Often times when a hitter looks great in the cage but struggles in games, approach should be the first aspect to look at. While mechanics can certainly change from a practice setting to a game setting, approach is often the culprit to the discrepancy. More often than not, a lack of aggressiveness is to blame.
What is a batting practice approach?
The batting practice approach is made of of 2 components:
Expect the pitcher to throw a strike
expect to swing the bat
Incredibly complex I know, but the implications are incredibly powerful.
In this approach the hitter is EXPECTING the pitcher to throw the ball where they are looking and are EXPECTING to crush the ball. This is a far more aggressive way of thinking than the opposite approach.
The opposite approach would be when a hitter is looking for a pitch in their zone and deciding to swing if the ball is thrown there. Doesn’t sound incredibly different but these two approaches couldn’t be more apart.
Think of it this way. The Batting Practice approach is the YES YES NO approach and the more passive approach is the NO NO YES approach. With about 1/3 of a second to see the pitch and decide on swinging or not, it is far easier to anticipate swinging the bat and put on the brakes on than it is to switch from having the brakes on to swimming in that time.
Observe the way that you approach swinging the bat in batting practice and try to replicate that in any hitter’s count that you get to in a game.