27 Sep

The Importance Of Muscle Memory In Baseball Swing Mechanics

PART I – The Science Behind Biomechanics & Muscle Memory

For athletes muscle memory is extremely important. And for hitters the best way to improve baseball swing mechanics is through muscle memory training. The key is repetition. Consistent physical repetition helps develop a feel for the proper swing path and trains the brain on the impulses necessary to perform the desired action without conscious effort.

To better understand how muscle memory works, development can be broken down into three stages:

1. The Cognitive Phase

Learning begins by developing an overall understanding of hitting mechanics – how to hold the bat, getting into a hitting stance, basic swing instruction, etc. In this phase it is extremely important for a hitter to feel as well as see what they are doing right and what they are doing wrong. Visual feedback and feeling how different body parts or muscles groups are working is beneficial for adjusting the swing.

2. The Associative Phase

The athlete understands the fundamentals of hitting and is in the process of refining swing mechanics through practice. With consistent repetition, the athlete’s biomechanics or movements are guided by sensations derived from receptors located in muscles, tendons, and joints. For tips on basic hitting fundamentals, check out our Baseball Swing Mechanics Hitting Guide.

3. The Autonomous Phase

The skill of hitting becomes mostly automatic and proper baseball swing mechanics are executed without thought. The brain stores and recalls all of this information to send to a hitter’s muscles when it is time to perform at the plate.

The more consistently you repeat any motion the more reliable your muscle memory becomes and over time proper swing mechanics become part of a innate reflexive action. Now keep in mind that practice makes permanent, but not always perfect. If you repetitively practice a bad swing, you end up being really good at repeating mistakes and reinforcing bad habits. Whether trying to improve the consistency of your swing or correct common swing flaws, using a swing trainer to guide you through a correct, repeatable motion can help make the desired movement and mechanics familiar to your body. Once the muscles memorize how the proper swing feels during practice, the hitter will be able to work the barrel correctly through the zone without conscious awareness during the game, leaving nothing but the pitch to focus on at the plate.

PART II – The Science Behind Processing A Pitch

Considering a batter has only milliseconds to react to a pitch its imperative that all attention while in the box is given to quick decision-making.

From release of the pitch, a 95 MPH fastball takes about 400 ms to reach the plate and on average it takes a MLB player 150 ms to get their bat around. In addition, it takes approximately 100 ms for the brain to process an image, in this case the baseball, and 25 ms for the brain to send a signal to the body to swing. So, that leaves 125 ms to decide whether to swing or not, and how.

The batter must predict the balls path subject to a variety of pitch types. Since pitch recognition has to occur in a fourth of the amount of time it takes to blink, it is mostly a learned reaction. An experienced hitter’s brain is capable of anticipating information it has not yet received – identifying the possible trajectory of the ball before it even leaves the pitcher’s hand.

Once a decision is made, a signal in the eye sends a message to a part of the brain that controls the muscles. The brain must then send a signal to the muscles, telling them to swing. The batter has a 7 ms margin of error to connect with the ball. Swinging too early or too late will generally produce a swing and miss or weak contact. However, optimal timing and proper bat path through the strike zone allow for various points of contact, which helps the hitter impact the ball more consistently. Developing the muscle memory needed for keeping the barrel in the hitting zone for as long as possible increases a hitter’s chance of success each at bat and is one of the most important aspects of baseball hitting mechanics.

Share this
03 Jun

Batting Tips For Proper Baseball Swing Mechanics

BATTING TIPS:

FIXING THE THREE MOST COMMON FLAWS IN YOUR BASEBALL SWING MECHANICS

1.) CAST THE SWING

PROBLEM: Before players can use batting tips effectively, they must understand the root of the problem. Early arm extension through the swing process results in a mechanical flaw known as a cast. Batters who fully extend their front arm, or bar out, as they begin to swing find themselves in trouble before the ball even crosses the plate. As the barrel of the bat extends away from the hitter’s body on the initial approach it prevents the hitter from staying inside on the ball. This causes the barrel to wrap around the baseball, eliminating any chance of an opposite field hit. Along with no hits to the opposite field, batters who cast their swing also experience long, slow and weak swing paths making it nearly impossible to catch up to a good fastball.

SOLUTION: As the late great Ted Williams always said “hips before hands.” Initiating your hips before turning your inside shoulder helps prevent casting along with other baseball swing flaws. Once your hips have begun to rotate throw your hands at the ball while maintaining a solid bottom arm in a strong and slightly bent position. In other words the shaft of the bat stays close and tight to the back shoulder. This establishes more power from the beginning of a hitters swing to the end.

Batting Tips

BATTING TIPS: Repetition is key practicing your swing for just 2-3 minutes a day will help make a huge improvement. Casting while using the LineDrivePro will make it nearly impossible to fire a ball back up the middle. In order to get the desired trajectory the bat path and baseball swing mechanics have to be correct.

 

2.) UPPER CUTS

PROBLEM: Upper cutting your baseball swing is one of the most common mistakes baseball players continue to make. This leads to more strike outs and less contact during each plate appearance.
When a hitter initiates their swing by dropping their back shoulder typically the the barrel of the baseball bat will drop with it. Thus making it impossible to be short to contact and long through the hitting zone. The length on the backside of the swing causes the hitter to be late to contact. Even if contact is made the ball will be shot up in a fly ball trajectory or will be struck at an angle creating topspin rather than backspin, eliminating the opportunity for the ball to carry.

SOLUTION: Proper batting stance is important. The angle of the shoulder should be level or have the back shoulder slightly higher than the front shoulder. Staying tall and keep the eyesight square to the pitcher (without tilt) can help eliminate an uppercut swing path.

Batting Tips

BATTING TIPS: Check out the LDPT Baseball Hitting Target! While using this hitting aid players focus on sending line drives into the bullseye, staying away from uppercut swings.

 

3.) OVER STRIDE

PROBLEM: You can find baseball players at almost every level that are still under the impression that a bigger stride equals more power. This could not be further from the truth, in fact most of the time the hitter experiences a loss of power due to an extreme weight shift. A stride is meant to be used as a timing mechanism and nothing more. A big stride shifts your weight towards the back, causing your back leg, shoulder and hands to collapse. A big stride can also cause the hitter to lunge forward making it impossible to stay behind and inside the ball and making the swing longer. This can most noticeably be seen when a hitter ends up on one knee after his swing. The bigger your stride, the bigger chance for error you create. The more movement you have in your swing the harder it is to keep your head down and track the baseball. If your head is moving towards the ball while the ball is moving towards you it will seem like the pitch is coming at you with higher velocity than it actually is. One constant of all good hitters is the minimal amount of head movement throughout the swing.

SOLUTION: Fixing your stride can be as easy, you just have to understand the first step. Over stride is caused from bad timing, you want to always be “not too early, but not too late”. If a hitter has his foot down early his body will lose momentum. If it’s too late he will be behind with his swing resulting in poor contact or none at all. To help practice your timing think of reaching with your front foot rather than stepping. You want to be calm and relaxed. An overanxious or tense swing will throw your timing off and cause an over stride. Keep your stride short (but outside your shoulders) and smooth, you want the front foot to land with the weight on the inside of the foot. A short stride can be practiced but is not easily transitioned into a game. Once a batter sees a pitch coming towards them muscle memory kicks in causing an over stride again. Repetition is the key. Be patient as it take time and reps to change muscle memory and control of body movements. Refer to our Baseball Swing Mechanics Hitting Guide for more info on proper batting stance.

Baseball Hitting Tips

BATTING TIPS: Sometimes fixing your stride can be as simple as adjusting the distance between your feet. If your stride is too big, adjust your feet to be little further apart. Always remember, power comes from your hips not your stride. When you combine and apply these simple batting tips you should see huge improvements in your softball or baseball swing mechanics.

Share this
02 Dec

3 Quick Tips To Fix A Slow Swing

proper-training-ldpt1 – STOP BAD TRAINING HABITS

  • Practice hitting line drives, not home runs

Generally line drives develop into home runs over time. It’s important to master hitting drives up the middle and to the opposite field before trying to swing for the fences. As your baseball swing mechanics develop and get stronger you will start seeing doubles turn into home runs naturally.

  • Run rather than jog / lift faster rather than slow.

Baseball is a game of short bursts of strength, speed, and power. You can’t get faster by running slow laps around the warning track. Sprints and agility drills combined with explosive lifting to enhance fast twitch muscle fibers are key if you want to run faster and hit the ball harder. The goal is to train muscles to trigger faster and contract quickly, providing the short bursts of energy needed for stealing bases and a proper baseball swing.

 

 

 

 

2 – STAY LOOSEstay-loose-icon

It is important to feel comfortable at the plate so that you can block out distractions and concentrate on what’s important – seeing the pitch and utilizing the proper hitting mechanic. By staying relaxed you are able to avoid muscle tension, specifically in the arms and legs, and remain mentally focused which are the components needed to make hard contact consistently.

 

 

 

 

 

 

timing-ldpt3 – MAKE SURE SWING SEQUENCE  IS CORRECT

An effective swing is a fluid swing in which you unlock your body parts in order. Your stride should be early and easy, remembering that the majority of your power comes from your lower half, your hips lead your hands keeping your wrists locked until after extension.

Share this
12 Oct

Baseball Swing Mechanics Hitting Guide

IMPROVE BASEBALL SWING MECHANICS WITH THIS STEP-BY-STEP BASEBALL HITTING GUIDE FOR CONSISTENT CONTACT AND POWER THROUGHOUT THE SWING

1.) BASEBALL HITTING STANCE + LOAD/GATHER

Solid baseball swing mechanics start with a strong and balanced stance. The goal is to find a comfortable baseball stance that works for you – one that allows you to get to a powerful hitting position with consistent rhythm and timing. To promote proper balance your stance should be relaxed, not stiff. Making small movements while waiting for the pitch can relieve tension and help reduce rigidity in your form. As you “load” or gather your energy back and prepare to make a forward move into the ball, your weight should shift to the inside of the back leg. To build momentum you must go back before you go forward.

baseball swing mechanics

LDPT BASEBALL SWING MECHANICS PRO TIPS:

  • Practice getting in-sync with the pitcher while on-deck, but, generally, the best time to “load” is just as the pitcher starts his leg lift.
  • The load/gather stride should be early, slow and controlled.
  • Keep hips square and make sure your head and knee are inside back foot for optimal balance. (1)
  • Staying back will help prevent swinging with the upper body only, a flaw that reduces power and shortens the time the barrel is in the hitting zone. (2)


2.) BASEBALL HITTING MECHANICS FUNDAMENTALS

LOWER BODY ROTATION: Once a portion of your weight is on your back foot, you will want to keep the lower half of your body square to home plate and inside the ball. The first move with the lower half should be a compression – a pinch of the back knee toward the inner thigh of the stride leg. As your front hip rotates firing at the ball, the back foot will pivot, allowing you to explode forward. You do not want to “squish the bug” with your back foot, you want to drive from the ball of the foot, up the leg, and into the hip to generate power from the bottom up. This is the foundation of proper baseball swing mechanics.

CONNECTED UPPER BODY: Upper body motion should begin with the back elbow tucking into the rib cage, leading the hands toward the ball while remaining inside the front elbow. This gives you the ability to adjust to an outside pitch if needed. The hands should never work ahead of the back elbow or hip. If the back elbow, back hip, and hands do not sync correctly, you will end up pushing the barrel of the bat rather than releasing through the ball.

MOMENTUM AND TIMING: Hips before hands – when the lower half rotates, the upper half will spin and the bat will work through the hitting zone. With proper baseball swing mechanics the lower half (back knee) drives toward the pitcher, and the upper half (front shoulder) stays closed allowing weight transfer to occur naturally and the hands to work live and independent of the body.

baseball hitting and swing mechanics

LDPT BASEBALL SWING MECHANICS PRO TIPS:

  • A slight compression or pinch of the back knee into the inner thigh of the stride leg will keep the lower half square and inside the ball. (1)
  • The back elbow, back hip and hands should align perfectly. (2)
  • Keep head inside knees and knees inside feet. (3)
  • Don’t “squish the bug” during lower body rotation or stop forward momentum until the stride heel plants firmly into the ground. (4)


3.) BASEBALL CONTACT + BAT PATH

Contact is the moment of truth. The bat must meet the 3-inch spinning ball within an eighth of an inch of dead center and at precisely the right millisecond. This is why correct and calculated baseball swing mechanics are so important. During contact, the wrists should be straight and the hands should be in the “palm up/palm down” position. If you don’t have a strong grip, the bat will actually slow down or bounce off the ball. With proper hand position at contact you should be able to drive through the baseball. This is an important element in proper baseball hitting mechanics.

Connecting with the ball is one of the toughest components of baseball swing mechanics to master. Developing a proper bat path through the strike zone allows for various points of contact, helping you to hit the ball more consistently. This can only be obtained through repetitive baseball hitting drills that form muscle memory. Identifying the right movements and activating the correct muscle groups using our patented baseball swing trainer while swinging will instill the “feel” of proper baseball swing mechanics. With repetition, that “feel” will become second nature.

baseball swing mechanics

LDPT BASEBALL SWING MECHANICS PRO TIPS:

  • Hands should be in the “palm up/palm down” position.
  • Get in the zone as quickly as possible and keep the barrel in the hitting zone as long as possible for maximum points of contact.
  • You should finish your baseball swing with both arms fully extended and the end of the bat pointed out towards center field.

KEEP IN MIND…

When our subconscious sends a message to our muscles, it travels 10 times faster than a message coming from our conscious mind. One of the best things you can do come game time is to practice and put in work before the game. This will allow you to free yourself up and be confident at the plate. The only decision you should make as a hitter is to swing or not to swing. When at bat you want to define your goal (get a hit) without any thought on “how” to accomplish it. The “how” is achieved during your baseball hitting drill routine.  Being faithful to a daily hitting routine that incorporates the use of baseball hitting aids during hitting drills will enhance your ability to correct flaws and get a “feel” for proper baseball swing mechanics. The simple but effective baseball hittting drill shown below can help improve any player’s baseball swing mechanics in no time.

USE PROMO CODE “4PACK” AT CHECKOUT TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF OUR LIMITED TIME BUY 3, GET THE 4TH FREE SALE WHEN YOU ORDER ANY 4.

View More Baseball Swing Mechanics Videos

Share this
31 Aug

Baseball Hitting Drills

Using Baseball Hitting Aids To Teach Proper Baseball Swing Mechanics Effectively

The hardest concept to teach during baseball hitting drills, especially youth baseball hitting drills, is keeping the barrel in the hitting zone to achieve the ideal bat path. This one element of baseball swing mechanics is an absolute of all the great baseball hitting pros. If the hitter works across his or her body or gets outside the ball, it will launch to the pull side. If the hitter drops the barrel or carves a swing, the ball will launch to the opposite field. Firing a baseball or softball up the middle requires the hitter to learn correct baseball swing mechanics. Integrating baseball hitting aids like the LineDrivePro Trainer into your program’s hitting drills can help teach proper swing path fundamentals to any player in a short period of time.

A baseball hitting coach named Jacob Cruz designed a revolutionary baseball training aid to teach muscle memory and provide instant visual feedback – two mysteries many coaches find very hard to instill during batting practice or hitting drills. With continued use of the swing trainer during hitting drills, the proper “feel” of keeping the barrel in the zone is attained.

Here’s How To Implement The LineDrivePro Trainer Into Your Baseball Hitting Drills:

  • Begin hitting drills by attempting to launch balls up the middle, towards a desired target on a net or in the direction of the pitcher’s mound.
  • The hitter should pull the bat back in their regular hitting stance and swing with normal bat speed. For youth baseball hitting drills, start with holding the barrel out, pointing the LDPT baseball swing trainer towards the pitcher. Older players who understand palm up, palm down through the zone should start with the barrel out in front and the LDPT pointing towards the ground.
  • Hitters of all skill levels will receive instant visual feedback from the ball trajectory and can then make adjustments to their swing.
  • With continued repetition during your baseball hitting drills, the hitter will begin to feel the hands work longer through the zone as he/she consistently fires the ball back toward the pitcher or net.
  • After obtaining barrel control and the proper swing path, the hitter can work on intentionally firing balls to right field, left field, and back up the middle again.
  • The baseball hitting aid attaches to any bat and can be easily removed so that the player can move on to the next hitting station or live batting practice.

Why Is This One Of The Most Effective Baseball Hitting Drills?

  • Using the baseball hitting aid correctly, forces the hitter to maintain the barrel in the zone.
  • Proper bat path through the strike zone allows for various points of contact, which helps the hitter impact the ball more consistently.
  • The longer the barrel of the bat stays in the hitting zone, the less perfect the hitter’s timing needs to be to hit the ball well.
Share this
02 Jul

4 Tips For An Effective Baseball Offseason Training Program

Summertime is full of fun and exciting distractions. So, whether you are gaining momentum into your summer practice schedule or fighting to stay faithful to a softball or baseball training routine, it is important to keep in mind that if you apply yourself in the offseason, you will get results. To make the most of the time you spend in the gym and on the field this summer you may want to focus on these 4 areas to make next season your best season:

1.) Training For Consistent Power At The Plate

Basbeball Power Training

Most softball or baseball players with high batting averages hit the ball hard and often. To increase your ability to hit for maximum contact, you will want to add balance training and core work to your fitness program. To generate consistent power at the plate, lower body training is essential. The waist down is responsible for over 80% of power and bat speed. Training that focuses on the hips and other lower body areas will help encourage proper baseball swing mechanics. The proper hitting stance and weight distribution gives the hands a clean path to be able to keep the barrel working through the hitting zone longer. When the lower half spins, the upper half will spin and the bat will work in and out of the hitting zone. When the lower half (back knee) drives toward the pitcher, the upper half (front shoulder) stays closed. If done properly, the back side naturally knocks the front side out of the way allowing the hands to work independent of the body. Nothing is more important than staying inside the ball, behind the ball and through the ball. This is an absolute of all good hitters and requires core training.

 

2.) Include Baseball Speed Training

Baseball Speed Training

Speed and quickness are important for both base running and running down balls on defense. On the field, enhance foot speed and body control by integrating ground and fly ball drills. To increase speed you will want to incorporate a lower body workout as well as resistance running drills into your weekly training regiment. Lateral Strength Exercises and Sliding Lateral Lunges are perfect. Performing exercises that improve your ability to maintain a tight core during running can have a tremendous impact on your sprinting speed. Make sure your routine emphasizes hip and glute activation. The hips and glutes are critical areas for increasing your speed.

 

3.) Maximize Batting Practice With Baseball Training Aids

Baseball Training Aids

The best thing you can do for your swing is to keep batting practice simple. Work on fine-tuning your swing mechanics during batting practice with fundamental hitting drills using baseball training aids like the LineDrivePro Trainer. The correct angle at which the bat/barrel enter the hitting zone is crucial to consistent hard contact. When line drives are launched up the middle using our baseball training aid, the hitter knows that the angle is correct. It’s as simple as that.

 

4.) Develop A Strength & Conditioning Training Plan

Baseball Training

To help make tough plays look easy at any position, concentrate on agility and upper body strength training. Plan and stick to a routine to make sure you’re hitting the gym at least 3 to 4 times a week. It’s no secret that the best players on the field are the first and last players in the gym. Segmenting your weekly workout schedule will help reduce boredom and allow you to rest certain major muscle groups without avoiding the gym. On the days when motivation is lacking, try to keep in mind that developing a routine over summer and sticking to it is your best opportunity for seeing serious improvement before next season.

Share this
26 Mar

Baseball Hitting Aids Are The Best Coaches

Recently I went to the little league park just to sit, relax, and watch a baseball game. As I walked through the clover of baseball fields I heard a coach exclaim, “Johnny get your elbow up. Get it UP!” Then my attention was drawn to the baseball field on my left where I heard another coach yell to his player, “Get that elbow down. Get it DOWN!” This conflicting information got my wheels turning and I began to think about what we as coaches tell our kids. Again, I heard the voice of the first coach, “Son, you need to stay back.” and seconds later, “Be aggressive. Go get the ball,” rung out from the coach on the opposite field. I went to the park knowing that the team likely to win would be the one who made the fewest errors and I left thinking about the impact misinformation can have on a baseball player’s development.

So what message are we sending our kids who we expect to do well? We buy them fancy cleats, the big league glove, the magnetic wristband that is supposed to increases power. But where do we go to buy the right information to help our kids succeed in a very difficult sport? We can enroll them in expensive private lessons, with the hope that the instructor can connect with our hitter. After all, there are an abundance of individuals willing to sell their expertise to help your son or daughter become a better hitter. The problem lies in that anyone can offer private instruction, yet we are not all experts.

More frequently we rely on the advice that is most readily available, and often free, to our child. Being a dad and coach myself, I can say that most dads and coaches believe that their information is correct. If I read it in a book, saw it on Youtube, or heard other coaches give the same advice it must be true, right? Baseball is a sport that is such a part of our culture that overtime many aspects of the game have been simplified so that anyone can understand the basics. However, any player will tell you that baseball is anything but simple. It’s a tough sport to succeed at, only made harder by bad instruction provided with the best of intentions.

So how do parents with limited or no baseball experience help young athletes become the best players possible? Fortunately, a new baseball hitting aid and training device just entered the market that helps to make hitters better and coaching simpler. The LineDrivePro Trainer has been quoted as being “ingenious, absolutely simple and effective.” We all know that good hitters manage to keep the barrel of the bat in the hitting zone, but how is this taught? How does a player know if his/her swing is good or not? How do they know that the drills they are working hard at are working to make them better? Unlike traditional tee practice which can inevitably promote swinging without a purpose, the LineDrivePro Trainer provides instant feedback so that your hitter can make beneficial adjustment to their baseball swing mechanics rather than reinforce bad hitting habits.

As a coach my goal is to guide a hitter to learn how to fire the baseball back at the pitcher. Again, this is often easier said than done and since instruction doesn’t always translate seamlessly into an intended action, The LineDrivePro Trainer was developed to takes the guess work out of finding the right swing. The product is a cup that attaches to any bat that is designed to release a ball with the force of the hitter’s swing. If the hitter is able to fire the baseball up the middle then the bat was in the zone. If the hitter fires the baseball anywhere else, the barrel did not work properly. It is the only baseball hitting aid that truly simplifies the tough process of developing good baseball swing mechanics to the point that all the hitter needs to do is consistently fire balls up the middle. Feel it. See It. Hear it. Keep doing what works and repeat. That’s it! Your hitter will quickly learn how to keep their barrel in the hitting zone and with continued use of the LineDrivePro Trainer they will develop the muscle memory to succeed at one of the hardest things to do in sports.

Share this

© 2015 LineDrivePro Trainer.  Website: Design By Theory