SBA’s top tips on Mental Toughness at the plate

tony Gwynn hitting

Hitting a baseball is one of the toughest athletic feats!  Developing a solid approach at the plate is a must to becoming a good hitter.  Here are SBA’s top tips for preparing yourself mentally for solid at bats.

1.  Have a set routine as you get in the batters box.  Part of the routine is mentally challenging yourself to focus, put on a hitter’s attitude, and instill confidence in yourself .

2.  Clear your mind and concentrate on picking up the ball out of the pitcher’s hand as he releases it.  In high school, college, and the pros you will be facing some pitchers who throw 80-100 MPH and if you pick up the ball out of the hand and “keep focused on the ball to contact”  you can actually slow the ball down and increase your chances of solid contact.  Picking up the ball 5 feet or more  out of his hand will increase the speed of the ball and decrease your chance of contact.  THIS IS NO TIME TO BE THINKING ABOUT YOUR MECHANICS OR ALL THE ADJUSTMENTS MADE BY YOUR HITTING COACH.

3.  Have an approach at the plate….Develop a game plan!  Every hitter should know what their favorite pitch to hit is.  When I played, I could crush the fastball that was slightly up and away from the middle of the strike zone.  Early in the count/ or hitter’s counts (0-0, 1-0, 2-0, 2-1, 3-1, etc.) you should be focused on your favorite pitch and be geared up to hit it if you get it!  Lay off the off-speed pitches or tougher fastballs you cannot hit.  For me I had trouble with the low inside fastball and would lay off of it until I had to hit it.  Once you have a pitchers count (0-1, 0-2, 1-1, 1-2, 2-2, etc.) you need to expand your focus to include the entire strike zone and gear up for an inside  fastball and then adjust if you get  an off-speed pitch.  BE A TOUGH OUT AND BATTLE WITH TWO STRIKES!

4.  Have a hitters attitude as mentioned above.  This is a go, go, go, go, go, stop or swing, swing swing, stop!  You are ready to hit every pitch that is delivered.  You are assuming every pitch is your pitch and you are so geared up to hit it that you have to stop your swing every time if it is a ball or not your pitch to hit.

5.  You must be relaxed and have FUN AT THE PLATE.  My hottest hitting streaks always were when I was relaxed at the plate and the ball was bigger then normal,  FUN and a big smile was always part of the success as you stood on second with another double!  My slumps were accompanied by tenseness at the plate, the ball was always small and on the outside black and frowns and grumpiness as you headed back to the dugout after a pop up or strikeout!

Kirk Hansell

Sammamish Baseball Academy owner


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