In Part 1 of this post, I discussed the timing issue of being too early. In case you missed it you can find it here.
Todays post will discuss the opposite problem: being too late.
Lets start by seeing what a hitter looks like when they have good timing:
A hitter who is late will either hit the ball too far back in the hitting zone, ie well behind the front foot, or will get jammed and hit the ball below the sweet spot like this:
1. Faulty mechanics
Anything mechanical should be to help improve bat speed or keep the bat on plane with the pitch longer to improve contact. If a player has mechanical issues, bat speed most certainly could suffer. Slower bat speed will result in a hitter having a tough time catching up to faster pitching.
I won't go into great detail, but the top 3 mechanical factors affecting
- Improper lower body mechanics (lack of a weight shift or rotation)
- Disconnecting the arms too soon during the swing
- Improper bat path
2. Getting set too late
One of the most important positions in the swing is the launch position. This is the position that a hitter is in when the heel of the front foot lands after the stride. It should also be the position of the batter right before the hands begin moving forward. When a hitter gets here too late, the result is often being late to meet the ball in the hitting zone. To learn more about the launch position check out my article here.
3. Lack of aggressiveness
Young hitters often times are not nearly aggressive enough in the batters box. Many are simply content to just make contact. However, maximum bat speed cannot be achieved with this passive approach.
4. Swinging a bat that is too big
For the most part, I usually don't see bat size being an issue. Most of the time the previous three reasons are more likely to contribute to being late than bat size. However, there are times when a bat may just be too big for a player. If a player is being aggressive and getting to the launch position on time, or is having a really tough time making mechanical changes, the bat may be too big.
How to fix
1. Improve mechanics
This topic could be an entire book, but mechanical issues, like the ones listed above are usually the cause of a hitter being too late. When a hitter doesn't use the lower body properly, swings the bat mainly with the arms, or has too long of a swing path, being late is usually the result. Getting in front of a qualified hitting coach to fix these can go a long way in improving mechanics to catch up to faster pitching.
2. Face faster batting practice
Many times, players just aren't used to seeing fast pitching. Many batting practice sessions are comprised of pitching that is much slower than game speed. Simply increase the speed and allow the hitter to adjust their timing accordingly.
3. Use helpful cues
Cuing is very player specific. Certain cues work for some players and some will work for others. Try out some of these verbal cues to see if they can get a player to catch up to faster pitching,
- Attack the ball
- Hit the ball out front of your front foot
- Pull the ball
- Get set sooner