Understanding the Strike Zone for Parents & Players- Tips and Secrets!

Spent all weekend at a tournament and have no idea what the strike zone is? Learn two secrets to help you and your hitter get a better idea of the zone.

 

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How to Train Timing For Hitters What’s the best way to challenge hitters? Is it facing a coach throwing BP? No. Front Toss? Not a chance. If you don’t have...

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Learn to Crush The Low and Inside Pitch

Hitting a low and inside pitch is really really hard.  Many hitters struggle with this pitch most because of body positions. Here are a few 'absolutes' from a body position standpoint to hit the low and inside pitch:

  1. Create proper spacing with the upper body
  2. Maintain hip hinge from the stride to the swing
  3. Get into a side bend position
  4. Swing with proper direction

Check out Alex Bregman (Houston Astros) and Anthony Rendon (Washington Nationals) and their recent World Series homers. Both of these came on low and inside pitches. Check the body positions they get into to be able to elevate this pitch over the fence.

Bregman Low and Inside Pitch
Bregman Low and Inside Pitch
Rendon Low and Inside Pitch
Rendon Low and Inside Pitch

Practicing Correct Body Movements for the Low and Inside Pitch

One of the things we do for this 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 the Rack Bat. 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.

Applying the Drill

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.

Rack Bat Angled Noodle

RackBatGIF

Full Swings with Angled Noodle

FullSwingGIF

Dowel Rod Angled Noodle

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Every Hitter in the Lineup Benefits from Increased Rotation Skills

Rotational Power with Rebel's Rack Bands

Why Teaching Rotational Skill Helps Every Hitter in the Lineup

Coaches, instructors, and players all over the country have asked me about the Rebel's Rack Movement Certification Course. I've fielded lots of questions about the course.

The main one that stuck out to me was the common yet incorrect assumption about the course.  Many people are assuming that only power-hitting players would benefit from the training. This couldn't be farther from the truth.

Check out how each spot in the lineup WILL benefit from learning how to rotate faster and more efficiently.

Top of the Lineup (1-2)

The leadoff and two-hole hitters are generally fast and put the ball in play a lot. These players usually do not strike out much and make a solid bat to ball contact frequently. Also, these players usually see lots of pitches. This allows the middle of the lineup can be prepared for the pitcher's arsenal.

These players are fast, so every ball they hit has a chance to be a double. So why not have them hit more doubles? Rotational Power doesn't mean you have to swing and miss more or pop out more. In fact, the better you accelerate the bat head the better you can see pitches. Because of this, the hitter can decide to swing later in the pitch flight.

Leading off the game with a double or a triple is a great way to put the other team on their heels. Top of the lineup hitters with power are extremely valuable to each team they are on. They set the tone and give the opposing team lots to think about defensively. Skipping first base early in the game allows your offense more options as well.

Power Hitters (3-6)

Obviously, power players hitting the ball harder and farther is a good thing. Taking someone who has hit lots of home runs and making them hit the ball far more frequently is clearly a good idea. Usually, these players do not possess the speed needed to beat out grounders or run the bases aggressively.

For that reason, it makes no sense to have your slowest and largest players hit the ball low or in the infield. These players must produce runs by hitting extra-base hits at the plate. Because of this, increasing their rotational skill and power output will help them do that.

Bottom of the Lineup (7-9)

Usually, these hitters are not as strong contact wise as the top of the lineup hitters. Likewise, they never have the power of the middle of the lineup. These hitters, however, are the biggest chance for improvement on the team. Turning the number eight hitter into a three-hole hitter is possible with proper rotational movement skill work. It is very likely that some of these hitters have poor rotational skill and speed.

Because of this, allowing time at practice to teach these players to turn can impact bottom-of-the-lineup hitters the most! Most of the time, these players have been 'hitting' extra for years and years. It is unlikely that a few extra bad reps will magically change them into a more influential hitter in your lineup.

But, improving these players' rotational skill and speed can create more good hitters in your lineup. More good hitters will help generate more runs either by driving them in from the plate or being driven in from the bases.

Better Rotational Skill, Higher Exit Speeds, and More Runs

Scoring runs clearly is the key to winning games from an offensive perspective. Having more players who can hit the ball harder more often will lead to more runs overtime. Training rotational skills to each and every player in your lineup can uncover hidden hitting gems.

These newly trained rotation experts can now implement this new turn speed into every single hitting drill you design and use. This makes every drill used at practice more impactful and more likely to translate to harder hits in the game.

The Rebel's Rack Movement Certification Helps All Hitters

As a coach, learning to teach the turn efficiently and properly will make each player you coach better. No matter their current skill set or a swing style, introducing and stressing correct rotational mechanics will improve your hitters. Almost always their exit speeds will increase almost instantly and how far they hit the ball will go up as well.

Don't be afraid to show your nine-hole hitter how to turn, who knows, maybe your nine-hole hitter becomes your new leadoff. Having more good hitters is never a problem! I will say that writing the lineup can get tricky with six three-hole quality hitters on the team. But then again, those are the types of decisions every coach wants!

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Skill Training and How You Can Get Your Team Better At It

What are the five main physical skills in baseball? Hitting for average, hitting for power, speed (baserunning), fielding, throwing. Every single coach and player works on some of these skills each and every practice they attend.

Ask yourself what your practice is missing that’s hurting you as a player or your team as a coach? If everyone practices the same way then how do you know you're getting ahead of your competition? We know what you are missing and we are here to help. 

Option 1: Train the Skills More!

Training more is generally the option most teams and players take in order to gain an advantage over their competition. Because of this, players have to work harder and smarter to earn more playing time. “More” can be defined as spending more time on specific skills or dedicating more repetitions to a specific skill. Sometimes, the player or team chooses both more time and more repetitions to gain an advantage. Because of this, many players end up hurt or tired.

Fatigue Factor

Often, practices can become lazy or lack focus due to the sheer amount of time players are required to practice for. In hitting specifically, when hitters get tired often times their mechanics break down and sub-optimal compensations occur to "survive" the practice instead of "thrive" during practice.

Is there a clear, defined goal to your practices?
Is there a clear, defined goal to your practices?

Option 2: Train the Skills Differently

The Basics of Skill Training
The Basics of Skill Training

There are many ways you can train skills differently than other teams and players. Traditional training of hitting off tees, front toss/cage work, and then batting practice on the field just isn't enough.  This won’t allow you to gain ground on those who are ahead of you as a player or team. Everyone on every team in America is doing these same activities in hitting. Because of this, coaches now are doing different variations to help maximize the training effects of the time spent on hitting in practice. Coaches are using short and long bats to force hitters to ‘figure it out’ on how to get the barrel to the ball. The issue here is simple: the players are STILL JUST HITTING! Trying to improve hitting flaws by hitting more makes little to no sense and in all reality can lead to hitting worse than before.

Skill Training in School: Reading and Math

Reading Skill Training:

My son, Bryant, is 6-years-old. Each night, he reads a book to either his mother or myself and sometimes, even to his little brother, Tyson. Typically, his books rely on similar letter combinations to help ingrain certain word patterns and sounds. A common sentence would be: “A dog and a frog are on a log.”

Clearly, the book is trying to get Bryant to practice reading, understanding, and making the sound ‘og’ makes. As time goes on, the books get harder and pair sounds together. “Ben has a hen and a dog and a frog”. In that sentence, the ‘en’ sounds were paired with ‘og’ sounds to help Bryant see and hear the difference.

This is simple deliberate practice of a simple skill set over and over. He's yet to bring home War and Peace (a 1,225-page novel published in 1869) to be read with strobe glasses on and weights on his hands to make turning the pages harder...but hey, it is just the first week.

Math Skill Training

Math is taught in a similar way. Currently, Bryant is working on adding and subtracting numbers. The class goes over how adding and subtracting works with M&M’s because the students understand physical differences as opposed to abstract numerical differences faster. Seeing 5 M&M’s become 3 M&M’s because you ate 2 is a simple way to work on subtraction.

Understanding the number 5 minus 3 equals 2 on a paper can be hard for some kids in the class at this age. Another way they are working on math is counting by 1’s, 2’s and 3’s. Counting to 9 by threes is 3,6, 9. Counting backward by 2’s to 0 from 10 is 10,8.6.4.2.0.  These are strategies the school is using to teach abstract math as opposed to physical math.

Both are practiced deliberately, both are repeated over and over. Again, he hasn’t been required to use a short pencil, then a long pencil, and then pencils with different lead hardnesses for writing proprioception. I think that’s in week 2!

Differences in Baseball Coaching Skill from School Training Skill Training

In baseball coaching, many times it is assumed the hitter has a general idea of how to hit. Meaning they have a basic mechanical understanding of HOW to actually hit a ball correctly and with some level of power.

What does this assumption of competence lead to? Mass repetition style practices. “More time or more reps on a skill will make a player better” is the thought.

While this can work sometimes for some players, mostly it just creates a bigger competence gap between the good players and bad ones. The good players practice good movements, the bad players, practice bad movements.

While both sets of players 'can' get better from reps, the ceiling on the bad players' development is very low. Even the good players could be elevated by proper pre-hitting mechanical coaching, but are usually left alone as they are already good.

School

In school, however, there is no assumption that any student can do anything when they enter school. Kids are assessed for their ability in classroom activities and motor skills. Students are then grouped with kids who they can help or who can help them.

Building Foundations

  • Lessons in early education are to build basic skills in all students, and then, as certain students succeed or struggle, their needs are addressed differently by the teaching staff
  • Students who can add and subtract still benefit and are never hurt by reviewing the information
  • Likewise, students who cannot add or subtract are greatly benefitted from this foundational training

This early education foundational review or teaching of basic skills closes the competence gap and eliminates many problems that would arise without this basic teaching time.

Baseball

If baseball coaches did the same thing and taught the basics of rotation BEFORE hitting, every player on the team would benefit. This simple time would allow each player to have the foundation to become a more effective hitter at practice.

Building Foundations

  • This fundamental rotational movement training closes the competence gap and can unlock a player’s ability much faster than just hoping that good hitters are created with more hitting.
  • Also, it would allow coaches to work on rotation with everyone and then ‘release’ players who were good rotators into hitting groups.
  • This grouping would put players in situations where they can learn the best, just like the school teachers are doing for my young son.

Train Rotation. Bridge the Competence Gap.

How are you properly teaching rotation as a skill in your practice setting?
How are you properly teaching rotation as a skill in your practice setting?

Hitting is rotating the body and speeding up the bat around the body and directing the bat into a ball. By assessing players' untrained ability to rotate, and then teaching better mechanical patterns for rotation, you are insuring each hitting drill is maximally effective.

Teaching the proper mechanics of rotation would take minutes of practice time, but allow for hyper-effective and efficient hitting practice afterward. Hitting can be something players enjoy and understand as their process of preparing to hit makes rotational sense and works with how the body generates rotational power.

Instead of countless constraints, or drills from twitter, take the time to teach proper rotational technique. It’ll change your career or the career of those you teach in a massive way.

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If your reading this article, you should be familiar with the Rebel's Rack and the well documented success of helping hitters of all ages, genders, sizes, and ability levels hit the ball harder and farther than they ever have. Besides releasing some basic drills to do with the Rebel's Rack on our site and YouTube page, we've never gone into complete detail on how coaches, instructors, and/or parents can teach using the Rebel's Rack. And more specifically, teach rotation to hitters.

We heard a lot that people wanted something more than just the Rebel's Rack and a list of drills on YouTube, so earlier this month, we set out to create something more. What we created is an incredibly valuable resource for teaching rotation in the swing, specifically with the Rebel's Rack. The Rebel's Rack Movement Certification Course was created by the staff at Baseball Rebellion for YOU. Who are you and why do you need to teach rotation with the Rebel's Rack? Well, we answer that all for you below. 

Eric Talking to Youth Player

(Volunteer) Youth Coaches

Your young player's team needed a coach and here you are the Head Coach of a Little League team! You probably haven't played since High School or college. And you're probably not very versed in the ins and outs of hitting. You remember some basic coaching cues from when you played but you're also hearing some new terminology on ESPN and MLB Network. But, you don't know exactly what's right to say or do for your "rag tag" team of players That's OK!

The best thing for you to do is find a system that works for all your players and that can be easily taught and communicated by everyone on the team. Now we may be a little bias but the Rebel's Rack Movement Progression is the best way to get hitters of all sizes and ability levels to consistently make solid contact with the ball and get on base. Rotating correctly in the swing the easiest and most basic way to see results in youth hitters. While older hitters can get away with 'swinging with their arms, this is often a weak area for youth players, so they have to generate power through rotation in order to make solid contact. The Rebel's Rack Movement Certification Course is filled with the best ways for YOU to help make these novice players crush the ball!

Sometimes, as a volunteer coach, some of the kids you're coaching will only get coached by you. This is a reality of rec league sports, but you have a chance to make that player's season the best they've ever had. If the season is 12 games and 12 practices, you have 24 opportunities to teach your players how to turn/rotate and hit the ball hard! The benefits you'll see and the enjoyment they'll get from hitting the ball harder and farther will be priceless.

Informed Parents

Parents that (intelligently) work with their kids in the backyard or at a local batting cage, first of all we praise you; it takes a lot to work a 9-to-5 and then throw BP in the backyard for an hour. You rock! BUT, just like you've heard before, are you just working hard or are you working smart? Everyone has heard of 10,000 Hour Rule of becoming an expert in something but what they don't often realize is it has to be 10,000 hours of deliberate practice. Taking thousands of swings in the backyard mean nothing if they aren't quality swings. By developing the proper rotation of the swing first, you are ensuring that your hitter is developing the quality swing movements they need to start having quality, smart, and deliberate practice with you!

We know we can help you work smarter with the Rebel's Rack Movement Certification Course. The best part of a parent going through the course, is you can go through the whole course with you son or daughter. Now, instead of fighting about who's right or wrong, you can just go watch the video again! Work together with enjoyment instead of the natural frustration and friction that sports coaching can bring on between parents and their kids. The single best thing you can do as a parent for your player's hitting development is acquire the best information and giving that to your kids. The Rebel's Rack Movement Certification will give you the tools to help your young player have more fun crushing the ball than ever before.

High School and College Coaches

Coaches of high school and college teams will all benefit from the Rebel's Rack Movement Progession. The biggest selling point we have from the Rebel's Rack is that it works for everyone. No matter if you are the 6'3" 225lb college clean-up hitter or the 5'6" 145lb high school nine-hole hitter. The Rebel's Rack and Rebel's Rack Movement Progression is about helping the hitter rotate more efficiently in their swing in order to hit the ball harder, more consistently. This is good for any hitter!

The detail included in the course explanations, and specificity in the videos, will allow you to gain incredible efficiency in your time coaching your players. Having one system to coach your players, and that works for all your players, will make your practices incredibly efficient and productive. You don't need one set of coaching cues for one set of players and another set for another group of players. Rotation is Rotation. It works for everyone! Your coaches will be on the same page with the players and other coaches. Your players will be on the same page with the coaches. It's a system of singularity that most coaches only dream of!

College:Pro - Mid Swing

Private Lesson or Group Training Instructor

Like every other scenario above, it helps to have a system of training. More importantly, that system has to work! The Rebel's Rack Movement Progression, detailed in the Rebel's Rack Movement Certification Course have proven to work time and time again, and we have the data to prove it! Understanding how to teach rotation in the Rebel's Rack Movement Progression will allow you to pinpoint specific issues within your player's swing. Because of this, you can get results faster and create a more loyal client base. Instructors can zero in on the movement flaws and fix them with speed and precision, not by just firing 100's of balls at the client.

Imagine how your business could change as a hitting lesson instructor or group trainer! The Rebel's Rack Movement Progression (and having the Certification) will enhance every drill you already do! Imagine knowing the 'work' your lessons and trainees do at home will always positively impact their movement quality, speed, and power! All of that is possible once you implement the information inside the Rebel's Rack Movement Certification.

Anyone and Everyone Can Teach Rotation!

Rotation is the great equalizer in the the swing. No matter who the hitter is or what they look like, if they turn faster in their swing, they are going to be able to make harder, more consistent contact with the ball. This is good for ALL hitters! Coaches at every level should, at the very least, be teaching the basics of improving rotation in the swing. As you should recognize after reading this article, doing some research on your own, and visiting the rest of our site, we are experts in teaching rotation. That is why we developed the Rebel's Rack Movement Certification Course. We want to help all hitters rotate better so they can hit the ball harder and farther. But we can only reach so many players. That's why we developed the Course, for YOU!

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Power to All Fields

Driving the ball to all fields is obviously a great skill for hitters to acquire. Many hitters struggle to drive the ball to the opposite field without a slice. Still, other hitters struggle to pull the ball without a hook. We found a simple and easy way to help combat this using a bucket lid and some duct tape.

Bucket Lid Arrow Drill

  • Make sure your arrow is straight
  • Put the bucket lid in the area that contact occurs with the ball
    • Outside pitch arrow is deeper and pointed to the opposite field
    • Inside pitches are further out in front of the hitter and pointed to the pull side
  • Toss or throw pitches to the corresponding arrow location
    • If you're working on the outside arrow, throw the ball outside
  • Tees can be used as well if tossing accurately is a problem

Applying the Bucket Lid Arrow Drill

As you can see, the Bucket Lid Arrow Drill is simple to explain and use in practice or lessons. Make a game out of it with different arrow positions and focuses for different rounds of batting practice. Players will compete and learn at a faster pace with some rewards for doing well and consequences for failure.

One coach even created an Arrow Drill Leaderboard at his practices that the kids really enjoy checking in on their status. If you're looking for even more drills for the upper body and staying through balls to all fields, check this article out from Garret Gordon.

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Severe head movement in the swing limits the hitter's ability to make solid contact. Here's one drill to help hitter's keep their head still as they swing.

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Is “Extension” Staying Through the Ball? Staying through the ball is extremely important for any hitter of any age. Many coaches talk about extension but we are going to show......

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Hitting for Power to ALL Fields without Pulling Off I get lots of questions about the Rebel’s Rack and “pulling off the ball”. What’s interesting about these questions is that......

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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......

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Thinking of Switch Hitting? Think Again All the time I get asked questions about switch-hitting. Most of them range from, ‘is this a great idea for my player?’ to ‘will......

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