Mechanics Are Over
We post a lot about mechanics at Baseball EDU. We also thought that in the past mechanics were everything in a baseball swing. By everything I really mean that I originally set out to learn as much as I could about swing mechanics as was available to me. I started my journey to better understand the Baseball swing a while back. I started with a very simple question that never was really answered for me when I played and early in my coaching career:
“What do great players do in their swing’s? How can I help players I coach learn those things? Why are these mechanics most successful?”
Pretty simple I thought. The answer would come easy I had assumed. Right? How much can really happen in a swing that takes less than a couple of seconds for a player to preform. I mean I was taught really simple, easy to follow mechanics when I was a player. How far off could those mechanics and cues be?
Was I wrong. About as wrong as you could be. The Baseball swings is complicated, complex, difficult to master, and just when you think you understand something about it, something else comes up that makes you question what is really happening.
I spent probably too much time researching, reading, asking questions from other really smart people on the topic, and I shut up and learned. This step wasn’t easy. Before I could try to learn what was going on in the swing I had to admit to myself that everything that I knew about hitting was probably wrong, and that I didn’t know anything. I want to say that I have done all this research and I still feel as though I don’t know anything. This was my first step in the process to learn about hitting mechanics. I have meet a lot of people who have researched a lot more than me who also admit that they know nothing about the swing so if you “think you know”…you don’t, and your probably fooling yourself.
After reading all the information that I could find, and figuring out on my own what I thought was decent information, and what I thought was bogus, I found that the swing is complicated, but simple, easy to master, but probably the hardest thing to perfect. (This part was also very difficult to start with because there is a lot of information out there for players and coaches to look at.)
See the basic level of mechanics in a baseball swing is very easy to learn. Most elite hitters do several things far better than anyone else. But I don’t want this article to be able that. I want to take my time here to explain why mechanics are over.
Most people around baseball have their own thoughts, and theories on the swing but I want to issue one to anyone out there who is focused on mechanics.
Mechanics teaching mechanics in a baseball players swing will be useless for them if they have little intent in their swing.
I want to define intent because I believe that it is often misunderstood. Intent is the main goal of the batter when you step into the batters box. When I played my main goal was to hit a ground ball to the right side of the infield, and ultimately my goal was accomplished, and I never played past high school. Proper mindset (intent) for a player and a coach should be something like this:
My main goal when I step into the box is to hit the baseball hard, and to get it into the air.
Now when I coach a player I ask them to set their goal of hitting a deep line drive to center field each time they grab a baseball bat. Often during different rounds of batting practice we ask players to keep the ball off the ground, or to just “Launch” the ball into the air. They no longer have to guess at what they should be doing. Or worry about how their mechanics look. It also frames their own understanding of what SHOULD be done. It doesn’t leave them guessing what they should be trying to do.
Players and coaches look to mechanics as a quick fix far too soon, far too early in player development. Mechanics should be left to players at advanced skill levels, and advanced levels of play. Youth coaches, and players should be focused on setting high goals for players to achieve.
In my own teaching I like to talk about mechanics because I think a lot of it is interesting to coaches and players. I think it creates good content to share on Social Media, and creates buzz. But the fact of the matter is that players should only really focus on this type of information once they are at higher levels of baseball. Youth players shouldn’t be focused on their own swings but rather the outcome of the swing, and the results that the swing produces.
Coaches should focus on being creative with their own teaching, and their own practice times so that they can create an environment for players to play, practice, having the intent to do damage. If players can leave Little League, and lower levels of Baseball with a love for the game, and a solid mindset to hit the ball hard, and hit the ball into the air, ultimately they will have left those levels with solid skills, and mindsets that will benefit them heading into higher levels of competition.
Hope that you all have enjoyed this. If you have feel free to like our page @baseballedu on instagram, and @coachrodrigues2 on twitter!