Christian Yelich explains how hitting drill with Barry Bonds helped change his career
Barry Bonds may be one of the most controversial figures in sports history, but there is no debating he is one of the greatest hitters of all time. Christian Yelich had an opportunity to work with Bonds when the two were with the Miami Marlins, and the Milwaukee Brewers star says one particular session he had with Bonds several years ago helped him tremendously.
During a recent episode of “Sequence” with Jomboy Media’s Trevor Plouffe, Yelich gave an in-depth explanation of how a hitting drill Bonds showed him back in 2016 helped him become an MVP. He said Bonds had him take a wide stance and told him to focus on trying to hit the ball off the front of the plate. When Yelich struggled with it at first, Bonds stepped in to show him how it was done.
“So he grabs the bat and just starts pounding balls off the plate,” Yelich recalled. “He like showed me what he was talking about … So I get in and start doing that. After a few of that, he’s like, ‘OK, now I want you (hit the ball) like six, seven feet out there.’ We slowly did that and we brought the ball up to about line-drive level. I still had that chopping feeling, but you’re not actually steep. Your path is just so short and cleaned up. It was his way of cleaning up his bat path when he played.”
Yelich said Bonds and other great hitters always talk about swinging down on the ball, which is becoming a less popular approach in today’s game. However, it helped Yelich create backspin on the ball so he felt like he was swinging down but was really hitting “backspin missiles.”
“I had never really done that before. If I had, it was pure luck, accident,” Yelich said. “I never really understood it. I was always a guy who just hit and could feel when it felt good or not good. I never really had any reasoning behind anything.”
After that, something clicked. Yelich says the next batting practice he had was the best one of his entire life. You can hear the full discussion below, and it’s worth a listen.
Yelich hit a career-high 44 home runs last season after belting 36 the year before. He signed a monster contract this offseason, and it sounds like Bonds deserves some credit for that. We know a lot of what makes Yelich great is the way he can use criticism as fuel, but he clearly made the most of the time he spent with Bonds in Miami.