Daily Archives: February 19, 2007
This is a companion piece to my previous post. The longer you hang around this game, the more you’ll learn all the “helpful” cliches. One of these is “keep your head in” or the negative version “you’re pulling your head out.” Generally speaking it’s true, but the statement ignores the root cause.
The head pulls out because the body stands straight up and the front shoulder pulls out. But no one ever tells hitters to keep their front shoulders in. If they keep their weight in and let the front shoulder get knocked out by the back shoulder on the swing, the head will stay in where it belongs. And the hitter will be able to see the ball just fine, because the eyes will be closer to the ball, instead of moving away from it.
Had a chance to work with a couple of girls today on their hitting. It was two sisters, one of whom will be playing for me for the first time this summer. She played on my daughter’s HS team last season so I’ve been wanting to work with her anyway. Today serendipity prevailed — she was coming in as I was walking out of Grand Slam after teaching some pitching clinics. I watched her bat a round in the cage, then called her over.
I saw her doing what I see a lot of hitters do — swinging from the heels. She started from a good stance. But after that it was all hands. Her feet were locked in place as though Guido and the boys had cast them in concrete before throwing her in the river. This, in turn, caused a host of other problems. Her first move was also a problem — she’d drop her hands straight down, putting her in a weak position.
Being a natural busybody and serial coach, I called her over and asked if she’d like some help. She said yes, and so we went off to the side to get to work. I had her work on starting her hips rotating before moving her hands, and leading the hips before the upper body. We worked on keeping the hands tied to the back shoulder at the start of the swing, and keeping the bat on an angle instead of dropping it down parallel to the ground. Finally, we worked on trying to keep her weight/balance in toward the plate instead of winding up falling away from it.
It was just one impromptu “lesson” but it seemed to help. She started making more contact, and hitting through the ball better. Of course, now the key will be if she keeps it going. I hope she does, because it will help our offense in the summer as well as helping her individually.
Incidentally, her sister was doing many of the same things so I worked with her while I was there as well. Her sister seemed to get it as well. She’s playing travel ball for the first time this summer too, with our 14U team, so hopefully she’ll stick with it as well.
It’s amazing what you can do with a half hour and a willing student.