I encourage you to watch the Kaizen Batter video several times before you try this new hitting method in batting practice. There are five, very important, "must have" principles that you must understand - and accept. These five principles are broken down (Kai) into a 5 Cycle template that you can use to analyze a swing, critique the performance and discover how to improve (Zen)
Success in practice, and in a game, requires that you approach the batter’s box with a picture in your mind of the planned result. Ask yourself two questions: What type of pitch are you looking to hit? (SEE) Where in the strike zone do you need it to be? (SET) If you don’t get the pitch that you've anticipated, let it go by!
Because pre-visualization is key, it is critical that you practice with a pitcher or a pitching machine that is throwing from the full distance - from pitchers mound to home plate. You have to already know what that pitch is going to look like!
Camera Set Up
Using a smart phone or video camera, capture a few swings of the bat from two different points of view. Use a slow motion feature if you have one. Capture One video from behind and slightly to the open side of the batter. This will help you analyze your timing. Capture a second video from the open side of the batter. This will let you analyze your mechanics. If you're only interested in analyzing your form, than practice from a low Tee and capture only the side view.
Finally, remember to be safe while capturing this footage. It's not worth endanger yourself, friends or your cameras.
Playback and Breakdown
When you review the captured footage, you'll need to use the pause button in order to properly observe cycles of the pitch and swing.
1.) Did you get in SYNC with the pitcher? As the pitcher turned to throw the pitch, did you shift your weight back? Did you "show him your back pocket" at that time?
2.) Did you SEE & SET the swing plane? This is where that anticipated mental image comes into play. Once the pitch is released your front shoulder “leans in” toward the expected Point of Contact (POC) as you begin to transfer your weight forward for the stride.
3.) Did your STRIDE complete around the mid-point of the flight of the pitch to create a firm front side? If the ball was tracking to your expected POC. This is when you should be making the decision to swing with confidence! Pause the video and look at your eyes. Are you looking ready or do you look like a deer in the headlights?
4.) When you TURNed on the ball did you drop your hands away? Remember the “no drop zone”. Your hands should never drop as you swing the bat around - Never. Execution comes at the very last moment before impact.
5.) EXECUTE: Keep your head still, wait to “see” the path of the pitch and bat barrel match your point on contact (POC). The bat should finish high where it started. If you kept your hands from dropping during the turn you will “feel” that total body burst of power and control at contact! It is awesome!!!
Repeat steps 1 through 5 over and over at every session of batting practice. See, Feel, and Trust the Kaizen Method. Become a rapid process improvement player - Become a Kaizen Batter!
A core concept of Kaizen batting is to inspire you to help your teammates as they help you. Analyze video footage of each other (learn how here) and compare your results to the Kaizen Batter free video. Learn every day from each other.
If you have questions or need guidance, please share these videos with us on our Facebook page or on Youtube. We'd love to see your progression, and give support and advice.
Kaizen batting is truly inspiring and contagious. By sharing your videos you will find that the team will feel and act like a team. You will all develop repeatable swings that will improve your ability to hit the ball harder and more often.That means wins and championships!!!!