This is often a question players begin asking themselves as you get to higher levels of baseball. In my career, I was a feel hitter until a little before college when I realized that the more ways I can physically confirm a feel with tangible data the more I can reduce my overall margin of error and increase my swing feel and my performance. At the end of the day, how can I barrel more baseballs? The confirmation of a feel via film can also confirm different aspects of the swing and different stages of feel. Ok, hold on, what are you talking about….
The load, the launch, the barrel path, the contact, the follow through, the weight transfer. The list goes on and on. In general, I would say most hitters are a combination of both feel and film, however I have played with some hitters who are extremely talented and can’t explain what they are doing or feeling up at the plate. In addition, if you can combine film & data to confirm feel and thought process then you really can open up the possibilities of tracking your performance on a granular level. Essentially reducing your margin of error on certain pitches and locations.
While JD is discussing this he says a couple key things in my opinion. He says he taught himself this swing. Eventually you reach a point where you are working on lowering your margin of error in certain aspects of your swing to create a feel or look that performs. At the same time a player will know his swing the best. How can you maximize your personal swing output? The other point he makes is that he does not believe in feel hitters. A feel hitter only may significantly increase their odds of misinterpretation of a feel. Biggest example I’ve seen with this: (I just got a hit from a bad swing, but my muscle memory remembers what that felt like from last at bat. I’m going to replicate that swing because i didn’t feel myself lunge forward or whatever mechanical mistake was made.) Film prevents that.
Towards the end though, JD kinda goes a little too far in the film direction for me. If it felt bad off the bat, chances are its not your best swing. Doesn’t mean its not a good swing, but I doubt it could be your best without connecting your feel and film.