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Looking Pretty? Greats are Sometimes UGLY


Looking Pretty? Greats are Sometimes UGLY

by fastballusa

Tired of a nation filled of pretty hitters? Contact hitters?

Kids who have so much pressure to win tournaments that they are afraid of looking bad at the plate.  Pressure to win, and emphasis on looking pretty. 

Meet - Hunter Pence  and Dustin Pedroia

Anything but pretty -  Just Results. 

For years the experts fail to understand how these guys can hit in the major leagues. When these guys come to the plate the experts say they swing too hard, and that they are both un-conventional or almost freakish. 
I on the other hand believe while their swings may not be pretty they are exactly what American kids today are missing when it comes to great hitting.  
Professional baseball today is filled with guys who are NOT born in the USA in part because we are "teaching" our kids how to play baseball. Travel Teams, private instructors, are suppose to help but we might be screwing it up. The kids in the Dominican don't have private lessons, or big time travel teams. 

My opinion - Players are over coached and under trained.  

Does it look like Hunter Pence had private lessons as a kid? How about Dustin Pedroia?
Their approach is actually much more old school. They grip it and rip it. They are not concerned about looking pretty. They are concerned with hitting the ball as hard as possible.   
In today's world, baseball lessons simply focus on technique, mechanics, and looking pretty. 
This is NOT how Bryce Harper became Bryce Harper. He is also constantly criticized for swinging too hard, or moving too much, yet he learned how to hit from old fashioned practice. He claims as a kid he literally took millions of swings.  
During my hitting camps I always ask my players if they know who was Mickey Mantle's hitting coach? Ted Williams?  

These guys were self taught. They simply learned through trial and error along with having the goal to hit harder and farther. 
Old school hitters moved much more than modern day hitters. Hunter Pence displays a lot of movement while waiting for the pitch. Most hitting coaches would say he is too tight. They would say he can't hit like that. In fact no one would teach a hitter to do that. Many coaches would not allow a kid to swing like that even if he was getting good results. 
The reality is if you can hit harder and farther than everyone else in your age group you will get noticed quicker than everyone else. My suggestion for youth players is to stop looking pretty and start practicing hitting the ball harder and farther.  
The hitters who come out of the Dominican Republic clearly show this explosive concept. The Chicago Cubs Javier Baez is as  powerful as they come but is criticized for striking out too much. His swing resembles the movement of former major leaguer Gary Sheffield.  
I simply want to see players focus on results not how it looks. I want to see players train themselves to hit harder and farther as oppose to relying on a private lesson from a coach who is going to "teach" you how to hit. Great hitters don't get taught, they learn from swinging more than everyone else, self coaching, and adjusting. Lessons without a million swings is worthless. Many times the lessons emphasizing pretty is exactly what is getting in the way. 
Take a look at some Ugly Stuff - 
Hunter Pence Practice Swing   -  I love it. 
Hunter Pence -  Results    -  Did he swing too hard on this one?
Dustin Pedroia Swing For the Fence -  Little guy big power
The reason why we have had so many 90mph athletes at Fastball USA is we don't get stuck on pretty.     
"Someone once asked me if I ever went up to the plate trying to hit a home run.   I said, 'Sure, Every time'.
Mickey Mantle


Director of Baseball Training at Fastball USA
Coach Ryan has spent 14 years as an Associate Scout with the Seattle Mariners organization, and has been running Fastball USA since 2001. Coach Ryan has spent nearly 20 years as a professional baseball instructor specializing in hitting and pitching.
email: fastballusa@hotmail.com.

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  • coolbr1
    October 23, 2014

    Hunter Pence’s practice swing does not make sense. He must have no clue what he is doing with his regular swing. he is simply just tying to get a hit. Good article!

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