Who beat out Ted Williams for the American League’s Most Valuable Player award in 1941, when Williams hit for a .406 average?
Joe DiMaggio, Dolph Camilli, Hank Greenberg, Yogi Berra
Hi folks, hope you are doing well and your fall training is moving along without any hitches. I know it has been a few months since my latest publication, so I thank you for being so patient and loyal.
I had the privilege this past weekend to be a part if two coaches clinics with two excellent programs: Pacific University & Oregon Slammers. As I was in the midst of a training session sandwiched in between the two clinics, I had an “awe-haw” moment that I wanted to share with you all.
Let’s get to it…
One of the problems that creep into a players swing process is the top hand rolling. Seeing the flaw is one thing, how we go about fixing it is another. In order for any correction to be made players have to “feel” what they are doing, or not doing. If the drills you are using don’t allow a player to conceptualize the process, it will be a very difficult element to overcome. But, if you break it down into small manageable pieces you will be amazed with the results.
The key to avoid wrist rolling comes in two parts: the approach to the ball and extension.
Approach to the ball – As a player goes into their heel drop they have to “level”. The barrel drops below the hands and level to the incoming pitch. As they begin to turn and rotate to the ball they need to keep the “hitter’s box” intact. If it becomes detached in the process and the front arm extends early, the top hand (which becomes the bottom hand) will have no place to go but over the top, i.e.…wrists roll.
The fix – players have to turn all the way to the ball with their “hitter’s box” intact. It is common to see a three-quarter hip turn with players and when this happens the arms will begin to separate from the lower body and begin working away, separation occurs. I tell my players that their core muscles, the fanny, trunk and legs are the “dumb” muscles, and the arms are the “smart” muscles. If the dumb muscles don’t do their job correctly, the smart muscles will make up for them. Note: if your player has poor weight transfer and are swinging off of two axis points- squishing the bug, kicking the can- they will separate.
A steady dose of the “contact drill” will isolate this movement and you will begin to see a corrected turn. If they are still squishing the bug you will need to step back even further to the slide step and get their weight moving forward and into their front axis. Make sure that as they are turning to contact and ideal impact they front elbow continues to work around the body, if the front elbow starts to dip down the wrists will roll. (See the sword and the apple drill)
Once they are consistently turning with good weight transfer through contact, work on the “V”.
The reason the power “V” drill is so important is because it will give instant feedback to the player. After they do the “contact drill”, have them go to the “V” and hold it. Off the tee, full swing to the “V”. The wrist position should be as follows: As a player is pushing through contact, the top hand (which becomes the bottom hand) needs to stay underneath all the way to the “V”. As the arms extend the bat head should snap towards the pitchers head, as the bat is traveling forward, have them lean their shoulders back an inch or so into their axis and the bat will snap forward. Roll the shoulders back. This is the cleanest path the bat can be on and will smoothen out any swing.
Hope this helps!
Joe DiMaggio won two controversial MVP awards over Ted Williams: in 1941 (by 37 votes, despite Williams’ .406 average); and in 1947, (by a single vote). Although Ted Williams great ’41 season denied DiMaggio a batting or slugging title, Joltin’ Joe had a monster year. He slugged .643 with a .440 OBP (1.083 OPS). He led the league with 125 RBI, and hit 30 homers and 43 doubles. He also scored 122 runs, collected 193 hits, and smashed 11 triples. Amazingly, he struck out just 13 times! He also posted his 56-game hitting streak and led the Yankees to a World Series title.