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Ep. 72: The Language of Hitting Dave Kirilloff | A Baseball Podcast

Geoff Rottmayer March 16, 2020 37


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The Language of Hitting Dave Kirilloff

Welcome to The Baseball Awakening Podcast, where we dive into the raw, unfiltered, unsexy side of player development

Guest Bio:

Dave Kirilloff, Owner of The Language of Hitting

Summary:

On this episode, Host Geoff Rottmayer sits down with Dave Kirilloff, Owner of The Language of Hitting

Show Notes: In this conversation, Dave talks about:

  • His background in baseball
  • The evolution of what he believes and what he coaches.
  • The importance of vision.
  • The importance of practice translating to games.
  • His thoughts on what the swing should be like.
  • Technology role sin the game?
  • and much more.

Website: www.baseballawakening.com

Facebook: Baseball Awakening Podcast

Twitter: Baseball Awakening Podcast

Instagram: The Baseball Awakening Podcast

Email Address: geoff@baseballawakening.com

Intro
Welcome to another episode of the baseball awakening podcast where we dive into the raw, unfiltered unsexy side of player development. Get ready for some knowledge bombs with your host, Geoff Rottmayer.

Geoffrey Rottmayer
Welcome to The Baseball Awakening Podcast I am Geoff Rottmayer and Today we’re sitting down with Dave ciera of language defeating calm. And Dave, you’re here. We’re gonna talk to you. How are you, sir?

Dave Kirilloff
Wonderful. Jeff, thank you for having me on your show. Appreciate it.

Geoffrey Rottmayer
Yeah. Thanks for coming on. You know what, Dave, I’ve been kind of a follower of yours for some time. So I appreciate you having you on and kind of listening and learning from you. So let’s just kind of start you know, for our listeners, you know, a little bit about you know, your background and kind of what what you’re doing now with that language of hitting calm.

Dave Kirilloff
Okay, well, you want to first of all, first of all, foremost, I’d like to tell people that I am an ambassador for Jesus Christ, secretly disguised as a hidden coach. So that’s my primary objective Jeff. And so I praise the Lord for everything. I’m doing all the information we’re going to talk about today. And then I have a beautiful wife Mehretu for 23 years and we’re in the process of relocating ourselves to near Dallas, Texas. And before this, we live in Pennsylvania, Western Pennsylvania, and that’s my, we raised a daughter Sophia, and we raised her son Alex. Sophia was an ice skater for a lot of years. And now she is that she’s married. She left the home when she was getting married. If she was she was 19. And she lives in Colorado. And my son is a professional baseball player and a twins organization. He left the house at 18 got married at 18. big year for him was 2016. And, like again, he’s currently with the The Minnesota Twins organization. Very cool. So,

Geoffrey Rottmayer
great athlete great family. I appreciate you sharing all that. Okay, so let’s, let’s talk let’s talk some hitting let’s you’re you’re you have a website called language dependent, calm and you’re kind of you’re constantly evolving. But I’d like to kind of just get curious about how you got started in all this and then you know how you’ve evolved over the years.

Dave Kirilloff
Okay, well, you know, I mean,I guess shortly after my playing career, I had a, I had an incident where I was like, I feel like this like everybody else was, I was a good baseball player. Right, right. But it was difficult getting exposure in western Pennsylvania back in the 80s. for someone to consider you and serious and I was in the draft and on the draft board, but my junior year in college, I had suffered a really bad accident, I’m assuming benefactor some of the player and I didn’t get behind the screen, and I got hit with a baseball. And it gave me a blood clot my arm. And basically the blood clot shut everything down. And so I got a degree in teaching. And so I did that. And then when I was teaching, trying to get a teaching job, I, I was blessed enough to still be able to throw a baseball after about, you know, a year. And I got into instruction doing instruction, and I started coaching an area college, a Point Park College in western Pennsylvania, and doing lessons. And so I know when I was doing lessons, I was very blessed to meet a man named Frank porco and Frank porco at the time, and I guess early 90s was a guess a pioneer, pioneer, but it was an advanced hitting coach that really paid attention to swing mechanics, and one of the prize pupils that was Working with someone named Sean Casey and Sean Casey was from West Pennsylvania and just swore by Frank system and I swear by Frank system. It was a lot of mechanics and body parts moving together you know the sequential locking and body parts to organize basically the point of contact taken from Gary ward. You know, the whole nine yards and Rob Ellis of the hitting videos, we just talked about getting every piece of information we can to learn so Frank guide me along the path of Gary Ward and Rob Ellis and other people and a time and and that was very good. He taught me a lot about mechanics and then eventually I left and I got them on my own two feet and started doing my own baseball Academy.

Geoffrey Rottmayer
Very cool. So what you know when it comes to the swing, what what is what is what is your belief, I mean, you you can go on the internet, find a bunch of different names. And I’m very careful about saying that anything’s wrong. Because there’s something that works with different people. But there’s a lot of things, a lot of questionable things. But what is your thoughts on on the swing side of things?

Dave Kirilloff
Well, let me go back to Frank porco. Frank porco was probably my opinion the most astute, hidden coach I’ve ever been around. I mean, the people that he led me to this professional gentleman, they were very good. I think Frank was better, because he analyzed and dissect things to meticulous up points of view. And what he would mesh into his perspective was a golfing perspective. You mean, so a lot of things that Sean Casey grew up with, and I watched and observed and, in a strike mentored me with a lot of golf swing ideas and mechanics. And so when I got my own place, that’s what I did. I did that for, you know, 12 1512 years. I just got stuck on swing mechanics. And here’s where it changed me, Jeff. All right. So I was blessed to have Academy but then I had travel teams. So I have players taking batting lessons with us and pitching lessons with us. And then I would go and coach him in games. So I saw the product on the field, what was being manufactured in the laboratory. And it’s a to me at times, like, you know what, this isn’t working. I mean, they’re doing exactly what I’m trained to do in a laboratory. But when we get to the game, something isn’t jiving. I mean, everybody wasn’t like that. Right. And, you know, what’s, what’s kind of funny was the place, I would show them to do something ahead down in the batting cages. When it gets to the game. They wouldn’t do it all. They did what came natural, like, Well, you didn’t do what I asked you to do, but you’re still hitting. So you’re trying to compile all this information together. And then you start learning and it’s like you just sort of study and analyze and first of all, why is he hitting What’s he doing together? Like I’ve been doing, but he’s doing things differently. So that’s where one day, I was coaching a select collegiate league little team with that summer team, right. And my players were good. And we had a wonderful BP before the game. I mean, all my guys are hitting airplanes left center field, right center field, center field mentor, like, Oh my gosh, we’re gonna have a great game, you know, I mean, and we show up. And you know what? No, no, they were hitting pop ups, ground balls, and they’re striking out and I’m staring. I’m standing at a third base coaching. And I’m observing, I go back to Dugan to watch Oh, team back thinking, you know what the other teams are doing much better my team. So what am I missing? I go back out, start praying. And I had an epiphany. I had a light go off in my mind. It’s like the Holy Spirit was talking to me and said, Dave, what is that picture trying to do to your batter. I said get the battery out

Geoffrey Rottmayer
and then have her What’s he doing to get your battery out?

Dave Kirilloff
He’s trying to miss it this timing. He throws it fast and throws one slow. What else does he do? Okay, he throws the tries to mess up the battery space is frozen high heat was low inside and outside. And I thought about it and so that’s the picture two weapons to mess up the batteries timing and mess up the battery space. So what am I doing as a hidden coach? When I’m when I’m investing all this time studying swing mechanics, swing mechanics, put your elbow in the slot, get your knee under your shoulder. All right, don’t cast your hands you don’t find your shoulder up in your Hey, your chicken wings, all your bending too much at the waist or all these things right? I’m not talking about timing, but as a hitter when I played Guess what, Jeff? Just what I didn’t have that. Box all I thought about was the ball. I didn’t think one iota about my hips, shoulders Anything else? I thought about the ball. But But stop there, right? Well don’t stop there keep keep on folding it. What about the ball that I think about and that’s what opens up the folder that’s that’s Mark timing. That’s what opens up the folder that’s Mark that’s marked spatial alertness or spatial acuity or sensitive to space. In some that’s where I guess these last, you know, 15 years or years I’ve been been teaching for dedicated myself to study that aspect of hitting. And that’s what my son that’s basically what my son grew up with.

Geoffrey Rottmayer
Yeah, yeah. No, I’m with you on that. I think, you know, the the feeling the feeling, but when it comes to games, you got to see the ball, and you got it and you got to execute however way you do it. Whatever you show up with whatever swing you put on, does it really matter as long as you are hitting the baseball executing? So So now so are we talking like are you talking like vision training or what what can you elaborate more a little bit more on what you’re talking about?

Dave Kirilloff
Jeff is it’s, it’s all that it’s deep. I mean, it is it is vision. So initially, when I looked at timing, you know, I started out with, okay, of dancing with a pitcher, you know, and I learned this first I first I learned as I’m watching this, the batter needs to get himself in sync, he needs to synchronize themselves, right? Meaning this, that, athletically when you do things, your hands have got to jive with your feet and your feet, your hands, your arms have got to work with your legs. And ladies, you got to work with your hands and that’s with any athletic action, right? So I lifted that part. And then I said, Okay, let’s look at the batter dancing with a pitcher. Have you heard that before? I mean, so I looked at that intently and said, well, it’s more than just this. Okay? It really was with how was it? How was the batter getting prepared to in position to make a reaction to the ball, right? And now, you got to start calculating the vision, the eyes because what you’re really getting in position is the eyes. And part of me when I when I first was, like learning this was I felt, you know, I pray, I pray and I read the Bible every single day as they try to, you know, and sometimes, Jeff, I’m doing a baseball lesson work with somebody. And I’m saying, Lord, I don’t know what to do here. And as I’m praying, I’m getting I’m getting wisdom. Right. And I felt I felt inside. Right. The Lord told me, David, look at the batter’s eyes when you throw batting practice, too. swashes eyes and you know, and being sensitive to myself as an athlete, I can see where I am throwing the ball, I know where the ball is, I knew my body, my body position, when my elbow is my shoulders, my hips, or my legs are while I’m watching a batter. So I know when this balls coming out of my hand, and I would watch battery if the battery when they really had problems hitting, I would stare at their eyes, but more specifically, I would stare at the dominant eye. And those people in our industry, Jeff, who are AI specialists, come on, they don’t even know what diamond I found the AI really doesn’t make any significant difference well, and isn’t the best people in the industry. coming from someone who’s actually done it and gone into the games and then now I’m training myself. I want to know what my downtime I was because I paying attention with the eyes doing their mean if you’re going to think about your elbow, shoulder, knee, if you can, I think shrink down what your attention As your brain tension is, I’m focused on body part, you’re better off for it. So I would I would watch the batter’s dominant eye. And I would, I would observe this, that a lot of times, Jeff, the batter wasn’t picking the ball early enough in the flight that it was like, like, I was hard to explain this to parents and to the kids. What it mean, I said, I’m throwing the ball to you. And it’s like, You’re like a deer in the headlights? Well, what does that mean? Okay, I’m throwing the ball to you. And it’s just like your brain. Right? But from letting go, your brain stops, right? It looks like this. And this is I use this often, I said, when I’m trying to bother you, it looks like you don’t even think about this ball. Ready until you see it. That’s what I see. And now it’s coming from the place where, you know, a players love this. When we’re talking timing, talking and spatial alertness or spatial awareness where the ball is going in flightpath, I said this basically at the 28 years, Jeff, I have categorize your hitting problem. It comes down to one or two things. You ready?

Geoffrey Rottmayer
Yeah, I’m ready.

Dave Kirilloff
either. No, no, either you either you’re getting ambushed by the ball. You’re getting ambushed by the ball. That’s what I just told you. I’m throwing the ball and look at your eyes. And it looks like your brain just stopped for a split second. You don’t think about the ball until you see it? Boom, the ball ambushes you weren’t able to, you know, come to mind or surprise, right. And then Oh, there it is. And now your body’s telling you Hey, hurry up the balls almost here. If I mean all these all these faults happen, right? Oh, you’re dipping your back shoulder you’re flying open. You’re collapsing. What? Because Sure, you’re desperate that you’re looking at a player who’s desperately trying to get the bat down to the zone, because he just got ambushed by the ball. The second point is that second biggest kidding, mistake, right? And if you look carefully at the eyes, this is only when you observe this. hitters get too excited. hitters get too excited and this and I think this is a growing problem in our bat speed, that data driven devices, culture, right hit as hard as you can when they get too excited. So listen here. So the ball gets about five feet from where the point of contact should be. Right? You know what happens? They try to they try to smash the ball as hard as it can. And rather than keeping the mind on the continuing flight paths, where the point of contact should be, you know what happens

Geoffrey Rottmayer
and what happens Yeah,they they’ve missed, hit it. Thanks

Dave Kirilloff
deeper than deeper than this hitting a pop up found out the last five feet. Rather than getting the brain to the point of contact, your brain starts to go out to the outfield, it goes to where they want to hit the ball. Now I can speak truthfully to this because I’ve experienced it myself. You know what you know, and like ever see someone and since I’ve got four levels, I’ll do this. So I have a coach flipping of the coach hitting like ground balls to infield of five balls, but the coach flips it right? So I was doing this I used to coach a stay behind the screen and filming the ball. And I was trying to hit the ball all over the field, right. And I was trying to hit the ball surveys shortstop, whatever, I could feel that last five feet Jeff, my brain got disconnected with the flight path and I was thinking about the bottom left field smashing up there going in centerfield. And I and I know like, hey, that’s what’s going on. And when you watch someone’s eyes, you can see that there brains going somewhere else? Yeah. You know. So yeah. Tell me about that.

Geoffrey Rottmayer
Yeah, I agree with that. You know, I think I think you’re right. You know, I think the same thing guys are not picking up the ball or seeing the ball early enough. And you’re right, you know that they’re not seeing the ball into contact. So the window of which they’re seeing the baseball is very small. So yeah, man, I’m right there with you. No, I think you’re I think you’re absolutely right.

Dave Kirilloff
But, hey, so let’s, uh, hold on, hold on. Let me turn the tables and ask you. Okay, because the last several years I’ve had this interview with some professional teams, right, and I’m very honored. And it’s really cool going to the environment. And before I get started, anytime I always ask the people to sit down with me. What kind of things have you been doing? What kind of things have you been trying? What is your you know? organization, you know, focusing on so to tell me, Jeff, all right, you got your Academy you got your players. And someone says, Hey Jeff man, my son loves the game. He’s doing well. And he’s doing great and batting cages with you, but it’s just not transferring that to the game. Help me What are you doing?

Geoffrey Rottmayer
My approach to helping hitters is working on their, their approach first their vision and then their their mechanics. So you have to go up there, get that idea of what you want to do what you’re trying to do. And then you got to understand how to see the ball and then you got to have a balance, swing that on time and movement that allow you to hit through the ball. So that’s kind of

Dave Kirilloff
do me a favor, do a favor unfold for me. The folder that says approach unfolded for me. So you got you got a 12 year old kids, 14 year old kid, maybe 16 and Okay, we’re going to work on Approach described to me the approach

Geoffrey Rottmayer
at the younger level, it’s keep it simple, you know, we’re kind of looking for for the fastball over the play, but we, you know, we like the idea of the one location one fits one lead concept that I learned from Perry husband.

Dave Kirilloff
Okay, that’s great, great question. And years ago, I was challenged by DOD slot loved on slot. Right. Right. Right View pro played played in Pittsburgh, you know, everywhere else too, but he has a question. So Dave, so when you teach your hitters when you’re hitting where do you tell your batters to look for the ball? And what pitch Do you expect what zone Do you think zone hitting? I mean, what do you do? Right? So I said, You know, I missed it like 15 years ago. I mean, you know what, I never thought about that way. Right? But I I guess I maybe you told me you as well, I guess down the middle. That’s Like, I would presume this ball to come down the middle. He says, No, you think the ball is gonna go outside and then adjust in? I think think about that. So I go back and I go back to the laboratory and I try some things out and said, You know what? I don’t think it really works for me. Right now. Everybody’s different. But so that’s why it’s a hidden code coach. It’s our job to figure out the landscape. You know, I mean, they’re coming to you. It’s not always one way this way, my way or That’s it, right. Maybe Maybe that worked for Don slot. So I’m listening to an interview. Bob Kostis and a Hoover. Rod Kuru. Kuru. I don’t imagine Tony Gwynn with him. I forget what was the right crew was there. Bob Costas is in the right for the question. And same thing, where do you think the ball is gonna go? Hey, Bob, when I was batting, I just expected the ball to come right down the middle of a plate. Because if it wasn’t right down the middle, I can make an adjustment to the outside, I can make an adjustment to the inside, high and low. Boom. That’s exactly what I used to think. Expect this and then you can splinter off. I mean, how easy is that? So, to me, I think when we think about approach, I think in the back of the mind the hitter, right is stepping up batter’s box, I’m looking at the pitcher. I’ve already got programmed this pre designed strike zone that fits. That means it should be in this space. Like we’re not playing cricket. It’s like a bounce. I’m going to hit it because we’re already programmed or wired to understand it’s such a part of your approach, but for what else is a part of the approach? I mean, I love that question. What is your approach? And, Jeff, you play baseball, right? You will probably the prior pretty good, right? Because you’re still doing it. It’s in your fabisch your blood, when you got the whole plate and you look at the picture, what was going through your mind?

Geoffrey Rottmayer
You know, for the longest time, I don’t think I really knew. And then I got connected with the code that talked a lot about about vision. So it got to the point where I would focus as hard as I could on the baseball.

Dave Kirilloff
Boom. How easy is that? When you play tennis when you play tennis, you hit me the ball I hit you the ball. When you hit me the ball as a cross court shot I gotta go my forehand. The only thing I think about it what the ball as low as high elite at the home plate, but how simple is that? You look at the picture and you say here’s your approach. Here comes my ball. Why should there be anything else? You know, the wide receiver I got to make this route catch the ball. What is my approach think? I think always kind of push may change If I get two strikes, you know, I may, I may try to expand myself a bit more, you know, I mean and be, you know, be more tied down. But, you know, Okay, next thing. So we’ve got the approach to trying to fix this hitter at game time mainly said, What would you say again? Next thing was what’s the speed at the ball?

Geoffrey Rottmayer
See the ball? How do you learn learning how to see the ball and trying to pick up the ball as early as possible? Well, we instruct guys to do what we like to tell him to do. You know, we don’t care what you look at, you can look at anything. But when the pitcher starts to rotate, you got to get that eyes on time to that release window.

Good. How do you feel about that? You believe that? I do.

Dave Kirilloff
Okay, all right. That’s a good that’s a really good question. All right. And I was thinking about this before we got on the air. Yeah. So I had a debate. And I knew this for a long time.

I think we’re about the same age at play ball with the 80s and 90s, right?

Geoffrey Rottmayer
Nah, Nah, man, I’m I’m a little bit younger. I’m 36

Dave Kirilloff
Oh, God bless your heart. So I’ll leave that place. And maybe from the audience, when when we play, they say, Okay, listen, tell us when you see the pitchers arm, if it’s a fast fat wrist. That’s a fastball. If it’s a skinny wrist, it’s going to be a curveball. If I even tell you that before.

Geoffrey Rottmayer
I have I have heard that. Yep.

Dave Kirilloff
But did you ever see that? No.

Okay, okay, so loosen. Neither did I. And I’m looking down the bench when a court is trying to see the balls risk ever sit on this hand, thinking, am I the only one who cannot see the ball and of the hand? Is anybody else saying the same thing? Right? So I got into this debate or So I believe both but what some things I heard you say before that you’re on the side of the the banker says hey we see the ball on the pitchers hand right? Right.

Okay good well so can you guys tell me something?

Geoffrey Rottmayer
Yeah you know I have guys that that recognize cues really well from you know what the pitchers coming you know i mean their guide they could see spin something color but you know with our guide we make it we threat and make it a priority to see the ball, though so they see the ball and they’re able to recognize.

Dave Kirilloff
Yeah. So along in mid 2000s Fox Sports Science came out and they did some testing and they maybe they had the version of pupil x, and they told us this batters do not see the ball out of the pitchers hands it may be somewhere between 5678 feet further. From the pitchers hand, we actually see it pick up the ball, the flight path of the ball. And when I talked to other, I talked to major league players, I talked to major league managers who played right. today. I never saw I never saw the bottle of hands. I don’t know why people talk about that. misled people who say the same thing. So I think it’s important because this there is there is timing to the vision. And what’s also important is, if your timing your location, then if you’re on the side of the fence where you don’t see it at the hands, where do you pick up the ball? Then there’s timing to transition in your eyes in a depth perception. And that’s what I see I can physically see it Don’t ask me how I’m looking at someone’s dominant eye and I can see them like a camera that focuses out on a subject zooms out and zooms in I can see that I not picking up depth of the ball, where, you know, you should pick it up, you know if it’s 54567 810 feet because on velocity, so that’s the side of the fence I’m on and that’s why I’ve been teaching players how to accurately not only get your eye position, but understand what depth Am I picking this ball up? And that’s, that’s like a whole chapter of sets. I think it’s one of the biggest attributes to hitters like elite hitters have that. And I think some player players just born that wiring to understand pick up depth of the ball and and find the information you’re trying to pick up on the ball, trying to find the information that’s the speed and the space of the ball and then basically just making a reaction to speed in space. you agree with that?

Geoffrey Rottmayer
Yeah, you know, I’m thinking and I’m processing

Dave Kirilloff
a Jeff You know what, anyway, Hold on this may be a little plug but I recommend to the audience and, and there you already got some stuff but the 5.0 version of the best hitting drill ever. I explained this to the audience. And then I explained to the audience how to teach this to me. So when players come back like this not doing it in the game, I do it with you, because we’re just getting a little soft serve ice cream, you know, feeds and doing off the batting people when someone stands out there at full range speed. Hey, well, now we can play the principles they know you can, you know what I used to not players or teams used to always soft highs, right? Never to overhand. But I’ve learned through the years Hey, if you just take you take these principles, you take this concept, you can make this work with soft toss, because I’m training you to be sensitive to the speed and space of the ball from any drill. And it’s and it ties back in all you care about flight path reading, flight paths and pitch recognition. That’s another great topic, you know, the deeper side of pitch recognition it’s not just like oh, that’s a fastball as a curveball. The deeper side is the depth of it. Where’s its last location? You mean

Geoffrey Rottmayer
what about the the thing that like the the overthinking that that whole part of the game where you know you could tell a guy you could tell he’s overthinking what what the gaps there was the conversation there could that’s gonna if you’re thinking then you’re not seeing

great point.

Dave Kirilloff
I just did a video about this. But here, let me ask you something. All right. If a coach says that maybe I probably said this early. My coaching career. Maybe you have to Hey, Billy, john, Tommy, go up, get home plate. Don’t think don’t just see it and hit it. Yeah, right. Right. This is my response. This is my response now. Oh, I said, I tell players when your coach tells you to go to home plate not to think, turn around a coach, it’s a coach, can you clarify that? Do you mean? You want me to go to home plate and not focus? You mean you may get a home plate and not concentrate? Because I can’t focus? I can’t concentrate. Unless, unless I’m thinking. Right. Okay, so now we can have, we can have a conversation. Well, what am I focusing on? One of my contract on I mean, if I just go to home plate, don’t think much of you put a blindfold on my face and just tell me when to swing. And I’d still be think I’d still be thinking because I’m waiting for you to tell me when the swing. You know what I mean? Seriously. We have to think but let’s open the folder up. And so let’s, let’s analyze this and study this and get a laboratory. What are we thinking about and then Where I believe the wiring helped me. I shared this I was just in Wisconsin doing a an event. And I very blessed love this. I love going around the country. I got a one rate fee. Now I’ll go anywhere in the country from one rate, and it’s very affordable. And I work with players. So we’re here so I’m just in Wisconsin this past weekend. And I’m asking the players a question

Geoffrey Rottmayer
about why I lost my train of thought about

Dave Kirilloff
this. This by thinking wiring. I couldn’t explain to you for the longest time why players say I just go to Home play. I don’t think it just happens. I couldn’t put my my mind around it until I kept getting the laboratory and trying to understand my son. My son’s a lefty hitter. I’m a righty here, right. My son does everything lefty left The lefty lefty and he does a lot of things natural. So here here’s my here’s what happened to me. When I was growing up I’m a righty hitter. Okay? And I go to the field and they weren’t like indoor facilities right when I was growing up, just go to the field to batting tee, toss ball by your hand, maybe someone combined for your batting practice, whatever. So the past the time I start batting left handed, right? Learning No, I simply I’m pretty good with this is pretty natural. And I had somebody tell me that in practice something seems pretty easy on the side, right? I see the ball better. Batting left handed. And I do bedding right handed. It actually, it actually appears that when I when I go inside the room seems brighter. I’m standing in the left the batter’s box, right the batter’s box. When I bet lefty Jeff, the things that I’m teaching and talking about timing, spatial awareness, alertness, guess what? Ready? It just happens. just happened. I don’t like, now I understand my son when he said, pop, I pop, why are you teaching this? I’m only doing this? Well, you know, you got to consider this and that and when I would go in and do it lefty, I understood him better. And that’s where like, you know, now I understand what someone says I don’t need to think when I bet left handed, I don’t need to think of all all the spatial awareness of it just happening. You know, I mean, and all that stuff, you know, the face wins the race, boom, it just, it just goes on about righty I got a program myself to do that. So you know what’s new? What’s intriguing about this? You ready? When someone comes to work with me, right now you got the system. You got to go back and watch these videos because I talk about a particular position. When you get to the finish line, a point of contact, you know, there’s a storyline as a finished line, right. So there’s a particular there’s a particular positioning out of the face when a hitter gets the Point of Contact right? And when you understand that you when somebody first comes into you and they’re having problems hitting, right maybe you spend the first five minutes or I’m a righty hitter. Try to sell it to me favor. Bat left handed for me. I want to look at something. And you know what? I’m surprised that that sometimes they actually been in about let’s see, and I’ve never done it before. They actually bet better less than they do writing and then a walk down that aisle say the last 15 years or so what did you What did you realize what do you observe? Co state I was that bedroom that left it and ready? Why do you think? I don’t know I just I was just seeing the ball better. And I go back to my own experience. I said you know what, Jeff, if someone were told me Dave, I want you to be a lefty better. You’re more natural. You’re seeing a better stick with lefty I wish somebody would have told me that at 15 method magic good area, but that was it was just so natural for me. I didn’t have to think I think every coach listen this should try that out when they got someone difficult when it first come in it means you know try it out that left your battery that ready, but you got her set positioning because then you can you could tell I’m probably within like 10 pitches, hey this is gonna work it’s not gonna work you know when you’re in the laboratory so you know we’re just going to sample it

Geoffrey Rottmayer
yeah no i i i’ve tried that before but not in that context so I think I’m gonna try to think about that a little bit. What about what about lefty lefty You know, there’s that whole dynamic that you hear about lefty can’t hit lefties and then What the What’s going on there?

Dave Kirilloff
Tell me what you think. Hit me.

Your way. What’s that?

Geoffrey Rottmayer
I want to hear from you.

Dave Kirilloff
All right, listen, I got a whole I got a whole lot of theories on that. Um, well, I mean look, I look myself My son had no problem hitting lefties. I mean, he was blessed when you’re when he won Player of the Year were mildly, mildly played a year 2018 his batting average was like even some lefties or righties. You know, I mean,

Geoffrey Rottmayer
but here’s what I want to ask you.

Dave Kirilloff
My observation was this How about these guys? The guys who played surveys the guys who play shortstop are the right handed throwers and a bat lefty, a guy throws righty and a bat lefty. Be ready. My observations just watching major league games, sitting in my couch watching games and and the pitching community. I’m kind of reacting differently to that this they don’t pitch inside. They’re much more you know, I mean, I mean, even if even a major league baseball, I can tell you sort of moment here. So when I would watch these guys Get pitch inside a guy with four righty. But that lesson and it got pitched inside. They have problems. I mean I’m talking about the number three and four hitters right oh pitchers guys the way pitchers guys like guess what I’ve learned in the deeper studies into my own research that you know what you should have stuck inside because he can’t he doesn’t see that pitch his brains wiring is not well off with that space. You follow me? and and you know what? I think I’m not sure mlb.com stop doing this but I would go to mlb.com and look at the velocity charts on like hitters, right? And I just did something on Twitter I had somebody who it was, but it was Anthony Rizzo. And his ball is elected batter. His ball exit speed on his bat was 83 miles an hour on inside pitches. Ball as expeed on the outside corner was 93 right down the middle is 95 on average, right? So, as a pitcher pitching coach, why would you let off? Why would you even think about not just burying the guy all inside pitches when his bat speeds on 83 miles an hour there? Why would you go anywhere? near me. What do you think? Tell me, tell me what you think about lefty lefty matches we’re gonna say

Geoffrey Rottmayer
yeah, you know, I you know I think about it a lot. You know I’m not a lefty but I think it may be just a matter of repetition, you know, stealing enough balls going away from you. You know, I see right handers struggle against lefty too because they don’t have a lot of rep the ball coming in on him. So so I don’t know.

So you bet right handed right? Yeah, I’m a righty.

Dave Kirilloff
What’s your dominant eye?

Forget that. How about this

guy? Good? Let’s say dominant. Yep. Okay. All right. Here’s a question. Jeff. The count is three into, and it’s a big game. All right, winning runs on second base, whatever. And if you know the pitcher is going to get give you a fastball, right? He’s not going to put the fastball down the middle plate. Would you rather have that fastball pitch inside? On the black or outside on the black?

Geoffrey Rottmayer
Three to count Where do you want it outside?

Dave Kirilloff
Yeah, so based upon what you told me on that, that formula being a righty batter thing, left eye dominant. That is where I would think the majority most players want to in that in that in that model, outside corner, right, but I know maybe you wouldn’t want to inside is because you just don’t see that pitch as well. And your body doesn’t have the wirings They’re in. I mean, that’s something that as far as hitting community, we need to pick up on we, you know, like, we always work on the strength of work on the weaknesses, too, you know, I mean, but but so but why don’t you want to have an inside corner? What’s the answer? Because you see a ball better middle way. And that’s my whole point like with hitters, right? You know, it’s got some pitching coaches Listen to this. Listen, I studied pitching. I mean, how can you How can you not be a good hitting coach if you don’t study pitching? Right? And so you studied pitchers, but it’s tendencies but then you study pitchers deliveries. Okay. And that’s this is an interesting topic is here in itself is that is I’ve learned when I when I work with timing, Jeff, that I’ve learned to first categorize the hitters model. I got like, I’ve categorized hitters in 11 different models, right. And then I categorize hitters in two different temples, right, what’s the temple either meet or slow, or medium or fast tempo you mean? And then I calculate it down and I calculate, okay, how am i watching a pitcher? In my interviews? I’ve got only eight answers how you’re looking at the pitcher is very important because all spins back to your timing. You follow me? And behind how you watch pitchers understand that common denominator because it all fits together, right? So you mesh this together. Now that picture, right? How are we going to manage the model of pitcher? Okay, my son’s 15 years old Jeff, he’s in a scouting event. And we’re in Baltimore. And he didn’t have a good day. Right? And I’m recording I’m not coaching his team. I’m up in the stands and record, I always made a point to record the batter in the pitcher, because I knew that’s part of the composition. It’s how you look at timing. I’m glad I did this. Because early in my study, so went back looked at it like what’s most different? I looked at the picture and to see you know what, there it is. That’s why Who’s got screwed up today? He was facing a pitcher who’s pitching model was like a Clayton Kershaw. There was a pause, there was a, a hitch, there was a delay in his delivery, you follow me? And because of that delay it my son didn’t have enough experiences with this composition of a pitcher. To Okay, this is how I respond to this guy. This is what I got to do now, you know, I mean, so I always tell parents and players not because that’s like a debate of mechanics, where you want to put a square divider and a square look at just him alone and you never even take an account of the ball. And you don’t even take account of the picture. He’s reacting to, how can you look at them and not have the picture in the same I guess, viewfinder like Ah, you’re reacting be so understand the pitch models is so in here. We’re like, like, people send me some clips Luke and my son, what do you think? Well, I can’t see the picture. I’m trying to get to it. Trying to get the batter’s tempo what tempo is you working out of? Because it tempo affects your vision. I’ll tell you a sample in a second but so I don’t know he’s full wind up and let the righty as if it was slide step. You know I mean, the guy was five step. Evie is going to affect everybody’s tempo running, right?

Geoffrey Rottmayer
The What about a guy who you know, let’s say you got a no stride guy and you got a guy with a toe tap and the guy’s leg kick. What? What what’s the conversation there?

Dave Kirilloff
Well goes back to everything else you wouldn’t want to go you want to get a portfolio of a player. This is this this might get a portfolio of a player. Every time someone comes to me. I got these basic conversation, interview questions. What do you bet left your writing? What do you throw unless you’re writing? What hand do you write with? A hand you write with? Why is it important to know That just Yeah, no, it’s important. Well, I’ll tell you why right here. When people are cross dominant like someone named barry bonds with throw lefty, that lefty, but he writes with his right hand. Babe Ruth, through lefty, bad lefty wrote with his right hand, Brooks Robertson, through writing, better writing, wrote with his left hand, those people their brain is is exercised more in a different dynamic way to other people. They know how to use both sides of the brain more effectively. So that’s an ancient thing to ask players that right. So sometimes they have and then they ask them Do you have any expression like playing instruments do you play music? Because that tells me that they have experienced retraining the right brain hemisphere and the right brain hemisphere is coordinating space is through how it works. They’re more sensitive space and sometimes you can use a music method with those players right? They played the sports do you have any current injuries your knee what position you play in the field? So it’s all part of this question right. So now I get to the model right? We got a toe tap model or no strive model, right? So we got that down. Tom and I asked him what the domino is. And then when important things the most one of most important things I asked him to look at is the hitters tempo, hitters tempo. What tempo was he hitting out of? Because I learned that the temple is really working in conjunction with the timing of division, and not the pitcher. So I got to find his temple was temple here. Here. I just had a conversation with someone, someone else’s forum a couple days ago and another interview Pitch recognition specialist. Right. Great guy, Peter, Peter Pan. Peter Fatty, right. So it came up in his conversation. I was basically just trying to sit back and listen to I try to get some input. I was like, Listen, it’s a good panel, they’re professional people. And it came up the heart rate thing came up. Right? Well, you know, we want to have a calmer heart rate. Right? We want to bring the heart rate down. And, and one of the researchers talks about, well, you know, we say the heart rate and some players are better at 161 5130. But somewhere around 120 when 35 was like, pushed to be the best. And I said, Well, wait a minute. You have someone who’s got a slower tempo like Josh Donaldson Jose Bautista, just the slow and easy sort of build up with a pitcher, right? How do you explain somebody like Alfonso Soriano? Do you remember him? pumping his bat? suddenly something Get ready. Do you think he’s calm? No. How do you say something like Gary Sheffield, pumping the bat back and forth pump pump pump as their heart rate calm? No, they don’t look at my own son my own style, right? My son his own plate and he’s squeezing it that over and over again. Squeeze, we use squeeze, squeeze. His heart rate is alert. You follow me? Everyone has a different style. So you have to find out what is your tempo? Are you a slow easy guy? Are you second guy? How about this? strength training. Derek Jeter let’s get your toe down earlier. Derek. Do you remember the hidden coach who advised him do that? Right. Good hidden coach. But right before spring training ended their gear says you know what? I’m done with this. I’m going back to my my what my own way. Because get into toda early for Derek Jeter meant it changed his hitting tempo. It’s just his wiring wasn’t his brain his wiring wasn’t set for a sore temple there are cheater and come on. He was like hyper home plate he began to hit that was a began to hit. So, so looking at the players temple is really important because I understand timing behind it, how how those pieces, you know, sync up together how to get that is so important. You know, it works in conjunction with the tempo. You know, there’s nothing here. Nothing about tempo. Yeah. Like my son. first season professional baseball 2016 he was blessed. He won Appalachian Player of the Year. I go out and see him he’s doing good, right you feel really first month I’m used to just smashing it right out of high school right? At the end of the season. You know, sometimes I love my son, but we don’t all we get little friction with one another. You don’t mean But I didn’t have I didn’t have a language. It’s like my cup my business language of hitting language. I didn’t have the right words to describe to him. tempo didn’t use that word. But I told him, he started to slide the end of the season. Right? But it’s temporary. What changed? He started to get ready sooner and slower. Guess what? He wasn’t picking up the ball. His batting average film with the last you know, 1015 games started slump he slid a little bit. And by so one Atlas player a year. And he remembered that and he remember Hey, in someone else, one person in spring training when he came back, Tommy john came back late 2018. Someone in the system said, you need to start a little slower earlier. Guess what? Looks like oh my gosh, here we go again. Right. He was kidding. And he said he kept telling him but he had to he had to figure out him. And six hits which a faster tempo and boom, the lights went on. So just it just took off.

Geoffrey Rottmayer
Yeah. So what what are some of your, some of your favorite resources, book website, people that you follow? What are some of your favorites?

Dave Kirilloff
Number one, the Bible. I don’t want to sound like religious, but honestly, I pray and read every day. And you know what? When you quiet yourself in the morning, and throughout the day, and you sort of think about what you read, you know, real quick, you know, sometimes people forget to read the Bible and they read a lot of it. I told my son, my daughter, my wife and people around me sometimes you know what, Jeff is better off just reading when one or two sentences on the Bible, you know, mean and just just think about that one sentence throughout the whole day. And it carries you think you don’t like that’s probably better off than reading three or four pages at the library when I need it. You know, mean? And then I believe the Holy Spirit starts to work in your life means in all phases. You know, I told you before, literally, I get somebody in front of me and so on. I’m like, I don’t know what to do with this player. I just like and then boom, it comes. He showed he shows up and there’s a lightning You mean, but then the Bible and then you know what I mean, just like everybody else. I follow the social media stuff. I mean, the stuff that you’re doing is great, you know, everyone else is doing is great. I mean, I think the more is good, and you compare and crossed, you know, line to say, Well, this is good. That’s not good. MLB network. I mean, that’s, that’s, I go to it. I mean, I think a lot of us, like, ate it, you know, and you sort of just sort of watch, but I just think my resource is just watching a lot. You know, like you have a facility I guess, facility. Here. Some of the things that I picked Like the best hitter who ever was because I was walking by the TV set, and I would put the H tapes in and just play old baseball games, you know, from my record from the week prior. walking by and I see Ricky Henderson hit a home run. So what just what did he just do? Just boom and hit me. Can Wait a minute. I saw him when he’s deceleration. And so that looks like something I’ve covered condensed your glasses. I had a player in college do the same thing. So sometimes we’re always watching a game and that’s the times it’s like a stutely. But just casually, you start picking things up, you know. So those are the things that I do you know, and then I’ve got friends I talk to and compare notes with and, but basically it comes back to a lot of prayer. And just sometimes going home and just praying and talking to the Lord, know Jesus about you know, what can I do better when I could have done better you know, and he answers you speaks to you Very cool.

Geoffrey Rottmayer
So, one last question. Um, if you were me interviewing you, what would you have at that dinner

Dave Kirilloff
table about that? Um, you know, the biggest thing that I am studying, I say this, what is your observations? And what do you think will happen after a year and Major League Baseball and trickle down after we had a year of the data driven? devices? What outcomes Do you think we will see? What do you got?

Wow, that’s my question for you.

Geoffrey Rottmayer
That’s my question for you.

Dave Kirilloff
I want you to answer Come on.

Geoffrey Rottmayer
My people want to hear from you. I did ask the question.

Dave Kirilloff
Okay, well, I think some players will benefit from it. I think there’s some players, when they are smash the ball, they will accidentally learn how to pay more attention to the ball. Pay. That’s exactly that’s the optimum phrase, pay more attention to the ball. But I think the majority of our hitting culture are thinking more about smashing the ball. You mean out into outer space and just get into my mechanics I’d like to hit the ball harder in a more rotation into the coil more into get into more just SCAP load, and they get to the game all of a sudden, air goes out. It’s almost like a double illustration. Imagine practicing you’re learning how to drive in but you have to drive a school bus is when I drive a school bus. And it’s going nice and slow and easy. Slow turns all of a sudden, okay, now, they start to says, Okay, let’s go and do this on the road real road, but it puts you in a Formula One car with other cars, and you got to go fast, slow stop and go. It’s much faster. The dynamics change. I mean, sometimes I think, with how we draw players that we don’t really match up what’s really going on in the game doesn’t transfer, you know, I mean, so I mean, I think so again, it will benefit some players. Yeah. But the majority, I think, is there going to be lost? Like this isn’t this isn’t clicking together for me to piece. It’s almost like I had an invisible coach, contact me. But doing some work and his pain. I just got one play or just not, it’s not putting together there are some pieces missing? it what are those pieces? Not just those pieces aren’t measured, I believe on data driven. Right devices right.

Geoffrey Rottmayer
Now, I agree. I think I think we’ve gone or going to the little tooth bar. It’s got a there’s got to be some balance. I mean, there’s like a, like you said, there’s some use to it. There’s some, some guys benefit from it. But I think the pendulum going too far. And it’s going to come back around, hopefully and be back in the middle and we’ll figure, figure out how to hit again.

Dave Kirilloff
Good. Yeah, I agree again, I appreciate you’re doing what you’re doing. Keep up the good work. You mean, and, you know, keep studying and I’m gonna keep following you and keep learning from you and everyone else that comes into these programs, but blessings on what you’re doing and keep doing a good job.

Geoffrey Rottmayer
Awesome. Boy, thank you for coming on.

Dave Kirilloff
Man, thank you. Bye bye.

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Geoff Rottmayer

Geoff Rottmayer is the owner of Athletic Mission Baseball Academy, a training facility in Tulsa Oklahoma. Geoff also host The Baseball Awakening Podcast, which was developed to provide content to the baseball community straight from the source. In addition that that, Geoff, is helping coaches and professional start their own podcast and find their own voice.

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