• It’s A Stick & A Tube

    Posted by on March 10th, 2013 · Comments (14)

    I saw a commercial for this one when my kids were watching one of their channels.  (I think it was Disney.)

    I understand the concept that a dugout or weighted bat could lead to some bad habits.  But, I’m not sure this is the answer either…

    Comments on It’s A Stick & A Tube

    1. jay
      March 11th, 2013 | 8:46 am

      Steve,

      I thought you were going with Chris O’Leary?

      This is a bad tool. Good hitters don’t rotate only partially and then start moving their hands forward and hitting the ball by flicking their wrists. In fact, that’s exactly what Derek Jeter does when he’s pounding groundballs into the dirt 12 times per week. If your the toes on your sons back foot don’t come off the ground, he isn’t rotating his hips enough. There’s no push off of that back foot (no “squishing the bug”), it’s a hip rotation that points your belly button to the pitcher.

      The best drill for your son is what O’Leary calls the George Brett drill. Pull up as many videos as Brett as you can. Have your son put the bat on the outside of his back shoulder, and make him hit off of a tee without letting the bat leave the shoulder. Hips and legs drive the trunk shoulders, and the arms never become disconnected from the rotation of the trunk and shoulders.

      The last piece you’d then need to add is that when he shifts his weight forward during that rotation, he should be loading his hands back simultaneously. If you watch some of the Ken Burns baseball videos from the 1940s and 1950s (forget which “inning” those are) you can see all of those players doing that “shift and load” movement because of the old camera angles behind and to the side of the batters box. That “shift and load” movement is akin to a negative movement in a vertical jump (you squat down to go up.) You can think of it like you’re stretching a spring and then letting it release.

      Good luck!

    2. March 11th, 2013 | 9:21 am

      jay wrote:

      I thought you were going with Chris O’Leary?

      I opted not, in the end. Not sure why? Cannot remember. It was either too pricey or I thought my son would not like the videos. Can’t remember which, if either? But, fear not, I am not even considering this tool. I thought it was a joke when I saw it.

    3. March 11th, 2013 | 9:23 am

      jay wrote:

      The best drill for your son is what O’Leary calls the George Brett drill. Pull up as many videos as Brett as you can. Have your son put the bat on the outside of his back shoulder, and make him hit off of a tee without letting the bat leave the shoulder. Hips and legs drive the trunk shoulders, and the arms never become disconnected from the rotation of the trunk and shoulders.

      Sort of like this, no?

      http://learnbaseballhitting.com/baseball-training/

    4. jay
      March 11th, 2013 | 9:35 am

      @ Steve L.:

      Not really – this is another guy who doesn’t know what he’s talking about.

      Check out a swing we are all familiar with:

      http://swingtraining.net/mechanics/robinson-cano-home-run-drill/

      See how Cano’s hips are completely open, yet the bat is still on his shoulder? He hasn’t made contact yet (he’s just about to.) That bat is being driven completely by Cano’s lower half. His arms are just making sure the bat is in the right spot as his body whips the bat around.

      Also, a nit picks on one of the points in this video:

      He says “hands above the ball, bat above the hands, swing down on the ball.” Does that really make sense? Is that what you see Robinson Cano doing? Think of your swing like a doughnut (not the bat weight kind, the eating kind.) You’re at the middle (in the hole) and your swing is the actual doughnut. You want that circular plane to be as coplanar with the plane of the pitch. That way, if you’re a little early or a little late, your bat is still in plane and you’ll make contact. If you swing on a plane that only intersects with the plane of the pitch, you have 1 point (the intersection of the two planes) on which to make contact. If you swing down like this guys wants you to do, you’ll only hit the ball at that one spot. You’ve probably seen these players – they have great looking swings, sometimes mash in the cages, and either K, pop up, or hit ground balls in the games.

      More to this point, look at Cano. The shoulder rotation (driven by the hip rotation) creates the plane that the bat will follow. He gets his back so far back because of the shift and load, which is hard to do.

      One more thing – look at Cano’s heel. Is he squishing the bug? Nope. His hips have rotated so far that they’ve pulled his back foot off the ground.

    5. March 11th, 2013 | 9:47 am

      jay wrote:

      One more thing – look at Cano’s heel. Is he squishing the bug? Nope. His hips have rotated so far that they’ve pulled his back foot off the ground.

      Yeah. I have heard it more than once about how squish the bug is a bad thing to tell the kids.

    6. March 11th, 2013 | 9:50 am

      @ jay:
      Does Jeff Albert sell any DVDs? It was hard to tell from his site.

    7. jay
      March 11th, 2013 | 9:57 am

      @ Steve L.:

      Is that the guy who site you linked to? Not sure.

      It’s $50 for a year of access to Chris O’Leary’s hitting site and his DVD. The site is better than the DVD, IMO. I still play (32 year old kid, but my knees still let me catch pretty much full time) and O’Leary’s site has changed improved my hitting 10x. IMO, it’s worth it. How old is your son?

    8. March 11th, 2013 | 10:08 am

      jay wrote:

      Is that the guy who site you linked to?

      LOL. No, that’s the guy with the Cano link that you sent.

      My son is nine. He’s made a lot of progress in the last 4 months in terms of short to and long through with his swing. (Thank you, indoor workouts!) But, he’s just starting to scratch the surface on having a perfect swing. The trick with him is the teaching/coaching. He’s not going to watch videos and DVDs the way that I would, etc. And, when you verbally give him instruction, it has to be in a way that he can translate in his head, apply, and be willing to accept. That’s the trick.

    9. jay
      March 11th, 2013 | 10:23 am

      @ Steve L.:

      I can understand that. But it might help you understand what to teach him, and then you can work on how to translate it.

      My opinion – the biggest thing a kid that age needs to learn is that he swings the bat with his entire body, and not his arms. Once you get that feel, all the other things tend to fall into place.

      Here’s another good example of a guy you might recognize. 5’11″, 195 lbs, and hit 500 ft HR’s:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=endscreen&v=7fUfHnDIMco&NR=1

      I mean, when you look at that swing you see how his arms are just relaxed, and he drives everything with an aggressive but controlled rotation about his lead leg.

    10. March 11th, 2013 | 10:35 am

      @ jay:
      I hear you. That’s phase two with my son now. Working on his load and making sure that he drives with the hips. He’s pretty good at it. But, there’s room for improvement.

      BTW, what do you think of his swing:

      http://media.scout.com/media/image/54/543534.jpg

    11. jay
      March 11th, 2013 | 11:51 am

      @ Steve L.:

      He’s got a bit of a disconnection there. He does everything right with his hips and legs, and then his arms start moving forward before contact. It could be that it’s an offspeed pitch and he’s fooled, or it’s low and outside and he’s chasing.

      Another cue to make sure you’re not ending up with a disconnection is that your back arm should be tucked into your side like a V. And it should stay that way until the point of contact. This fellow has that, but it’s coming apart a little bit.

      Here’s Joe Mauer, which is a good example of what it should look like:

      http://bleacherreport.com/articles/774457-joe-mauer-and-the-10-sweetest-swings-in-baseball

      His arm is tucked right into his side, which means his trunk is driving his arms. Maybe my eyes are deceiving me a little, but in the picture of the hitter you just sent, it looks like his arms have moved away from his body and towards us (towards the camera that shot the photo.)

    12. March 11th, 2013 | 11:55 am

      FWIW, the batter in the picture is Tim Raines Jr.

    13. March 16th, 2013 | 4:03 pm

      @ jay:
      Thoughts on this one?
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eEj3U17O2lw

    14. March 31st, 2013 | 11:48 am

      @ jay:
      What do you think of these kids?

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4eQdeifs0w4

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