Baseball Batting Tips: How To Be Prepared At The Plate:
I believe that how you prepare for at-bats is more important than your overall bat-speed, launch angle, type of bat you're using and ultimately, how talented of a hitter you are.
This is why knowing how to be prepared at the plate, can be a deciding factor in how productive your at-bats are.
Preparing To Win The At-Bat
You can have the most mechanically sound swoung on the planet, all the confidence in the universe, but none of it will matter if you don't have the belief that you can beat the pitcher.
Winning the at-bat begins with having an approach to that allows you the be athletic, and ontime while taking a quality swing on a quality pitch.
At the end of the day, as hitters, we're ONLY as good as the pitches we swing at.
When you get great at winning the at-bat, everything else you work on in practice becomes easier to implement into the game.
Baseball Batting Tips: How To Be Prepared At The Plate
Assuming that you're not the first two hitters in the inning, and you're watching the pitcher instead of goofing off in the dugout, hitting starts the moment you're in the hole...
...when you're two hitters's away from your next plate appearance.
In this Baseball Batting Tips: How To Be Prepared At The Plate post, I'm going to walk you through a step-by-step checklist off hitting principles you should be familiar with to be the most prepared hitter in the line-up.
In the hole
As a hitter, this is your first chance to be consistent with a pre-at-bat routine that's execution is 100% within your control.
If baseball is about being consistent, which it is, and the mental side of hitting is about focusing on what you can control, this is your chance to build some serious confidence before locking in.
You grab your helmet, batting gloves and bat. You take a seat on the bench.
Deep breath. Now you're accessing the inning.
What's the score, count and situation?
Is a bunt situation coming up? Maybe a hit and run? What's pitcher throwing for strikes? What's the umpire's strike zone?
Your focus here is on getting a general feel for what the rhythm and tempo of the game is
Lastly, this is your chance to rehearse success.
Take a moment to visualize the result you want. Visualize a hard line drive up the middle. See yourself taking a controlled, aggressive swing on a pitch up in the zone.
The On-deck Circle
As we transition from the Hole to the on-deck circle, we begin honing in on our pre-at-bat process.
We spent plenty of time watching the pitcher's tendencies while in the dug-out so we have a general sense of what types of pitches he has, and what he's throwing for strikes.
We know how many outs there are, how many runners and the score.
All of these aspects will help us in anticipating what situation we'll be in once we're at the plate.
In the on-deck circle, we're getting our load, separation and stride timing down with the pitcher's delivery.
In other words, we're loading and getting in-sync with the hitter at the plate.
As the hitter delivers, we load, stride, get the front foot down, shift and fire the hip on balls or strikes.
Once we've done this, we're locked in.
One of my favorite Steve Springer lines is this...
"90% of hitting is how you feel when walking up to the plate."
As we walk up to the plate, we do it with intent.
We breathe from the belly.
We look at the coach to get the signs, and then we dig in the batter's box with a goal to hit the ball hard by putting a controlled violent swing on a good pitch to hit.
This is also a chance to be your own coach. Positive self-talk and a reminder of what the approach is can be an effective way to prime the mind for the task at hand.
Now - we're digging in the batter's box. Clearing the mind. This is where the "swing critic" shuts off.
We're not worried about our stance. We know that this isn't a "looks contest".
We're here to compete by generating that feeling which says "I can beat the pitcher".
Deep breath. Let go and trust.
Baseball Batting Tips: How To Be Prepared At The Plate - The Delivery
After our pre-at-bat and pre-swing routines are done, we let our training take over.
This frees us up to focus our energy towards seeing the ball as well as possible while competing our tail off.
Our finger is on the Swing Trigger™. In other words, our mentality is that the next pitch is going to be a great pitch to hit and we're going to swing.
We've completely taken the "if" out of our swing. It's going to be a strike until it's not. "Yes, yes, No!" on a ball. "Yes, yes, Go!" on a strike.
Lastly, we're aggressive on pitches up in the zone with less than two strikes.
We're attacking the inner-half of the ball, driving the ball up the middle while using the whole field.
Wash, rinse repeat.
The idea here is simple. Your goal is to win the at-bat. Any way you can.
A hard hit ball. Being a tough out. Setting your teammates up for success.
This is what makes baseball fun.
That moment when you stop making it about you and you start making it about helping your teammates get the "W" is how your natural abilities start shining through.
The better a teammate you become, the better competitor you grow into.
The better competitor you become, the longer you'll play.
Talent can take you on so far. Period.
Baseball Batting Tips: How To Be Prepared At The Plate Checklist
If you implement this Baseball Batting Tips: How To Be Prepared At The Plate Checklist you're gonna win some at-bats.
The beautiful thing about it is this...
...it' requires ZERO talent and how good you get at this routine will depend on how bad you want to be great.
- Rehearse success & consistency ad you get locked in.
- Get loose and then recalibrate your timing.
- Summon confidence.
- Clear the mind & let your training take over.
- See the ball as well as you can
- Keep your finger on the Swing Trigger & Post Up in the zone
- Compete your tail off.
When you realize that most of your growth as a ballplayer will happen while working on your own, by yourself with nothing but a bat, a bucket of balls, and a tee…
…you free to take your gifts as far as you want to.
It’s true, not all players are created equal. Each player has a ceiling.
Chances are, you’re not going to be the next Mike Trout or Nolan Arenado,
but you can be the best YOU, because the ceiling potential tends to rise as our executions rise, and most players fall short of their true potential because they're not willing to pay the price.
If you’re reading this, I believe your potential is much larger than you think or have been told.
Gather the right knowledge & inspiration.
Create a plan, then execute that plan with sweat equity.
Effortless Effort & Flow
Good players make tough plays look easy.
Good players make the routine play look effortless.Good players make the field seem small.
Good players play with flow.
The transfer of energy in a swing, throw, and catch is the easiest tell for players who’ve achieved a certain level of flow.
It’s called efficient athletic ability.A good coach or scout will see it from a mile away.
Let’s call it freedom and flow or effortless effort. The steps to achieve this level of flow will come from two things.
Quality reps at high quantities.Strength and range of motion.
Make your movements efficient.
Get to work.
Stop Chasing Stats
Lastly, the day you stop chasing stats…and start focusing on the things you can control……you will finally achieve some freedom at the plate.
Ever hit a ball so right on the screws that you didn’t feel the ball come off the bat?
I call that true freedom, and you can manufacture that by
- staying committed to the process
- keeping a short-term memory
- keeping a long-term perspective
- having an approach & plan to win the at-bat
- building up your teammates
- remembering to have fun
The beautiful thing about this is it requires zero talent.
It’s a choice you make every time you step on the field.
When you stop chasing stats, the stats chase you.
How To Slow Down The Ball
Loose muscles are quick muscles.
The muscles around the eyes are no different. When there’s strain around the eyes, your pitch recognition suffers.
When there is too much head movement, your pitch recognition suffers. Keep the eye-gaze soft.
Minimize head movement.
You achieve this by controlling your breathing & slowing down the feet. (shorter strides/foot down early.)
You can train how to recognize spin, speed & location with the Appleid Vision Baseball App. Simulate live at-bats on your phone or on your TV in your living room.
Pitch Recognition App
Increase your hard contact consistency and optimize your hitting approach by simulating a week's worth of at-bats in one session.
How The App Works
Take a peek at how the AVB pitch recognition app works.
Keep in mind - we make new iterations, add new pitchers and drills in the app quarterly, so chances are the interface & features will be optimized.