The Most Awesome Batting Drill EVER!!
by Robert Canary
(OCASA, Hartford, Ky)
Sadaharu Oh (All-Time Homerun Leader of Japan: 868)
(Before we get into Robert's question (or more like a suggestion), I want to say I love unconventional ways to train the swing...this is just one of those golden tips)
ENTER Robert Canary's sweet self-discovery...
Wow Joey, You gotta wrap your head around this one.
I'm still struggling with getting these hitters to go through the impact zone. And to go through it with explosion, tenacity, and confidence. I'm also a firm believer the body will correct itself once the brain knows what it is looking for.
We start our kids out with way too much emphasis on making contact. As far as batting goes, at an early age, kids are too hyped about hitting the ball, and Little League coaches are the worst about telling a kid, "just put the bat out and make contact." So the kid instantly gets locked into gross habits.
Wow, I think I found the holy grail of swing drills.
While still thinking about the old ax swing drill, I realized I could not put an ax in a kid's hand, wow, can you imagine...the parents would flip out!!! However, setting on my entertainment center, covered up by a plethora of high standing picture frames, covered in dust, quietly sets a rarely seen little jewel. It was a cheap Samaria sword imitation. It has no edge.
I pulled it down and felt the weight and checked the length. it is exactly 32" and is balanced the same as my son's youth Combat Baseball bat. I know what your thinking, "What the &^$%#&^ is he going to do with that!!"
Candles man!! Candles!! I had a bunch of 3" and 2" candles. I set them up and had my 10YO son and 12YO daughter take a couple of dry swings, then told them to cut the candle in half. It took about 4 swings and they each instantly realized, they are not going through that candle unless they 1) push it all the way, 2) push straight through, and 3) keep that palm-up-palm-down posture.
After the 5th swing, WOW DUDE, they were cutting right through it, after about 10 swings they were fast clean cuts. Then it became a competition to see who could cut through with out knocking off the bottom half.
I put them back on the T and they were absolutely killing the ball. It was total poetry in motion.
Then the fun ran out after my wife flipped out about her candles. :-) But, Joey, it worked, It really really work. I was totally blown away by the results.
Swing Smarter Response:
Haha, very funny...I love the self discovery. I once read in a book that Japan's all-time home run leader Sadaharu Oh used to suspend pieces of clean white paper from his ceiling by a string, and wield a Samurai sword similar to what you did with your kids and the candles. Might I add, S.O. was literally Godzilla to baseball in Japan, definitely larger than life and ahead of his time.
This is why I love the ProHammer Bat so much Robert because it gets the same effect without the danger of swinging a Samurai sword in the house (which both Robert and I do NOT recommend), not to mention making wifey angry because the kids are ruining all her fragrant candles. By the way, I anticipated your wife's reaction once you put Samurai Sword and her candles in the same sentence! :P
Heck, my wife always gives me "the look" when I'm swinging a wood bat in the house...the what-are-we-12? look.
Robert, you are as right as rain on this, and I'm going to be doing some major renovations to SwingSmarter.com shortly thanks to a little blurb Jaime Cevallos (AKA The Swing Mechanic) did in Tim Ferris's #1 NY Times best selling book The 4-Hour Body: An Uncommon Guide to Rapid Fat-Loss, Incredible Sex, and Becoming Superhuman. Jaime's is famous for his book called Positional Hitting along with inventing the MP30 hitting aid found in The Starting Lineup Store.
Not sure Robert if you've read Cevallo's cameo in The Four Hour Body, but I got a sneak peek at it and it has changed my approach to teach hitting. Primarily what he describes as the Cushion and Impact (Area of Impact) Positions of the swing. I will be putting together a video step-by-step on teaching this later and will make it available for those signing up for The Dugout Newsletter...and will be revamping our skills and drills sections of the site to more real world results driven content and analysis. More to come on this later...