GIVING LOCAL INSTRUCTION SINCE 2005
Coach Vic's Batting Cage and Hitting Academy provides professional one-on-one or group hitting and pitching instruction, baseball fundamentals, and confidence building for all ages. Located in Hillsboro, Oregon, our facilities are enclosed for all-weather hitting and is a well-lit professional batting cage. And now Coach Vic's Batting Cage and Hitting Academy offers hitting instruction in fastpitch softball.
Coach Victor Hernandez is a professional Hitting Instructor with over 40 years of baseball experience as a player and coach. His professional career in AA and AAA baseball spanned 8 years. Victor was also a hitting instructor during his last two seasons as a player/coach in AAA baseball. After leaving professional baseball, he became the hitting instructor at Eastern Oregon University for the 1985 through 1987 seasons. In 1986, most of the hitting records at EOU were rewritten as the Mounties hit .349 as a unit with 81 home runs in a 62 game schedule. While at EOU, Coach Vic had one All American outfielder who hit .418 and 18 home runs.
Coach Vic was the Hitting Instructor and Head Jr. Varsity Coach for the Hillsboro High Spartans from 2005 thru 2009. In the 2005 season, HillHi almost tripled their home runs from the previous year and hit .309 as a team. During 2006, the Spartans set a school record when the team hit .371 as a unit and .386 during the subsequent American Legion summer season. In 2007, the Spartans hit .329 as a team and .322 during summer play. Coach Vic has had several players make the Oregon All-State Team and play in the Oregon East-West All Star game. Also, he has had 12 players hit .490 to .540 at the high school 5A and 6A varsity levels.
In 2006 and 2007, Coach Vic was selected to coach the Northwest Storm, a 14U baseball team which competed in the NW Reigonal Team USA Baseball Fall Tournaments. In 2007, he was also selected to be the Commissioner of the Pacific Northwest League, a summer collegiate baseball league. Currently, besides running his hitting and pitching facility Coach Vic also has 4 tours of coaching international baseball with Caliendo Sports International (website in baseball link).
This is an organization that takes young players of all ages to exotic places to play baseball. Past travels have been to Australia, Canada, Japan the Dominican Republic and Italy. In 2013 Coach Vic was named head coach for Team America for their 15U team playing in Tokyo, Japan at the 2013 Japan Baseball Week. In 2014 Coach Vic was named Head Coach for Team America for their 15U team in a four city tour in Italy. Also, in 2014 Coach Vic was named head Coach for Team America's 18U team in the Dominican Republic. In 2015 Coach Vic was again Head Coach for Team America's 15U team in the Dominican Republic.
Hitting is all about timing and balance. It is very important that a young hitters realize this. He must master the balance part, in order to get his timing down properly. If one is off, the other will suffer.
Most hitting instructors who have never hit at the higher levels of baseball teach improper techniques. Granted, every hitter is different, but all who are successful do a few basic mechanics the same. The number one thing to realize is that hitters must use their hands to hit the baseball. Their legs do the dirty work, and the hands put the bat to the ball. The quicker the hands are to the ball, the more time a hitter has to react to the pitch. Guessing is not a good method for a hitter's approach. Reacting to the pitch is what is best, and the more time one has, the better the hitter. Quick hands give the hitter ample time to react. Being quiet with one's swing is the key to having quick hands. Any sudden movements with the lower half to try to generate more power will be detrimental. The hands do the work.
One very important thing to teach is that the the top hand holds the bat, and the bottom hand swings the bat. A lot of young hitters try to hit with their top hand, and it causes a slow bat with tension throughout the forearms. If the bottom hand swings the bat, the knob will be prone to go directly to the ball, creating a short, compact, and powerful swing that utilizes the hands properly. This is the major league swing. The bat should be up in the fingers, with the knuckles lined up properly.
The rest of the swing will vary from hitter to hitter. There are five major phases to look for in a swing. All of these should follow basic rules. Every good hitter exhibits these mechanics in one form or another when hitting the baseball properly. Understand, however, that I am not trying to clone everyone, but give them a basic overall view on how to approach and attack a pitch.
The hitter should have a balanced stance. His weight should not be entirely on his back leg, because he needs to load before he swings. 60/40 split on the weight distribution is ideal.
The hitter's feet should be wider than the shoulders, with his knees inside the feet. This ensures that the knees are not bowed, causing major problems. The knees should be slightly bent, with a straightened upper body. The further bent over the plate the upper body is, the more trouble a hitter is going to have with inside pitches and seeing the pitch properly. In order to see pitches properly, the hitter should close his front eye. If he still has a good view of the pitcher, then he is lined up properly. If not, he must correct his stance, and that usually means straightening up his upper body.
Placement of the arms does not matter too much. Just make sure that the arms are not bowed out, which will bar the swing. The arms should be held closer to the body, with relaxed shoulders, elbows, and hands.
Things to remember:
-Bent knees with weight evenly distributed (60/40 is okay).
-Both eyes should be able to properly see the pitcher
-Arms should not be bowed out, which causes the swing to be barred.
Nothing can happen until the hitter gets his front foot down. This is the most important part of the load phase. In order to do anything, the front foot MUST come down FIRST. Therefore, the hitter has to give himself ample time to get his front foot down.
From the stance, the hitter will load himself, meaning that he must shift his weight to his backside, before striding and planting. His hands must follow his weight transfer to the backside. If he tries to hit directly from his stance, this will speed the ball up, and cause major problems. His hands need to move slightly back before they can go forward, but must move as little as possible.
Once the weight and hands start their "loading" process, the hitter should pick his front foot up about three inches and stride. The stride should be QUICK AND SHORT. No more than six inches is recommended. The longer and higher the stride, the longer the hitter needs to get his front foot down in order to start his swing. A long stride will cause the hitter to lean and sway, resulting in too many problems to list. Therefore, quick feet mean quick hands!!!! No weight transfer should occur during the load and stride, except to the backside. The front foot needs to be planted lightly. A "strong" or "heavy" front foot usually results in bad timing and a tensioned swing, which causes a slow swing. A good position to be in once the front foot is planted is to have the weight and hands still back, but ready to explode to the baseball.
Since the hitter must load and stride before starting his swing, it is imperative that he give himself ample time to let this phase of his approach develop without being rushed. This is the number one thing to remember when loading and striding, because nothing can happen until the front foot is planted.
Things to remember:
- Front foot must be down before the swing starts
- Hands and weight must "load" before going forward
- Stride should be quick and short
- Quick feet mean quick hands
- Hands need to stay back
- No leaning or swaying during this phase
- Give ample time for this phase of the approach to develop
- The front foot must be planted lightly- soft feet
Hitters' swings vary from hitter type to body type. Every swing is different, but all approaches should exhibit a few of the same mechanics.
A hitter swings with his hands. The legs supply the power, but the hands take the bat to the ball. It is recommended that any unnecessary movements be eliminated. Once the front foot is planted, the hitter has two parts of his body to worry about, the upper and lower halves.
First the lower half. The back knee will start to press and turn inward once the swing is started. Many young hitters try to extend the back knee, which is wrong. "Squash the bug" is a good saying, because this makes the hitter use his back knee to transfer the power and weight to the hands. A hitter never wants to be out on his front foot. He wants to have his weight balanced throughout his swing.
The front side should stay stiff, and stay closed until contact. If the front hip and front side open too early, the swing will be slow and loopy. The front side needs to be able to withstand and accommodate all the force and energy that the hitter is producing. Any "leakage" of his hips will cause problems. That is why a hitter must hit off a stiff front side.
The hips should never fully open up to first base. They should be squared up to the pitcher. If the hips fly open towards first, the hitter will be off balance. Outside pitches will have the hips square, and middle and inside pitches will have the hips opened directly at the pitcher. All of the opening of the hips should occur at the point of contact, no sooner. If the hips open to soon the hands will be left back which can cause you to jam yourself.
Now for the upper half, meaning the hands. The path swing should be on slight downward plane, emulating a "chopping" action. The hands need to stay above and inside the baseball at all times. If the hands drop below the baseball, the swing will be loopy. The "knob to the ball" saying will help young hitters realize this mechanic of staying on top of the ball.
The hands need to be short to the baseball, and long through the fallow through. This means taking the knob to the ball, and keeping the barrell long through the hitting zone. In order to do this properly, the hitter must keep his elbows close to his belly. If the elbows are far from his belly during his swing, he will have a barred swing. At the point of impact, the elbows should be slightly bent, which will allow the hitter's swing to stay through the hitting zone longer. Once the swing gets to the hitting zone, the hitter can drive through the zone.
The head should be down at all times. It must never fly open. If this occurs, the upper body will follow. The hitter should keep his head over the hitting zone for as long as possible. A good rule of thumb is to keep the head over the crotch. If the head leans too far forward, the hitter will be on his front foot.
Things to Remember:
- Hands short to ball, and long through ball
- Elbows should be close to the belly
- Hands above and inside baseball
- Hips should square to pitcher, no more
- Head over the crotch, and should never fly open