Should We Change a Swing Mid-Season & The Success Equation
by Chris Walpole
Finding a Hitting Mentor
So many times for offensive practices coaches dispense players to unsupervised hittng stations and ask for 20 "top or bottom hand swings" or "hip drills" or any other established hitting drill.
These stations go fine for the first round or few swings and then swinging becomes more exercise than technique work. I think it's important to take the time to give kids a rationale for each drill, a purpose in how this will help their swing and ultimately make them a better player.
There is never a "why am I doing this" atitude when set rationale are established and conveyed. Kids want to get better! Tell them exactly how each drill can do that.
Also, in reponse to Joey's reflection on how he "learned more about the swing after his playing days were over", I think many analytic hitters feel the same. I know I did. This is good insight when instructing the established h.s. or collegiate hitter who has had some success, wants to get better and seeks it out through technique improvement or theory, but can only go so far.
Totally going away from what has allowed them to reach a certain level is scary. They are not going to do a total revamp of their swing midseason. The fundamentals they have been taught are probably good ones and they can't all be wrong now. Going from a D&T swing path to a Nike swoosh (read Positonal Hitting and like most of it) can be career suicide while playing. Guys are not willing to risk it. After we're done that risk is gone and we can be more openminded to newer techniques based on physics and video analysis.
It is this feeling that I believe all swing changes need to be made offseason. There is no pressure of any competetive at- bats the next day and players are more receptive to drastic change. Sorry about being a little winded. Continue to enjoy the site. Always with you looking for that perfect swing!
Swing Smarter Response:
Great points Chris...yes every hitting drill needs to have a goal of the day, and every kid must have the "why" explanation behind them. Simplify. Who says there needs to be 5 drills in a batting practice? Two is enough, and is easier to manage. Less is more in this case.
About your thoughts on revamping the swing mid-season...I agree, this can be season suicide. The problem lies in the player's work ethic. If a hitter is not going to put in the work to get better, or have the passion and competitive drive necessary to modify their swing to a more consistent and powerful swing, like the "Nike Swoosh" Swing, then I wouldn't touch their swing until off-season.
However, I've seen a drastic change in a player's swing in 1 month in our first round of virtual beta-lessons. This particular player is a projected first rounder out of high school next year, so yes, he already has some natural tools, but he went from semi-Down & Through to "Nike Swoosh" in 4 weeks. I saw the technique comparison on video with my own eyes, it was dramatic and amazing.
The difference between him and the "normal" player is work ethic. He does the drills prescribed to him religiously, and is getting almost immediate results.
You see Chris, I've come up with the Hitting Success Equation...the right technique, hitting aid, and work ethic will equal above average to extraordinary.
Looking back at my career at the Division 1 level, I got there on sheer work ethic alone. By today's standards, my technique was terrible, I just worked harder than anyone on the field. Sure, I had some God given ability, but I absolutely practiced perfect everyday (or at least what I thought was perfect at the time).
Now, if I would have had the right mentor, like Chas Pippitt of the Baseball Hitting Rebellion Blog, then it would be just plain scary where I'd be right now. SwingSmarter.com probably wouldn't be around just yet ;)
With the right direction in a mentor, tools, and work ethic, anyone can do anything they set their mind to.
Where can one find Chas Pippitt as a mentor? At BaseballHittingRebellion.com. I absolutely concede all swing know-how to Chas, and we just set up an interactive online lesson experience that's already getting great results...like our projected first rounder mentioned earlier. In our beta testing, we're seeing 30 day drastic changes in swings, it's pretty amazing. Not just this one kid either.
We're looking for kids with a heart and passion to get better, and stellar work ethic will be the driving engine. Sure, it'd be great to have the parents possess this same drive, but not mandatory, as the kid will be the one putting in all the work, NOT Dad or Mom.
Thanks again Chris for the super feedback!