For this special blog takeover, JK Whited from Baseball Rebellion joins us to talk about the power of using concise language in coaching and backing language up with a visual representation. Would you like JK to analyze one of your skills? Click here to learn more.
In coaching, words can invoke or inspire specific physical responses, sometimes desirable and sometimes undesirable. The words used don’t matter as much as how the individual athlete interprets those words, and how they manifest those words into a particular movement. Oftentimes, familiar or common words with multiple meanings get used which can create unclear expectations for athletes and coaches.
In the following example using the term “Load Back” my goal is to help us understand what the term should mean and what some common misinterpretations that athletes will make are.
One of the most common misconceptions about the loading process, specifically the lower half, is what “loading back” actually means. The word “back” is used so often but few understand where “back” actually is and “what” actually does the moving. In the videos below I will demonstrate what I usually see when a hitter tries to “load back”.
Undesirable “Load Back”
- 1. Complete weight shift toward and/or over the rear leg of the hitter.
- 2. Head, chest, rear hip, rear knee, and rear ankle stacked.
- 3. Relatively upright posture or squating on the rear leg ready to push up or forward.
If the hitter moves in this way they are losing potential to take an efficient swing and generate power from their hips. The head to hip to ankle stacking is especially obvious with telestation lines overlaid from the V1 Baseball Mobile App.
Desirable “Load Back”
Now let’s take a look at the correct type of “Load Back” where we incorporate the coiling effect of the hips. Here, the word “back” is in reference to the hitter’s rear hip.
- 1. Slight weight shift started by or followed shortly after coiling the hips.
- 2. Hitter’s rear hip pulls away (back) from the plate.
- 3. Pelvis never fully gets stacked over the rear leg.
- 4. Automatically sets up hinge and begins to set up rearward head position.
I feel like I say this 100 times a day- “You can not have an A+ swing with a D- load.” It is vital for a hitter’s long term success that they, in some way, incorporate a coil during their loading phase. The hips must be prepared rotionally in order to create the bat speed and barrel path needed to play at the highest level.
Here is a side by side look:
I hope you can now recognize and feel the difference between the two moves. Remember, “Load Back” is the que for the hitter to load their rear hip back away from the plate around their spine, coiling up to unleash their power through the swing. It is NOT shifting all of their weight over their rear leg linearly. It’s a subtle difference in preparation that reverberates through the entire swing.
While coaching this skill, I love using the V1 Pro compare and side by side tools to telestrate the small changes in movement that can produce big results. The ability to help athletes “see” what we are saying with the V1 Pro app makes it one of the most valuable coaching tools I use daily.
-JK Whited, Baseball Rebellion
Are you interested in learning more about using the V1 Pro app for coaching? Click here.