Learn How to Keep It Simple at the Plate

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At a major baseball convention,  a sports psychologist in attendance unknowingly paid HEAD GAMES a great compliment.  His critical comment to the company selling the book was, “yeah, I’ve read it, but  It’s written on an eighth grade level.”   Au contraire!  I’m thinking that if an eight year old can read it, understand it and attain baseball excellence, then it must be written on maybe a third grade level?  In order to scale the pinnacle of performance potentiality, simplicity is an absolute necessity.  If  you’ve just got to have a complicated methodology that doesn’t work,  then HEAD GAMES is not your answer.  E-mail me and I’ll give you the name of the other guy’s book which sold a total of one at the convention compared to many written on “the eight grade level.”  If you want something simple to use that works and works immediately from youth leagues through the major leagues, then make HEAD GAMES yours and maximum potential for success can be realized.  I talked with a major league pitcher this week that I worked with toward the end of last season.  His subsequent success was close to perfect after struggling all season.  Now, he can’t wait for the season to begin.  Barring injury, this WILL be his best season ever, and he’s had some really good ones.  His comment on the book:  “I have never liked to read, but I love THIS book.  I don’t want to put it down.  The techniques are so easy to use.”  To insure success, one must mentally embrace a simple approach that allows consistent play “in the zone.”

The HEAD GAMES methodology is exceedingly simple and fun to use.  This simplicity is an absolute requirement if an athlete aspires to attain the “seventh heaven” of Baseball Excellence.  If there are those who desire or have tried complex theories, which are doomed to failure, I recommend that they  get on board with hundreds of athletes who have discovered the awesome power of HEAD GAMES.  Accolades, testimonials & endorsements continue to pour in from across the world.  The success of HEAD GAMES has been and continues to be unprecedented and unparalleled. Ladies & Gentlemen, start your powerful “mental engines” by choosing the holistic philosophy of HEAD GAMES, and begin to enjoy life and success on and off the field.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR -Walter Herbison - He consulted with Mississippi State Baseball from 1988-1992, the Atlanta Braves in 1990, LSU in 1991 and 2000, the Detroit Tigers and Chicago Cubs organizations and many other amateur and professional teams. Nationally, he has consulted with many players individually — from youth leagues to Major Leagues.

Better Bat Contact

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THE EYES CAN DELIVER!!  This season, a Double A player called for help.  After one telephone consulting session with him,  he increased his batting average from .180 to about .250 in a short time, but had reached a plateau.  According to him, he was missing too many pitches that he felt he should be hitting.  My analysis was that his eyes were not always under control while swinging.   The next game this player went 2-4, with a double, a triple, an r.b.i. and a run scored against a pitcher with a 1.59 e.r.a.  The team had only five total hits.

What did I tell him?  The eyes must be relaxed and focused only on the ball.  If the eyes are not in control, then the body does not know exactly where the bat is supposed to be swung.   The body can do a great job with proper guidance from the eyes.  HEAD GAMES techniques are simple to use and the success stories are astounding.  Choose to maximize your performance!

Hitting with the Right Bat Angle

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Let’s talk about the bat angle.  At what angle should you have the bat?  Should it be up at a 90 degree angle?  Should you tilt it back towards the catcher?  What is most comfortable for you?  The most efficient place to put the bat is at a 45 degree angle behind your back shoulder.  This is the best position to launch the bat from.

It is the most efficient way to get the bat through the zone.  Since this is hard to see you may either use the mirror drill or have a coach help you with this.  The reason why I don’t recommend a 90 degree bat angle is because in order to hi, you must first get the bat into a 45 degree bat angle.  If you start at 90 degrees, you will cause unnecessary movement to get the 45 degree angle that is necessary to swing from.

Could Aristotle Have Been a Great Athlete?

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This genius believed that the mind’s only function was to be a cooling mechanism for the circulatory system.  Bet you know someone like that.  Well, according to humorist Will Rogers, everyone is ignorant, just on different subjects, and Mr. Aristotle was at least deficient in one area.  However, had he been right, at least that would have eliminated the problem of TOO MUCH THINKING, which is usually an athlete’s Achilles heel.  I am constantly amazed and dismayed at those in any sport who teach  mechanics excessively and little or nothing on the mental aspect.  The number one theory seems to be If there is a problem, it’s got to be mechanics, right?

If  that were  true, then each and every athlete that I work with, even by telephone, would not be making immediate improvement.  I know mechanics, but by telephone I do not have the luxury of analyzing and advising in this area.   I am not minimizing the necessity of teaching sound mechanics, which requires thinking, but once the skill(s) are learned, right brain play, which eliminates thinking, is absolutely essential.  Proper breathing and focusing solves the problems of  worry, doubts and fears and allows for peak performance.

Positive Communication Will Enhance Performance

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The University of  California, L. A., in an extensive study,  came to the following conclusions regarding believability of communication:

1. Tone of voice & facial expressions account for 38%.

2. Body language, 55%.

3. The words, only 7%.  (Facial expressions are also body language, so the 55% should be even higher.)

It is only when all three are synchronized, or in harmony, will a person believe the words.   This study is another confirmation that regardless of the verbal message, if the body language conflicts, the person will believe the non verbal.  So, managers, coaches and parents, please be careful in the way you communicate with their athletes so as not to adversely affect performance.  Keep your total language positive, for maximum benefit on and off the field.

Swing Question: Rotation or Weight Transfer

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I frequently am asked questions about the all time great hitter, Ted Williams and Charlie Lau. Williams is thought of as being a pure rotational hitter, while Lau was a pure weight transfer teacher. Both are misconceptions and misrepresenting the swing.

Percentage wise, Ted teaches more rotation but if you look at his old videos and still shots, you clearly see his weight going from back to center which is weight transfer. Lau embraced a pure weight shift philosophy and many of his still shots in his book do show hitters on top of their front leg, however, that isn’t what happened to those same hitters in real game action swings.

If any of you have Ted William’s book, The Science of Hitting, turn to the very last page and you will see a perfect swing. However, look closely. Ted has gone to the center position, with his back heel in the air, and his toe – NOT the ball of his foot – on the ground. This clearly shows you the weight has transferred to the center position therefore, it is not a pure rotational swing. A pure rotational swing that would involve no weight transfer, would consist of the weight spinning on the ball of the back foot. It is clear cut, he is definitely not spinning.

The swing is definitely a combination of both rotation and weight shift however, there are vary-ing degrees of this combination. Speaking in mathematical terms, look at it as a matter of the percent used of each. Some hitters will use a greater percentage of rotation, while others will use a greater percentage of weight shift. Ideally the swing should be 50/50. Fifty percent rota-tional, fifty percent weight transfer. Most great Major League hitters are at 50/50 – Palmeiro, A-Rod, and Giambi – just to name a few.

Results of having a pure rotational approach are that the hitter will be guaranteed to have a less effective, more inconsistent circular hand path. When taking a circular hand path through the zone, the barrel of the bat stays on the contact plane for a very short time. This leads not only to an improper hand path but also to inconsistent contact. In addition to that, these hitters will have a greater likelihood of rolling over the ball with their top hand which in turn leads to more weak ground balls being hit.

Contrast that to a hitter using a strict weight transfer or linear path. Despite the fact that he will stay on the ball longer, he will in fact have more of a chopping type swing. That is why a com-bination of the two is what leads to the most success. The proper hand path will start out linear, or straight to the ball and on the finish or follow through, the swing becomes more circular. In other words, the swing is more linear on the approach to the ball, and more circular on the fol-low through. Remember to keep it simple because this truly isn’t a difficult concept, people make it much harder then what it is.

Why Step-by-Step Professional Hitting Advice Is Better Than a Part-Time Coach’s Advice

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I’m a father, who has worked with not only my own son, but also many kids in little league. I have the greatest admiration for parents and volunteer coaches, however it frustrates me to see the wrong information they are teaching these kids. It’s a sad reality that most young players never discover the proper techniques for successful hitting. Unfortunately, the coaching your son has had up to this point may have taught them techniques that will prevent them from ever reaching their full potential. While coaches may have the best of intentions, the bad habits and improper swing techniques your player is establishing now will be harder to break the longer they train their mind and body to perform them incorrectly. Over 90% of what these well meaning people are teaching today’s players about hitting is “DEAD WRONG” and is destroying thousands of kids chances to have more fun, get more hits – or more importantly, to get college scholarships.

I get asked all the time – “Dave, my kid’s just 8 years old does he really need this kind of instruction? I just want him to go out there and have fun – I don’t think we’re ready to be thinking about a college scholarship – YET!” Here’s my advice to those parents- ask yourself these questions: When does a kid have the most fun playing Little League? When he strikes or flies out? When he gets on base, and scores a run? What would it be worth – if your kid could have more fun and get more hits every time he played? Would you want your child practicing the WRONG techniques year after year? It takes just as much effort for a kid to practice the WRONG techniques as it does for them to practice the RIGHT ones, so with all the other benefits – why not do it the right way from the start? It’s a lot more fun talking to your kids about how to improve their game when you really know how to do it.

Don’t Have a Loser’s Limp

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A mentally weak individual makes excuses for his or her actions instead of owning up to their mistakes.  I once called a player into my office after a game to find out why he had botched a routine pop-up to the infield.  Before I spoke a word, he said, “Did you see the wind take that ball?”  This sounds like a good reason for missing a pop-up, however, the wind didn’t just start blowing right before the ball was hit – the wind fooled him because he hadn’t anticipated before – hand what effect the wind might have on a ball hit in the air.  This was a lack of preparation on his part which he didn’t handle properly.  His appropriate response should have been, “I messed up the play because I wasn’t prepared for what the wind was going to do.”  I would have replied, “Good, you learned something.”  The End.  I wasn’t upset at him for the error, I was disturbed at his loser’s limp.  One of the keys to improving your game is to take responsibility for your actions – learn from them and then move on.

In order to be successful in life as well as in athletics, you must develop mental toughness.  Learning to persevere through the difficult circumstances, to control your emotions despite what occurs around you, and not making excuses for your actions are vital components to achieving your goals.  Anyway you look at it, life is a battle.  Don’t fall short and become a casualty or worse – a fatality.  The players who don’t make it to the next level, yet should, are fatalities.  Don’t add your name to the list.

Getting in the Right Mindset at the Plate

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The HEAD GAMES methodology is exceedingly simple and fun to use.  This simplicity is an  absolute requirement if an athlete aspires to attain the “seventh heaven” of Baseball Excellence.  If there are those who desire or have tried complex theories, which are doomed to failure, I hope that they would follow the advice and testimonial of an athlete and businessman that I worked with, who has a PhD in chemistry.   This great guy was a  skeptic as to the power of the right brain in  performance, until he tried it, and the results were astounding, both as a pitcher and as an engineer.  Make this your best season ever.  Playing relaxed and focused guarantees right brain play and success.

ADJUSTMENT FROM THE PEN TO THE MOUND–Among others at major league spring training camp this year, I worked with a pitcher who had been having location problems.  I watched him at a distance while warming up; not a single pitch was above the knees–phenomenal location, with quality pitches.  He pitched his scheduled four innings, while making mostly excellent pitches, but he gave up two earned runs by getting several pitches up in the zone.  Other observers came to the conclusion that the problem was mechanical.  During dinner that evening I gave him the solution.  Going from an almost flat mound in the bullpen to a higher elevation requires an adjustment mentally and physically.  Unless the mind dictates to the body the necessity for a new release point, the body will usually take the path of least resistance and the ball will be up.   It’s just easier not to bend the back a little more to insure a lower release point.  We see this often by pitchers late in games after they tire.  Release point determines location, but only a consistent follow through will insure accurate and consistent location.  The body will do the bidding of the mind if given proper instruction.  The aforementioned pitcher’s  called me after after his next start and was elated.  He threw five innings, giving up no runs with only four hits.  He made the adjustment and kept the ball down consistently.  Mind over matter.  HEAD GAMES will also work for you!