The Simone Biles situation has obviously generated much discussion. Quite a few have characterized her decision not to perform as heroic. Others have referred to her as a "coward" or worse, as a "selfish sociopath." I think all of the above characterizations are wrong.
Nor do they really help at all in explaining what HER mindset ACTUALLY was in coming to the decision to not compete.
Her own words as regards trying to explain her decision, were, from my vantage point, not all that helpful. This is not a criticism. As I have said many times, athletes are not typically very adept at explaining the what, why, and how, they actually do what they do.
Ok. Back to hitting. Here's a good clip of Brantley exemplifying a no. of things I have explained in detail [on my website and via demos of me doing these things].
1] Stretching the lead side [arm/shoulder/contracting pectoralis/serratus] "against" a "rigid" trunk [ no counter-rotation] and against the stride, i.e., these loading actions are reactions to the center mass moving forward.
2] Note the downward displacement of the head from start to full heel plant. Why? Subtle hip flexion--what I describe as "sitting."
More thoughts on the genetics vs. environment question. Going back [about 20 yrs] to when I first considered working as a hitting instructor. I had a very basic question: Can you actually teach hitters? It was my first question. And why would it not be?
After all, I grew up in an age wherein we learned via what I have described as "disorganized baseball." Meaning that there were ZERO select teams. Nor were their these people called "hitting instructors." Nor was there yr. round baseball.
If for know other reasons [in Tx.] back then no football coach would allow good looking young athletes to NOT play football. HALE No!!
" Back leg is is not the cause but is the effect of other body movement." Of course. And I have done a number of posts here explaining this in some detail, i.e., the "kick back" is a "resultant" that is a function of certain postural/rotational dynamics and also pitch location.
I'll add that the players talking on the clip is a typical ex. of "the action-perception gap", i.e., what you may THINK [verbalize] about your swing is vastly different from what you ACTUALLY are doing to create a high level swing.
As I have said many times as regards hitting expertise there are 3 modes so to speak: "Doing it, understanding it, teaching it." Elite players are--typically--ONLY expert in "doing it."
As a guy who has spent much of my life either trying to create high level movement or trying to teach it, I marvel at the tremendous capability of Simon Biles. I consider it a supreme honor to even watch her!
Because growing up where they did, they fully well knew the very stark contrast between the opportunities they might have here, vs. where they had been and now had to return to.
In a somewhat relative context, some of my most favorite guys to talk to about this country are cab drivers in big cities like New York. Asking them what they think about this country almost always yields an interesting insight.
As some likely know, I recently talked about some aspects of Ohtani's hip action e.g., hip displacement via eccentric [twisting action] loading causing a "forward by turning," Actions synonymous with "Paul's "pelvic loading." I want to add to what he says here.
I think he is certainly empirically correct in saying that for most elite level hitters, the degree of "separation" between the hip and shoulder rotation [unload] is minimal.
To say it another way, the differential between the hips starting to rotate and the shoulders starting to rotate is minimal. [I will add here that, yes, there is some degree of variability among hitters as regards this differential, e.g, Harper opens the hips more than Trout].
Last night I searched in vain [about 2 hrs. on my website] for an academic meta-analysis on implicit vs. explicit learning. I'm going to keep looking. But in the meantime here's a pretty good article about this [from a practical/teaching perspective].
An excerpt: "On the other side of the spectrum many self-taught athletes will often attempt to learn everything implicitly. The issue here is that without constructive feedback on the initial stages of learning bad habits will become permanent patterns in an athletes movement."
And: " Since you don’t know what you don’t know, you won’t be able to make the minor corrections necessary to continue to make improvements over the long term."
I have many times talked about the motor learning concept of....the "action-perception gap" [or differential] regarding what athletes THINK they are doing. As opposed to what they ACTUALLY do.
Aside from the VERY starkly drawn "differential" between Sammy Sosa's on deck swings [wherein he JUST moved the arms/bat in an almost straight down trajectory] as contrasted with his ACTUAL game swings....
....there may be no better ex. than the comparison of Pense's on deck vs actual game swings. Here's a clip of the on deck swing:
In a recent thread post I talked about Jim McClean's [golf instructor] concept of the "hip rise."
Here's a good slo-mo clip of Prince Fielder showing this [further slow it down via the .25 settings]:
Note the hip line change from relatively horizontal to the ground to much more DIAGAONAL to the ground from lead heel up to foot plant.
Also note---and this is very important---that though the lead shoulder "dips" [due to lead side lateral flexion] at heel up, by foot plant the shoulder line is more symmetrical [the "dip" is not there so to speak].
I'm sure quite a few here have seen this overhead clip of Pete Rose done quite a few yrs back by Jack Mankin:
I consider this to be one of THE greatest clips ever that really helps to clarify what a high level swing actually looks like. Why? Well, one needs to understand the historical context of this clip.
Going back to around circa 2001 or thereabouts, aside from Paul Nyman's lead arm swing models, NO one had really shown this kind of clip of the relatively circular path of the knob from initiation to contact.
I first saw him in the lunch line in spring training [circa 1972 ]. I was right next to him in the line and my first impression was ..."DAMN look at the hip to shoulder ratio ...this guy --at 6'8"-- is built like a damn bodybuilder!"
As a 17 yr. old guy, who was pretty well recruited for college football I had been around some pretty decent physical specimens. But I had met NO ONE quite like J.R. in terms of physicality.
Within this he cites some research about elastic energy. The entire article is relevant/interesting. But there's one key phrase I have found to be VERY interesting [over the yrs since I saw this --around 2001]:
"Research has shown that by increasing the speed of the stretching phase and resisting the stretching movement by applying greater tension in the muscle(s) being stretched, there is an increase in the storage of elastic energy."
Here's some of the factors involved in being able to create effective adjustments:
1] Your best swing is a function of very efficient loading/unloading, i.e., using my simple construct of a high level swing, you know how to create very good bat/body alignment ...
.....from initiation to contact. And you know how to create very good hip to shoulder rotation [this entails speed, magnitude, timing of this trunk rotation].
Well look, I ain't all up on why one loses followers on twitter. I do see that I lost about 8 people after I posted about a former NYT reporter talking about the assault on MERIT.
My response? Well, if you don't like me quoting a liberal talking about the ILLIBERAL aspects of degrading meritocracy, I say good riddance!!
And I would further add that if this is the reason you decided to "un follow" me then I would say that this is perfect proof that you lack the intelligence to really benefit from this twitter account!!
I briefly mentioned this book last yr ["Overcoming Gravity"]. This is a VERY good inquiry into the value of body weight exercises. VERY much relates to the kinds of exercises I have developed for hitters/pitchers over the last 20 yrs.
I want to highlight a few points from this article:
"Impressive levels of strength that can be built by using bodyweight strength training for the upper body as the progressions require excellent proprioception and kinesthetic control. "
For much of my life, certainly as someone who has devoted much of my life either as an athlete, or as a teacher of athletes, I have tried to live by and advocate a number of fundamental precepts.
Here's some of these: Development is a function of hard work, an ability to overcome any and all obstacles that may serve to impede progress ["grit"]; an ability to defer the immediate gratification impulse which may retard long term goals and progress.
An ability to honestly look within so as to see the kinds of personal behaviors that may be actually causing a lack of advancement to a higher level of development.