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Two Verbal Cues to Help Hit for Average & Power

Hitting for Power and for Average

We can all agree that Baseball is a numbers game.  With the technology that is available today, it makes it easier for us to decipher where the hits are.  Having a high batting average will keep you in the game for a long time.

Since we are going into the off-season it is important when you begin to train for the spring you’re not just hitting just to hit.  This article will show you prime examples of how you can train smarter and most importantly get more hits. All while learning how to hit for power and average. 

Pull the Ball in the Air

Every hitter that I have ever worked with from ages 7-23 years old all have one thing in common.  The hardest and farthest balls that they hit are pull-side.

What this means for hitters is that balls that are on the inside of the plate and even over the middle need to be driven hard and in the air.  The goal here is to understand where your hits are and how to acquire more of them. The best hitters in the game like Mike Trout prove this time and time again. Balls that are thrown middle-in should be crushed to that hitters pull side. 

Therefore when you are training you need to practice driving the ball higher and harder to your pull side.

rendon gif

Back Side Keep it Low

For most hitters driving the ball the other way can be daunting.  A Lot of time balls that are hit higher in the air backside end up being outs.  Due to the fact that hitters don’t hit the ball as hard as they do to the pull side.  Sure there are outliers like Juan Soto and many other hitters in the Big leagues but chances are if you are reading this you’re not in the Big Leagues. Therefore focusing on what you do best and practicing that way is exactly what you need to do. When you are taking hacks in the cage you can't neglect to hit the ball the backside.  

howie gif single

Two Visual Cues To Help Increase Contact Consistency

Visual Cues For Hitting The Ball Harder

Aim Lower on the Baseball when Pulling the Ball

As the numbers have shown us that you want to pull the ball in the air, it is important that we are aiming to hit the bottom of the ball. Now, you want to make sure the bat path is correct when aiming at the bottom of the ball. Too much of a downward swing plane and aiming at the bottom of the ball will just produce pop-ups. Make sure you are swinging back up at the bottom half of the ball when trying to pull it.

Aim Higher on the Baseball when Going Oppo

If you have a proper swing plane then you should aim at the top of the ball when hitting the outside pitch to the opposite field. Because we have to wait slightly longer on the outside pitch the barrel gets deeper behind us. Because of this, it is better for hitters to aim at the top part of the ball to ensure consistent, hard contact on the outside pitch.

Be like Mike (Trout)

In the spray charts below, you can see all of Mike Trout's balls he put in play.  Judging by the charts a lot of his power is pull-side.  Mike Trout is one of the greatest players in today's game reason being is when that ball is middle in he doesn't miss as much as most hitters would. Take a look at the breakdown of his spray chart below the photo.

Mike Trout Spray Chart

Mike Trouts Breakdown of Pull Side Results vs Opposite Field Results

Pull Side
Homers
Doubles
Oppo Side
Homers
Doubles

You can see his power comes from hitting the ball pull side in the air. He also has nearly twice as many fly outs to the right side of the centerfield than the left side of the centerfield. While also having nearly twice as many pull side groundouts than oppo ground outs. So you can see the majority of his outs are high backside and low pull side. As young hitters changing your approach to the high pull side and low backside hits can help you increase your barrel accuracy and get more hard-hit balls to land in the outfield.

Final Thoughts

After reading this article it should be pretty clear on what you need to do as a hitter.  Nobody bats 1.000. Getting out less and finding where the hits lie is crucial if you want to stay in the game.  The way you practice this off-season directly affects how your next season is going to go.

Understanding that just hitting in the cages is not going to get the job done.  Create a plan before you go hit that day. Have a solid routine that will get you better.  Nobody is going to change you but you! be realistic with where you're at and then attack your weaknesses with a plan.  You never know those might just become your strengths!

Quality over Quantity

We have all heard that statement before, but baseball and softball training seem to have not listened. Yes, one of the main ways to get better at hitting a baseball or softball we have to hit.  But does that mean the more reps we take the better? Although this may be true, you have to ask yourself how many quality reps are you actually getting. Check out how to train smarter and hit the ball harder more consistently. 

For EXAMPLE

It doesn’t happen very often, but sometimes non-members can rent a cage and throw BP to their son or daughter. We shouldn’t be but are shocked at what we most see from these sessions. Without warming up or without getting their bodies ready they begin to hit.  The parent flips the ball and the kid hit it, the prrent flips the ball and the kid hits it and on this goes. At this point, after maybe 15-20 mindless swings the kid finally wears out and takes a break. Then they pick back up and continue. The video below is exactly what I’m talking about.

be honest, is this you?

How many of you reading this feel that this is what you do or have done? I know that in my career I have done this day in and day out.  But guess what at that time I didn’t know any better and I think most of you don’t know either. Hence why Baseball Rebellion exists and why I’m here now about to tell you how to hit on your own more efficiently.

Deliberate Practice

Success has to do with deliberate practice. Practice must be focused, determined, and in an environment where there’s feedback. 

Malcolm Gladwell

Identify what you need to work on

As a player, if you are really trying to turn your game around and become a better hitter you have to first understand what needs to be fixed.  Often times players at young ages have major flaws in their swings but can get away with it due to the poor competition. Furthermore, getting ahead of the game and laying down the foundation of good mechanics will set you up for success long term.

what if i don’t know what i need to work on?

For starters, a good place to start is to evaluate your statistics.  If you are striking out a lot, not making solid contact or not hitting the ball harder this should be a good indicator that you’ve got some issues. Secondly, get a hitting evaluation done either in person or online.  Here is an example of an online hitting evaluation. 


By getting a professional opinion by one of our instructors you will know exactly what you need to do. You can also check out our other hitting articles available here on our website. 

Have a plan

First things first having a plan is key to not only getting better but also preparing your body and mind for the session ahead.  After you know what you need to work on this is where you put it into action. In order to keep getting better, you have to practice with a purpose.  As I have mentioned before taking mindless swings just to get reps will lead to creating bad habits. This will also give you a false sense of actually getting better. Furthermore taking more reps does not necessarily mean you are getting better. I’ll say it again, quality over quantity needs to be the most important thought in hitting training. 

Step one – Rack turns

No matter how far along you are in your training, step one should always start with the Rebel’s Rack. Ideally doing your turns in front of a mirror will give you the most feedback.  The importance of getting your body in the correct position is much more important than taking 100 mindless swings. The best way to develop a proper and explosive movement pattern is to train to go faster and hit the ball harder

Key Points when doing rack turns
  • Pay attention to where you are striding, IF YOU DON’T STRIDE STRAIGHT YOU WON’T HIT GREAT!
  • Do not just go through the motions
  • Make sure you keep your head and chest back
  • Do not rush to get a million turns in, reset after every turn
  • TURN AS FAST AS POSSIBLE!
step two – Tee work

The Launch Angle Tee is a great tool to help you get a feel for the proper swing path before you start taking batting practice. Check out our 10 Tee Drills for Power to improve your tee training today. Although using a tee is great, do not take all your swings off it. Because at the end of the day, you have to be able to hit a moving ball!

Key points when hitting off the tee
  • Do not hit off the tee just to get loose
  • Move the tee around and adjust the height
  • Make sure you are turning fast
  • You shouldn’t be hitting the tee
  • Get your work in off the tee then move to front toss or overhand batting practice
step three – Front toss or overhand batting  practice

When moving onto front toss or overhand batting practice you need to know what you are going to be working on.  The first round you are trying to get find timing and rhythm. Your body is still trying to get loose, really focus on squaring up the ball as much as possible.  Take no more than eight swings your first round. After that, it’s time to take shorter rounds of around five to six swings turning as fast as possible focusing on what you need to work on. If you find yourself needing more out of front toss or overhand batting practice change the speed of the ball thrown.

Key points when hitting front toss or Overhand batting practice
  • Take shorter rounds focusing on what you are working on
  • Turn fast hitting the ball hard and in the air
  • Make adjustments, focusing on not making the same mistake over and over again
  • If you are struggling, step out and figure out why
final thoughts

At the end of the day if you want to be good at anything you must practice.  But it is not how much you practice it is how well you practice.  The goal of getting better should be “work smarter, not harder”.  When learning how to hit with proper mechanics this is crucial for your son or daughter’s development as a hitter.  I really hope this article gives you a different perspective on how to look and approach practicing.  Understand that they must keep improving your skills if they want to perform better on the field.  Take the time to do things right, do the drills that are specific to your son or daughter’s swing and most importantly don’t just hit to hit. Have them practice with purpose and they will find themselves in the line-up performing well in games.

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Do you have the qualities that make a great Outfielder?

“But the outfield is boring”

At the youth level, outfielders may not get much attention or glory. This is because at the younger levels many balls are not hit to the outfield. Therefore, kids get bored and end up picking daisies and staring into the distance.  As a result, the ball has now been hit to them and they are not prepared at all.  And let’s be honest, everyone wants to be the shortstop, but people forget that’s the coach’s kid’s position. Therefore if you can’t field a ground ball in the infield or throw the ball to first base, chances are you’ll be in the outfield.  So why not make the most of it, and become a better outfielder.

bring more to the table

As kids reach the high school level and beyond, not only being able to play the outfield well is important, but it can change the outcome of close games.  It also can make you a more valuable player and gives you three more positions to play if you’re fighting to get in the line-up. Being a great outfielder doesn’t mean just being fast and having a strong arm. It is much more than that so let’s dive in.

Six Traits That Make a Great Outfielder

1. Anticipation

great plays are made by staying ready

As an outfielder, you can go a whole game without getting the ball hit to you.  But that doesn’t mean you’re any less important than other guys on the field. Being ready for each pitch is key to making a play.  Having the mindset on every pitch that the ball is coming your way will leave no room for surprise. Once you lose focus and wander off mentally, that is when the ball finds you. As a result, you are not ready and most likely fail to make the play.  Get ready each pitch, be prepared, and anticipate that the ball is coming to you.

2. Communication

keep everyone on the same page

Typically the leader of the outfielder is the centerfielder, but that doesn’t mean the left and right fielder don’t need to communicate what is going on.  Being aware of where the other team is in the lineup is important to gain an understanding of what you’re up against for the first three batters of each inning.  Communicating with your fellow outfielders and infielders about who is the other team’s best hitter and what to expect is key for making plays. Therefore, taking a couple of steps back and to the hitters pull side can potentially give you a couple of extra steps to make a play.  Don’t stand in silence, communicate in between pitches and hitters to set yourself up to make plays.

3. Awareness

know what you’re going to do before you have to do it

Understanding your role in game situations is key to performing well in the outfield. First off, you have to be aware of the situation and whether there is a runner on base or not.  Secondly, depending on what the situation is, you should mentally go through the possible plays that would involve you. Outfielders always have a place to be. Therefore, backing up throws in the infield can save your team from giving up extra bases.

4. Footwork

How to Stop looking like a baby deer

At the younger levels, there is not much emphasis on outfield footwork.  Mainly due to the lack of coaching and the lack of kids desire to play the outfield.  But not everyone can play the desired position they want.

In the next few videos, I will be explaining why and how you should practice your footwork.  

Ball in Front

Ball Hit Soft to the Right or Left

Ball Hit Hard to the Right and Left

5. Throwing Accuracy

If you’re going to airmail it, don’t forget to put a stamp on it

Nothing is worse than an outfielder trying to throw out a runner or hit a cut off man and then missing them completely. As a result, this let the runners take extra bases and runs scored by the opposing team. A lot of times outfielders will try and make the throw in the air. This would work if you have the arm strength like Yasiel Puig or Yoenis Cespedes. But even they throw the ball with a “long hop” to the base. This is a more efficient way of throwing runners out.  Check out the clip below of Aaron Judge displaying perfect throwing accuracy.

6. Reading the Ball

knowing where the ball may land

In my opinion, this is the most important ability an outfielder can have.  Whether it is a line drive that drops shallow in the gap in which you have to cut off on the ground or a ball deep over your head.  As an outfielder, you have to have the ability to have an idea of where the ball may land once it is hit. Therefore, You could be the fastest guy in the world but if you can’t read the trajectory of the ball it doesn’t matter how fast you are.

Mookie

In the clip above you can see Mookie Betts making an incredible play. This is because he immediately takes a good drop step once the ball is hit.  As a result, he has somewhat of an idea where the ball will land.  You can see while he is running to make the play he takes his eye of the ball twice.  This was crucial for him to be able to maintain speed and READ THE BALL.

Final Thoughts

Becoming a Great Outfielder takes time and repetition. We can all agree that there are some key tools that an outfielder needs to have in order to perform well.   Training your speed, arm strength, and everything covered in this article will set you up for making plays on the field.

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Loading the Hip vs Loading the Quad

Oftentimes hitters load their back leg versus loading their back hip.  Loading the back leg can cause many issues when hitting the ball.  Such as lunging to the ball or spinning off of it too early.

Leg extension versus hip extension is a big deal when it comes to hitting.  When coaches say get in your legs or use your legs that is a somewhat false statement.  When this cue is told to hitters they immediately bend their knees pushing their toes forward.  That move gets you ready to jump which is something that you don't want when hitting.  Instead, let's learn how to load the back hip better so we can consistently hit some lasers and gain some power in the process.

Back Hip vs Back Leg

You will see in the video below the difference when I stride correctly and incorrectly.  The closer the back knee gets to the front of the foot will cause a hitter to extend that back leg instead of the back hip.  We want to load the hip better by getting our back leg in the correct position.

Banded Back Knee Drill Variation

First saw this drill done by Korey Reed, a hitting instructor who is also Rebels Rack movement certified.  When I saw this drill it made so much sense in the fact that it will force any hitter to feel the correct movement of the back leg.  The goal is to help hitters understand how to load and move and this drill does just that!

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3 Tee Drill

Get Consistent Hard Contact with the 3 Tee Drill

If your hitter struggled to make contact to all fields last season check out our version of the 3 tee drill series & how it can help them develop a consistent bat path

Tired of Inconsistent Results? It Could Be Hip Slide

Consistency is key

Is your child seeing the ball well taking a decent turn and still not getting the results they want?  Often times when we are inconsistent we start to over-analyze hitters swing and start to change things that are irrelevant.  The goal with this article is to help hitters understand why and how they can fix being inconsistent whether it's hitting during batting practice or in the game. 

what is Hip Drift or Hip Slide?

Hip drift or hip sliding forward is a common thing that hitters can do without really knowing.  This drift or slide forward will cause you to be very inconsistent even when hitting off a tee, front toss or in the game.  The thing is, hitters can do this and still hit the baseball hard sometimes giving them a false sense that what they are doing is right.  When you're trying to maximize your rotational force drifting forward and running into baseballs versus turning into the ball are two things that are much different. 

The Perfect Example

Typically here at Baseball Rebellion, we are booked all day for all instructors.  With people calling in throughout the day slots go filled up until 9:20 pm. My last lesson of the day was with rising junior Landon H.  He has been with us for about three years and this was the first time I got to work with him. I asked him questions about what he wants to work on today and some other things that other instructors have said to him.  We began the session and got to work. I was kind of surprised right off the bat of how hard he could hit the ball. He’s a pretty big kid which was expected but he moved pretty well. There was something he was missing though. Below is a video within our session.  Here is what we learned.

Drills that Will Work

Front Hip Noodle Drill

This drill is great for hitters who continuously drift forward in their swing.  I have used a plastic hurdle in the past as a barrier to this exact problem.  JK constructed this device we have and we all have been using this for our lessons.  Creating barriers is something that most hitters need.  When the body gets out of position results and hard-hit balls will dwindle.  You can get creative to what you can use.  The main goal is to help hitters understand that once that front foot is down the body must turn in place.

Assisted Turns

Since working at Baseball Rebellion this drill is great for a number of things.  Assisted turns work on a hitters core strength and coordination.  The band forces hitters to fight the resistance band and stay back.  Lastly, it forces hitters to turn all the way.

Final Thoughts

The main thing that you can take away from this article is that once the front foot is down there shouldn't be any head movement or hip slide forward.  Now, this is easier said than done but if you want to get better, hit the ball harder and farther you have to get into certain positions.  Sliding forward after the front foot is down is going to inhibit your performance and leave hitters wondering what the hell is going.  Get your self on video, check your movements and go fix it! if you have any questions don't hesitate to drop a comment below.

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DON'T Push the Knob to the Ball

Taking the hands out of the swing is something that hitters have a hard time trusting.  Often leads to mis-hits and poor bat path.  A Lot of coaches teach lead with the knob of that bat to the ball.  This does somewhat happen but not as drastic as some hitting coaches make it. 

Stop Pushing the Knob to the Ball

NEVER Do This Drill

Here's the Drill You SHOULD Be Doing

3 Things To Focus On When Doing This Drill

Connection

  • We obviously have to rotate our body to hit the ball hard. 
  • But without the bat being connected it will be hard to remain consistent and hit the ball hard. 
  • Feel the bat turn with the body, you can think about keeping your hands close to your back shoulder.

Slowing Things Down

Bat Path-

  • Since we are focusing on turning the right way will really clean up your bat path and help you make hard consistent contact

Should Hitters Get Their Foot Down Early?

Every Great Hitter Moves Forward in Their Stride. 

Whether they stride short or long they have transferred weight forward.  Being able to control that move allows hitters to have a fluid and directionally sound swing. 

Sitting on the back leg will cause most hitters to spin-off and over-rotate.  The head position also may be affected because the hitter will shift forward due to the fact they have gotten their foot down and now are waiting for the ball.

Check out a few of these MLB'ers and how they move forward in their stride.

Forward Move

Long Stride Drill in Action

The goal of this drill is to control the stride forward to feel the body transfer weight to the center of the hitter's body.  Make sure if you are doing this drill off of front toss you start your stride and load early. 

You might feel uncomfortable at first but every hitter that I have done this drill with hits better and has a better understanding of how to move to create a quality swing.

15 Minute Improvement

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Improve your hitting with deliberate practice

Stop Hitting Just to Hit

Quality over Quantity We have all heard that statement before, but baseball and softball training seem to have not listened. Yes, one of the main ways to get better at…

Mental Marker Series- Separation

Mental Marker Series – Separation

JK Whited’s Mental Marker Series- Separation If you don’t know already, a players ability to separate correctly is vital to their success as a rotational athlete. In today’s Mental Marker…

Coachability is More Than Just Listening

In my experience as a private instructor, I have found that many young athletes lack the ability to be coachable. Not only is this important for an athlete's career but in life itself. "Coachability" is being able to take what is being taught from your instructor or coach and applying it to yourself.  It is having a mindset that there is always room for growth physically and mentally.

Athletes must understand that they have to be able to accept constructive criticism. This creates an environment for success. Being coachable is a tool that can be applied to anyone who is willing to listen, learn, and apply new ways to help them unlock their full potential as a hitter.

Being Coachable Allows Your Talent to Grow

Natural talent ability will only take you so far before you or your players begin to plateau or becomes outmatched by their competitors. 

  • If your goal is to play beyond high school, the time is now to lay the foundation of skills and mechanics to do so.  
  • Having the drive and hunger to get better day by day and week by week is where you will find your true potential.
  • Having the humility to accept coaching and work on your weaknesses as well as your strengths as a player or team is the key to future success.
micheal jordan quote

The Ability to Focus

When it comes to learning a new drill or gaining a better understanding of what you are working on, you have to be able to focus. I think many athletes don't realize how important this is.  In a training session, you don't want to waste any reps.  This is where you have to understand the difference between a “hitter” and “swinger”.

Hitter vs Swinger

A hitter is constantly trying to apply the information being taught from their instructor and is aware of doing something wrong without constantly having to be reminded. Hitters who are locked in making eye contact with the instructor, truly getting in the present moment.

A swinger is a player who is up at that plate just taking hacks and is clearly not attempting to focus. Simply they may not care enough on what is being taught.  The mind and body connection is a real thing. Controlling how you focus and what you are trying to focus on is how you learn new tasks.  Through deliberate practice is the only way you will become the hitter you want to be.  Here is a video below of Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson with a friendly reminder to always focus.

Execution is Key

When something is wrong with your swing there comes a time where you simply have to fix it. Whether it is simply learning how to stride in your rack progression or keeping your hands high throughout your swing.  Instructors can do tons of different drills to help you with your problems.

Taking ownership of your mistakes is the key to becoming a better hitter.  We as instructors understand that age, strength, coordination and overall athletic ability may inhibit you from executing the drill or movement.  But at the end of the day, it is on the athlete to make adjustments in order to keep progressing.  Check the video below to see my dude Julius B. execute what we were working on! 

Gain Some Composure

Sometimes the best thing to do to keep your composure in the batter's box is to step out and take a deep breath. This allows your mind to refocus on the task at hand of getting a good pitch to hit and driving it.
Sometimes the best thing to do to keep your composure in the batter's box is to step out and take a deep breath. This allows your mind to refocus on the task at hand of getting a good pitch to hit and driving it.

Often times, when I am doing a lesson sometimes things, can get a little emotional.  What I mean by that is sometimes kids cannot handle failing time and time again. Athletes may cry, get pissed off and upset because of the frustration of not doing well. 

As a player, I went through this as well. An athlete's ability to keep their composure is something that can’t be stressed enough. In a training setting, you have to understand that failure is ok.  Therefore staying in the present moment and not getting worked up is key to having success.  

As a result, this creates a positive environment allowing hitters to actually focus on what they need to work on. Constantly reacting negatively when things don’t go your way is very “Toddler-Esque”. Instead of wasting energy on your reaction put that energy into action and get better.

You Must Have Patience

Athletes who are coachable have an understanding that when learning a new skill will take time.  That is why it is so important to be deliberate and consistent with your practice. The only way being patient will work is if you are consistently working on what you need to do to become better.  Therefore if your coach or instructor is trying to teach you something new understand that over time it will all come together. 

Final Thoughts on Being Coachable

When your coach or instructor commends you for being coachable, just know that you are on the right path.  Taking the initial step to surround yourself with those who can help you is crucial for improvement.

Many athletes think they have to do it on your own.  I did this in my career and as I look back it is something I regret.  With the content, we put out the in-person lessons and online lessons there is no excuse to not get better. Without a doubt, athletes need to come to the realization that there is always room for improvement.  Only then you will find yourself performing better than the season before.

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Stop Flying Open- The Pump Fake Drill

Many hitters of all ages do not always get to the best position when their front foot lands.  Keeping the body loaded throughout the stride is crucial for hitters to truly perform their best.  With this “pump fake check drill,” you will help your hitters gain more awareness of where they actually have to be when their front foot gets down.  

The Swing that Never Was

Whether you’re big, small, strong, or weak it really doesn’t matter if you do not get the body ready. 

Something that needs to be addressed to any hitter who is looking to improve their swing is the ability to stay loaded before the front foot gets down.  I have talked about this before and to truly fix this problem you as a hitter need to educate yourself and then change! Check the video out below for further explanation. 

3 Focus Points for the Pump Fake Drill

1. Body Awareness: 

  • For athletes to actually make changes they have to see and feel the difference of what is right and wrong. 
  • Since we will pump fake the hitter and then see where they land if done correctly they will know and see and vice versa. 
  • The goal is to change for the better, the way you do that is to fail and try again. 
  • Therefore performing this drill will help hitters decipher the difference between what they are doing and what they actually have to do. 
  • Trust the process these things take time

2. Fully Loaded: 

  • With the body in a better position in regards to hip hinge and shoulder angle at landing this truly will set your hitter up for more success. 
  • Not preparing the body correctly when hitting does nothing but frustrate a hitter more. 
  • Therefore paying attention to your rib cage and shoulder angle will allow the hitter to have better direction in their swing.

3. More Power: 

  • Since the hitter will actually be prepared properly not only will theory become more consistent but will gain some power from this as well. 
  • With the hitter landing ready and loaded it allows them to let everything flow properly in their swing. 
  • After you have mastered the hinge and stride check out how you can add even more power by building the engine in your swing even further.

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3 Tee Drill

Get Consistent Hard Contact with the 3 Tee Drill

If your hitter struggled to make contact to all fields last season check out our version of the 3 tee drill series & how it can help them develop a consistent bat path

Creating Better Arm Position = Better Barrel Turn

The upper body in the swing is very crucial. It is part of what's holding and ultimately delivering the bat to contact. Unfortunately, the upper body is where most hitters make the biggest mistakes.

Here at Baseball Rebellion, we have our Rebel’s Rack progression of movements that hitters can learn. As a result, this allows hitters to turn better with better posture.  Once a hitter has mastered there footwork, posture and turn it’s time to dive into the positions and movements of what your arms should do when you hit.

The Elite Upper Body Move

A lot of elite hitters get their arms in a position that resembles somewhat of a house.  As you can see there are five points of contact which makes a pentagon shape.  The main point is to help you all understand the certain angles the arms can make.

Take a look at the pictures below of Yelich, Trout, Betts, and Bonds that their "house" is shaped a little bit differently.  Just like how the architecture and shapes of the homes many people live in are also different.

Now does this something that happens every single swing? No, but I bet you that every ball these guys hit from this position at contact was crushed. A matter of fact this is something you can practice that will help you generate more bat speed and more hard contact with the ball. 

hitters house

When You Should Practice Upper Body Mechanics

First off if you're not squaring the ball up and hitting the ball hard but your footwork, posture, and turn are on point then you’re going to want to keep reading.  A lot of hitters that I have trained in the past and even now are missing the “turn behind the turn”.

This is crucial for hitters if they want to hit well. I know it looks like I'm exaggerating the movement but at high speeds, this can become a reality for many hitters. Here are some examples of what not to do.

The Knob Puller

knob puller gif

You can see in the video above I am pulling the knob of the bat across my chest.  When hitters do this they are oftentimes late on the pitch.

If they do happen to make contact it is not solid.  As a result, the ball will slice or flair to right field for right-handed hitters and left the field for left-handed hitters. All in all, this is a move that needs to be avoided. In short, this is a big no-no.

The Woodchopper

wood chopper 2.0

The woodchopper move right here is the worst you can do.  Hitters that swing straight down at the ball have no chance of being consistent.  They also will not make solid contact, this limits their ability to drive the ball.

Please for the sake of your batting average and slugging % DO NOT swing straight down! No matter what professional athletes may say.  This is a contradiction of what they actually did. Only here you can learn what they actually did.

The Bat Dragger

bat dragger gif

The bat drag is most common with younger athletes who have a tough time holding the correct arm position during the swing. Look at my back elbow during this video, what my elbow is doing is not right and is a weak-hitting position.

Also, athletes who lack upper body strength will suffer from the bat drag tremendously.  So please for your own sake do some push-ups and pull-ups to help yourself out! Our Bat Drag Buster is also a great tool to fix this problem. Along with the drills, I am showing you in this article.

The Barrel Pusher

barrel pusher gif

Pushing the barrel to contact is a tough habit to break.  Hitters will feel the turn and then at the last moment, they throw their hands at the ball.  As a result, this will make hitters miss-hit balls and they will get frustrated.

Another reason hitters do this is that sometimes hitters stand up and out of "side bend" or they never "hip hinged" in the first place!

Get In Front Of The Mirror

In my own personal experience getting in front of a mirror has always been something I liked.  For this reason, give it some time you might like the feel of mastering your arm angles. Getting to see and feel where your body has to be when you hit is crucial for your development.  Working on the angles I have talked about in this article is simple and not time-consuming.  Taking

10-15 minutes before bed or in the morning to work on your best stride, best turn and now even your best barrel turn. Those who take the time to become a master at their craft will find themselves whopping baseballs in the gap!

Upper Body Mechanics Drill #1

Mirror Halfturns with Ball in Back Elbow
Play Video

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How the Load Affects the Swing

Educating Coaches and Parents About the Load and the Swing

A lot of times coaches and parents are looking for a quick fix to a swing. They want a drill to perform without really having knowledge of the problem they're trying to correct.  Because of this, I'm not going to tell you a problem and how to fix it. I'm going to SHOW you the problem and what you should be looking for.  Stop just doing drill after drill without trying to dive in further.  Learn how the load affects the swing.

The First Move is Vital

When a hitter initially starts to prepare their body to hit and time up the pitch.  Whether it is a leg kick, toe tap, short stride, long stride, or no stride there are a couple of things you need to be mindful of.  You will see in the video below that 'swaying back' will be detrimental to how the hitter times up and sees the ball. 

Three Takeaways of the "Sway Back"

1.Head Movement

  • Swaying back in the load is not optimal for keeping your head position consistent when seeing the ball. 
  • We see and perceive the ball depending on how much our body and head move. 
  • Therefore,  understanding how to coil and hinge to keep your head in a more optimal position is vital for the success for any hitter.  

2.Back Hip Position: 

  • Swaying back not only moves the head position all over the place but also the center of your mass.
  • The back hip does not sway back it needs to stay inside of the back foot and leg. 
  • If you can keep your back hip stacked inside your back leg it will help hitter stay centered with their mass. 
  • Controlling your body is important when it comes to hitting in games and in the cage. 

3.Back Hip and Glute Engagement: 

  • People say use your legs and what not and I know what they mean by that but hitters may actually think they use their legs. 
  • Power comes from setting the body up and creating separation. 
  • Being able to hinge and coil into the back hip allows for the back hip and glute to engage.
  • This is when all those squats and deadlifts come into play.

What to Look for at Foot Strike aka "Launch Position"

Two Takeaways 

1.Head Position: 

  • At this point, the hitter is about to fully commit to the swing. 
  • As you saw when Jamal swayed back and forward it caused his head position to be farther forward than when he loaded properly. 
  • With his head position farther forward he has cut down the distance he can time and perceive the ball. 
  • This needed to be addressed so that Jamal can see the ball better and become more accurate with his barrel. 

2.Hip and Shoulder Separation: 

  • Due to the fact that swaying back causes so much movement of the center mass of the hitter it truly limits their ability to create the proper hip and shoulder separation
  • How a hitter loads and gets to launch position all changes how they hit the ball and how hard they will hit it. 

What to Look for at Contact

Key Point

Back Hip and Knee: 

  • In regards to what happens with the back hip and knee, you saw how Jamal wasn't able to get in the right position. 
  • This all stems from how he initially prepared his body to move. 
  • You can see how from start to finish that swaying back when a hitter loads does not get the hitter ready to perform.

One Drill To help Not Feel the 'Swayback'

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Stop Casting Your Hands in the Swing

Staying connected in the swing is vital for a hitter’s success.  Cast your hands and barrel in your swing can result in poor contact and consistency when hitting. Oftentimes hitters mindlessly hit off the tee thinking they are getting better.  With this simple drill, you can make sure you are staying connected better and improve your bat path to the ball.

What is Casting Your Hands

Or is it Casting the Barrell?

This has been a hot topic all my life and something coaches have talked about many times before.  Whether you think it's the hands casting, barrel casting or barrel dumping guess what you are right.  Each one describes and identifies disconnection in the swing. Hitters can only get better if they are performing the swing properly the drill will help them reinforce good habits!

The Explanation
The Drill
What Will This Drill Help? - Tap for More Info

Three things this Drill Will Help

Practicing Correctly - Aside from all the other things we talk about in your swing, whatever your mechanics, rotational ability this will at least make sure you’re keeping the bat more connected.  If you’re taking a lot of reps of the tee right now that is fine, but you want to make sure you are staying connected in your swing and this will help that. 

Bat Path -  As barrel awareness and connection improve its only right for your bat path to also improve.  Matching the pitch plane with a slight upswing is great if you stay connected. Hence why this would help your bat path due to the fact the bat is staying closer to your body.\

More Barrels - At the end of the day Hitters hit and mostly find the barrel.  With your connection improving and bat path this will allow you to hit the ball solidly on the barrel.  Hitting the ball on the barrel is key for your success this is something many fail to do off the tee because they do it incorrectly. This will help you hit the ball better by hitting it on the barrel!   

Stay Tuned for Part 2 Where Garrett Explains How to Set Up This Drill to Different Pitch Locations Using a Tee

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