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Re: Re: Re: Re: Swing Plane – Batting Tee cont.

Posted by: ssarginson (ssarginson@earthlink.net) on Fri Oct 8 08:58:13 2004

>>> Hi Jack,
> I would like to inform you that the angle adjustment does fit in the 8-12 degrees that has been defined.This angle is applied by a lever on the new angle adjustment that has been incorporated to the device.I would like to say that this has improved the product.I would also like to say that DUSTY BAKER ,and REGGIE SMITH APPROVE OF THIS DEVICE.I would like to talk to you again .(513)616-3611 ERIK LASEKE <<<
> Hi Erik
> I will give you a call when I get back to the office.
> Note: I met with Reggie Smith when he has the batting coach with the Dodgers. I found his knowledge of swing mechanics noticeably lacking. He believed strongly that the energy for the swing came from the forward movement of the batter’s weight during the swing. Even when I showed him a frame-by-frame of Bonds rotating around a stationary axis, he refused to accept what he saw. When I pointed out that Bonds axis actually faded AWAY from the pitcher during his swing – his reply suggested I must have doctored the tape.
> Jack Mankin

Jack's point here CAN NOT be understated. The reaction of Smith, who was in a position as the hitting coach of an MLB team when Jack had this conversation is not unusual.

1) It probably sounds like hyperbole, or an isolated incident. In reality, I don't think it is either. First, VERY few MLB players really listen to their hitting coaches in terms of adopting different mechanics (luckily for them, apparently). The job is often ceremonial or motivational in nature. By the time MLBers get to the Bigs, they have at least a million swings under their belt. They might have 2-3 batting coaches in a single season, and they're probably preaching different things. MLB players got to where they are because they can apply serious rotational force to a ball, and do it more consistently than anyone else on the planet. There is really only one way to do it, with minor variations. Some were lucky enough to be taught. Some chose the right models to emulate. Most - though not all - have a savant-like ability towards physical coordination. Their brains just figure out the most efficient way to physcially accomplish something, and their bodies execute. While they might try a tip or two from a coach, if it doesn't "feel right" (w/ a million swings as a basis point), they aren't going to do it.

2) Despite the intuitive understanding MLB hitters have for their swing, not one in twenty can explain it cogently. Many don't look at video of themselves - I don't mean video on SportsCenter - obviously, they look at that. I mean high-res frame-by-frame video, studied, drawn on, measured. That's not so common. What they describe is what they FEEL. Does it feel like they're swinging down? Sure. The bat barrel starts above the shoulders and ends up at the knees. But does "swing down to the ball" reflect reality? Is it a good cue for a kid? Probably not, if you want him swinging UP in the last 2-3 feet of the swing. It would be an awfully perceptive or awfully lucky kid who figured out the correct swing plane from a cue like "swing down to the ball." "Take your hands to the ball" is another classic example. I know it means something to Bonds when he says he does it - which he does say - but in the sense anyone without his frame of reference would interpret it, it is not only an inaccurate statement, it is dangerous. Becasue if there is ONE guy in MLB who doesn't take his hands to the ball in the sense the cue is classically (and wrongly) interpreted by 90% of the hitting coaches and hitters in the world, it is Bonds. You could pin a piece of paper between his hands and his body during the swing, and there is not a more circular hand path in baseball.

So, here's my point:

It is dangerous to listen to what even the world's best hitters SAY about hitting. It is much better to watch what they DO. IMO, it is impossible to explain the elite-level baseball swing with just words. Too many syncronous bio-mechanical actions, adjustments too subtle to even feel, much less describe. You HAVE to study video. And the gold standard for what you believe about hitting should be frame-by-frame video of the top hitters in the world.

In short, never accept anything anyone SAYS about hitting, without first comparing it to the swings of the best in the world. Not everyyone may have video and graphics tools, but we all have TIVO - or at least VCRs - and it ain't that tough to find a highlight these days.

And by anybody, I mean what ANYBODY says. Certainly including me. Even Jack, who has probably looked at as much hitting video as anyone alive. "Do what they do, not what they say" has got to be the operational imperative.




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This is known as hitting for the cycle in a game?
   Single, double, triple, homerun
   Four singles
   Three homeruns
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