Have you ever looked at something, turned your head, and said: "What if I could use that thing to help me hit?!"
It's totally okay if you haven't...
I honestly think it's one of my crazy superpowers. Some of my students call me weird, and honestly, I'd agree with them.
I think my weirdness started when I went to a Notre Dame Softball camp at the age of 10 or 11 and at one of the hitting stations we used something called a "ChuckIt". We were told works on improving your barrel-whip.
In case you're curious and want to look it up, yep, it's a dog's toy. This is what my honest brain said when I picked it up: "How the heck is a DOG TOY supposed to improve my swing?!"
Guys, I was totally proven wrong...
You want your FASTEST part of your swing to (clearly) be at contact, and if you hold the "Chuckit" with one arm, take a swing and the ball "whips" out of the Chuckit at that point (contact) it will go up the middle. At first, I was extending my front arm (left arm and WEAKER arm!) a little too soon and it would release EVERY TIME to the opposite batter's box. It was SO FRUSTRATING!
I was soooooo bad at this drill at camp, but dad bought one of them on our way home, and then we were off to work...the next summer when I went back to ND camp, I ROCKED THIS DRILL and it truly helped me with my hand path and staying inside the ball!
THE DANG THING WORKED!
That crazy toy, that was created for people to throw a tennis ball to play catch with their DOG, helped me find more bat whip (and overall bat speed) in my swing than any other drill I've ever been exposed to. My mind (and I think my dad's, too) was blown.
After that, dad and I started looking at pretty much everything in a different light, which is why sometimes I use REALLY WEIRD tools in lessons.
Wait...you’re telling me you don’t need a ridiculously expensive device to become better at baseball/softball?!
My recent guest on When the Cleats Come Off Podcast, Cubs Minor League Hitting Coach Rachel Folden, reminded me that you don't have to buy that $1000 device to improve your swing. Plain and simple. You just need some creativity and some pretty darn good work ethic.
What do YOU have lying around your house that may be able to help you improve your swing? I bet there's more than you think.
Check out more ideas and tools you can use to improve your swing in this podcast episode! "Rachel Folden: How to master your swing and build a great relationship with your athlete"
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