Results tagged ‘ KwikTrip ’

Tim’s Tip: Moment of Truth #3-Bend Your Wrists and Wave Bye-Bye to a Good Swing

The “Brewers Baseball Academy presented by Kwik Trip,” 10 separate weeklong baseball/softball camps that will be held in various cities across Wisconsin this summer for kids ages 6-14, will be back for its second season and so is Tim Rappe. In addition to putting on the camps, last summer executive director Tim Rappe provided some baseball tips here on John and Cait…Plus 9 as well. Read on for more from Coach Tim!

Enjoy!
Cait

JohnandCait@Brewers.com

“MOMENT OF TRUTH #3”

BEND YOUR WRISTS AND WAVE BYE-BYE TO A GOOD SWING

If you’ve been following my last few posts you know that I’m discussing four critical times in the swing sequence. First of all, I apologize for the delay. Academy enrollments have been keeping us running. I’ve labeled these four critical points the Four Moments of Truth. Overly dramatic? Maybe a tad. But after analyzing thousands of hitters, it’s become clear that a breakdown at any of these Moments of Truth (MOT) will severely limit the hitter’s chance for success.

In order to illustrate MOT #3 let’s go back to MOT #1. Check out the angle of Ryan Braun’s wrists at Heel Down.

Braun

The angle of the bat and Ryan’s top hand is just about 90 degrees.

It’s at this moment that so many hitters lay their wrists back resulting in what the Big Guys call “laying off the bat head.” This results in a longer swing (not good). This wrist angle change will result in the back elbow sliding underneath too fast and too early which drops the bat head below the hitting zone. The bat is then making contact at an aggressive uphill angle and the result is a swing under the ball or a top-spin grounder.

Poor Connection

This young hitter has laid his wrists back and caused the bat head to drop too far too fast.

So, what do we want the hitter to do with his wrists as he begins the swing?…nothing. The hitter maintains the cocked wrist angle until they unfold just before contact. Fight the urge to make some kind of an adjustment prior to that.

See how Martin Maldonado keeps his wrists cocked even as his hands pass by his hip.

See how Martin Maldonado keeps his wrists cocked even as his hands pass by his hip.

The wrists explode into the ball at contact…but not before. That’s why maintaining the cocked wrist angle is MOMENT OF TRUTH #3.

In my next post I’ll look at MOT #4… “Roll Your Wrists and Hit the Exit Ramp Off the Hitting Highway.” Until then, if you’re gonna swing might as well swing hard.

 

-Tim Rappé

Tim.Rappe@Brewers.com

 

 

 

Tim’s Tip: Moment of Truth #2-The First Domino to Fall in the Swing Sequence

The “Brewers Baseball Academy presented by Kwik Trip,” 10 separate weeklong baseball/softball camps that will be held in various cities across Wisconsin this summer for kids ages 6-14, will be back for its second season and so is Tim Rappe. In addition to putting on the camps, last summer executive director Tim Rappe provided some baseball tips here on John and Cait…Plus 9 as well. Read on for more from Coach Tim!

Enjoy!
Cait

JohnandCait@Brewers.com

“MOMENT OF TRUTH #2”:The First Domino to Fall in the Swing Sequence

In my last post I discussed the importance of starting in the optimum stance to generate bat accuracy and power at the point of contact. I labeled that MOMENT OF TRUTH #1. Today’s topic is a bit more controversial. I say “controversial” not because hitting experts don’t recognize that it happens; but rather because some may not give it the same emphasis as we do at the Brewers Baseball Academy. This single move can set up the hitter’s lower half for success or it can betray the entire swing…and it doesn’t come naturally for hitters so we need to teach it. That’s why I think it’s critical.

So, exactly what is MOMENT OF TRUTH #2? So many times I’ve heard baseball people debate regarding the first thing that moves when we launch the bat. Invariably, there is a group that believes that the hitter “just throws his hands” at the ball. Yes, the hitter does do that…but it is by no means the FIRST thing. In fact, it’s the last thing the hitter does prior to contact.

So what’s first? Drum roll please…The inside of the back knee pinches forward and down toward the inside ankle of the front foot. It’s the Knee Pinch that keeps the hitter from spinning on his back foot. It’s the Knee Pinch that launches the back hip, which is the power center. It is the Knee Pinch that prevents the hitter from rising up on his back leg. Yes, it’s the Knee Pinch that launches the hitter’s momentum into the baseball. Important? You betcha.

Take a look at former Brewers sluggers Robin Yount, Ben Oglivie  and Geoff Jenkins. Check out the knee pinch.

Yount Oglivie Jenkins

This next shot is a great overhead of Ryan Braun. If Ryan hadn’t pinched his knee in the way I described, he will spin on his back foot (we used to call this “squishing the bug”) and the back heel will retreat toward the catcher. Clearly, that’s not what’s happening here. Why? Because this is the way it supposed to be done!

Braun Overhead

The Knee Pinch is difficult to teach in the context of this blog. But go ahead and use your DVR the next time Gomez, Braun or Lucroy launches a moon shot. Focus on the back knee and I think you will see exactly what I mean and exactly why I respectfully submit the Knee Pinch as MOMENT OF TRUTH #2.

In my next post I’ll focus on MOMENT OF TRUTH #3…”Bend Your Wrists and Wave Bye-Bye to a Good Swing.” Until then, if you’re gonna swing might as well swing hard.

-Tim Rappé

Tim.Rappe@Brewers.com

 

 

 

Tim’s Tip: Moment of Truth #1-Get Set Up to Smash

The “Brewers Baseball Academy presented by Kwik Trip,” 10 separate weeklong baseball/softball camps that will be held in various cities across Wisconsin this summer for kids ages 6-14, will be back for its second season and so is Tim Rappe. In addition to putting on the camps, last summer executive director Tim Rappe provided some baseball tips here on John and Cait…Plus 9 as well. Read on for more from Coach Tim!

Enjoy!
Cait

JohnandCait@Brewers.com

“MOMENT OF TRUTH #1”: GET SET UP TO SMASH

In my last post I talked about the overwhelming value of using video to help your athlete. In our Brewers Baseball Academy summer camps we video the swing of every player. But that’s the easy part. Video is nothing more than a nice keepsake unless it’s transformed into a teaching tool and that takes some serious baseball smarts.

I’ve done over 2,000 swing analyses over the past couple years and I’ve identified four points in the swing that can make or break a hitter’s at bat. It’s those four “Moments of Truth” where kids have a tendency to mess up. I think the reason why these breakdowns occur is because there’s nothing particularly “natural” about these four key points in the swing. Kids don’t fall out of the crib doing them.

That these critical moments in the swing don’t come naturally is the bad news. The good news is that they can be taught.

MOMENT OF TRUTH #1: If you want to finish right, you need to start right. Many of the problems at contact are a function of bad posture at heel plant. What the hitter does prior to the front heel planting is, for the most part, a matter of personal style. However, at heel plant is when hitting instructors start “keeping score.”

Here is a great shot of Carlos Gomez at heel plant and the following six checkpoints are critical to starting a good swing.

GOMEZ TIMS TIP

  1. Head up and turned so that both eyes can track the ball. No tilting!!
  2. Don’t let the camera angle fool you. At heel plant, Carlos’ head is right above his belt buckle and in the middle of his feet. He looks like his weight is evenly distributed front to back
  3. Knob of the bat is angled toward the catcher’s feet. Barrel is somewhat about his head
  4. Hands are at shoulder height and at or just inside his back elbow (toward the catcher)
  5. Knees are inside ankles and flexed in athletic position
  6. Toes are on a straight line toward the pitcher

Does your hitter have to look exactly like this? Or course not. But all good hitters at heel plant look remarkably similar. So, from our perspective it makes a whole bunch of sense for the Brewers Baseball Academy to make sure our kids understand this. If you start right there is no guarantee you’ll finish right. But, if you start wrong, there is not much chance of finishing right. Make sense?

In my next post I’ll focus on Moment of Truth #2…the first domino to fall in the swing sequence. Until then, if you’re gonna swing, might as well swing hard.

-Tim Rappé

Tim.Rappe@Brewers.com

 

 

 

Tim’s Tip: Update Your Coaching Effectiveness for Just $5

The “Brewers Baseball Academy presented by Kwik Trip,” 10 separate weeklong baseball/softball camps that will be held in various cities across Wisconsin this summer for kids ages 6-14, will be back for its second season and so is Tim Rappe. In addition to putting on the camps, last summer executive director Tim Rappe provided some baseball tips here on John and Cait…Plus 9 as well. Read on for another installment from Coach Tim!

Enjoy!
Cait

JohnandCait@Brewers.com

UPGRADE YOUR COACHING EFFECTIVENESS FOR A WHOPPING $5

In my last post I promised a $5 suggestion that could have a profound impact on your child’s baseball/softball life. Read on…

Inside Miller Park sits Joe Crawford, our Coaching Assistant/Digital Media Coordinator, amid a bank of laptops and video screens that would make NASA jealous. Joe’s job is to record and catalog every pitch and every at-bat (both ours and theirs) for players and coaches to review as needed. While baseball, on the field, has remained relatively unchanged for the past century, our ability to dissect every aspect of a player’s performance upside down and inside out has changed exponentially.

While the level of digital sophistication at the MLB level is understandably off the chart, there are very affordable options for parents and youth coaches. For my money, with kids’ fascination with all things video, their tendency to be visual learners and the sheer speed of pitching and hitting actions, everybody should use video to help their kids.

Video. That’s my strong suggestion. Video may be the single biggest new asset a parent/coach can bring to the field. Kids love watching themselves and coaches love the “proof is in the video” credibility they get when players finally “see” what you’ve been telling them all along.

Every coach should consider using video as a teaching tool

Every coach should consider using video as a teaching tool.

At our Brewers Baseball Academy we record the swing of every player, analyze it, and email it out sometime after the camp. It’s an unbelievably valuable tool to extend the camp “classroom” beyond the 30 hour camp week.

If you are the analytical type and need to research all the products in the market feel free to “Google” away. You may come up with better options…and there are tons of options. Here is my summary of what I think you should be looking for:

1)     Easy to learn. I want my guys to be great baseball coaches, not computer whizzes.

2)     Analysis must be work on iOS and Android tablets and smartphones

3)     I must be able to narrate, telestrate and run back and forth in slo-mo

4)     I want side-by-side player comparison ability

5)     Easy to share

6)     Cloud-based so that email systems won’t reject large files

7)     Smart tech company that will keep improving their product

8)     Cheap

DISCLAIMER: The Brewers Baseball Academy has no financial interest or any other interest in promoting one app over another. In fact, if you come up with a better selection, I’m all ears.

I have found that Coach’s Eye (www.coachseye.com) meets our needs quite nicely. I’m almost embarrassed to tell you that the cost of Coach’s Eye is a whopping $4.99.

In 2014, video is too cheap, too easy and too powerful to ignore. In my next post I will reveal my first of four “Moments of Truth” that can make or break an at-bat. Oh yeah, I’ve identified these four “Moments of Truth” by doing over 2,000 swing analyses…on video.

Until next time, if you’re gonna swing, might as well swing hard.

-Coach Tim

Tim.Rappe@Brewers.com

Coach Tim “Reporting from Spring Training”

The “Brewers Baseball Academy presented by Kwik Trip,” 10 separate weeklong baseball/softball camps that will be held in various cities across Wisconsin this summer for kids ages 6-14, will be back for its second season and so is Tim Rappe. In addition to putting on the camps, last summer executive director Tim Rappe provided some baseball tips here on John and Cait…Plus 9 as well. Read on for the first 2014 installment from Coach Tim!

Enjoy!
Cait

JohnandCait@Brewers.com

COACH TIM “REPORTING FROM SPRING TRAINING”

We often hear that “pitchers and catchers report” may be the most poetic and inspirational four word phrase in a baseball lover’s vocabulary. But I’ve got a better one…”Reporting from Spring Training.” And that’s exactly where I am as I write this.

Every year I make the trip to Maryvale, Arizona to watch baseball. Not so much to watch the games as to watch the guys prepare. My role as Director of the Brewers Baseball Academy is to make sure that what we do at camp in Kenosha, Green Bay, Waunakee, etc., reflects what goes on in our Big League camp. And so I come to Maryvale to watch and listen. Because when you break it down, our week-long instructional camps look a lot more like Spring Training than a day at Miller Park.

After just two days here’s what I see. I see a whole lot of attention being paid to fundamentals. You might think that’s always the case and to a large extent it is. But this camp feels different. There is a focused attention to detail.

The Crew works on rundowns prior to catching the bus to today’s game.

The Crew works on rundowns prior to catching the bus to today’s game.

Today I saw bunt coverage, “first and thirds,” rundowns, PFP, backhands, forehands, outfield drop steps. I watched Carlos Gomez and Aramis Ramirez take about 100 extra cuts after their regular workout. And I see that our pitchers are working together as a group to build a camaraderie and help spot the little things that only other pitchers can identify.

 Lohse helping his co-worker, Gallardo, work through some delivery mechanics

Lohse helping his co-worker, Gallardo, work through some delivery mechanics

I can imagine that to the Spring Training neophyte, all this activity might seem a bit chaotic, but it’s not. There is a purpose and tempo to everything going on.

You could hang up a sign over Maryvale that reads “MEN AT WORK” and that would be spot on. And that’s why I love coming out here. That, and a net gain of about 50 degrees from the frigid temps at home.

In my next post I’ll give you an idea that may be the best thing you can do to help the young player in your life. So break the piggy bank because this idea is going to set you back about $5…no kidding.

Until then, I’m Coach Tim “Reporting from Spring Training.” (sigh) If you’re gonna swing, might as well swing hard.

-Tim Rappé

Tim.Rappe@Brewers.com

 

 

 

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