Ahead Of The Curve with Jonathan Gelnar

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May 16, 2019  

100: Tanner Swanson- MiLB Catching Coordinator, Minnesota Twins

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Summary

In this episode of Ahead of the Curve, I talk with Tanner Swanson, minor league Catching Coordinator with the Minnesota Twins. He shares about his journey of coaching and teaching and how that has led him to this point in his career. He shares incredible insight into the importance and mechanics of solid catching techniques, and brings a wealth of insight to the catching position.

Episode Highlights:

  • Tanner grew up playing baseball in a small town and had positive experiences and connections with coaches.

  • Gained an interest in teaching and coaching in college.

  • Shares about how catching has shaped his career, and how he got to spend focused time on teaching the catching program at the University of Washington.

  • Tanner talks about the parallel of the catching position and middle linebacker, as opposed to the quarterback analogy typical used.

  • Tanner shares about the importance of framing metrics in the catching position.

  • There's more complexity to stances than just 2 stances.

  • Tanner shares some insight into a variety of positions for different situations, and how varying setups and hand positions affect outcomes.

  • A deep dive into receiving position

  • Important to understand the pitcher's mix and qualities  

  • Discussion on varieties of extension styles and manipulations  

  • 3 keys to high level throws

  • Importance “on the field” communication for catchers.

  • Discuss next phase of motion technology

 

3 Key Points:

  1.     When you step back and look at anything from a distance, it allows you to question and see things from a different perspective.

  2.    Developing a versatile, well-rounded skill set needs to be the foundation.

  3.    We need more voices to come forward and push the catching position forward.

 

Tweetable Quotes:

  • “Coaching is teaching, and they parallel each other.” – Tanner Swanson

  • “Good ideas, inspiration, and creativity are drawn from asking the right questions.” – Tanner Swanson

  • “A catcher has to be very instinctive, very reactive, and has to have really advanced perceptive skills to be able to read, react, and respond to a lot of different variables in a really short amount of time.” – Tanner Swanson

  • “It's important to start prioritizing your training economy based on what actually happens in competition” – Tanner Swanson

  • “Not a single catcher in baseball is a better pitch framer from a big, active secondary stance.” – Tanner Swanson

  • "The key to the strike zone is down, being able to dominate the bottom of the strike zone is critical." - Tanner Swanson

  • "Down is better than up, right is better than left." - Travis Swanson

  • "We should be promoting what we want pitchers to do, not what we want them to avoid. - Tanner Swanson

Resources Mentioned:

Website and Social Media sites for the show 

www.aotcpodcast.com

Twitter

@aotc_podcast

Facebook

Ahead of the Curve Coaches Facebook group

Instagram

aotc_podcast

May 9, 2019  

99: Rob Benjamin- Hitting Coach, Riot Hitting (NY)

This episode is brought to you by baseballcloud and OnBaseU.

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Summary:

In this episode of Ahead of the Curve, I welcome Rob Benjamin, a highly experienced baseball hitting trainer at R.I.O.T. Hitting based in the New York City area. Rob Benjamin discusses how to help players break out of their stiff batting routines, and become more adaptable to real game situations. Rob also expresses important processes to assist hitters gaining movement solutions and degrees of freedom in their swings.

Show Notes:

  • Guest: Rob Benjamin, baseball hitting trainer at R.I.O.T. Hitting

  • Rob Benjamin shares his upbringing in Puerto Rico and New York City playing baseball

  • His journey towards coaching began in the early 2000s

  • Who is the player, what is their hitting experience, and what are their parents’ concerns

  • Video review includes dissecting major league hitting swings

  • Recreate the unpredictability of the real game in the batter’s box

  • Playing sound effects of loud crowd noises helps players prepare for game distractions

  • Player assessment involves using video to help evaluate them

  • How does Rob Benjamin help clean up player’s movement patterns

  • Many players have been overcoached to the point that their body’s move too robotically

  • Players need to trust you to communicate what they need

  • How do you coach the timing of hitting

  • The swing starts as soon as the foot lifts off of the ground

  • What should be the focus when using videos for training

  • Do players have too many degrees of freedom to their swing

  • Bridge the gap between training information and the experience of movement solutions

  • What are training drills that Rob Benjamin’s players love

  • Watching his own children develop is an enlightening experience for Rob

  • Look for challenges and obstacles, and embrace failure

3 Key Points:

  1.  Having a successful bat swing includes the launch, the barrell, and de-excelleration.

  2.  Techniques during hit training include: throwing screens up, ball drop drills, and two pitchers throwing at the same time.

  3.  Know what your players’ goals are.  

Tweetable Quotes:

  • “I want to see these players adapt.” - Rob Benjamin (10:21)

  • “Being the ‘teacher king,’ I don’t want to do that. I want the environment to do that for me.” - Rob Benjamin (12:27)

  • “Some kids have been so over-coached that a lot of the athleticism has been stripped from their bodies.” - Rob Benjamin (26:53)

  • “It’s important that you create a foundation of trust so they can talk.” - Rob Benjamin (29:10)

  • “I want them to make one choice...hit the baseball.” - Rob Benjamin (36:32)

  • “Figure out how players learn with respect to stable components of their swing.” - Rob Benjamin (41:47)

Resources Mentioned:

Website and Social Media sites for the show 
May 2, 2019  

98: Marty Smith- Head Baseball Coach, The College of Central Florida

This episode is brought to you by baseballcloud and OnBaseU.

Summary:

In this episode of Ahead of the Curve, I welcome Marty Smith, the Head Baseball Coach for the Central Florida Patriots at the College of Central Florida. Marty Smith is overflowing with essential experience, going into his 25th season, and having won two FCSAA state championships, rewarded twice as FCSAA Coach of the Year, and is also a five-time Mid-Florida Conference Coach of the Year. Gain some applicable training advice, ways to personalize methods to players, and what it takes to shape a successful team culture.

 

Show Notes:

  • Guest: Marty Smith, Head Baseball Coach at the College of Central Florida

  • What has Marty Smith’s career in baseball consisted of

  • How has Marty put his training team together

  • What are some intentional things that Marty Smith has done to built the team culture?

  • What are the expectations that Marty has for his players

  • How does his fall training structure look

  • Marty gives players the chance to eat during practice

  • How are players trained to address individual issues

  • What numbers are they tracking for their players to monitor success

  • How is his typical spring training program look

  • Which baseball machines does Marty Smith utilize for his team

  • What machine did Barry Bonds use that Coach Smith has learned from

  • What advice would Marty Smith give to his younger self and current coaches

  • Dive into useful Twitter feeds and keep reading about strategies to get better

  • Don’t be afraid to make mistakes...and learn from those mistakes

  • “The Performance Cortex” is a heavy book that Marty Smith is reading now

  • What are the training drills that Coach Smith’s players love

 

3 Key Points:

  1.  Establish the work ethic, credibility and respect that will last beyond your time on the team.

  2.  If you had a bad game, let your team know that it wasn’t because you didn’t work hard.

  3.  Be a coach for the love of the game and keep making yourself valuable.

Tweetable Quotes:

  • “Last year, breaking our records for home runs, it was crazy. We hit 95 home runs in 46 games. Our record before that was like 55.” - Marty Smith (07:39)

  • “I’ll take the credit for being smart enough to trust my assistants.” - Marty Smith (10:22)

  • “We want our culture to be a happy, content, smiling fun group to be around that want to play for each other, whether we win or lose.” - Marty Smith (11:21)

  • “When you’re winning and your hitting home runs, and all of your guys are 90+ throwing. And you know that they’ve developed and have gotten better, and they are going to go to good schools from here. That’s kind of the culture we want.” - Marty Smith (12:08)

  • “Be on time. Go to class. Work hard. Lift hard. Be a good guy.” - Marty Smith (14:58)

  • “There is a fine line between killing your confidence and getting some confidence.” - Marty Smith (38:18)

  • “You can move up by being a smart guy, and being a nerd, and getting jobs in pro ball because you know things that other guys don’t.“ - Marty Smith (41:11)

Resources Mentioned:

Website and Social Media sites for the show 
April 25, 2019  

97: Cage Work with Doug Latta and Craig Hyatt Ep. 4

Episode 4 video

This episode is brought to you by baseballcloud and OnBaseU.

Summary:

 

In this episode of Ahead of the Curve, I proceed forward in the discussion with Craig Hyatt, the Hitting Coach at East Valley High School in Yakima Washington, and Doug Latta a hitting trainer from Bally Yard based in Northridge California. This fourth episode covers topics related to drills to improve movement of the heel and foot kicks during the swinging process. Gain some guidance on how to create more consistent hitters that can self-correct their process.

Show Notes:

  • Guests: Craig Hyatt, the Hitting Coach at East Valley High School in Yakima Washington, and Doug Latta a hitting trainer from Bally Yard based in Northridge California

  • Craig and Doug discuss a beneficial heel drill

  • How to create a backside drive into a front side brace

  • What is the “kick drill” for swinging

  • Any move that doesn’t allow your foot to release will jeopardize your line

  • How do you fix holes in your swing

  • What is a good process to hit a baseball

  • How many different body types do they see in high school

  • Hitting the ball hard is a myth

  • Get consistent in your hitting path

  • Learn how to self-correct your swing

  • Avoid cookie-cutter coaching advice

  • Move forward from mistakes

  • Getting upset and emotional makes a player unbalanced

 

3 Key Points:

  1. It is natural for the body to want to kick during a swing.

  2.  All we can do as a hitter is go on time, find a good balance point, and take a swing.

  3.  Vision and timing are a part of balance.

Tweetable Quotes:

  • “If the front foot comes up underneath my hip, I carry athletically.” - Doug Latta (2:45)
  • “I’m going to keep the foot, knee, and hip together, even in a practice.” - Doug Latta (3:54)
  • “A lot of people say ‘keep that foot down’ Don’t you dare, that’s an anchor.’” - Doug Latta (8:12)
  • “You’ve got to be able to do damage on any pitch.” - Doug Latta (10:14)
  • “He just missed that pitch. Don’t throw it again because he won’t miss it twice.” - Doug Latta (11:40)
  • “Why do people quit playing baseball? Because they can’t hit. This game is no fun when you can’t hit.” - Doug Latta (14:13)
  • “Strength compliments a swing. It doesn’t define a swing.” - Doug Latta (16:50)
  • “The key is, the more they understand their body and feel it, they're going to be able to fix.” - Doug Latta (19:22)

 

Resources Mentioned:

Website and Social Media sites for the show 
April 18, 2019  

96: Cage Work with Doug Latta and Craig Hyatt Ep. 3

YouTube Video

This episode is brought to you by baseballcloud and OnBaseU.

Summary:

In this episode of Ahead of the Curve, I continue the discussion with Craig Hyatt, the Hitting Coach at East Valley High School in Yakima Washington, and Doug Latta a hitting trainer from Bally Yard based in Northridge California. During this third installment of our talk, we get into the importance of developing a natural, clean hitting setup and establishing a fluid hitting range.

 

Show Notes:

  • Guests: Craig Hyatt, the Hitting Coach at East Valley High School in Yakima Washington, and Doug Latta a hitting trainer from Bally Yard based in Northridge California
  • “The Two Hand Under” move is explained by Craig Hyatt and Doug Latta
  • What has helped Craig become trained to see proper swings
  • Typically only hits and home runs are showcased, not the consistency level of a hitter
  • How do kids pick their hitting set-ups
  • What can we learn from the sound decibels of hits
  • What is the importance of having an effective range of contact
  • Which training drills are very beneficial for hitters
  • What is the movement called “moving into the staircase”
  • You have to have front side resistance to have back side
  • Every hitter has to operate on their own terms

 

3 Key Points:

  1.  Swing clean, free, and fast, but not necessarily harder.

  2.  Sound is loud and long at the point of contact during a hit.

  3.  A good miss is having a good position, with your energy driving towards the pitcher.

 

Tweetable Quotes:

  • “One major leaguer that I assembled some video for, who just ordered one season. I had 80-some videos of him, just in one season.” - Craig Hyatt (1:12)

  • “There is no ABC, 123, cookie-cutting way to make a hitter.” - Doug Latta (2:32)

  • “New hitters are going to grow. Even big leaguers change. But, there is not ’this is the perfect swing.’” - Doug Latta (2:48)

  • “People ask me all the time, with all the videos I’ve seen, ‘who is your favorite?’ I don’t know. My favorite is the player’s best swing.” - Craig Hyatt (2:59)

  • “I don’t fix swings. I fix setups.” - Craig Hyatt (3:48)

  • “If we get in a good set-up, it will create a good first move, that will get the balance, and everything takes care of itself after that.” - Craig Hyatt (5:00)

  • “My shoulders need to stay very level in my move in order for me to have balance. Because if my shoulders go downhill, I’m going to fall, I’m going to rush, and I’m going to come in and out of the zone.” - Doug Latta (13:30)

  • “It is not easy to spin, which is not a natural move for the body.” - Doug Latta (22:25)

Resources Mentioned:

Website and Social Media sites for the show 
April 11, 2019  

95: Cage Work with Doug Latta and Craig Hyatt Ep. 2

Episode 2 YouTube Link

This episode is brought to you by baseballcloud and OnBaseU.

Summary:

In this episode of Ahead of the Curve, I join in on the discussion with Craig Hyatt, the Hitting Coach at East Valley High School in Yakima Washington, and Doug Latta a hitting trainer from BallYard based in Northridge California. We break down the impact of balance in leveraging the power and abilities of the human body, and how to break bad habits that are hurting hitters.

Show Notes:

  • Guests: Craig Hyatt, the Hitting Coach at East Valley High School in Yakima Washington, and Doug Latta a hitting trainer from Bally Yard based in Northridge California

  • How do they define balance and why do we need it

  • What is the biggest grind move

  • Describe what people mean by “get into the ground”

  • How can coaches get their players moving more effectively

  • Why can tennis drills improve hitting

  • How can hockey slap shot drills benefit baseball hitting

  • Backspin is built in when you hit through a spin

  • How does tennis showcase how players create power

  • Homes runs come from being smooth and productive with your body

  • You have got to have consistency

  • What is a the hitting strategy called “shut piece”

  • How prevalent is the analysis of  high school player stats and data

  • You have to hit through each pitch

  • What does it mean to have a soft entry into the zone

  • Don’t hit your pitches with your front arm

  • Video and data can show a hitter what their body is doing

3 Key Points:

  1. The body works better from a position of balance.

  2. Tennis drills offer players the chance to feel proper body movement when hitting.

  3. One hit every two weeks, at the big league level, is 20 points towards your average

Tweetable Quotes:

  • “I have a very strong bias for balance. I think it is elemental to the way bodies move.” - Craig Hyatt (01:35)

  • “I really think tennis and actually throwing are the best ways that really exemplify how our bodies should move when we hit.” - Doug Latta (13:18)

  • “We really hit balls in a line and in a rectangle.” - Doug Latta (17:38)

  • “The thing with tennis, all the bodies are different. So there is variation of how guys create power, but they also need to be consistent, they need to hit the ball in a certain direction.” - Craig Hyatt (21:08)

  • “‘I worked really hard to hit that home run.’ No, you hit that homerun because you were clean and efficient with your body.” - Craig Hyatt (22:37)

  • “Most young hitters and a lot of professional hitters have big shoulder moves. And if we don’t get those out of them, they aren’t going any farther.” - Doug Latta (24:36)

  • “Once we get down to balance, the one key I want and give people is, you have to hit through every pitch you see.” - Doug Latta (30:33)

  • “Train young hitters so that they have the same basic moves that they’re going to have up the latter, and their adjustments become internal.” - Doug Latta (31:40)

Resources Mentioned:

Website and Social Media sites for the show 
April 4, 2019  

94: Cage Work with Doug Latta and Craig Hyatt Ep. 1

Episode 1 YouTube Link

This episode is brought to you by baseballcloud and OnBaseU.

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Summary:

In this episode of Ahead of the Curve, I welcome Craig Hyatt, the Hitting Coach at East Valley High School in Yakima Washington and Doug Latta a hitting trainer from Bally Yard based in Northridge California. Craig and Doug have an informative discussion about how to perfect batting swings through balance, posture, vision, timing, coverage, and body awareness. Learn how to identify and break the cycle of flaws that hitters often carry along into their careers if not stopped early on.

Show Notes:

  • Guest: Craig Hyatt, Baseball Coach and Doug Latta,

  • What is Craig Hyatt’s training currently focusing on

  • Doug Latta has been working on trying to match posture with control

  • You don’t really need a lot of space to hit the ball

  • How can you determine when your posture breaks

  • What does it take to create a hitter with body awareness and balance

  • What are some of the problems that hitters face

  • Get awareness of your body along with your swing

  • 90% of what you do as a hitter is not swinging, but preparing to swing

  • Hitters are losing coverage and time through body moves that they think are strong

  • If your shoulders are up you are out of your legs and are shoulder-driven

  • Tennis is a better overlay than golf for how your body should swing a baseball bat

  • A good swing should feel effortless without the body grinding

  • The bat will do what your body does

  • At some point your repeated flaws will bring your game to a grueling halt

  • Even the best are always working on their game

  • With the right dynamics you can put your full body weight into your swing

  • Pitch recognition is important to technique

  • You want your heels down as long as they can be during your swing

3 Key Points:

  1.  If you throw a baseball slow motion you control it with the back leg.

  2.  When the brain is off balance it fires muscles against what the body is trying to do.

  3.  Many of the big league problems with hitters come from timing of their swing.

 Tweetable Quotes:

  • “We are really trying to concentrate on doing a good forward move...but finding out the muscles that really achieve that move so we can control it.” - Craig Hyatt (00:22)

  • “We’ve got to try to match our alignment, our posture, on the move at the same time.” - Doug Latta (03:24)

  • “Some hitters are great enough to survive flaws. Well, 99.99% of the people aren’t going to.” - Craig Hyatt (4:51)

  • “Our move to 50-50 is a lot easier if I’m in balance and my posture holds.” - Craig Hyatt (6:38)

  • “The minute my posture breaks a little bit, lots of things go wrong.” - Craig Hyatt (6:45)

  • “If you can create a hitter that has total body awareness, but they know what move and what muscles is going to get them to that spot, you can create consistency over a long period of time.” - Doug Latta (9:38)

  • “There is game time, and game time in adjustments.“ - Craig Hyatt (11:05)

  • “I want to hit through every pitch I see.” - Craig Hyatt (24:08)

Resources Mentioned:

 
Website and Social Media sites for the show 

 

March 28, 2019  

93: Jeff Sherman- Head Baseball Coach, Marcus HS (TX)

This episode is brought to you by baseballcloud and OnBaseU.

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Summary:

In this episode of Ahead of the Curve, I welcome Jeff Sherman, the  Head Coach of baseball at Marcus High School in Flower Mound, Texas. In our discussion, Jeff Sherman imparts the wisdom he has accumulated over his seven years at Marcus, methods of addressing deficiencies in players, and preparing players for real game scenarios. Coach Sherman also focuses how to turn players into productive citizens to excel beyond the game itself.

Show Notes:

  • Guest: Jeff Sherman, Head Coach for baseball at Marcus High Schoo

  • Four years of being a financial planner prepped Jeff Sherman for baseball coaching

  • Sherman’s fall training plan improves movement, cognitive abilities, flexibility, and team mentality

  • People scout you. People know your deficiencies. People don’t like you.

  • Learn how to respond in a “jungle mentality” to evolve out of the safe, controlled “zoo mentality”

  • The pitcher/batter confrontation in baseball has a clear winner/loser dynamic to see who lets their team down

  • “The Pack” is family, unity, selflessness, and serving others

  • A young cancer patient watches the team place to gain strength and hope

  • Serving the community teaches the team that life is bigger than baseball

  • The culture of Marcus baseball is building strong relationships with others

  • If kids are struggling at something, make it harder for them

  • Coach Sherman handles the hitting and infield work for personal development training

  • Recreate the movement that will happen in a real game

  • Games are lost, not won, based on base running

  • Half hour movement and hitting training feature drag bunting, infield, outfield, and hitting the center of the baseball

  • Batting practice includes power ground balls, line drives up the middle, and batting cages

  • Lay out and getting dirty creates a strong live game mentality

  • Data helps track pitching and hitting

  • Be honest with players and don’t mislead them

  • Self-motivation declines when you aren’t playing

  • Parents are a huge part of what makes a coach successful with their players

  • All sports have about 5 million unpaid coaches, 2 million each year of which are new

  • “Development night” every Thursday sharpens up players and coaches

  • You live once, what will be your impact?

3 Key Points:

  1.    Experiment, always be learning, and understand what failure is.

  2.  “Jungle mentality” is understanding how to respond and survive compared to “zoo mentality” of a controlled environment.

  3.  When you work hard and give all you've got, you are always a winner.

Tweetable Quotes:

  • “Failure is something that we want them to experience.” - Jeff Sherman (4:04)

  • “For my guys, its a win or a loss.” - Jeff Sherman (10:53)

  • “There is something very, very cool about watching a pitcher and a hitter. That’s like awesome watching that battle between the two, because, there is a winner and a loser.” - Jeff Sherman (14:59)

  • “I want them to be bold leaders and speak up when things aren’t right, and serve others.” - Jeff Sherman (18:35)

  • “It’s not about you, it’s about the relationships that you build with others.” - Jeff Sherman (20:53)

  • “I always thought a negative plus a negative equals a positive.” - Jeff Sherman (23:02)

Resources Mentioned:

Website and Social Media sites for the show 
March 21, 2019  

92: Dave Coggin- Former Major League Baseball player, current owner of Performance Fitness for Athletes (CA)

This episode is brought to you by baseballcloud and OnBaseU.

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Summary:

In this episode of Ahead of the Curve, I welcome Dave Coggin, former Major League Baseball player, author, and owner of PFA Fitness. Dave Coggin talks about the best practices to intensify pitching and create more command over the ball. Dave also shares own his personal journey from a professional athlete, to his inspiring evolution as a performance trainer and owner of PFA Fitness.

 

Show Notes:

  • Guest: Dave Coggin, former Major League Baseball player, author, and owner of PFA Fitness

  • How did Dave Coggin get involved in baseball from being a three-sport athlete

  • What major league baseball teams did Dave play for

  • Where did Dave Coggin’s involvement in injury-prevention and performance stem from

  • Volunteering, even after playing professionally, opened up new opportunities for Dave

  • Arm path and mechanics are popular areas that athletes come to PFA Fitness for

  • Pitching habits need to be addressed before you can improve them

  • Understand how the body has to act to move properly

  • What are the most common problems Dave sees with arm path

  • Which examples of major league pitchers does Dave Coggin use for examples

  • Your arm is like a whip when you are pitching

  • What are the physical assessments that PFA Fitness conducts on players

  • How has PTA Fitness been intentional about building their culture

  • What is Dave’s advice to make individualized plans for pitchers

  • How do you develop velocity and command of the pitch

  • If you control intensity, you can have more volume

  • What would a typical week look like for players training with PFA Fitness

  • Find ways to keep things competitive for your players

 

3 Key Points:

  1.    Be humble and don’t burn any bridges because you may need to cross them in the future.

  2.  Look for flaws in pitching habits, the best arm paths, and then make up drills to improve habits.

  3.  When the elbow is right at armpit height, goes into the lay back,’ and stays in that level, that’s the sweet spot for almost effortless pitching power.

 

Tweetable Quotes:

  • “I never treated anyone differently that was either the president of a major league team, down to the club house of a Single A team.” - Dave Coggin (05:31)

  • “I don’t rarely ever talk about my resume. I just try to make sure I do what I do, the best I can do.” - Dave Coggin (09:25)

  • “The most important part that everybody kind of comes to me for is the arm path and mechanics side of things.” - Dave Coggin (11:07)

  • “I always tell these kids, 95% of your throws are not on a mound. So, 95% of your habits, good or bad, are in that place that you call your warm-up or your throwing.” - Dave Coggin (12:00)

  • “We want the efficiency to be enhanced by the athleticism.” - Dave Coggin (16:28)

  • “Success leaves clues.” - Jonathan Gelnar (1:08:33)

 

Resources Mentioned:

Website and Social Media sites for the show 
March 14, 2019  

91: Dr. Fadde- Professor and Chief Science Officer for gameSense Sports

This episode is brought to you by baseballcloud and OnBaseU.

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Summary:

In this episode of Ahead of the Curve, I welcome Dr. Peter Fadde, pitch recognition expert, Chief Officer and Co-Founder of gameSense, and Associate Professor of Learning Systems Design & Technology at Southern Illinois University. Dr. Peter Fadde breaks down the science of pitch recognition and the valuable methods of training hitters to achieve this skill. Coach Sherman also explains occlusion training, and ways that his pitch recognition product at gameSense is preparing players and coaches to implement it into their training regimens.

 

Show Notes:

  • Guest: Dr. Peter Fadde, Chief Officer and Co-Founder of gameSense, and Associate Professor of Learning Systems Design & Technology at Southern Illinois University

  • Dr. Fadde explains the benefits of occlusion training

  • Dillan Lawson’s presentation at Slugfest used a soccer player kicking a goal with the lights turned off 2/3 of the way to teach occlusion training

  • What is “pitch recognition” and how is it different from “plate discipline?”

  • Dr. Fadde’s occlusion training offers the batter’s view point facing the pitcher with a maximum possible score of 250

  • Video cued tee work is tee work that includes the timing off of the pitcher

  • Hitting baseballs is not like hitting golf balls or baseballs off of a tee

  • Vision training focuses on visual skills like dynamic tracking, acuity, peripheral vision, and focus

  • Pitch recognition should help hitters get the feel of the pitcher’s wind-up

  • If you aren’t looking at a pitcher, then it isn’t really pitch recognition

  • Live drills for hitters to call out “yes” or “no” on a particular pitch type before the ball hits the catcher’s mitt strengthens pitch recognition

  • The best form of pitch recognition is standing in the bullpen

  • Mike Schmidt wrote a fantastic books on hitting

  • Attention occlusion drills should keep the batter focusing on the pitcher, not the catcher

  • gameSense certified their first hitting coach Coach Killian at Elite Velocity in St. Louis, Missouri

  • Softball is getting a boast again from entering into the Olympics

 

3 Key Points:

  1.    Pitch recognition is the perceptual skill of making an actionable meaning out of the pitch you see.

  2.  Your eyes can’t track pitch speeds over 83 miles an hour all the way into the bat.

  3.  Visualize the pitcher. Visualize the pitch. Visualize hitting that pitch.  

 

Tweetable Quotes:

  • “If you can test it, you can train it.” - Dr. Peter Fadde (4:53)

  • “Human beings, and other animals, can learn incredible things with repetition, immediate feedback, and progressive difficulty.” - Dr. Peter Fadde (5:04)

  • “When we say, ‘somebody has a great instinct for it,’ well, that’s where we now say, ‘ok, let’s try to figure out exactly what that is.’” - Dr. Peter Fadde (6:32)

  • “Some guys like to have success at every level and build it up. And some guys just like to identify the wall they want to go through and then start smacking it.” - Dr. Peter Fadde (14:41)

  • “The best way to practice recognizing pitches is to look at pitches.” - Dr. Peter Fadde (30:56)

  • “A softball hitter really focusing on and getting good at pitch recognition could be looking at at a 20 or 25% improvement.” - Dr. Peter Fadde (51:20)

Resources Mentioned:

 

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