Warning: Forward Spinal Tilt Leads to a Dying Young Swing
Joey Votto in Spinal Tilt
My son is 8 years old and we have been working all winter long on his swing and he was hitting the ball extrememly hard. He is big for his age and now all of a sudden he sliding forward and his chest and upper body are over his front foot and he is actually chopping at the ball. What can we do to stop this from happening so that an 8 year old understands? Thanks, JP
Swing Smarter Response:
Hey JP, I love it! Thanks for the pics. I've seen this quite a bit with kids your son's age. And yes, your son is a HAUS at age 8 :)
Please note: my H.S. Senior hitting student's father Lupe, in the second video above, is holding the other side of the handle out in front of him, like where the pitcher would be.
The BEST Kept Secret to Getting Our Kids to Feel a Vital Component of an Elite Swing...
It's this idea of Reactive Neuromuscular Training, or RNT. We initially "feed the mistake," or as you called it, "he's sliding forward and his chest and upper body are over his front foot and he is actually chopping at the ball," then by using resistance in the direction his body wants to go, the body adjusts by building muscle in the opposite direction to counter-balance getting us our desired outcome, the spinal tilt.
My H.S. Junior Lane (in the first video) saw a 1 week turnaround of his swing working this drill (he was also putting in 150-200 rep days, which I don't recommend until your son gets older).
Have your son put in 50-100 reps/day, and you'll see a big change quickly.
The Goal of the Lean Drill...
Elite swings generally have a 60 degree of spinal tilt back towards the catcher at impact. This is crucial to hitting a moving baseball with power and consistency.
In addition, there should be a drop of the rear shoulder inward toward the plate at impact.
Utilizing the spinal tilt and rear shoulder dip at impact gets us on "plane" better, and most importantly contributes to the myriad of stand-up doubles elite swingers, like Alberto Pujols tend to hit...
(Video analysis courtesy of the "hitting Yoda" Chas Pippitt from The Baseball Hitting Rebellion.com blog):
And, David Ortiz...
Also, look at the Joey Votto picture I attached above and you can see if we drew a line from Votto's front foot through the crown of his head, then draw another line from his front foot on the ground towards the catcher, THAT angle slightly back towards the catcher would be about 60 degrees.
JP, send me a YouTube video or pics of the fix after a week or two from doing this drill :)