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If we can divide hitting into 100%, what % of hitting is Mechanics, what % of hitting is TIMING ?

Hello Coach Ruben - thank you for the kind remarks, what we have done with our players these past 2 seasons, both PRO and Amateur .. Is this - obviously, mechanics ARE important - but NOT everything .. some of the games most famous hits were NOT mechanically sound, ( Roberto's 3000 hit / Gibson's W.S. homerun / Steve Henderson's '86 ALCS homerun) .. helping the hitters discover their "inner clocks" .. when to "jump into the dance" is what changes from pitch to pitch .. And is what ULTIMATELY changes the player's mechanics..
Hitter's are ATHLETES.. and ATHLETES know how to change - in the moment of the action. ... TIME and Space .. all over this web site - checkswing.com .. there are some very good coaches! Talented Coaches! But most of them - including myself - at one time - Are TUNNEL VISIONED about hitting.. the comments are MOSTLY - in reference to .. MECHANICS.... and most hitters are trapped in reaching their FULL potential - because - they have been lead by their coaches to follow the crowd - and worry about .. MECHANICS ..
Here's a question for you ??
If we can divide hitting into 100 % .. What % of hitting is MECHANICS .. What % of hitting is TIMING? -be careful ....Dave Kirilloff  http://www.TheLanguageOfHitting.com   

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Give me great mechanics and I will take my chances with learning to time the ball - what good is timing if when a hitter makes contact it is rarely solid contact because of incorrect mechanics - sure hitters can become too focused in the game on their swing but over time that should pass and success usually follows hitters with great swing fundamentals. I wrote an article about the mental versus physical game that might be of interest. It can be found at: http://www.baseballstatstracker.com/JacksCorner/MentalToughness.pdf
Jack - great answer, but - are there any hitters in today's baseball era who model the swing of Pete Rose, Stan Musial, Rod Carew, Ty Cobb, Rodger Hornsby, > probably not < My point is .. great hitter's in ALL era's have the uncanny ability more than others to " Barrel -UP " the ball ... some thought Vance Law had great mechanics - during his tenure ...Even Michael Jordan .. great mechanics .. the leading hitting contemporaries - taught "MJ" the best swing .. What they couldn't fix was his timing !
i would take great timing over great mechanics anyday.
Timing is a relative thought. All great hitter's have great timing. It's when to apply the timing that matters. If your timing is perfect and your mechanics are off, you still can miss or foul off the pitch. I'll say this...there are very few great hitters with poor mechanics and great timing. It's a combination of both. When it comes right down to it, putting the barrel on the ball makes all the difference. A perfect swing does not ensure perfect contact. It's not so much timing as it is utilizing eye-hand coordination and hitting the ball squarely. Great timing can get you only so far. When pitcher's are changing speeds, it is almost impossible to have perfect timing all the time. Mechanics and coordination make up for the subtle changes in pitch speed and location. What the best teachers in the game could not teach MJ is putting the barrel on the ball consistently, not necessarily timing, which is what all successful hitters do. It takes great mechanics, timing and great eye-hand coordination.
I would say that Mechanics is about 25% of hitting. Sooo much of this game is in your head, I would not call it physicaly demanding. This is why true athletes that do not play baseball from a young age struggle as hitters. I would agree that if you do not have a good mechanical swing, you do not stand a chance in the long run. That should be all muscle memory and working out of the bad habits that we create as we go trough a season. For me, the key to hitting is having a plan and have good dicipline at the plate. I don't care how good your swing is, if you're swinging at bad pitches or looking for the wrong pitch in the wrong situation - you're done before you started. I look at an at-bat like the pitcher has a huge advantage % wise so If I just try to go up there and hit something I might as well turn around and go back to the dugout. Timing seems to be better for everyone when we guess right on a pitch or work ourselves as hitters ahead in the count right?
Hello Joe - nice reply, thank you - "All great hitter's have great timing. It's when to apply the timing that matters"..JOE - this is why "IT"S" called timing...But WHAT is it - that the hitter is applying? - timing, mechanics, energy ??
Basically, it's energy... OF course, energy can be applied more "EFFICIENTLY" with better mechanics, BUT - what is seperating the successful hitters from the "average - to - poor" is the consistency of controlling and applying is - timing this energy at the point of contact --
...ATHLETES know how to adjust to moments of competition on the fly .. Roberto's 3000 hit .... basically - bad mechanics.. but great timing saved the swing... Kirk Gibson's 1988 WS homerun..Kirk said he knew the backdoor slider was coming ... WELL - his mechanics on that famous swing doesn't show us this .. the swing was BAD ... but timing adjustmenst to the pitch.. SAVED his swing...
Have you ever watched Stan Musial's swing? Horrible ..but who's going to argue with how a player swings when he led the national league in hits when he retired... How about Ichiro - great mechanics?
I prefer to believe this - EVERYONE .. who is successful as a hitter - has figured out how to manage / control the flow of energy that BEST fits with his 'ATHLETIC DNA' .. as a coach ..Learn , study, observe how the hitter is trying to manage this action we call 'hitting' ... and help the hitter to manage his flow of energy - however he wants to manage it ...TO BE IN CONCERT WITH THE PITCHER...
In today's terms ... players like PETE ROSE, WADE BOGGS, ANDRE DAWSON, ..had great ability to time the ball .. but in today's standards - they have very poor mechanics ...very modestly - you'll be hard pressed to find a current player who is modeled after any of these hitters just mentioned. .
If hitting is 25% mechanics - and if that 25% was perfect ... and the timing was off .. what is the result...
The whole point of this TOPIC is to encourage more coaches to be sensitive the the issue of TIMING.. teach timing.. Because - the pitcher's #1 weapon to get the batter out - is to - disrupt the batter's ---- TIMING..
Too many coaches spend a ton of time on mechanics. I have only seen a couple talk about timing and they usually do it in a slow motion fashion. I am a baseball specific vision therapist. We use a conditioning process that strenthens the eye muscles and develops a quicker neuological route between the eyes, brain and muscles. Timing starts with the eyes and when a player doen't accurately see the ball, they are just guessing. We use tennis balls with a specialized cannon that shoots knuckle balls. On each ball is a number three quarters of on inch in diameter written in black or red. We have the batter track the ball from the machine all the way through the hitting zone into the net. They have to identify the color, number or whatever they see. We work at speeds from 60 to 150 mph. At the higher speeds they can only see colors, but it develops a high level of concentration. I like to work at 100mph plus for at least 50 pitches per session to over develop the eye muscles. Once I slow the machine down to game speed for some bunting and hitting drills, everything is in slow motion. A batter sees from three hundred to four hundred balls in a half hour session. Seeing pitch after pitch at different speeds develops the eye muscles and brain response to the point that a real game situation is slow motion because the ocular skills are so advanced. This gives them a huge advantage in the field and especially at the plate. I have seen kids with horrible mechanics hit like crazy because they can see the ball. I teach them to be aggressive with their eyes and smooth with their swing. My thirteen year old son had a chance to hit off of a pro batter machine with a group at a local facility. They cranked it up to 100mph to see if anyone could hit it from 54 feet. He was able to hit 4 out of 5. To him it was no big deal because he has a systematic timing approach to track and hit the ball. He didn't have different batting mechanics, he has different visual mechanics. It is a lot like driving at 75 mph for an hour or two and then going through a town where the speed limit is 30mph. You know that weird feeling where everything is in slow motion and all of your senses are heightened because your eyes and brain are still going 75. It's our way of slowing the game down from a mental point of view. I think vision or timing is 50%. of hitting.
Very interesting, Dave.  I've been struggling lately at the plate  - usually because I'm swinging too early.
Check out our video on youtube.  Baseball vision training.  The author is MrYugo7
I checked it out. Good stuff!

Dave - you have a great tool .. especially because the player incorporates moving / engaging / syncing his body with the moving ball .. "Trying to hit it" .. I have discovered attempting the same approach with a jugs or atec machine , speeding it up to 95 mph.. and just watching the balls -  IS NOT GOOD enough.. the PLAYER needs to move / swing with the pitch.. The bad thing about the jugs / atec is that it produces MORE back spin than normal on the ball , than would a human pitcher, .. The torque on the machine spin is scarry / unsafe... and most people don't realize that..

 

Something to consider -  19 years of teaching hitting.. I've stopped telling players to watch the ball into the catcher's glove years ago - Because, being a former player, I realized that I wanted my attention to the ball to STOP, at the moment of the projected impact .. This notion blends together with the recent SI article  Aug 6 2011 and Sports Medicines NEW Frontiers ..where better players anticipate and read info faster..

Good hitters -  know where good contact needs to be at better than others, and get lock on in that area.. following it into the catcher's mitt.. I found to be over kill - and PAST the focal point ....

Dave,

I understand what you are saying.  During the tracking drill we have the batter track the ball all the way into the net until the ball comes to a stop.  We do this to increase their visual range.  Most players during an at bat leave their eyes somewhere between ten and fifteen feet in front of the plate. Their eyes automatically stop whether they are tracking or hitting.  Just habit.  This tracking process breaks that "visual wall".  The first few sessions players do this, they are almost incapable and very uncomfortable following the ball through to the net.  After a while they develop that extra range.  This additional range helps them track the ball deeper into the hitting zone, helping them see later movement on the ball and taking it to the opposite field on purpose.  During the bunting drill, they track it all the way to the bat.  Even that is past the focal point or the point of contact.   After they have mastered these two drills, they are much more comfortable tracking the ball deeper into the zone and getting better contact.  It is like an athlete performing a speed drill.  You have one guy who does the drill on grass.  Another guy does it on grass, hard wood and then on sand.  The second guy will be a better athlete because he has a greater range. These drills were developed working with Edgar Martinez,  Ichiro and Ken Griffey Jr.  in the early 2000s.

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