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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