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Wednesday, November 4, 2009

From the Baseball Coaching Digest: Hitting Did You Knows

By Todd Thomas

Did you know...

...a baseball and/or softball bat is one of the few retail products of significant value that comes with no directions on how to use it?

...hitting is at the very least 50% from the neck up and very few hitters are taught the mental side of the hitting equation?

...most hitters and coaches will say on average that a player's mental game of confidence, focus, and composure make up 80% of how they perform in game situations over and above their mechanics. Yet, those same people will readily admit that they spend 2% or less of their time practicing their mental game while practicing 98% on the other 20% of the game. Hmmm???

...there are only TWO hitting techniques? A hitter either comes forward or stays back. If he weight-shifts forward (continuously moves his vertical plane forward out over the top of the front foot)as he swings, the hitter is linear. Rotational hitters also weight-shift, but once they reach the balance point in their stride, they rotate around a stationary axis as they swing. Simply put, hitters that "stay back" are rotational. A hitter CANNOT stay back and be considered linear.

...good hitting mechanics incorporate BOTH linear and rotational movements? A "hybrid" swing is nothing new. Good swings have always been "hybrid".

...that despite all the talk of what "linear" hitting is and what linear hitting isn't, it barely resembles what it was 25 years ago?

...there is no such thing as the one "perfect swing?" The perfect swing is the adjustments a hitter makes to the pitch each different pitch they see. As a result, the "perfect swing" constantly changes!

...that parents and too often even coaches are confusing young hitters by telling them when they are in the batter's box to get their elbow up or down? Having the elbow "up" or "down" is a "style" issue—NOT a mechanics issue?

...the major league average bat speed is 78 mph?

...that bat "speed" and bat "quickness are two distinctly different things?" Bat speed measures bat velocity or the actual speed of the bat; bat quickness measures the time lapse from launch-to-contact. If a hitter has good bat quickness (major league average is .16 seconds), they will have high bat velocity. However, a hitter can have high bat velocity and NOT have good bat quickness. Good bat quickness is a product of good torque in the swing. get the "same" performance/production from a wood bat that hitters get from aluminum, the wood bat should be two inches longer and two ounces heavier?

...there is no "proper" batting stance? It's different for each hitter and is a product of the hitter's "style"—not his technique.

..."no stride" hitting can make it easier for a hitter to focus on the pitch better because of less body/head movement?

...that Rogers Hornsby when asked what he did during the winter when there wasn't baseball said..."I stare out the window and wait for spring." Don't we all!

Now you know...if you didn't already.

Todd Thomas is a Baseball Coach and Professional Hitting Instructor for Mike Epstein Hitting. Coach Todd's personal hitting website is . Coach Todd also enthusiastically endorses as a place where baseball and softball hitters can master the Confidence, Composure, Focus and Consistency of their game so they can reach their full potential.

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Hello Baseball Friend,
I welcome any comments or suggestions. If you have a question or a topic that you would like to read about, please leave a comment and I will try to address that topic as soon as I can. Good luck in the coming season!
Have a great day, Nick