Step-by-Step Coaching Guide to Training Great Ballplayers


Baseball and Fast Pitch Softball

Building the High-Level Swing

Whether you are a coach, a player, or parent looking to coach your son or daughter, Building the High Level Swing walks you through the process, systematically, for creating a swing built for power and productivity which will dominate at high school and college levels.

In the Building the High-Level Swing series (Volumes 1, 2, 3, and 4) Building Rome Series (BRS) defines a proven process, a functional path, or “road map” for the training of baseball and fast pitch softball players. A process which coaches, parents and players of all ages can believe and have faith in, even through the proverbial highs and lows associated with sports skill development.

Building the High Level Swing is the most detailed, all inclusive guide to hitting ever written. Hitting terms and the various hitting strategies used by accomplished hitters are precisely defined. Even a parent not familiar with the sport can follow along. No hitting topic is left uncovered, including today’s productivity maximizing optimization of ball exit speed, attack angles and launch angles.

The good news is that becoming a great hitter is not reserved for a preordained few. By following the BRS training plan dreams of being one of the best at hitting a baseball or softball really will become a reality!

The author, Gary Barr, is the new authority on successful hitting in diamond sports. Gary teaches hitters and coaches step by step how to build a powerful and successful swing. Hitters learn more than just mechanics. They learn how to approach their at-bats.

This book is a reference guide to all things hitting. There are pictures and easy to follow descriptions so the strategies are clear. Gary includes in this book ways to identify flaws in a swing and provides detailed fixes for those flaws.

I highly recommend this book for anybody who is serious about hitting.

S. Asay

I bought this book for my 2 daughters and 2 sons to read as they continue to play. The writing is clear. There is no fuzzy terminology to confuse them. The step by step organization helps them set achievable goals for improving their hitting. I recommend this book for coaches, parents, and players.

T. Berning

I am getting my granddaughter started hitting a softball. It has been fun working through all the steps and she is really enjoying hitting. I particularly love all the options presented for the batting stance & stride. We are trying out the different techniques to see which works the best for her. The book clearly walks us through step-by-step to best maximize her swing. It has been a joy watching her progress and enthusiasm grow. I highly recommend this book for coaches & parents who want better hitters.

Amazon Customer

Baseball and Fast Pitch Softball Blog

About Building Rome Series


Coach Barr’s Evolution


   Gary Barr’s journey to becoming an author of baseball and fast pitch training manuals began as a High School baseball player. He was and still is an avid lover of the sport. 

   As fate can often dictate, his first daughter’s Little League T-Ball team could not find a coach. Gary volunteered. Coach Barr’s life-long love of coaching was born. Remembering his first T-Ball practice is a little painful even after all these years. After less than fifteen minutes of talking about mechanics the kids’ attention was completely lost. 

   This less than awesome start to coaching kids served to launch Coach Barr’s perpetual search for ideas and concepts about how to teach players of all ages most effectively, with the end goal of “opening the door” to college athletics, that is, creating the option of continuing play baseball or fast pitch softball at the college level if the athlete should decide. 

   The next step in Coach Barr’s evolution as a coach was competitive travel tournament ball, ages 10u through 18u. Eighteen seasons, each with 100+ games and 150+ practices, were filled with rewards and priceless memories of his players going on to achieve success in sports and in life. There were goods times when his teams won state and regional championships. There were also periods of struggling to win games, especially in his earlier years of coaching.

  Coach Barr paid close attention to successful coaches and sports training experts. Many key concepts were learned. Applying these concepts helped Coach Barr consistently develop players ready for college level competition. Over the years, a proven process evolved to develop athletes from just beginning to play baseball and fast pitch softball all the way up to and including college level. In his words:

“I was hungry and driven for information. Seeing my teams improve and play well was addicting and I knew my coaching could be even more effective as my training methods improved. Clinics, observing other coaches, baseball and fast pitch softball books, videos, websites, Sports Psychology, motor cognition, focus methods, the science of speed movements, all were sources and topics I dived into head first.”

   Coach Barr soon began offering private hitting, pitching, and catching lessons in his shop for ages 6 through 22. Private lessons allowed more time to teach and instruct, far beyond what is possible in the limited time available during team practices. Coach Barr has gone on to give over 6,000 private lessons in the last 15 years.

  During lessons, it was apparent how some athletes improved at a very fast rate, while progression was considerably slower with others. The first thought is the player’s degree of athleticism caused the different improvement rates. Yes, athleticism was a factor. But the most important determinant of the rate of progression can be summed up in one word, ownership. 

   Coach Barr emphasizes in his books how to develop this sense of ownership in hitters:

“The young hitter who focuses on well-defined goals, who observes and corrects their own movements, and who has the intense desire to understand the why and how of various fundamentals, mechanics, techniques, and hitting strategies, will progress rapidly in their hitting skills regardless of degree of athleticism.”

   Additionally, it was apparent while conducting private hitting lessons how cohesive hitting practice plans were so often lacking in the team environment. Specifically with the complex task of training to be a dominant hitter when facing good pitching, there are many road blocks which can prevent players from continuing to play baseball or fast pitch softball at High School and above levels of competition:

• Hitters don’t understand the process required to make a great hitter. 
• Hitters don’t have patience since they don’t have a process to believe in.
• Hitters come to believe the reason they are not improving is because they lack innate talent.
• Hitters have poor concepts regarding how power and productivity are achieved. 
• Hitters are overloaded with too many skills to learn at once. 
• Hitters don’t develop insight into contrasting hitting strategies and their tradeoffs. 
• Hitters don’t learn how to “own” their swing. They are always waiting for feedback about what and how to practice, rather than taking advantage of opportunities to observe and coach themselves.
• Hitters are continually changing their swing and so never develop a baseline swing in which they have confidence. 
• Hitters don’t experiment with various methods to determine if one method would be more productive than others. Often the coaching they are exposed to is a one size fits all.
• Hitters don’t understand how to quickly and accurately adjust timing.
• Hitters rarely plan and rehearse their mental and strategic approach at the plate. 

Why Coach Barr began the Building Rome Series:

“While there are thousands of baseball books for sale on Amazon, I just felt there was a lot lacking in the vast majority of these books from the perspective of exactly what must be done and how to achieve success. Many books written by famous hitters are filled with reminisces and don’t adequately describe the entire process and steps required to hit good pitching. This is what drove me to become an author. I wanted to write training books which would walk coaches, parents, and hitters step by step through the process of becoming a great hitter. I wanted to write books which defined a functional path which would help kids improve rapidly, keep playing these challenging sports of baseball and fast pitch softball, and through the lessons learned as they built their own dominant hitting “Rome”, go on to lead productive and rewarding lives.”

   Gary attended Oregon State University and University of California, Berkeley receiving his BA degree in Political Science with a minor in Business. Preparing hundreds of lengthy term papers in college was where he learned to write. The Roman Philosopher whom appears in Building Rome Series was modeled after a favorite overzealous professor Gary had at Berkeley.

   Gary’s computer skills were learned on the job, and via computer courses, books, and self-study. Significantly, Coach Barr’s computer systems design training and job experience are integral to his instructional manuals. Computer system design requires systematic processes, parent-child relationships of computer objects, hierarchical modeling, all which are applicable for writing an effective training manual on a complex topic with many interrelated parts.

   In short, Coach Barr’s journey, leading up to the writing the Building Rome Series of baseball and fast pitch softball instructional books, has been one of research, observation, and discovery.

   Coach Barr has written Building the High Level Swing – Volumes 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 (Volume 4 and 5 coming soon!), his first books in the Building Rome Series. Uncompromising in its attention to detail and level of completeness, Building the High Level Swing is the ultimate baseball and fast pitch softball training manual designed to help coaches, parents, and players construct a swing to be successful at the highest levels. 

   For the first time, getting better at hitting a baseball or softball is presented in an easy to follow, step by step formula. Hitting skills are built sequentially, with each step building on the prior. This training format, with over one hundred mini-goals, develops hitters most efficiently and effectively, maximizing the hitter’s rate of improvement. Crucial to parents, as the hitter progresses through the mini-goals, they can achieve that elusive confidence at each progressive level of competition. Building the High-Level Swing, Volumes 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 will demonstrate how to break through all the roadblocks (listed above) as well as many others.

   In his books, you will find out not only the best first steps for beginning hitters, but then how to progress gradually and avoid overloading the developing hitter with too much at once, as well as numerous ideas about how to “gamify” a wide variety of drills:

“One important lesson I learned along the way was how to teach younger kids by making games out of most any drill. Kids are naturally competitive and skill games really help them focus in. In addition, the pressure of performance can be duplicated so kids learn how to focus effectively even in stressful situations.”

   For more experienced hitters, Coach Barr specializes in the following areas, each which are reflected in the content of his hitting instructional manuals:

• Expert knowledge of the techniques and mechanics of professional and college hitters derived from hundreds of slow motion videos.
• The science of how speed is developed in the human body. Coach Barr details the interrelationships between body movements which serve to transfer momentum up the kinetic chain of energy.
• The different ways to focus attention in practice and performance.

   Gary Barr has been married to wife Dani for 35 years and raised three children. Both daughters went on to play college softball. Gary has lived in Salem, Oregon for most of his adult life. Now retired, he worked 32 years in computer system design.

   Coach Barr thanks all his remarkable students, players and parents, all the amazing coaches who have provided concepts and insights, and all the dedicated volunteers who do the often under-appreciated work of training our kids for life through sports.