Drill 8: Top Hand – Bottom Hand Drill

Wednesday, May. 1st 2013

This lesson shows how to use the top hand and bottom hand isolation drills to enforce correct swing mechanics.   Notice the several checkpoints during the video where you can check to see if the hitters alignment is correct.  Watch the video.


The Cheat Method – Setting Up For Tee Work

Friday, Apr. 12th 2013

When doing tee work, you should be working all three pitch locations.  Here’s the “cheat method” for setting up proper body and tee location for working the inner third, middle third and outer third of the plate.  Watch how it’s done.


Drill 7: Double Tee Command Drill

Friday, Apr. 12th 2013

This is the most realistic thing you can do with a tee to simulate real hitting.   This drill requires 2 people…the hitter and a partner.  Many hitters can hit well off the tee but then struggle at the plate.  A big reason for that is that off the tee, they know where the ball is and where it’s going to be before they swing.  When the pitch location varies, they may struggle.  Watch and learn how to implement the Double Tee Command Drill.


Drill 6: Double Tee Competition Drill

Friday, Apr. 12th 2013

This drill is another fun and effective way to enforce proper swing mechanics.  Make sure to refer to the “cheat method” video to learn how to properly set up for this drill.    Kids love this one.  Watch the video.


Drill 5: Hold Your Finish Drill

Friday, Apr. 12th 2013

This drill will work for any age player…including tee ball players.  This drill is another great opportunity for both player and coach to both learn and diagnose swing mechanics.  By holding the finish we can assess:

  • are you on balance
  • head in between feet
  • weight on the balls of your feet
  • good posture angle

Watch the video.


Drill 2: Side Toss and Front Toss Drills

Friday, Apr. 12th 2013

This is a great drill for players ages 6 and up.   Side toss and front toss with the Insider Bat helps to give the hitter lots of reps without getting fatigued.  You can also target specific pitch locations working inner third, middle third and outer third of the plate.  Watch how it’s done.


Drill 1: Stop At Contact Drill

Friday, Apr. 12th 2013

This is the first drill that we recommend when a hitter starts working with Insider Bat.   This drill will help the player to understand what it feels like to get in to a proper hitting position.  This also provides an excellent diagnostic opportunity for the player and/or coach.  Key checkpoints at contact are:

  1. Palm/up – palm/down
  2. Power L in back arm
  3. Top hand and shoulder
  4. Slight flex in front arm
  5. Back knee to ball (power L)
  6. Firm front side

Watch the video and see how it’s done.


Swing Flaw 1: Barring Out

Friday, Apr. 12th 2013

Barring out is a big problem for hitters.   This is typically caused by two improper actions:

  1. They force their hands too far back when they load
  2. The hitter starts the swing with their front shoulder

When the front arm locks out, the hitter will have major problems at the plate.  Watch the video.


Swing Flaw 2: Casting

Friday, Apr. 12th 2013

This swing flaw is arguably the most common…especially in younger hitters.  It’s called “casting”.  Casting is when the bat works away from the shoulder early.  This causes the hitter to have a longer, slower swing and to lose power.   It will also cause the hitter to have difficulty handling the inside pitch.  The Insider Bat is an excellent tool for fixing this common swing flaw.  Watch the video.


Swing Flaw 3: Cutting

Friday, Apr. 12th 2013

A less common swing flaw is known as “cutting”.  This is when a hitter gets to the contact position properly but then let’s the wrists roll into a weak position.  The Insider Bat enforces proper “palm-up….palm-down” form at contact.   This is critical for being able to hit consistently with power.  Watch the video.


Swing Flaw 4: Dropping Hands

Friday, Apr. 12th 2013

This video discusses a commonly debated topic about swing path.  A common swing flaw is a hitting dropping their hands.  This puts the bat in a poor position.  The result is along, flat swing…making it difficult to handle pitches….particularly in the middle to up in the strike zone.  Watch the video.


Swing Flaw 5: Scooping

Friday, Apr. 12th 2013

A common swing flaw seen at the youth levels an all the way through the high school level is “scooping”.  The means that the hitter has a “lazy barrel” and they let their bat head drop early and it gets below the baseball.  The causes them to get under the ball and makes it difficult to drive the ball.  The results of this flaw is a lot of pop ups and roll overs.   The Insider Bat provides automatic feedback for fixing this swing flaw.  Watch the video.


Drill 3: Target Practice Hitting Drill

Friday, Apr. 12th 2013

The Target Practice drill is an excellent and FUN way to develop properly swing mechanics and develop bat control.  This drill can be used with any pitch location depending on how you set the target up.  If you don’t have something to use as a target…you can use another tee.   Watch and see how it’s done.


Drill 4: Tee Drill – Prevent the (Upper Cut)

Friday, Apr. 12th 2013

One of the most common swing problems, especially in younger hitters, is scooping or getting the bat head below the plane of the ball.  This results in the dreaded “upper cut”.  A great drill to prevent this that the Insider Bat is very effective for is the two-tee drill.


InsiderBat – Attack Mode!

Friday, Apr. 12th 2013

Here’s a cool video montage showing the Insider Bat in action.  Get ready to get in Attack Mode!


Swing Flaw 6: Wrist Rollover

Friday, Apr. 12th 2013

In this lesson you will learn about the proper grip for holding a baseball bat and the impact of an improper grip.  One of the major swing flaws that can result from a poor grip is the wrist rollover.  It is important to understand how the hands work in the baseball swing.  Watch to see.


Insider Bat – Unique Features

Thursday, Apr. 11th 2013

Watch Trent Mongero, head baseball coach for over 20 years and a former professional player, demonstrate the unique features of the Insider Bat and how those features promotes correct swing mechanics and can help to diagnose and prevent common swing problems.


Babe Ruth towel drill

Friday, Feb. 15th 2013

Have you ever heard of the Babe Ruth towel drill? I know I never have, and I am not sure if I think it is actually good for hitters either. I recently read about the Babe Ruth towel drill on eFastball.com, and while the drill seems like it could be effective, the site say the drill is only meant for certain types of swings. The most interesting part about the drill is about how it exists today. The story goes, Ruth told his pinch runner, Sam Byrd, who was used more often than not latter on in Ruth’s career, and then Byrd taught the drill to legendary golfer Ben Hogan. If this many influential athletes have used the drill, there must be something to it.

The drill has all of the characteristics to make it a great drill. It’s simple, easy, and inexpensive. Take a towel and place in under the armpit that is closest to the pitcher while you are in your batting stance. Next, take some swings during batting practice and try and keep the towel underneath your armpit. The common critique against this drill is that it can promote bar-arm, and if that is the case for you, it might be best to lay off the drill. More than anything, the drill is supposed to extenuate the punching effect of the back hand of your stance, as the barrel of the bat meets the ball. I would evoke our readers to respond to this post and let me know the effects the drill has had on their young hitters swing.


Total Control Ball: Baseball Revolution or Fraud?

Thursday, Feb. 14th 2013

Today, I found a hitting product that I am fascinated with, however I am not sure if I like it or love it. The product with which I have made reference to is the Total Control Ball. There was not much information on what service the product actually performed, and after I saw the lofty price tag of around $12 a ball and $60 for a six-pack of balls, I had to know what capabilities the spherical yellow object performed.

First, what is the Total Control Ball? The TCB, as I will refer to it from now on, is made from “a highly absorbant energy material” which may be used on tee drills and soft/front/short toss drills to, as their website states, “develop strength and extension through the hitting zone and provide instant feedback to the hitter.” The TCB comes in three different forms: a whiffle ball style, a larger ball for softball, and a smaller ball for baseball.

Although it took more effort than I feel like was needed to divulge the actual function of the ball—no website adequately described what the ball was for—the TCB, unless hit in the perfect spot on the ball, either falls straight up in the air or straight to the ground, because of the malleable material it is made out of. However, I am skeptical that the product can provide results that are equitable to is lofty price tag. $12 for a ball and $60 for a six-pack is a lot of money, and these figures are on the low end of what I found to be the common sum for the product. I also found very little feedback from customers. The only explanations of the product, or comments on the functionality of the product, came from websites that featured the product for sale. The ball seems to be a glorified bouncy ball, that you can find in the toy bin at Toys R’ Us, slapped with a huge mark up. Our readers can tell me if I’m wrong. If nothing else, TCB.com did provide me with the enjoyment of a video that showcases their product to a soundtrack that sounds like it was taken out of a Michael Bay movie. Do watch it, and enjoy.


Keep your hitter in the batter box and off the bench.

Wednesday, Feb. 13th 2013

Injuries are a part of every sport, especially baseball. But, as a parent of a young baseball player, it is difficult to know when to push your child and when to say enough is enough, you’re too hurt to play. In order to tell the difference between an injury that is merely superficial, and one that could be detrimental to the long-term health of our son or daughter, we must become educated. Safety should be the most important part of any athletic activity, and I personally will make a conscious effort to make our readers aware of the ways in which they can make the game safer for their children in future posts.

To start my public awareness push for increased safety in baseball, I would like to point to BaseballThinkTank.com’s Injury Prevention 101 guide. The guide provides information about common and not so common baseball injuries: tendonitis, elbow pain, shoulder stiffness, and ankle injuries. While the articles are informative through the overall quality of information presented, the value of the written text is extenuated through the use of video tutorials about how to care for your young child, if and when the injury bug strikes them. The website also give preventative measures for how to take care of your child’s body, and looks to keep players in the batters box and off the bench. These exercises may be tedious and less fun than other baseball activities, but they are important and can increase the longevity and productivity of your young baseball player’s career. Today’s game has been revolutionized through the use of advanced stats, but all indications have pointed to baseball’s new frontier being improved by the use of science and injury prevention techniques. For the sake of your child, take advantage of the new ways in which you can keep them healthy, and look toward revolutionary remedies to fix age-old problems.


School comes before baseball

Tuesday, Feb. 12th 2013

We could go very in depth and talk about the next two pieces of information that I am about to present to you all day. However, I merely wanted to show these statistics to the parents of our young readers, for the next time their children say their more interested in baseball than school.

The probability of playing college baseball, for a high school senior, is extremely slim. And, even if your high school senior has the ability to play college baseball, and wants to go to school where he has a scholarship and a chance to play, as opposed to a school that he can go to with a better academic reputation but not play baseball, show him these statistics and this graph. The statistics and graphs were found on HSBaseballweb.com:

Screen shot 2013-02-12 at 11.04.43 AM 

While the odds to play college and professional baseball are extremely slim, many players may still be motivated to dismiss this information and say “I’m going to be that small percent to play pro/college ball.” However, lets look at another factor that many people are unaware of when it comes to professional or competitive baseball: birthdate. I recently heard about this phenomenon in Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers: the seceret to success.

Screen shot 2013-02-12 at 11.27.18 AM

The reason for the slanted amount of professional baseball players born in August are because of the July 31st age-cutoff imposed by youth baseball organizations. As a result, the oldest players are the ones that happen to be born in August. A player born on August 1st has twelve full months of development more than a player born on July 31st, in the same league. As a result, the player born on August 1st will, on average, be bigger, stronger, and more coordinated than the player born on July 31st. The player that is born on August 1st will look better against his peers and make traveling all star teams where he will play against better talent, play in more games over the coarse of the summer, get more practice, and get better coaching. Tell your kids that if they are born in July, and not on August 7th like Mike Trout, that it might be a good idea to put school first.


‘Let it get deep’: Hitting the Outside Pitch

Monday, Feb. 11th 2013

Hitting to the opposite field is one of the most important qualities a young hitter can have, but few hitters know how to effectively handle outside pitches. Most hitters never learn to hit the other way, and, as a result, their careers are short lived. When I pitched in high school, my approach as a pitcher was to hammer the outside corner. At the high school level, surprisingly only fifteen percent of hitters can handle that pitch; Pitchers that read this article may want to take note of that. But, it’s true. Hitters cannot handle the outside corner of the plate, and end up rolling over pitches and hitting week ground balls to the infield.

 

SwingSmarter.com summarizes how to effectively handle an outside pitch:

  • Let the ball get deep into the strike zone; You have more time to hit an outside pitch than an inside pitch. Think about it.
  • When you hit an outside pitch, focus on swinging through the baseball. As they say, imagine that you make contact at the baseball and your swing continues three baseballs through the original contact point.
  • SwingSmarter.com also gives a piece of advice about hitting the outside pitch I have not heard before, but like a lot. Think about taking your back knee through the center of the three centers of off centered baseballs that you are trying to follow through on. It may feel like you are taking a half-swing, but you are really taking the energy generated by your hips and channeling it in a direction you are not used to. This will enable you to hit for greater contact and power.

High school baseball tryout advice

Friday, Feb. 8th 2013

Because we focused on how to prepare for tryouts for youth hitters yesterday, we will focus on how to make a team for high school hitters today. HS Baseball Web is a great forum and place to find articles about the current status of high school baseball around the country. Today, I found an article, more of a checklist really, for high school players about how to make their high school team.

Although the article is quite long, high school players will be able to find an abundance of quality advice in its recommendations, and even though the article is directed at players that want to make their high school team, the checklist serves more as a guide for players to improve their game as whole beyond try outs. I will let our readers go through the link to read the entire checklist, but there is one recommendation that caught my eye on the list. Number ten: “Keep a daily diary of what you do at practice and keep notes of your observations. This will help you see the progress you have made.” Not only will this help you keep track of the progress you have made on the field, it will also help you become more of a student of the game. The best players are the smart players, and even though improvement to your technique and talent may go through its own peeks and valleys regardless of your determination, your knowledge of the game is completely indicative of your effort.


The Importance of the Stride: Continued

Thursday, Feb. 7th 2013

Screen shot 2013-02-07 at 10.21.47 AM

Although the stride in a swing can lead to multiple problems that will counteract the productivity of your swing, the stride is essential in the generating power as a hitter. Many coaches have attempted to take the stride out of swings, and with the old BESR bat, which had a crazy amount of pop, that was ok. With the new BBCOR bats, however, hitters need to generate all the power and energy in their swings that they possibly can. No longer can hitters rely on their bat to generate their power, as a result, the stride is now more important than ever.

I have been a constant advocate for big, but controlled strides, and this is consequently why I am so interested in ISO Baseball’s Stride Trainer. Coaches look to eliminate the stride from young and older hitters swings because of the bad habits that it can create: over striding, stepping in the bucket, opening up immediately with the front toe, or a combination of these flaws. Whatever the case may be, the sooner that you can train yourself as a hitter to have a correct well balanced stride, the sooner you will be able to excel as a hitter. ISO baseball’s stride trainer encourages good form in the stride, through assistance and a limited amount of resistance, while it teaches hitters that the key to a good stride resides in the weight that they place on their back leg. Any use of bad techniques while hitters have the trainer on will result in an imbalance that will make it impossible for the hitter to hit; only the correct form will allow the hitter to take a swing.


Baseball tryout advice for younger hitters

Wednesday, Feb. 6th 2013

Today’s blog may be more appropriate for our youth hitters, but it can also be applied to our first year high school hitters. This time of the year, for our young baseball players, means tryouts. There may be a sense of apprehension, nervousness, and butterflies when you go to your team’s tryouts, but our blog today will look to help relieve your anxieties. SKLZ.com’s most recent article is entitled How to Evaluate Players During Tryouts. While the article is generally meant for coaches, it can also serve a purpose for players, and give them an inside edge to see what coaches look at the most in these periods of evaluation.

The article tells coaches to look at four aspects of a player’s game: hitting, fielding, athletic potential, and intangibles. Hitting: don’t abandon your mechanics and swing at bad pitches to show coaches your contact or power potential. They will be able to recognize if you didn’t get a good pitch to hit. Remember, plate discipline is a valuable tool. Fielding: show positive body language, always pay attention to what is happening on the field, don’t be lazy at getting to ground balls/fly balls, and always use two hands. Athletic potential: this is something that you either have or you don’t, but you need to be able to show off whatever athletic potential you do have. Dive after fly balls/ground balls. Sprint out to your position. And if you get walked, sprint to first base. It may be the only chance you get to show off your speed. Intangibles: just show that you love to play baseball.

Most importantly, when it comes to any aspect of your game or the categories listed above, show confidence and have a good attitude. Yogi Berra always used to say, “ninety percent of the game is half mental.” If you can show the confidence, and believe you can make the play, odds are the coaches will see your attitude, and reward it. Coaches don’t want some kid with a bad attitude that they will have to pacify through the long summer months. They want kids with upbeat attitudes that want to win baseball games, and are coachable enough to fix whatever flaws in their game they may have.