How Using the Basketball Made Me Hit with MORE Power

by Robert Canary
(Hartford, KY)

I have several kids that are getting around good on the ball and their mechanics are looking really good. While they always make strong hits, they just are not ... well you know ... not really punching through it.


I thought of a concept of maybe hitting basket balls to get them into the habit of "expecting" to punch through a ball.

What do you think?

Robert Canary

Swing Smarter Response:


I like the use of a basketball off the tee or soft toss to help a kid to get a good push through impact.

Here's the catch though...

We as coaches have to be careful with this and NOT get the kids to think push through with their hands (more likely top hand), but to put a charge into the basketball with the hips and core.

I think it'll really take some patience through frustration with some of your kids to really relax the muscles in their neck, shoulders, arms and hands when doing this.

How do we train the mid-section to initiate correctly?



Using the Bat Behind the Low Back Drill, focus on turning the hips first using the core muscles, which then creates a torque felt on the inside of the back knee, which finally turns the back foot over (back heel stays down until this torque in the knee is felt).

In other words, big muscles and joints moving smaller muscles and joints.

Once they get this, then try this next drill...



Get them to stand in their stance, and have them rotate their hips the way we were doing in the Bat Behind the Low Back drill above, but only moving to where they're feeling the torque on the inside of their back knee (don't have them get into full hip thrust for this).

DO NOT have them do anything with their upper body, just keep it the same as in their stance.

It'll look like they're doing a salsa dance with their core and hips (like my Top 5 Celebrity crush Shakira) while keeping their upper body stationary.

This will get them feeling the delay in their hip turn versus their shoulder turn.

The object of all of this is...



To get them feeling the core and hips doing the work, while the arms and hands are along for the ride.

Let me know what you think Robert, and as always THANKS!

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knuckle alignment
by: Bill Wyland

I have found placing the top hand middle knuckles stacked over the bottom hand "top " knuckles would provide more torque and therefore more "natural " snap" Bonds and Stagell had that grip
Plus a "cock" of the bottom hand wrist snaps the front bicept down on the chest as the torso rotates which helps to transfer the hip- torso power

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Wrist Snap or Hip Thrust?
by: Joey from SwingSmarter.com

Hey Robert! I would love to see some of those videos, because I'm having trouble putting together all of what you're describing. I kind of have a good idea...

So, you're saying the good hits these kids are using a "writ snap" through contact? If this is the case, I'm going to push you a little bit...

Check out how far the hips get through the ball on weak versus good hits? And see if these kids' back foot comes off the ground at all?

On a lot of my kids' swings I've seen this "wrist snap" but the primary cause is the hip thrust...big muscles and joints moving smaller muscles and joints.

Let me know if I'm off here amigo...

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Found the missing element
by: Robert Canary

Joey, I was cutting videos to send you and completely by accident after staring at this one video for about an hour. You know how things start to blur together after awhile, I found it. It seems to be on every weak hitter I have noticed.

The hips are working, the weight shift is working, everything is working. I finally found the culprit when watching one kid drive the snot out of three pitches, all high pitches, (at the shoulders) and hit them all over the fence while moving right down the third base line. All the other pitches (and hits) are so weak you field it with your bare hand.

Can you guess what it is? No he's not early, nor late, their timing is perfect.

It's their *WRIST*. Going back and looking at every good hit verses the weak hits, the hands were always exactly were they should be. Their heads were center of the "V", BUT at the same time bat head was lagging. On the solid hits their bat head was in the "V" zone.

It appears the broken/missing element is the snap of the bat. The high pitches hit out in front (or any pitch hit out in front) was always hit very hard, and down the third base line. WHY? because they are hitting with a full snap of the bat, but they don't have time to get the full snap into their swing unless they start early and finish *way* out in front. However, for them to really drive the ball hard, they have to get to it early enough so they can get the snap in the bat before the ball gets though that snap "V" zone.

Now the question is "How does one teach a hitter to use the snap earlier?"

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Post a video
by: Joey from SwingSmarter.com

Hey Robert,

Can you post or send me a video file of one of your kids' swing and I'll upload it into PowerChalk? Email me and we can do that over dropbox.com, and I'll take a look at it.

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The next level
by: Robert Canary

I guess that is where I coming from. These three kids I am working with are using all the right moves. Everyone talks about "What beautiful swing they have". And as a proud coach I can honestly say, "yes they do". So why are they hitting so weak?????????????????? What are they missing? Are they not getting a snap? Are they puling the bat out to early (trying to line up with ball)? After hours of video taping I believe the only other thing left is for them to start trusting their pretty swings and start putting some attitude into the effort (or confidence).

When these kids do get a hit it goes to the fence or over, other than that they miss or hit a dribbling grounder.

Perhaps they just simply are not seeing the ball or something?

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