Before you study the hitting lesson series...
Let's start with an apology - from WebBall, and from every other hitting instructor you've ever met...
A bit of background... When WebBall started there was a thirst for knowledge about all things mechanical. There were gurus postulating this swinging method or that. It was the era of rotational vs linear, of breaking down the swing into each hundredths of a second in time. There was still a debate about elbows (up or down) and about stride (long, short or none at all). And about so much more.
The differences between the perfect swing and the optimum swing.
WebBall fell into that "trap" in the sense that we spent time and effort - a lot of both - on trying to better understand swing mechanics. We paid attention to opposing viewpoints. We did out own motion capture studies, and watched the evolution of video analysis with split screens and graphic layers showing lines and circles, measuring arcs and angles. We learned more recently about the differences between the perfect swing (no such thing) and the optimum swing (perhaps achievable).
Kinetic chains, momentum, torque, and more became part of the hitting vocabulary. We had all gone way past such aphorisms as "see it hit it", "read and react", "get a good pitch to hit". We knew more; we knew better.
But here's the thing - batting averages have not gone up.
Now, other gurus such as Ron Wolforth will tell you that it's because pitchers are now stronger and in better shape. And other gurus such as Perry Husband will tell you it's because pitchers understand much more about pitching strategy, the hitter's attention span, batter deception, effective velocity, etc. And the sports psychologists like Tom Hanson might tell you it's because pitchers spend more time on mental training.
Maybe. Maybe they're all right. But we do know this, that era of "mechanics is everything" which started in the 80s (arguably sooner) and has continued into the present day - thanks to them, and us - may have sucked the athleticism out of hitters.
While the hard copy edition is currently out o print, select chapters of the Thunder & Lighting manual are still available. Click here
Okay, yes, no question, it's still important to understand mechanics. That's why it was covered in our Thunder & Lighting field manual and why it's part of the Hitting Lesson Series
we offer on the site. And if you don't understand the elements that make up a good swing, you still need to have that knowledge. In fact, there are some articles below that do talk mechanics - unavoidable.
But - and it's a big huge "but" - knowing how the body should turn on a baseball will not ensure success at the plate. So, please, if you have absorbed all the mechanics info out there, your job of educating yourself or others on hitting is not done - not close to complete.
How to be consistent, beyond the mechanics
Some suggestions (repeat, suggestions)....
Accept good advice when given and work at it. The saying that it takes thousands of swings to improve is true. Don't try something for an afternoon and revert to old habits.
The best "advice" we've seen lately comes in the form of a series of recommended hitting drills developed by Martin Rubinoff, now packaged up in DVD format. Click here
- Block out all thoughts when you step in the batter's box - that's not the time to think, just do.
- Benchmark your hitting (video and radar) and check back as you train - because measurable results in training are important and because there are no RBIs in the off-season.
Points 4 and 5 require you to recognize where pitches will end up relative to the strike zone and your hitting zone.
Work on your hitting zone, not the strike zone. Because the umpire doesn't care about the results of the game but you do.
- Swing at every good pitch and avoid every un-hittable pitch. A special focus early in the count, to keep from going deep in the count. If you CAN hit curves, then look for them. If you CAN'T hit splitters, avoid them.
Practice, practice, practice. Successful hitting doesn't start in the game, of course. It starts in the off-season where you need to work on getting in as many swings as possible - every day if you can, or multiple times per week.
All B.P is limited by the availability of pitchers, and the expense of instructors. What you need is the opportunity at home to get to get your cuts in every day. Click here
for one suggestion.
- Accept failure. Don't beat yourself up when you strike out swinging. On the quiet walk back to the dugout review the pitch sequence and set your better plan for the next at-bat.