Baseball Photos

As many of you remember, we used to post a multitude of hitters, both baseball and softball, to illustrate the mechanics we teach. We have decided to only post a few on our new website because basically it showed the same "hitting envelope" that hitters are obliged to enter as they swing.

One of my definitions of the "perfect" swing is "the adjustment the hitter makes to the pitch he gets." Being able to make these adjustments, i.e., matching the swing plane to the pitch plane, is paramount to staying in the contact zone for as long as possible.

Consider that all pitchers are taught to to get the hitter to hit the top-half of the ball. Why then do so many teach the hitter to hit the top-half of the ball? Does this make sense? Does it sound logical that hitters are taught to do exactly what pitchers want them to do? 

Mike's tip: "Swing level to the BALL—not level to the GROUND."

Enjoy! 

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A youthful Mike Epstein in Tokyo playing on the first United States Baseball Team (1964).

The biggest thrill of my baseball career was standing on the field when they played the Star Spangled Banner before 60,000 Japanese spectators. Tears and goose bumps. I was never prouder to be an American. It even beats winning the World Series in 1972.

One of my greatest wishes would be for every player to share that same magical moment. It unequivocally defines you as a person and what you have accomplished. It is also one reason why I consented to Ted Williams' request to "re-introduce" his incomparable hitting philosophy in 2000. After mentoring under him for 10 years and being designated his legatee, I have been fortunate to watch the unparalleled successes from rotational hitters all over the country. The past eight years have translated into a giant first step for the many players with these same aspirations to compete on baseball's most competitive stage. Awesome!

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Thought I would share a success story with you guys. After purchasing your DVD's, I hooked up with one of your certified instructors, Frank Moosic. I emailed you in the spring to get a reference on him. Frank and Austin have worked hard together and I have attached a recent photo (photo, above) from a travel tournament at Rehoboth Beach, DE . It had premier 11U teams from PA, NJ, MD, NY and DE.  Our team, the York Young Revolution, from York, PA won the championship going 5-0-1 for the week.

I have used the photo of AL MVP Dustin Pedroia (photo, bottom) from your web site to remind my son what state we wanted to get his swing so I thought it was cool when my wife showed me this picture of my 11 year old son Austin just before impact.  He's not Dustin, but he's come a long way from where he was this spring (photo, top)). Austin hit .571 for the tournament hitting the ball hard every time with a couple of extra base hits and had an OBP of .667. Great way to end our summer season. Thanks for the knowledge!  - Mike Falco

Mike's note: Frank Moosic is a three-year Certified Epstein Instructor located in Hershey, PA.
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These three consecutive photos of Aaron Norris (13 yrs.) illustrate how quickly rotational hitters get on - AND STAY ON - the plane of the pitch. Another rotational hitter, Albert Pujols, has had his swing plane measured on the pitch plane for as long as 5 feet. Clearly, Aaron is well on his way to a productive baseball career.

Mike's note: The red line represents the pitch plane; the yellow line is Aaron's swing plane. Learning to hit correctly facilitates matching the swing plane to the pitch plane quickly, a vital component of the good swing.

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Josh Fleck
Age 15
Littleton CO

"Here is a quick video of Josh this weekend. He is hitting the crap out of the ball.  This one, one-hopped the fence (340').

When slowed down (frame-by-frame), his swing position looks really good and he really sees the ball well…makes for a great combination. He was 7 for 8 two weekends ago and 3-5 this last weekend and hit over .600 in the spring.  Lots of doubles, triples, and line drives…"  - Dave

Mike's note: Here's Josh's swing from his game, broken down into swing sequences, from top to bottom:

Photo 1: Stance
Photo 2: Torque position
Photo 3: Approach
Photo 4: Power "V"

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Tres (age 8) is not chopping wood, squishing the bug, watching the ball hit the bat, etc., and yet he can still hit. Amazing!"  —Todd Thomas

Mike's note: Todd Thomas is an Epstein Certified Hitting Instructor located in Arlington, TX.
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My son Jonathan (12 yrs old), is taking rotational hitting instruction in Cleveland, OH, from one of your certified instructors, Dave Kajganich.

In our second tournament of the year last weekend, he had a bases loaded, two-out triple, and another drive deep to left that was caught. The day before, he had an opposite field double over the right fielder's head. Watching him hit for power is lots of fun. I've attached this photo from the tournament where he is using your rotational technique.

Thanks for all the work you do. You've really impacted his game in a positive way  — Jeff Roche

Update: Last year Jonathan played 13u ball on an open division team and had a great year. In 38 games, he led the team with a slugging average of .582, with 5 triples, 11 doubles, and 9 singles. He had a batting average of .316. Last summer he was 5' 5'' and 120 lbs. He was using a 31/22 metal bat. He played in a wood bat tournament, and swung a 32 inch wood bat for that.

 

With your information he was able, in his first at bat, in that wood bat tournament to hit the ball 280 ft down the line to the fence. The photo (left) is Jonathan hitting one of the triples last summer.  Thanks for everything you guys do. I'm looking forward to another great year of baseball.

Mike's note: Dave Kajganich is a long-time Mike Epstein Certified Instructor located in Cleveland, OH. He can be reached by clicking the "Certification" link on our home page.

 

Mike's note2: I have posted photos of Manny Ramirez, Alex Rodriguez, and Alfonso Soriano for comparison. Of course, I could have included photos of Albert Pujols, Ryan Braun, Chipper Jones, David Wright, Matt Holliday, Dustin Pedroia, Derek Jeter, Mark Texeira, and nearly every major league hitter in the same position. They all look alike and they're all rotational! Does your youngster fit into this "envelope?"

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The productive swing of 17 year old Justin Byrd of Littleton, Colorado, is shown in the middle photo. Justin began lessons with Mike Epstein Hitting three years ago when entering high school. Closely following the steps of my teaching program, coupled with patience and some athletic ability, can get any hitter to look like Justin. Compare Justin's technique to major league superstar Manny Ramirez (bottom). Technique should be universal. 

In the top photo, Justin and Mike are shown at his official signing with the University of California (Berkeley). Coincidentally, this is Mike's alma mater as well!

I honestly do not believe that until Justin began hitting instruction with you three years ago that he had even a remote chance to get a baseball scholarship to a some college - let alone a Division 1 school like Cal-Berkeley! I don't know how to thank you enough. - Rick Byrd

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Brennan Gaber
Age 12
Littleton, CO

Brennan is shown swinging at a high pitch (left) and a low pitch (right). Note the difference in his body posture and swing planes.

Mike's note: If taught correctly, hitters should be able to adjust to all pitch planes!