Curt Nelson, Professional Hitting Consultant and NW Bandits Head Coach (WA).

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Today we have on Curt Nelson, Professional Hitting Consultant. and NW bandits head coach (WA).

Curt works with players from the big leagues to little league. So on the show we discuss what his evaluation process looks from when a person walks in the door for the first time, to fine tuning professional hitters mechanics. We dive deep into hitting mechanics, game planning, timing and much more. This episode is so good and here is Curt Nelson!

resources

Curt’s YouTube page

Contact Info

Show notes courtesy of Zach Casto

  • The goal of a coach is to take each player and take them to the next level.
  • When pre assessing a player, you need to understand the level of play of the player.
  • Professional players you need to look up video to get a start on understanding them.
  • You want to see how each player moves and thinks to understand what can work for the player.
  • Lead by asking questions to learn more about each player.
  • The more you understand the setup, his mechanics, bat path, his thoughts, and understanding are all crucial understandings.
  • Changing the mind first will create a smoother change.
  • “Mobility plays a ginormous role.”
  • “There are no absolutes, but timing, balance, and bat path are close to absolutes.
  • With that being said, the bat path can be different for each player.
  • You can’t make any change without the relationship piece though.
  • When asking questions, ask about their timing mechanisms, what they are trying to do to the baseball, their thoughts on the tee, and what their approach is.
  • Understand what the hips are doing.
  • “The ground is the number one source of power and energy.
  • Any question that gives you insight is important.
  • Ball flight is important to understand the approach and mechanics.
  • Video is your friend in understanding this.
  • Start with movement preparation drills before you go into swings.
  • Example: Slam balls and PVC pipe connection drills. (This helps showcase the body and how well it moves.)
  • After movement prep work on each hitters routines.
  • Group up each hitter to work on the routine together with other players and they can talk to find solutions to situations.
  • After the grouping you can work on team hitting and allow competition to flow between the athletes.
  • “Everything starts with a setup.”
  • Getting into the right setup for that hitter is paramount.
  • Every hitter needs to start in balance.
  • The head has to be in the center of the body.
  • Don’t get hitters to get into their quads and legs too early.
  • “Hitting is done more flat footed than we think.”
  • Being on the balls of your feet isn’t conducive for balance.
  • A quality sets up the athlete to be consistent and have success.
  • There is a right position/setup for everyone.
  • Mobility is a huge factor.
  • It’s about finding the right balance.
  • Example: If the ankle is a problem you can move it to find the right balance for each hitter.
  • “You’re trying to maximize each individual.”
  • The mirror is a great teacher for each hitter.
  • It gives the hitter instant feedback on what they are feeling.
  • When you’re in a mirror you can feel what you’re trying out.
  • Put an X on the mirror. Tell the athlete to keep their forehead in the X to find the right setup and movement.
  • This helps the player to find the right movement that promotes not a ton of excess movement.
  • Have a balance beam where the hitter has to make a clean forward move and then move backwards. This will help the athlete find the right movement.
  • “Stride our to 50-50, then back to your setup.”
  • The setup is the key that unlocks the best results for the player.
  • “There is not a specific move to have everyone use.”
  • Use trial and error and work it in real time in the cage.
  • “There is no fooling balance.”
  • If the athlete knows where he is at in space, then he will have confidence and conviction behind what he is doing.
  • You’re trying to gather and load against the back leg.
  • This can help the head stay still.
  • You’re trying to promote a powerful and balanced forward move.
  • When gathering, the stride leg is working underneath the front shoulder or underneath the front hip.
  • This prevents the foot from reaching out too far.
  • When you lost balance then the body breaks down it’s efficiency.
  • You want to get your body ready to move it’s weight to put all it’s force into the ball.
  • To test out a forward move:
  • Draw a line of of the back foot and video it.
  • Guys who are in balance don’t go outside of that line.
  • You can use a wall as well.
  • Put the back on the wall and the player should not feel any body part touch the wall.
  • As the front foot picks up the back heel needs to stay grounded in the forward move.
  • The glute possesses the power in the swing.
  • Look for the root cause that is effecting a good move or a bad move for the player.
  • Start looking at timing and then go from there.
  • Teach a player the difference between perceived 50-50 balance and what it actually is and feels.
  • Look at the head first at 50-50 to find the right look for the player.
  • Some guys are 60-40 at foot strike.
  • We as coaches have to help the player find their best setup at foot strike.
  • The move of the player should naturally allow the flute of the athlete to load up.
  • Coil and scap loading takes the hitter off of his line and balance.
  • If the hands are behind the body then the front side has to move more to compensate.
  • Get the hands in the position of launch that stays in line.
  • To do this have the player work on taking their hands back based off of the chalk line in the batter’s box.
  • Some hitters have their hands back too far at launch as well.
  • You just have to work with the player to find the most comfortable and natural launch position for success.
  • You want to create adaptable and adjustable hitters.
  • In the world of hitting nothing is really new.
  • Hitting changes based off of what the pitchers are doing.
  • Example. With sinkers/pitch to contact pitchers, hitters are trying to hit the ball in the air.
  • The timing is crucial for the proper time to barrel up the ball.
  • If you’re late, start earlier so you have more room for error.
  • As the elbows are going down the hands get on plane with the pitch and the bat will lag to create whip with the swing.
  • We are trying to run the barrel north to south to square up the baseball.
  • An east to west barrel can roll over balls that should be squared up.
  • One of the hardest things to do when teaching hitting is timing.
  • Have game footage and practice footage where you can see the difference between the player in game and in practice.
  • The video helps the hitter and coach create an understanding of what happening to the hitter whether that’s his movement, mental game, or pitch mix.
  • Understand what each pitcher is trying to do in order to create a hitting plan.
  • Example: with a sinker pitcher try to hit the ball in the air.
  • The ultimate goal is to hit line drives.
  • Find out what the fastball is doing and try to base things off of that pitch.
  • Then you can eliminate offspeed pitches.
  • Try to find the sequence due to patterns.
  • Feet together go forward:
  • The player starts with the feet together and this works the forward move.
  • The hitter needs to try to get to 50-50 balance.
  • You can use a mirror or video to assess the forward move.
  • You can use a Chuck It to work on the top hand.
  • You can use a frisbee to work on the bottom hand.
  • Bat path drill:
  • You can use a bat and tell the hitter to release the bat at the pitchers head.
  • If the bat path is going east or west then the bat will land pull side or opposite side.
  • The goal of any coach is to have the hitter self assess and coach themselves.
  • The best players can coach themselves.
  • Allow for communication to happen constantly so you can help them.
  • As a coach you are going to leave some days wanting to do better and then there are days where you will feel you did a great job.
  • Journaling is a great way for each player and coach to remember what has worked and what doesn’t.
  • Create your own opinions based off of trial and error. Trial and error will allow for the opinion to be created.
  • “Don’t think like everyone else. Think outside of the box.”
  • Failure will breed success if you stick with it.
  • Keep trying and giving your best.
  • Keep up the energy.
  • “Always remember that it’s about the player.”

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