Some things to ponder...
  • Why do we teach hitters to hit the "top-half" of the ball - when PITCHERS are taught to get hitters to HIT the "top-half" of the ball? Does this make sense? Hitters should be doing the exact OPPOSITE of what the pitchers want them to do!

  • 60 years ago Ted Williams said, "The hips lead the way." Why do we think this hitting concept has changed down through the years? Why do we think we're SMARTER than the the "World's Greatest Hitter?"

  • 60 years ago Ted Williams said, "The hitter must swing level to the ball - not level to the ground." Again, why do we think we're smarter and know more than the the "World's Greatest Hitter?"

  • Pitching coaches teach pitchers to THROW ground balls. So, why do hitting coaches teach hitters to HIT ground balls?

  • Why do we teach the "level" swing? How does a hitter swing "level" at a pitch at the knees? In fact, how does a hitter hit ANY low pitch without dipping the rear shoulder?

  • Why do coaches instruct hitters to swing with "level" shoulders and "stay back" AT THE SAME TIME?

  • Why do coaches tell hitters to "stay in inside the ball" and then in the very next breath, tell them "hands to the ball?" How does a hitter do that?

  • Why do coaches teach hitters "hands TO the ball," then - in the very next breath - tell them to stay "INSIDE" the ball?

In fact, right now - while you're on this page - go ask your son or daughter which swing THEY would like to have (below). Sadly, it makes little or no difference what THEY want; they will be taught whatever their coach was taught when he/she played!

"How do I make adjustments to the "tough" pitcher?
"How can I improve my bat "speed" and "quickness" to the ball?"
"Why can't I hit as well with a wood bat as I can with an aluminum one?
"What swing do you think is the "right" one?"

Click here for "troubleshooting" tips.

How do I make adjustments to the "tough" pitcher?

Tough pitchers can be defined in two ways. 1) The pitcher who is just a top drawer pitcher, able to consistently throw strikes to all four corners of the strike zone and is also able to throw "against the count." By this I mean when the hitter is ahead 1-0, 2-0, 2-1, 3-0, 3-1, the pitcher is able to keep the hitter off guard by throwing off-speed pitches in fast ball counts. 2) Any pitcher who is just "on" that day and making consistently good pitches. When you run up against pitchers like these, you've to make some concessions and adjustments!

When this happens, the hitter must realize that looking for that "perfect" pitch may be pretty elusive. He's "on" and throwing tough pitches right and left -- not "giving in" to the hitter in "predictable" situations. I tell hitters NOT to look for the perfect pitch, but to open up their strike zones and put the ball in play. Too many times I see hitters taking strikes early in the count and allowing the pitcher to get two strikes on him. When a pitcher is "on" his game like that, he usually winds up putting the hitter away. I know when I played, those good pitchers were "good" because they consistently made good pitches. Getting behind in the count against Nolan Ryan by taking strikes was practically suicidal. If he got two strikes on you, look out! You've got to give in a little. You've got to adjust. Why make that tough pitcher, tougher?

Now against pitchers not on their game that day -- not making those tough pitches -- you can take some more liberties and look for your pitch. Because you know that he doesn't have the stuff that day to "put you away." You can be more selective! And you must take advantage of this.

When I was playing for the Oakland A's, we had a good-hitting catcher that absolutely could not hit Nolan Ryan. When Ryan threw his glove out on the mound, he was certain to go 0-4 with three called punch-outs. He talked to anyone and everyone about how he could gain more time. The more people he talked to, the more confused he became (sound familiar?). Nothing seemed to work. Frustration set in. He tried shortening up, bunting for a base hit, moving back in the box, everything. You name it, he tried it. Then one afternoon at the hotel in Anaheim, before facing Ryan, I talked to him about "hitting zones" and their demotion (or promotion) to accommodate certain-type pitchers. Basically, it was "don't let him get ahead of you taking pitches. If it's around the plate, put it in play, but don't let him get to two strikes on you." Point to remember: good pitchers are just that---good. When they get two strikes on you, they have the ability to put good hitters away. Anyway, for some reason, it clicked. This made sense to him. He went 2-2 off Ryan that night with two walks and two line drive doubles. He changed absolutely nothing mechanically; He just took advantage of some good information.

The majority of hitters hate to hit with two strikes. To be an effective hitter with two strikes, the hitter must adjust to that particular count situation. Effective two-strike hitting implies the confidence which comes from knowing your capabilities and being able to adjust intelligently.

"How can I improve my bat "speed" and "quickness" to the ball?"

Like Ted Williams, I have found that the hips MUST lead the hands for consistent productive hitting. However, to acquire good hip rotation the hitter must learn to use both his legs and weight properly. Proper execution demands good preliminary positioning which will allow the player to do so. A player can definitely improve his bat speed and bat quickness! The torque position is critical to maximizing bat speed and quickness to the ball.

You may have heard the popular saying that "pitching and hitting are almost identical." Many say it, few actually know why. If you look at the three hitters below (l-r: Alfonso Soriano, Barry Bonds, and Ken Griffey, Jr.) in the torque position, you see that their shoulders are back and their hips are open. Looking at the three pitchers below (Roy Halladay, Pedro Martinez, Roger Clemens) at their launch positions, one sees the same body positioning as the hitters: closed shoulders and open hips. This puts their bodies in position for the big muscles in their bodies (legs) to pull the small muscles (hands and arms) through. This "slingshot" effect is crucial to speed and quickness as each relates to hitting and pitching. Note also the perfect balance of all six! To maximize the rotational velocity of their hips around the axis, they must be balanced! My animated hitting logo at the top of the page sums it up graphically.

So, if you want to maximize your bat quickness, bat velocity, and power, the player should be in the correct torque position at launch. If he isn't getting there correctly --- and on time --- he is far from reaching his potential!

Alfonso Soriano Barry Bonds Ken Griffey, Jr.
Roy Halladay Pedro Martinez Roger Clemens

Why would a player not want to pattern his mechanics utilizing the torque position? Because in many cases it's easier to teach "back knee to the ball," "hit against a stiff front leg," and "hands to the ball" hitting mechanics. All "clichés," and much easier to learn (and teach). Unfortunately, as its followers (amateurs and minor leaguers) climb the baseball ladder, they may very well have wished they worked harder and followed logic, because while the aforementioned swings are easy to learn, without getting to the proper torque position, they're much harder to hit with. The swing is no more difficult to learn than any other physical movement. It's merely good information, good instruction, and lots of practice.

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"Why can't I hit as well with a wood bat as I can with an aluminum one?

As Ted Williams says, "It ain't the arrow, it's the Indian." But the aluminum bat has gone a long way toward undermining this hitting truism!

With an aluminum bat, the player doesn't have to be mechanically-correct due to its high resiliency. The bat will "cure" any mechanical flaw. Think of it as an "Uzi" machine gun. If you keep your finger on the trigger, sooner or later you're going to do some damage. A hitter who gets "jammed" is still a threat to hit it of the park! Be aggressive and don't take close pitches.

But with the wood bat, there is no room for error! Jammed? Maybe a flare for a hit, but most times a weak ground ball or soft pop up. With a wood bat a hitter has to have good mechanics -- he has to be "right on" with every swing to be effective. Think of the wood bat as a single-shot rifle. You've got one shot to do your damage. You must be selective and look for a pitch you can drive.

If you want to hit more productively, you've got to learn mechanics which utilize your entire body, not only your hands and arms. You can go from wood-bat mechanics to aluminum-bat mechanics and INCREASE your productivity, BUT, taking aluminum-bat mechanics to wood bats has kept many good players from reaching their potentials. The choice is always yours.

Unfortunately for the player, few have ever taught lower-body mechanics effectively. Today, with modern frame-by-frame video cameras, we are better able to see and isolate the correct swing sequences in a way that makes sense to the player. In short, modern technology has shortened a player's learning curve considerably. Ted Williams used to tell me that if he saw something another hitter did, which he liked, he experimented with it. If it worked, he would use it. If not, he would discard it. This trial-by-error philosophy took time. Lots of time. In Williams' day, players played in the minor leagues 6-8-10 years before they perfected their hitting technique and got the call-up. Try this, try that. Try this, try that. Today, everyone wants "instant success." No one wants to wait. And professional baseball accommodates this trend by regularly promoting players from Double AA to the big leagues. This was unheard of only a few short years ago.

My hitting program gives today's players exactly what today's hitting demands. A proven way to hit, quickly and easily. Right here. Right now. Today, we can put Ted's mechanics (or Ruth's or Griffey's or Bonds' or Sosa's or Pujols) on the screen for dissection, and teach from there. We can stop the swing at any point for visual interpretation. "Are you doing it this way?" If not, "Let's see how 'close' we can get you to him." After all, if you're a business executive, you wouldn't want to pattern yourself after someone who bankrupted three other companies, would you? The player has confidence in what he is being taught, because all the productive hitting greats, both yesterday and today, have used them or currently use them. Confidence is the operative word here.

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