Evaluating Physical Limitations Associated With No Space
Wed Jan 8, 2020 by OnBaseU
Watch this GIF of Alex Bregman. Notice how his hips stay behind the vertical line through contact?
A hitter needs to create and maintain room for his arms to swing down the line of the pitch. There are several ways of losing the spacing needed to hit in a big zone.
The most prevalent is not having enough bend in the knees and the waist to create space for the back elbow to swing past the hips. The second most common is for the player to load his back elbow behind his back where there is no direct path back down the line of the pitch. Others are standing up out of the legs, straightening the back, or the pelvis moving closer to the plate.
All of these take away the room needed to swing the bat efficiently down the line of the pitch. These problems also restrict the ability to transition the energy up through the body and into the arms and bat. Often they describe No Spacing as a feeling of being stuck or tied up on inside pitches.
The purpose of the OnBaseU screen is to identify potential physical limitations associated with a characteristic like No Space. Hitters who struggle to maintain space often have limited spine disassociation, core stability and spine/hip/ankle mobility. If the hips or spine are unable to rotate, then it is sometimes easier for the player to just shift forward towards home plate. As Mike Boyle likes to say, "The body does what is easiest, not always what is best."
One of the most effective tests to determine if a physical limitation is causing No Space is the deep squat. Here's a thread we posted on Twitter a few months ago about the Deep Squat. The first video describes the screen, the second video explains how we are assessing the pattern as much as we are assessing mobility.
Although the Deep Squat has significant mobility prerequisites, it’s especially important in screening for pattern.— OnBaseU (@OnBaseU) October 30, 2019
If an athlete has an “ankle first” pattern, there’s an excellent chance their squat will be limited. pic.twitter.com/8J9QQES27M
This is a quick glimpse into the system that we teach at our Hitting and Pitching seminars. If you're interested in learning more, check out the 2020 schedule on our site. http://www.onbaseu.com/certification/seminar-calendar