ABCA Clinic Recaps - Bob Keyes, Jerry Haugen & Gary Pullins


Liam Carroll

What The Best Hitters In Baseball Do
Bob Keyes – Founder, Bio-Kinetics Research and Development
Jerry Haugen – Head Coach, St. John’s (MN) University
Gary Pullins – Retired Head Coach, Brigham Young University

This was not a conventional clinic but rather a video presentation outlining some of the components of an ABCA research project into pitching, and in more detail here, hitting. 

The video presented the technology that the project is using, through a company called Bio-Kinetics Research and Development.  While using video to analyse players is common practice, the cameras and computers this uses capture movements in three dimensions, providing better analysis of technique and extending the scope of using technology in coaching.

While the video mostly presented the technology, the clinic outline included notes about key positions, movements and concepts that the project’s analysis has shown to date:

1. Balance & Posture (Positional Movement).
Tracking the body’s centre mass (CM) and posture from start to finish.
2. Pitcher/Hitter Interface (Movement time relative to the Pitcher).
Hitter’s movement (length of swing cycle) in relationship to pitcher.  Length of swing cycle, first movement out of rhythm, forward CM movement to foot strike, launch to contact, contact to finish, ball placement at foot strike, ball placement at launch.
3. Leg Lift.
Peak height of the lifting leg ball of foot.
4. Stride Length.
Linear displacement, start (stance) foot strike (stride X & Z), swing (contact) % of body height.
5. Linear Velocity.
Peak CM velocity into foot strike.
6. Foot Strike Angle.
The “turned out” angle of the front foot relative to the front edge of home plate.
7. Head Movement Stride.
Linear displacement.  Head tilt, head movement on the X, Y and Z axis from foot lift to foot strike.
8. Blocking.
How far the CM drifts forward after directional shift (linear to angular) (launch to contact) angles, velocities and displacements of the back side.
9. Kinetic Link.
Peak disassociation in degrees of the upper half of the body (shoulder line) from the lower half of the body (hip line) and the % of swing cycle.
10. Segment Contributions.
Angles, velocities, displacements and trajectories parabolas of the body’s contributing segments.
11. Axis of Rotation.
The location of the centre axis of which the body rotates around (% of stride length).
12. Bat Lag.
The relationship between the body’s rotation and bat movement (hip/bat separation).
13. Bat Speed.
Peak angular velocity of the bat head.
14. Bat Quicknees.
Elapsed time from the launch of the bat until contact is made.
15. Head Movement Swing.
Head tilt, head movement on the X, Y and Z axis from launch to contact.

The project has a couple of more years to go so it will be interesting to see what the ABCA comes up with in terms of resources that coaches can use to learn and coach their own players.

A big positive that I took out of the presentation is that while some of the  terminology is different, we’re teaching a lot of the same things to our players, for example at our Academy, that the project has shown that the best players in baseball do.

My Most Important Thing

While I don’t know where this project will go, at the moment there are a lot of “what’s” but only a few “how’s.”  And that’s the challenge for coaches: to have the “how to coach” skills that will enable players to figure things out.  It might not be in the same detail as written above but coaches must have a great understanding of techniques.  Coaches should soak up everything they can about technique, evaluate what they’ve learned and decide what they are going to coach.  Information gained from such in-depth projects as this make it easier to learn all of these “what’s.”  This project will help put to bed the debate about what the best hitters in baseball are doing.  But that’s only half the battle.  Coaches need to be able to apply that information to players who learn in different ways so it’s essential to develop the “how’s.”  You might have an analytical player who understands all of the terminology above and chances are you’ll have others who won’t figure things out unless the information is adapted into terms and pictures that fit their learning style.  It might even be that a simple drill will help them figure it out without you even saying a word.  Great coaches know they needn’t even utter a single word.

Having great knowledge of the game doesn’t automatically translate into being a great coach.  Developing your how to coach skills is essential, and we can help you do that, for example by attending the upcoming BBF/BSUK clinic.

Last Up: Steve Smith

On Deck: Steve Trimper


tagged under: baseball, coaching, softball, hitting

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About Liam Carroll

Liam Carroll

Liam was a Regional Coach and then Development Coordinator for BaseballSoftballUK until May 2014. He returned to his hometown of London to work for BSUK in 2010 after stops in Somerset, Bristol, Cornwall, California and Nevada. Growing up playing in Britain, Liam made the move to America to study and play university baseball. After figuring out that his future would be brighter as a coach rather than player, he moved to the University of Nevada Las Vegas to finish his degree and coach college baseball. Since then he’s coached youth and adult teams on both sides of the atlantic and with the Great Britain Baseball National Teams.

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