My son Andrew has always been
the best hitter on earth!!! by far the most impressive hitter on every team that’s ever been blessed with his presence!! a pretty decent hitter.** Over the years, he’s worked hard to transform his stereotypically awkward swing into a more fluid motion. With the help of a few different hitting instructors, Andrew has become a fairly consistent line drive hitter. In fact, coaches sometimes comment on his “pretty” swing. Since he’s not a particularly large or powerful kid, I figured line drives were as good as it would get delivery wise.
But then I met a former MLB player, turned pro coach, named Joe Mahoney. (Meeting cool baseball people is one of the perks of writing for Travel Ball Parents.) Joe has an online coaching service called UP17. The up17 pro coaches use video analysis to help players of all ages and talent levels improve their performance at the plate and on the mound.
If your kid is at all serious about baseball, I’m sure you’ve taken one, two or 387 videos of him swinging the bat or hurling a fast ball….in order to take a close look at where his hands are, how his feet are positioned, his hip movement and all those minute details that make the difference between a whiff and a dinger.
The coaches at UP17 use the video footage that you send them to create a hitting or pitching lesson that’s specifically tailored to your player. They even send drills he can use in practice.
Since this is Andrew’s first year playing for his high school team and he’s been in a minor, yet slightly concerning batting slump, I was eager to see if a UP17 coach would have any suggestions for improvement.
After downloading their free app, I followed the prompts and uploaded a short video of Andrew’s latest visit to the batting cages. I figured in a few days, we’d hear from them.
Just 12 hours later, we got an email from Coach Desi Relaford, who spent 11 years in the majors. Take a look!
Did you catch what Desi said about loading up on his back leg? Andrew could be using his body to put more power behind his swing! (Desi would be happy to explain anything we didn’t quite grasp about the lesson via email or phone call, if we wanted.)
The next day at practice, Andrew put Desi’s tips to use.
ANDREW: “Man, I was launching the ball!!! Best I’ve hit in a long time.”
We’ll see how he does in this weekend’s two-day tournament.
JOE: “We’re just really passionate about helping kids and using technology to do so. Our ProCoaches all have impressive playing and coaching resumes. And they’re very good at explaining hitting/pitching to kids of all ages and talent levels. Video analysis is new for some people, but they shouldn’t be afraid of it. It can help the college recruit or an 8-year-old who wants to develop with good habits early in their careers.”
ME: “That’s awesome! But why would someone use UP17 instead of getting a lesson from a local instructor?”
JOE: “Many customers have told us that they send their kids to a local instructor and they don’t remember what they worked on 20 minutes after they get home. You will have Andrew’s video forever so he can always refer to it if he needs to refresh his memory on what Desi told him. And you can track your development with the different videos. Parents tell us it’s good bonding, watching the videos with their kids, talking about what they’ve learned and then going with them to practice. So we think there are a lot of advantages.”
One thing’s for sure. Our Up17 experience was the simplest, easiest batting lesson we’ve ever had. And we didn’t even have to leave home. Definitely money well spent.
Next week, my 10-year-old son Jack, who hasn’t had any hitting instruction, will be getting an UP17. Can’t wait to see what they have to say.
**”the best hitter on earth!” “by far the most impressive hitter on every team that’s ever been blessed with his presence!” – these were the responses I got when I asked Andrew how I should describe him as a hitter. He was kidding, (I hope.)