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Front Arm Chain

The Front Arm Chain

Today we will look at the Front Arm Chain.  This drill is meant to isolate the front arm for those hitters who might be:

 

  • Pulling off the ball early with their front shoulder
  • Pulling the barrel path downward through the impact zone
  • Working on releasing more energy through impact
  • Avoiding rollovers 

 

It is important to remember that while we are looking at a specific part of the swing, this particular action is late in the swing.  Therefore can only be worked on once or consistently in a good place. 

Thanks for watching!

Four Month Swing Transformation

Hey everyone, back again with another awesome transformation.  This time, we’ll look at a young softball player who made an amazing 4-month transformation.  Like all the players that I have shared with you all, she really put in the time and dove headfirst into correcting her movements.  In her transformation we highlight:

Maintaining Good Head/Spine Position From Load to Swing

Process of Eliminating Bat Drag

Creating a Better & 'Shorter' to the Zone Path While Still Staying Long Through the Zone

Thanks for watching and if you have any questions about our great online training program, please feel free to reach out to me at jk@baseballrebellion.com.

Online Lesson Transformation

Today I wanted to share another before and after of a player, I have worked with since October of 2020.  This kid has impressed me every time he sent back a new video.  Whether it was a movement-based drill, swings off a tee, or just grasping a mental concept, he has done a phenomenal job.  

If you or your player needs a complete transformation or only a subtle enhancement to their swings please check out our online lesson options!

Interested in taking Online Lessons with JK?

In the world of hitting certain words can invoke certain movements, good and bad. It’s not really the words that matter as much but how the individual athlete interprets those words and how they manifest those words into a particular movement.

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This vs. That - Early Head Pull vs. Late Head Release

For this week’s installment of This vs. That, I wanted to hit on a subject that I see a lot of coaches and parents get confused about.  That would be the issue of loss of vision due to pulling the head out.  You hear it all the time, “you're pulling your head out!”  A common phrase you might hear anytime a young player misses the ball. While this can definitely be a possibility, it’s not always true. The problem is that in real time, it can seem as though the player is in fact pulling their head out way too soon.  When in actuality, it happens so fast that the coach or parent can’t see that their head is actually right where it needs to be. Let’s take a look.

Early Head Pull

Let’s first look at an example of me attempting to pull my head out early.

ezgif.com-gif-maker (2)
Jk head pull
JK head pull out

As you can see from the pictures above, the early outward rotation of my head is easily there.  This early head rotation can cause:

  • Extreme vision loss
  • Guessing
  • Lack of barrel accuracy
  • Loss of barrel coverage in the hitting zone
  • Miss hits on pitches that should be struck well

Oftentimes this issue arises because the player is aggressive, yet hasn’t learned or practiced head control.  They must take the time to understand that the head needs to counter rotate slightly past contact.  This way they will be able to pick up the ball during the last 10 feet of it’s path to the plate. The Baseball Rebellion Rack Bat is an excellent tool to use for this issue. 

 

Now let’s look at how it should be done.

Late Head Release

Here is an example of the hitter’s head “releasing” late.

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unnamed
unnamed (1)
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Keeping the head rotated inward will allow:

  • Deep vision tracking
  • Picking up any late movement
  • High barrel accuracy
  • Barrel staying in the zone late

So is it okay for the hitter to be watching the ball after they hit it? Yes, absolutely.  If you want to know if there is any “early head pull” then I suggest you do some video work to be sure.  Try not to be tricked by the speed of the swing and the finish.  It’s all about where the nose of the hitter is facing before, during and slightly after contact.  Once the hitter’s rear shoulder comes through the head can release out. We want to promote fast and full swings so make sure that you and your player know the difference between these two very commonly misunderstood movements.  If you or your hitter is having issues with this or any part of their swing, please check out our awesome online program!

Thanks for reading!

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Youth Practices Fun

3 Hitting Drills To Make Youth Practice Fun!

One of the biggest problems when trying to create a good practice environment for youth players is keeping them focused for the entirety of the practice time. One of the best ways to help keep your youth players interested and focused is to implement some fun and basic drills. We’ll take a look at three drills youth players can do to help their bat path, rhythm, and power at the plate, while having fun and staying focused.

My Post (1)

How To Hit Off A Tee

Many little league coaches and parents love coaching and working with kids, but don’t have a ton of experience teaching hitting. This article points out the key points that will help your young players who are beginning their journey in baseball or softball. It is super important that every player has a solid base and a good turn so that they can develop properly and have more fun in the sport!

This Vs. That - Step Out Vs. Move out

The Step Out

ezgif.com-optimize

You see this move a lot at the little league level.  The number one reason that I have found for this flawed movement is fear.  Fear of being hit by the ball. The hitter will try to protect themselves by reaching their front foot away from the plate to begin their potential “escape” from the ball. What they fail to realize is not only does this nearly destroy any chance to hit the ball hard, but it will also be more susceptible to getting hit. By stepping out the hitter will:

  • Put themselves in a much more dangerous position
  • Alter head position and therefore vision 
  • Lower half never gets prepared
  • Arms become dominant driver of the swing
  • Late and panicky swings in last ditch efforts to make contact  

This isn’t anything new to those of you who have seen it before.  The first step in fixing this issue is for the hitter to understand they are putting themselves in more harm than if they were to load their bodies properly and stride the right way.  By moving properly, they can suddenly turn away and avoid getting hit or turn their backside to the ball.  Yes, they will still get hit but at least it will hit them in the back, glutes, or back of the leg.  It won’t feel good but it’s better than getting hit anywhere in the front.

Moving/Loading Out

Now, let’s look at the moving out flaw.

ezgif.com-optimize (1)

Now, unlike the step out, this hitter will still be trying to load their body properly to hit the ball hard.  The issue arises when their center of gravity starts to move towards the pull side of the field.  As you can see in the example above, I start to load and move straight but somewhere down the line, I move my middle away from the plate. This will:

  • Alter head position and therefore vision
  • Cause an early leak of my coiled hips
  • Force me to reach my arms away from my body early
  • Make the outside half of the plate nearly impossible to hit well
  • Become very susceptible to off speed pitches

What I have found is this move stems from the hitter possibly trying to pull the ball too much.  They feel as if moving that way will help them pull the ball easier by clearing space for the barrel to get by.  While this is true to some extent, this is not the best way to pull the ball successfully. 

The fix here would be to have the hitter feel as if they are moving their core towards the opposite side of the field.  While it will feel extremely awkward at first, they have to understand that what they feel is not real. Overtime, they will get comfortable with this new direction and be in a much better position upon front foot landing. 

I hope this helps some of you identify the difference between these two different but similar movements. If you need any help with your swing or player’s swing, please check out our awesome online program.

Thanks for reading!

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Youth Practices Fun

3 Hitting Drills To Make Youth Practice Fun!

One of the biggest problems when trying to create a good practice environment for youth players is keeping them focused for the entirety of the practice time. One of the best ways to help keep your youth players interested and focused is to implement some fun and basic drills. We’ll take a look at three drills youth players can do to help their bat path, rhythm, and power at the plate, while having fun and staying focused.

My Post (1)

How To Hit Off A Tee

Many little league coaches and parents love coaching and working with kids, but don’t have a ton of experience teaching hitting. This article points out the key points that will help your young players who are beginning their journey in baseball or softball. It is super important that every player has a solid base and a good turn so that they can develop properly and have more fun in the sport!

The Importance of Swing Sequence

If you have been following Baseball Rebellion at all, you know the importance of swing sequence.  Simply put, the right moves in the right order. Today we will examine a hitter’s first move after the loading sequence. Now I can’t understate how important it is to have a quality and consistent loadI have said it many times before, you can not have an A+ swing with a D- load. So, assuming a player loads well, let’s look at how the first move out of that load can be different and drastically affect a hitter from that point forward. 

*Note:  If a hitter loads properly they have a great opportunity to begin their swing efficiently.

We look at the three most common moves after the load.  The first two will be the most common incorrect starts of the swing.

Swing Sequence: The Push

We will start things off with the “push”.  This swing sequence will generally start with an improper loading of the hitter’s rear leg as opposed to coiling the hips, however, it can still happen after a proper load.  Here is what can happen with a “push” to start swing.

  • Head/body movement up and forward
  • Vision loss
  • Forced to drop arms and hands to contact
  • Altered swing path, usually down, through and/or across the hitting zone
  • Timing issues due to body closing distance to the ball

Here is an example of the push move out of the rear side.

JK push gif
JK push pic

Swing Sequence: The Spin

The next swing-start flaw we will look at is the “spin”.  The spin swing sequence can come from the idea of “squishing the bug” or a hyperactive front side pull off the plate.  Either way, this can be aggressive yet cause many issues once the hitter strikes the ball. Issues that arise from a spin can be:

  • Head/body movement away from zone and ball
  • Vision loss
  • Hands/arms forced laterally and down away from body
  • Barrel path drastically across the body
  • Very little to zero body weight into contact 
  • Virtually zero quality contact on any pitch middle to away side of plate

Let’s take a look at the spin move out of the rear side.

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JK spin pic

Swing Sequence: The Pull

This is the most important swing sequence that all hitters should aspire to have at some degree. While some have it more than others, this move is there for all good hitters. Mainly because it sets into motion quality movements that fall into place like dominos. Now, it’s important to know that flaws can still happen but the chances are dramatically reduced when this move occurs first in a hitter’s swing.  Here is what you can get from this move:

  • Stable head/body position through entirety of the swing
  • Correct biomechanical sequence of body to ensure maximum bat speed
  • Body weight transfer into ball
  • Barrel path that stays in the hitting zone as long as possible
  • Barrel path that is slightly up on pitch path creating high impact quality
  • Ability to hit to all fields with power(relative to hitter’s size)
  • High rate of adjustability to all pitch types

Here is a look at the pull move out of the rear side. 

JK pull gif small
JK pull pic

While nothing can guarantee you a hit of any kind, this move will open up the opportunity to do more damage especially on mishits.  Remember, you’re only as good as your mishits.  Any swing type can generally hit the ball well if everything works out.  But we know that things lining up in a perfect way for that to work out doesn’t happen often.  Load properly and make sure your swing starts the right way with a pull from the backside through the rotation of the core. 

Thanks for reading and if you or your player has any of these issues, please check out our fantastic online training program!

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Youth Practices Fun

3 Hitting Drills To Make Youth Practice Fun!

One of the biggest problems when trying to create a good practice environment for youth players is keeping them focused for the entirety of the practice time. One of the best ways to help keep your youth players interested and focused is to implement some fun and basic drills. We’ll take a look at three drills youth players can do to help their bat path, rhythm, and power at the plate, while having fun and staying focused.

My Post (1)

How To Hit Off A Tee

Many little league coaches and parents love coaching and working with kids, but don’t have a ton of experience teaching hitting. This article points out the key points that will help your young players who are beginning their journey in baseball or softball. It is super important that every player has a solid base and a good turn so that they can develop properly and have more fun in the sport!

Having Trouble Elevating the Ball? This Could Be Why!

Most of us know that it doesn’t take a lot to severely mishit a baseball. This is what makes hitting well so incredibly hard.  As we get older and advance to higher levels of competition, it gets even harder and more important that certain things happen in our swings.  The ability to elevate the ball out of the infield is one of those things that gets more difficult and more important that we do well. If you’re having trouble elevating the ball this could be why. 

If you are having trouble elevating the ball, you could have a number of issues but one that can really hinder that ability is a forward landing and/or a forward pulling of the upper body.  

Upper Body – Forward Pull

In the video and picture below, you will see an example of a player with a forward pull of the upper body.  This will create:

  • Spacing Issues: negatively affecting rotation and barrel accuracy 
  • Attack angle loss
  • Timing issues as the player gets close to the incoming pitch
  • Inability to elevate all pitch locations
  • The bottom half of the ball is lost

Upper Body Chest Forward Upper Body Chest Forward Upper Body Chest Forward

It’s important to notice here that the player above is very quick and strikes the ball true, his ability to elevate this ball is severely limited.  While the ball is hit hard, he is limited to low angles and therefore at best a single when he is capable of much more. 

Upper Body – Maintained Back

Now let’s look at the same hitter maintaining a good upper body position and increase his ability to elevate the same ball.  Maintaining his upper body position created during the load will:

  • Increase his rotation thereby increasing barrel speed and power
  • Spacing stays the same
  • Improved attack angle – leading to more extra-base hit opportunities

Visual of the bottom half increases

Upper Body Maintained Back Upper Body Maintained Back Upper Body Maintained Back

Here is the side by side comparison of the two upper-body positions.

Chest Forward Chest Forward Chest Back Chest Back

As you can see, the slight upper body differences can dramatically impact the hitter’s ability to elevate and drive the ball. While this player’s swing on the left side isn’t bad in many ways, he will always be severely limited in his production.  

I hope that you now can better identify this mistake in yourself or your hitters and begin making the necessary adjustments to improve their swing. If you need any help with this, please check out our online hitting program!

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Stop Swaying Back In Your Swing For More Power

Stop Swaying Back In Your Swing For More Power

Stop Swaying Back In Your Swing For More Power Many times when a hitter sways back they think they are loading but in reality, they are not.  Hitters who have…

Stop the Front Shoulder From Pulling Off

Stop The Front Shoulder From Pulling Off

Eric reviews one drill that he likes to use to cure a hitter from pulling off the ball. Pulling off the ball is one of the most common swing mistakes and usually comes from a hitter’s aggression. When coaching this flaw it is important not to eliminate the aggression, however, teach the hitter where the aggression needs to be.

Creating the Engine to Your Swing

There are two key factors that determine the exit velocity of every ball that you hit.

  1. Bat Speed
  2. Square Contact

Both of these are vital to your swing's longevity and should be trained equally.  Today we will take a look at bat speed and how to understand and feel where your swing engine truly is.

The Load/Stretch for Creating Bat Speed

All great swings start with great loading phases.  If your training doesn't start with this phase, you have no chance to create great bat speed. The keys here are:

  1. Coil
  2. Move the coil
  3. Stretch with back elbow

Watch as Javy Baez sequences these movements flawlessly.

Javy Baez Loading The Back Elbow

Javy is always a great template for this movement because it's so easy to see. All great hitters some form or version of this or else they wouldn't last at that level.

This pattern should be slow and controlled as you move especially if you have a leg kick or more vertical stance.  If you start wider and lower, it might be less pronounced but it still has to happen. All these things are used for creating the engine to your swing

The Trigger

This is GO TIME!  The start of the swing must be quick and immediate (early bat speed).  Any flaw or delay here will seriously cost you.  Pulling the "trigger" of a swing is very similar to a gun.  It comes from a very specific place that should always be the rear hip/knee.  Yes, both hips rotate but the rear hip/knee is the driver.  The front hip will clear in a passive move out of the way and then be driven back by the front leg.

Watch as Javy shows us exactly how this should be done.

Javy Baez Trigger Move

I can't stress the importance for your hitters to connect these specific parts of their bodies. If the trigger doesn't start here, the body will compensate and the swing will suffer.

The Brakes

The last action of the engine is the "slamming of the brakes".  The front leg must counter the back leg-pulling forward with an equally aggressive and quick push back. Keys are:

  1. Use the heel
  2. Drive the quad/front hip back
  3. DO IT HARD

Notice here how Javy's front knee and back knee close the gap.

Javy Baez Front Leg Drive

The role of the front leg is huge.  Don't deny it or the back leg will override the entire swing.

Like a car engine, each of these parts is essential to the performance and health of your swing as a whole.  On our site, you can find lots of ways to isolate each of these movements if one of them is lacking in your swing.  Connect with your engine, and watch how much your bat speed skyrocket!

Stay Through The Ball With The Ping Pong Drill

In case you miss it in BR Weekly, I wanted to share with you a drill that has worked extremely well for almost all my hitters recently.  It’s a simple yet effective idea because it connects well with something that we almost all have done at some point in our lives, ping pong!  

How to Stay Through the Ball Better

The purpose of this drill is to slightly exaggerate the idea of “staying through the ball”. As we know, it requires not only barrel speed to hit the ball hard, but barrel accuracy.  If only one of these ingredients is present, the hitter can not be their best. This drill will help the hitter feel a barrel path that allows for a large margin for error and increase the likelihood of a well-struck baseball even if their timing is slightly off.  We know how important this is for long term success.

In this drill, the focus should be placed on:

  • Upper body posture
  • Vision
  • Proper upper body rotation followed by especially lead arm
  • Barrel/lead arm release tracking towards the middle of the field to slightly backside
  • Good stability through the swing

The Ping Pong Drill

I hope that this drill helps many of you, especially those with barrel path issues. If needed, use a ping pong paddle and try to keep the ball going over the centerfielder’s head. If you pull your lead arm across, you’ll put too much side spin on the ball for it to carry.  The feedback should clue you into how well you struck the ball. 

Thanks for reading!  If you would like help with your swing, please check out our online program!

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Youth Practices Fun

3 Hitting Drills To Make Youth Practice Fun!

One of the biggest problems when trying to create a good practice environment for youth players is keeping them focused for the entirety of the practice time. One of the best ways to help keep your youth players interested and focused is to implement some fun and basic drills. We’ll take a look at three drills youth players can do to help their bat path, rhythm, and power at the plate, while having fun and staying focused.

My Post (1)

How To Hit Off A Tee

Many little league coaches and parents love coaching and working with kids, but don’t have a ton of experience teaching hitting. This article points out the key points that will help your young players who are beginning their journey in baseball or softball. It is super important that every player has a solid base and a good turn so that they can develop properly and have more fun in the sport!

Launch Angle Training

As with most hitting methodologies these days, there can be a lot of controversy surrounding new ideas. Even though launch angle isn’t anything new, training it is still looked down upon in certain realms of hitting.

Any aspect of hitting can be taken too far and using launch angle is no different. There certainly can be too much scrutiny placed on it to when the player or coach takes it too far.  However, if done correctly, a player can realize their full potential.  To do this the coach and player need to take in multiple factors.  These factors include:

  • Average Exit Velocity (how hard the hitter hits the ball)
  • Field Size
  • Swing Quality and Repeatability
  • Hitters Athletic Ability
  • Bat Rules

Launch Angle Hitter example

Let’s take a look at a softball player that started training with us back in July.  When she came in, she had some technical issues but had a really good engine already.  Her top end and average exit velocity were already really good. 

Even though I know she will eventually be able to hit the ball harder as she tweaked her mechanics, the issue that jumped out at me was her inability to hit the ball further on average.  She was hitting the ball way too hard at her age and on 200-foot fences to not be hitting more extra-base hits. So because she had never been taught how to properly elevate the ball, she certainly was never going to reach her full potential.  

Let’s take a look at her HitTrax comparison from her first day in our facility and her latest lesson.

Launch Angle Hit Trax

Now, there are a lot of numbers here but let's take a look at a few things. On this particular day, her max velocity was a little better, her actual new highest velocity is 75 which was hit on another day. 

Increase In Launch Angle

The important thing here is that her average launch angle went from 13 to 30 degrees.  The only mechanical changes we made in her swing were posture and swing plane changes in order to create a slightly more positive attack angle to the ball.  By doing this you can see how much it made a difference in almost all of her numbers. 

There was absolutely no loss in average velocity but so much more gained in AVG distance, MAX distance, batting average, slugging percentage, etc. On a side note, even her ability to work the ball hard to all fields went through the roof. 

Launch Angle Zones

As I stated above you must take in multiple factors when trying to get players to understand their “launch angle zone”.  This just means what degrees in the air do I have the largest margin for error. 

For instance, if her average velocity was only 60mph I would have never asked her to attempt raising her average LA.  Those would have just resulted in flyouts. It’s vital to remember the factors that I listed above when implementing LA in your training. Remember that it can change over time as the player gets bigger and more technically skilled but needs to be monitored closely in training. 

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Youth Practices Fun

3 Hitting Drills To Make Youth Practice Fun!

One of the biggest problems when trying to create a good practice environment for youth players is keeping them focused for the entirety of the practice time. One of the best ways to help keep your youth players interested and focused is to implement some fun and basic drills. We’ll take a look at three drills youth players can do to help their bat path, rhythm, and power at the plate, while having fun and staying focused.

My Post (1)

How To Hit Off A Tee

Many little league coaches and parents love coaching and working with kids, but don’t have a ton of experience teaching hitting. This article points out the key points that will help your young players who are beginning their journey in baseball or softball. It is super important that every player has a solid base and a good turn so that they can develop properly and have more fun in the sport!

Coaches and Parents: Learn What You Need To Be Looking For In Your Hitter's Swing

Evaluating Hitters

When evaluating hitters what are you looking for? Do you even know what is important or vital for hitters to be doing? We want to help make it easier for you to breakdown your hitter's swings. There are certain mechanics that are a MUST when it comes to being an elite hitter. We're here to show you what those are.

By now you guys know me and have a pretty good handle on how I explain ideas and concepts at Baseball Rebellion Headquarters or here in my articles.

I'm a huge analogy guy.  The reason for this is because I really enjoy simplifying movements to their core and getting rid of the grey area.  For players of all ages but especially younger players, analogies do a great job of cleaning things up inside their heads.

The Important vs. Vital Analogy For Hitters

The important vs. vital concept is no different than anything else.  Like the human body, there are parts of us that are vital to our health and therefore living.  These things are measured as "vitals" in the medical world.

The four main ones are body temperature, heart rate or pulse, respiratory rate, and blood pressure.  Anything other than those four vitals would be listed as important.

In hitting, vitals are concepts or movements that can not be compensated for. Without them, players can "stay alive" in baseball but will ultimately not last.

Important aspects of the swing are things that are nice to have and can really help, but are necessities to be great long term.

I'm sure at this point you're wondering how this relates to hitting.  Well, here it goes.

NOTE: All GIF's are courtesy of and credited to Craig Hyatt (@HyattCraig)

Important Mechanics To Look For When Evaluating Hitters

Now don't' get me wrong here.  We teach footwork until it's really good but you can find tons of examples in the big leagues of guys doing all sorts of things with their feet in games.

Strong Positioning

It's important to have a solid base of footwork but at the end of the day, if the bat is fast and going up pitch plane, you'll do damage.  Proper footwork will, however, allow hitters to get the most out of what their hips are trying to do. Proper footwork can help you maintain a strong balance throughout your stride and your swing.

Vital Mechanics To Look For When Evaluating Hitters

Nothing new here.  If the player does not want to do damage mentally and emotionally at the plate, no mechanical fixes will matter.  They MUST shed any fear or doubt before mechanical adjustments can really help them in games.  Intent starts at practice and reveals itself in games.

Key Takeaways When Evaluating Hitters

The key thing to take away from this is that "vitals" should not be compensated for what might be only "important".  For example, if your back foot is moving so far that it changes your angles/posture than eliminate your back foot move or lessen it.  If you like your stance but cannot load your body properly, change your stance and make it easier to prepare. If trying to have "perfect footwork" keeps you from being explosive then stop worrying about being perfect and smash the ball!

Understand what is vital and what is important and it can really clarify your thoughts when you might be struggling to find answers.

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Youth Practices Fun

3 Hitting Drills To Make Youth Practice Fun!

One of the biggest problems when trying to create a good practice environment for youth players is keeping them focused for the entirety of the practice time. One of the best ways to help keep your youth players interested and focused is to implement some fun and basic drills. We’ll take a look at three drills youth players can do to help their bat path, rhythm, and power at the plate, while having fun and staying focused.

My Post (1)

How To Hit Off A Tee

Many little league coaches and parents love coaching and working with kids, but don’t have a ton of experience teaching hitting. This article points out the key points that will help your young players who are beginning their journey in baseball or softball. It is super important that every player has a solid base and a good turn so that they can develop properly and have more fun in the sport!