Seen above, the countdown drill is used to teach a hitter to be quick to the ball as well as be able to adjust to different timings. The thought behind this drill is if a hitter is able to square a ball up with a very short amount of reaction time, they will be able to adjust to different pitches better. The problem with this drill is that it doesn’t allow for a realistic pitch angle. With the coach or instructor dropping the ball from straight above, it doesn’t allow the hitter to adjust to the plane of the pitch.
A drill that you could implement instead of the countdown drill is the Rebel’s Rack Timing Drills. This allows a hitter to time their turn to certain pitches as well as giving them a realistic pitch plane to see.
Years ago, I wrote an article on Hand Path that featured the Rebel’s Rack. If you have not read that article, or it has been a while, please visit that article first by CLICKING HERE before reading on. It is a quick read so enjoy.
Now that you’re back and have refreshed yourself on see-saw elbow movements and hand pivot concepts, let’s talk some more about how we show hitters how to turntheirbody to turnthe barrel and not pull their hands across their chests to hit.
There are two main drills that we have started using to illustrate the difference between a ‘hand path’ swing and a ‘body turn’ swing. At Baseball Rebellion we want a ‘turn dominated’ body swing that uses as little arm extension as possible to generate power. Arm extension swings eliminate timing adjustments and make the hitter much more likely to swing at changeups or curveballs. We want a longer ‘hand path’ to be a timing adjustment not a necessity in our hitter’s swings. When arm extension is used as a timing adjustment, instead of a power generator, the hitter can hit the ball much deeper in the zone, allowing for more adjustments if late on a fastball. Conversely, a hitter can also extend to a pitch they are early on after accelerating the barrel with the turn instead of the
The first article about Hand Path (which you hopefully just read) showed how we use the Rebel’s Rack to ‘learn to turn’ and deemphasize the use of the hitter’s arms in the baseball swing. Turn driven swings are more adjustable and faster than arm driven swings because they use larger muscles of the body to move the bat head. Using your large muscles in your turn-dominated swing creates more power for hitters of all shapes and sizes. Also, using the body to turn the bat allows a later decision to turn, which helps eliminate bad swings at poor pitches to hit. Next, I’m going to show you 2 new drills we use to help hitters ‘learn to turn’ instead of ‘push’ their bat forward in the swing.
The first drill is the Ball in The Back Arm Drill. One of my professional clients named his back arm ball “Kevin”. Kevin goes everywhere with him and you can even see him on the field in pregame warmups as he goes through his hitting ‘feels’.
The Ball in Back Arm Drill:
Keys to the Ball in Back Arm Drill
Get a ball that’s ‘rubbery’ in texture, we use a TAP ball
Put the ball in your back arm so it’s touching your skin, not your shirt
Hold the ball pinched in your back arm all the way until ‘contact’ would occur.
You can hit front toss or balls off a tee using this drill if you’d like, either finishing the entire swing or holding the ‘turn’ position with your arms like I do in my dry work. If you take a full swing, the ball should ‘shootout’ towards where you’re trying to hit the pitched or tee ball. It should not drop out of your arms before you hit the ball. If the ball drops before contact, you extended your arms, which shuts down the turn in the swing.
The Barrel Support Drill:
Another drill we use is the Barrel Support Drill which teaches hitters how to handle the ‘weight’ of the bat as they swing it. Supporting the barrel is a MUST because as you turn faster with heavier bats, the bat itself PULLS AWAY and DOWN, extending the arms, and disconnecting the hitter’s bat from the powerful turn engine of their swing.
Keys to the Barrel Support Drill:
Pick a weight the hitter can handle, but still feels heavy with your arms extended
make sure the hitter has a strong back shoulder and biceps, but a loose backhand wrist
make sure the weight TURNS with the body in a full supination of the back arm
once the hitter can handle a horizontal shoulder turn, start to add side bend to turn to different pitch locations
These two drills have really helped our hitters both in-house and online and are staples of how we train our MiLB and MLB clients as well as our top softball players. I’m excited to share these and update the “Look Ma, No Hands” article I wrote years ago. Look for more updates and re-writes as needed when our information advances and changes.
Many hitters roll over the ball way too often. “Rolling Over” is when the hitter’s top hand in their stance pushes up and over the top of the bottom hand just before and during contact. Rolling over causes top spinning grounders and generally weaker contact than without this movement. Rolling over is a constant problem in lower levels of baseball and softball. If the problem isn’t fixed, it can carry over to high school and beyond
What Rolling OVER Looks Like
As you can see, the front elbow collapses DOWN and close to the hitter’s body. The hitter’s hands pull across the stomach and over the top of the bottom hand. These poor, subtle movements all cause the bat to have a little ‘hump’ in the swing plane as well as pull the bat out of the hitting zone. Rolling over is quite a large issue for many younger hitters who do not have the strength yet to turn the barrel effectively. Interestingly, we at Baseball Rebellion have had a lot of success in the top hand working UNDER the bottom hand when cueing the lead elbow working ‘up’ during the turn.
What Turning UNDER Looks Like
As you can see, when the hands stay high and the front elbow works UP, the hitter’s top hand turns UNDER the bottom hand and the barrel stays in the zone much longer. This keeps the barrel supported by the body instead of disconnected from the larger muscles that supply the power and speed of the turn. Interestingly, the front elbow direction is key in avoiding the rollover and maximizing the turn under of the top hand. So how do we train IN the turn under move and train OUT the roll over move?
How We Train Turning UNDER at Baseball Rebellion
Whenever we see a hitter turn over their hands during lessons at Baseball Rebellion, we always get them on the Bat Drag Buster. When using the white band of the Bat Drag Buster, it is easy for the hitter to FEEL the success or failure of keeping his front elbow up in the turn. The white band stretches between the elbows, and if used properly and the stretch is maintained, the barrel turns under the hands well and the bat is powered by the body turn. It is amazing how quickly the white band on the Bat Drag Buster fixes rolling over and get the body back in sequence to support a fast turn and power through the barrel. Other drills can work, but this is the fastest way we at Baseball Rebellion have found to eliminate the “Roll Over” of the top hand and program the Turn Under” of the top hand into all of our hitters both baseball and softball.
As Baseball Rebellion/Softball Rebellion has grown, we have decided to be more open with the “HOW” of our process instead of just the results.This, for years, was not the case at BR/SR, as we wouldn’t even let clients film the movement progressions we do with hitters.We are all excited about how showing these movements can help players of all ages turn faster and hit with more power.Releasing our movement progression has been something I’ve considered for a long time.We haven’t done it, until now, and will be including an even more detailed breakdown inside of the Rebel’s Rack Drills for those who have and are going to purchase the Rebel’s Rack.All in all, the movement progressions we are about to show you have built what we do here at BR/SR.Without them, the Hittrax data we produce, the scholarships, draft picks/bonus money, and the opportunities for our position player athletes would be greatly diminished.We at Baseball Rebellion are extremely excited to show our process and continue to push ourselves to be more transparent and give more back to the game that have given us so much.Enjoy!
On May 29th, 2012, I launched the Rebel’s Rack, a rotational power trainer and ‘hitting aid’ that helps baseball and softball players hit the ball harder and farther.At the time, Baseball Rebellion had no Hittrax machines, so all we had was a stalker gun we held up at the hitter to test their exit velocities.Softball and baseball players of all ages and ability levels were radically increasing their ball exit speed in matters of minutes using our movement progressions and the Rebel’s Rack.
Over 55 Rebel’s Racks being shipped!
Over the years, the Rebel’s Rack has changed some.No longer yellow in color, the Rebel’s Rack now has 4 sizes that fit kids as small as 50 lbs up to 250lbs.The ‘wings’ on the Rebel’s Rack are longer now, limiting any pinching that the first iteration of the Rebel’s Rack could cause.More importantly, how we USE the rack has changed, as we’ve learned the nuances of training rotation and preparing to rotate and timing that rotation to a moving ball.At the time, I had no idea how much I’d grow to love training movement and improving rotational range, speed, and power.The first lessons with the Rebel’s Rack, the ‘non-hitting’ lessons, are my most favorite to teach.The foundation of movement quality and speed built there translates into game acceleration, adjustability, speed and power almost immediately for most players.Watching a player find out what ‘FASTEST’ really is inside of their bodies and inside of their turn/swing for the first time and their eye’s light up and the green numbers flash on the Hittrax is what I love most about my job.The Green Bell has been a great culture builder, pushing players to want to come out of their comfort zones to get the applause of those in the building when they ring the bell after a new personal record.
BUT HOW do we as instructors help players, even pros, generate so much more distance and exit velocity so fast?Over the past 5 years, through trial and error, painstaking video analysis, and constant exit velocity and distance monitoring, the team of instructors at Baseball Rebellion have created the Rebel’s Rack Movement Progression. Below, you will see the three (3) main moves we use, and make hitters MASTER before they are allowed to hit (in the cage) again in our program.These foundational moves are practiced over and over, deliberately, with internal cues that the hitter must make on their own before he or she re-earns the right to hit.
Movement One: The Stride (Tempo Based, Slowing the Game Down)
Once any hitter returns for their first ‘lesson’ after the evaluation they don’t even need their bat.We head over to a mirror and the hitter is instructed to stride ‘at the mirror’ as if the mirror were the pitcher.I want the hitter to see themselves move and hear our cues. “The mirror is the best teacher in the building” is often said at BR/SR.Another favorite is, “your eyes are for the mirror, your ears are for me”.The hitter, strides and strides and strides.Over and over.All while watching themselves stride in the mirror and reacting and evolving their movements based on the cues and instructions of the BR Instructor.
Keys to the Stride:
Extremely Slow in the landing
Open front foot/kneecap towards the mirror (pitcher)
Heel to Heel Landing position
No opening or ‘flinching’ of the chest at landing
Head BACK over Back Hip (this is a change from what we taught years ago, as hitting is more than just generating rotational power…you have to be able to hit and lift a moving ball)
Once these keys are achieved, we move on to the Rebel’s Rack Movement Progression to Movement Two.
Movement Two: The Show (Preparing to Turn, Storing Energy)
Now, the hitter has mastered the slow stride (this can be a leg kick, small lift, toe tap, pretty much anything the hitter wants) with an open front leg/kneecap towards the mirror.The hitter’s head is back and he or she is not ‘flinching’ or opening their shoulders at any point in the movement or at landing on the front foot.The hitter has earned the right to progress into the “Show” phase of the Rebel’s Rack Movement Progression.Still in the mirror, facing the mirror as if it were the pitcher, the hitter is instructed to stride exactly as they did before with a few simple, and extremely important changes.As the hitter lands, they are instructed to open their pelvis towards the mirror as they keep their front shoulder closed.Cues we use range from “show your belly button towards the pitcher” to “open your stomach as far as you can while you show the back ‘wing’ of the Rebel’s Rack in the mirror”.Essentially, we are twisting up the body in opposite ways.The lower half is opening, and the upper half, specifically the upper back and back arm, are resisting that opening as hard as they can.This stores energy and prepares the body to TURN as quickly as possible.EVERY SINGLE THING done in “the Show” phase is preparing the body to turn quickly and instantly.Store as much energy as possible and completely wind yourself up as far as you can without losing sight of the pitcher with your back eye.
Keys to the Show:
Open the pelvis from ABOVE the pelvis, using your lower back and stomach muscles.
Soft and slow landing with the front side, no ‘bouncing’ into the ground or ‘stomping’.
Keep your front shoulder totally still or ‘slightly close’ your front side shoulder by pulling back with your upper back and resist the opening/turn/swing with your back arm/upper back.
Movement Three:The Turn
Now the hitter has mastered the MOVEMENTS of slowly striding and slowly storing up as much energy for the turn as possible.It’s time to put that energy to good use!The hitter goes into the “Show” phase of the turn move and lands and stops.From here, we teach the hitter the turn, from a dead standstill.Basically, the turn is three basic movements that happen all at once.
The hitter must SIMULTANEOUSLY pull their back hip forward from above the pelvis (this moves the back foot as well), forcefully straighten their front leg into the ground through the front heel of the front foot, and turn their belly button past the pitcher and back shoulder all the way to centerfield.Usually, there are many different mistakes that happen, and almost ALL of them are caused by the hitter turning too slowly.Remember, the turn must be LEARNED FAST while the preparation to turn must be learned and executed slowly.The faster you turn…the faster you learn!Slowness in the turn causes the hitter’s head to drift forward, the front leg to fail to straighten out, the back foot/hip not moving forward far enough or too far (both can happen) and the shoulders not to turn all the way.Many balance issues arise when the turn is slow…and the hitter MUST be totally committed to the idea of achieving maximum speed in the turn from the beginning to the finish.There is no slowing down…no easing into it…the turn must GO and be done.
Keys to the Turn:
The hitter must turn as fast and completely as possible, there is no ‘almost’ or ‘kinda fast’
The hitter must lock out his front knee completely and hold the finish
The hitter must pull the back foot forward with no dragging of the toe
The hitter must land on the ball of their back foot and not let the heel drop
The hitter’s back knee must be in front of the hitter’s face at the finish of the turn (swingman finish)
The back shoulder must completely replace the front shoulder and be higher than the front shoulder at the finish
If a hitter is willing to spend the time mastering this movement progression with these executable internal cues, then the ‘chaos’ of hitting gets much much easier to deal with.Problems like a change of velocity or break are more easily solved by ‘sinking into’ the front side.Remember, we learned the turn from a dead stop position (Show Position), so now the hitter knows he or she can go fast from there.If a hitter gets fooled, they have a better plan…and it’s built in.Mr. Miyagi did this to Daniel Son by having him Wax on, Wax off and Paint the Fence.These repeatable actions became ingrained in him so when Miyagi attacked Daniel, he knew how to defend the different punches. Likewise, hitter’s posture and turn aggression become what we call ‘unbreakable’. The “unbreakable” posture and turn speed can be practiced daily and once these movements are mastered, they become subconscious and are instantly recalled by the body when needed in games. In minutes, a hitter can do hundreds of turns with the rack without any failure at all! Imagine how efficient your training could be if you took away the stress of hitting? No more frustrated faces from a rollover or a pop up…No more hitting until your hands bleed…no more confusion about WHY you went 0 – 4…you’ll know why you failed…your posture and speed of the turn broke. The less a hitter ‘breaks’ within the game turn, the better he or she will hit. Period.
Training movements away from the cage and then taking them into the cage is common in instruction nowadays. But much of that training and ‘feel work’ doesn’t translate and is just feels for feels sake.We want everything a hitter does to increase their ability to accelerate their turn, time their turn, and find their top speed as fast as they can with their BODY, not with their arms and hands.We even take the Rebel’s Rack into the cages at first, before they hit, so they can time a moving ball with their turn after they time their load with the pitcher’s arm swing or windup.This sequence leads to the fastest improvements we have ever seen on Hittrax, the fastest ‘ah ha’ moments for our clients, the most confidence in our shared process, and the fastest carry over into games.
Writing this article and posting these videos was scary for me.I’ve had many, many people tell me ‘they just don’t understand what you guys do’ when people come at us on social media.Players we’ve helped say, ‘Chas, if they knew how fast you and the guys did it, and how you guys did it, then they’d understand’.For years we have hidden this information from ‘outsiders’.Now, we at Baseball Rebellion and Softball Rebellion are going to bring you behind the curtain and you can try to duplicate our results for yourself.Get some Racks, and learn how to turn.Enjoy the success this will bring you, your team, and or your players.The Rebel’s Rack Movement Progression is a secret no more, now let’s unlock whats inside your body already…the fastest turns you’ve ever experienced!
Chas Pippitt, Leader of the Baseball and Softball Rebellion
Whenever I talk with people about the online baseball/softball lesson program at Baseball Rebellion, it is usually a new concept to them. The first question usually asked is, Why don’t players just take lessons from someone local? Unfortunately the number of baseball/softball instructors who are armed with good information, have good character, and know how to produce consistent results are very limited. If you are lucky enough to be within driving distance of these instructors, I highly encourage you to work with them! For the majority of parents and players who are looking for a proven plan and instructor who will tailor a personalized training progression to the individual client, Baseball Rebellion Online Hitting or Pitching Lessons might be a great fit! Below are 5 reasons that you should strongly consider the online lesson approach to learning.
1. No More Guessing
As someone who took a large number of lessons and gave a few lessons while I was still playing (and had no idea what I was doing), I can tell you that the vast majority of hitting coaches are guessing regarding the problems their players are facing when hitting or pitching. The human eye is too slow to see exactly what is happening in the baseball/softball swing or throw at full speed. This leads to inefficient results and often the player begins practicing things that are detrimental or irrelevant to their swing at best. This doesn’t sound like something most players or parents would want to pay for. With the use technology like slow motion video analysis of clients and professionals, Baseball Rebellion works to systematically understand optimal body movements and train the movements that produce successful results. Baseball Rebellion has shown the impact of these movement changes time and time again via the Hit Trax system that tracks the velocity, Launch Angle, and Distance of every ball hit at the Baseball Rebellion facility. The Baseball Rebellion website has a wealth of FREE material from the hundreds of articles and case studies we have written. These should serve as proof to you of the quality and depth of information you will be getting from the Baseball Rebellion staff. Below are just a few of the case studies from our site:
Case study 1: https://baseballrebellion.com/cpippitt/baseball-rebellion-case-study-online-in-person-effective-either-way/
Case Study 2: https://baseballrebellion.com/gabedimock/baseball-rebellion-case-study-hannah-morris/
Case Study 3: https://baseballrebellion.com/category/br-case-study/
Case Study 4: https://baseballrebellion.com/jkhittingrebel/case-study-more-than-just-a-good-swing/
2. A Clear Plan
While some instructors can identify problems in a swing accurately, it is even more important that they know how to improve the issues they see. This is something that takes a great deal of skill from the instructor because many players with similar mechanical problems will respond differently to various drills/cues that are designed to promote a positive change. Baseball Rebellion makes a clear plan that is tailored to each individual client according to their specific age, needs, and learning style. Below is a template of our training progression that we make for each player:
3. Quick Feedback With Explanations That Are Thorough Yet Simple
Baseball Rebellion’s online hitting instructors have a great turn around time of no more than three business days. This allows for quick and effective communication of feedback, concepts, drills, and next steps for clients. The feedback given is delivered with the appropriate “voice” for each client. Our goal is to give in-depth and thorough feedback but in away that is simple and easy to understand. One of our mottos is that if an Elementary school student can’t understand the feedback, then the feedback needs to change! One of my favorite videos to watch is of one of our 6 year old breaking down the baseball swing. His great explanation is a result of the common and easily understood language used at Baseball Rebellion.
4. Access to Old Videos and Ability to Watch Drills Over and Over Through HUDL Technique
One of the best benefits to online lessons with Baseball Rebellion is that you can watch previous feedback and drills an unlimited number of times through HUDL Technique! While in person lessons are great, the benefit of watching feedback and drills remotely is not generally offered with in person lessons. With Baseball Rebellion’s recent switch to HUDL Technique, you will be using a unbelievably user friendly app that will give you easy access to submitting video. Here is a link to a recent article about HUDL Technique and baseball Rebellion: https://baseballrebellion.com/gabedimock/baseball-rebellion-online-lessons-hudl-technique/
5. Access to the Instructor of Your Choice
Every instructor at Baseball Rebellion has been trained and is certified in the Baseball Rebellion system of teaching. That being said, all instructors have differing strengths and voices that work better with different players. You have access to choose your instructor and change instructors at any time. Some clients choose to periodically switch instructors so that they can hear concepts explained in different ways. This can help clients glean the benefits of the strengths of all the Baseball Rebellion Instructors. All BR instructors are extremely accessible and can be reached through phone and email easily. Below are example lessons from each of the instructors.
For any of you who have been thinking about an alternative to traditional in-person instruction, I hope this has given you a picture and sense for the benefits of online lessons with Baseball Rebellion!
Gabe Dimock – Baseball Rebellion Hitting Instructor
Baseball Rebellion Swing Breakdown: Dylan S.
Dylan S. has been a long time online Baseball Rebellion client who has had ONLY online training with us. Dylan has done an amazing job of learning the biomechanics of his swing and taking the initiative to work incredibly hard in order to make positive swing changes. While there are many parts of his swing that have improved over the years, his body language at the plate has been the largest improvement. When Dylan 1st began in our program, it was clear during each at bat whether Dylan thought he was going to be successful or not. This depended heavily on the quality of pitcher he was facing. Dylan’s confidence and body language has improved immensely in the last year or so. He now looks confident and ready to smash the baseball against any pitcher regardless of their ability. Dylan is a great example of how the Baseball Rebellion Online Program can produce great results! If you are interested in signing up for online lessons click here.
Thank you for reading and watching!
Gabe Dimock – Baseball Rebellion Hitting Instructor
In this week’s breakdown, I’m going to be looking at high school senior Spencer Smith. Spencer is a long-time client of Baseball Rebellion and is number 151 on Baseball Americas top 200 prospects for 2017. In his senior season, Spencer hit .414 with 7 home runs, 25 RBIs, and 10 doubles. He ends his 4-year career at Northern Durham high school with a .459 batting average to go along with 23 home runs and 100 RBIs. The clip I’m going to look at is from this year’s Power Showcase in Miami, Florida at the home field of the Miami Marlins. The Power Showcase is a homerun derby type event featuring the nations top high school power hitters from each state. The swing in particular that is going to be dissected is one that produced an estimated 487 foot blast. Good luck to Spencer whether he fulfills his commitment to ECU or decides to sign a professional contract after this years draft. Either way, a very exciting player to watch with serious power!
Baseball Rebellion Swing Breakdown:
Eric Thames is the early favorite for comeback story of the year in 2017. After struggling in his initial stint in the MLB with the Toronto Blue Jays (2011-2012), Eric Thames found success playing in Korea. He hit 37, 47, and 40 home runs in his three years there, earning him a second MLB opportunity with the Milwaukee Brewers. He has started the 2017 MLB season off with a bang, already having hit 8 home runs and 6 doubles. Watch the swing breakdown above to see how Thames changed his swing from 2012 to 2017. If you would like help with your swing, click here to check out our online lesson page! Thank you for reading and watching.
Gabe Dimock – Baseball Rebellion Hitting Instructor
Baseball Rebellion Swing Breakdown:
Hey Guys! In this weeks breakdown I’m going to take a look at Marcell Ozunas swing. Ozuna is an outfielder for the Miami Marlins. He was an all star last year. He hit .266 with 23 homeruns and is off to another hot start this year. I wanted to do Ozuna because I feel his movement efficiency is very high. In this video, you won’t see a gigantic barrel tip or leg kick. Ozuna is more of a reserved movement guy who does a great job of loading his swing up until he’s unloading. Very important concept to understand. I hope you guys enjoy this breakdown!
Baseball Rebellion Swing Breakdown:
High school draft prospect Jordon Adell is looking to keep up his draft status with a big senior year. He for sure passes the eye ball test with his athleticism and body frame. In these particular swings, I really enjoyed watching just about all of it. His pattern is very high level with power and ease. Jordon’s lower half is great and honestly I don’t see me much to improve on.
I really like the simplicity in his load. Not a bit of flash with high leg kicks and barrel tips but power is still very much there. I do think he could maximize his “stretch” by having a slightly more aggressive back elbow move but what he does still isn’t bad. He gets uphill with a great tilt and turn with his shoulders allowing a very efficient barrel path up through the ball. You will really be able to see this from the back view that most people don’t get to see a lot. Hope you all enjoy!