Drills are an integral part of the learning process. The key to what we do at Bardo’s is that we use drills to teach athletes how to move better. The biggest issue with how drills are perceived is that they have steps. Many people will treat drills as extremely linear. We want to use drills as parameters.
At Bardo’s in both Healthy Heat and 3D Hitting, we have general parameters for what we want in a movement. However, within those parameters there is a ton of freedom. As we say often, we do not believe step one, step two, and so on. We try to encourage athletes to utilize certain parts of the kinetic chain, but throughout those movements they are given the freedom to move how they want to accomplish a goal.
Drills allow us to continue to provide variability in the environment of the athlete with their simple goal being accomplish the task as well as they can. For hitters, we want them trying to hit a double, make the outfielders run backwards. For pitchers, we want them hitting a target...hard. While these may seem drastic to some and obvious to others, training is the perfect time to do that. Controlled chaos - where we can control the situation, when the price of failure is low, and they get to move as well as they can.
The “risk” being low also has different benefits on both sides. Hitters don’t have to suffer the disappointment of costing a team a game or not getting an RBI. With pitchers, we can take all the steps possible to manage the physical stress they are under. For example, we know that if we limit the amount of lower body engagement, and do this correctly we can teach the upper body to move more efficiently. Our belief is a majority of the efficiency will still be present when the athletes begin to use their legs.
Now the biggest battle that we face with athletes of all ages is drills can get boring. However, if we provide individualized drills and continue to adjust these drills as the athletes progress, we have seen much better results. It can also create a sense of ownership as athletes see themselves, hitting more targets or making better contact in drills that once seemed unnatural or difficult. The intent is the key, throw it hard, hit a double. And don’t be afraid to fail, just make it feel more free.
Director of Healthy Heat
“Are you moving through your swing the way you want to, or the way someone else wants you?” This is the question I’ve asked every single hitter I have come into contact with over the last three months. Every single hitter’s initial response was silence. An obvious indication that this was either the first time they had ever been asked the question or required to think on their own in terms of what they are trying to accomplish. Eventually the athlete will respond with a yes or someone else. “Someone else” is always a concern as the athlete has already admitted to not owning their own swing movements. I’ll ask the hitter who responded with a “yes” to take me through how they are trying to move. The detail will differ, but all too often they will take you through this body part getting here, this body part doing this, then trying to get there and in the end It’s all pieced together. No one can hit that way, no successful hitter tries to hit that way and it will only lead to frustration on the athlete’s end.
You can’t see body part A moving here, and body part B doing this. Own your swing by owning what you feel. It has to be personal, because when it really matters it’s going to be you versus nine other dudes. No hitting coach or hitting program, just you and your conviction. Too often we see hitter’s conflicted instead.
Finding the right coach or program is challenging, but you are going to have to take ownership of that process too. This is your career. Do your homework on who is going to push your beliefs rather than pull. Allowing your convictions to
be your own. One that will challenge you and allow you to struggle. And one that when your swing movements change, it’s because YOU found a better way. In the end it is going to be about how YOU responded.
Training inefficiencies versus dictative swing training and understanding the kinetic chain
You can generally break hitting training in to two groups. One side defines the rules while the other tries to break them all. It’s become an understanding that one size does not fit all vs. the my way or the highway mentality. Free knowledge drop...the highway is always faster. Ultimately it comes down to dictated movements or free exploration.
I’ve heard too many coaches, who have found success at a high level, teach how they swung because it works. It’s comfortable because it is familiar, and it’s easy to spit out impressive information to get you to buy in. I’m not going to claim that this approach with training won’t work. Because it did for them, and one of six other hitters they may be working with. I️ will however, claim that those odds suck. This can also be a painfully slow approach because hitters who are in a dictative training program are often having to overhaul their swing. The biggest problem I️ have with dictative training is that the vast majority of hitting coaches and programs at every level fall into that category. And it’s been that way for a few decades. So how is the road less traveled a better way?
First we need to understand that the swing is a natural, athletic movement that occurs within our kinetic chain (a sequence of organized movements originating from our core), and needs to be trained as such. This means hitters don’t need movement over halls and concrete ideals to fix broken swings. They simply need to learn to get out of their own way.
Hitter walks in and says “Coach, something is wrong with my swing. I️ can’t hit.” Kid is struggling at the plate with his confidence and can’t seem to barrel up balls he is seeing well and on time for. Nothing is wrong with the swing as “the swing” implies how the barrel is working. How the barrel works is a response to how our bodies work throughout the kinetic chain. The kinetic chain is simply a series of organized movements originating from our core. The key word being organized. Said “swing” is a natural athletic movement and needs to be trained as such.
How do we begin that style of training?
Training by dictating the swing works well in a low pressure/comfortable situation. Like hitting in the cage. We all know there is nothing comfortable about stepping in the box with cheddar and a slide piece coming your way. Training the movement translates to in game freedom. Having the ability to adjust on the fly
What is 3D hitting?
Not the latest and greatest technology. Not a gimmick. Just an idea.
Front foot down because of the swing not to swing
Why is 3D for you?
-it may not
Training elite movers...not swingers
-live ball variance
-challenge the body control
Hitting with Intent vs swinging