Learning how to shift your weight into the ball is the only solution you should be satisfied with

Why “getting your foot down early” will sabotoge your success as a hitter

[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.

Just watch Cecil hitting the ball over the roof in Tiger Stadium “in the game”, and watch the weight shift – that’s how you hit a baseball.

Cecil Fielder homers over Tiger Stadium roof - Matt Nokes Comments

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!

Best,

Matt

4 replies
  1. JW Faulk
    JW Faulk says:

    Great points. My son is a college level player and is struggling with timing. He is having difficulty with a hitting coach that insist that timing is the same whether a ball is thrown from a machine at say 75 mph at short distance or a pitcher throwing 90 at 60’6″. My son feels that is not completely true and feels that he needs to see more live arm, game situation balls at normal distance and less machine based pitches from short distance. He feels it is critical to asses arm angle, release point, etc… to get proper timing.He feels that the machine provides none of this and thus it is hard to develop timing when all you are doing is reacting to the ball once it leaves the machine. Can you share your thoughts on this topic as well and give me some suggestions to help him have better timing to contact.

    Reply
    • kyle
      kyle says:

      JW.. If you wait to see the ball release on a pitching machine going 75 from 50′, your going to become a reactionary hitter. Its the same for 95 out of a pitchers hand. If your not moving in rhythm with pitcher to time his windup, your just fighting for your life. Guys that “try to be quick” to deal with velocity never dominate. They are just fighting for their lives. I feel great hitters time the pitchers windup. Whenever ur trying to be quicker to hit plus velo it’s the kiss of death. When hitters tee off on pitchers, its done before the pitcher toes the rubber in my opinion.

      Reply
      • Nokes
        Nokes says:

        Kyle, I’m glad you’re helping out…one tid-bit to clarify is to “filter the pitcher motion” NOT “time the pitcher motion”, You use the motion passively but only to focus and sync release.

        This is a quick and poorly constructed analogy and it’s going to come off like apples and oranges, [so you’ll have to read into the short hand communication], but the point I’ll make is where you focus. Focusing on timing the pitchers motion only leads to distraction, in the same way that focusing on your mechanics of throwing can give you the yips. Your focus for throwing needs to be on the feeling of your release. So with picking up the ball you’re syncing release to know when to start your timing, and only peripherally and subconsciously using the delivery movements to sync that release.

        Think about playing catch.
        When would we ever try to get into the rhythm of the players motion as he’s throwing it to you. It’s easier than that and it’s the mistake hitters make too. When you play catch, you barely pay attention to anything other than “when he’s going to release the ball”, and when you know when it’s coming your eyes subconsciouisly know just where to go and you see the ball better than most hitters ever do and it should be the same experience of seeing the ball, feeling the speed and timing your natural swing movements to the timing of the pitch. Bonds loves his anecdote about how the catcher doesn’t have a problem seeing the ball, timing it and catching it…so he sees it the same way as you would playing catch.

        Great process thinking and I know we’re working together already and it was good advice you gave JW Faulk…and really I should have responded earlier to his question, so thank you for jumping in and helping out. Talk soon my friend.

        -Matt

        Reply
    • Nokes
      Nokes says:

      JW, those are the age-old questions that pro hitters deal with from day one when they get into pro ball, because I know it’s difficult at every new level, especially from big jumps like high school to college, so the jump from [high school/college] into pro ball is really extreme because the game really speeds up at that point.

      I bring that up because your question and the answers [solutions] that your son seemed to be coming up with are quite common. The problem is – don’t work when you start facing tough pitching. All the strategies and all the reasonable conclusions don’t work and it’s why 99% of all pro players never make it out of A-Ball…and most of them go through all 3 levels of A-Ball simply to make room for the next group of players getting signed, not because they earned the promotion from their successful performance.

      The solution is actually much easier. I was quite young when I started in pro ball and I remember listening to some of the older hitters recapping their “big fish stories” after getting a hit.

      You know how happy and talkative hitters get in the dugout after getting a hit…so being younger, I’d hear them say: “On the first pitch I was looking for this/that and he threw me a sinker away, so I knew he’d come back with this/that so I took it, then I got up close to the plate to take away this/that and made him come to me with his best curveball, and because he was so confident with his curveball I’d move up a tick [not so anyone would notice] and I looked for it and crushed it.

      I remember thinking after hearing talk like that…and it was going on all game by every hitter, and looking back I realize it was every player who had their head up their ass.

      My experience was that every time I’d try to figure out what was going to happen, I’d try to figure out clever ways to time the pitcher, and remember thinking every time I try to figure out what the pitcher was going to do…I was always wrong. Later I learned my standards were simply higher. Those hitters telling those fish stories experienced that form of success so rarely but when they did they felt they could outsmart the pitcher.

      This type of thinking got all of those players released within the first 3 seasons.

      Frank Robinson spend a week with me in a minicamp and gave me the real plan.
      It’s so simple that I lost all respect for anyone trying to be tricky.

      I can’t go into all of it here because it could be taken out of context, I have courses that will give you all the insight you always wished you had, it’s the insight I always wished I had when I was playing. Sure I got a piece of the puzzle and I figured the rest out through trial and error.

      I’ve spent the last 20 years developing the Timing Project which deals with every aspect of hitting because when it comes right down to it, hitting is timing.

      Swing time, swing flow, coordinated stride and transfer [not a chopped up early stride and then a late hip slide leak scenario], matching the swing time with the pitch time, timing the pitch, filtering out the pitcher deceiving motion, picking up the ball not by looking for the release point like they all teach but through a more intuitive process [which once again, I don’t wish to be taken out of context so its in the program or I can come out to speak to your group or team], and then theirs flat out coping with the pitchers attack [the A**Holes and Elbows – the motion that makes hitters jumpy and strung out].

      The whole process is easier than all the seemingly clear minded theories that good baseball men come up, with but the bottom line is they never did figure it out in the real world for themselves.

      Rule #1: when you learn the correct way of doing something, whether it’s mechanical, mindset or timing, your success is immediate. You don’t have to work through it, you don’t have to wait 30 days to change a habit [it’s not like trying to quit smoking], it’s a feel and when you’re in the zone you know it and if I could sum it up without going into detail…

      …the solution gives you the ability to use all the timing tools in your tool belt you never knew you had but you access them easily in soft toss. You push the mound back from the 12feet in soft toss to 60feet in the game and that same variable of timing become unmanageable unless you learn how to identify the area of timing you’re struggling in, then learn the rehearsal that make your execution instantly automatic.

      I spent 20 years developing the Timing Project for this very reason because no one could me the answers, and when they’d try it was a bunch of myths, half truths and guessing.

      Bottom line: When you figure it out, even a small portion of it, the sky’s the limit on your performance.
      The fact is there’s nothing natural about hitting, you have to learn how to:

      1. Cope with the pitchers delivery
      2. Time the pitch
      3. Make sure you have a repeatable swing that’s efficient, not some quirky swing you can repeat but you can’t deliver much energy into the ball with it.
      4. You have to match your swing time with the pitch time.

      People ask me all the time: “Yes, but can you teach that?” Of course! It’s not rocket science, it’s learning the steps, the natural moves, filtering only the information you need to crush the ball. Encourage your son to not go down the road of being too cleaver…just be the hitter who never misses his pitch when it’s in his zone.

      I’d go into more detail but it’s in the program. This is not a sell, it’s a solution that’s taken 20 years to perfect the correct communication, rehearsals, pre-game prep that works and it’s all in the program. I don’t know you and I don’t know you guys yet, I’d like to get to know you, and I believe anyone with the right strategy, and with enough dedication can reach their highest potential when they get rid of all the myths and half truths and go to the expert source. I wish you the best of luck. Here’s the solution and it’s all in the course:

      1. Lots of interaction and feedback with me personally: https://www.hittingsolutions.com/store/H2oeddW7
      2. More of a self study course but I will answer questions: https://www.hittingsolutions.com/store/MkLap94d
      2. The ultimate transformation is “The ONE Solution”: https://www.hittingsolutions.com/p/free-class

      -Matt

      Reply

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