Monthly Archives: November 2014

Things to Remember in applying the Principle of Batting Perfection:

 Reduce Margins for Error Baseball_Strike_Out 5Strike-out 3strike-out

 

In all walks of Life, from a professional baseball player to a rock musician, from parenting to managing a business, a respectable accomplishment can be ultimately attained only after the process of trial and error has been satisfactorily consummated with a high-quality finished product. Until that has happened, one can assume that, in all of these life-challenges, the margins for error that seem to be natural retardants to proper development have not been reduced sufficiently to produce a genuinely finished product.

A legitimate “prospect” for becoming a proficient baseball player eventually must master all the intricate details for hitting (and throwing) a baseball effectively. He will never make it “Big” until his concept of “hitting” (or throwing) complies with the principle that is the most probable means for facilitating optimal proficiency.  The principle of Batting (and Throwing) is the scientific application of body-mechanics, based on the understanding of factors that influence the effect that the bat has on a “pitched” ball (and the effect that body, arm, hand, and fingers have on the ball thrown).

As most ardent sports enthusiasts already know “hitting a baseball effectively is the single-most difficult act to perform in all of Sports.” Why? No other individual sport-skill encompasses the variety of challenging variables that a batter has to “put in order” to be a proficient “hitter.”

Along with physical attributes of strength, flexibility, quickness, balance, and coordination, as well as the mental accoutrements of courage, confidence, determination, and fortitude, the proficient bats-man must ascribe to a technique of proper mechanics that facilitates the most probable means for making solid contact with a pitched baseball in what is considered an acceptable proportion of his “at-bats.”

In professional baseball, batting averages ranging from .300 to .399 are considered high quality hitting, with an annotation of “superlative” attached to those that exceed the .350 mark or flaunt with the barrier of .400. But most ball-players fall far short of consistent .300 – hitting prowess.

Natural athletic ability does not seem preponderant in determining batting proficiency at the highest level. All batters seem to have their own individualistic style for expressing their highest hopes of masterful bats-man-ship.

There does not seem to be a standard approach (“techne”) that would be considered fundamental to the purpose of maximum efficiency in hitting a baseball. Some players stand tall; others crouch low. Some hold their hands and bat high, while others hold them low.

Players address the “plate” in either an open, closed, or even stance. Most batters take a stride, either away, toward the plate, or toward the ball (or practice a “high leg-kick”). They tend to push off the back foot while straightening the back leg as the weight of the body is either trying to stay back or lunge forward.

Some hitters think that maintaining even shoulders while swinging will facilitate a “level swing” for effective line-drive contact. Others perceive that by swinging downward onto the front part of the ball, the bat will effect a “back-spin” on the ball that will allow it to carry through the air longer and farther. Some batters cock their wrists back for extra power, and consider themselves “wrist-hitters” when they exhibit fast hands while rolling the bat through the ball quickly. Some batters maintain loose hands and wrists while they are swinging so that relaxed muscles will propel the bat more quickly through the strike zone. And still others (like Babe Ruth) squeeze the bat tightly, from start to finish, and rely on the speed and strength of the turning body to impact the bat onto the ball with a force to counteract the speed and power of the pitch.

From the contents of the preceding paragraph, is it possible to delineate the characteristics that might lead to the creation of what could be considered the quintessential professional bats-man? The answer is NO!

The pronounced characteristics mentioned in the foregoing illustration enumerate the “margins of error” that exacerbate the promising intentions of all prominent prospects for batting excellence:

  1. A “Tall” stance Chris Davis (Stance)creates a large and easy strike zone for the pitcher, as well as proposes a line of vision for the batter’s eyes that transcends countless horizontal planes in following the flight of the ball to the plateyasiel Puig 1. The eyes that will see the pitched ball most clearly are those that come as closely as possible to the level of the ball in flightJoe Morgan1. Also, the taller the stance, the higher the center-of-gravity, the weaker and slower the body’s action, the lesser the prospect for a most effective swing.
  2. When the batter’s hands and bat are held highMatt Kemp 16, he unwittingly has created for himself a high center-of-gravity, which for all practical purposes diminishes the leverage by which the maximum speed of the body can be facilitated in turning the hips and shoulders. A low stance, with bat and hands at the level of highest strike, facilitate the fastest body action(Joe Morgan – above).
  3. Of the three stances, the open-stance is the most deleterious to proficient batting Shawn Green 3because it tends to force the batter to stride toward the plate and therefore makes him vulnerable to hard inside pitches. Because the stride itself is moving the body, along with head and eyes, the movement toward the plate compounds the distortion aspect of the moving pitch.
  4. Any stride at all is a major contributor to batting dysfunction. It is useless expenditure of energy whose purported function of initiating momentum is overrated.Bryce harper2 It becomes counterproductive to optimal visual acuity, as the head and eyes move also. If the hips move forward with the stride, the integrity of the swing itself is compromised by the dislocation of the body’s “vertical axis.” Maximum power is impossible to generate while the vertical axis is not constant. The “high-leg-kick”RodriguezAlex 1 is a detriment to effective hitting because the batter never knows exactly when to put that “plant-foot” down, especially on off-speed pitches.
  5. Pushing off the back foot while striding gives the false impression of producing power to initiate the turn of the hips during the swing. Strike-out 3In fact, the push-off impels the back leg to continue to straighten, the effect from which restricts the turning of the hips to their maximum. The optimum hip and shoulder actions occur only when the back bent knee maintains its same bent position as it rotates through the entire hip rotation. (ala Barry Bonds)Barry Bonds 11
  6. The stride and the push-off may force the body to “lunge forward” to try to counteract the “magnetic pull” of the in-coming fastball. However, off-speed pitches will force the batter to hesitate by gliding forward on a bent front kneepony_baseball_1, affording no balance, nor power to swing because of the disintegration of the vertical axis, and premature turning of the hips. The hips should always be ready to turn quickly in a “turnstile” fashion, both sides in opposite directions, on the same horizontal plane, with the vertical axis intact.Barry Bonds 9Ted Williams' follow through
  7. Parallel shoulders, while striving for a level swing, is a misconception of the ideal of good intent. If the shoulders stay level throughout the swing, at the presumed contact point the top hand will be forced to roll over the ball because the hips and shoulders have reached the limits for forward movement, and the arms will extend to keep the momentum. However, if the front shoulder is in a “shrugged” up-position, and the back shoulder lowered with a driving back elbowBarry Bonds 2, the bat and ball will meet as the palm of the top-hand is facing upwardBarry Bonds 4. The horizontal rotation of the hips and bent back knee preclude any possibility of an upper-cut swing, as long as the front upper arm is in contact with the chest.
  8. Swinging downward onto a downward moving pitched-ball is more often counterproductive to efficient bats-man-ship than it is productive. The pitcher is on a mound almost a foot above the plane that the batter is onbaseball_flight. Every pitch is moving downward into the strike zone. If a batter with good eyesight and good coordination strikes downward onto the pitched ball, his athletic ability will probably enact solid contact a high percentage of times. Solid contact in those instances will result in balls hit on the ground. (Albert Pujols and Gary Sheffield are examples of such a hitter.) The “best of hitters” is not merely one who makes solid contact with the ball. But rather, he is a batter whose body mechanics facilitate the action of the swinging bat to contact and continue through the ball at an angle that provides for a straight (non-hooking or slicing) and ascending “line-drive.” The “Art” of hitting a baseball could certainly be defined in the context of describing the ideal hitter– “He is one whose bat most consistently contacts and drives through the ball in a manner that facilitates a straight and ascending “line-drive.”Barry Bonds HRBarry Bonds 21 (To hit the ball in any other manner would be to miss-hit it.)
  9. “Cocked-wrists” may deceive the batter into thinking he will have a stronger swing because of the extra action he expects to have at the “contact–point.” The extra action is counterproductive because the timing mechanism to produce a synergistic display is unreliable at best. Also, neither “cocked forward” nor “cocked backward” is the strongest position for the wrists to be in. Straight and stiff is the strong position of hands and wrists for swinging a bat, as it is for a Karate punch. What would happen if you punched a “bag” with wrist and hand cocked in either the forward of backward position? Right! Remember, the power of the swing comes from the body. But if the hands are not in their strongest position on the bat at contact, the ball will impact the bat more effectively than the bat will impact the ball; and the pitcher will win that battle.
  10. Relaxed hands to begin and tight hands to finish through the “contact point” is a good rule to follow. With continued “loose-hands” through the “contact,” the ball controls the bat. But if a tight grip occurs at “contact,” the ball will sound and feel like a golf- ball. The bat should be gripped with the strongest part of the hand, not in the fingers.Ted Williams' grip
  11. In the preceding photo you will notice not only that Ted Williams’ is gripping the bat with the strong part of the hands, but also, as his custom was, he “choked-up” on the bat, not holding it on or below the knob. Most hitters, especially those who strike out a lot, usually have their hands on or below the “knob” of the bat. They generally think that that extra “leverage” will allow them to hit the ball farther. But those great hitters who seldom struck out, and are also known for their propensity to hit many Home-Runs, were much more scientific in their approaches to hitting: Joe Morgan 2Joe Morgan, ted_williams_ bat routeTed Williams, barry_bonds_1992_piratesBarry Bonds,don-mattingly 1Don Mattingly, to mention a few. They understood that it was not so much the length of the bat, but rather the control and power that the body gave the bat that propelled the ball the distances necessary to display the ultimate swing. When a batter (whose hands are below the knob) just misses “his pitch” by fouling it straight back (especially when the pitch is slightly away – where he can extend his arms), he doesn’t understand that the extra length adds weight to the extended shoulders, and the extended bat dips slightly under where he thought he was swinging. On that same kind of pitch, the batter (Barry, Joe, Ted, or Donny) would more often make solid contact because they were better able to compensate the extension of their shoulders and arms – less weight.
  12.  Most people might surmise that the surface muscles of the upper portion of the arm and shoulder juncture come into play when getting the front arm ready to enact its movement in swinging a baseball bat. The “deltoid” muscle, as it is known, contracts to lift the upper arm away from the body as it prepares for the swing. But if the deltoid muscle alone is thought to be the stabilizing mechanism to begin the arm involvement of the swing, the strength necessary for the number of intricate functions is drastically reduced. Therefore, I assert that a driving force of parallel shoulders, to bring the arms and bat to the ball, is not what is essential. A more correct elaboration of the action of the upper body would be to insist that all the muscles of the “shoulder-girdle” (including the trapezius, supra-spinatus, etc.) contract to lift the entire front shoulder, while stabilizing the arm socket. This provides not only a stable reference point from which to begin the twist-turn of the swing, but is also the initiating agent for flattening the bat as it is to begin its approach to the ball. With these large muscles in complete control of the upper arm, the facilitation of proper arm-action for the swing is now set in order. The arm-socket is locked into position. Now, the turning thrust of the entire body provides a powerful centrifugal force which disperses its energy through the connection of a tightly bound shoulder joint, through the extending front arm, to the viselike grip of the stiff wrist-hand-fingers. In conjunction with the action of the front side of the upper-body, is the coordinated action of the backside. When the front shoulder “shrugs” upwardly, it automatically creates an opposite reaction for the back shoulder and corresponding arm, elbow, and “top” hand. The back shoulder pulls downward, bringing the back bent-elbow to a low vertical position, and changing the position of the top hand to one above and even with the back elbow, with the bat flattening in its approach to the ball thBarry Bonds 2Barry Bonds 4Barry Bonds HR. As the body reaches the point of full expression of power (the legs, hips, and shoulders having brought the arms and bat into the “range of decision”) the batter has to decide whether to complete the mission (attack the ball), or quickly abort (hold up). If the pitch is a strike, then a full commitment is in order, and the front forearm extends through a locking elbow (whose upper arm is just releasing from the chest, to extend away from the body), assisted by way of the driving force of the extending back arm. If the shoulders continue in the “follow-through” in a manner which allows for the front shoulder to end up in back, and vice versa, and the bat goes through the ball with the top-hand in a “palm-up” position, then the batter can assume an optimum effectiveness in the swing. If the pitch is not a strike, all the momentum built up by the powerfully turning body would have to come to an abrupt halt. Fortunately, if the batter’s preliminary front shoulder preparation was correctly applied, the large muscles of the “shrug” will supply adequate force to stop the arms from committing the bat too far over the plate, and prevent an inadvertent strike-call. It would be virtually impossible to stop such a powerful force of momentum with just the strength of arms alone, or the wrists and hands. pony_baseball_6(You can always tell a batter who does not understand the value of the “Shrug” by the frequency with which he cannot hold up on a “close-pitch.”)The “Shrug” is definitely the least exposed secret in the “Science of Hitting.” Most players would deny its validity on the mistaken grounds of two illegitimate hypotheses. First, that the shoulders are supposed to remain parallel throughout the swing to assure a “level-swing.” Secondly, that an upward tilt of the front shoulder would automatically include a high risk of the batter’s “popping-up.” The truth to both of those matters is that the “shrug” is beneficial to maintaining a level swing as well as in preventing a high frequency of “pop-ups.” Parallel shoulders, throughout the swing, prevent the top hand from completing the process of palmation, thus forcing a premature rolling of the wrists over the descending ball, in a majority of swings (e.g. Eric Karros). While the shrug helps to level the bat to the plane of the ball, the turning body and extending arms supply the power and direct guidance along the same line as the descending ball. Also, more pop-ups occur when a bat is swung on a downward angle at a downward moving ball. That is unless the ball is hit squarely, which, of course, would result in a ground ball, most other times!Most of the great Power-Hitters of Today and Yesteryears, especially Home-Run hitters, used the “Shrug” in their applications to the swinging of the baseball bat. All you have to do is watch films of the great hitters like Willie(s) Mays and McCovey, Hank Aaron, Mickey Mantle, Babe Ruth, Roger Maris, Mark McGwire, Barry Bonds, Albert Pujols, Ken Griffey Jr., Sammy Sosa, and Ted Williams, just to name a few. And if you look closely at the initial move of the upper body, as the swing begins, you will notice the tilt of the shoulders, either consciously or unconsciously, created by the “Rodney Dangerfield” of the Perfect-Baseball-Swing—“The Shrug.”Mark McGwire 3Barry Bonds 21Barry&TedChris Davis 4C.Davis 7AlbertPujolsLOWER_HALF_DRIVE_HIPSHanley Ramirez105Matt Kemp 10Mark McGwire 6

 

The “Premier Batting Principle” is based on the perfect application and integration of all the preceding components!

* The proper body-mechanics for throwing (Pitching) is described in another essay, COMING SOON!

Correct Batting Technique!?

Joe Morgan1Mickey Mantle 1Albert Pujols 1joe-dimaggio-s-legs-in-batting-stance-at-home-plateTedWilliamsShortSwing2Barry Bonds HRhankaaron 1

Many will argue, “Is there only one correct way for a batter to hit a baseball”? And the correct answer depends upon what any individual hopes to accomplish in the baseball setting that he finds himself. A Little-Leaguer who is playing in his first organized game, and is not yet accustomed to the tormenting threat of being hit by a pitch(mean baseball face)might at first exude a confidence that he normally has when “dad” is softly lobbing the ball into that part of the strike zone Baseball - Jesuswhere his natural body mechanics allows his arms and hands to synergize the coordinates of his swinging bat to contact the ball with remarkable proficiency and redirect the pitched ball on the ground, or in the air, in the opposite direction.

As an aspiring player matures he recognizes that the effect of his mechanical effort to strike the ball in a manner that provides him the “most” satisfaction might be different from otherspony_baseball_6Boy swinging baseball bat 2Boy swinging baseball bat 1. Every person who picks up a bat, to hit a baseball, wants to hit a “Home-Run” (over the fence), or at least a solidly contacted ascending line-drive that could split the outfielders and allow his speed to garner a double, triple, or an “inside-the-parker.”

Many “little-kids” dream of hitting home-runsCoaching10, but their reality usually has them settling for merely making contact with the pitched ball, and hoping that a grounder through the infield will get them a base-hit. Their instincts tell them that only “big-guys” can hit the ball over the fence for Home-Runs. Joe Morgan 2Until they learn that proper mechanics is the requirement for hitting a baseball correctly, they are doomed to languish in the realm of mediocrity or below. In the early years of a baseball experience, it seems obvious that the “big-guy” is the one to count on for the big home-runs. But as a growing experience mounts, it is perceived by an astute observer that “form” and “technique” play essential roles in developing into a proficient bats-manModel Barry Bonds 1. And, what better way for a youngster to find the right form or technique than to copy the batting stance and swing of his favorite Major League Player?

When we were kids, my brother and I would play a game we called “Strike-Out.” Sometimes we included a few neighborhood kids, but most often it was simply him against me. We would find an area on a public tennis court, or an isolated section of an opened grass or dirt area. We’d mark off the parameters of boundaries for fair or foul balls, and designate the distances for what would be a single, double, triple, and home-run.

After a “choose-up” with alternating hands clasping the continuum of the lesser end of the bat, then either of us would win the right to be the visitor or home team. It was a game of Pitcher vs Batter, usually using a tennis ball. (If the playing area was limited, we’d use a whiffle-ball.)

The Pitcher and Batter would be more close to each other than normally, the emphases being to strike out the batter, or make him work especially hard to hit the ball solidly while testing the quickness of his reflexes. The game carried on for 9 or more innings.

The catcher-umpire was a marked off area on the fence or wall behind the batter, to designate strikes and balls. Each of us would make a list of our favorite batters (right or left-handed) and assemble a 9-batter line-up, while making an effort to mimic their stances and batting styles.

Sometimes we’d have the same players representing each of our teams. We both like Ted WilliamsTed Williams - swing, Stan Musial, Babe RuthBabe Ruth 3, Jimmy Fox, Mickey MantleMickey Mantle 2, Yogi Berra, Joe DiMaggio, Lou Gerrig, Al Kaline, Dick McCaullif, Norm Cash, Rocky Collivito, Willy Mays, Hank Aaron, Duke Snider, and others.

It was fun, and provided our initial means to figuring out which batters’ techniques best suited our own particular physical attributes for batting a ball efficiently.

Did any, or all, of the players on that list of hitters practice what would be considered the correct batting mechanics? We didn’t know, but we had fun copying their styles, and hoping to our diligence would advance us to inevitable “stardom.”

“Hitting a baseball is the hardest thing to do in all of sports,” was a statement made by Mr. Ted Williams. And, from the list of the players above, he was probably the Game’s most astute practitioner of correct body mechanics for Batting. His scientific inquiry into whatsi_ted-williams-science-2 constituted a precise manner for which to hit a baseball most efficiently was revolutionary for his time. But, in the aftermath of his great and successful career, he attained many ardent followers, But few were able to understand and duplicate his relevant and practical theories, and their applications.

In this “ultra-modern” era of Baseball, the players are bigger and stronger; the pitchers consistently throw harder than their predecessors and the batters are capable of consistently hitting the ball farther than ever before. With the advent of so many multiples of “off-speed” pitches to complement their blazing fast-balls, pitchers who are closer to flawless mechanics seem to be able to dominate most (if not all) batters that they face.bryce-harper1 The “Premier Pitching Principle” leaves most modern batters at a loss for productive bats-man-ship. But what the “modern batsmen” fail to realize is that there is a Principle for Batting that would supersede the predominance that the “modern pitcher” seems to have acquired.Chris Davis (Stance)Albert Pujols 8RodriguezAlex 1Bo Jackson 2

The missing link in applying the hitting principle has always been the inconsistent visual acuity of the batter in accurately detecting the speed of the fast-ball, as well as the direction and varying speeds of “breaking” and other off-speed pitches. All this, of course, was due to excessive movement of the head, the primary culprits being the high stance and batter’s stride (or high leg-kick). Although the pitcher’s arsenal of distracting and illusory forces will always wreak their havoc on unsuspecting “head-gliders,” the Einsteins of a new era of batting prominence would set the standard for proficient hitting elegance.

Hitting a baseball is the most difficult task to perform in all of sports.” That’s what Ted Williams once said about “batting,” the claim about which has been verified by the many expert athletes who have tested the veracity of such an arguable statement.michael-jordan 3 Then why would someone (like myself) have the audacity to declare that “Batting-Efficiency is a Simple Process”?

IF ITS SCIENCE IS UNDERSTOOD!

Most astute baseball observers recognize that “batting a baseball” proficiently can be esteemed as an artistic display of uncommon physical prowess. Those who demonstrate a high degree of talent in any of the various art forms could easily be described as “artists.”

There is adequate evidence to indicate that many or most good artists (of which Baseball’s Bats-men are included) have a “natural” propensity toward the artisanship in which they are engaged. But their optimal level of proficiency is most often derived from the degree to which they accumulate enhanced understanding by means of scientific examination of all aspects of their chosen profession.

Therefore, hitting a baseball most effectively would have to elicit from the batter’s technique a scientific componentBarry&Ted to complement his otherwise unfulfilled artistic talent. Thus the process is simple and the results are sure if the Science is understood. BUT!

WHAT IS THE ESSENCE OF SIMPLICITY?

Einstein made E=MC2 look like a simple formula that would enlighten an ignorant, chaotic world as to the heightened prospect of infinite possibility. But that simple acronymic equation involves a seemingly endless continuum of sequential deliberation to effectuate a profitable facsimile thereof.

Simplicity is the integration and coordination of life’s infinite array of variables brought within the control of understanding. Simplicity is not the beginning of primitive evolvement, but rather the end result of organization. When chaos is changed into order, the universe (one voice) sings in simple chords of harmonious function.

The only way to describe the best of batters is that “he makes it look simple.” Look at how Barry Bonds and Ted Williams approached “Hitting”! Although it is not really simple, abiding by a strict discipline of simple mechanics, they had perfected their technique(s) through arduous, repetitive labor, from which the human physical endeavor appeared effortless and instinctive.

The three major components in effecting the proper technique for batting a baseball are these: balance, vision, and power. As the pitcher throws the ball, the batter’s strong balanced position allows his eyes to focus on the point where the ball is being released.

Preliminary movement implies that his body is “gathering” itself to brace for any number of possible conditions. The body maintains a low center of gravity to ensure stability, while shifting its weight slightly inward (not back) to initiate a quick twisting response to the ball as it presumably enters the “zone.”

The quick twisting response is effected by a rapid sequence of fluid rotary movements simultaneously by the entire turning body, beneath the stationary head. If balance and focus are maintained from start to finish, the power and effectiveness will be evident in the beauty of the “follow-through.”

A batter establishes stability and balance to perform his task when his center of gravity is low. His ability to see the ball most clearly is determined by the extent to which his eyes are on a parallel level to the ball, and the degree to which the body and head maintain a stable vehicle for proper focus.

Power is generated most effectively with the body in a stable, balanced position, from which all movements can be produced most speedily, and with a minimum strain to accompanying body parts. The centripetal force provided by the stable position of the vertical axis produces the powerful centrifugal force, which magnifies the power elicited by the turning hips and shoulders.

The rules are simple and orderly. To abide by them and commit them to proper interpretation are what seem to be difficult, especially to those who prefer to act on their own fallible human instincts instead of a sound basic principle.

A prominent 19th century philosopher makes this statement for our consideration, “The higher false knowledge builds on the basis of evidence obtained from the physical senses, the more confusion ensues and the more certain is the downfall of its structure.” Therefore, make it SIMPLE—by letting Principle speak for itself! The scientifically minded “artist-of-the-bat” should understand and adhere strictly to the rules of his mental-physical application, and rest his performance on this sure foundation. He should hold his thought perpetually to the idea that his natural talent and indisputable scientific certainty can and will evoke from Principle the rule for mastering the most difficult task in all of sports.

Coming Soon: Important things to remember in applying the Principle for Correctly Hitting a Baseball.

 

 

 

Japanese Pitching: Will It Continue to Dominate MLB Batters?

 

 

I was not privy to observing all of the games, nor all the Japanese pitchers who applied their skills in the dominance of the Major-League batters during the Japanese Baseball Series. But what I was able to perceive during a few of the games was the masterful body-mechanics with which the Samurai “Mounds-men” displayed ultra-functional speed and control to over-power and confuse their opponents with pitches of intense velocity, uncanny control, and proficient variations of speed and subtle directional deviations from a straight line.

The U.S. Team, most batters of which held their bats high, stood tall, and practiced a lengthy stride or high leg kick, had very little chance of adjusting to the multiples of off-speed pitches and blazing fast-balls of the Samurai “warriors.” Occasionally a “powerfully built” MLB player would hit a Home-Run while correctly guessing fast-ball, but the astute Japanese pitchers would not usually make the same mistake twice.

The batting mechanics of the Japanese players were not any better than the MLB players, but the Samurai mental attitude and approach to hitting were obviously more productive than were those of the U.S. Although the flaws in each team’s batting mechanics were similar, the aggressive Japanese approach was more rational.

Since most pitchers are anxious to begin with a first-pitch strike, a fastball is normally the order of the at-bat. And of course, most MLB batters portend to apply the “Mike Trout” approach to hitting by taking one or two fast-ball strikes (right down the middle), then, against mediocre pitching, resign themselves to being good 2-strike hitters (hopefully). Meanwhile, the smaller and seemingly less-powerful Japanese hitters were “jumping” all over every first fast-ball strike (any strike) they saw, and blasting it for extra-bases.

All things being relatively equal in the department of “Batting Mechanics,” the Japanese had proven themselves to be superior in the realms of “smart-hitting-approach.” Although both teams were similar in the area of Pitching Mechanics, the Japanese were closer to “flawless” technique.

Americanized Baseball players are reluctant to become exact replicas of a previously established super-star, because they prefer to establish their own unique and distinguished style of batting or pitching “technique.” Otherwise every batter would or should copy the batting technique of Barry Bonds. (I haven’t seen another BARRY.)

But look at the Japanese! Almost every one of their batters is still trying the replicate the batting style of their ancient hero, Sadaharu Oh. But even Sadaharu’s high leg-kick wouldn’t do well against the master-pitching technicians of the modern era, especially in his native land.

And look at all these young pitchers, especially Norimoto! Even their left-handers have the same anatomically and physiologically correct body-mechanics and arm-motion as Masahiro Tanaka.Japan v Australia - WBC 2013 FriendlyMasahiro+Tanaka 16Norimoto1 Whoever it is that is perpetuating the imperfect batting-mechanics of the distant past should start thinking “outside the box,” like whoever it is/was that was the vanguard for the innovative thinking that produced the likes of Masahiro Tanaka, Takahiro Norimoto, and others who have become the new standard for Pitching Excellence. (Maybe some fortunate Japanese pitching aspirant wandered into the instructional Pitching Camp of Resident Arizona Pitching Guru, Dick Mills, and learned a few things about Pitching Conditioning and Mechanics!)

Coming Next: Breakdowns of Correct Batting and Throwing Mechanics.