Hey everyone! In this article I’m going to recap an amazing weekend I had in Dallas, TX watching the 2017 National Power Showcase at Globe Life Park in Arlington which ended in a win for one of my very first Baseball Rebellion clients here in Tallahassee, Florida. The whole weekend was awesome! Brian Domenico, the president of the Power Showcase, does an amazing job of running this event year in and year out. The Power Showcase and International Power Showcases are two home run derbies run yearly (one in Texas and one in Florida) that feature some of the countries best young Power hitting talents. I’ll be honest, I was absolutely impressed by how much power some of these young kids had. I witnessed 14-year-old go 504 feet over the Hyundai sign in left-center field and numerous other 14U and 13U kids hit balls 400+. Truly fun to watch!
With all that being said, I want the aim of this article to be focused on the 14U winner Adam Parzych. 2 months ago, I moved to Tallahassee to run a remote site for Baseball Rebellion. One of the very first clients I had was Adam Parzych. His dad, Jeff, told me they were interested in training for the two Power Showcases at the end of this year. I thought, “How cool!” Adam and I sat down and talked about his goals during Adams swing evaluation. Adam wanted to train to win these events. With that in mind, we went to work.
Two times a week for the past two months Adam and I worked on constructing a plan for this event. According to our HitTrax, Adam struggled early consistently getting the ball high in the air. His average launch angle was 16, his max distance was 313 feet, and his max exit velocity 87.4.
For some context, for Adam’s age group at the Power Showcase, contestants get 15 outs to hit as many home runs as they can. Any ball hit over 300 feet down the lines and 325 to Center would be considered a home run. We trained with one goal in mind: hit the ball high. Adam would need to get his launch angle to at least the upper 20s to get the distance he would need to have a chance winning the event.
In the beginning of Adams training, hitting the ball hard and high was a very difficult task for him. It took a lot of time in the mirror working on different movements to make these swing changes occur. We did a lot of work with the dowel stick. Trying to get his upper body to work more like a Ferris wheel as opposed to a merry go round. After a few weeks, Adam started to drive the ball higher more often. Around the 5th week, Adam shot up to 361 feet on his max distance and 93 mph on his max exit velocity. At the time he did this, he was 13 years old. Funny thing is he was only behind one other 13-year-old in the country at this time for max distance. The 13-year-old who was ahead of Adam is current Baseball Rebellion client CJ Powell out of Lincolnton, NC.
“This kid is going to smash everyone at this event” was my thought at that time. We then hit a 2-week stretch where Adam didn’t hit 1 ball over 330. “Hmm”, I thought, “What happened?” The problem was, which is common in hitters of all ages after seeing some power success, Adam was trying to falsely generate power in his swing. Adam was trying to recruit force in smaller joints in the body out of sequence. Adam was overriding his lower body and his arms were taking over his swing way too early. I see this all too often when hitters try and go for more in their swings. As a result of all of this, his exit velocity and distance numbers plummeted.
One lesson he came in and he had just had a basketball practice. Adam told me he was tired. Completely fine and I believed him because Adam is a great kid and works extremely hard. I told him, “Ok, let’s just go about 75% today.” I did not know this at the time, but that was the single most important swing cue I gave Adam (after going through our movement progression) in his preparation for this event. He almost immediately started consistently hitting balls 320+ with ease. I was like, “Dude, how are you doing this?” He told me, “Thinking 75% keeps me loose and makes me load longer. If I try and swing as hard as I can, I don’t really get the most of my load.” Talk about an extremely advanced swing thought for a 14-year-old. I told him, “I could not agree anymore. 75% it is.” Adam had made the swing change he needed to be successful in this event. He didn’t need to “go for more”, Adam needed to relax his mind and his body to stay loose throughout his swing.
It was quite the moment for me as a hitting instructor. 95% of the time I can’t get younger hitters, and even some older hitters, to swing hard enough. Here I found myself actually telling a kid to not go as fast as he could and it led to a successful outcome in his swing. I could go off on a huge tangent about where to go fast in the swing but I’ll save that for another article. 75% was Adams sweet spot for consistency. So the plan for the event was to miss high in the air and work at about a 75% effort capacity. Here is a look at Adams last lesson Hittrax report before leaving for the Power Showcase.
So, last weekend, it was off to Dallas I went. The setting for the Power Showcase was very cool. As I stated earlier in the article, Brian Domenico does an outstanding job of getting some exceptionally talented young players to come to this event. Getting the opportunity to compete in a national home run derby on a big league field looks like quite the experience. Globe Life Park is a beautiful venue for this event.
I worked with Adam off-site right before the event. We went over the plan again. Adam looked ready. Pretty much every ball he hit in our session was high off the top of the cage. Just as I said numerous times before in the two months prior, I told him again, “If you hit like that, you will win.”
Adam’s 1st round at the event was spectacular. He hit 12 home runs in the 1st round which put him in a two-way tie for 1st place. He also hit 6 in a row that round. We talked after and he told me that all he was trying to do was miss high in the air. This is a great thought for an event like this because it all but eliminates the chance of hitting groundballs. I was extremely proud of how Adam stuck to the plan and executed it.
Adams 2nd round was interesting. He only had 1 home run with 8 outs. He appeared to be a little high on the ball during this time. Meaning he was hitting a lot of low line drives and groundballs. One of the things we worked on during training was a plan if this were to happen. One of the easiest adjustments a hitter can make to hit the ball higher is to just aim lower on the ball. We practiced that because I was certain it would happen at some point in the event and Adam ended up hitting 9 home runs total in his championship round. I would have been proud of Adam regardless of the outcome of the event but I was most proud of how he didn’t get frustrated, he stuck to the plan, and he ended up with a pretty solid final round home run total. I shook his hand said I was proud of him and we eagerly awaited the last participant to hit. Before the last kid hit, I could tell Adam was a little upset. I told him he had nothing to be upset about and 9 might be enough to win it. The last participant came to bat and ended up with just 1 home run in his round. Adam had won the event! I gave him a handshake and a hug and told him I was so proud of him for all his hard work the past two months. Here is a video of Adams home runs in his final round.
I was very excited to write this article because winning this event is exactly what we had set out for 2 months ago when I moved here and started working with Adam. I told him to enjoy this moment and that it was his ability to execute the plan which won him the event. I’m extremely happy for Adam and happy to share this story through Baseball Rebellion. Look out for Adam at the International Power Showcase in Miami, Florida at the end of this year!