitting Drills for Hitters of All Ages

Front shoulders flying open, pulling off the ball are mainly due to posture being compromised in a hitters swing. The two drills in this article will help hitters understand the right posture and a hitting drill that I do everyday during in person lessons.

When Should Hitters Start Their Stride_

When Should a Hitter Start Their Stride?

Timing. The most sought after attribute in hitting can often be the most difficult to obtain. With any timing, there has to be a beginning as well as an end. When it comes to hitting the ending is when the bat makes contact with the ball, so what is the beginning? When the hitters starts to lift their front heel and begin the process of striding is the start to timing. So when should that begin? Lets take a look.

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!

Did you like this content? Check out some of our Products or Other Articles!

Hitting drills to warm-up properly

Warm-Up Hitting Drills for Hitters of All Ages

Front shoulders flying open, pulling off the ball are mainly due to posture being compromised in a hitters swing. The two drills in this article will help hitters understand the right posture and a hitting drill that I do everyday during in person lessons.

When Should Hitters Start Their Stride_

When Should a Hitter Start Their Stride?

Timing. The most sought after attribute in hitting can often be the most difficult to obtain. With any timing, there has to be a beginning as well as an end. When it comes to hitting the ending is when the bat makes contact with the ball, so what is the beginning? When the hitters starts to lift their front heel and begin the process of striding is the start to timing. So when should that begin? Lets take a look.

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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As I wrote previously, 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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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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Imagine this: You're headed to the field after struggling again in your last game.  You've hit and hit and hit, and yet, your coach says you're still 'pulling off'. 'Roll-overs' are happening over and over and you keep 'just missing' the ball. Right now, it's just you, a tee, and a bucket of balls trying to figure it out and break the slide. The problem is, this is how you've always tried to break out of a slump, but this time is different. You keep working on getting more 'extension' but it's just not translating to the game. What if I told you that you have a great tool to achieve optimal extension in the swing? And, what if I told you it's not the bat, the balls, or the tee

Get Creative: Two Hand Frisbee Throw

When you look at the top of a bucket, what do you see?  A seat?  A table? Honestly, I see a seat mostly, but I also see a training tool.  When used properly, that simple bucket lid can be used as a frisbee.  Pick that 'frisbee' up and try a two-handed frisbee throw. That move is one of the most effective ways to train extension and direction in the swing.

Jugs Bucket

What is Extension?

Extension is a hitting term that refers to the arms straightening out after contact of the ball. Often, extension work involves a lot of knob pushing and is not generally the best way to practice hitting. However, having natural extension in the swing keeps the bat head in the zone longer and allows for more contact points and a greater margin for error. Below you will see a gif of Eric demonstrating proper extension off a tee.

Full Slow Motion Swing off LAT

Pull Side Extension vs Rollover

Extension only matters if the direction of the barrel is good.  Lots of the same movements and cues work for all fields, which is nice.  One thing to be aware of is the distance and height of the frisbee flight.  You want an upward trajectory, especially on the pull side frisbee throw, as that's most players power side. The upward trajectory will match the intended attack angle of the bat entering the zone for a powerful extra-base hit. See the gif below for a demo of the pull side frisbee throw.  You can also see a demo of a pull side rollover frisbee throw.  Please note that I angled my body so I could see the flight of the frisbee down the length of the cage instead of hitting the side net. This allows me to see if I rolled over like the second gif or if I get a true straight flight of the frisbee. Straight flight indicates proper palm up palm down extension.

pull side frisbee throw
Pull Side Roll Over

Centerfield Extension vs Rollover

Working 'up the middle' is something all players must be able to do.  Honestly, this accuracy based skill keeps most coaches happy, and therefore, allows players to swing how they want. Mostly, I say a 'quiet coach is a happy coach'. If a coach just says 'good' when you hit, you get to keep hitting. Now, this frisbee flight is more specific to the player than the pull side throw. If you're a power player, throw it high and far. If you are more of a gap to gap hitter, throw it fast and lower than the power hitter.  Singles hitters: throw low and fast, maybe no higher than the top of the cage to maximize their results.

Middle Frisbee Throw
Middle Roll Over

Opposite Field Extension vs Pull Off/Rollover

Opposite field frisbee throws are tough. They have the least margin for error and require the most focus of all the directions. This is due to the early acceleration of the frisbee and early release as well. Just like an outside pitch when hitting, you have the most chances to roll over or pull off the frisbee throw. All players, regardless of power, should throw the outside pitch frisbee low or lower than their centerfield throw. Any top had wrist pronation (pushing over the top of the bottom hand with the top hand) kills the direction and extension to the opposite field. It is super important to maintain your palm up/palm down position through the throw. As you can see in my demonstrations below when I stay palm-up-palm-down through the throw the frisbee goes straight. Conversely, when I push over the top with my top hand (pronate), the frisbee flops down into the ground. Pitchers throw outside for a reason, it's hard to maintain that direction of the barrel. Taking the timing aspect out of it, just the barrel direction gives hitters fits. Again, I have angled my body to see better frisbee flight. I strongly recommend this, not only when doing frisbee throws, but when practicing inside and outside pitches off a tee. Ball flight and frisbee flight tells you a lot about your movements and extension if a hittrax, field, or video is not available.

oppo frisbee throw 2
oppo roll over

Frisbee Your Bat to a Better Batting Average

Mastering the two hand frisbee throw will help with barrel direction, power, and extension in the swing.  Focus on your hands staying palm up/palm down through the extension of the throw.  The better your turn the bucket top/frisbee and get to palm up/palm down, the better your swing will be.  Throw the frisbee with speed and quickness.  Try to throw it fast and far.  I recently wrote an article about the wrist and forearm movement that goes along with this quite well.  Use both of these articles together to get your bat flying through the zone.  You'll be glad you did.  And hey, maybe you'll pick up FROLF (Frisbee Golf) as a new activity.

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Note from the Author:  The top of this article is extremely dorky and filled with big words.  If you just want to skip ahead and learn how to train your forearms and wrists to roll over less and have more power in the swing, just click the red button below.

The Truth About Wrist Movement

At Baseball Rebellion, we commonly ignore the hands/wrists in hitting instruction.  Most of the time, when the turn is correct, the hands and wrists just fall in line. However, in some cases, a hitter has issues with how their hands help deliver force into the bat.  In those cases, after the turn has been taught, the instructor or coach must know how the wrists move and exert force in the swing.

Forearm Movements in the Swing

The forearm muscles pronate and supinate (rotate) the hand and wrist.  Often times, these movements are confused with wrist movements and in hitting when hitters 'roll their wrists, the hands are cued to fix it.  In reality, this mistake is a forearm movement and when described as hand movement cannot be easily fixed.  Inside the baseball swing, the top hand forearm supinates while the bottom hand forearm pronates simultaneously.  These movements of the top and bottom hand coupled with the body turning in the swing, turn the barrel behind the ball.  But what happens after that?   First, let's take a second and define all these terms to help understand the movements of the forearms and wrists.

Forearm: Supination

Supination

Forearm: Pronation

Pronation

Wrist: Flexion

wrist flexion

Wrist: Extension

Wrist Extension

Wrist: Radial Deviation

Radial Deviation

Wrist: Ulnar Deviation

Ulnar Deviation 2

Transitioning from Supination/Pronation into Ulnar Deviation

Blending these movements is key in learning how to Turn the Barrel.  The difference between allowing the bottom hand to take over and pronate (roll over) and transitioning into ulnar deviation is the key to staying on plane.  On plane swings deliver high levels of force and represent the most efficient delivery of that force production into the ball.  Allowing the wrists and hands to stay high in the turn helps eliminate the possibility of rolling over.  Here's how proper forearm and wrist mechanics work in the swing from the top and side view.

supination:pronation into ulnar deviation
supination:pronation into ulnar deviation top

Apparently, I'm transitioning from having hair to not having hair, which is awesome!

chas is bald top

Rolling Over Defined and Demonstrated

The main mistake we are trying to identify and correct in this article is 'wrist rollover' in the swing.  Again, that is a forearm issue where the top hand takes over and pushes up and over the top hand.  This action is called 'early pronation' in the swing.

Early pronation dramatically changes bat plane and is directly related to many mis-hits.  The body cannot support the barrel or effectively exert force on the handle of the bat if the top hand overpowers the bat and rolls over the bottom hand.  Here are some gif of "rolling over" and after this, we will show you how we at BR correct this swing flaw.

Defining Wrist Roll

Bad movements like the wrist roll are easily corrected with the Drive Developer.  Here is a wrist roll demo, notice how the band hits my side and my hands pull across my body.

barrel path- roll over

From the top view, you can see how the band hits my arm and my bat head is pulled out of the hitting zone.

roll over

Turning the mistake movements above into proper barrel turn and extension in the swing does take some time and training.

barrel path

From the top view, you can clearly see the band does not hit my body and my top hand forearm does not supinate during ulnar deviation.  This gives the bat a clean path and allows for the longest and most powerful contact zone.

barrel path

Eliminating Wrist Roll: The Drills that Pay the Bills

How do we get from the bad movements to the good ones?  We use three main drills here at Baseball Rebellion to Eliminate Wrist Roll and strengthen Ulnar Deviation in the swing.  These drills specifically target the muscles in the wrists that help the top and bottom hand works together to turn the barrel and finish extension in the swing.

Directionally, they help players drive the ball to all fields and can easily help opposite field power as well as pull side power.  Barrel direction and force generation is key in the swing, and the Drive Developer Drills we show here are a staple of exactly how we eliminate wrist roll in our players and create more power and better swing plane.  These drills and many many more come with the Drive Developer and you'll see almost immediate changes on blast, HitTrax or Rapsodo after performing these movements.

Ulnar Deviation Side View
wrist strengthening
wrist strengthening
wrist strengthening

Combining these moves with both hands on the bat handle allows for the hitter to feel the movements together.  Becoming stronger in ulnar deviation helps the body ignore the option of rolling over.  We commonly refer to this as 'turning the barrel' or "making the top hand become the bottom hand".

wrist strengthening

These drills are simple but require focus and technique to re-pattern your brain to choose ulnar deviation (a wrist movement) instead of pronation of the top hand and supination of the bottom and, both forearm movements.

Drive Developer Swing Repatterning Drills

Changing a hitter's force production pattern is only possible by making the hitter apply some force!  Many times, players will do dry movements well, and then go back to their normal patterns once they return to hitting.

How do coaches and players teach themselves to apply force to the handle of the bat accurately without the failure if hitting?  The answer is the drive developer.  At Baseball Rebellion, we have had a lot of success repatterning the upper body mechanics of players with the Drive Developer bat speed training system.

Many players have radically changed their swing plane and power efficiency with the Drive Developer.  Here are a few drills how the Drive Developer can help you or your hitters today!

These drills and many more come with the Drive Developer.  Learn to turn your barrel and deliver force!  I hope this helped people understand more about "rolling over" and how to eliminate it.  Train to deliver force the best way.  Train with the Drive Developer.

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Stop Rolling Over and Increase Extension in the Swing

The Insider Bat is an extremely popular training aid. Tens of thousands of people have purchased this hitting tool. Unfortunately, in our opinion, the Insider Bat is about as bad a training tool as you can use. However, we have found a few ways to use it that have helped hitters understand extension, helping them stop rolling over, and how to allow their wrists to deliver the barrel.

Why Do The "Outsider Bat" Drill?

By holding The Insider Bat backwards, you create the ‘Outsider Bat’ and the best ‘snapping the barrel’ training tool we’ve found. You can hit the pad ‘square’ to make a “POW” sound as you can hear in the video above. By varying the angle and distance of the pad, the hitter must adjust and adapt by changing their extension point and when they allow the barrel to enter the zone. This is a great drill for fixing rollovers, increasing extension (if needed), or helping the hitter turn the barrel sooner (if needed).

How to Execute the Drill

  1.  Hold The Insider Bat backward
  2.  Make sure you ‘smack’ the pad with the back of the insider bat
  3.  Vary the distances to help the hitter understand delaying the barrel if they’re early
  4.  Vary the distances to help the hitter understand early barrel entry/barrel turn if they’re late
  5.  Change the angles of the pad to help hitters understand how to direct the barrel to all fields

What You Need for The "Outsider Bat" Drill

  1. An insider bat
  2. A football blocking pad

Obviously, not everyone has a football blocking pad, but a couch cushion will work just fine.

Think of a hitting flaw you've heard of. Now, what do you think is one of the most common flaws? Over and over when our highest level clients come into train they struggle with one thing. Almost all of them struggle to pull the ball in the air and keep it fair. Most of them hook the ball, roll their hands over, and top-spin pulled balls. Luckily for us at BR/SR, fixing pull side power issues is pretty much our specialty. Because of this, it's simple for our high-level athletes to make the adjustments needed to give their 'hook', the hook.

Everyone knows what that hard-hit ball feels like that juuuuuust hooks foul. Nothing is more frustrating than turning a double or a home run into a strike. Often times, that ball the hitter pulled foul is the best and most hittable pitch they'll get in that at-bat. Giving those extra-base hits away is a team killer, especially with runners on base.

Another interesting issue that arises from the inability to keep inside pitches fair is how the pitchers attack hitters. Pitchers will eventually figure out which hitters pull across their bodies and hook balls foul. They can feed inside locations to get an easy strike and get ahead of these types of hitters, which opens up their off-speed arsenal. Any way you look at it, the symptoms of hooking the ball are easy to see and easy to exploit.

Now that you've learned the symptoms hooking the ball, the causes of the hook and the 4 cures we use at BR/SR to fix the hook get to work! I know that if you take the time to read this article, and then do the drills inside of it either with your team, your young player, or yourself that you will see results. The pull side balls will be straighter, have more carry, and most importantly, stay fair! Often in lessons, I say, "Hands high and let it fly!". If you perfect these drills and put it into your game swing, the fans will say "Oh my!" as you trot around the bases.

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