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Re: Jack: technique for soft toss at the bag?

Posted by: Jack Mankin (MrBatspeed@aol.com) on Tue May 1 16:03:44 2007

>>> Jack,

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?
Skip <<<

Hi Skip

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.

Jack Mankin

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. <<<

Hi Melvin

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.

Jack Mankin

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. <<<

Hi Rich

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.

Jack Mankin


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