I’m sure you have heard someone say before, “Stay inside the baseball.” But what does that really mean?
I’m sure you’ve seen ball players on tv pull one down the line and it curves foul at the last moment. What could they do to keep that ball straight down the line? Well they could get inside the baseball just a little bit more and I am going to tell you something that has helped me and a lot of the guys I give lessons to.
Most of my hitters and a lot of the hitters I watch hit off the tee, front toss, or BP are getting around the ball too much. They are always hooking balls to the pull side and never really getting that back spin that everyone wants. How do you work on that by just changing one little thing in the players mindset?
Set the next ball up on the tee, with the two seam laces that go up and down the ball so they are facing back towards the net. Tell the batter to focus on hitting the inside lace, the one closest to him. 9 times out of 10 they will hit the ball either right back up the middle or oppo. Most of the time if they hit the ball to the opposite side of the cage they are dropping their backside to compensate. If so, just tell them to keep their backside up as they swing. Tell them to focus on swinging down and inside which means, drive the hands down towards the ball and focus on hitting the inside of the baseball. If they go back to hooking the ball, just remind them to hit that inside seam. They’ll know what you are talking about and will focus on that their next swing.
Whenever I was having problems on the field I would always go in the cage, grab a tee and tell myself, “Down and inside.” Every ball after that would go straight up the middle.
Work on that yourself or if you are a coach, with your hitters and I promise you will be surprised with the results.
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According to Jay Ward of ProStride Hitting
This is another big topic of controversy for some guys on whether to release the top hand at the end of the swing or keep it on. A big reason why we want some of our hitters to release is because they get more coverage and extension. What do I mean by this? They tend to stay in the zone longer instead of cutting off their swing which we have seen in some players who do not release. When hitters cut their swing off while holding on with both hands they tend to roll over on a lot more balls than they would if they were to release the top hand.
We are not trying to tell you this is going to be the right way for everyone. We have guys in the pros who release and guys who hold onto the bat. It’s whatever works best for you. If you are not comfortable with your swing, then none of this other stuff matters.
One more quick tip: Releasing the top hand at the end of the swing allows the bat to stay in the zone an extra 6-9 inches! Watch the Master of Hitting Instruction, Jay Ward elaborate on this in the Q & A video and much more!
Below are a few examples of players who release and do not:
MIAMI -- It took only a week for Derek Jeter to add some pinstriped flavor to his new front office in Miami.
According to a source, Gary Denbo has agreed to leave the Yankees to join Jeter's Marlins, the first major hiring by Miami's new ownership group. Neither team has confirmed the move.
Denbo has been the Yankees' vice president of player development since 2014, but he'll join the Marlins as director of player development and scouting. Denbo, 56, had been rumored to be a candidate for the Marlins' general manager job.
Bringing in Denbo comes a week after the Marlins were sold by Jeffrey Loria to a group led by Bruce Sherman and Jeter. The official closing on that $1.2 billion transaction came on Oct. 2. The next day, Sherman was introduced as Miami's chairman and principle owner and Jeter was named chief executive officer.
"We're rebuilding it," Jeter said during a news conference on Oct. 3. "We're putting the right people in place. Everything is strategic, and we have a plan for what we're doing. But at the same time, we have to have patience."
Miami has endured eight straight losing seasons and comes off a 77-85 campaign, finishing 20 games behind the Nationals in the National League East and 10 games off the pace for the second NL Wild Card spot.
The Marlins have not asked the Yankees for permission to speak with any of their other front-office members, a source said.
Jeter and Denbo have a long history together. Denbo has spent more than two decades with the Yankees in a variety of positions, managing Jeter in the Minor Leagues and serving as the Yankees' hitting coach in 2001.
The Marlins are seeking to upgrade their organization at all levels. Their farm system has been thinned through the years, and Denbo was instrumental in stockpiling the Yankees' system to become one of the bests in the Majors.
All of the Yankees' affiliates, with the exception of one Rookie league club, reached the playoffs in 2017. Their three highest level clubs -- Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, Double-A Trenton and Class A Advanced Tampa combined for a 263-153 (.632) record.
Like Jeter, Denbo makes Tampa home.
When Jeter was struggling at the plate in 2011, he spent time with Denbo in Tampa during a June stint on the disabled list and worked on his swing, hitting .331 for the remainder of the season after returning on July 4.
The Marlins don't currently have a general manager. President of baseball operations Michael Hill has been working closely with Jeter during the ownership transition.
Jim Hendry, a special assistant to GM Brian Cashman, has been rumored to be a candidate to join the Marlins, possibly as GM, but a source said there has been no contract between the two parties.
Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast.
Mark Feinsand, executive reporter for MLB.com, has covered the Yankees and MLB since 2001 for the New York Daily News and MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
Hear what Gary Denbo has to say about why you need ProStride Hitting