You see this on a regular basis working with fastpitch hitters. They appear nice on the tee – good load and stride, good sequence of hips-shoulders-bat, and a strong end result.
You then begin entrance tossing to them, or having them hit off a pitching machine, and it’s as if some alien who has by no means swung a bat in its life has one way or the other possessed your hitters whilst you had been organising. They make quick, jerky strikes to stride and wildly swing their arms with barely any hip motion in any respect. You marvel what occurred, and why they’ve misplaced every part you simply spent a lot time engaged on.
Really, your hitters haven’t forgotten about all that tough work. They simply don’t have time to execute that swing. Right here’s what occurs.
The “pitcher” will get able to throw and the hitter masses. Then, for the reason that pitch isn’t coming but, she seems like she loaded too quickly so she stops and stands on the again leg.
Then the ball comes and he or she begins to stride. However as a result of the ball is coming from 20 toes away (on entrance toss) or at a excessive pace (since everybody cranks up the pitching machine to the max setting) it’s on her quicker than she realized. So she simply abandons all of the physique motion and simply tries to get the bat to the ball any method she will be able to, which often produces some fairly poor outcomes.
What actually makes it robust is when the hitter realizes she was late attending to the ball so she begins even earlier! All that does is get her caught on her again foot sooner, which solely makes issues worse.
To actually be efficient, hitters should stay in steady movement. Which means as soon as the load occurs, they need to carry on going till that pitch reaches its conclusion with both a swing or take.
There isn’t any hitting the pause button in the course of the swing for every part to line up. Principally as a result of it gained’t line up.
That pause on the again leg breaks the momentum that was being gathered with the load/adverse transfer and primarily causes the hitter to have to interrupt inertia another time. That takes time, and once you’re dealing in hundredths of a second there isn’t a time to waste making an attempt to get the physique going.
Hitting is about rhythm and timing. Placing in a pause in the course of the swing throws that rhythm and timing out the window. You wish to hold going in a single clean movement from starting to finish so you may attain that oh yeah second.
Belief the swing
So, with that in thoughts, how do you break this vicious cycle of early-wait-late? It begins with getting the hitter to belief the swing, and the method of the swing.
I’ll often inform a hitter that she wants to begin her stride BEFORE I launch the ball in entrance toss. (For machines it’s just a little completely different, however I’ve some good tips about coping with that in one other weblog submit.)
After all, simply because I mentioned it doesn’t imply it’ll occur. So I encourage her to belief the method, i.e., attempt to get that stride going early.
After a few makes an attempt, she is going to often begin to get her entrance foot down on time, with sufficient time to fireside the hips, deliver the shoulders round after which launch the bat with confidence. She is going to discover that anticipating the discharge, and trusting that it’s going to occur, quite than ready for visible affirmation that the ball is launched permits her to execute the swing as we practiced it on the tee.
Whereas the above technique works with most hitters it doesn’t essentially work with everybody. Youthful hitters particularly should still have bother determining when to begin their optimistic transfer ahead.
For them I’ve a easy resolution: I simply yell “Go!” as my arm comes down the again aspect of the circle. (I all the time use a full circle – as a result of I can.)
They might be startled at first, however they’re often obedient so that they get began after I say. Once more, after a few makes an attempt they begin gaining confidence of their strategy, so after I say go they begin attacking the ball.
After all, I do wish to level out to them that an precise pitcher isn’t going to inform them when to begin their stride so that they should be taught to do it with out the verbal cue. But when it helps them perceive the idea and achieve some expertise with striding earlier than the ball is launched, I’m very happy to do it for a short while.
Translating to an precise pitch
Proper now there are most likely some hitting fanatics who’re saying “however high-level hitters don’t get their foot down earlier than launch.” That’s true.
However high-level hitters are additionally not hitting a pitch thrown from 20 toes away. Even with the brand new pitching guidelines.
If you’re throwing that quick distance pitch to them, it’s the equal of the ball having traveled about 1/three to half the space from the pitching rubber to the plate. And that IS in regards to the time high-level hitters get their entrance foot (toes?) down.
So as soon as once more, the concept of beginning the stride earlier than the pitch has been launched is legitimate. You wish to go calm-calm-explosion (aka load-stride-swing).
When precisely it occurs will depend on the pitcher, the hitter, and the hitter’s athletic potential. That final half is one thing to bear in mind too once you watch video of high-level hitters. The rationale they’re high-level is they only may have the ability to do issues, and get away with issues, us unusual mortals can’t do.
Hold it shifting
Getting caught on the again foot in the course of the swing is simply asking for bother. It takes self-discipline and belief to interrupt that behavior however it may be achieved.
The extra your hitters hold themselves in movement, from starting to finish, the extra typically -and the farther – they may hit the ball. Hold a watch out for the lethal pause and also you’ll assist your hitters succeed.