Everyone is scratching their head as to how Eric Thames is dominating the early part of the 2017 MLB season.
Well, here’s the answer.
Quick Summary of how Eric’s LASER Strap Journey Began
8th of August 2016
While playing in the Korean Professional League Eric was one of the first pro players to train using our Laser Strap Bat Speed Trainer, seeking a way to make it back to the Major Leagues.
12th of August 2016
Clinton Balgera creates a personalized LASER Strap Bat Speed Trainer Program to fix issues he identified with Eric’s swing
“… I just had a quick look at your swing. See below for your personalized LASER Srap program
Bad news, your swing, more specifically your rotation on deeper contact zones needs works. Good news, you’re raking in Korea with your swing running at 60% of capacity.
… Without rotation it’s hard to stay in the big leagues. It’s amazing you lasted a few years, I reckon your upper body is so strong that it carried you through. It’s amazing none of your former “Big League” coaches could solve the problem for you.
… Mate, no B.S, if you’ve aspirations to get back to the big leagues this will get you there. Our Laser Strap Bat Speed Trainer is designed specifically to fix your issues. You’re probably one of most gifted athletes playing baseball today. If you do this right, I have not doubt you will dominate. I feel sorry for pitchers ;)”
13th of August 2016
LASER Strap Arrives in Korea and Eric is excited to get to work
“Dude….you are spot on! As you saw, my hip rotation has been lagging for years! Even in the big leagues. I’m not satisfied to be at 60%, I’m ready to strap this thing on and get to work.”
24th of August 2016
Quick follow up
“…How you swinging it these days, if you like take some video and send it to me and I will make sure you continue on right track.”
9th of September 2016
Follow up response
“Yeah man, been crushing it. Thanks!”
Identifying The Problems
Below’s a copy of Eric’s swing issues as identified by Clinton Balgera, along with the exact program he personally created to fix the issues.
In summary you’re a guy who swings too much with your upper body (because you’re so strong you’re currently getting away with only using your arms).
- Your hands are leading your swing, you need to practice hips leading your hands. This will help you to achieve consistent back foot rotation, stay back and stay balanced.
- Under-rotation over-rotation of your back foot. This indicates over-swinging or swinging too much with your upper body as opposed to your explosive core. I know you can’t be balanced and in perfect position for every swing, however I noticed a pattern with your back foot rotation and your balance in the box. Rotation, in particular back foot rotation provides great insight into potential swing problems.
- You’re also trying to hit a deep contact zone pitch with a top hand release swing. When you do this you’re fighting your natural swing path that is need to hit the hard and deeper locations for power (up-inside-fastball), your swing path for deeper contact zones should be short-to-short/explosive.
- I noticed you start almost half turned with your back, I use to do that to help me with getting to the ball. However it doesn’t make a difference unless you know how to rotate your back foot from your hips. The problem with starting so turned is it can make it uncomfortable when you put your weight on the inside balls of your feet.
- Focus more on your hips and less on your arms (LASER Blast drills will fix this). You have to let go of the idea of swinging with your arms and start swinging with your hips. It’s like the matrix, you need to free your mind. Forget about all you know about swinging with your arms and start thinking about swinging with your hips.
- Work on improve the foundation of your swing. I”d recommend you reduce the in turn of your back foot (you only it to be slightly closed off) to allow you to be more comfortable in a spread out stance. Your new found hip rotation will now get you to the ball on time.
Laser Strap Bat Speed Trainer Program
You can use our LASER Strap with any hitting drill, it accommodates to any swing type or hitting philosophy.
- Any tee or toss drill (front and side)
- Up close over-hand drill (coach sits down on a chair and throws the ball)
- Regular B.P (on field or in the cage
- Facing one of your pitchers live
Personally I recommend the follow formula
- 60% LASER Blast Drills (deep contact both arms inside)
- 25% LASER Whip Drills (extended contact back arm inside) Use a lighter bat and stay in your legs using a top-hand release swing. This will help with crushing change ups.
- 15% LASER Beam Drills (top-hand isolation to improve rotation)
First of all remember to size and fit correctly, this is key to performance.
Now here’s how it’s going to go down. Grab a heavy bat….
Take 3 rounds of LASER Beam Top-Hand Side Toss
This is your money drill. Being a left-hit right-throw guy this will enable you to hit up-in-deep contact zone 500ft straight down the line with backspin.
Swinging the bat with your core, is the only way you can hit the deep/up-and-in pitch pitch location for power against the hardest throwing pitchers.
I use a 34inch Mizuno heavy training bat for this drill, you’re strong so I’d recommend you find a heavier than normal weighted training bat. Heavy bat exposes any player who tries to arm the swing.
Here’s a link to our advanced LASER Beam top-hand training guide
Once you grasped this concept then get into the cage for a round LASER Blast Front Toss Get one of your coaches to always watch you from side-on and give them the following checklist.
Belt high/middle-to-inside locations. Get your coach to randomly mix in some balls down and out of the strike zone and don’t swing. Make sure you take the pitch at the very last second, don’t disconnect your arms from your core, instead drive your back elbow into your core (keeping your hands stay back) this will allow your strong/big core muscles to stop the full-force of your momentum when you hold your swing, (this is how you take a nasty/late-breaking change-up or slider in a game). You can only do this with correct core rotation, for example; hips-before-hands.
Once your comfortable get your coach to toss you up-and-inside.
Mix in some balls up to 3-to-6 inches off the inside edge of home plate. Don’t take the pitch, instead try to hit every pitch and try to stay in the pull side alley. You’ll surprise yourself with how far inside your can hit when you stay connected.
This is something you have to see for yourself, once you crush 5-10 up-and-in pitches (hitting the ball with backspin and keeping the ball in fair territory), it will all start to click, then everything progresses quickly.
Basic Setup for LASER Blast and LASER Beam Drills
- Don’t fight it. The LASER Strap helps you to stay connected and stops you from casting/arming your swing with deeper contact zones.
- To isolate your core and minimize the the influence of your arms and upper body do the following; Make sure your spread with good weight distribution (inside balls of feet). Back elbow down and your hands are relaxed at the top of the strike zone (close to your back shoulder).
- Let it get deeper, wait until the ball gets close to home plate and don’t lunge or reach for the ball.
Generate your power from your core. Focus on exploding with your hips.
- Make sure your hips begin to rotate before you begin your forward path to ball with your hands (refer to next point).
- Spin on your back toe. To do this you need to rotate your back foot from your hips (as opposed to rotating from the ground up). Without using your hips, spinning on your back toe is virtually impossible.
- Stay up the middle with a good hitting approach, avoid consciously thinking to pull the ball.
- Head down at contact and on your follow through. If you knock your head off the ball it means you’re over-swinging or your back shoulder is knocking your head off the ball. This generally happens if you lift on follow through during a higher and deeper contact zone. You don’t have to lift with higher and deeper contact zones, the height of pitch and contact zone provides the lift for you. Maintain a short and explosive swing path and follow through.
Take the time to watch our basic rotation videos, it will explain more about how to swing with your core. This is vital for proper execution of LASER Blast Drills, you have to swing with your core in order to hit for power.
Game Day Implementation of our 2-Swing Technique
Players with experience are more likely to comprehend my advanced level 2-Swing Technique training, working hand-in-hand with The Laser Strap Bat Speed Trainer.
Long Story Short, the 2-Swing Technique states your contact zone will determine your mechanics. It teaches you to hit all contact zones for power, providing a method to hit for a high batting average while maintaining or improving your home run production.
I can see you’re a Left-Hit Right-Throw guy (same as me). Generally, players who are bottom-hand dominant hitters will have a top-hand release follow through and hit the low ball well, but struggle with up-and-in/deep contact zone (top-hand dominant pitch location).
Most big league teams and coaches train a top-hand dominant swing (most being right-hand right-throw), encouraging players to pre-determine their swing path and look for a mistake pitch up in the zone (90% of the time this is a hanging slider). The problem with this technique is sometimes you don’t get a hanging pitch to hit. Hence the super high strikeout rate in today’s modern MLB games.
On the other hand, our 2-Swing Technique trains you to be both; a good top-hand (LASER Blast drills, high ball/deep contact zone) and bottom-hand hitter (LASER Whip drills, low-ball/extended contact zone). Providing the skills to hit all pitches and locations for power.
LASER Drills will prepare you for the 2 toughest pitches (up-and-in, soft-and-away) everything in between will be a piece of cake.
Up to you if want to practice with 2-Swing Technique, but I recommend you do. You’ve got unlimited access to bats, put the following on your list.
Game Day Bats
- Heavy thicker handle bat: use in a game when you expect a deeper contact zone, stay connected to your core to take the extra weight. When in the on-deck circle practice a short/explosive/flatter swing path especially when you’re expecting an up-and-in/deep fastball (example, preparing for a hard throwing 95 mph left handed pitcher).
- Lighter bat: use for junk ball guys to help get more bat whip on extended contact zones (example, preparing for a slower junk ball pitcher), remember to stay in legs and use a top-hand release swing to reach the extreme low and outside.
- Average size bat: Use this when you can’t get a read on the pitcher
- Heavy Weighted Training bat: Use this for LASER Blast and Beam drills
- Lighter Bat: Use for LASER Blast drills