Improve Your Pop Time with This Simple Footwork Adjustment

As with our hitting and pitching philosophies, Baseball Rebellion believes that moving athletically is the key to maximizing your skills as a catcher. From an early age, I was taught to throw to 2nd base by taking a step with my right foot slightly forward and directly in the middle of my feet in the crouched position. While this did get my right foot and leg turned towards my target, it did not cue my hips or torso to rotate quickly, if at all. In this post, I aim to show you a faster and more efficient way of learning footwork to 2nd base from the catching position. In order to do this, I’ll use Jonathan Lucroy as he is one of the best throwing catchers in today’s game.

The first thing that jumps out at me in this video is that Lucroy’s fluid body movement never allows the ball to stop from the pitcher’s hand to 2nd base. The commonly taught stepping motion that I mentioned earlier encourages a segmented motion in which the ball moves slower to allow the body to catch up to the initial step that starts the movement. Notice how Lucroy does NOT step in the middle of his crouched base of support. Instead, he allows his hips and body to begin turning before the pitch even reaches his mitt. This results in a much more explosive beginning to his throw since he is using the rotational power of his core, hips, and legs instead of a quick step to initiate the throw. The hips leading the throw results in the back foot being brought by the hips rather than the reverse. This also gets the upper body turned as well so that the quick transfer can continue right into the throw instead of the arm having to stall out to wait for the lower half to be set. Lucroy’s back foot ends up where his front foot began in the crouch.  Unfortunately, this is something that most youth players are instructed not to do because it is perceived that the momentum would no longer be towards 2nd base. In reality, this is false since a proper initial hip turn will get the body turned to 2nd base more powerfully and efficiently. Many may watch the video above and ask, what about if there is a right-handed hitter?

In this video, Lucroy is receiving a pitch on the inner half of the plate to a right-handed hitter. Because of this, Lucroy is not able to replace his feet as much as in the 1st video but he still initiates the body turn with his hips causing his back foot to land on the 3rd base side of the center of his base of support. The exact placement of the back foot will vary some based on pitch location, the handedness of the batter, and how close the batter stands to the plate. That being said, the exact location of the back foot placement is far less important than the slight shift and turn of the body prior to receiving the ball and leading the throw with a powerful hip turn to match a lightning-quick transfer.

As with almost everything in baseball, if you are being taught something that doesn’t feel fast, athletic, and explosive, there is probably a better way. Practice this footwork diligently and watch your pop time improve!

Gabe Dimock – Baseball Rebellion Hitting and Catching Instructor

If you go to any baseball game at any level, there is some form of pre-game body routine that is meant to prepare the athletes for maximal performance. My goal in writing this post is to help you think critically about the design of your warmup and to give some easy, common-sense principles that can help you decide how to best prepare your body for action.

5 Major Genres of Exercise on a Typical Game Day:

  1. Warm Up: A warm-up is an exercise like a light jog or bike session to get the blood flowing throughout the body and to activate the sympathetic nervous system which increases heart rate, core body temperature, and a player’s overall state of arousal. Prior to a baseball game, this is often done by a jog out to the center field fence and back.
  2. Dynamic Stretching: Dynamic stretching is when a player goes through their full range of motion in an exercise without holding for an extended period of time. The player is also moving through the exercise. Examples of a dynamic stretch would be walking lunges or High Knee Skips.
  3. Activity: This one is pretty simple… Play Baseball!
  4. Cool Down: The cooldown is optional and generally not necessary in baseball given that it is not a sport that requires a level of exertion that raises the heart rate significantly (With the exception of pitchers). If you want to perform a cool down, this is usually a light jog to gradually bring the athlete back to their resting state (heart rate, temperature, etc…).
  5. Static Stretching: Static Stretching is what most people think of when they hear the word “stretch”. This is designed to improve range of motion and is thought to prevent injury by many… more on this below.

Order of Routine

As a beginning template, the most commonly effective order of exercises is warm up, dynamic stretch, activity, cool down, and static stretching. The most variable of these genres is static stretching as there is a lot of controversy surrounding it. For many, it is the most important pre-game activity they perform while for others, static stretching is never done because of the thought that it decreases force output (which is definitely not what you want prior to a power sport like baseball). One of the primary problems that I see is that almost every pre and post-game routine is done together as a team with each individual doing the exact same things. Unfortunately, everyone has different limitations and therefore should have a pre and post-game routine that is specifically designed for them. So how do we decide who should do what?

While it is true that stretching has not been proven to decrease injury risk, we know that there is a bell curve when it comes to flexibility. Some people have little to no flexibility, some are extremely flexible, and everyone else (roughly 80%) fall in the middle.  Research shows that those on either end of this bell curve are more susceptible to injury. With this information, our decisions about whether to static stretch before the game, after the game or not at all become pretty simple. If you are a player who is of the stiff end of the bell curve, it makes sense to do some static stretching prior to the game since this will provide some protection against injury given that individual’s tight nature. On the other hand, if an excessively flexible player is static stretching prior to a performance, they are likely increasing their chances of being injured.

What About The Decreased Force?

Research has been mixed as to the question of whether static stretching acutely decreases force output. Some studies have found an immediate decrease in force while others have found no decrease in force at all. The majority of studies that found the immediate decrease, no longer saw the decrease in force once the individual performed a dynamic stretch or other warm-up activity. This suggests that it would not be wise to static stretch immediately prior to an at-bat, or pitching performance but that it is not likely to be detrimental if given enough time or muscle activity prior to the activity of significance (throwing, hitting, etc…)

Maximizing Static Stretching: Less is More

As discussed earlier, if you are hypermobile, you likely don’t need to perform any static stretching at all. If you do need more mobility, let’s talk about how to stretch as efficiently as possible. Many who are attempting to improve their range of motion think that the longer they stretch and the harder they stretch, the better the results will be. As it turns out, research shows that range of motion increases from static stretching improved most at 3 minutes of stretching regardless of how that 3 minutes was achieved. For instance that could be one 3 minute stretch, two 1:30 stretches, or six 30 second stretches of the same muscle. Stretching has also been found to be most effective when stretching slowly, only to the edge of the resistance. If you go too fast, too deep into a stretch, the nervous system will begin fighting back and the stretch will not end up being effective for improving range of motion. This is why you often see shaking of muscle with intense stretching. Avoid this and remember, sometimes less is more.

Using Hold-Relax Stretching to Improve Flexibility

As I mentioned above, the nervous system often fights back and limits flexibility gains. One of the best ways to override the nervous system is to use hold-relax stretching. This concept works with ay muscle stretch but for simplicity’s sake, we’ll use a traditional straight leg hamstring stretch which is most easily performed with a partner. The player should move into the range of motion until the first twinge of resistance is felt. Then the partner should support the leg and have the player gently press their heel into their partner for a few seconds. When the player relaxes, the partner should bring their leg up further until they fell the 1st bit of resistance. This process should be repeated until the desired range of motion is reached. In my opinion, this is a much more effective way of increasing flexibility compared to traditional static stretching.

Every pre-game routine should contain some form of warm-up and dynamic stretch but remember that everything you do should have a purpose so evaluate whether you need static stretching and if you do, follow the guidelines in this article to maximize your flexibility and decrease your chances of injury.

Gabe Dimock – Baseball Rebellion Hitting Instructor

At most team practices, there is little time set aside for catchers to work on their skills outside of catching bullpens. While bullpens are great opportunities to improve, a routine is needed to make sure that adequate amounts of quality repetitions are being completed in all facets of the catching position. In this article, you will find drills from The Baseball Rebellion Catching Coaches Clinic that can help build your routine!

Stances

Using the right stances at the right times is vital to positioning yourself well for the task at hand. Watch the videos below to learn about proper primary and secondary stances. In your practice or pregame routine, you should vary your stances so that you are getting sufficient work in both the primary and secondary stance.

Primary Stance

Secondary Stance

Receiving

While blocking and throwing are critical to being a great catcher, catchers receive far more pitches than they block or throw. This means that receiving should be at the top of the priority list when it comes to working on individual skills.

Barehand Drill

Three Plate Drill

Blocking

It doesn’t take long to notice the effects of a catcher who struggles to block the baseball. One of a catcher’s primary jobs is to limit the number of extra bases that the other team takes. Blocking the ball is a major component to limiting these extra bases and extra runs. If a runner is on 3rd base and the catcher makes a block that keeps that runner from scoring, this is equivalent to hitting a solo home run on the offense!

Three Ball Reaction Drill

Wall Ball Blocking Drill

Throwing

Catching a base stealer or picking a runner off is easily one of the most satisfying feelings in baseball. Believe it or not, arm strength has less to do with being a successful throwing catcher than efficient footwork a quick transfer and a quick release. The drills below address each of these topics.

Footwork to 2nd Base

Transfers

Rotation

Given the short reaction time for every skill in catching, these skills and movement patterns must be almost automatic. This takes diligent and consistent practice but may only require 15-20 minutes a day outside of regular practice time! If you want more catching help, check out our full catching clinic.

Thank you for reading!

Gabe Dimock – Baseball Rebellion Hitting Instructor

Is Placebo Effect Real?

At some point, most of us have experienced or at least heard of the Placebo Effect. For those of you who haven’t, the placebo effect is when a positive response is seen after receiving an inactive intervention. For instance, many drug studies include a control group that receives a sugar pill instead of the drug actually being tested. The phenomenon is that the sugar pill group tends to see improvement even though there is seemingly no logical reason for the change. In drug studies, researchers want to minimize the Placebo effect so that they can understand the true effects of the drug being tested.

As coaches and parents on the other hand, we want to maximize the placebo effect so that our players are reaching their fullest potential. Until a few weeks ago, I thought the placebo effect was purely mental and in no way physiological. If someone had told me that it was a good thing to maximize the placebo effect, I would have thought them to be misguided at best and a scam artist at worst. That was until I learned that the placebo effect actually has real physiological effects, meaning when a perceived positive intervention or drill is implemented, endorphins are released by the brain which leads to improved results. This was proven when researchers performed a study in which they sought to elicit the placebo effect in multiple groups but blocked the release of endorphins of one group. The group that had the endorphins blocked, did not exhibit the placebo effect.

So what is the significance of this to baseball performance? Let me start by clarifying what I am not saying. I am not saying that it is unimportant what quality of coaching methodology you employ when it comes to hitting or pitching mechanics. I am saying that it is extremely important that players are completely bought into their system of training in order to see maximal results of that system. Because of this, it is rare to see a player who lacks confidence succeed even if their talent and skills warrant success. Let’s walk through a quick example of how this idea can be practically applied from a coaching perspective. In fact, this is an area where I have made numerous mistakes. We often hear players who feel their swing “click” or “synch up”. When asking what they are feeling, they often respond with something that makes very little logical sense. In the past, I would think that it was my duty to correct them and explain why their response didn’t make sense and provide them with a more logical reason for their swing improvement. This seemed like the right thing to do but anecdotally, those players would generally regress after that conversation. Why did this happen? This is because their belief that what they were feeling, no matter how illogical, was the reason for the swing improvement was powerful! Even though my explanation to the player might have been accurate, it did not maximize the placebo effect and therefore diminished the player’s success.

Positive Framing

Positive framing is a concept that most of us know to be true intuitively. Framing is the concept that the way we say things matters. Positive framing is when you present a technique or drill in terms that make the player feel like it is likely to help them. Negative framing, on the other hand, is when something is presented that makes the player less likely to think that an intervention will have a positive impact. This was shown in a study done by Chad Cook at Duke University as it relates to physical therapy patients. The study was designed so that the exact same treatment was performed by therapists of opposing viewpoints so that one presented the treatment in a more positive light compared to the other therapist. The study showed that the group treated with positive framing showed greater improvement than the negative framing group. Let’s provide another hypothetical example to bring this to life. If I am teaching someone the Baseball Rebellion Rebel’s Rack progression and when introducing it, I explain with excitement that this has been designed to fix specific movement flaws and that this has been shown to work for thousands of students of all ages and that I think that it will work great for them, this is positive framing. It is also true! If I present the Rebel’s Rack progression but lack excitement and say something like, “try this and we’ll see how it goes”, this is negative framing. I am far more likely to get a more beneficial outcome when utilizing positive framing and so are you!

While utilizing research and data-based coaching methodology should be at the top of the priority list for any coach, having the interpersonal skills to know your players, maximize their placebo effect, and frame information in a way that makes it most likely to be effective is vital to optimizing your players’ results on the field.

Thank you for reading and feel free to ask questions in the comments below!

Over the past couple of years, I have seen a lot of discussion on how to give the most effective feedback to athletes. In particular, the question of whether internal or external feedback is more effective has been quite polarizing. Although this is the most common debate, there are many other factors to consider when it comes to motor learning such as practice variability and the quantity of feedback. While we don’t have the space to do a deep dive into each one of these topics, I do want to give you practical coaching tips that are steeped in motor learning research rather than anecdotal opinions. I’ll be the first to admit that in writing this piece, I can think of numerous mistakes I have made with players in each of the categories I’ll discuss. Thankfully, making mistakes is a great way to learn!

Internal vs. External Feedback

Before we get into what the research says about internal vs. external feedback, let’s begin with some quick definitions. Internal Feedback is when the athlete is told (or tells themselves) to address the internal requirements of a task. For example, cueing/thinking about dropping the back shoulder forcefully to get the barrel in the path of the ball would be an example of internal feedback. In contrast, External Feedback is when the feedback or thought has to do with the external result. An example of this would be telling a player to hit the ball over the fence or to pull the ball. So, which is better? Well… As with most things it depends. Motor Learning research suggests that children benefit more from internal feedback than external feedback while adults benefit more from external feedback that is focused on the result of a task. At Baseball Rebellion, we primarily work with children and young adults. This explains the success we have had with beginning our program with our movement progression in the mirror that is highly internally focused. We have seen that once our young clients understand and have practiced focusing on the internal requirements of the swing, they are able to make astonishing improvements. This being said, it is highly important that the language used is age appropriate and presented in a way that can be understood. On the other hand, I have made many mistakes working with older clients whose performance has acutely declined when I provided seemingly simple internal feedback. In thinking back, most of the older athletes have performed better when clearing their minds and focusing on the external result. As I have heard Baseball Rebellion founder Chas Pippitt say many times, “You have to let a thoroughbred be a thoroughbred.” With this in mind, we do feel that it is important early on in the training process to know and understand the same movement progression learned in the mirror (See Blocked practice below) but with cueing that is more externally based.

Random Practice vs. Blocked Practice vs. Mixed Practice

Random Practice is when a variety of tasks are practiced at random and are rarely practiced more than twice in a row. Blocked Practice is when a task is repeated several times before a new task introduced. Mixed Practice is a combination of random and blocked practice. Research has shown that random practice is better for adults and those learning a new skill. Random practice is also better children and young adults who have achieved proficiency using blocked practice in complex, sport-specific skills. Blocked practice is better for children/young adults and those learning a new skill. The guidelines mentioned above have not only been shown to be true in the isolated research setting but in transferring improved performance to other environments. As with most things, there is a continuum so some dosage of mixed practice has been shown to be effective in all populations.

The training program at Baseball Rebellion follows this methodology in that the beginning phase contains a great deal of blocked practice for everyone. Although many players come to us having played baseball for many years, the vast majority come because they want to learn a NEW and more efficient movement pattern making the progression essentially a new skill. With our older clients, we quickly move from blocked practice to mixed practice where the hitter attempts to repeat the movement pattern learned in front toss with fastballs to different locations. As they improve we progress to mixing in off-speed pitches and throwing mixed BP. The goal is to come as close as possible to simulating the game experience they will have by randomizing the variables the hitter will face in competition. However, this is only effective after building a solid movement foundation that is established through early blocked practice. With the kids we train, we spend a lot more time on blocked practice and slowly work towards randomized and mixed practice. This is something we will continue to reinforce with the knowledge that children transfer skills more effective with a heavy volume of blocked practice.

Frequency of Feedback

Unfortunately, we all know the helicopter baseball parent’s that Domingo refers to as “Bleacher Coaches.” Often coaches are just as guilty of being helicopter coaches who micro-manage and provide far too much feedback. In the motor learning, the frequencies of feedback are defined as constant, intermittent, and faded. Constant Feedback is when it is given after every single repetition.  Intermittent Feedback is simple feedback given less than 100% of the time. Faded Feedback is when the amount of feedback is higher when learning in the early stages of learning a task and decreases as the individual becomes more proficient. Studies have shown that adults and children benefit from faded feedback with children benefiting more from a higher frequency of feedback early in the learning process. Far too many baseball coaches provide too high of a frequency of feedback for too long. After an initial period of time, an athlete recognizes their obvious mistakes on their own. A coach or parent’s constant feedback can overload and irritate a player which often leads to them tuning out the coach which defeats the purpose of coaching. A good tip for coaches is to allow your players to participate in the learning process by asking them questions. In a given lesson or session, ideally, the player will speak as much if not more than the coach.

The Take-Away

The above recommendations are great to apply to general populations and should provide a solid framework to guide your teaching.   Whether teaching kids, adults, or somewhere in between, it is essential to understand motor learning and how each individual learns best. I hope this info helps you as much as it has helped me!

References

Campbell. Physical Therapy for Children. 4th Edition. 2012.

Cech and Martin. Functional Movement Development. 3rd Edition. 2012

Gabe Dimock – Baseball Rebellion Hitting Instructor

One of my favorite aspects of online lessons is getting to see players from all over the country make improvements by simply following the Baseball Rebellion training progressions and drills that we prescribe. One such case involves Justin J. from Indiana. I trained Justin’s older brother Aidan. In those videos, Justin was usually the camera man but I have no doubt that he was learning as he watched his brother work to improve his swing. So in that sense he had a bit of a head start as he entered our program. Due to Justin’s prior knowledge and his athleticism, it did not take long for his lower half to work well. The most obvious flaw in Justin’s swing was his downward swing path relative to the ball. In the picture below from Ted Williams’ book “The Science of Hitting”, Justin’s swing resembled the bottom much more of the top image. This resulted in Justin mis-hitting more balls than he would like. One simple drill fixed this for Justin in less than a month!

Ted Williams Swing Plane

 

Here is a video of Justin before we began using the noodle/tee swing path drill:

As you can see, his barrel continues downward after contact resulting in a glancing blow towards the bottom of the baseball. This type of swing often leads to shallow pop-ups and lazy foul balls.

While Justin understood what he was supposed to be doing and could do perform quality movements consistently in drills, he struggled to swing up when actually facing a moving pitch. In these cases, it can be really helpful to place obstacles in the way of a hitter so that they are forced to translate the movement or get immediate feedback if they don’t. For Justin the noodle/tee drill worked great!  In this drill,  the object is placed just above belly button height, slightly out in front of the hitter’s stride length. If the hitter hits the ball but also hits the object, they are likely swinging flat or down. It is important to make sure that the hitter is not cheating the drill by swinging inside the noodle instead of over it. Here is a video of Justin after working on the tee/noodle drill for about a month.

Once Justin got the hang of the tee/noodle drill, he is now able to swing upward on a consistent basis which is dramatically increasing the percentage of balls he is able to square up and drive to the outfield!

If you are interested in improving your swing like Justin, check out our online hitting lesson page here!

Gabe Dimock – Baseball Rebellion Hitting Instructor

The Early Years

While offense and defense in baseball seem like very independent skills, they become more and more intertwined as players age and are being evaluated. For this reason developing quality defensive skills and picking defensive positions wisely is important to understand for any higher level baseball or softball player.

As you will read more about later in this article, certain defensive positions have more value than others. That being said, young players should build a good foundation by learning to play all positions because the particular body type, skills, and abilities of a player can change drastically as players age. Learning all the positions is also a great way to grow a young player’s general baseball knowledge so that they can instinctually know where every player on the field should be. The only exceptions to this rule are left handed players who should  understand all positions but focus their skill development efforts on outfield, 1st base, or pitching. The baseball field simply isn’t set up well for left handers to play 2nd, 3rd, SS, or catcher. Most players should continue to play a wide variety of positions until at least middle school. For a great example of the value of understanding all positions, we can look at Lebron James who’s basketball IQ added to his freakish athleticism makes him arguably the best player ever. Here was a recent quote from The King himself:

I think the best thing for me personally is that ever since I was a kid I’ve always learned every position on the floor. When I started playing ball, for some odd reason, I could learn every single position on the floor all at one time, as a point guard, shooting guard, small forward, power forward, and center and know all the plays, what they’re doing and what’s the reads.

Position Narrowing

As players enter middle and high school, it is normal for there to be narrowing of the number of positions in the player’s arsenal. This happens because body types, skills, and talents are being more solidified and more repetitions can be taken where that player fits best. Most players simply let their coach dictate the positions they will play but I encourage players to advocate for themselves and take ownership of their own careers. In order to do this, you may have to go above and beyond at practice to show that your defensive skills make you worthy if playing your position of choice. The positions in the middle of the field (SS, 2b, CF, C) tend to be more highly valued than positions on the corners (LF, RF, 3b, 1b).

While not everyone can play shortstop, I do think it is advantageous for aspiring players to develop their skills for SS, 2b, C, or CF. The reason for this is multifactorial. The first factor is that these positions are more highly valued by coaches, scouts, and the baseball community at large. For example a good defensive shortstop who struggles at the plate will still have a good chance of making a team and getting significant playing time compared to a good defensive right fielder who struggles at the plate. This is due in part to the types of athletes that you are being compared to. Most college and professional corner outfielders are absolute monsters who have passed through the weeding out process because of their size and hitting abilities. In other words, no matter how good your defense is, if you play the corners, you better be able to hit. A good case study for this concept is the career of Omar Vizquel who was an unbelievably skilled defensive shortstop. Vizquel had a career batting average of .272, 80 HR, and an OPS of . 688 and  is on the hall of fame ballot. While these offensive numbers are not terrible, they in no way indicate a potential hall of fame acceptance. It was clearly Vizquel’s defensive prowess that made him a three time all star. Let’s pretend that Vizquel played LF instead of SS for a moment and was equally as skilled a left fielder as he was a SS. Do you think he would be nearly as highly regarded as he is today? Not a chance.

Omar Vizquel

Another reason to develop at the highly valued defensive positions is that they  generally  require more athleticism. The work it will take to  become skilled at those positions will help in every other facet of the game because the player’s athletic ability will be boosted. Even if these positions will not be the final destinations for players, it is smart to continue to play them through high school because college coaches and professional scouts often believe that players in premium defensive positions have the ability to move to non-premium defensive positions but not the other way around.  For instance, both San Diego Padres star Wil Myers and Bryce Harper were primarily catchers through high school but were moved to corner outfield for their professional careers.

While I don’t want to overestimate the importance of playing certain positions, I do want talented young players and there parents to be aware of the impact it can have on the perceived value of a player as a whole. I was a walk on player at Appalachian State solely because of my defensive skills as a catcher. I wasn’t a great hitter or runner but I could defend. Had I been equally as good at 3b, 1b, LF, or RF, I have no doubt that I would have never had the great experience of playing collegiate baseball.

Gabe Dimock – Baseball Rebellion Hitting Instructor

 

 

Whenever I talk with people about the online baseball/softball lesson program at Baseball Rebellion, it is usually a new concept to them. The first question usually asked is, Why don’t players  just take lessons from someone local? Unfortunately the number of baseball/softball instructors who are armed with good information, have good character, and know how to produce consistent results are very limited. If you are lucky enough to be within driving distance of these instructors, I highly encourage you to work with them! For the majority of parents and players who are looking for a proven plan and instructor who will tailor a personalized training progression to the individual client, Baseball Rebellion Online Hitting or Pitching Lessons might be a great fit! Below are 5 reasons that you should strongly consider the online lesson approach to learning.

1. No More Guessing

As someone who took a large number of lessons and gave a few lessons while I was still playing (and had no idea what I was doing), I can tell you that the vast majority of hitting coaches are guessing regarding the problems their players are facing when hitting or pitching. The human eye is too slow to see exactly what is happening in the baseball/softball swing or throw at full speed. This leads to inefficient results and often the player  begins practicing things that are detrimental or irrelevant to their swing at best. This doesn’t sound like something most players or parents would want to pay for. With the use technology like slow motion video analysis of clients and professionals, Baseball Rebellion works to systematically understand optimal body movements and train the movements that produce successful results. Baseball Rebellion has shown the impact of these movement changes time and time again via the Hit Trax system that tracks the velocity, Launch Angle, and Distance of every ball hit at the Baseball Rebellion facility. The Baseball Rebellion website has a wealth of FREE material from the hundreds of articles and case studies we have written. These should serve as proof to you of the quality and depth of information you will be getting from the Baseball Rebellion staff. Below are just a few of the case studies from our site:

Case study 1: https://baseballrebellion.com/cpippitt/baseball-rebellion-case-study-online-in-person-effective-either-way/

Case Study 2: https://baseballrebellion.com/gabedimock/baseball-rebellion-case-study-hannah-morris/

Case Study 3: https://baseballrebellion.com/category/br-case-study/

Case Study 4: https://baseballrebellion.com/jkhittingrebel/case-study-more-than-just-a-good-swing/

2. A Clear Plan

While some instructors can identify problems in a swing accurately, it is even more important that they know how to improve the issues they see. This is something that takes a great deal of skill from the instructor because many players with similar mechanical problems will respond differently to various drills/cues that are designed to promote a positive change. Baseball Rebellion makes a clear plan that is tailored to each individual client according to their specific age, needs, and learning style. Below is a template of our training progression that we make for each player:

3. Quick Feedback With Explanations That Are Thorough Yet Simple

Baseball Rebellion’s online hitting instructors have a great turn around time of no more than three business days. This allows for quick and effective communication of feedback, concepts, drills, and next steps for clients. The feedback given is delivered with the appropriate “voice” for each client. Our goal is to give in-depth and thorough feedback but in away that is simple and easy to understand. One of our mottos is that if an Elementary school student can’t understand the feedback, then the feedback needs to change! One of my favorite videos to watch is of one of our 6 year old breaking down the baseball swing. His great explanation is a result of the common and easily understood language used at Baseball Rebellion.

4. Access to Old Videos and Ability to Watch Drills Over and Over Through HUDL Technique

One of the best benefits to online lessons with Baseball Rebellion is that you can watch previous feedback and drills an unlimited number of times through HUDL Technique! While in person lessons are great, the benefit of watching feedback and drills remotely is not generally offered with in person lessons. With Baseball Rebellion’s recent switch to HUDL Technique, you will be using a unbelievably user friendly app that will give you easy access to submitting video. Here is a link to a recent article about HUDL Technique and baseball Rebellion: https://baseballrebellion.com/gabedimock/baseball-rebellion-online-lessons-hudl-technique/

5. Access to the Instructor of Your Choice

Every instructor at Baseball Rebellion has been trained and is certified in the Baseball Rebellion system of teaching. That being said, all instructors have differing strengths and voices that work better with different players. You have access to choose your instructor and change instructors at any time. Some clients choose to periodically switch instructors so that they can hear concepts explained in different ways. This can help clients glean the benefits of the strengths of all the Baseball Rebellion Instructors. All BR instructors are extremely accessible and can be reached through phone and email easily. Below are example lessons from each of the instructors.

Gabe Dimock

JK Whited

KC Judge

Tyler Zupcic

Dave Shinskie


For any of you who have been thinking about an alternative to traditional in-person instruction, I hope this has given you a picture and sense for the benefits of online lessons with Baseball Rebellion!

Gabe Dimock – Baseball Rebellion Hitting Instructor

 

 

Baseball Rebellion Swing Breakdown: Dylan S.

Dylan S. has been a long time online Baseball Rebellion client who has had ONLY online training with us. Dylan has done an amazing job of learning the biomechanics of his swing and taking the initiative to work incredibly hard in order to make positive swing changes. While there are many parts of his swing that have improved over the years, his body language at the plate has been the largest improvement. When Dylan 1st began in our program, it was clear during each at bat whether Dylan thought he was going to be successful or not. This depended heavily on the quality of pitcher he was facing. Dylan’s confidence and body language has improved immensely in the last year or so. He now looks confident and ready to smash the baseball against any pitcher regardless of their ability. Dylan is a great example of how the Baseball Rebellion Online Program can produce great results! If you are interested in signing up for online lessons click here.

Thank you for reading and watching!

Gabe Dimock – Baseball Rebellion Hitting Instructor

At Baseball Rebellion, we often teach and write about the importance of the lower half of the body because kinetic energy works from the ground and proceeds through the body, eventually reaching the bat. While this is still the priority, it is also important understand how to fire the upper body explosively when the time is right. The major movement we use to do this is adduction of the back arm. Adduction is simply the motion of bringing your arm closer to the midline of your body. You can remember this because adduction is ADDing your arm to your body. Below is a diagram showing adduction as well as a video where I take a look at Aaron Judge adducting his arm in a swing.

Now that we know that adduction is important in the baseball swing, lets discuss the major muscles that act to adduct the arm. In my my opinion, there are three muscles on our back that we we want to use maximally (Latissimus Dorsi, Teres Major, and Subscapularis) and one that we want to use less (Pec Major).

Latissimus Dorsi

The Latissimus Dorsi is a big, strong muscle on the back that plays many roles including including adduction of the back arm. As mentioned in the video of Aaron Judge  above, it is important to set up the use of our back muscles by retracting our scapula so that the adduction of the arm happens over top of these muscles instead of in line or in front of our rib cage. This can be seen in this picture:

Teres Major

The Teres Major Muscle originates on the bottom of the scapula and inserts onto the front of the humerus (Upper arm). It has many of the same actions as the Latissimus Dorsi above. As you can see in the diagram above,  the Teres Major muscle wraps around  the arm. Because of this, the back can act to adduct the arm forcefully. As with the the Lat, it is important to set up the use of this muscle by reacting the arm/scapula prior to initiating the upper body in the swing.

Subscapularis

The Subscapularis muscle is the most anterior muscle that we want to use maximally  when adducting the back arm in the baseball swing. It is located on the front side of the scapula and attaches to the front of the upper arm. As you can see from the diagrams of all three muscles mentioned those far, they show how the big strong back muscles can act on the arm to adduct it quickly and powerfully. This can be a very advantageous move for hitters.

Use Less Pectoralis Major (By Itself)

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While the Pec Major muscle isn’t necessarily bad to use in addition to the three major adductors mentioned above, we don’t want to use it by itself to adduct the arm for a couple of reasons. The first is that you simply will not generate the same amount of force when compared to adduction using the Lat, Teres Major, and Subscapularis muscles. Using the Pectorals Major muscle as the primary adductor often leads to bat drag because there is nothing to stop the back elbow from sliding forward and across the stomach. We typically see bat drag in younger kids for precisely this reason. They often do not have big back musculature yet and have little coordination and control of their scapula. Allowing young hitters to understand where their muscles are and how to use them can be highly effective in creating better movement patterns. Without the important setup/retraction move mentioned earlier, the Pectoralis Major muscle will most likely take over as the primary adductor and lead to inefficient upper body mechanics.

I hope this has helped you understand your body and your swing.

Thank you for reading.

Gabe Dimock – Baseball Rebellion Hitting Instructor