[I was reading a comment on the previous post but wrote enough for it to be this weeks blog post.]
Q: Hi Matt
This spring I did a hitting clinic with Cecil Fielder in New Jersey. I played with the Tiger organization in the late 60’s. I have been watching your youtube videos and agree with all of your teaching methods. My question has to do with communicating to my three grandsons weight transfer, and timing (ages 11, 9, and 8). Cecil spoke highly of you. I would appreciate any suggestions.
Thank you, Ed
A: Ed, it’s great to hear you worked with Cecil.
Cecil will always be one of my favorite players to have played with, watching him drive his weight shift energy into the baseball.
It’s interesting you brought up the topic of the weight shift.
Hitting is a fight, and in a fight, you’re throwing your weight around.
The simple answer about timing and weight shift is you’re not properly timing the ball unless you’re transferring into the ball on time.
Try the “Tall n Fall” drill off the tee.
The very definition of timing is getting your weight into the ball on time. Click To Tweet
If you could only demonstrate timing, it would be to transfer your weight on time and get some of your weight into the ball. If you don’t get some weight into the ball, “that’s called quitting on the ball” [an arm swing or slapping the ball].
To time the pitch, you need to learn the art of a smooth weight shift into the ball on time…no pausing, no hesitation, no getting strung out, disconnected, just your weight flow into the ball on time.
Hitting is all about timing, and delivering your weight shift through the barrel of the bat into the ball, without losing any flow of energy, that is the very definition of hitting.
Now back to Cecil!
He was not only a great hitter, he was considered the best in the business for his sheer power and ability to blast the ball out of the ballpark. An exciting player to watch in games because he had ridiculous power to all fields.
I remember watching him rock back with perfect timing and absolutely crushing the ball over the roof in old Tiger Stadium on a regular basis.
If you weren’t there, seeing him hit the ball as hard as he did, and hear the sound it made, you’d never believe someone could hit a ball that far. If you didn’t actually see it with your own eyes, it would be hard to believe someone could hit a ball that far.
Hitting the ball over the roof in right field was an amazing feat, but the left field roof, over those big transformers, just didn’t seem possible.
The weight shift happens in the “Timing Phase” of hitting, so it’s not only important for power, it’s critical you’re flowing at the right speed so you can land / swing and hit the ball. There's no stride, pause, swing for a hitter with good timing. Click To Tweet
The pitcher strides down the mound, transferring weight, but the reason for the weight shift is to add energy into the throwing system.
With throwing you don’t have to sync up another ball coming at you with your stride to throw.
When you hit, your weight shift doubles as your timing device, so you can’t eliminate the most critical tool you have for timing without messing up your swing.
I’m not saying that timing as a hitter is easy, but it’s a critical part of the flow and movement.
You can’t just dismiss the weight shift because it’s difficult to do it on time, you need to learn how to filter out the messy motion of the pitcher, synchronize release, and begin flowing with your weight shift on time, and landing with enough time to swing your bat through the zone and [very important] “get your weight into the ball”
I think it’s a mistake to turn timing and the weight shift into a taboo subject.
So I don’t!
Sure, for some hitters, the feel for timing is easier to figure out.
Some people are good writers, some are good at mathematics, some are singers and musicians, you get my point!
But there’s one thing that it takes to perform all great skills…painters need to paint, singers need to sing, writers need to write every day if they want to be the best at it. If you want to be a good hitter, you need to learn to use every tool in your tool belt to improve your timing as a hitter.
It’s a mistake to say those good hitters just figure out how to time the pitch. They’re just freaks, they’re natural!
There are hitters that have an easier time of it, no doubt!
Some hitters have better timing without knowing what it is they’re perceiving.
But there are aspects of timing for hitters that must be learned and earned through practice and awareness, and it makes it much easier if the coach knows how to direct them.
Telling someone to stride early and get their foot down?
That’s like telling a kid to cover up and put your hands in front of your face because you’re going to lose the fight.
You have to try!
The whole subject always bothered me, why I’d be hot and “in the zone” one day, and cold the next!
That’s why I poured the last 20 plus years into the “The Timing Project”.
You can learn how to use the tools that your automatic mind uses in soft toss without even knowing you’re doing it.
Once you learn, you become more aware, learn to rehearse, and when you learn to rehearse with your new timing tools, you start using the power of your automatic mind to time the pitch.
The subconscious mind [automatic mind] is a million times faster as a processor of information than your conscious mind.
We’ve all felt surprised as a hitter, we’ve all “vapor locked” and couldn’t swing. We’ve all been jumpy and strung out at times, but that’s because we’re using our conscious mind to find the ball, filter out what’s important and time it…and when we’re off – we freeze up or overreact.
Most hitters are only aware of one way to change their timing, and that’s to change their mechanics.
Changing your mechanics to fix your swing is random.
On rare occasions, you’ll find your way back into the zone, but it doesn’t last because you’re not being aware.
We all experience awareness with our timing when we’re hitting soft toss.
I designed the Timing Project for all hitters and coaches at any age, so you’d know how to rehearse and use all the tools in your tool belt, for timing the pitcher as smooth and as easy as you do in soft toss.
Learning how to shift your weight into the ball is the only solution you should be satisfied with.
Thanks for your question!