Hitting

Are you leaving your swing mechanics to chance?

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High-Speed video Analysis is an important part of understanding movement patterns. With technology constantly getting better, and the ability to use slow motion video on your phone, there is no excuse not to use video as a valuable tool to understand movement patterns, specifically in the swing. Something as simple as “CoachesEye”, an application on your iPhone, can be more than enough to get you started. In order to compare your movements, to movements of the greats, you need to be able to slow down the movements in order to understand the swing process on a deeper level.

This is one of the first things that should be done as a hitting instructor, or as a player who is going to make changes to the swing. You need to understand how you are ACTUALLY swinging, in comparison to how you FEEL your swinging.

Often times there is a big difference between “feel” and “real”. This gap needs to be bridged through the process of understanding. You have to learn to match your “feel” with what’s “real”. This comes with hours and hours of watching your swing on film, and often a lot of experimentation between mind and body.

This brings us to the experimentation of “cues”. A “cue” is a swing thought that hitters use to get a desired result either mechanically, or the end result of the hit. When coaches teach universal “cues” to all of their players, they are doing their players a disservice. And heres my argument: Everyone FEELS something different.

Let me give you an example:

Don Mattingly is a strong advocate of using your hands to “swing down” on the baseball. This is a cue he uses and he “feels” gives him the best results (ie hitting the ball hard, base hits, power, etc.). But if you were to look at his swing in games he is not ACTUALLY DOING what he is FEELING he’s DOING. His swing actually is slightly up, as any good hitter would have, as oppose to down as he teaches. But swinging down is a cue that works for him in order to get his body to move the way he wants it to.

The problem then becomes that not all “cues” are universal. Something that works for Don Mattingly might be a career ending swing change for another player. This is why it’s so important to understand what is ACTUALLY happening in a good swing, as oppose to what that hitter is FEELING.

This has become the true source of the problem of how hitting mechanics are taught in today’s era. We hear some of the great hitters of all-time talk about their individual swing “cues”, and automatically believe that their “cues” will work for us. The problem is, as proven with the Don Mattingly example, “cues” are usually not real. And by using a one-size fits all “cue” we risk causing devastating swing changes to our players.

This is where video analysis becomes extremely important. Once you’ve put in a certain amount of time analyzing your swing through video, you will begin to “feel” things that are actually happening in your swing process. You will develop your own swing “cues” that allow YOUR individual body to move with an elite pattern. When this happens you can become your own best coach, and ultimately, make quicker strides towards a more effective swing!

Understanding what to look for and how to get your body to move in a way that matches that pattern is a challenge. But if you UNDERSTAND what a good swing process looks like, you always have the ability to figure out how to create that within your own movements through experimentation of “cues”.

There are common movement patterns that separate the bad from the good, the good from the great, and the great from the best ever. But without the advantage of high speed video, we would never be able to tell the small differences that equate to huge advantages or disadvantages within the swing.

If you don’t use high-speed video, you are leaving your swing mechanics to chance. You are hoping that a certain “cue” will click and take your game to the next level. But why leave that to chance when the information, data, and technology are there to take advantage of?

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About Brian Hamm

My name is Brian Hamm and I am all about "Baseball Development". Through my journey as a high school and college player, I always felt that a competitive advantage eluded me. I constantly researched and discovered new resources, ideas, and theories that have shaped how I coach today. It’s my goal to work relentlessly in order to give my players, clients, and coaches the biggest competitive advantage that will allow them to reach their full potential. My mission is to spread my knowledge to baseball players around the world and help change the developmental process forever.

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