Mapping Out Each Hitters Development Plan - Part 2: continued...
Updated: Jun 16, 2020
Looking at the above screening we can definitely see right away that this athlete has hip limitations. He may have some issues with rotating efficiently and could inhibit his ability to rotate at maximum velocities, or possibly even struggle to decelerate. This particular hitter is right handed, with limitations on both hips for external rotation. First thing I would look at is where his front foot is at foot strike. Ensure he can accelerate his hips with freedom as he rotates.
Now I know I have a hitter with inhibited internal rotational in right hip mobility. Which hip is it? Does he need to add mobility, or maintain that stabilization? What am I going to do in the on field BP or cages for that player during the team practice? It is causing him to sway over his back leg and he may compensate by loss of posture in his swing, because he isn't engaging rear glute muscle? There is a lot the can happen, and continue to happen if we do not correct it. What can be a fix or a cue? Well first thing is first, lets improve the mobility/stability in his internal hip rotation. You must be sure if it is a mobility issue or a stability issue though. Where is he feeling the tightness when assessing the hips whether a toe tap test or hip 45 test. If it's on the outside of his hip its a stability issue, if it's the inside then you are dealing with a mobility issue. If you can work with your strength coaches and athletic training staff to handle that side then less work for you as a hitting coach. Lets say you don't have that at your program though and you wear many hats within your program. Honestly, I would use every resource I can in terms of asking questions from someone who is an expert in that field and by reading books about the human body. "How to Become a Supple Leopard" by Dr. Kelly Starrett is a great place to start. Personally I would attack the problem with improving the mobility his right hip if he cannot achieve range of motion to internally rotate and engage his glute muscle with this particular player above. With the goal to improve his ability to rotate with speed and maximize players bat speed and maximal output of exit velocities.
One great exercise for your athlete that will help open up his hips and provide some stability is the hip 90/90 rotations. I like using these as a priming series for warm-ups. This will help prep the athlete to rotate efficiently. See below.
This drill will help with the mobility of the hips and to incorporate some stability and strengthening then try to push the side of your knee through the ground each time it lands. Without using your hands, push your knee or leg into the ground to activate the hip ligaments. Another drill I love is the spider man drill. This can really open up the hips and can help you continue to progress with distance gained from the exercise. See below.
Another drill I like in the primer series are 360 rotational jumps with a hula hoop on the ground. Trying to stay in the hula hoop and pulling off a full 360 rotation while you jump in the air. I want to see how the athlete is recruiting his muscles, if he can control his body, and how violent can he rotate? If he starting from the ground up?
In my opinion, if we aren't prepping the hips for our hitters (rotating efficiently) we aren't preparing them to hit. They need to be able to rotate violently and safely (which includes the ability to decelerate properly). Core and hips activated, ability to put force in the ground, disassociate and convert energy up the kinetic chain. We need to prime them to perform these actions. Always ensure why you are attempting to change mobilities and stabilites in your players! What are you looking to improve and what does your hitter need to achieve the task of hitting a baseball?
Example of primer series prep work for hitters below:
Med Ball Power Slam
Step Back Scoop Toss
Tall Kneeling Pelvic Partner Holds
1/2 Kneeling to Standing Shot Put