Hitting - Coil or No Coil
Do You Need to Coil or Teach a Player to Coil?
The simple answer to this is "No", you don't have to coil or teach players to coil. However you do need to know what a coil can do for a player and what problems can be introduced if done incorrectly. You'll see a lot of players that do have a coil and some that don't. The main consideration is whether the player is in a good position when the pitcher is realeasing the ball and that he feels comfortable in that position.
Positive Aspects of a Coil
- Can help keep a player relaxed by providing movement prior to the pitch being delivered.
- Can help with timing by syncing the coil with the pitcher's delivery.
- Can put a player in the proper position when the pitch is being delivered.
Negative Aspects of a Coil
- Can cause vision problems if the head turns to much.
- Can cause timing problems if player has a difficult time syncing with the pitcher's delivery.
- Can cause the balance problems if player's weight goes to far back.
It can be difficult for some players to begin the stride from a stationary position. There are a number of reasons for this but I think the most important reasons are that it's easier to be ready to move when you are already in motion and it is easier to keep your muscles relaxed when you are in motion.
The coil is a movement made by a hitter where they will turn and move back slightly prior to taking their stride. The coil should be a small movement that helps the hitter with timing the pitcher and getting the stride foot down at the proper time.
Simply put many players will find that it's much easier to swing the bat and achieve better timing if you move back prior to going forward.
What to watch out for:
While we want to move back and turn in slightly, a common mistake for a hitter is to think that they can gain more power by shifting the weight farther back or turning more. In reality they are losing the balance that is
so critical for a good and balanced stride. Shifting the weight too far back will also place the weight on the outside of the back foot. It's hard to go forward with your weight too far back, so:
At the end of your coil your weight should still be on the inside of your back foot and no farther.
This puts you in the correct position to move forward.
What to watch out for: Example
In the image on the left (taken from the videos on this page), you'll notice that I rotated too far and actually put weight on the outside of my back foot. I think I was concentrating on demostrating the movement of the front knee and because of that I over rotated. Anyway, I'm leaving it because I think it gives a good example of what to look for. In the photo below I've added
a couple triangles (red color is incorrect weight distribution at the end of the coil
, green is where you want to see the knee in relation to the foot
). if you see the back knee, straight up and down or behind the back foot, then the player doesn't have his weight on the inside of the back leg. This is critical to being in a proper position to start the stride and to execute a quick and powerful swing.
When you stop after a coil to check your position make sure in addition to seeing the pitcher, as discussed in the video, that you also haven't moved too far back. Check to make sure your weight is on the inside part of the back foot and runs up the inside part of your back leg. If your weight is on the outside of your back leg then you have moved too far back.
Keep Your Eyes on the Ball
Key Points to Remember:
1. Simplify the coil by just thinking of a slight turn in with your front knee.
2. Move your weight slightly back during the coil making sure you keep a good position of balance (weight on the inside of the back leg, not the outside).
3. Keep both eyes focused on the pitcher.
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