Tuesday Tips to Tattoo the Ball
Baseball is Mental – Hitting Concepts
If I had the choice between having a confident hitter or one with very good hitting mechanics, I would choose the latter one, because there is no substitute for good mechanics. However, the ideal is to have both, as one without the other leads to hitting failure. There comes a time that baseball is mental as much as physical, when players have good hitting fundamentals. Solid hitting mechanics allows players the chance of focusing more on the mental aspects of hitting. At the highest levels of baseball, one could make the point that baseball is mental as much or more than physical.
Last week I wrote about specific fundamental hitting words that activate players to focus on a certain important hitting fundamental. Along the same lines, there are specific phrases that I use often that address the mental side of hitting. The phrases help players focus and adjust. Over time, batters allow these concepts to become their natural thought process and increase their chances at hitting success.
Baseball is Mental – Concepts to Hit like the Great Players
- “Know your pitch” – the best batters have a good understanding of which pitches and pitch locations they hit the best and only swing, early in the count, when they get those pitches. Swinging just because pitches are strikes is not the best hitting philosophy early in counts, as swinging at “your” pitch is best.
- “Take it where it wants to go, not where you want it to go” – Of course, “it” stands for the ball and good mental hitting involves the practice of hitting balls in the direction pitched, i.e. outside pitches are hit to the opposite field, etc…
- “Foul balls are your friends,” is another concept that good hitters realize and use to their advantage. Hitting a baseball is the most difficult thing in sport, so any contact is a success, especially in that uncaught foul balls ensures players stay alive to see another pitch. Hitters, who are adept at just getting a bat on tough pitches, strike out less, which enhances their chance at a better batting average.
- “Location should determine where to hit the pitch, not the speed.” Although this may not always be the case, the odds are in batters favor when hitting balls in the direction of the pitch location, as stated in point 2 above, as opposed to always being early on slow pitches and late on fast ones.
Baseball is Mental – Hitting Ideas that lead to Success
- “If you can do it on a slow pitch, you can do it on a fast one.” The point is that good hitters wait for balls, and if they can wait and square up a slow ball, hitting faster pitches will come with more game-like batting practice.
- “It takes perfect fundamentals to drive an outside pitch to the opposite field, and once perfect, that is pretty good.” Hitting an outside pitch requires batters waiting for the ball and having the correct bat angle at contact, a sign of a perfect swing. Hitting all other pitch locations should be easier once they can handle the outside pitch, as it is just a matter of hitting balls out front slightly more with the same swing.
- “I don’t care if you pull the ball as long as you are not trying to pull it.” There is a difference, as players who try to pull everything can be fooled easier and tend to pull off balls more often, even though pulling the ball by making contact out front is OK, for the most part.
It is important to note that most of these mental hitting concepts have to do with being able to handle pitches located on the outer half of the plate, as well as being to wait on pitches until the very last instance. As hitters learn to do these, they find that baseball is mental, physical and instinctive all at the same time.