A lot of hitters go into the batters box ill-prepared. Maybe they’re trying to act a bit too cool trying to emulate their favorite player? Maybe they’re being annoyed and startled by their own parent or coach screaming last minute cliches that do nothing but, well, nothing? We want to center our focus and concentration as a hitter around what’s most important. What is most important? Staying true to your approach. Remember, your approach is your own little personalized road map that outlines what you need to do to have a successful at-bat. Instruction, proper coaching, and the ability to execute your swing properly will help you find your approach. An approach is unique to each hitter and although some will contain the same information, many will be different. We all don’t hit the same. Concentration and awareness is very important to a hitter. Concentration can be best explained to a hitter as his ability to focus on picking up the baseball as soon as he possibly can. A little white ball being thrown at you with the speed and location of each pitch always changing makes a hitters job very difficult. The longer you see it, the more time you have to decide if you want to take it or attack it. Awareness is super important as well. The ability to be aware that the pitcher may throw a fastball, change-up, curveball, strike, or a ball. Being aware of situations helps us better prepare. Concentrating on the details before and during your at-bat raises your awareness of your weaknesses/bad habits and will help you avoid them more consistently.
We don’t want to waste anything in life, right? Makes sense. How do I relate this to baseball? I guess every ball player has a certain amount of at-bats in them, and then……it’s over. Wasting at-bats is about the most frustrating thing we can do as a hitter. At-bats are a hitters opportunity to shine. We only get so many. Make the most of them. Make them last. Make them productive. How do you waste an at-bat?: 1. getting “out” on a pitch outside the strike zone (swinging at bad pitches). 2. Not being ready to attack (taking too many strikes) . 3. Repeating the same bad habits that effect your swing negatively….and not doing anything about it. The best redemption a hitter can have on a wasted at-bat is to learn from it and make the necessary adjustment (immediately). And by the way…..pitchers make a lot of mistakes too. It would be another mistake if we didn’t make them pay for it. Don’t miss a good opportunity!
“Feel it when you do it right & feel it when you do it wrong”. The movements baseball players have to put their bodies through to effectively execute success while hitting, fielding, and throwing can be very technical and very unnatural. Throwing consistent strikes on the mound as a pitcher can be related to making free throws as a basketball player. Both athletes will tell you they rely on a certain “feel” or touch to make sure their execution is successful over and over again. Any experienced hitter will tell you how good it feels to execute perfect timing while squaring up a ball on the barrel of his bat resulting in a smash of a hit. Feel is so important in success and failure to a baseball player. I like to point out to hitters when they get a great result in practice to “remember what that felt like” and that the key of becoming a good hitter is being able to produce that feeling consistently. On the other hand: when everything is off, doesn’t feel right, and we get a bad result, we need to register that feeling as well……in order to recognize that we don’t want to go back to that feeling. Inevitably we are always being drawn into that slump or negative feeling, but fortunately for baseball players there is no such thing as perfect. In our game, the best are the one’s that fail the least. Find ways to get back that feeling: “Feel it when you do it right & feel it when you do it wrong”.