Training Point of Contact Deeper in the Zone

Written by JP Fasone – Hitting Coach

As hitters transfer up in stage, they should clear a major ability hole. Pitchers have higher stuff. How do you put together a highschool hitter for SEC pitching?

Once we talked to Ole Miss commit Judd Utermark about his spring season, we weren’t shocked when he informed us he led the staff in most offensive classes, together with strikeouts. So, our purpose for the summer time was to boost his ground by enhancing his Smash Issue and decreasing his strikeout charge.

Throughout his evaluation week, Judd posted:

  • Peak Exit Velocity of 102.4 mph 
  • High eighth exit velocity just below triple digits at 99.7 mph
  • Common bat pace of 74.2 mph

These numbers put him at or above our in-gym affiliate averages. We are saying that bat pace and high eighth exit velocity set a participant’s ceiling. Judd’s ceiling was very excessive.


After going over his evaluation week information, we discovered two areas that might assist enhance his strikeout charge and Smash Issue: 

  1. Deepening his level of contact
  2. Getting his torso extra rotated at contact 
7/14/21 – Evaluation Week

Common Level of Contact (POC):

  • In-gym Affiliate Athletes: 22.6 inches from the again of the plate
  • Judd Utermark: 31.3 inches from the again of the plate

Judd was virtually 9 inches additional in entrance.

Baseline Level of Contact Depth Chart 7/7/21 – 7/14/21

The additional the ball travels, the extra time the athlete has to determine whether or not to swing or not. If Judd might transfer his common POC again whereas sustaining his batted ball high quality, he would have extra time to acknowledge pitch sort and site, enhancing his swing choices and reducing his strikeout charge.

Common Torso Rotation at Contact:

  • In-gym Affiliate Athletes:  -15.9°
  • Judd Utermark: -29.9°

In our measurements, 0° is when the athlete faces the pitcher. Judd compensated by sliding his arms in entrance of his torso to create area for the barrel to show; we discuss with this as a “push sample.”

7/8/21: First Week Mocap; Torso::Z reveals torso angle the place 0° is the athlete dealing with the pitcher

This push compensation forces Judd’s POC additional out entrance and requires him to regulate his barrel late within the swing part, affecting his Smash Issue.

What Did We Practice?

We targeted on including coil throughout his load part to handle these two points, giving him higher management of his ahead motion and creating a greater bat path deeper within the zone.

Including Coil Throughout Load Part

7/8/21: First Week Mocap; Torso::Z and Pelvis::Z reveals the angle the place 0° is the athlete dealing with the pitcher

Throughout his baseline evaluation, at his loaded place (the second when the athlete’s heart of mass begins shifting towards the pitcher), Judd averaged:

  • -99.5° of pelvis rotation 
  • -96.9° of torso rotation

We utilized the Hook ‘Em drill, which places the athlete in a coiled and hinged place to start out, and the Step Again drill, the place the athlete steps again into their load part. These drills let the athlete really feel what a loaded place with sufficient coil seems like (Hook ‘Em drill) after which what it takes to get into that place (Step Again).

11/22/21 (5 months later): Mocap RetestPelvis::Z reveals the rotational velocity of the pelvis

Throughout his retest, Judd averaged: 

  • -103° of pelvis rotation (+3.5)
  • -105° of torso rotation (+8.1)

Earlier than, Judd needed to be early to make contact to this point in entrance; to make contact deeper, he would have to have the ability to wait again slightly longer. As a result of including extra coil helped him higher make the most of the posterior chain, he might higher management his ahead transfer, which put him in a greater place to rotate.

Enhance Pelvis Deceleration

7/8/21: First Week Mocap; Torso::Z and Pelvis::Z reveals the angle the place 0° is the athlete dealing with the pitcher

Judd struggled to decelerate his pelvis, which may restrict his skill to rotate his torso, resulting in his below rotation at contact. Throughout his baseline take a look at, Judd decelerated his pelvis at a mean charge of 1,445 levels per second from peak pace to contact, which might be seen by the slope of the pelvis rotation graph.

Judd is a two-way athlete, so we thought we might leverage his pitching abilities to assist his hitting. We helped him make the connection between a lead leg block on the mound and utilizing his lead leg to decelerate his pelvis when hitting. We used the Offset Closed drill with the purpose of pulling the ball to restrict the interior rotation of his lead hip, serving to decelerate his pelvis and requiring extra torso rotation at contact.

11/22/21 (5 months later): Mocap RetestPelvis::Z reveals the rotational velocity of the pelvis
  • Baseline: 1,445 levels per second
  • Retest: 2,160 levels per second (+715)

Consequently, his torso might rotate slightly simpler, growing his common torso rotation at contact.

11/22/21 – Judd’s Final Week
Retest Level of Contact Depth Chart Comparability

By the point Judd left Driveline, he had lowered his common POC from 31.3 inches from the again of dwelling plate to 25.4 inches, placing him a lot nearer to our affiliate in-gym common of twenty-two.6 inches.

11/22/21: Mocap Retest – Torso::Z reveals torso angle the place 0° is the athlete dealing with the pitcher

Judd additionally elevated the quantity of torso rotation at contact:

  • Baseline: -29.9°
  • Retest: -19.7° (+10.2)

This added torso rotation allowed him to sequence his higher half extra effectively and create a extra constant bat path.

Pelvis and Torso Rotational Kinetic Power, which measures the power produced by a physique section primarily based on the speed and mass

Common rotational kinetic power:

  • Pelvis: 9.7 → 12.46 (+28%)
  • Torso: 20.96 → 33.94 (+61%)

Lastly, placing all of it collectively, Judd noticed substantial positive factors in his batted ball metrics, significantly in his hard-hit ball launch angle and common exit velocity.


Earlier than and After

Wanting on the two swings facet by facet, Judd’s load part has turn into extra dynamic, and his bat path is extra rotational, getting into the zone so much deeper. The swing on the left appears to be like linear, with lots of motion towards the pitcher. Judd higher turns his linear movement into rotational power within the swing on the appropriate.

Earlier than coming to Driveline, Judd was an important highschool hitter, and it will have been straightforward to cease there. As a substitute, he got here to work day by day this summer time to shut the ability hole as he appeared ahead to competing at Ole Miss. 

Dwell At-Bat: 104.2 mph/29°/432 ft

In his final session of stay at-bats, he confirmed off the fruits of his onerous work, hitting a 432-foot tank. And his level of contact… 27.2 inches from the again of dwelling plate. A pull-side dwelling run 4 inches deeper than his baseline common.


Wish to shut the hole between you and the following stage? In-gym and distant choices are each accessible.


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