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The concept of “Feeding the mistake” is not a new one in physical therapy or weight lifting. Most of the time, when an athlete repeats a movement mistake over and over they usually cannot feel the problem. If an athete cannot feel the issue, they cannot fix the issue. In order to force them to correct the issue, the coach purposfully makes the mistake worse. Now, after 'feeding the mistake', athletes can feel and then correct the problem. A great example is a squat movement where the knees of the athlete push inward towards each other as the athlete pushes the weight upward.
In order to correct this issue,many novice coaches would 'fix' this issue by putting a yoga block or cut off foam roller between the knees. The foam roller would prevent the knees from coming in towards each other as you see above. However, this 'fix' doesn't really fix the issue. The athlete can now push his knees in as hard as they want against the foam roller and the knees are blocked. A more common ‘fix’ among strength and conditioning professionals would be putting the athlete’s knees inside a band which pulls the knees closer together. This force allows the athlete to feel the problem and then correct it by resisting the force of the band as you will see below. That's the real difference between 'fixing a problem' and 'feeding the mistake' so the athlete can fix the problem themselves.
Now, how does this apply to the baseball/softball swing? Feeding the mistakes applies in exactly the same way in baseball and softball! Let's take a look at the Rebel’s Rack and Bat Drag Buster. Both products force the hitter to exert specific force with specific intention and create the feel that coaches need hitters to understand in order to build an efficient turn or eliminate bat drag.
The Rebel’s Rack activates the lat muscle and the back of the shoulder/scap muscle structure to help the athlete ‘pull back on the rack’ and resist their rotation.
A common, and inferior, alternative to the Rebel’s Rack is a dowel rod held across the chest. As you can see, the Rack activates the upper back and the retraction of the shoulder blades while the dowel rod does the exact opposite and rounds the shoulders making a delay of rotation impossible.
The Bat Drag Buster pulls the elbows together with the white band and makes the athlete keep their elbows apart allowing the barrel to turn back behind them and eliminating bat drag. When not using the white band of the BDB, you can see the hitter is likely to collapse the back elbow as they cannot feel that happen inside of the turn.
When the elbow outraces the hands, you can see how the space is lost between the elbows. The back elbow gets stuck between the stomach of the hitter and home plate which creates a long path and a hole up and in on the hitter's swing. The Bat Drag Buster eliminates this problem by trying to cause the back elbow to race forward. Hitters naturally resist that force, so they maintain space and turn much more efficiently and powerfully.
The ideas behind Fixing the Mistake are not revolutionary. And even better, the concept of feeding the mistake is simple and easily usable for coaches of all levels. Don’t FIX the mistake for the player, allow the player to FEEL the mistake and fix it himself. Consider a Complete Rotational Power Package or a Bat Drag Buster and make your job as a coach so much easier! Eliminate the frustration of plateaus in power and exit velocity and start creating that super deep barrel turn today!