The video demonstrates that by letting go of traditional teachings and embracing new ideas smaller undersized baseball players can be just as successful as larger muscular players without the high risks associated with steroids.
Standing at 5’9 and weighing 165lbs, second-baseman Chris Hilario is an unlikely candidate to hit .386, .417, and .565 with homeruns measuring over 400ft against pitchers standing over 6ft and weighing over 200lbs. He did so his last three years in high school in one of the most competitive districts in the nation without using steroids. The second baseman, discusses how he did it in a backyard self-produced DVD video, titled, Man I Wish I Could Hit Like That! (Without Using Steroids).
The DVD was created for smaller undersized baseball players to give them a safe, natural alternative to generate the power required to get hard hits. It demonstrates new swing mechanics, new training methods and discusses the mental aspects of the game from a student-athlete perspective. These same methods were responsible for two all-state honors by the Texas Sports Writers Association and the Texas High School Coaches Association, Super Team honors by the San Antonio Express-News, a college scholarship and a trip to Australia representing the USA.
The video demonstrates that by letting go of traditional teachings and embracing new ideas smaller undersized baseball players can be just as successful as larger muscular players without the high risks associated with steroids. Chris was inspired to produce a video because, “In junior high and high school I felt a lot of pressure to take steroids but I refused because I felt It was cheating. But I always felt their had to be something else.” and through a desire to find an alternative “I did a lot of studying and learned about a type of training Olympians use called plyometrics, I also studying the laws physics and learned about the relationship between mass and velocity and found ways to mentally deal with the usual distractions in hitting like fear and pressure from friends & family.”
The premise of the video is that smaller undersized hitters can generate enough power at the plate to be a dominate player by focusing on speed and quickness rather than choosing steroids to increase muscle mass and strength. To maximize the amount of speed smaller players can generate they need to swing, train, and think differently from long-established traditional teachings. Chris and his team of bat girls help explain why speed is critical to producing power by diagramming controversial physics formulas to substantiate these claims. Many other traditional teachings are address throughout the video.
For example, one traditional teaching is that all batters should take stride forward toward the mound, a timing step, as the pitcher releases the baseball. Chris advises undersized players against it because this forces a player to move his center of gravity forward which reduces torque (a twisting motion that is necessary to produce the most amount of energy) and drastically reduces a player’s ability to transfer energy from the big leg muscles up to the upper body.
He teaches that a timing step is essential but can be accomplished without the negative consequences by simply lifting the front foot up and down which keeps the center of gravity stationary and allows for optimum energy transfer while allowing the player to time the ball.
Another area smaller batters should focus on to develop faster bat speed is on their training routine. Chris says, “The problem I see in the gym is that baseball players continue to train for baseball they way they were taught to train in other sports such as football or soccer. Baseball players have to realize baseball is played at a different pace and different muscles are used, so it makes good sense to prepare the body baseball-style.”
One way to prepare baseball-style is through sport-specific training where an athlete trains exclusively for the actions and motions used in their particular sport. In Man I Wish I Could Hit Like That! (Without Using Steroids) Chris focuses on developing fast and super fast-twitch muscles groups by using flexibility exercises, sprinting up small hills, short-distance sprints, weight training at a shorter but more intense pace, and by incorporate plyometrics. Plyometrics is a type of training that allows athletes to expand the muscles before they contract resulting in the most amount of force in the smallest amount of time, an essential factor in generating bat speed.)
Another area the DVD video covers is controlling the emotional factors of the sport. Factors that have the biggest influence in hitting success yet rarely address are covered. Topics younger players struggle with such as: how student-athletes can get teachers on their “good side”, what to do when the coaches son undeservingly gets a sought-after position, and dealing with the outside factors that influence the mental part of the game: parents, coaches, politics of youth leagues, fear of getting hit, and the pressure to perform.