Why our Baseball Hitting Development Program is Unique
The Study - What Swing Mechanics Do All Elite Hitters Share?
I tapped every source I could muster up on the top Major League hitters I could. I ended up with hours and hours of video and hundreds of still photographs comparing the players swing mechanics.
As I started watching the video and comparing them with the stills, my small one-bedroom apartment became a hitting laboratory. I still didn’t know exactly what I was looking for except what was really happening in their swings.
As the days went by, the plan started coming together. I started to identify a certain movement or position in the swing and give it a name. I went back and forth for weeks and ended up identifying 24 positions or movement-types in the swing. I know what you are thinking now, either this guy has no life or he has some problems. Actually it was a combination of the two.
Then I had to have something tangible to record this crazy idea of mine. I bought the biggest piece of poster board possible and started my chart.
The chart contained the names of the players in the vertical column and across the top, horizontally, I wrote the names of the 24 movements I identified. I then proceeded to observe all the video and stills of each player.
It then became as simple as recording if each player had each specific movement or body position in his swing… two months later I had my collection of information completed. I wasn’t close to being finished, but the picture was becoming much clearer. The players had a lot of similarities as well as a lot of differences.
The next part of the study was to ask as many quality hitting coaches and players about what I had learned and their perception of the data.
Living in Scottsdale, a suburb of Phoenix, Arizona definitely worked to my advantage as the area hosts Spring Training for several Major League Clubs and is the off season home of hundreds of players,
coaches and scouts. The Valley of the Sun also is home to several quality collegiate and high school programs. I seemingly asked everybody, everything I could. The answers were, to say the least, interesting.
After the “interview portion” was somewhat complete, I went on to the next phase. I had observed that most hitters had way too much length in their swing and that caused a lot of fly balls, foul balls and swings and misses, roll-over ground balls, etc(nothing new to a lot of coaches and players) but I had a couple specific questions that only watching complete games live or on television could answer.
The Live Games:
I then needed to observe hitters at several levels in live games to see if a pattern developed. If there was, then we would have identified a “general flaw” in hitters of each skill and age level. Who knows, maybe something else would stick out like a sore thumb!
The video, the still photographs, the interviews and the live game studies revealed the basic infrastructure from which the Krush Athletics would be based upon.
The Results … The Truth
So what did watching more tape than most NFL defensive coordinators reveal? Very simply stated, most if not all exceptional hitters share some common swing movements(swing mechanics) or actions. Some coaches refer to these as hitting mechanics, but that is too general of a term for me.
There are several commonalities the elite hitters share. Teaching these common threads or common swing mechanics, is a staple of the program.
The interviews were fascinating for a couple reasons. These experts agreed on many topics and vehemently disagreed on others. It was also very interesting to engage in a conversation of a specific movement that was obviously common in all great hitters (proven through video study), yet until I showed the person of interest video proof, they disagreed whole-hearted.
The interviews did enable me to assemble a plethora of knowledge on certain parts of the final program such as; the mental approach, different terminology for the same ideas, batting drills, etc.
The live game studies results, based on my experience and a theory, turned out to be one of the most important portions of the study.
We will go much deeper into all these at our camps and clinics and in the upcoming print posts.