Raising the Iron Mike elevation & Trouble Hitting Taller Pitchers!!

by Robert Canary
(Hatford, KY)

Front Elbow Down & Shoulders NOT Dipping on High Pitch

Front Elbow Down & Shoulders NOT Dipping on High Pitch

Front Elbow Down & Shoulders NOT Dipping on High Pitch
Slight Dip in Back Shoulder & Front Elbow Lift to Hit a Low Pitch


I have recently noticed a trend in our players. They seem to hit better off short pitchers. These aren't slower pitchers, just shorter.

They train off hitting tees and an Iron Mike pitching machine. The Iron Mike is setting on a concrete floor at the same elevation as the batter. The Iron Mike is an an older machine, but its age adds some *good* inconsistency to the pitch. It doesn't allow the batter to become complacent with just one pitch location. They hit rather well on the Iron Mike, even with the slight inconsistency.

However, on the diamond is a different story. They *all* are struggling to find the ball.

Here's my thinking. Perhaps the Iron Mike is delivering the ball too low. If I raised the Iron Mike, so the high point of the sling arm would be more consistent with a real pitcher it might get them use finding the ball on a live arm.

What are thoughts?

Swing Smarter Response:
Robert amigo, what a great observation!! I love your deductive reasoning, kind of reminds me of someone else I know ;)

I think you may be right, and I've never thought about that. So, what kind of results are your kids getting on a taller than average pitcher?

I'm assuming if they're smoking the IronMike and shorter pitchers, then they're probably more flat with the swing plane than a slight upswing needed for a taller than average pitcher, and averages are going down.

I would advise adjusting the height of the IronMike, or having an adult throw BP (who's arm is NOT hanging of course). And, working on the high pitch is always a good thing. There is a BIG difference in approach between high and low pitches...

To hit a low pitch (at or below knees), the hitter needs to see the ball deeper and allow the back shoulder to dip slightly (like the Pujols pic #2 above).

With a high pitch, the dip is taken out of back shoulder by the front elbow staying down...I think Epstein calls this Weather Vanning (Pujols pic #1).

On bat path...

Think about the path of the barrel being like a Nike Swoosh sign, we have to make a smooth transition from the Slot to Impact positions with a slight upswing to the slight downward plane of the incoming baseball.

This could be the issue with your kids Robert. Once again, great thoughts!

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Right on!
by: Joey from SwingSmarter.com

Great to hear that Robert! Did you work with them on hitting the high versus low pitch at all? I've been working with a couple of my guys on hitting the low pitch on a line and in the gaps, and they're killing it right now. It really disables one of the pitcher golden rules, "keep the ball down."

Working on the high pitch is just as important because umpires are calling both extremes of those pitches more and more. Hey, if it ain't broke, then don't fix it! ;)

Beter results
by: Robert Canary

Joey, I have been working with this team over 30 days now. I don't know if all the tee work is starting to pull together for them, or if raising the Iron Mike made the difference, but the number of on bases hits have went from several singles, to multiple doubles and triples and home runs. Last three scores 13-3, 9-2, 9-5. Last time we played these teams we either tied or won/lost by one.

Short/Tall Pitchers
by: Robert Canary

Joey, the boys hit absolutely great off a shorter pitcher. However, if a taller pitcher takes the mound they struggle. Interestingly the harder the pitcher the higher the teams batting average. I do have one boy that has got the fastest bat I have ever seen on a 10YO. If have not seen a bat that fast on a high-schooler yet. But the bat is so fast, he always hits the ball at least 6" out in front. And he usually hits dribble hits because the bat is already on its up swing on impact, and he hits on top of the ball. Anyway, the Nike Check is a good analogy. They have that, certainly this boy has it. However, he also has the same symptoms. Short pitchers great hits, tall pitcher and he struggles to find the ball.

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