Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Symptoms vs. Problems.


When you get a cough, the cough isn't the problem. Your virus is the problem.

Many hitters diagnose their own swing problems incorrectly.For example, they believe their inability to stay through the baseball is a problem with their hands rolling over too soon.

What truly happened was that their center of gravity was too high or too far forward, disallowing them from retaining separation between their load and their stride, causing them to have less bat speed and their contact point to be too far forward. Then the hands rolled over.


                                                                                    (photo credit: dailyclimate.org)


There are many other examples. You all have heard the genius coaching tag line, "keep your head on the ball."

To the human eye, processing 30 frames per second, the collegiate or pro hitter appeared to yank his head pull-side in a desperate and futile effort to pull the baseball. What actually happens, when you analyze these swings with post-1980 technology, is that the hitter got beat. His body's natural reaction to making contact with the ball down the barrel, nearer the handle, was to evacuate the zone. Had he continued through with a normal swing path, his fingers would have felt as if they had been individually pulled from his hands, ringing with a sharp pain we all can remember.

Simply, when hitters feel mid-swing that they are beat, they pull every part of their body out of the zone in an attempt to salvage their hands, and perhaps, advance the ball more firmly than should they have continued on with natural extension.

Those are mechanical symptoms.

Even more challenging to evaluate, without proper communication with a hitter, are approach problems. Often these are misdiagnosed by the resident hitting guru as bad mechanics, or worse yet, the coach says the hitter "just doesn't know how to hit."

The student is often not the problem. Someone once said, "there are no such things as incapable students, only teachers who cannot properly communicate or adjust."

When a hitter is looking for an oppo FB and swings at a FB middle in, it looks like he has all sorts of swing flaws! His approach might have been good. But his commitment to his approach was the problem. His bad mechanics were a result, a symptom of the problem.

Many times, the mechanical problems begin with problems in the lower half. What should you look for? Start here:

1.) Center of gravity (high, low). High COG creates uncontrollable movement forward. The hitter isn't in control, gravity is. Timing is inconsistent. High COG creates more problems than a bull in a China shop. High COG is the most common mechanical problem I see in amateur hitters.

2.) Separation between stride and load. If their is no stretch in the bottom arm, there is no space to accelerate. Sure, you've got great barrel control, but with zero bat speed. Congrats on sucking.

3.) Hand path. Hitting coaches are notorious for talking about hitting with the hands, staying inside the baseball, etc. The reality is, if you create your bat speed by pushing your hands (linear hand path), you will be a low ball hitter, struggle with velocity IN and/or UP, and make most of your outs pull side on the ground and oppo in the air. You will lack your max ability bat speed, and will have to commit earlier than hitters who have elite swings.

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