Back in 1991, it came to me—I figured it out—It hit me like a 100 mph fastball to my head. I immediately knew that I discovered a way to help baseball and softball players hit with more power and consistency. All they had to do was make a small, but important adjustment. I taught this new swing to hitters for a few years, and after using it in my adult baseball league with great success, I was convinced that I should share this secret weapon with the world.
I decided to write an article describing my hitting revelation and I even gave this new hitting technique a name—“The Torque”. The article was published in a popular women’s fastpitch magazine, Fastpitch World, in November of 1996. It was also published in Men’s Senior League Baseball Magazine and posted on several websites, including http://www.webball.com/ . I will always be grateful to Richard Todd (Webball.com), Bill Redmer (Fastpitch World Magazine), and Steve Siegel (MSBL Magazine) for being open to sharing something a little unorthodox with their readers. I also want to thank LeRoy “PaPa” Moore, a well-known baseball coach in the New York area. He was an early adopter of The Torque and is still a big advocate today.
After the article was published, I received many inquiries and requests for videos of this new hitting technique. So, I made a video. I shot the video at my local baseball field with just my trusty Sony HandyCam and a tripod. I filmed the ten minute video in one take and without a script, which made for some very entertaining moments. Over the next few years, I sent dozens of VHS copies all over the country free of charge to people who read the article, but wanted a demonstration. Fortunately, YouTube was soon invented, so I posted The Torque Hitting Technique for all the world to view.
As soon as I posted the video, baseball and softball fans and critics all came out to play. I received many very positive responses early on from people who watched the video and actually tried it. To this day, I still receive emails from thankful parents, players, and coaches who claim The Torque changed their hitting lives. However, I also received emails asking if I had lost my mind or if I was joking about this new hitting technique. The “experts” were also debating The Torque on baseball and softball hitting discussion boards. Many of the comments didn’t make much sense, and some were just plain mean. At some point along the way, I stopped teaching and writing about The Torque, because I grew tired of trying to convince the baseball and softball communities that I indeed had built a “better mousetrap”. You would think that in a sport where hitters fail more than 7 out of every 10 at-bats, people would be more open-minded about any new idea that would improve these numbers.
I wasn’t surprised at all by the negativity because I knew The Torque would be as controversial as it was effective. If you have been reading all the posts on this blog, they summarize all the aspects of The Torque Hitting Technique, except for one important hitting key. Before I divulge the single hitting key that makes The Torque so effective, let me briefly describe three of the many success stories, and the holiday surprise that just occurred at The Ballpark in Mount Prospect Hitting and Pitching Complex.
Matt’s Story— Matt was a player on a high school community baseball summer team I coached. Matt was mired in an 0 for 21 streak to begin the season. He was a solid fielder and very athletic, but he couldn’t hit the ball to save his baseball life. After another 0 for 4 game, I went to Matt and his father, who was also a baseball coach, to ask if I could teach Matt a hitting technique that I had used in the past that I thought would help him break his frustrating and embarrassing streak. Matt and his father agreed. After teaching The Torque to Matt 15 minutes before our next game, he went 4-4, with a triple, a double, and two hard singles. Remember, I had already taught Matt my other keys to hitting. However, I had never taught him the hitting key that makes The Torque so effective. Over the next three games, Matt made only one out and had several extra base hits. He continued his hot hitting the rest of the season.
Katie’s Story– Katie was a pitcher on a high school softball team, but she always wanted to hit. I was the hitting coach for her team, but no matter how hard Katie and I worked in the batting cage, she had a difficult time making consistent solid contact and she was overmatched in games. After a particularly demoralizing game at the plate, I asked her if she would try The Torque, as merely a training technique. I thought it would help stabilize her swing that was very erratic. After only a few workouts using The Torque in practice, Katie asked if she could use it in games. Immediately, she began making better contact, which really boosted her confidence. Katie used The Torque for the rest of the season and went on to post a .300 average for the season, including her first high school home run.
Rick’s Story– Rick is my youngest son. He was a very good youth baseball player and typically hit for a high average. Rick didn’t use The Torque in our high school community league because he was a teenager and teenagers typically don’t always listen to their fathers. Every once in a while, I would suggest that he use The Torque to see if he could hit that home run that had alluded him in his young baseball career. It was not until the playoffs of his senior season that he took my advice. I was coaching third base when Rick came to the plate. I was busy watching the runners on base, so I didn’t actually see the swing. I did hear the crack of the bat and saw the ball in the air. Rick had just hit a bomb…one of the longest home runs I had seen at that park. As he trotted around third base, I noticed a sheepish grin on his face. Then, I saw my daughter, Elaine, laughing and pointing at me from the stands. She was yelling something to me, but I couldn’t hear her over the cheers of the crowd. She yelled again saying, “Rick used The Torque!!” I quickly looked at Rick as he reached the bench and he just shrugged his shoulders, as if to say “You were right, Dad”. After hitting the first home run of his career, he hit two more extra base bombs that game using The Torque.
The Holiday Surprise
Rick is now a senior in college. After not playing baseball since high school, he has decided to tryout for the Indiana University club baseball team. He asked me to help him get back in hitting shape over his holiday break, so we went to The Ballpark to hit. During our initial workout, I used my Zepp sensor and app (http://www.zepp.com/baseball/) to measure his bat speed and to analyze his swing. Rick’s top bat speed was 80 mph and his swing analytics looked pretty good. Rick WAS NOT using The Torque.
A few days later, my 25-year-old son (Sam) came home for Christmas. Sam had not picked up a bat since he was a sophomore in high school, but asked if he could workout with Rick and me the next time we went to hit. During our next workout at The Ballpark, Sam picked up a bat and hit some warm-up balls off a tee before I used my Zepp sensor to analyze his swing. When I saw the metrics of the first swing register on my phone, I almost dropped it. The first batspeed (at impact) reading was 89 mph! The next swing was 91 mph! I just started laughing and watched as batspeed numbers in the eighties consistently flashed on my phone. Needless to say, his younger brother was not happy that Sam had surpassed his high of 80 mph so easily. Oh, by the way, Sam WAS using The Torque!
So, here is the surprise. After we all witnessed Sam’s crazy batspeed numbers, I insisted that we measure Rick’s batspeed again. Only this time, I asked him to use The Torque. When one of Rick’s swings flashed a batspeed at impact number of 89 mph and maximum batspeed of 94 mph, I just shook my head. Not only were his batspeed numbers much higher, his hand speed and time to impact numbers were also dramatically improved. At that moment, I knew what I had to do. I had to bring The Torque Hitting Technique back out from behind the shadows.
Other than teaching The Torque to hitters like Matt and Katie as a last resort, I don’t teach it to any of my current hitters, and I rarely talk about it. I have grown tired of defending something that I know increases power and consistency in both baseball and softball hitters to people who quickly dismiss The Torque without actually testing it or trying it. I came to the conclusion a few years ago that the baseball and softball worlds are still not open-minded enough to consider something that logically and physically makes so much sense. I also began to realize that teaching or writing about The Torque was hurting my credibility as a hitting instructor.
With the help of technologies like the Swing Speed Radar and the Zepp sensor and app, I can now quantify what I have known since 1991. After witnessing the dramatic difference in Rick’s batspeed just by using The Torque, I feel it is time to introduce it to the readers of this blog.
At this point, you are probably wondering what makes The Torque so controversial? My answer is that it should NOT be controversial at all. The Torque Hitting Technique incorporates all of the hitting keys I have written about, except for ONE important addition.
Here is the infamous video that will describe The Torque. Over the 20 years since I filmed this video, the hitting mechanics I teach have evolved. I believe the powerful rotational mechanics I now teach and The Torque hitting key can be a lethal combination.
You can tell the video is pretty old because my hair is black and I’m wearing stirrup socks!
Here are excerpts from the original article I wrote back in 1996. It will give you a more detailed explanation of The Torque, including where I was when the idea hit me. It may be hard to believe, but it is absolutely a true story.
Going forward, I will continue to teach hitting to baseball and softball players without The Torque hitting key. Like I said, the world is not ready. For those of you who are interested in trying something new, I know it will help, even if you only use The Torque as a drill to incorporate the whole body into the swing. For those of you who are laughing at me now, I have heard all the critical comments. My only suggestion would be to TRY IT!