Hitting Instruction Necessities for every Baseball Coach
No matter the ages of players or the experience of the baseball coach, some hitting instruction absolutes exist that all must know and apply. The ironic part of hitting instruction, the more one knows, the more one realizes there is to learn. That fact attests to the difficulty of perfecting the baseball swing, and of coaching hitting.
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It is spring and baseball players of all ages have begun receiving hitting instruction from coaches. Some of this baseball training comes from experienced coaches, and some from those, who know little about better baseball hitting techniques. No matter where one falls into that scenario, all hitting coaches should know the absolutes that go into great coaching. Below are five hitting instruction characteristics that make a hitting coach’s job easier, and are the keys to gaining a great reputation as a respected hitting coach.
For the best hitting instruction, coaches must:
- Never stop learning. It is easy for coaches to fall into the trap of teaching the same things day after day. Without a variety of teaching methods, learning becomes monotonous to baseball players. They often tune the coach out after a while. I have been teaching hitting for over twenty-five years, and I know how important it is to refresh the mind on how to hit a baseball. Even experienced hitting coach’s minds, and eyes, get stale after a while. Along with finding new baseball hitting drills, watching “how to hit a baseball” instruction videos gives me new ideas to try and to teach. Finding new baseball training methods is a never ending and necessary coaching task.
- Have patience, patience, and more patience. This second absolute must be in every coach’s character. Having the patience to repeat fundamental swing ideas to players like, “Check your feet” and “What about your grip” is mandatory. There are times I might repeat things fifteen times in a row, after or before every swing. Unless, the hitting coach is willing to have that amount of patience and do that, they will have trouble helping players make the necessary changes. Letting things go because you are tired of saying the same things is not an option for the dedicated baseball coach.
- Alternate challenge with no challenge. Another key to baseball hitting coaching involves knowing when to challenge hitters, and when to back off and allow more hitting success. Good coaches know when players need confidence, or need humbling. Recognizing the times when a batter needs a mental boost and times when they need greater challenge is crucial.
- Explain, show, stop, ask. Coaching hitting is a constant process of explanation and demonstration of the hitting mechanics. Along with those tasks, a big part of the teaching process involves stopping hitters in action before asking “Is that the correct position?” or “What was wrong (or right) with that last swing?” The sign that the hitting instruction works is the ability of players to self-analyze and explain their right and wrong baseball swing movements.
- Have short term and long term goals. Some muscle memory change comes easy for some and not others. I have some players who make changes with the mention of it, others do not adapt nearly as soon, if ever. Additionally, some hitting flaws are more difficult to change than others. Hitting coaches must recognize the hitting fundamental changes that are difficult for each individual batter. Once recognized, they should break things down into short and long term goals for change. Without that breakdown, players and coaches become frustrated and lose hope.
Of all the above, the hitting instruction traits most necessary is patience. Good coach’s recognize the difficulty with how to hit a baseball, but continue to teach and keep the fun in the baseball practice.