Hitting a baseball is one of the hardest athletic feats you can attempt. You have a large person on a hill 60’6″ away from you with a hard object in their hand throwing it at speeds that can reach 100 mph. Not only that but they can change speeds and make it curve or drop! The hitter has under a second to recognize the pitch and deliver the bat to the ball for solid contact.
The hitter must have a good game plan before digging into the batter’s box. Most young hitters do not have an approach. At SBA we teach our hitters to identify their “dream” pitch. Most kids say it is a fastball somewhere near the middle of the strike zone. If you are ahead in the count (hitters count) then sit on your dream pitch and let any off speed balls go by. Be geared up and ready to swing on every pitch…go, go, go ,go stop. Lets take this one step further…The hitter must pick up the ball OUT OF THE PITCHER’S HAND and be able to identify the spin on the ball. The laces have a distinct pattern with a 4 seam fastball or a 2 seam fastball versus a curve or slider. A curve or a slider has a tight spin producing a red dot on the baseball. Fastballs have no red dot as the ball has back spin on it from the release off the pitcher’s fingers. Change ups are slower and have a slower spin.
A good hitter can pick up the ball early and identify the spin and know where the ball is going to end up as it crosses the plate. Focus and discipline are required to be a good hitter.
A good pitcher is using all his pitches in an attempt to get the hitter to mess up their timing so they are either out in front of the baseball or behind so they cannot make solid contact. There is nothing worse then seeing a hitter lunge at a curveball down low and roll over it to the SS when he has a 2 ball and no strike count on them!
Increase your chances of getting a solid base hit by following your approach at the plate and attacking your dream pitch if you get it early in the count. My answer to the kids who say they have trouble with a good change up or curve ball is to hit the fastball before you get behind in the count! Baseball is all about repetition….GOOD REPS NOT BAD REPS!
Good Luck to all the High School players getting their seasons going this past week.
Have a great at bat…..Kirk Hansell SBA