Do NOT Do the Chuck-It Drill For Hitting
Swing instruction in baseball sure is a peculiar little nitch. What I've observed in my twenty years of working in it, is that if something is novel and neat at the same time, it's likely to get a lot of people implementing it to improve their hitting. Whether it's a philosophy or a training aid, if it's "shiny and sparkly" in nature, people are going to think it's effective.
I honestly can't understand it. We need quickly separate out the ideas that suck from the ideas that hold merit. Because right now, everyone's ideas are being taken at face value, on equal footing, when, in reality, most of the ideas out there have absolutely no basis whatsoever.
The Chuck-It drill in baseball is one of those ideas. I don't know who started this fad, but it's ruining swings at an astonishing pace. It seems many people online are crediting Doug Latta for inventing it. So in the video above, I detail why the Chuck-It drill gets the worst drill of the decade award.
Basically, it goes like this: A throw is not a swing. Seems obvious. Why WOULD a throw be just like a swing? I mean, they are different tasks altogether. And therefore the mechanics required are going to be different. Shouldn't this be obvious? Not in swing instruction it isn't. Anything goes in today's swing instruction.
Here's how a throw is different from a swing: In a throw, the ball is released when the object releasing it is bent backwards. So when you throw a ball, your arm is still bent backwards when the ball leaves the hand. BUT IN THE SWING, IF YOUR BAT IS BENT BACKWARDS AT CONTACT YOU ARE DIMINISHING POWER TREMENDOUSLY.
In the swing, you want the bat bent forward. In the early 90's, Dr. Larry Noble, doing work for Easton, discovered that the bat bends forward prior to contact. And, he also discovered, that this forward bend contributes to the overall force delivered to the ball. So it stands to reason, that having more forward bend (all being equal) will deliver more force to the hit.
That's why the Chuck-It drill for baseball is a big problem. Instead of moving toward having more forward bend through contact, you are training yourself to have backward bend, the exact thing you don't want.
As a swing coach, I feel the need to appologize for all the irresponsible work being done out there. In the video above, you see Doug Latta doing what he thinks is a bad swing but it's actually good, and then you see him doing what he thinks is a good swing, and it's actually bad. And it's not my opinion that he has it wrong. It's fact. All you have to do is look at the video evidence of the greatest hitters of all time.
I'm not trying to be a dick here. It's just that we have to stop giving equal value to all comers in swing instruction. Some ideas are not worth the paper they're written on and shouldn't ever be promulgated at all, much less viewed and followed by thousands of hopeful hitters. The bottom line is that Doug Latta has simply not done very much study when it comes to the baseball swing. Again, not trying to be a jerk here. If you think I am, why don't you google "Career OPS Leaders," subtract guys who took steroids. This will give you a list of some of the best hitters of all time. Then google all the names that you see plus "swing." Look at their swings. Do any of them look like Latta wants you to look?