Re: Jack: technique for soft toss at the bag?
What is the best way of soft tossing at the bag? In real soft toss, I'm kneeling close to the batter and just flipping it up in the air a little bit. Same thing with the bag? Or more of a line drive so the batter has to more or less line up his swing path with the location (top, middle, bottom) where the ball hits the bag?
Below is a post from the Archives that gives some background to other readers regarding the purpose of soft-tossing at a bag. Ė The main purpose is to help the hitter in the cage retain the swing mechanics he developed working with the bag. Therefore, I start with a very soft toss at the bag. This allows the batter to begin setting his timing with a moving ball.
If the batter retains sound initiation and contact form, I then check his soft toss swing without the bag. I continue increasing the pitch speed (with and without the bag) until (hopefully) he exhibits the same sound mechanics with live pitching as when practicing with a bag or tee.
Posted by: Jack Mankin (MrBatspeed@aol.com) on Sun Oct 3 13:10:57 2004
>>> Batting Tee Man
Yeah, sure you do. Batting tees are nonsense. Garbage. Hitting is a resonder skill. You have to have an initiator, or you aren't hitting. The swing that masters hitting off a batting tee while bear no resemblance to the game swing. It's called specificity of training. Batting tees are worse than not swinging at all. <<<
I do not think that practicing with a tee (or heavy bag) is nonsense or garbage. I would agree that the swing mechanics a batter acquires while working with a tee could be very different from his game mechanics as I point out in the post below. A hitter may develop two completely different sets of swing mechanics. One set of mechanics is triggered from seeing a moving ball and the other from a ball setting still on a tee. Having different mechanical swing programs triggered by, or responding to, what the eyes see can obviously present a problem. However, it also has a benefit.
With many batters, the swing program initiated from seeing a pitched ball is so strong that it is very difficult to make substantive changes to these core mechanics . For this reason, I have found that linear hitters usually adapt to rotational batting principles much quicker while working with a heavy bag, rather than in the cage. Much time is then required to retain (or burn-in) these new mechanics while progressing from the bag through soft-toss to live pitching. --- A confirmation from frame-by-frame video analysis at each stage is most helpful.
Re: How to stop a player from reaching for a pitch
Posted by: Jack Mankin (MrBatspeed@aol.com on Tue Sep 28 11:56:33 2004
>>> I have a 10 yr old player with very good all around hitting mechanics. Unfortunately, over the past 2 weeks he has developed a bad habit when he is at the plate in that he is reaching for the ball during his swing. I have worked with him recently off the Tee and his mechanics are great, but when he gets in a game or practice he begins lunging/reaching for the ball during his swing. Is there any drill/product out there that can help us out?
Thanks in advance. <<<
The change in your sonís mechanics from the Tee to live pitching is quite common. I have also found that many hitters exhibit very different swing mechanics in the box from the swing they use working with the Tee or Heavy Bag. Seeing a live ball triggers swing mechanics they are most accustom to which overrides the Tee work. It can take many hours of work to burn-in a different set of mechanics. --- See if he can maintain his Tee (or Heavy Bag) form with soft-toss before progressing up to live pitching.
Lunging is a product of relying too heavily on bringing the back-side forward to swing the bat. Bringing the back-side forward is natural with all hitters. Therefore, I have the student concentrate on rotating the lead-shoulder back toward the catcher by contact. I have found no problem with the student lunging forward when concentrating on rotating the lead-shoulder back to the 105 degree position (15 degrees passed facing the pitcher). This requires extending the lead-leg to drive the lead-side back rather than moving forward onto the lead-leg.
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