Slow hip rotation, caused by swinging too much with your arms. Solution: focus more on your hips and less on your arms (laser strap drills will fix this)

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If you’ve aspirations to get back to the big leagues this will get you there. 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 those so called “big league” coaches could solve the problem for you. I feel sorry for pitchers who are going to face you once you start swinging with hips ūüėČ

Clinton Balgera, inventor of the Laser Strap Bat Speed Trainer, founder of TheHittingProject.com and Sport Precise Training

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.

Eric

In case you missed it! Congratulations to Eric Thames for making it back to the Majors and signing a $16MM contract...

Posted by thehittingproject.com on Thursday, December 1, 2016

Below’s an extract of¬†hitting tips, drills and practice plan, Clinton Balgera created for MLB player Eric Thames in 2016. Eric’s goal was to return the Major Leagues in 2017. Mission accomplished.

Identifying The Problems

Just to let you know your bat speed trainer has landed in Korea and is in transit to your district.

I just had a quick look online with your swing.

Bad news, your swing, more specifically your rotation needs works.

Good news, you’re raking in Korea with your swing running at 60% of capacity… now imagine your numbers when you start using your hips more and upper body less.

The Laser Strap Bat Speed Trainer is designed specifically to fix your issues.

You’re a guy who swings with upper body. Because you’re so strong you’re currently getting away with only using your arms.

Image 1b: The swing you take is the same as my swing the season before I created The Laser Strap.

Against hard throwing lefties I could not rotate by back foot in time and right hand change ups I was out in front.

Image 1a: Also show’s you out in front of a right-hand pitcher change up.

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.

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.

Image 1a: Out in front and no back foot rotation.

Image 1b: Out in front and no back foot rotation.

I know you can’t be balanced and in perfect position for every swing, however I noticed a pattern with your back foot rotation. I believe¬†back foot rotation is a great indicator for the rest of the swing.

Image 2a: Shows you over-rotating on your back foot when warming up.

Over-rotation of the back foot indicates over-swinging/swinging too much with your upper body.

Solution: focus more on your hips and less on your arms (laser strap drills will fix this)

You’re also practicing to hit a deep contact zone pitch with a top hand release swing. You’re fighting your natural swing path for this location, you‚Äôre swing path for up and in is short-to-long, you should be practicing short-to-short.

Solution: When in the on-deck circle practice a 2-hand grip follow through for up-and-in/deep contact zone swings (preparing for a hard throwing lefty) and a top-hand release/stay-in-your-legs follow through for an extended/low contact zone swings (preparing for a soft and away pitcher)

Image 2b: Shows under-rotation.

This indicates slow hip rotation, caused by swinging too much with your arms.

Solution: focus more on your hips and less on your arms (laser strap drills will fix this). If your back foot rotation is quick your hands will be quick and you’ll also find it easier to lay off tough pitches at the last second.

Slow hip rotation, caused by swinging too much with your arms. Solution: focus more on your hips and less on your arms (laser strap drills will fix this)

Image 2a: Over-rotating on your back foot when warming up.

Image 2b: Under-rotation.

Image 3 shows my swing, more specifically my back foot rotation after using the Laser Strap Bat Trainer. In this photo I’m taking heavy bat BP (40+ ounce weighted Mizuno Bat).

Hands-inside on a deep contact zone. he Laser Strap Bat Speed Trainer 2 hands-strapped will make you get into this position, you just have to make sure to relax your upper body and focus on your hips during the drills

You can compare this swing type to Joe Mauer mechanics below, hands-inside on a deep contact zone. This is the ball you’ll hit the hardest, because your back elbow is connected at contact. The Laser Strap Bat Speed Trainer LASER¬†Blast Drills (2 hands¬†inside) will make you get into this position, you just have to make sure to relax your upper body and focus on your hips during the drills

To get you started you need to begin with a steady regime of top-hand side toss using a heavy bat.

Here’s a link to a top-hand training guide I made yesterday, here’s the links¬†for LASER Blast¬†front toss and Laser Whip front toss.

Also take the time to watch the video below, it will explain more about back foot rotation mechanics.

This is vital for proper execution of Laser Strap Drills, you have to use your hips to get your upper half into a good position to hit the ball.

And remember to size and fit correctly, this is key to performance go here to download our latest instructions

Forget about all you know about swinging with your arms and start thinking about swinging with your hips.

Images below will help you with basic set up for all drills, remember to spread out.

And make sure your weight distribution is on inside balls of your feet (see balance ball image below for simple exercise, stand over balance ball and squeeze your knees into the ball).

How to load with your core

Customized LASER Blast Practice Plan

If you’ve aspirations to get back to the big leagues this will get you there. 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 the “big league” coaches could solve the problem for you.

It will be difficult at first, but you have to let go of the idea of swinging with your arms and start swinging with your hips.

Here’s how its going to go down. Grab a heavy bat….

  • Take a few rounds of top-hand heavy side toss, once you grasp swinging the bat with your hips move on. With a heavy bat you have to use your hips, I use a 34inch +weighted (mizinuo) weighted training bat for this drill, you’re strong so I’d recommend you find a heavier than normal weighted training bat.
  • Next, get into the cage for 2-arms inside LASER Blast¬†front toss 2-handed follow through, short to short bat path‚Äč (not a short to long bat path follow through) and start with a round of belt high cock-shots. Let it get deep and hit it up the middle, use your hips. Get your coach to throw up and in, mix in some balls up to 6-inches off the inside edge of the plate. Take a swing at everything that’s inside and try to keep it fair. Let it get deep, wait until the ball is at least 3ft from you attack the ball with your hips. Swinging the bat with your hips, is the only way you can hit the deep/up-and-in pitch. The Laser Strap will help you stay connected and prevent you from swinging with your arms, so don’t fight it. 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 fair), it will all start to click. From here everything progresses pretty quickly.
  • Once you’re happy with handling the up and in and deep ball with front toss, move onto LASER Blast Over-Hand Front Toss, 2-arms inside 2 handed follow through (coach sits down and throws the ball). Do the same process, have the coach throw a round of belt-high cookies¬†and then start challenging with up-and-in.
  • Next¬†move onto LASER Blast¬†Batting Practice 2-arms inside,¬†2 handed follow through. Have the coach throw you belt-high cookies for first round and then get him to challenge up and in.
  • If you really want to challenge yourself try¬†facing one of your pitchers live. LASER Blast live BP drill, 2-arms inside,¬†2 handed follow through.
  • For you I recommend¬†60% LASER Blast Drills, 20% LASER Whip and 20% LASER Beam (top-hand isolation). See image below, stay in your legs top-hand release. This will help with crushing change ups.

Things to look out for

  • Back foot rotation, make sure your rotating and your hip rotation takes the weight off your back foot, so you can spin on your back toe. Without using your hips, spinning on your back toe is virtually impossible
  • Make sure your hips begin to rotate before your hands start to move to the ball (next point is a good exercise to explain this movement)
  • Get your coach to mix in some balls down in zone and take them, don’t swing. Make sure you take the pitch at the last second by rotating on your back foot while keeping your hands back (this is how you take a nasty change up or slider in a game). This is what we mean by “hips before your hands”.
  • Head down at contact and after contact. You can’t keep your head down on the follow through if you unnaturally lift with your¬†arms when hitting the deep ball, you have to use your hips, relax your upper body and use a flat swing plane.
  • Watch your front leg and make sure you’re not lunging and hitting against a firm front leg at contact.
  • Make sure your spread with good weight distribution (inside balls of feet).
  • For LASER Blast drills, back elbow down and your hands are relaxed at the top of the strike zone (close to your back shoulder).

Training our 2-Swing Technique

These 2 drills will prepare for the 2 toughest pitches (up-and-in, soft-and-away) everything in between will be a piece of cake.

The Laser Strap Bat Speed Trainer is perfect for guys with pro experience, especially players who may have been coached the traditional top-hand dominant “belt-high cookie home-run swing” causing high strike out rates and are looking for a way to hit for a high average while maintaining or improving on power numbers.

Big league coaches and players have traditionally coached the top-hand dominant swing type (most being right-hand right-throw), gear up early and look for a mistake pitch up in the zone. Problem with this is that sometimes you don’t get a belt-high cookie to hit.

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.

I can see you’re a Left-Hit Right-Throw guy (same as me). Traditionally 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).

We’re training to hit the 2 toughest pitch types (up-and-in & down-and-away) everything else in between will come naturally in game.

The 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). Allowing you to hit any pitch in any location, and hit it for power.

Before you start, I recommend to get a fit/balance ball first and squeeze your knees into the ball, so you get a feel for weight distribution. I think you’re a bit flat footed in the box, you need to be on the inside balls of your feet. The balance ball exercise will give you that same feel.

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. 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.

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.

5 bats I recommend to get

  1. Heavy thick handle bat: use in a game with a 2-handed follow through for guys blowing cheese. Stay connected
  2. Light game day bat: use for junk ball guys, stay in legs and use top-hand release swing
  3. A bat in between heavy and light for game day: Use this when you can’t get a read on the pitcher
  4. Heavy Weighted training bat: Use this for all your top-hand and 2-arms strapped in drills
  5. Light practice bat: Use for your top-hand release, stay-in-your legs drills

 

You’re swing is very similar to mine 2 years ago, I’m 41 with a busted left big toe (turf toe) and last year I was turning on up and in 90mph fastballs like it was my job….

Imagine what you’re going to do. Like I said, I saw a couple of your videos. You’re probably one of most gifted athletes playing baseball today. If you do this right, I have not doubt you will dominate.

Keep me updated, if you like take some video and send it to me and I will make sure you’re on the right track.

This stuff works, as you can see there’s no arguing the logic behind it.

Cheers mate

Additional Training Tips

Keep note for LASER Blast drills, we are breaking down the explosion phase.

Part 1: LASER Blast Drills

  • Make sure you start spread out, take your stride and start from that spot.
  • Relax your hands, arms and especially your back elbow.¬†Hit everything up the middle or alleys, keep your head down and don’t muscle up with your arms and shoulders, relax your grip to¬†remove tension from your arms.
  • Load from your core¬†with a slow in turn of your front knee.
  • Swing the bat with your hips. Rotate your back foot from your hips (don’t rotate your back foot from the ground up) heavy bat top-hand side toss is good drill to practice this movement.
  • For deep contact zone use a¬†2-handed grip follow through, short to short swing path, the Laser Strap Bat Speed Trainer will keep your hands inside the baseball/connected to your core.
  • Real world example for a lefty hitter, would be facing a 90+ mph funky lefty pitcher delivering a tailing up-and-in pitch giving you limited time to react, therefor your only chance to hit is to let it get deep.
  • Top-Level pros¬†can use a heavier bat¬†when practicing LASER Blast drills, try to find the heaviest bat you can… you’ll see immediate results ¬†(even shorten up like Barry Bonds).
  • Look for something up and stay connected with your back elbow to body. Staying connected with your back elbow to hip will take the weight off the bat.
  • LASER Blast¬†front toss is my favorite for both arms inside.
  • For our LASER Beam/Top-Hand Isolation drills – Top-Hand heavy bat side toss will be your money drill.
  • Use it for B.P and live hitting against team mates.
  • If you’ve a problem with staying back this will fix it as you can’t reach out, you have to let it travel, hands-inside-the-ball and use your hips to rotate your back leg in order to get your upper half into the best position to square up the ball.
  • Advanced hitters can also hit the low and away ball with a deep contact zone 2-hand follow through swing. Basically, you need to tilt at your waist to get lower to ground.

Below’s an illustration of where your’e aiming to make contact. You’d follow the left hitter locations.

Green is where you’re you will make contact,
Red is where your’e aiming to hit, orange is height of pitch.

LASER Blast Drills 

Laser Blast M-Zone

LASER Whip Drills 

Laser Whip M-Zone

Part 2: LASER Whip Drills

  • Back arm inside your Laser Strap Bat Speed Trainer.
  • Extended contact zone follow through.
  • Release your top hand when you feel pressure on your rear shoulder. This will help to reach the extremities of the outside edge and beyond, while maintaining power.
  • Stay in your legs reach out with your hands.
  • Real world example for a lefty hitter, facing a 85 mph right-handed pitcher who does not want to challenge up with his fastball, in this case you’d see a few down and away change ups.
  • I recommend to use a lighter bat, look for something down in the zone and stay in your legs.
  • LASER Whip front toss is your money drill,
  • Use a lighter bat to get whip on the extended pitch, as your back elbow gets away from your body the bat becomes heavier, using a heavy bat with low and extended contact zone is not recommended.
  • With extended drills get someone to spot you to make sure your head does not go beyond your center of gravity (check your’e not lunging).
Stay in your legs tee drill



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