Unless you’ve been living in the baseball equivalent of a Himalayan monastery, you’ve heard pitching and hitting coaches avowing the importance of “hip-to-shoulder separation.” I’m not exactly sure when it began, but sometime in the last several years, someone coined the term, and it spread like wildfire. According to advocates of this tenet, pitchers and hitters should rotate the pelvis while the torso remains closed for as long as possible. The resultant diagonal stretch through the trunk allows the athlete to take advantage of the elastic properties of the abdominals, and chest muscles to store and then unload energy to be transferred from the lower half to the arm or bat.
My name is Randy Sullivan, and I am a recovering TWIT coach. For years my coaching style involved a traditional style that has come to be popularly known as TWIT Coaching. Here’s the basic formula for TWIT coaching: T: We Tell the player how to perform a skill (maybe even demonstrate it.) W: We Watch him do it. I: We stop Immediately Inform of all the things he did wrong. T: Then we Tell him how to do it better (sometimes demonstrating again while pointing out the most intricate details of the movement). If the player doesn’t get it quickly enough, we make him do punishment runs or pushups.
A few years back, at a TBR Coaches Boot Camp, I had the pleasure of meeting Frans Bosch, a motor learning and biomechanics expert from The Kingdom of The Netherlands. At the time, the Dutch were 10-20 years ahead of the rest of the world in this area and Frans was considered the best of the best.