50+ Ways To Be More Consistent In Baseball: Understand - there is a HUGE correlation between work ethic, mental/emotional make-up, and reaching peak performance on the ball field. Learning how to hit a baseball better begins with the mindset and ends with the approach. In the middle is where mechanics and stance exists.
There are successful players who play at a high level because they're freakishly talented and there are players who get there because they have great mental/emotional make-up.
Not everyone is going to be a Cody Bellinger or Jose Altuve. But you can be the best YOU by finding interesting ways to be consistent on the field.
If you want to be great...learn to be good consistently.
Learning how to hit a baseball better isn't about having the "perfect swing" or the best bat on the market, instead, it's about having an approach that matches your role in the lineup while having a plan at the plate.
Here are 50+ ways to be more consistent in baseball.
1. Be a better competitor than you are a player.
Having talent and ability is important. Having projection helps. However, you're ability to compete when your talent, ability, and projection meets adversity will have a direct impact on your playing time and how far you make it in this game.
2. Play both sides of the field well.
You struck out. The umpire made a bad call. You hit a line drive but right at someone. Are you gonna pout and kick dirt when you get back on defense or eat crow, make the adjustment and play some serious defense until it's your turn to hit again?
If you're thinking about your last "bad at-bat" while on defense, you're making it about "you".
Guess what? Your team needs you.
3. Be a Gamer
Being prepared means realizing the game starts before the first pitch. How much rest you got the night before, what you eat, how you warm-up, your self-talk, having a plan, all plays a part in how you perform on the field.
Being a Gamer isn't a light-switch. It's a way of life. You're always on.
4. Have superior pitch recognition skills
You can have the sweetest swing on the planet, all the confidence in the world, and be as mechanically sound as any hitter who ever lived...
...but if you're not seeing the ball as well as you possibly can, the mechanics will breakdown and the confidence will shrink.
Reading spin, speed, and location efficiently leads to attacking good pitches to hit.
5. Be the same player every day
In my opinion, the quickest way to earn more playing time is to be the same player every day.
Whether you're 0-4 or 4-4, the same level of hustle, grit, and poise.
The ability to summon the confidence when you're not getting hits is how you achieve true freedom in this game.
6. Envoke Gratitude
Remember that playing baseball is a privilege that not everyone gets to have.
The next time you want to throw your helmet or rip your batting gloves off, just keep that truth sitting in the back of your mind. You're blessed to put on the uni.
7. Focus on the result that you want
What you focus on expands.
It's really hard to make consistent hard contact when your personal self-talk is saying "don't screw up".
It's really hard to make the routine play when the thought in your head is screaming "don't boot it!"
Focusing on what you want while ignoring what you don't want is a skill that gets better the more you consciously do it. Choose how and what to think.
Focus on the result you want, then compete.
8. Watch the pitcher
Is it easier to hit when you're making an educated guess on a pitch or when you have no clue what's coming?
No brainer right? Just ask the Astros. 🙂
How do you give yourself an educated guess about what pitch is coming next? You watch the pitcher.
What's their "out pitch"?
How are they starting an at-bat off?
What are they throwing for strikes?
The answers to these questions help with anticipating what pitch to attack.
How do you find the answers? You watch the pitcher, then you hunt pitches.
9. Zone up
Tell me if this sounds familiar. You have two strikes on you, and then you swing at the off-speed or breaking ball pitch in the dirt for strike three.
Now you're running to first base, frustrated as heck wondering why you swung at that pitch.
Here's why. You didn't see the ball up.
If you know the pitcher has a good secondary pitch, and you don't have count leverage, chances are he's going to make you chase.
Load late, zone up. If it starts down, it'll end up in the dirt. If it starts up, it'll end up a strike. Now you're aggressive on anything up in the zone, with the plate discipline to spit on anything down.
Imagine a table on top of the plate at the height of your waist. Look for something above the table.
10. Keep your finger on the Swing Trigger™
Now tell me if this sounds familiar too. The pitcher throws a fastball, right down the shoot. It was money. You should have swung, but you didn't. You froze.
Because you weren't ready to hit.
You were thinking "if" it's a strike "I'm gonna swing", instead of "the next pitch is going to be a strike, and I'm going to take a controlled violent swing".
You're thinking needs to be, "Yes, yes, yes, GO!" on strikes...
...and "Yes, yes, yes, NO!" on a ball.
There's no maybe swings. Every pitch will be the best pitch you'll see all night...until it's not.
Keep your finger on the Swing Trigger™.
11. Have a good Hitter's I.Q.™
There will be times where you should shrink the zone and let the swing fly, then there are times when you should widen the zone a bit and put the ball in play.
Understanding count leverage and how being in good hitter's counts will dictate whether you take an A-swing or a B-swing.
12. Master Your A-swing
A good A-swing is a controlled violent swing on a pitch you're looking for.
A good A-swing is swinging to hit the ball hard, instead of just to make contact.
1-0, 2-0, 3-1 are your hitter's counts. The pitcher needs a strike, so your chances of getting a good pitch to drive are the highest in these hitter's counts.
13. Master your B-swing
A good B-swing is letting the ball travel a tick more while attacking the inner-half of the ball to the biggest parts of the field.
A good B-swing could mean widening out, but not necessary. Your goal is to make the pitcher work and put pressure on the defense.
You're not swinging less hard, you're just loading a tick later while protecting the plate.
A ball in play is better than a left-hand turn. Have a good B-Swing, and avoid the strike-out.
14. Get the bunt down
Winning ball clubs put constant pressure on opponents. The sac, drag, push bunt & squeeze is how teams can turn the tides in their favor. Make the pitcher get off the mound. Force the corners to execute.
As hitters, being a good bunter means being able to get the job done when the team needs a momentum shift.
15. Hit behind the runner
The little things win ball games. If you want to play in college, you need to learn how to handle the bat. Hitting behind the runner gives your team a real chance to score.
Be the automatic guy who gets the job done. If you're a righty, you're letting the ball travel, and then taking a controlled violent swing, driving the ball oppo.
While at the plate, if there's a runner on second with no outs, worst-case scenario should be a runner on third with one out after you're at-bat.
The best-case scenario is a run scored.
16. Swing at strikes
It's really hard to make consistent hard contact if you're chasing balls out of the zone.
If you have to leave your posture, it's not a strike.
17. Focus on hitting the ball hard, not far
Good hitters line-out more. Instead of trying to hit the ball far, instead think about hitting the ball as hard as you can.
Hitting the ball hard gives the ball eyes. For example, groundballs hit hard, have a better chance of getting to the outfield.
Don't swing to hit it far. Don't swing to just make contact.
Swing to hit it hard, with 100% authority.
18. Be a good hitter first before trying to hit for power
Good power hitters become good line-drive hitters first. Anyone can hit for a little pull power. True power is hitting the ball to all parts of the field.
Be a good hitter first. the power comes later when you get your man strength.
19. Redefine your definition of success
Your ability to deal with failure will dictate how far you make it in this game. If your definition of success is how many hits you get or how much playing time you've had, prepare to be disappointed.
Why? Because both of those things are not within your control.
You can hit a ball right on the button, but right at someone.
Your coach could be "Johnny Testosterone Guy".
Your definition of success needs to be within your control.
Winning each at-bat with Quality At-Bats.
Finding new ways to get better on your own.
Create your own definition of success.
20. Have an approach that matches your strengths.
There are about 15 DHs in the big leagues, chances are you won't be one of them.
Get great at barreling balls up, using the whole field and then swinging for broke when it's necessary. Know your strengths and know your role.
21. Have a plan to outwork the 95%
Know the numbers. There are around 482,629 highschool ballplayers.
6.9% of those ballplayers will play some level of college ball.
Of that 6.9 %, only 8% will play pro ball. If you want a shot at playing college or pro ball, you better be willing to outwork the 95%.
Identify what you need to work on.
Develop a plan to work on it.
Execute the plan.
22. Be a good batting practice partner
We all know that hitting is contagious. As teammates and as hitters who want to set ourselves up for success at the plate, there's a huge advantage in doing the same for our teammates.
Use your time with your batting practice partner to make sure they find their swing as efficiently as possible.
When giving them soft-toss, front-toss feeds, ask for feedback. Make sure they're getting the reps they need to get locked-in.
Their success on the field is your success because when they have good at-bats, the chances of you getting a good pitch to hit increases when the pitcher is on their heels.
23. Set the tone. Set an example
Don't forget who you represent. Championship cultures have a common creed...
...avoid anything and everything, on or off the field, that would embarrass yourself, your team, or your family.
24. Learn to be your own hitting coach
Good hitters learn the basic fundamentals of seeing the ball as well as they can while taking consistent and aggressive swings. You can't fit a hitting coach in your back pocket.
Learn how to be your own coach.
This means effective positive self-talk, a good pre-game, at-bat, and pitch routine and the ability to know what adjustments to make and how.
25. Utilize positive self-talk
While competing on the ball field, you can either focus on the result that you want or the result that you don't.
Very few if any successful big league hitters ever thought "don't strike out" before going to battle at the plate.
Winners have the ability to keep the end in mind. Knowing what needs to be done, then executing.
26. Have a short-term memory
This game will eat you alive if it's the end of the world every time you fall short at the plate or boot a ground ball.
It's really hard to make the right adjustments when your mind is stuck in the past.
If you make an error or strike-out looking, you have one pitch to be mad, then it's time to wipe the slate clean and hit the reset button.
27. Remember that it's not about you
Play to have your teammate's back.
Play to help your teammates win.
It's the quickest way to ease performance anxiety because it takes away the need to get hits. If you need to make it about you, go play golf or badminton.
28. Develop Superior Pitch Recognition Skills
If your pitch recognition skills are sub-par, what you learn in batting practice will struggle to translate into the game.
Adjustments don't tend to sink in when you can't recognize spin, speed & location efficiently.
Make sure you're getting good looks at the plate.
29. Know what kind of 2 strike approach to have
Your role will dictate your 2-strike approach.
Line-Drive Guy - A B-Swing is non-negotiable. Shorten the stride. Widen the stance. Choke up slightly Look fastball away & adjust or look for something up and load late while attacking the inner half of the ball. Lastly, compete your tail off.
Power Guy - Use your B-Swing. Use the whole field while attacking the inner half of the ball with a tall back-side. Let the game dictate the situation.
If the score or game situation permits it, switch to your A-Swing with two strikes.
30. Learn to love adversity
Adversity sux. You get injured, benched, lose a starting spot, get placed lower in the line-up. Obstacles show up in many forms.
What will help you deal with these challenges is realizing one important fact.
When an obstacle gets in the way, it becomes the way. You get from where you are to were you want to be by dealing with whatever challenge you have and face it head-on.
Define what the issue is, then take steps to solve it.
31. Show them don't tell them
At the end of the day, coaches know that in order to win, they will have to play the best players eventually, so they evaluate players every day in practice and during the games when it's time to compete.
Every chance you have to execute is a chance to show you are the best option to win ball games. Don't tell them. Show them.
32. Keep things simple
What gets measured gets managed. Hitting is a relationship between measured data & philosophy.
Measured data should inform the hitter, not confuse them.
The approach should free the hitter, not confine them
The goal is to simplify the data to help them make educated guesses on small incremental swing adjustments.
What should be avoided is allowing data to eliminate a hitter's I.Q., instincts and feel for the bat.
33. Develop good makeup
Talent and skill alone can only take a player so far.
What you really want is good make-up. It takes whatever skill level a player is at and raises the bar significantly.
By taking failure in strides, having an approach and sticking with it, and not being overwhelmed by pressure situations, a player can set themselves apart from other athletes by being labeled a "gamer."
34. Don't be afraid to fail.
There is time for "feel good" batting practice and there's time to really figure out what you need to work on and then diving into what needs to get done.
More often than not, this requires that you feel comfortable with feeling inadequate and looking stupid.
You have to be willing to look bad to fill the holes in your swing. What you struggle with during the games needs to be addressed in practice with a beginner's mind.
35. Transfer practice feel into game -feel
Do you look and feel great in practice, but struggle in the game? This is THE ballplayer's dilemma.
As hitter's it's common to take batting practice or have a hitting lesson and look great, but once the game arrives, the adjustments and training struggle to translate.
We assume it's the swing mechanics or bat.
More often than not, it's poor pitch recognition or a low "compete level".
You practice to refine the swing, then you play to allow what you worked on in practice to translate naturally with instinct and reaction.
Your ONLY job once the game starts is to see the ball as well as you can and compete your tail off.
36. Prove them wrong
An effective way to keep the fire in your belly lit is to pull inspiration from as many places as possible.
One source is proving the "nay-sayers" wrong. If you've ever been told you're not good enough, too small or don't have the right physical make-up...good.
37. Be coachable & don't take it personally.
When a coach is giving you feedback, or criticism, the only words appropriate & necessary are "yes sir."
To a coach, anything else will sound like an excuse. whether you're wrong or right.
If you disagree, show them, don't tell them.
38. Play with an Opening Day Mindset
Every day is a new pitcher and a new game with new at-bats and new opportunities to make something happen.
Yesterday is in the past. Today is here, and your chance to execute is coming. Everyone gets a shot, eventually.
39. Watch baseball like a player. Not a fan.
Want to build some serious baseball instincts, the next time you watch an MLB game on tv, watch it like a player, not a fan.
Know the situation and try to guess what the pitcher is going to throw based on the situation.
40. Learn to let the ball travel
Most of your bad at-bats will be because you're swinging at pitches out of the zone and pulling pitches you have no business pulling.
If you don't manage to master the art of letting the ball travel deeper in the zone, you'll always be susceptible to balls middle away.
Good hitters use the whole field.
41. Develop a sound mental game
Snippet from Coach Trent Mongero @coachmongero
"There things you must battle in baseball. The game, your opponent and yourself. Make sure your worst enemy doesn't live between your own ears. Mental toughness and composure are precursors to champions...both individually and team."
Read this one twice.
42. Have a controlled violent swing
Hitting isn't violent, violent. It's not controlled, controlled.
Hitting is controlled violence. Big difference.
A controlled violent swing primes you to make hard solid contact on good pitches to hit.
Swinging with authority plays, so swing with authority.
43. Know you can hit
Do you KNOW you can hit or do you HOPE you can hit?
Very, very big difference.
If you're hoping to hit, the ball will hit the bat.
If you KNOW you can hit, the bat will hit the ball.
Same movement, completely different outcome.
44. Never let them see you pout
If you throw your helmet, kick dirt, cuss and cause a scene, I'm not saying you're "beat" but your opponent probably is, and that's the last thing you want to give to an opponent with a killer instinct.
Everyone has different mental make-ups and showing emotion on some level shows that you care. But I had never seen Derek Jeter throw a helmet, and he was pretty good.
You might say, "Well Big Papi got angry when he struck out".
I'll just say this...
"Big Papi didn't play shortstop while hitting at the top of the line-up on the biggest stage in big league ball".
If you're gonna get mad, get mad for one at-bat, then it's over.
Wipe the slate clean.
45. Be mentally tough
Every ballplayer will go through adversity. If you haven't gone 0-20, 20 times, pulled a hammy, booted two ground balls in one inning, got benched, then you haven't played long enough.
It's not what happens to you, it's how you respond to what happens to you.
If you're not mentally tough, get mentally tough.
46. Have a repeatable daily routine
Learn how to execute a daily routine that is completely separate from your team practice.
This doesn't mean you're ignoring your teammates while preparing for the game, it just means you're preparing for the game with a purpose.
A quick pre-game routine allows you to execute something that is within your control. This builds, comfort, confidence, and consistency.
47. Try to line-out 5 times
Sometimes when we're scuffling at the plate, we begin to press because we think we need to get a hit to be successful.
Instead, try to line out five times. This will free you up to play with a little more reckless abandon.
Good hitters line out more.
48. Drive the ball up the middle
If your timing feels off at the plate, try driving the ball right back up the middle, right off the pitcher's neck.
Having an "up the middle" approach gets your timing in rhythm with the fastball as well as with breaking balls left up in the zone.
Now, you're timing is on and your plate coverage is established.
49. Train on your own
Your most impactful training will happen outside of practice.
When no one is watching. Not one rooting you on. Just you, a bucket of balls, a Tee, or weights in the weight room.
If you can go the extra mile here, you're setting yourself up for success.
50. Get good grades
There are so many college programs out there looking for ballplayers, there is no reason that a serious highschool ballplayer who wants to play at the next level would not have a chance.
It starts with getting good grades and doing what it takes to be a winner.
Being a winner is about being consistently good. If you want to be GREAT, be good, consistently.
It starts with attributing everything to how successful you want to be. How you do one thing is how you'll do everything.
If you cut corners in class, it'll show on the field in some fashion.
You'll fold with runners in scoring position and the game is on the line. You'll fold when your team is counting on you.
Being a consistent ballplayer is really about identifying what you need to achieve in order to get your abilities to the next level.
You don't need to be the next Mike Trout to be a winner or a Gamer
If you review the list above, you'll notice a common theme.
Most of these require zero talent to get good at.
It comes down to how bad you want to be good.