Creating the Engine to Your Swing

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

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!

BR Unscripted

JK Whited and Eric Tyler sit down to talk about baseball's most common topics of the day. Topics on today's video are Barry Bonds, The Coronavirus, and Internal vs External Cueing. Have a topic that you want to see talked about? Email JK@baseballrebellion or eric@baseballrebellion to get your questions answered!

Is Barry Bonds being blacklisted due to past allegations and behavior?

2 Minutes 17 Seconds

Will the Coronavirus change how the 2020 MLB season is played?

1 Minute 57 Seconds

Make sure you understand when the right time is for internal or external thoughts. There is a time and a place for both!

2 Minutes 50 Seconds

Have a topic that you want to see talked about? Email JK@baseballrebellion or eric@baseballrebellion to get your questions answered!

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Back Hip Load

Load Your Back Hip For More Torque and Power

Learn how loading into your back hip in your stride can create more torque in your swing and help you hit the ball harder and farther with more consistency.

Creating the Engine to Your Swing

Creating the Engine to Your Swing

JK Whited breaks down THREE key phases of Javy Baez’s swing and how you can learn from him for help creating the engine to your swing.

Check out the MLB Prospect Series. Learn what these top prospects do well and what they can improve on as they head into the 2020 baseball season.

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Top 5 Ways Player's Get Worse From Team Practice

With the season about to kick off here in the southern states. We wanted to highlight a few things about team practice.

The way team hitting / batting practice is organized, and the culture that is created during practice can be either very helpful or damaging to your baseball/softball player's ability to take quality swings and not feel afraid to take them.

How Do They Get Worse in Practice?

Here are just a handful of situations or batting routines that might be happening to your player at practice. If you are a coach, let's take some time to perhaps rethink how your baseball/softball team's hitting time is being used.

1. Too Much Defensive Work

Yes, this does happen! Before I get too critical on coaches and their practice plans here, it should be said that I love defense. I was a catcher my whole career and loved making defensive plays and stopping runs from scoring.

It's crucial for the outfield and infield to be able to communicate and work well together, but do we really need to skip hitting so that there can be 3 hours of bunt coverage? Especially on a play that gets ran once a year! Every baseball and softball player in the lineup will get at least two at-bats in a game. The one secret play, that never works, is not worth the time. Do the math, get some swings in.

Practice Solution
Practice solution

If you have to have entire practices dedicated to defense, just be sure to do the same for hitting. Even if a player has what might be considered a "bad swing," at least they can develop timing with their bad swing and have more of a chance for success.

2. Throwing Bad BP or Front Toss

One of the more frustrating things for us to see is a player that has a good swing but gets worse because his coach can't throw front toss or batting practice. It is even more frustrating when the coach who just bounced five balls in a row gets mad at the hitter for not swinging. Most young players are afraid of their coaches already and don't want to"talk back."

What Happens Next?

The player will undoubtedly start taking awful swings at awful pitches just to appease the coach. Which ruins his own practice time. Every time the coach throws a bad pitch, the player should take it. Which can even be used to the hitter and coaches benefit. If the coach continues to throw poorly, the player should then be allowed to go work off the tee. Or they can go through dry swings where they can practice good movements.

Practice Solution
Practice Solution

Coaches should practice throwing strikes overhand and front toss. Before any us at Baseball Rebellion became a full-time instructor, we had to become great at front toss and BP. Not to say we don't make mistakes. But hitters, especially ones learning new movements, have to have a certain level of consistency with each pitch. That way they can focus more on their swing.

If one of your responsibilities as a coach is to front toss or throw batting practice, you need to be somewhat good at it. Or you will only make your team worse.

3. Batting / Pitching Machines

If you are not currently an in-person or online client of the Baseball Rebellion, it's challenging to visualize practicing a baseball/softball swing without hitting a ball. All of our clients know how to train at home with no bat, and no-ball. While having huge gains in their swing. Taking your team or player to a batting cage or even bringing in a "portable" batting machine to practice seems like a good idea in theory.

The Machine Problem

The problem with certain machines and creating a good swing occurs in the timing of the pitch. Especially if your swing has a good loading phase.  For the hitter to properly execute the start of this move, they must use the load phase of the pitcher as a visual to know when to start. Since most pitching machines have zero to very little pre-release action, the hitter can struggle at getting started. Therefore throwing off their entire swing pattern. This is especially difficult for baseball and softball hitters who have just started to learn this type of movement.

Bad Baseball / Softball batting or pitching machine

We have talked about pitching machines that we like and the best ways to use them in training. Any machine that shoots the ball out without any warning is one to watch out for. These can be extremely frustrating to a hitter with movement. The ball will suddenly appear which gives it the perception as fast. However, the speed of the ball is normal to slow, causing the hitter to suddenly jump forward but then realize they are super early getting their front foot down. Unless you are very in-tuned with your body and timing, there is very little hope for consistent or powerful contact.

Keep it Simple

No baseball or softball player out there wants to look bad in front of his teammates and coaches. So they will begin to strip away movement from their swing. Ultimately the once good swing is now sliced down to a panic-induced wrist snap. Months of training and money has been wasted.

Practice Solution
Practice Solution

This is a tough one because I do understand the need to take swings with a moving ball. And as mentioned earlier good throwers can be hard to come by. For players, if you can't work on good timing with a negative to positive move forward, then my advice would be to start with your front foot already down.

If your mechanics are already good, you can still work on lots of other parts of the swing like hip rotation, front and back leg action, and barrel path, just to name a few. However, if the hitter's mechanics are already bad, I am afraid these types of machines can only cause more frustration and negativity.

4. Situational Batting Practice ONLY

A lot like bunt coverage practice, there is a definite time and place for situation hitting practice. But often baseball and softball teams spend countless hours of hitting/batting practice time on nothing but hit-and-runs, slashes, bunting, two-strike approaches, etc. Again these are times that may only happen one or two times a game, hence the name situational.

STOP slash bunting in Baseball or Softball

Now if you are dedicating the opening round of batting practice to a few bunts and one or two hit-and-runs. That is one thing, but making entire rounds dedicated to hitting the ball backside on the ground can be detrimental to a good swing.

The 'Backside' Approach

In rounds like those, the hitter is forced by the demands of the coach to hit every pitch, even inside pitches, to the backside of the field. Again, the hitter, being afraid to disappoint the coach, will adopt a weak backside mentality. This is creating a slower delayed turn of the barrel to flick the ball that way. Then when the game comes around, the coach wonders why his team can't drive the ball.

The "backside approach" round can work for very specific cases of timing issues but usually not for the whole team.

If you want a solid batting practice plan, click here. 

Practice Solution
Practice Solution

Immediately after a brief situational round, allow your hitters to "let it fly." Get them ready to do what they will most likely have to do in the game, Hit! I think a lot of coaches out there would be surprised in the performance of their hitters if they introduced more power rounds in their practice or even dedicated one to a home run round.

Not only would the players have ready their aggressive mindsets, but they would also have a lot more fun knowing they have the freedom to go for it. Less fear and more aggressive hitters should be what any baseball or softball coach should strive for. Don't be afraid to see how a player can develop over time with this kind of practice.

The baseball and softball players that we work with everyday start to learn how to hit doubles on purpose and their mishits become hard singles.  As a hitter, it feels great knowing you can make mistakes and still get on base.

5.  Quick Pitching the Hitter

I chose this topic to close because it seems to be what all of my clients have in common. We spend months before the season getting their swings to be powerful and consistent. During this process, they are allowed to move freely through the entire swing then reset before the next pitch.

In this resetting time, they have they can regain their composure, think about and make adjustments, and then take another good swing. 

Coaches have to remember that practice time is the hitter's time to get better. Not their time to see how many swings they can take in two minutes.

Too many of our hitters will see us during the season, after months of training, and all of a sudden they have a shorter yet weaker swings with no finish. Before they even finish their swing, they are slowing down and hopping back into their stances.

They cut out their rhythm, their forward motion, and their finish to get ready for the next pitch. Time and time again they fall victim to the "practice culture" in baseball and softball.

When they finally do take a full and aggressive swing at practice, the coach will already be throwing the next pitch before the player has a chance to reset. So when the player decides not to swing because they are not ready, they get yelled at. Now fear has been installed in the young player, and they cut down their swing to make the coach happy.

Practice Solution
Practice Solution

Take less, but better swings. The old saying goes "quality over quantity," and nothing could be more true for baseball and softball swings and practice. With every quick restart with zero time to think, your hitters are getting worse.

If you have a limited time for hitting at practice, then use the time wisely. Cut each round down by three or four swings and let the hitters focus on their swing and training, whatever it might be. If you're a player with this issue, don't be afraid to let a pitch go by from time to time or ask the coach to slow down.

All players should be able to speak to their coaches and ask for time. It is the player's practice after all.

It's the Players Career, Not the Coaches

To sum it all up, I understand how difficult it is to be a coach at any level. Every level of baseball and softball has its obstacles to hurdle when it comes to practice.

Things like field time, coaching assistance, even balls can be hard to come by. I don't want this article to bash on all coaches, everywhere, who try hard to do it right. But trying hard and not knowing, are two different things. We have tons of FREE articles on here that can help you become a better coach. If more coaches took the time to improve upon some of this issue, everybody and the sports of baseball and softball would benefit.

Lastly, if one of your parents is taking a player on your team to see a professional instructor, please respect their choice to outsource their information and invest their money. Let their players focus on his or her specific goals and work on their swing regardless if you think it's right.

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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


Upper Body Isolation Drill

Learn how isolating your upper body during hitting drills can help improve your hitters side bend and make them more consistent hard contact hitters.

The front leg serves as the break so the back hip can quickly pull forward to the spine. Without it, a sudden acceleration of the barrel is nearly impossible.

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Check out this simple drill that can be done indoors to help improve hitters' head position during their stride which allows them to swing the bat faster.

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Need a drill to do indoors? Check out the lastest BR Winter Series for a drill on how to work on keeping a bent front arm throughout the swing.

Stride to Separation- Baseball Rebellion's Indoor Training Winter Series

This week's installment of my Winter Series is brought to you by a good question that I received on my last post. Last week I did a video about isolating the coil and then feeling the separation created out from the coil.  Here is the question that I got from Mike about that video about the stride and separation.

article question


This was a good question and a good opportunity to show you how it works with a stride and separation. I choose to film this from the behind the plate view so that you can see the coil followed by the separation that occurs when the hitter "goes".  I think it's important to understand that max separation should only occur if the hitter decides to swing.

The coil and the stride however, should always occur. I will say that there might be some separation on a taken pitch because the hitter should always assume they will swing but max separation will only happen for a full commitment to the pitch.

I hope this answers the questions that came up and I would love to answer any other questions that you guys might have.

Remote Training for Hitters

No Place to Train this Off-Season? Check Out How Remote Training Lessons Can Work For You!

At Baseball Rebellion we have been doing remote training hitting lessons (as well as pitching lessons) for over six years and have worked with over 500 online clients from all around the country and the world!

We wanted to give Baseball Rebellion readers inside access to what our remote training is all about. In the video below, I highlight the improvements that can be made to hitters over time using the Baseball Rebellion methodology and how we utilize Hudl Technique to make it happen.

This video highlights one of my online client's improvements over a six-month period. He has been one of my hardest working clients online and continues to improve! Enjoy!

Highlights of the 6 Month Swing Improvement from Remote Training

Front Foot, Leg, and Hip

Closed Front Side
Closed Front Side
Open Front Side
Open Front Side

Head Position

Head Forward
Head Forward
Head Back
Head Back

Back & Balanced on Finish

Upright Finish
Upright Finish
Back and Balanced Finish
Back and Balanced Finish
Stuck indoors hitting for the Winter? JK's Winter Series will give you drills you can do almost anywhere in your home. Check out this week's new drill!

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Can't get outside this winter to train? JK Whited's Winter Series will give you drills you can do almost anywhere in your home. Drill #1- The Doorway Stride

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Learn 3 ways that your hitters can learn to swing at better pitches and a few drills to help them lock in on how to read pitches vs just see pitches.

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BR Premium gives you access to premium online content that will make YOU a better coach, instructor, or player!  Being a BR Premium member gives you access a new and consistently updated library of high-quality research articles, videos, drills, vlogs, and practice plans!