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In order two be a good hitter, you have to have two things, good swing mechanics and good timing. If you have a beautiful swing and your timing sucks, you won't hit. And vice versa. We spend a lot of time, some time too much, working on mechanics and not incorporating timing in our drills. Players have to learn body control and timing to be able to execute a good swing. The one thing I noticed as a constant in big league camp was how much players worked on getting into position on time. Working on getting loaded in time and to a good hitting position is the one thing I noticed those guys working on daily. They all have good swings but they know that if they are not ready to hit in time, their swings won't work like they are supposed to. A good hitter trusts his swing and has a game plan when he gets to the plate. Young hitters struggle with this. They are worried about fixing their swings all the time and can't get themselves to the point of trust and or plan. Situational hitting is obviously crucial to your team or any team's success. But, they have to get the point where they are consistently in a good position to hit before you can expect them to execute. They are also putting tons of pressure on themselves to impress scouts, agents, scouts, fans, coaches, etc. Their focus is not winning the game or executing in the box. They are focusing on results instead of the process of achieving the result. When your focus is on the result you mess up the process. We have no control of anything else but what happens in the batters box. But we try to control everything. Impossible. Our focus needs to be on controlling what we can, which is getting ready to hit, seeing and tracking the ball and trying to execute the swing we have worked on hundreds of times in the cage.

Views: 14

Comment by Jason Acevedo on March 16, 2010 at 8:41pm
I just joined this site and this was the first post I read. I have worked with college hitters, high school hitters, and youth players and the one reoccurring trend when a player is struggling is getting to launch position. Most of the older high school players and college hitters are pretty solid mechanically, they just fail to get to launch in time. Between playing Indy ball and watching MLB hitters, its amazing to see the consistency in getting positioned on time. while working with other kids, the majority of mechanical break down in their swings is in direct relation with not being set on time. They force themselves to rush which then leads to shoulder pulling, lack of extension through a ball, failure to drive the backside through a ball. I am one who does a bunch of mechanical work each day with my kids to ensure the swing comes second nature in a game, but if they aren't getting set in time, mechanical work can be thrown out the window.
Comment by Bob Soifer on March 16, 2010 at 8:52pm
Very nice piece. How true and I see it everyday as a HS hitting instructor. Thanks!
Comment by Andy Shaw on March 16, 2010 at 8:57pm
Good article on an often overlooked aspect of hitting.
The team I used to play for in the UK we had an Australian coach and he always told us to just aim to make contact with the ball, put it in to play and let the other team make the mistakes.
In other words don't try to hard and don't try to hit the ball out the park at each time at bat.
Doing this means that you get on base more times increases your confidence at the plate and so because you gain confidence you become a better batter and you start hitting the ball better and further so you eventually become a big hitter,
Well it worked for us,
Comment by Michael on March 16, 2010 at 11:57pm
Just my two cents......first and foremost you have to get a good pitch to hit. Then comes your mechanics/timing.
Comment by Andy Barkett on March 17, 2010 at 7:52am
A good pitch to hit is very important, but if you are not in position and have timing to hit it, it can be right down the middle and a hitter will not square it up
Comment by Don Ervin on March 17, 2010 at 12:31pm
I would like to add to these other very informative comments by adding that "Hitting is about timing and pitching is about destroying a batters," potential hitters" timing.
As Ted Williams quoted Ty Cobb as telling him to get set, ready, then get a good pitch, ball to hit, which basically is preferably a fast ball in the upper middle portion of the plate but since everyone is different mentally and physically each batter will have to first and most importantly learn what theirs and the umpires strike zones are and then find out what their good pitch is within those two strike zones, all umpires are different with their zones, There are three strike zones, #1.The rule book zone, which means absolutely nothing. #2. The umpires zone, which means everything since their zone will determine somewhat as to how a batter must adjust to their own zone and what is basically considered as the normal zone which makes it easier to do when the umpire is technically consistent, then there is the impossible to hit automatic strike pitchers pitch outside the black that batters have to contend with. As Jason said, getting set "ON TIME," is of the utmost importance, failure to get to launch position in time, there we are back to timing, timing is everything and one must have a consistent system, method of rhythmic movement to consistently and successfully set up their timing to ready, prepare themselves to make good hard consistent barrel to ball contact, "THERE IS A METHOD TO THE "TIMING" MADNESS," so to speak. Without regular, constructive, repetitious practice one will not acquire the necessary mental confidence to be in a positive frame of mind in the time of need, along with your "MUSCLE MEMORY," "YOUR MIND LEADS YOUR BODY'S PHYSICAL MOVEMENTS," either in a positive or a negative manner, whichever one of the two you feed into your mind will determine as to how your body reacts either in a positive or negative manner, "TRAIN YOUR MIND," "TO TRAIN YOUR BRAIN," "TO TRAIN YOUR, BODY,"
I hope iIhave made some positive sense here, let me know.
Don Ervin
kom_ervin@yahoo.com
Comment by Michael on March 18, 2010 at 12:37pm
The sequence every hitter takes. No hitter can be successfull without the following order.
1. getting into position (Andy Barkett), getting to launch position (Jason Acevedo), get set (Ted Williams)
2. pitch recognition
3. timing (which is the act of swinging at the pitch)
4. mechanics
Comment by Juan Narvaez on March 22, 2010 at 10:45pm
I just want to comment on this subject. I took my 7 year old son to Stafford, Texas at the Texas Baseball Academy because he's having trouble with his throwing mechanics. Thinking that his batting was good, and the instructor told him that his hands were good through the swing, but most of the instruction was spent on getting him to get ready to bat by keeping a strong position and keeping his weight on his back leg.

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