Swing Like Griffey eBook

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There is a way to develop a great swing now, even if you’ve already honed a swing in which your back arm overexerts.  In my new book, Swing Like Griffey, I tell you exactly how you can eliminate back arm overexertion to produce a consistently powerful swing no matter what your size.

Sample the first twelve pages below or click here to download sample.

Contents of Swing Like Griffey

Chapter 1 - The Body-Controlled Swing

In this chapter, you’ll learn why a body-controlled swing is so superior to an arm-controlled swing, which is what most hitters have.

Chapter 2 - Discovering the Importance of Back Arm Incompetence

In this chapter, you’ll learn about my obsession with the baseball swing and how I was finally able to discover the key piece of knowledge that allowed me to unlock the secret to the baseball swing.

Chapter 3 - The Mechanics of a Body-Controlled Swing

This is where you’ll learn the systems behind a body-controlled swing to better understand why it makes hitting with power and consistency so much easier.

Chapter 4 - Why Arm-Controlled Swings Are So Prevalent

Our baseball culture actually does so many things to promote a poor swing.  In this chapter I discuss those things so that you can prepare yourself and make sure you don’t fall victim to them.

Chapter 5 - The 3 Best Drills for Hitting

This is the meat and potatoes of the book.  This is where you learn the three key drills you can do - simple things - to ingrain a more powerful and consistent swing.

Chapter 6 - Myths of Baseball Swing Instruction

As I said, our baseball culture means well, but often leads hitters in the exact wrong direction.  In this chapter I touch on the most deleterious and persistent myths in baseball swing instruction, so you can be prepared and make sure you don’t fall into the same trap that so many hitters fall into.

Chapter 7 - Bringing Back the Spirit of the Sandlots

The assumption out there is that the way we train players today is superior in every way to the days of the sandlots.  In this chapter I make the argument for why and how the sandlots actually did many things much better than we do them today.

Chapter 8 - Hyper-Valuable Movements

Many people assume that sports are constructed of equally valuable movements and that no movement is more important than another.  In this chapter, I make the argument that the greatest performers in sports are not necessarily the greatest “athletes,” but are simply masters of one or a few movements in their sport.

Chapter 9 - Five More Drills for Effortless Power

In this chapter, I give you five more drills that will aid in developing a consistently powerful swing action.

Chapter 10 - Training for the Other Four Skills of Hitting

Hitting is not a swing contest.  It is largely a swing contest, but there’s certainly more to it.  In this chapter, I talk about the simple actions you can do to ensure that you master the other skills of hitting - pitch recognition, strength and speed, the mental approach, and hand-eye coordination.

The Top Pound for Pound Hitters of All Time List (#1 - #512)

First Twelve Pages Sample

Chapter 1 - The Body-Controlled Swing

It’s difficult to navigate the world of baseball swing instruction these days. With so many books and gadgets being peddled, you can quickly put a dent in your bank account trying them all. For many, it’s just too much. While they once believed they could get some useful advice, now they just opt out altogether. They decide to just swing the swing that feels natural for them and not “overthink” it. This approach can work for those who already have a decent swing. But for most hitters, it’s just not enough. Others may decide to embark on a journey to figure out the swing for themselves. A noble pursuit, however one that could take decades to complete, and unfortunately their best years will have passed them by.

For others, they stick with it, believing that a better method to the swing is out there somewhere. They’ve been burned many times. They’ve tried different hitting coaches, camps, books, online courses, and nothing has worked. They always end up pretty much the same hitter they always were. They keep the faith though, and they keep trying. I can identify with this group. I also continued searching for answers to the swing and continued to struggle, but never gave up. There’s a good chance that you’re a similar type of person, and for that I am humbled.  I don’t take this opportunity to be your swing coach lightly. I believe you’re about to get what you’ve been looking for.

You see, it’s actually not as complicated as they - meaning the conventional swing instructors out there - make it out to be. Whether you’re a player, a coach, or a dad looking to help his son get the best possible instruction, the information in this book will give you an understanding of how to navigate through all of the confusion and cut straight to what works, so you can put your swing on autopilot and move on to enjoying the game more. If you’re not hitting with effortless power, you just aren’t extracting the most possible joy and success out of the game.

Some may not like what I have to say in this book. It’s pretty much a 180 degree reversal from what has been taught for the last sixty years in swing instruction. And just as a heads up, chances are your coaches will disapprove of my ideas too. But that’s not because my ideas are off; it’s because the conventional perception of the swing is off, and your coaches are stuck in outdated beliefs of how the swing should be taught. If these coaches, or anyone for that matter, were to look honestly at what I’m saying, I’m confident that they will have to come to the conclusion that there is truth to it. I have so many players, coaches, and dads who, after reading my books, tell me, “Now that you said it, I see it everywhere.” And if there is even an ounce of truth to what I’m saying, it calls for a complete overhaul of how things have been done, and continue to be done, in baseball swing instruction.

People get easily attached to certain ideologies, and it becomes hard for them to accept any idea that resides outside of it. Doing so would mean they wasted a good deal of time and effort, and nobody wants to admit that. This is why any new idea is always at first met with skepticism, and then if it’s good, it will additionally be met with ridicule. I’m prepared. After all, if I was writing a book of ideas that most people agreed with, I’d be writing about the same old swing instruction that’s been out there for years, and that hasn’t worked. It’s time for something new. Most of all, it’s time for something better.

 I never set out to be a contrarian. I only set out to understand the swing. I was extremely curious about the swing even as a little leaguer, and as I grew older I began to wonder why others didn’t seem to be just as curious as me, given that it’s probably the single most valuable movement in the world. Early on in my journey, when I would work alongside hitting coaches at the college and pro level, I was often amazed at how little they seemed to even care about the swing. Here I was showing them their players on video, in slow motion, each and every swing they took during the game, and there they were, barely interested.

I was also surprised to see that there was almost no real swing instruction imparted by these coaches onto their players - just quick, cursory cliches, like “keep your head down, bud,” and a pat on the butt as he leaves the cage. I’d be there saying to myself, “That’s it? Isn’t this high-level baseball? Where’s the in-depth video analysis? Where are the comparisons to the great hitters who came before?” I just knew these coaches were leaving so much on the table. This was just how it was done, and once a system gets momentum in baseball, it’s going to take a big force to stop it.

As a young player, I had always assumed that somebody somewhere had the answers to the swing. But being around these coaches convinced me that this assumption was wrong. When I showed up at these higher levels, the coaches
had nothing to say that I hadn’t heard for years from my little league coaches, high school coaches, college coaches, and the various books I read and videos I watched about the swing.

You may be inclined to think it’s much different today, that now everything is so advanced and the coaches are on top of all the video and privy to what the video is telling them. Not true at all. I’ve found that, despite the ubiquity of video, the interest level out there among coaches at all levels to really dive deep into video analysis is still the same as it has always been - not very much interest at all. Amazing. The extent I used to have to go just to get one swing on my computer back in the early 2000s was a complete joke compared to what it takes to capture a swing now. I used to have to physically go to a Major League Baseball game and sneak my video camcorder in. I’d film and then I’d be told by one of the ushers that I had to put my camcorder away, so I’d move to a different section of the stadium. I’d do this for as long as possible until I went through all the ushers for all the sections from which I could film hitters from a good angle.

Then I finally bought a bunch of wires and plugins to where I could capture swings shown on television, but I had to sit there and watch the whole game and just hope they showed a swing from the front angle. If they did, I had to be prepared and move fast to record it in real time or else I’d miss it. Now you can get any swing you want with a simple Google search. And still the general knowledge about the swing is not much better than what it was in the eighties and nineties.

When I first started my journey, I, like you, sought the answers from experts, those who I figured had been studying the swing for years and had it figured out, and I would have been more than willing to exalt the teachings of another had I come across an already existing method that worked. This is what I fully expected would happen in fact. I just wanted a better swing, and I didn’t care how I got it. Unbelievably, I never came across such a method. The more I sought the help of others, the more I realized they had nothing for me, that most of them didn’t even seem to be at my own level of understanding the swing, and here I was paying for their knowledge. I don’t want to sound arrogant, but when you put time into studying the swing, you just come upon answers that people who don’t put time into it don’t. Also, I believe that everyone tends to travel through the same terrain of learning when it comes to the swing, so when I hear someone who’s not as advanced talking about the swing, it’s pretty obvious because I can say, “Oh yeah, that’s what I thought about the swing back in _____.” Over time, I began to realize that if nobody was able to give me what I wanted, maybe the job is up to me. So I set out to figure out the baseball swing on my own.

As I said, it can really be overwhelming as a player, coach, or dad who’s just looking to find the best possible information. You have your busy life, and the plethora of things you have to pay attention to. You can’t be paying attention to 100% of what’s going on in baseball swing instruction. This leaves you open to being persuaded to go down a wrong path, by someone who’s good at selling but not very knowledgable about the swing. Often these are the same guys who are making hitting out to be way too complicated. One of the most important things I hope you will get from this book is that it just doesn’t need to be as hard as the coaches make it out to be out there in the baseball swing instruction community. They make it sound confusing because to them it is confusing, and it’s confusing because they haven’t done the necessary homework. They wanted to start a business, but they never had the curiosity about the swing.

I’m going to break it down and make it real simple for you in this book. When you truly understand something, you should be able to explain it in a very simple way. And this is, after all, what you need. You are busy, and you have many more things going on in your life than just baseball, so the time that you do invest in your baseball practice needs to effciently extract the most fun and/or improvement from the game. There’s no sense in just working hard for the sake of working hard. I did this for most of my playing days, and it’s not fun to watch so many other players achieve more than you with half the effort.

As an example of how simple it should be, notice that oftentimes the greatest hitters were the ones who grew up with rough and crude equipment - a broomstick, their dad’s heavy wooden bat, waterlogged baseballs, raggedy gloves. Most of them also never got instruction on the swing, or had the chance to play on baseball fields with nice white lines on them. With such rudimentary equipment, it’s often the game - their game - that matters more.

Don’t feel like you have to be spending a lot of money, or even that spending a lot of money is helpful. Normally it’s actually detrimental to creating a great hitter. The endless search for the latest gadgets is such a distraction these days. So drop the FOMO when it comes to buying the latest high-tech training aid. You’re not missing out on anything, at least not when it comes to all the scurrying around by the baseball masses to buy the latest “new-thing” product. While they’re researching what to buy next, you can spend time on what matters - developing the skills that help you become a better hitter, not developing your skills as a consumer of products.

I have dedicated my life to finding the truth behind the baseball swing, and all of my work has culminated in a simple understanding, and the rest of this book is simply written for the purpose of unpacking it. And that simple understanding is this: Your swing must be body-controlled, not arm-controlled. Mechanically, this is what separates the greatest hitters. Yes, there have been hitters who have had great careers with more of an arm-controlled swing, but I contend that they left a lot of power on the table, and that they could have been even better if their swing was more body-controlled.

Today, we are in the midst of an arm-controlled epidemic in baseball - at all levels - and it’s draining power from players’ swings like crazy. It’s not their fault, however. There are many circumstances at play that are making this arm-controlled swing so prevalent at this particular time in baseball history, and I’ll touch on all of them in this book.

So what exactly is a body-controlled swing? A body-controlled
swing is one that, like it sounds, uses your body to engine the swing - meaning the legs and torso - as opposed to the arms and wrists. This produces better results, particularly substantially more power, because our bodies are where a majority of mass and strength reside. And when the hitter is body-controlled, he is not only using the strongest muscles in his body to power the swing, but he also can relax the arms and wrists and let them function more as a whip. If a hitter is arm-controlled, then his arms and wrists are going to be more tense, and this will lead to slower bat speed.

You can usually see signs of a body-controlled swing on video because it tends to produce certain positions. The hands will tend to be more “behind” the hitter at the start of the forward swing, and his front arm straighter. I call this getting “hand-depth.” The barrel will also tend to flatten out more. And at contact he will tend to be more connected.

great baseball swing ken griffey jr. arm barKen Griffey Jr. demonstrates a body-controlled swing. One of the greatest hitters of all time, Griffey hit a home run every 15.56 at-bats for his career.

In an arm- controlled swing, which is what most hitters have, the hands tend to come more in front of the chest and then push outward, leading to less connection at contact. Interestingly, conventional swing instruction has actually advocated for this inferior arm-controlled swing. They call it “staying inside the ball.” Meanwhile, they condemn the body-controlled swing and call it “spinning off the ball.”

average baseball swing hands inside the ballOmar Vizquel demonstrates a more arm-controlled swing. He had very little power over his career, averaging a home run every 132.33 at-bats.

Ken Griffey Jr. was the paragon of a body-controlled swing, and most hitters will instantly improve their mechanics beyond a level that any of their previous hitting coaches have been able to get them to achieve simply by watching Griffey’s swing on video and attempting to copy it.  This may sound unbelievable to you. It can’t be that simple, you say. But this does work.

You don’t have to be a lefty to copy Griffey’s swing either. I posted video of Griffey on my site - the first video is him swinging normally from the left side, and the second video is one where I flipped it, so you righties can relate with his mechanics better.

I know conventional hitting coaches will say that’s not right, you shouldn’t tell a kid to try to swing like someone else, everyone has to find their own best way to swing, not everyone’s body is the same, and on and on they go. I’ve heard it all.

I know the typical responses, and I vehemently disagree with them all. You absolutely can copy someone else’s swing. Hell, swing instruction has always been copying hitters’ swings anyway! They’re just mostly choosing the wrong guys to copy. In the eighties and nineties they copied guys like Don Mattingly and Tony Gwynn. In the 2000s they copied Barry Bonds. And now they are copying Aaron Judge. It’s the way swing instruction operates. So if we’re going to do that, we have to be more judicious in who we hold up as a model. Sure, the guys they have chosen to copy are great hitters, but that doesn’t mean their swings were the ideal swings to model. Instead of just copying whoever happens to be the best hitter at the moment, doesn’t it make more sense to copy the guy who actually had the best swing, regardless of when he played?

Not only did Griffey’s swing produce unbelievable results, but almost everyone in baseball agrees that Griffey had the most effortless and fluid swing. This should tell you something. The combination of having the smoothest swing and being one of the most prolific home run hitters of all time should raise flags that this guy is doing something right mechanically. Instead, Griffey somehow engendered the opposite response. The word on Griffey was always that he’s an “anomaly,” and most hitters can’t “get away with” the things he does mechanically. But they’ve only said this because Griffey violates everything that conventional swing instruction has held up as inalienable truths for decades, so the only way to explain what he did was to say he’s just a special talent, case closed. But Griffey didn’t make it look so easy because he was an exceptional talent who can get away with things mechanically; he made it look so easy because he was exemplifying the most effcient and effective way to swing a bat.

If there are coaches out there saying that this book is wrong for trying to teach kids to swing the same way, I would be willing to
bet that they too were teaching kids to swing the same way, and they too were copying the style of a particular Major Leaguer in doing so. The truth is, copying the movements of others is a great way to quickly develop great mechanics.  When I was in high school on the JV baseball team as a sophomore, I played first base, but for laughs, during batting practice, I would imitate the fielding style of our varsity shortstop, who by the way was a great fielder and had the very appropriate name of Bobby Ball. Boy was he smooth with that ball too. I loved to watch him warm up during infield/outfield. Anyway, my imitations of Ball would have my teammates laughing. Unbeknownst to me, as I was copying him, I was simultaneously getting a masterclass in how to field a ground ball properly. Low and behold, before the year was over, I was moved from first base to shortstop, and the next year I succeeded Ball at the shortstop position on the varsity team, and went on to play shortstop at the D1 level as well. Imitation is a great way to learn movements.

Now, had I gone to an infield camp and learned from the best fielding coaches in the world, I wouldn’t have turned myself into as good a fielder as I did by just copying Ball. Many great athletes have stories of copying others when they were developing their craft. Mike Tyson copied the punching style of Jack Dempsey. Kobe Bryant copied the fadeaway of Michael Jordan. Before I conceived of the idea of copying Griffey’s swing and began turning people onto it, I knew of two hitters who copied Griffey’s swing, and both were extremely powerful. One was the best home run hitter on my college team, Dennis Jenks. Not a very big guy, Jenks had a smooth, effortless swing that almost seemed slow, and it would send balls flying much higher and farther than you expected. The other was Khris Davis, one of the all-time great Major League power hitters for his size. As Davis said when describing his approach at the plate, “I just try to channel my inner-Griffey.”

The point is, copying the moves of great athletes is a quick way to “download” great mechanics all at once, without having to think about it in a piece-by- piece manner. If there’s a move you want to learn, simply pick an athlete who displayed that move in the most beautiful and effective way, and copy it. Most likely it will work wonders for you too.

The key is to find an athlete that performs a movement with both beauty and effectiveness. Griffey’s swing was no doubt both beautiful and effective. Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder, sure, but if enough people agree that something is beautiful, there’s a point at which it’s no longer subjective and becomes fact. That Van Gogh produced beautiful paintings and that Bach produced beautiful music may have started off as opinion, but as time went on, and more and more people held that opinion, at some point it became fact. Likewise, that Griffey had a beautiful swing - probably the most beautiful swing in recent history - is also now fact.

Let’s talk effectiveness: In 1997 and 1998 combined, Griffey hit 112 home runs. Those alone are Ruthian numbers, and Griffey weighed twenty pounds less than Ruth! Even in a career riddled with injuries, and having played through the height of the steroid era, Griffey still stood out at the plate, with 630 career home runs and a .284 batting average. He went on a stretch in 1993 where he hit a home run in eight straight games - still a record. So his swing was plenty effective.

I think that a big problem is that hitters often just assume
that hitting has to be really hard. It’s always been hard, and therefore they reason that it always will be. And so they grind and grind for a better swing, and it’s just not necessary. I’m here to tell you that yes, you can improve quickly just by watching Griffey’s swing and copying it. And it’s not just Griffey’s swing either. If we had ample video of Ruth, Foxx, Williams, Mays, Aaron and many others, I would tell you to just copy them. Griffey’s swing just happens to be the greatest of the swings of the “modern” television era, so we have a plethora of his swings to look at on video, and so I am basing this book on him. It may also work just as well to choose a player in your league who hits for effortless power, and copy his swing. The point is, it doesn’t have to be Griffey, I just strongly believe that you can’t go wrong with Griffey either. His exemplary, body- controlled swing made hitting exactly what it can and should be - effortless and effective. 

Don’t worry, this book is more than just telling you to watch Griffey’s swing and copy it. I’m also going to give you a simple drill that will ensure that you develop a body-controlled swing. It’s pretty much the only drill that I recommend hitters do for a majority of their practice time, and it’s called the “front arm progression.”

It was always my dream to come up with something - a method, a training aid, anything -that would allow someone to quickly feel the feeling of a great swing. Every great hitter I ever played with, or whom I saw no television, always seemed ot make it look so easy, so I always knew the answer must be something easy too. There has to be a way ot get hitters to feel a great swing, I would think to myself, without so many different swing thoughts and trying to force several positions at once. The front arm progression is the answer.

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