BRIDGING THE GAP BETWEEN PLAYER DEVELOPMENT & ANALYTICS
Blast Out of the Past
There's no such thing as a ground ball derby!
My whole life I was taught to swing down on the ball. Ball to bat. For 23 years. When I interned in Houston in 2017, my mind was blown after seeing and hearing what they were telling their hitters. “Get it in the air hard,” or “Stop chopping at it, swing up!”. I would hear big leaguers say it on TV and Astros coaches would echo them. In little league and early travel ball, I was always hitting in the middle of the order and getting doubles. The older I got and the more I was coached, the more my batted ball profile changed. I was hitting more ground balls and weak popups and not amount of time hitting balls in the cage changed anything. I was a slow, groundball hitting catcher who couldn’t pull the ball and it didn’t help anyone involved.
Fast forward to 2019, I had bought my own Blast Motion to better understand my swing and swinging in general. All my attack angles were negative. The other scores weren’t good either. I researched everything I could and learned about real vs feel and how a lot of high-level hitters couldn’t distinguish the difference. Turns out “swing down”, “knob to the ball”, and “hit the inside part of the ball” do not mean the same to everyone. My swing literally did all of those. I had a lot of bad habits to get rid of.
I went to work for a week but my attack angle was still averaging about -2 degrees, about 6 degrees from where I wanted to be. No matter how hard I tried I couldn’t get that above 0. I then found videos talking about body posture and the affect on the swing. I used different cues to make my body feel different things. Once I combined that with the swing path drills I was doing, I started averaging closer to 5 degrees (while there are still a few negative angles, the average went up) . It was such a relief. The hitting coach let me hit on field during early work one day and I hit a couple bombs that day. It felt good to finally swing the right way.