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Jan 12, 2023

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The Hitting Chronicle

My guide to hitting development and college recruiting. 
 

Some weeks it will be on hitting, and others on college recruiting.
 

Each newsletter will be released Tuesday @ 9 AM. 

 

Okay, let's get into today's post on the front shoulder. 


I was reflecting the other day on some of the most common mechanical flaws I see in hitters.


The most common one happens to be the one I struggled with the most as a player.

 

In today's post, I will explain how to help hitters keep their front shoulder closed.

 

If you've coached longer than 5 seconds, I'm sure you have had a player with an issue of keeping their front shoulder closed.

 

Most coaches don't focus on the root cause of why it happens, leaving them and the player frustrated.

 

  • Doing random drills won't fix this.

  • Thinking about mechanics won't help.

  • Lifting weights won't cure it.

  • Coach yelling, "keep your front shoulder closed," isn't going to cut it.

 

Every hitter will have this problem.

 

So why do so many hitters have this problem? And when I say hitters, I am talking about every level of baseball and softball.

 

I will make a strong statement and say that every hitter will have this come up at some point in their career.


Some less than others, but it will happen to all of them.

 

So when I had this thought the other day, I couldn't help but think, why is this the case?


Why do hitters at every single level of the game struggle with this issue?

 

I then realized it was normal.

 

It is normal for hitters to struggle with their "front shoulder flying open."

 

A few weeks ago, a friend came up to my cage.


He played baseball a long time ago but hasn't picked up a bat since he was a kid.

 

He walked into my cage, and I started to soft-toss him some balls.

 

Ground ball after ground ball to the pull side.

 

Was that because he was trying to hit a Home Run? 

 

Maybe but by the look of it, he just wanted to put the ball in play.

 

What I realized at the moment is the most natural thing for a player to do is pull their front shoulder out early.

 

Let's face it, the shoulder will technically pull out eventually, or your upper body doesn't turn at all, which would be awkward.


Here are the three steps I use to help hitter's keep their front shoulder in longer.


Simple, but not easy to repeat consistently. 

Step 1. Opposite Field 

 

How many kids get in the cage and start hitting to the opposite field immediately?


Less than 5%?

 

Focus on driving the ball to the opposite field when you get in the cage. 

 

That will help let the ball travel longer, keeping your front shoulder closed. 

 

Then after you have proven, you can do that, gradually start hitting the middle part of the field, and THEN you can work on pulling the ball.


Here's one of the best players in the world doing just that below. 

Step 2. Deliberate Practice

 

The old saying "work smarter, not harder" comes into play.

 

  • Don't count swings

  • Don't count how many buckets you hit.

 

The baseball gods don't give you brownie points for how many balls you hit.

 

I prefer you take 30 swings where you're so focused on what you're trying to do that you're mentally exhausted after vs. taking 100 mindless swings. 

 

One of the drills I like to have players do who struggle with their front shoulder flying open is to take a med ball (3-5 lbs is fine), slowly trace, and then re-trace their swing backward. 

 

The weight of the ball helps you feel your body and movement.

The second drill I have hitters do is use the Marv Training band.

It gets them focusing on keeping their front shoulder in before they pick a bat and get into 'hitting mode.'

Here is Nolan Arenado doing the drill.

Step 3. Consistency

 

I PROMISE you.

If you start each session working opposite field and focus on every swing when you're hitting, you will keep your front shoulder closed longer. 

 

Most fail because they don't stick with it long enough.


Everyone underestimates the commitment to improve at anything, much less the hardest thing to do in sports. 

 

Focus on it six days a week for the next six months. 

 

And I promise...

 

You will get better.


Thanks, 
Patrick

College Recruiting Help.

 

I am currently taking on new players for my college recruiting service

If interested please email: [email protected]