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Mike Schmidt: Will they Listen to a Hall of Famer
My new “go to“ line with my hitting students is “Try it, you may end up with a homerun.” Thank You, Mike Schmidt
Hall of Famer, Mike Schmidt just came out with an article on postseason hitting and the state of hitting in general. Mike Schmidt knows hitting and I feel it validates much of what I teach, but will anything change.
Swinging for the fences is futile. In general, that's the state of hitting today. Hitters aren't accountable, they don't value contact, don't have a "go-to" swing in the arsenal for contact at-bats.
What is a "go-to" swing? It's a swing that produces contact. It gives the hitter the confidence to wait and identify the pitch, and get a piece of the ball with two strikes. It makes a hitter tough to strike out, like Pete Rose or Rod Carew. What happened to hitters like that, hitters tough to strike out?
Mike Schmidt finishes with, “Here's a secret for any hitter reading this: A short, quick chop down-stroke will create contact on any fastball. Try it, you may end up with a home run.”
When people reviewed my book (The Making of a Hitter) on hitting, one refrain was, “Same old stuff,” as many so called experts saw drills promoting a short compact swing and figured it was the “swing down at the ball” hitting approach. Nothing was further from the truth, but my approach does teach contact and swing path first, power later. After all, what is wrong with the hitting techniques of a Tony Gwynn and a Wade Boggs, from my day? If kids struck out at the youth levels of baseball, as the major league players of today, they would have quit the game long ago, or at the least, earned a nice seat on the bench.
In the steroid era, hitting the ball out of sight became the norm, and coaches thought, “Hey, if that rotational-power swing works for them, it is best for all.” Of course, they forgot that only 2% of kids would ever have the power to hit balls over fences. The result has been kids that rotate beautifully, but with little solid contact.
No hitting coach denies how important the hip rotation is to a good swing, but a good fundamental swing path is still a major key and necessary to make consistent contact. As Mike says, with two strikes, players should have a “go to” swing, so contact comes. Additionally, no one denies the importance of the home run at the higher levels of ball for run production, but you cannot tell me that more contact would not produce more runs, in the end, especially with men on third and less than two outs. Finally, no one denies swinging hard isn’t important, but there is a way to do it with contact and good results more probable. As Mike says, “You may end up with a home run.” “Amen,” I say.
Mike does give pitchers of today their due, and I agree, as the power arms, with control, are nasty to face , different from my time in the major leagues and all the more reason hitters should adjust.
But come on, they have seen those power arms all year and have had enough time to figure it out. And the hitting coaches, do they not preach a two strike approach, where contact would benefit the team more than swinging for the fences does as certain times? If a hitter has power, let them go for it, until two strikes, but cut down on the swing then. The all or nothing approach is not working. Of course, I have the feeling the coaches coach correctly, but the players of today are not convinced.
As implied, the youth through high school levels of baseball are different, as the home run is not as big a part of the game. It is more reason to teach a shorter compact swing, that puts balls in play and pressure on the defense.
I guess the moral of the story is, when looking for a hitting coach, be sure to find a coach that teaches the swing path first, as a super quick and powerful rotation is useless without consistent contact. Remember major league players, the kids are watching, or maybe not as the games go so late, but that is a story for another day. Mike Schmidt, you rock, for a nobody like me, no one listens, maybe they will for you, a Hall of Famer.
J, I am trying to figure out what Ryan Braun is trying to demonstrate here...that you chop straight to the ball? Chop down on top of the ball? Whatever it is he certainly doesn't swing like that in the game. Interesting.
Its called "resistance"!
But......all great hitters...try like heck, USE THE REAR LEG DIRECTIONAL DRIVE TO ROTATE resisting hips.
Once you learn that your swing will climb quickly to the top of the hitting ladder.
YAZ above isn't rotating his hips....his rear leg is PULLING his rear hip towards the ball.
J, semantics maybe, but I would say his rear hip is pulling his rear leg through. The back knee hinges, pulling the rear foot up and the hip pulls the hip and foot through. It's the turning, or rotation of the hips that pull the leg, not the leg pulling the hip. Not trying to be a smart-alecky, but something that is trailing can't pull and the rear leg is trailing the hip. At least that is what it looks like to me.
It's PUSHING his hips through. There's better semantics. :-)
Another way to put it is this: Like a pitcher, there has to be a reverse force or resistance on the front post leg. I see this all the time with players spinning their hips. This leads to a HUGE loss of power, and a break down in the swing path. The front side posts, stiffens and resists the momentum from the back side. That resistance causes the hips to swing open under heavy load. Imagine a vehicle traveling forward at speed, then hitting an obstacle which stops its movement. The energy is then transferred to the other components or contents. In this case, the upper body and bat, which comes through with far greater force than if the front side just spun open without resistance. I'm pretty sure that's what Lowell is talking about.
I tell pitchers and hitters alike.....there should be a very big load on the front side (pushing back), as the back side pushes forward. This is torque! Torque is not generated by spinning, but by twisting, which implies resistance. You can't generate torque by turning a towel...it just spins. You can generate torque by twisting a solid object that does not want to be twisted. Any good mechanical engineer could explain this better. It's the actual meaning of the word torque.
I understand the mechanics of the swing. Torque-two opposing forces working against each to generate power...applied to the baseball world. I think a lot of us get in trouble, confuse our players/students, in not clearly articulating what we want them to do. I have watched Albert Pujols, Mark McGwire, Tony Gwynn, give hitting talks and instruction and what they say and do are two different things. Again, semantics, or articulation, play a very important art in conveying to a hitter what they should do. It is tough at best! for example, you say "there should be a very big load on the front side (pushing back), as the back side pushes forward. This is torque! Torque is not generated by spinning, but by twisting, which implies resistance." I agree to a certain extent. Torque, as applied in baseball is two opposing forces acting against each other to create power. I am not sure the front side pushes back against the back side to create this torque. We move into a rigid front leg and the body rotates around, or under, the axis(head). I agree somewhat with the turning versus twisting versus spinning. Spinning would lead to collapsing weight onto the back leg..not good! I think a better analogy of torque might be the rubber band. Twisting it creates torque and releasing it, well, releases that stored up energy.
Hey, I think we both agree, but just have a little different way of saying it. Thank goodness for free speech and great discussion like this. As always, I have learned something that I can take away. Thanks.
First, There is a major difference between rotational mechanics and linear mechanics, this is no BS. IT something all of baseball has had to address over the last 20+ years, it was a very big deal, high school and college performances were way down til there was a shift to proper rotational mechanics.. It has not trickled down to the Little league coaches and Dad til the last few years. Second, You cannot interchange the terms linear or rotational "motion" with "mechanics". this are two very separate ideas. Just because a swing has both linear and rotational motions by no means does it mean the swing has elements of both sets of mechanics. I hear this all of the time, especially from coaches that stick to linear mechanics and it drives me crazy. I wish they had named these hitting approaches something else.....My only challenge with the phrase short to the ball is this is a term that is common with the linear hitters of the day who swung down on the ball meaning " the shortest distance" argument, something players in the MLB stay away from What you wee see are players getting short to the path of the ball
Many of the better hitters will let the ball travel in general, I agree, it tough to take a few videos clips and make a judgement on approach.. Any good hitter knows to hit an outside pitch you have to let it get deeper, regardless of approach, so you have to be aware of where the pitches are thrown. You can let an inside pitch travel deep or you cannot get you hands inside for example
I do have an open mind. Do you? You can LOL all you want. Wringing a rag is not torque. That's why torsion bars are not made out of rags, but flexible steel.
You state that none on your videos show a hitter pushing back, but specifically state that they try like heck NOT to rotate. Its called resistance, you say. Push back or resist? Again, semantics. Semantics is the argument of someone who wishes only to argue.
I enjoy the banter and the back and forth as much as anyone, and was actually agreeing with your statements. But, for as long as you wish to tell others they "have no idea", "lol", or ask if they have an open mind......you see asking for an open mind in this case is insisting they see it only your way.... YOU need an open mind first to have true discourse.....then you can explain it to someone else. Seriously, you're arguing for the sake of arguing. This is a site to share insights, ideas and thoughts. Not pound your chest.
You can teach resistance....I'll teach push back. In the end, neither of us will be right or wrong.
As you say, maybe I have no idea about how to produce torque. I disagree, but I'll allow the assumption. Then I'll say you have NO IDEA how to engage in gentlemanly discourse.
I just did! You're still arguing semantics. Fine, "resist". Not "push back". Different players understand different terminology. I might use one, both, or something completely different to get the point across. Ultimately, it's the end result that matters.
There's no argument here. Just your desperate need to create one to win. There's nothing to prove from my end, because I don't think you're wrong. You just have a tough time with that.
Your terminology works. I understand what you mean, and I don't disagree with it. I'll admit that, and you can believe you proved something here.
IMHO, if you merely learned to be right without having to make everyone else wrong, you could be right more often.
Again, I merely used different terminology. You can find fault with that all you want, if that's what you need to feel good about yourself.