The Hardest Thing To Do In Sports | Foundation To Fail Less Often.
I am sure you’ve heard that the hardest thing to do in sports is hit a baseball, while I don’t know how accurate that is due to the fact there is plenty I have not done in the world of sports, I can attest that it is quite difficult. I am a seasoned baseball player and coach and although I have not played at the pro level I have played with ex-pros on the majority of the amateur baseball teams I have played on and am still currently playing on. The level of competition in amateur baseball is anywhere from a high school caliber team to a junior college team and every now and then you will see the rare D1 college experienced team.
What Is My Point
My point is; I believe that hitting is the same at any level, all the way from tee ball to the pros. Learning how to be a successful hitter can be overwhelming with all the information that’s online or what your previous and or current coaches and parents try to teach from little league on. I am going to tell you what to focus on that has made me, my kid, and the kids I coach start us on the road to success. This will only serve as a starting point not a complete break down. Lets get to it!
What Can I Do
I break this down into three basic areas. Could we break this down further? Probably, but my goal here is to keep this simple with what you could call a foundation if you will. The three areas are: 1. Physical, 2. Mechanical, and 3. Mental.
The physical aspect of hitting I believe to be the least important of the three especially if you will try to incorporate this at the tee ball level. Your physical attributes will become more of a factor when you start high school and at that point you should have the other two areas down if your serious about high school and beyond. High school athletics don’t always employ the most knowledgeable coaches when it comes to weight training and or nutrition or good baseball coaching for that matter. Do some research online or consult a personal trainer, nutritionist or physician and let them know what kind of training regimen they have you doing and that it is safe for you. This perhaps is another topic on its own, but you might consider transferring to another public high school or private school if you believe the coaching staff to be insufficient. Lets move on!
Mechanics of hitting may vary from instructor to instructor but should be relatively the same, again, if you do decide to hire an instructor, do your research, get references, make sure other clients have had success with said instructor. You have all heard the chatter from the bleachers and or coaches: Quick hands, keep your head in, you’re pulling your head, etc. At that point it is all useless information to the batter, if he or she is even hearing you. Those things have to be instilled at practice and become second nature. How do you do that? Practice makes perfect? NO. Perfect practice makes perfect. Repetition. You have to make sure the focus is on doing it right every time, not just swinging to swing. I wont go into specifics on particular mechanics and like I said before there is tons of info online and from those you are close to that try to give advice but I will give the pieces of info that I choose to use that I have had success with. First, get the book “The Science of Hitting” by Ted Williams. I “Hit” by this book and it works for me and my team, also, go online and find videos of the more successful pro hitters, download said videos if possible and do a frame by frame breakdown of their mechanics and try to incorporate those into your swing if you are having trouble with your current swing or to just try something new. Maybe something works better than what your doing. Experiment.
The most important thing is your mental approach at hitting and your mental state after a failed “at bat”. The best hitters will fail 70% of the time. During the younger years of a player is when this will likely affect the player the most. They need to know it is ok to fail whether it’s the first inning or it’s the last inning and the game is on the line. It is going to happen to all of us. Instead of being upset, learn something from your “AB”. Recount your “at bat” pitch by pitch, did you swing, did you take the pitch, whom the pitcher was for future games, etc. If you have a way of taking notes when you get to the dugout, do so, so you can go over them later. Know the situation when you come up to the plate. Above all else get a good pitch to hit. What do you mean? The pitcher wants you to swing at bad pitches. be disciplined through good practice to layoff those pitches, the pitcher will have to give you a better pitch or he or she will walk you which is fine, because the ultimate goal is to get on base. Obviously at the younger levels you will get plenty of good pitches to hit because for the most part they just want to throw strikes. When you get to about age 13 is when the pitchers start to gain better control of where they want to throw it.
For those of you fortunate enough to read this, while this certainly is not intended to be the “be all end all” to hitting, I hope it provides you with more knowledge in your quest to be the greatest hitter of all time! Thanks for reading!