Fixing the Two Most Confounding Hitting Scenarios – in the Same Way
Nothing riles a players’ parent or baseball coach as much as these two hitting scenarios. The good news is that solving these two hitting issues involves the same fix, only if the coach knows what that is, though.
Confounding hitting scenario one is when players stop their swings at contact, with little or no follow through, for apparently no reason. Of course, hitting for any kind of power is nonexistent with this stop action swing. The second confounding hitting scenario has hitters take one, two, or even three pitches that appear very hittable. Making it even more confounding is that this follows watching those players hit the cover off the ball in batting practice. Additionally, these baseball-hitting scenarios often occur to very good hitters, with efficient baseball swings and with good eyes at the plate.
Little known to inexperienced coaches is that the players’ timing is off severely when these two hitting issues – stopping the swing or failing to pull the trigger on the swing – happen. Also, unknown, is that more often than not, batting practice caused the confusing hitting scenarios in the first place.
When batters are late on pitches, they swing hard but late, with a good follow through. However, when players timing is early, one of two things occur. Players start their swing; only the ball is not there yet, so players hold up until the ball arrives, with no follow through and with power impossible. This stop action may or may not show up as a little lunge to the ball. The other scenario is similar, when players timing tells them to swing, but the ball is not even close to the hitting zone, so players cannot swing and they just look at balls, having given up on the pitches way too soon. This no swing occurs on the outside half of the plate pitches the most, as those pitches will appear very outside at first, even though they are in the strike zone. Players may check their swing a lot with this hitting problem, having been ready to swing only to realize they were too early.
Working player mechanics and imploring players to wait on balls is the usual coaching advice but without realizing their timing is shot, those are to no avail.
Changing hitters timing is usually not as easy as telling them to wait longer. The solution to these baseball hitting issues is having players take a lot of batting practice with very slow pitching from regulation pitching distance, or even slightly further than regulation distance. This slow pitching batting practice technique works to get players’ timing back, where they wait for balls longer allowing them to swing on time without having to stop their swings. Tracking balls the whole way is crucial for good timing and short distance batting practice does not allow that and may throw hitters game timing off.
This is a hard concept for many inexperienced coaches to know and understand but it is easier for good hitters to speed their swings up, so to speak, especially once their eyes have seen speed pitches for a spell, as opposed to the ability to slow their swings down, when their timing is too quick. As mentioned, batting practice is often the culprit for these hitting scenarios, as throwing from short distances or over challenging players with speed often throws hitter’s timing off on the quick side. As mentioned, once timing is off it is a difficult fix even for the best players.
Finally, challenging players is important for overall development, but that may lead to timing issues, so coaches have to be careful, especially with short distance batting practice.