There is a ton that goes into hitting. During the off-season, we spend time breaking down minutia of the swings to improve the swing that we will eventually take into the box in the spring. Not to say that we can’t continue to work on swing mechanics during the season, but when it comes to the mental approach once we get between the lines, it is a whole different ball game. I speak constantly this time of year about only worrying about what we can control as hitters. The 2 things that we can control once we get into the box are the pitch we swing at and the way that we swing the bat. Lets dive into each.
The Pitch we Swing At
Listen to my discussion on day one with a hitter or listen in on any session that I give and you will hear me talk a lot about pitch selection. I truly believe, that above almost anything else we can do as hitters, pitch selection is paramount to success at the plate. Many, many hitters are able to get in the box with less than perfect mechanics and be relatively successful simply because they swing at good pitches. I will take a hitter with good pitch selection any day over a hitter with ideal mechanics and lousy pitch selection.
So what is the pitch we are looking for? That is dependent on the hitter and the situation. Check out these articles on what our approach should be in different counts.
Generally speaking, with an advantage count, the hitter should be looking for their favorite pitch in their favorite part of the zone. Neutral counts open that box up a little, but still looking mostly for their favorite pitch in a slightly larger area of the zone. 2 strike counts should see the hitter focusing on an outside fastball to help stay back on an off-speed pitch while still maintain the ability to catch up to a fastball.
The Way that we Swing the Bat
This may sound like we are focusing on mechanics, but mechanics are the last thing that should enter our mind at the plate. For the vast majority of hitters, the way we swing the bat simply means be aggressive.
Hitters come to Elite Diamond Performance, go to practice, and hit on their own to improve their muscle memory so that when they enter the box, they have as sound of a swing as they possibly can have.
Give yourself the Best Chance to be Successful
The only thing that I can ask of a hitter at the plate is to get a good pitch and put an aggressive swing on the ball. The reality is that we are going to fail most of the time when we get up to bat. Control the pitch that you swing at and the way you swing the bat and it will give you the best chance to be successful. After a game, go through your at bats in your head and think if you were able to check off both boxes during the swings you took.