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Re: Re: Re: Ted Williams and other great hitters

Posted by: JLB (oz2009@verizon.net) on Tue Jun 3 07:39:26 2008

> Getting all hung up on the breakdown on every, single, solitary miniscule, movement of the swing, becomes, in my opinion, counter productive.
> I leave you with this question; what do you think, Williams, Ruth, Gerhig, Mantle, and all the great hitters since them, would think of the way the swing is put under a microscope in this forum?

Yeah, kinda like asking, "Jack, what are your thoughts as far as players that hit with their top hand, not being their dominant hand?"
Borrowing from one of the golf world's greatest teachers--Harvey Penick, "When I ask you to take an aspirin, please don't take the whole bottle. In the golf swing a tiny change can make a huge difference." What seems to be esotaria are in reality links of the chain. A breakdown in one link can cause system failure. I think that's why hitters at all levels, but especially at the MLB level, study/discuss/review on their ipods film of their at-bats all the time. If it was simply see the ball hit the ball, you're right, no need for discussion or web forums. Also, there is a difference between the knowledge a teacher must posses and that which is conveyed to her pupil. Atheletes at all levels want results produced in the crucible of competition; they are less concerned about why something works than how it works for them. Yet as an instructor, you need to be able to answer why you want a player to do this or that. Do you think Tom House broke down every bio-mechanical element to Nolan Ryan when he was his pitching coach. Yet House understood them and conveyed that knowledge to Ryan, et al.

But let's look at Ted Williams. His book may or may not be the Magna Carta of hitting, but, in addition, he had a lifetime of coaching that produced a body of work outside his book. Players such as Gwynn and Epstein have tried to pass on what they learned from Williams OUTSIDE of his book. That knowledge is a catechism to "The Science of Hitting" and instructors like Mankin, IMO, further that catechism by incorporating their interpretation of what they observe using modern day high speed video analysis. It goes to what Epstein says, "Do we teach what we really see?" But the great thing about teaching baseball is that there is a ready laboratory everyday the player plays a game and gets an at-bat. I do agree with you in one regard, too much focus on miniscule swing corrections tends to make a player overly mechanical and they can lose the athleticism that made them good hitters in the first place. But that is not to say a coach should not be aware of the minutia, because often that is where the correction lies. A lot of folks teach young kids to pitch by simply showing them the position they need to get to when they release the ball. In a sense they work backwards allowing the natural way the body works to get to that position. Mankin does the same in his video when he starts the kids off at the contact point and then works backwards to show them how they get there. I think that is also the point of his post on hip action, as in his video, he doesn't spend much time on lower body mechanics because they are more a product of proper mechanics than the cause. But that is just my interpretation of his comment/video. I would welcome his thoughts.


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