Detroit Tigers’ Riley Greene Revamps Swing With Inspiration From Golf

Detroit Tigers outfielder Riley Greene is working on revamping his swing this offseason. One way he's doing this is by incorporating a visualization technique inspired by golf. Greene said he's been focusing on “swing thoughts,” which are similar to the thoughts golfers have in their heads when they're about to take a swing. The idea is to get a good feel for things and have a mental key that keeps him on the right path. By focusing on the right swing thoughts, Greene aims to hit fewer ground balls and improve his batting.  

Riley Greene Tigers

Riley Greene is using golf ‘Swing Thoughts' to help his baseball swing

During a recent interview with Chris McCoskey of the Detroit News, Greene talked about how using golf ‘Swing Thoughts' is helping his baseball swing.

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“Yeah, like in golf, they have that one thought in their head when they hop up to hit the ball,” he said. “It’s just like that. I’m just trying to get a good feel for things. I have the same swing, just a different thought.”

“Just a thought,” he said. “Just a mental key to get me going and keep me on the right path.”

Why it Matters for Greene and the Tigers

Last season, Greene had a solid performance, especially considering he missed two and a half months with a broken foot. But, he knows he can do better, and so do the Tigers. To take the next step offensively, he's trying not to hit the ball on the ground so often. Last year, over half of the balls he put in play were hit on the ground. By changing his swing thoughts, Greene hopes to hit more line drives, which he believes can still go over the fence.  

For many hitters, steepening the launch angle of their swing is the way to elevate the baseball, but it can also create holes in the swing, especially on pitches up in the strike zone. Greene's average launch angle last season, according to McCosky, was 2.8 degrees, and he doesn't want to change that. Instead, he wants to focus on hitting line drives and getting the ball off the ground. To achieve this, he's working on picking better pitches to hit.  

Bottom Line: Stop hitting so many ground balls!

During his rookie campaign, Greene, according to McCosky, hit a whopping 58.6% of his balls in play on the ground. By visualizing the right swing, Greene aims to catch more balls out front and drive them into the outfield and over the fence. He believes that taking tips from golf has helped him improve his mental approach to hitting, and he's aware of where he needs to hit the ball to do the most damage. He's also aware of the changes made to Comerica Park, where the fences are now only seven feet high across the outfield, and the center-field wall is being moved in 10 feet.  

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“That’s part of the swing thoughts I’ve been working on in batting-practice rounds,” Greene said. “Trying not to hit the ball on the ground. I feel like the stuff I’ve been working on has definitely helped.”

Despite the changes, Greene isn't letting it get to his head. He's still focused on playing the game the right way, and he knows that he needs to keep practicing to continue improving his skills. As he said, “If more balls go out, cool. But, you still have to play the game the right way.” With his mental approach to hitting improved and his swing revamp underway, the Tigers' expectations for Greene are high, and he's determined to meet them.

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