The Ole Ball Game

Baseball Hitter Development: Coach Hitters To Be Their Own Best Hitting Coach.

hitting action

One valuable goal in baseball hitter development is to coach players to be their own best hitting coach.

While consistently hitting a baseball is widely recognized as the most individually difficult feat in all of sports, when a hitter is struggling at the plate there is an unlimited amount of advice on how to correct the current problem, coming from all directions.

In every park, on every field, on any given day you can obtain unsolicited coaching tips on how to hit from coaches, parents, grandparents, girlfriends, peers, and many of the other fans in attendance, all provided with good intentions.

More often than not, no two will be the same. So what is a player to do? Who do they listen to?

Listen to themselves! As the hitter, they have the most information available about their own swing, due to the amount of time spent working on the mechanics of the swing in drills, batting practice and on their own.

Armed with the proper assesment tools, hitters can make positive adjustments pitch to pitch, an ability which can rescue many at bats from failure and the resultant frustration.

Hitting Tips ~ From the Dugout

hitting tips ~ from the dugout

Yogi Berra, the great Yankee catcher may have summed it up best when he said:

You Can't Think And Hit At The Same Time!

Everything mechanical that a hitter needs to step in the box prepared, has been drilled to mindless reaction in practice, leaving the hitters' mind free at game time to:

  1. Focus on seeing the ball out of the pitchers hand.

  2. Getting a good pitch to hit.

  3. Put a good swing on the ball.

  4. Drive the ball somewhere.

The 4 items above are the responsibility of every hitter, and the definition of a successful at bat.

Baseball Hitter Development: Adjustments And Awareness At The Plate Make A Difference.

  1. Good hitters make adjustments quickly and easily, without locking up mentally. They do this on a pitch to pitch basis, generally without deviating from a basic plan. They seem to have a good awareness of the ball, the swing and the zone.

  2. Bad hitters are often asking, "what did I do wrong?" In the batters' box, they appear to not have a plan and quickly become locked up in what is known as PARALYSIS BY ANALYSIS. This is apparent in a situation where a hitter takes a first pitch fastball right down the middle, then swings at a second pitch curveball in the dirt. They are now susceptible to most anything the pitcher wishes to throw. There seems to be very little awareness at the plate.

Working With Hitters, Make Establishing Increased Awareness And The Capacity To Make Quick Adjustments A Priority. Improve Their Approach!

  1. DID I SEE THE BASEBALL? ~ See the ball early! It is not uncommon for younger players to miss seeing the ball at the release point.

  2. See the ball late ~ It is just as frequent that players stop seeing the ball at some point on its' way to the plate.

  1. DID I GET A GOOD PITCH TO HIT? ~ Swinging at bad pitches will generally reflect in a bad mechanical swing. While it may look mechanical, the problem is the pitch, not the mechanics. Attacking the mechanics here will decrease the awareness and generally make things worse.

  2. Hitters usually comment, "I'm just not seeing the ball". The solution is to refocus on the basic plan and the baseball. Hitting the count, staying in "their zone"; expanding some with one strike and then hitting the umpires zone with 2 strikes can be practiced, preached and accomplished. Why hit a 2 strike, wide/high/low zone early in the count. The odds are certainly not in their favor, and those pitches shouldn't be a part of their basic plan.

  1. DID I ARRIVE ON TIME? ~ Load and stride must be in time with the pitchers' fastball. If not, it will be reflected in a poor mechanical swing. Focus on awareness here, not the mechanic.

  2. How you load and stride is not as important as when you load and stride. However, particularly for younger players, load/stride is better accomplished with a minimal amount of movement. Excessive movement tends to move the head, which moves the eyes, which moves the baseball.

  3. Being in a rush is generally never the answer. Starting sooner is the answer, SOON AND SLOW.

  1. DID THEY USE GOOD MECHANICS? ~ Balanced stance, loading on line ( that is, back to go forward ), striding on line ( back at the pitcher ), good lower body turning action ( squish the bug with back foot ), good bat path, maintaining head position through contact.

  2. Correct repetition will get good mechanics into the game, accomplished in practice.
  3. correct repetition will get good mechanics into the game

  4. Game time, keep the focus on awareness and basic plan. It helps them think less and react more.

    IMPROVE THEIR RESPONSES ~ The only things they can improve on during a game are their approaches and responses to the outcome. Players naturally get upset and try harder, swing harder and lose focus, decreasing their awareness and chances of making adjustments for the next at bat. Forget the outcome, what happened, happened, and is in the past. Focus their responses in the order of importance.

  1. Did they see the ball?

  2. Did they get a good pitch to hit?

  3. Did they arrive on time?

  4. Did they use good mechanics?

Hitter Development Summary

Establishing a plate awareness and providing batters with a baseball hitter development plan gives them the opportunity to become their own best hitting coach, pitch to pitch, rather than at bat to at bat or game to game.

Hitters have the power of immediate feedback, the possibility of fewer lost at bats.

Armed with a sound base and a focus plan as they step in the batters' box, they are poised for success.

With the knowledge that they are prepared and know what to do, they are able to avoid the pitfalls of thinking too much and just trust their skills and play.

Additional Hitting Topics

Hitting Vision

You won't hit what you don't see; No matter how perfect your swing is!


They hand you a round bat, someone throws a round ball at you, and they tell you to square it up!

Proven team approach

An approach that enabled our players to put the ball in play early and often, a recipe for success.

Keys to success

We don't miss these pitches and we don't try to do too much. ( Alex Rodriguez, Ken Griffey Jr., Edgar Martinez, John Olerud )

MLB's Top 20 Hitters For 2009

Hitting splits for the top 20 hitters in MLB for 2009

Batting Average Analysis

What it can tell you to help create a positive hitting plan

Rookie progressions

Keep it fun and simple, encourage them to turn it loose and swing.

Advanced progressions

Watching batting styles of professional baseball players one might assume that anything goes, in relation to pre-pitch movement.

Hitting The Situation

A key part of teamwork and offensive production

return from baseball hitting development to

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