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How to play and make baseball adjustments quicker

It’s an accepted ideology that being an effective baseball player comes down to making adjustments. Whether they be physical, mental, or emotional ones. A player will do well to understand this fact, learn what they can from it, and apply what they have learned as soon a possible, before it’s too late. The need to make an adjustment comes down to facing a problem or obstacle. For example, the problem may be that you are having trouble hitting the off-speed pitch. You may be experiencing hitting higher velocities as a challenging obstacle.
You can either find a way to push through this problem, or find a way around it. Either way doing so will cause you to make an adjustment. The important part to realize is that as a person we have to experience some sort of transformation before we can make an adjustment or find a solution to this problem.
“Problems can’t be solved at the same level of awareness that created them.” -Albert Einstein.
Making the adjustment really comes down to two things.

Focus and Expectations

Focus

What you focus on expands. If you find yourself in pain from a cut and I hit your toe with a hammer, you will probably forget all about the pain from the cut and have more focus on the toe right?

When trying to make an adjustment it’s the same. The problem is a player’s focus is on something that will not help them in making an adjustment. For instance, if a hitter has just struck out and his focus is on his batting average, or on what the scouts may be writing in their reports, his focus is entirely in the wrong place, and he probably won’t be making any productive adjustments at this point.

On the other hand, after striking out, his focus is on what he did wrong, what he could of done differently, majority of the time, his instincts will take over and his intuition will tell him what he needs to do to be successful in his next at-bat.

That’s true focus.

Expectations

With great expectations comes great disappointment. Don’t get me wrong, having great expectations for yourself is fantastic, but the game of baseball owes you absolutely nothing, and if you think just because you spent an extra couple of hours in the batting cage last week, you should be hitting .380, or since there are scouts in the stands that have come here just to see “little ol you” play- that you should be lighting up that radar gun, or making web gems.

Sorry, if you have played this game for more than one season, you know that nothing is for certain, and baseball will do whatever it can to knock you down, to see how you will react.

Do yourself a favor and throw away all your expectations, and just except the fact that nothing is written in stone. The moment you do this, the more empowered you will be. Trust me. Having this as part of your daily approach to baseball will allow you to play each game as your last. You will have the focus and discipline to play each game, pitch by pitch, inning by inning. This is how the big boys do it. The best players play each game like it’s opening day. Not worried about numbers, or their performance.

They’re in the moment.

So to will you be………

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Hitter’s check list: Tips on hitting

Believe me I am the biggest advocate of keeping things simple as a baseball player. Especially when playing, the only thing that I feel a hitter should ever focus on is the present situation, his approach, and staying internally balanced.

That’s it!

Throw whatever you have learned out the window, and let it fly. The whole point of practicing is to ultimately forget what you have learned so that certain concepts can come naturally.

Practice allows you to make “success” a habit.

With that being said, for those of you who are baseball parents or players that have established daily hitting drills, I just wanted to makes sure you are using certain hitting mechanics that are actually helping you so you can avoid practicing bad habits.

Simple enough.

Here is a check list

Stance

Balanced- Before you are in your swing, If someone attempted to nudge you would you lose your balance. If so, you aren’t balanced.

Knees are slightly inside the feet- This is a result of being in an athletic position. A hitter with his feet pointed straight is fine but may be subject to not being able to incorporate the full potential of the lower-half.

Toes pointed in= athletic

Pointed out= non-athletic.

Sorry…just my opinion.

Head above the center of gravity-Without your core, you can’t do anything physical. You incorporate your mid-section in almost every mundane activity. Hitting is no different. If your head isn’t directly above your core during your pre-swing and especially during the swing, then your not using your center of gravity, and therefore your not exploding through the ball like you can.
Imagine swinging while bent over from the hips. It’s not very easy-nor is it comfortable. Make sure your head is directly above your center of gravity.

Both eyes should be facing the pitcher- This is more important for some than others, mostly depending on which dominant eye a hitter is as well as whether he is a left or right-handed hitter. The point of making sure both eyes are on the pitcher is to promote seeing the ball as well as possible. A lot of times a hitter’s eye’s are registering only a portion of the visual information because his eyes aren’t in the right place. Take a look at any object to your side then turn your head so that you are facing it and compare the difference. Does you vision improve with both eyes locked on the object to your side?

Pre-swing movements  

Slight Weight shift or cock of the hips- As the swing starts there needs to be some sort of movement before a hitter attempts to generate bat speed. Some are an advocate of a simple cocking of the hips to get the swing going while others feel it’s better to get some weight moving backwards on the back leg before shifting the weight momentum and power to the front. My theory is that both are fine as long as

  •  you are using your hips to pull your hands trough the zone.
  •  you are shifting your weight back to center and not lunging forward.
  •  your head stays still so that you can pick up the pitch as early as possible.

Separation- This is an important part of the swing because its what allows for you to transfer the power from your core. Your core pulls your hands through the zone so they need to have some distance from the body to make this happen.

Foot down in time and is stable-  This concept probably is the most difficult to understand especially for younger players. Hitting higher velocities requires rhythm and getting the foot down in time is the “required step” to being on time on fast-balls. If your a hitter that is having trouble hitting the fast-ball try post-striding. Having the lead foot firm upon rotation is critical for being able to hit against this leg for leverage.

Swing

Correct Bat path- A lot of debate has been exercised about this topic. What is the correct bat path. Short answer. The path that keeps the head of the ball on the path of the pitch for as long as possible. You don’t swing across the hitting zone. You hit through it.

Little head movement-  The less the head moves, the better you will see the ball.

Short stride- The shorter the stride the less the head will move.

Firm foundation-squish the bug or heel to toe- I’m not to concerned with what happens with the back foot at the point of contact. Just as long as the hitter is balanced. Wether or not he is on the ball of his foot or on the tip of his toe is purely inconsequential to me.

Hand are inside the baseball-  Every hitter that has ever made it to the MLB has mastered the ability to hit the inner half of the ball. Even aggressive power-hitters hit the inner half of balls they pull for home-runs

Post Swing

Balanced- If some one can tip you over with a soft “shove” after your follow through….you’re not balanced.

 

Get balanced!!!!

Good luck!!

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The truth about long toss (IMO)!

Does long toss hurt you? Hmmm.

What is the right pitching philosophy?

Recently I have been doing a lot of research looking for the answer to how baseball players, turn into physically elite ones. I have come to the conclusion, that the underlying principle is a mental/emotional one.

Discussing pitching philosophy is a lot like discussing religion. While debating about why one philosophy is superior to the other, I think the truth of why anyone picked up a baseball in the first place is being overlooked.

Let me ask you this. Did you pick up a baseball to be right? To feel validated? To win an argument?

Chances are, no.

You picked it up because it gave you a sense of meaning. Even as a child, you understood that being on the field was almost as important as being alive. I never worried about wether or not I was using the right mechanics or not. I simply listened to my body.

So we have now come to a point where, at the advent of the online world, where publishing content on baseball technique has made it’s way into the tradition of “The school of baseball”. I feel that we are distracted with appearances about how a true baseball player looks and what he does to be successful.

For example

Should a baseball player do long-toss? Does that induce injury?

We have plenty of “experts” that have done their research and have come up with their respective philosophies. Most of the time contradicting the person before them. As well as after. “Experts” like Paul Reddick, Dick Mills, Jaeger, Brent Pourciau, Dr.Mike Marshall, all have certain philosophies that I feel like can truly help a player, but only to a certain extent.

Things get complicated because their so called evidence is sometimes based on interpretations, and let’s be honest, most people are biased and are governed my incentives.

So here is my take on the theories of long toss.

Do what feels right. Eventually, as a baseball player, one of the greatest tools you will ever develop is your intuition. Why? Because this intuition will help you make the correct adjustments within an at-bat, inning, game, season, and career. If you haven’t learned by now, making adjustments is everything.

So when I look at long-toss and hear others opinions, there is a lot that I agree with on both sides of the spectrum.

Pitching exerts like Jaeger, who have done a fantastic job with integrating eastern teachings with western baseball is so inspiring to see. He is a long-toss enforcer with philosophies that highly contradict someone like Brent Pourciau or Dick Mills who believe that long-toss actually increases pitching injuries and lowers pitching velocity and arm strength.

When I look at these players in the Big Leagues, I find that very few of them really give credit to some pitching or hitting guru, and the ones that have are (seemingly) coincidently injured or simply average players. What I’m saying is that the ultimate source of were 99.999% of their success comes from are from an internal place. They may point to somewhere in their head. Maybe the chest….or the sky.

So yes I feel that wether or not long toss is god or bad for you is completely inconsequential.

Yea I know that the point of long-toss is to strengthen and lengthen the muscles to develop arm strength. It is a form of strengthening and condition, not a simulation of pitching motion.

Mmmhmm… I know that long-toss is a violent form of throwing and has the potential to cause injury. But so does anything else related to the physical aspect to baseball.

You may disagree, but you could have the best pitching program in the world, but if you haven’t developed the ability to positively envision the type of player you aspire to be, the results will never come. thoughts are everything. Sure there are exceptions. The players who don’t have to work nearly as hard to develop arm strength may not need the mental/emotional and maybe spiritual skills that an average player like me needed. Increasing velocity for them may just be a matter of time, but how about the ones that are willing to sacrifice everything to play this game at the highest level?

If and when they make it do you think they will thank some pitching program that saved their career? If baseball is a beautiful as i think it is, I would say no. They will say it was because of their faith. Their determination to dedicate themselves to an idea and apply it to the development of themselves as a baseball player, and that my friends….is something that no pitching program, instructor or guru could ever give you.

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Where does baseball talent come from?



Ask not what your talent can do for you but what you can do for your talent. When I think about talent and how important it is to have, I remember something that an old coach of mine once said about skills. ” Take a look at a kid’s talent and then go over to a tree. Shake it and out will fall a dozen just like him”. The reason why I love this game is because though it may bless those with talent, to be a truly gifted player, you need something that is beyond talent. If I had to give it a word to describe it I would use the word, DESIRE. Talent will only take you so far. The question will always be how far will you take your talent?

-Art of Baseball Productions

Desire is more powerful than any list of baseball tips or hitting drills.