Short terms needs balanced with long term goals

Hitting Adjustments: Balancing Short Term Needs with Long Term Goals

When you work with young hitters a lot, you’re reminded to dig deep and ask them to explain why they’re doing what they’re doing.  They won’t give you a very good answer most of the time but that’s expected.

There’s a lot of moving parts and the key is to look at how the technique interacts with their personal style, then finding all the right adjustments to make it work for him personally.  They don’t follow directions because on one level or another, what’s being said isn’t helping them. 

Hitters are reluctant to make adjustment when they’re given advice because they rely so heavily on trial, error and outcome, that deep down they’re saying “put up or shut up” haha! It’s not personal, it’s their reality and the key is to show them how the pieces fit together and fix all the problems that come about due to their personal style, and coordinate the natural time they allow to get their swing through (some hitters need to feel a longer flow of time to be able to repeat the experience). 

The time it takes a hitter to get to the ball comfortably without rushing or leaving anything out is unique to every hitter…the remaining time is left for seeing the ball, feeling the speed, sensing the movement and letting the ball travel into the hitting bubble. 

It takes some hands on feel to get that right and more importantly, it’s priceless for the hitter because he has to believe it himself to completely commit to the process. 

It’s hard for a young hitter to choose when their are so many options that produce both success and failure.  No matter what you do you’ll have a measure of success so it’s confusing to figure out what’s the MLB path and what’s standing in for the 14 year old hitting.

12 touchstones part two matt nokes

What are the Absolutes? Part 2

Every time we touch a stone to make an adjustment, the absolute the stone represents is the definitive action we’ll call a “DO” for short.  Your automatic mind doesn’t respond well to “DON’T” phrases.  “Don’t do this or don’t do that” almost always produces negative results.

This ABSOLUTE or “DO” (definitive performance worthy action), cuts right to the heart of the issue, quickly identifying the problem, and giving you the feel for the solution.  As we mature using these solutions, they become internalized skill sets you’ll eventually personalize to one degree or another.

Others will try to emulate what you’re doing, but will completely miss the point because they’ll completely miss the context behind it.  You may be thinking “Finally”, the reason why it’s been so confusing up to this point.  I’ve been trying to apply observations when the kinesthetic feel was what you needed all along.  Kinesthetic is learning by doing, feeling and experiencing for yourself, but you have to start with the full deck of cards to access these higher levels of “HEIGHTENED AWARENESS”!

You’ve been observing and believing through observation that you’ll find a cure, and now you know it doesn’t work that way, and now you know the reason why.  As a bonus inside of every adjustment “DO” (Absolute), is a gift of awareness that reveals if there’s other peripheral inefficiencies in the surrounding systems.  Like lingering poison infecting surrounding areas that needs the antidote, and these surrounding areas are like blocks of motor movement codes might be infected.  “Motor movement codes” represent all varieties and different lengths of code, and these motor movements often represent series of levers that must fire in sequence.

The good news is once you choose the fix and it’s a primary ABSOLUTE, the one that cuts right to the heart of the matter, that “Touchstone Absolute” gives you the next “silver bullet” fix and the next, and repairs start happening all through the surrounding areas.  Damaged motor movement codes are deleted and re-written.  It may be that the code is simply written fresh every day and all the dead unused code lingers inactive, which would account for why someone like Tiger Woods, with the “Touchstone Absolutes” for golf, is always hovering near the top of his game.  He has his own routines and no doubt he religiously rehearses his routines each day.  Writing your code fresh each day keeps you in competition form, and to extend the metaphor, if Tiger laid off rehearsing for a couple weeks, no one but him could tell the difference I’m sure, due to his high skill level, but taking off that much time without rehearsals would make even a player of his caliber, lose access to his best feel.  The best athletes are the best because they pay attention to every detail and make sure they’re completely prepared for the competitions they enter.

Now you see why there’s so many theories out there.  Anyone with an iPad or iPhone and some video analysis software can observe by filming a hitter, and try their best to break down their secrets.  The hitter makes it look easy, but as you could imagine, this second hand observation is responsible for the majority of myths circulating through the hitting mainstream today.  Entire theories are based on what they’re observing, but they’re missing the most important ingredient, the “Feel” the “DO”, the definitive action that’s wrapped in incorruptible context.  The context and perspective for how they approached the ball is everything, but it’s entirely missed on the uninformed.  It may be the reason we look for easy fixes.  We look for silver bullets that don’t exist with the skill sets we’re using aren’t able to perceive the higher level context.  We’ve all struggled with immature ideas, “feel fixes” that we partially remember, fixes and feels that worked one day and lost the next.  The feel is lost because the circumstances are slightly different each time, and with each new problem, what worked last week won’t fix anything today.

Learning these 12 Touchstones give you immediate results, but they’re cultivated over time, and you’ll experience higher levels of awareness throughout your career as you mature in these skill sets.  One thing you won’t have to worry about is being on the wrong track and getting lost.  Every move you practice, every series of moves you put together in a routine, will will bring you closer to fixing your sticking points in your movements, by continually adjusting the rhythm and flow of your swing.

At some point when you’ve reached a certain level of maturity, in these special tools, you can develop your own special check list in the form of a moving routine.  i call it a moving routine to keep you away from the stopping and starting of a physical step by step check list.  mature hitters use moving routines that touch all the absolutes and summarize a feel, often a new feel every day but;  never the less, you can trust the new feel that it includes all the properties of good mechanics, timing, rhythm, zoning and the plan.  by simply rehearsing your own private specialize routine, you gain a single connected feel that unifies all the movement feelings into one thing to focus on.

matt nokes hitting lessons advice

What are the Absolutes? – Part 1


The 12 Silver Bullets is a way of explaining the function of the absolutes.  The absolutes are action steps, problem solvers and they help you modify the system in your hitting approach that’s failing you…they’re action steps (The “Do’s”).

12 Touchstones defined:  They are in effect your Absolutes… It’s a metaphor about accessing a familiar feel (a DO” instead of a DON’T), action step, drill, rehearsal that conjures a kinesthetic feel for an adjustment or modification that needs to be made in order to recover from a hitting system failure.

Hitting is a series of quality adjustments, modifying your swing, approach, timing and plan, automating all processes that professional master so your focus and awareness can be heightened, ready to approach each pitch to consistently experience quality at-bats.

Touchstones access a feel for:

  • A feel that sums up your mechanics into one feel and fixes a system failure
  • A feel that helps you modify your approach feel to stay connected, all one kinetic chain of energy that’s on time and in sync with the pitch.
  • A feel through a routine that helps you cope with the pitcher, sync your swing time with the pitch time.
  • A feel for visualizing your zone, projecting what to expect so you can make your own breaks, so you’re ready as pitches come into your slot or nitro zone.

We’re all looking for the silver bullets to solve our hitting problems.  We want the easy fix and we wander aimlessly asking every coach, watching great hitter, hoping they’ll say just the right thing, or see something special to fix all our problems.  The crazy thing is sometimes a key word will resonate for the day but it’s almost always lost to you inside of 24 hours.  As a matter of practice, we’ve all tried making adjustments by searching every possible mechanical feel or adjustment that worked in the past.  We cycle through every feel that’s ever worked for us, from something that worked last week, to something that worked in little league. 

The end result always make us feel like we’re running on a hamster wheel going no where.  The issue of the search for the silver bullet, is that it’s not purely mechanical, it’s not only timing, the plan or the approach either, it’s a feel that comes when all those skill sets come together and unify to produce a heightened awareness.  In the end, heightened awareness is the answer to staying locked in over long period of time, and once again, this awareness comes from timing, rhythm, focus, mechanics, the plan, your approach, and a whole host of other things that you acquire over time when you understand, and work with the 12 Touchstone Absolutes.

99% of all hitters search for these heightened feelings but they look for them in all the wrong places.  Hitters randomly cycle through their experiences, hoping to find a random match that will fix a whole host of problems found in multiple systems.  Most hitters search mechanically, and every mechanical adjustment randomly changes his swinging timing, so occasionally the mechanical adjustment will work for a day but it’s not a solution for sustained success throughout the season. 

What you’re looking for is a “Peak State of Heightened Awareness”.  There’s no doubt that all of us have experienced this peak state, when we’re experiencing it the feeling and confidence is undeniable, but it never lasts because the stars have to align and a multitude of problems in timing and rhythm need to come together in just the right amounts, and mechanics alone isn’t the solution.  We all recognize when we’re in the zone, we know beyond a shadow of a doubt, but once again it’s random and we only possess the certainty that we’re in the zone when it’s happening, we don’t have the ability to find it consistently when we need it because it involves too many different systems in the hitting process. 

The timing system, rhythm, mechanics, plan, approach, context for movements, direction of force, coping with the pitcher, picking up release, reading the speed, spin and location of the pitch, so that’s why it’s arguably the most difficult skill set in sports to master. 

Through this course, I’m going to show you a better way.  You’ll have access to the proven techniques, 12 Touchstones, Absolutes that are part movement, part context for the movement, part rhythm, timing, direction of force and so on.  I think you get the picture.  We seek after this heightened awareness but it’s like a bad joke because it’s not some version of a simple mechanical fix.  Don’t get me wrong, with an understanding of the big picture, all that’s needed is to build a simple routine of movements with a specific purpose, and we eventually learn to design them for ourselves, but the random approach will always remain a bad joke.  You may hit well at a lower level, but at some point, your natural athleticism will be overwhelmed by the speed of the game.  In the same way that soft toss is easy because we manage all the variables without thinking, everything is up close, it’s easier to judge distance, visualize the trajectory of the toss, the tempo of release and the distance the ball will travel, while all along we have our point of contact picked out for ourselves. 

We do it without even realizing that every variable we face in game situation, is contained in the variables in soft toss but we’ve mapped out the drill so many times that we’re not even aware of all that we’re doing to reduce the variables.

The 12 Touchstone Absolutes that deliver the “In the zone feel” the “Heightened awareness” that’s needed to use our processor for reading, timing, coping with delivery, replicating our swing time, keeping all the timelines short and manageable…lots of factors that are complete spelled out in the 12 Touchstones.

matt nokes at ABCA

Coaches Course is now OPEN!

My friends, hitting mastermind is now open and starts in less than 5 days!

If you’re willing to work hard and learn the moves and principles I’m going to teach you, becoming certified will be a natural progression as you develop your chops.

This mastermind is a 30 day course and we’ll be getting started on June 30th so we’d like to schedule a call with you to give you the details….

Please fill out this short contact form so we can get in touch.

This mastermind class will teach you my process, how I analyze hitters, diagnose, and build step by step programs that will transform your hitters.

You’re going to learn how to create your specially designed absolutes (action steps, moves or approach thoughts) for individual hitters, because you’ll feel the solutions at a glance.

The knowledge and experience you gain from this program will no doubt develop a new confidence in you, to take what you’ve learned and connect the dots on all hitting subjects.

Your development will help you project authority as you return to your communities.
Your fresh clarity and insight will transform your local hitters.
You’ll teach and speak with new authority at home as you become the resident expert.

It’s rewarding for me as a mentor to see coaches develop their chops for helping hitters, and some of you have seen me talk to crowds at baseball events “holding court” on hitting. As you learn and get support from the team of certified coaches you’ll be holding court in your community in no time.

We’ll cover all hitting styles but with a special emphasis on the natural hitting technique, which will allow you to remain style neutral, swing neutral. The mainstream shy’s away from teaching the natural style because they don’t understand it.

The first step in being a great coach is to understand and be able to decipher the qualities of a great hitter. So let’s get going and we’ll discuss the real deal starting with our phone interview.

I look forward to speaking with you,

Matt Nokes

Champion Axeman

MLB Hitters Back Foot Stays Sideways To Stay On The Ball

The best hitters use the position of their back foot to anchor their approach and help them stay on the ball.

They still get off their back side getting their weight into the ball but it’s a little more conservative when you stay sideways.
Hitting in the Major League is challenging to say the least, and you’ll find that most of the time, possibly 75% of the time, MLB hitters keep their back foot sideways to help them stay on the ball.

For all hitters, it’s fair to say that a key component to being on time is transferring on time. Having said that, we always want to transfer off the back side but it’s a matter of degree, and depends on how well you’ve timed up the pitch and when everything is perfect and you know it, an experienced hitter can commit fully, and will go ahead and get completely off the back side during the transfer but theirs always a risk of losing a little control, then again, if your timing is locked in you know you can get away with it.

I’d like to point out that when you do on occasion get fully off the back side and successfully drive the ball, the back foot will get turned because there’s no weight on it, your core is firing aggressively and it may look like you’re turing that back foot on purpose, but the fact of the matter is…you’re not turning the back foot…it’s getting turned.

We all transfer off the back side to get our weight into the ball, but due to timing issues, and the sheer will to stay on the ball, you’ll see MLB hitters keep that back foot sideways the majority of the time, often into their finish.

There will always be occasions when your timing is so good that you feel the urge to transfer more fully, getting all your weight into the ball, but the fact of the matter is, you don’t need to get your back foot all the way off the ground to hit the ball 450-500 ft, it’s more important to direct your force efficiently and accurately.

You can get all the weight you need into the ball and still keep your back foot relatively sideways, which helps you stay on the ball. Remember, as your power increases, you get more weight into the ball, but there’s a chance your power will decrease if you lose control in any of your critical systems:Timing, accuracy with the barrel, and over all timing, drawing power from a lot of sources and directing into a fine point.

By keeping a little pressure between the legs, you’ll see hitters keep that back foot sideways and at the same time put plenty of weight into the ball…what they ultimately gain is control and that’s the name of the game when you get to the higher levels. Virtually everyone at that level has power, the art becomes controlling your direction of force.

Sideways Back Foot

Exposing Our Hitting Myths Using The Scientific Method

Sideways Back Foot

I was at an autograph signing with other former MLB players, engaged in a conversation about how we all carried “myths” with us into our MLB careers.

For the most part, we all mastered the correct timing and kinesthetic feel for our swing and timing. After years of training and at least 1000 At-Bats, our swings were very natural.

Still, whenever we’d get into trouble or struggle for a bit, our first instinct was to figure out what it is you’re doing wrong.  That’s when the problems started for most of us.

If our basic understanding of one of the critical techniques was ever wrong, it made it hard to correct problems when they came up.  After bumbling around for a while trying to fix things, it usually took a teammate to say something like, “are you trying?”. You would be offended at first, then start laughing, because you knew that meant you were over thinking things. You needed to simply go back to putting your hands behind you and attack the ball, letting your natural kinesthetic feel (learning by doing) put things back together for you. 

The critical absolutes frequently get turned upside down and turned inside out by misunderstanding and flat out MYTHS. The problem happens when the explanation of an idea creates more confusion, rather than less.

The experience of hitting is very different from the best explanation of it, unless you’re talking to a mature hitter who’s done the research and can back up what he’s saying by citing examples of other familiar movement models, such as well known activities like digging a hole with a PickAxe or throwing long toss with a frisbee.








…or a slightly modified drill in the gym exercise that’s so intuitive it cannot be corrupted because it’s extremely intuitive.  For example,while doing a strict one arm row behind your back, you’d intuitively know never to rotate your hips during the movement.

The example given in a recent forum comment, “rotating your lower body first, and then your hands will come through”, needs a more detailed explanation.

I don’t want to offend anyone and play rough and tumble with semantics, but teaching “Fire Your Hips”, puts you at risk for spreading an inaccurate myth and confusing the next generation of developing hitters.

There’s no sport where firing your hips is a power source.  You do fire your core against your hips, but that makes your hips part of your base and foundation…the feel for firing your hips only pulls you off the ball and turns the field around.  Think about it…in what sport do you feel your hips firing?  Not baseball, and not throwing or hitting…
Your hips may land slightly open after your stride when throwing and hitting, but that’s to get you in a good position, and to create hip shoulder separation.  Your power from your core and releases rotational energy, but only if you fire your core against your hips.  Can you name a piece of exercise equipment in the gym where you work your hips?
There isn’t one because we use our core for rotational power and directional force.

Your hips will get turned when you’re transferring your weight off your back side while rotating your core, but you don’t consciously fire your hips in any sport…unless you want your energy to pull off in the wrong direction.

I really admire the late Nobel Prize- Winning winning Physicist,
Richard Feynman, (He played a big part in the Manhattan Project during World War 2,) for you youngsters out there. I’ve always loved the way he could simplify the most complicated theories. He would always say “if you can’t simplify what you’re saying, you don’t fully understand it.”

On the surface the comment in the forum above sounds right because it might be familiar to you, but IT’S WRONG…no matter how much you want it to be correct.
In the video below I demonstrate with MLB hitters, how it does NOT hold up to observation or experimentation and is therefore, categorically wrong.

(of course I was not referring to the George Brett comment…).
I’m gonna keep you hanging a little, because I don’t have time to go into it fully in this post, but in short here it is…

You can find these Myths in everything from simple buzz words to fully developed theories that have disastrous consequences.

I have several examples related to hitting the inside pitch, and I’ll be breaking it down in detail in a couple of upcoming video classes Ill be giving online. The first one will cover “The X-Factor for the Inside Pitch and the second will cover “Total Transformation Timing”.

(Be sure you are signed up to my mailing list – I will announce the class by email only!)

Getting back to the statements made in the forum…the truth is, your lower body, your base (that means your feet, lower legs, knees, upper legs and HIPS) are all a part of the system called the FOUNDATION.

Think of your base like an engine mount for the engine or power plant. If what’s said in this forum was correct, that would mean your power plant is in your big toe. I’ve never met anyone who had 500 ft power in his back toe but if you find someone, have him email me. If the power was in the big toe (way down the kinetic chain from the core motor), then ok…the back foot would rotate, then the knee, then the hips, followed by the core, shoulders, arms and bat. The reality is that the CORE is the power plant and therefore, the job of everything under it is to get into the best possible position and create a stable base so that the core motor can fire ballistically.

So I am taking it upon myself to take a more fatherly role in our industry and gently guide the gang back to simple movement models that cannot be corrupted. There are so many myths out there surrounding the inside pitch, I thought it was appropriate to comment here because I have a Webinar coming up called “How The X-Factor Helped Me Hit The Inside Pitch” where I’ll be going into detail about this worth subject.  In fact, for a professional hitter, striving to master the inside pitch is arguably the most coveted skill we all can master.  When we’re locked in, you can bet we’re comfortable hitting the inside pitch and doing things right whether we know what we’re actually doing or NOT!

Since the experience of hitting is so unique, this dilemma has created an information void begging to be filled. Information is the currency of the 21st century, and our careers are too short. There’s too much competition to make all the mistakes ourselves without the help of an expert who’s been there and experience the whole process. To be able to accurate teach something, you must possess the kinesthetic feel for the movement model, especially if you are going to make corrections and judgements for a hitter in the spirit of helping them…my advice is if you can’t find a movement model outside of hitting that can prove your theories correct kinesthetically, then question it because you need to be able to simplify everything, from the big picture all the way down to the step by step details.

Our industry has been under siege for decades with Myths in every form imaginable. These Myths are so wide spread that in most places they’re accepted as the way MLB hitter do it, yet when you look at it and shine some light on it and ask “what about this idea do you see an MLB hitter actually do? and then go through any example with them from a hitter seen in the big leagues and go through it with them frame by frame, in every case with these Myths they can be busted in the first few seconds.

As the famous Nobel Prize winning physicist Richard Feynman put it…”The scientific method…and how we look for a new law…
1. First you make a guess and propose a theory.

2. Then we compute the consequences of the guess to see what it would imply.

3. Next, we compare the computation results to nature, experiment, or experience, comparing it directly to observation to see if it works.

4. If it disagrees with experiment, it is wrong, and in that simple statement is the key to science.
⁃ It doesn’t matter how beautiful your guess is.
⁃ It doesn’t matter how smart you are.
⁃ It doesn’t matter what his name is.
⁃ If it disagrees with experiment…it’s wrong!!!

5. through experimentation, if it doesn’t hold true to observation, experimentation…then it’s wrong. It don’t matter who says it, it doesn’t matter what his name is…it’s wrong…that’s the scientific method”

I can’t begin to tell you in how many ways these statements will destroy a developing hitter.  The misrepresentation of rotating your base prematurely is nothing less than dangerous, and there are many in our industry who throw around the phrase “hitting from the ground up”…a concept that I absolutely agree with.

Put it this way, if you took this idea and made a comparison to chopping a tree out front, using the same movement model to experience the same motion of your baseball swing, you’ll find out the truth of the motion because when you use a tool that has natural intuitive rules, it’s more natural to figure out and feel what you’re supposed to do.  One of my secrets is to use incorruptible movements, (Swinging an axe into a tree, sledge hammer into a wedge, a pick axe to dig a hole). You have this ability to access a movement that you’d never consider doing incorrectly.  There’s nothing about using any of these tools that would compel you to open up and rotate your lower body first.

Truth:  Your base is your foundation for your CORE MOTOR, so picture an MLB hitter firing his core motor with enough explosive power to hit a ball 500 feet, and you may begin to understand that any rotation in your foundation (feet, legs, knees, hips) is purely to get your body into the best position, and then provide stability as you release the full power of your core motor. In my 40 plus years of experience, you’re gonna want a strong foundation, and you’ll need a toe hold with the ground to do it.  Sure, the hips get turned, but they’re not the motor and they don’t fire like a motor would. The back foot may get turned, the knees almost always rotate early to establish a good position and provide the best body position, providing stabilization, for your high ballistic core motor to fire violently, even ballistically.

There’s a big difference between
observation and experience.

Someone can observe your back foot eventually turn to help you maintain your posture…I call it “a kick stand” after contact…Someone can observe your back knee rotating (it’s actually a lateral pinch) and it looks like a turn, but it’s simply getting into position. The back knee will eventually get turned, when theirs no weight on it during your transfer core turn but again, it’s not the motor…it’s job is to get into the best possible position and then help stabilize your foundation so your core motor can fire.

Anything less than staying sideways till you get your weight off your back side, is nothing less than madness.

I actually have a lot more to say on the this subject, so I’ve decided to do a series of FREE video classes coming soon to set the record straight and break this down into steps you can use immediately. So make sure you are on my notification list.