Bryce [Harper] recalled a critical moment in the development of his swing that occurred when he was 7 years old. He was playing in a national tournament for players 10 and younger.
“This kid throws me an inside fastball, and I hit it nine miles to right. But foul,” he said. “And they ended up just” — Harper snapped his fingers three times — “everything off-speed, off-speed, off-speed. I never saw that. I was like, ‘Holy crap. This is a new picture.’ The whole tournament, they were just like, ‘Don’t throw that kid a fastball inside, because he’ll hit it a mile.’ That was when I was like, ‘Well, I need to start trying to hit the ball the other way and work on some things.’ ”
With his father, taking batting practice at local fields or in the garage, Harper programmed himself to hit off-speed pitches and pitches on the outer edge to the opposite field. He was only 7 or 8, but the idea stuck in his head. He did not focus on mechanics to achieve his goal; the proper mechanics arose from his mission, like learning a language through immersion.
Harper blazed past his peers, and then past kids a few years older. When the Nationals signed Harper he was, at 17 years old, a fully matured hitter. The first place they sent him was the Florida Instructional League, where [Rick] Schu oversaw newly professional hitters.
“Working with Bryce,” Schu said, “was making sure he had bats and pine tar.”
- Adam Kilgore, Washington Post
Read the rest: “A Swing of Beauty” (includes graphics & video)
Photo by Jonathan Newton
Curren$y – New Jet City
The tour kicks off in London and travels across the pond and will likely pop up in New York and Los Angeles. Be on the lookout for cast members to make surprise appearances.
You best believe I’m going to go to it in New York. This will be me: