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grc, - son throws right and bats left

Posted by: ray porco (rporco@aol.com) on Wed Jun 7 12:47:57 2000

Something to take with a grain of salt or perhaps the best thing to happen since sliced bread.
If I may...
Went to the archives and saw a couple of posts by you in May. You described your 18 year old son (throws right and bats left) and the problem he has pulling an inside pitch. Well, I had the same problem with a player this year (I do coach - Pony). This may or may not parallel your case dependent on two things: 1) the player's dominant eye was his right, and 2) he faced mostly right handed pitchers. I consider him rotational. From reading your post I know you consider your son - weight shift. I really don't think that has any bearing on what I'm about to write. This player was hitting fly balls to left and ground balls to the right side. I video taped him and confirmed my suspicions that he was dropping the barrel of the bat (my first inclination). We made corrections and he improved but not as well as we would have liked. I noticed something else on the tapes,- contact point with the bat was more toward the end, away from the sweet spot. We performed an experiment. (NOTE: the following is strictly a model. A vehicle, if you will, for demonstrating differences between RH and LH hitters facing RH pitching.) We went to a paved parking lot, with a chalk line, blackboard chalk, a 100 ft. tape rule, framing square and a large protractor. We drew a pitcher's plate (24 in. wide). Then we snapped a rather long chalk line (bisecting the middle of the pitcher's plate)representing a center line from the pitcher's plate to home plate. We measured 54 feet and drew in home plate(17 in. x 17 in.)Measurement was from the pitching plate to the back edge of home plate. Next we agreed that the average right handed pitcher's release point (for Pony) was approx. 1 ft. to the right of the rubber(as you were facing home plate) and approx. 5 ft. closer to the plate (abitrary, but for purposes of this discussion, adequate). We plotted these coordinates and then snapped a chalk line from this point, to the right front corner of the plate and then another line to the left front corner (simulating a RH pitcher throwing both an inside pitch to a RH batter and an inside pitch to a LH batter). Next, we simulated the bats. We marked a point (arbitrary: 15 to 20 inches/ we used 20)in front of the plate along our original chalk line bisecting the rubber and plate. From this point we then drew a line (32 in. long) forming a 30 degree angle with the front edge of home plate to the right, and one originating from the same point, 32 in., to the left. One line represented a RH batter's bat contacting an inside pitch, and the other line, A LH batter's bat doing the same.
We then examined the intersection points (simulated bat-ball contact) of the bats and the paths of the simulated pitched baseballs. The contact point for the LH hitter was both further out in front of the plate and ALSO further toward the end of the bat. Again this is strictly a model of demonstration. Many more variables, as you well know, enter into the equation, but assuming all other variables are the same for a RH and LH hitter, we can then look at the major difference of a RH pitcher throwing a baseball inside to a LH hitter.
Still not finished, we performed another experiment. I had a batting tee in my trunk and we put it, centered, on the cross-hair marking the pitcher's release point. I extended the tee all the way up and placed a baseball on it (I must admit it wasn't the proper height, but for our purposes and for what was to come - it was OK). I then had the player assume his normal stance without a bat at our simulated plate (his stance was neither closed nor open. Both toes at right angle or perpendicular to the line drawn from center of pitching rubber to center of home plate). Looking at the ball with both eyes open, I had him point his right index finger and place the fingernail on the ball. Then I told him to close his right eye and note the distance (this is important) that the ball had appeared to travel to the LEFT of his index fingernai. This is true if you are right eye dominant. Next, I had him turn facing the pitching rubber squarely (both toes pointing at the rubber). I had him do the same thing with right index fingernail on the ball with both eyes open and then closing the right dominant eye. I then asked him to note the distance the ball appeared to travel to the left of his finger. IT HAD APPEARED TO BE MUCH GREATER.
Regarding vision and visual perception, terms like stereopsis, fusion, and parallax are way beyond the scope of this post. I suggest you do your own research. Suffice it to say that viewing with both eyes turned to the ball gave the visual perception that the ball appeared to a least start outside further than if you had your head turned away from the pitch.
What to do? I told him to keep his stance the same but, turn his head more toward the pitcher (ala - Griffey Jr.). The reasoning being, that if he perceived the ball to be further out than it actually was, his bat would go out more and he would then make contact closer to the sweet spot rather than the end of the bat.
Rather than make a seemingly minor adjustment, he took it a radical step further. We're from Pittsburgh, and he decided to adopt Brian Giles' stance (completely open stance that seems to be gaining more popularity). This was not what I had wanted for him, but since his conversion - I can't get him to stop pulling the ball.
Maybe I'm way off base, certainly my methods would not bear up under scientific scrutiny, and most certainly a radical change in stance is not recommended, but if your son doesn't have his head turned with both eyes to the pitch - maybe trying it won't hurt.
Hope maybe in some way this helps. Good luck.

Sorry, for the blank post.


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