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Coaching Hitters Blog 1

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A high school player that was a hitting student of mine over the last three years came for a lesson this week after a 5 month layoff from high school football.  Although we hadn't worked on his swing, he had been making semi-frequent trips to the local batting cage to keep his swing in check.

Now as the high school season begins to get underway this Monday, he returned frustrated with his swing.  After two hacks, I saw he was "kissing" the ball (leaning his head too far forward) in an attempt to put backspin and weight on the ball.

This movement had altered his swing plane dramatically with an angle to the ball too steep to create FAT contact, AND with poor weight transfer caused by leaning his head over his front foot.

With a few small adjustments, I was able to correct his upper body lean and put his hands in the proper area to create a better, flatter swing path towards the baseball.  His head and weight now transfer more fluidly through his lower half and core and is able to transfer energy from lower to upper body with greater efficiency and control.

In today's game, he hit two hard shots and texted me the good news.

Coach Corral TIP:  Remembering what you are taught, then working in the mirror to keep tabs on your mechanics is a player's perfect solution to maintaining your mechanics.  Video work and pictures are also very helpful if you have access to this.

If you have a swing that you'd like me to look at, videotape yourself and email me about posting it on the site.  I'll send you feedback of your swing or anything else you'd like me to help with.

Yours in the game,

Ruben
 

Double Cut Relay Left Field Line

The Double Cut relay is one of the most beautifully choreagraphed plays in all of baseball.  The Double Cut is the defense's strongest weapon against balls hit down the line or in the alleys.  It requires speed, communication and quick decision making from all players on the field.  The relay's primary goal is to throw out the lead runner trying to score, while the secondary goal is to stop all runners from advancing extra bases.

A Double Cut situation is needed on ALL balls hit to the fence down the line or in the gaps.  In these cases, unless the runners are ridiculously slow, the defense must assume the runner(s) will advance at least two bases, so the defense will set up three (3) bases ahead of the lead runner.  In the flash video on the left, the offense starts with a runner on first base and a ball is hit down the left field line to the fence.

Step 1:  Immediately, the defense assumes a two-base advance, so the relay will be set up to throw to home plate (Runner 1st, three bases away).

Step 2:  Both LF and CF will sprint to the ball.  While the LF will most likely get to the ball first, the CF is there to help back up and help communicate the relay if necessary.  The RF moves down towards the infield to help back up a possible back pick throw to 2B.

Step 3:  The shortstop and second baseman will sprint into relay position, calling to the outfielders for the relay as loudly as possible.  In most cases, the shortstop will handle the lead relay while the second baseman positions himself 5 yards behind the shortstop to protect from any errant throws over the SS's head or short hops.  The relay must be seamless and any missed throws will allow the runners to advance and score, so the second baseman's responsibility is extremely important to this play.  In a perfect relay, you should be able to draw a straight line from the LF, through the relay INFs to the target; in this case, home plate.

Step 4:  While the third baseman covers 3B, the first baseman sprints to second base (trailing the runner) and awaits a possible back pick play to 2B.  This is extremely important, as more often than not, most of the attention is focused on the primary runner and a play at 3B or Home plate.  Many times, the trailing runner can lose focus and round 2B too far and can be back picked at 2B so LOOK FOR THIS PLAY.

Step 5:  The Catcher remains at home and directs the play, lining up the relay Infielders and making the final decision on which option the defense will take.

Option 1: (Primary Play) Relay to HOME
Option 2: Relay/Backpick to 3B
Option 3: Backpick to 2B

Shown at Left:  Option 2

In this video, the defense realizes that although the lead runner (primary play) will score, the batter runner can be easily thrown out at 3B.  The Catcher in this case makes the decision to divert the relay to 3B and nail the batter runner at 3rd.
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