Matt Nokes MLB Veteran Co Creator Back Spin Tee Elite Batting Consultant

Once you’re armed with this truth, you’re responsible for the insights into managing the game variables.
It’s up to every individual to decide for themselves but for me, it’s lazy to bounce around making random mechanical feel changes simply because I’ve been doing it one way my whole career.  At some point, we become responsible for improving our tactics for coping with more difficult variables in the game.

The 3 Primary Abilities / Skill Sets:

  1. Swing
  2. Mindset
  3. Timing

With lots of practice, trial and error and tips from our elders, we turn these 3 abilities into one working skill for hitting the ball.

Along the way, we’ve all practiced the drill of hitting soft toss and we apply a simple principle that would drastically improve our odds of success when transitioning into game competition.

The Principle

The principle is to ONLY make timing adjustments on ONE FRONT.
Pick your swing by finding your most efficient swing possible today!
It’s what you do without thinking in soft toss.

With your swing time repeatable, you’re able to focus your [automatic mind] processing power on syncing the pitch time from within the timing toolbox, keeping your hands out of the mechanical toolbox while working out the final timing adjustments.

It’s counterproductive to co-mingle your adjustments within the 3 Primary Abilities/Skillsets. I’m not saying it doesn’t happen because sometimes we feel like we intuitively know what to do.

Making adjustments on 2 fronts – exponentially multiplies the possible timing adjustment combinations.
Intuitively we know NOT to do this in soft toss.

In soft toss we keep it extremely simple. We find a repeatable swing and then zero in on syncing the toss timing – or in the game you’d focus all your automatic mind processing power on timing the pitch.

Managing The Variables

The game variables versus soft toss variables: 

Game:

  1. You face a pitcher.
  2. The distance is roughly 5 times farther [increasing the degree of difficulty].
  3. They often use intimidation tactics that hitters have to cope with.
  4. The pitch is meant to be unpredictable and difficult to manage.
  5. Plus…we’ve been encouraged to add a variable in games.
    • Look for the release window.
    • We don’t add that visual when playing catch.
    • Playing catch – we find the release point by focusing on WHEN the pitch is released.
    • The When NOT the Where.
    • The “Where” just happens naturally as a result of timing “When” the ball is released.
    • Hitting is so difficult in the game – by adding the release window it gives us a sense that we’re “doing something”.
    • Ultimately we’re adding a variable and losing sight of syncing release.
    • If we don’t sync release we get jumpy from not knowing when the ball is gonna be released.

Soft toss:

  1. The person tossing the ball uses a simple, gentle, predictable arm swing.
  2. The distance is shorter [approximately 12 feet] making the timing manageable.
  3. It’s easier to filter a gentle arm swing compared to a violent delivery.
  4. The toss is meant to be easy and predictable to manage.

The main thing we do differently hitting in the GAME – is messing around randomly searching for a mechanical “FEEL” adjustment [probably because it’s the tangible], when unwittingly we’re randomly changing how long it takes our bat to get to the ball. Adjusting mechanically is actually our default setting in games but it’s not our natural “go to” adjustment in soft toss.

In SOFT TOSS we “Lock In” our swing time to focus all the powers of our automatic mind for processing the pitch time
This way we’re only making timing adjustments in 1 of the 3 primary abilities.  This cuts down on all the processing variables and limits errors to one system at a time.

So in games, we shuffle the deck with every random mechanical adjustment without giving our automatic mind the opportunity to match the pitch time to a predictable/repeatable swing time.

To get your swing locked in…all you need to focus on mechanically is to make your swing repeatable!
With your “swing feel” selected and repeatable, all your focus can turn exclusively to timing the pitch.
Your automatic mind can now make intuitive “Pitch Timing” adjustments operating exclusively in the timing toolbox.

Divided Attention

How is your powerful automatic mind going to do the impossible [“hitting a ball thrown over 90 mph by someone trying to make it impossible for you to hit it”?] if you’re making timing adjustments with two different skill sets at the same time.

Simplifying

It’s best to simplify one ability – Our Swing, so we can focus all our attention on the other two abilities – Timing and Mindset.
This is exactly what you do in soft toss
– you’re free to Naturally Transfer into the ball on time without tapping the breaks.

The timing toolbox is coping with the pitcher like you do when you’re playing catch…you don’t add complexity – you subtract. One simple analogy is when playing catch you don’t look for the “release window”?  You “feel the beat” of when the release is gonna happen and your eyes are there – at release [you simply see the ball release without trying].  The timing does the work.

Seeing the ball efficiently is about the WHEN and not the where.
That means you’re locked into the feel, timing, and the beat of release and not a clumsy “release window” – a box [area] you’re keeping lined up following along with the pitchers delivery.
ADDING complexity or another step [something you don’t do playing catch] literally takes your focus off the “when” and you can get surprised, jumpy and strung out – yet it almost never happens playing catch.

There’s a whole arsenal of rehearsals to desensitize yourself from all the distractions, fear and self-doubt so you’re intentional about your preparation.

Having A Good Filter While Receiving Instruction

Coaches tell me they’ve always told their players to focus, study the pitcher and get your timing down but never told them EXACTLY what that meant – one piece at a time and like learning to smoothly play a few chords on the guitar is not that difficult.

I know it’s an oversimplified example but I play the guitar a little and with the amount of time I devoted to timing a pitch versus playing guitar…there’s no comparison. As baseball players – from little league on it’s all we do. We’re basically professional players once we accept the challenge.

Players today going to school and playing high school or college ball – they’re already committed 100% so learning a few rehearsals to gain certainty just makes sense. To continue randomly searching for a new “swing feel” to get locked back in is just lazy…but in truth, it’s not lazy if you didn’t know any other way.

Again, in soft toss you pick any swing you want…the mechanics are isolated to your level of efficiency. Let’s say when you started learning to swing your efficiency was at 10% – so now your goal is to incrementally get to 100% efficiency…not to search randomly for another feeling.

As I said, I’m not saying we’re good sometimes at intuitively finding a feel that’ll work…it happens but more often than not we just shuffle the deck and change your timing mechanically pitch to pitch.

So each pitch you have a new swing time and you still have to match the pitch time and all its variables. Soft toss teaches us how if we’d listen but we just attribute the % of failure to the degree of difficulty. Instead, we’re actually changing our timing process and plan pitch to pitch.

This principle is something we all sense deep down – but when we start competing in games the degree of difficulty dramatically increases, and the only time we feel those 3 skills working together is when you’re actually “in the zone”!

That means you’re not holding back, you take the emergency brake off…you don’t even tap the breaks!

So hitting without the knowledge that we’ve been completely changing the way process, our automatic mind is saying “I can’t perform miracles”, you gotta keep using the same stick [mechanics] so I can hit what I’m swinging at.

So what have we been doing all this time? We’ve been managing our bodies, becoming overly cautious, reducing power and trading it for control. Now there’s nothing wrong with all that, we should get more disciplined in every way but those decisions should be educated decisions so we know where the trade-offs are? We’ve been hitting without “knowing the score”.

Incremental Growth

Every day we need to become incrementally more efficient in each of the 3 skills and keep the toolboxes separate and tidy. It’s what we do in soft toss.

  1. Be brutally efficient mechanically.
  2. Be Brutally efficient with our timing so we’re free to attack.
  3. Be Brutally efficient with our plan and stick with it.

Without this principle, we’re a lot more cautious so everything you do is in the physical realm managing your body movement instead of the swing being the easy part.

We make the swing the difficult part of hitting when it’s the easiest in soft toss.

Giving yourself a chance to be a natural hitter is letting your automatic mind spend most of its processing speed on timing! I know people throw around “natural hitting” without defining it.

This principle enables you to pull off a good swing [with bat speed] without having to be perfect.  You’re not concerned when you miss by a few feet from a change in speed. When you miss and on your game you’ve actually experienced the miss. You can still look fastball and your automatic mind processes fast enough to bring the pitch close enough to rip it when it comes again.

To the best of my recollection, I never heard this explained to me along the way.  This would have been a game changer for me…spend less time in a state of hitting limbo and more time feeling “in the zone” – consistently hitting the ball hard.

Getting pissed off put me back in the zone because I went back to one swing, one feel where your automatic mind can measure each swing with your timing – you’re not constantly changing your feel, changing your mechanics, changing your swing time every pitch.

The 99% goes on developing their skills and they look the part with finely tuned skillsets, but the transition into the game begins a journey of trial and error searching, randomly adjusting with only being brief moments experiencing their “in the zone feeling”.

For most hitters, after a couple games of feeling good, they snap right back into their state of limbo – forcing them to make even more adjustments and exploring every mechanical combination and the errors keep compounding.

Toolbox for Developing Brutally Efficient Mechanics

Toolbox for A Laser Focused Mindset

Toolbox for Natural Timing

Question To Think About

You’ve probably heard me or another big league active or former player say “it’s easier to get to the big leagues than it is to stay in the big leagues”.
“Never stop improving, get a little better every day”.
“As soon as you stop improving your time in the sun playing in the big leagues will run out”.

The 1%…The Big League hitters keep mechanics, mindset and timing issues separated with their own toolboxes and as you read on you see why – only the hitters that do the work and stay disciplined become big league hitters.

The Popular Belief

The popular belief is being constantly reinforced by what the mainstream is telling us and certainly what our natural inclination is urging us to do.  We all started out learning how to hit by randomly adjusting our feel.

The first instinct for fixing our swing when we start struggling is to run down to the batting cage and start banging on the ball!  Why? Because once in a blue moon everything will sync up mechanically and you’ll face the one type of pitcher you find easy to hit.

You get hot for the day and then it’s back to the drawing board because it was random luck…

Every time we randomly adjust our mechanics we’re actually adjusting our timing.

Mechanical adjustments affect timing because any adjustment in your swing mechanics will rearrange all the timing variables.

Making random mechanical adjustments every at-bat with every pitch is crazy but it’s what we do.

The very definition of crazy is doing the same thing over and over expecting a different result!

A trap that coaches, players, dad, and moms get into is thinking one more piece of information is going to solve your problems…it’s a trap! Just do a Google search for “Hitting” and you’ll find 170 million voices giving you that one more piece of information…but they just become another random mechanical adjustment.

We’re always adjusting our mechanics? When hitting is timing!!!

99% of players and coaches go through their career thinking the only way to make adjustments is find a new feel.

When We Got In This Mess

When you started little league…you were between 5-8 years old and shoved into competition before you knew what you were doing.

10-12 years go by and you’re in high school…
You’re bigger, stronger, quicker, better hand-eye coordination and your swing is better but you really don’t know much more about hitting than when you first started in little league.

So what’s going to happen at the next level…the pitchers will always get better year after year!

As a rule…good pitching always gets out good hitting!

The Answer

We gotta be smart!  What pitchers will never do is take away our pitch in our zone.

It’s up to us to ensure our pitch is effortless to get to…

Our pitch…will always remain sitting on a silver platter!

The 3 abilities need to develop throughout your career…and you have to refine these skills daily if you want to play D1 College ball or get to the big leagues and stay in the big leagues.

  1. Brutally Efficient Mechanics – Based on natural movements.
  2. A Laser Focused Mindset – Based entirely on the MLB Plan.
  3. Natural Timing – Intentionally mastering the 6 timing touchstones so you can cope with all timing variables with certainty.

The name of the game is being able to Quickly and Easily refine these 3 skills and make them work in automatic mode as ONE skillset.

There’s a toolbox for your mechanics and it’s to make your mechanics more efficient. When your timing is out of sync…don’t panic and reach back into your mechanical toolbox and randomly start messing around with your mechanics to change your timing.

When your timing is off we can talk about how to use your timing toolbox to cope with and filter out the pitchers motion, sync release and begin accurately timing your pitch.

So imagine what your life would be like if you could wake up…do a quick 5-minute routine…and be refining all 3 of these abilities into one skillset programmed to be automatic?

Imagine how you’ll feel when the game is more like hitting soft toss than with all those random adjustments and never having certainty when you go up to the plate.

If you’d like to talk about working this out in your own hitting approach?
I’ve blocked out a limited number of time slots for strategy calls!
We’ll spend 45 minutes going over what’s working and what’s not and exactly how you need to begin executing your new plan. No sales pitch…You’ll leave with a blueprint knowing exactly how to get started.

Why do I do this?

If you ask me for help and it’s a good fit for both of us…we can discuss how I can get you the outcome we map out for you and the success you’re looking for.

If You’d Like To Talk

You can take control of your hitting success and play with certainty.

We can strategize and put together a plan and a custom blueprint built for you!

Go to:  mattnokes.com/apply   

and schedule your strategy call today!

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