The answer to your question is yes.
Drills should be used to create understanding but not used over and over as I mentioned in the article since injecting back into the full motion does not usually work.
We use the pitching backwards sequence, have been since 2004, to help the pitcher relearn. This is especially helpful for poor arm action where we start them in the cocked position and work backwards to handbreak.
Imagery is powerful but does not work as well for youngsters because their sensory skill are not as high yet as they continue to develop. Imagery works better in more skilled athletes. But the video works very well for youngsters.
We will use a mirror for instant feedback during lessons since most kids never see what they are doing.
Partial practice drills works best for beginners.
That is what the research has proven about drills and imagery.
Last week your “Pitching Insider” email explained how new movements and patterns are learned and stored in the brain and how drills have minimal value when learning new patterns.
A few years ago I was looking for hitting help for my son, David. After a lot of research and reading, I settled on Mike Epstein’s teachings. The reasons were much the same as to why I chose you for learning pitching. Fortunately, there is a certified Epstein instructor where I live and he’s been great.
Problem is, part of the Epstein way of teaching is by use of drills. I’m not saying all of their drills are inappropriate. For example, Epstein uses backward shaping and getting hitters in the correct positions so they understand the sequencing. David’s instructor even video tapes each lesson. But sometimes there are drills that isolate one specific part of the swing and those drills are then done repetitively. Isn’t that just learning a new pattern disassociated from the swing as a whole?
My question is, won’t the principles you advocate for learning new movements and patterns also work for hitting? That is, mental imagery, learning how to do the movement correctly, use repetetive practice using the new technique correctly and getting feed-back via video?
Hi Randy hitting is my forte and there are very few drills I use that stops the batters motion. However there are a few.
I often stop the batter at toe touch to make sure his hands are back and he reached a solid 50-50 position. It is so important to be in a good position at toe touch that I often spend a lot of time repeating this drill. If I feel he is in a bad position I will move the body to where I want it so he can feel it. Toe touch is the most important position for a batter as most problems at ball strike stem from this position.
The other drill I use which stops the hitting motion is the Step Pinch drill. In this drill I will tell the batter to stride and lift up his back part of his foot while keeping his toes on the ground, then I will tell him to swing. This is to ensure that his swing is starting from the ground up. These are the only two drills in which I pause the full motion of the swing.
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