Baseball Training: How To Win The At-Bat: We sharpen the axe before we cut the tree.
This is why everything we do before an at-bat has a rhyme & reason.
Here are a few things to keep in mind as you prepare to battle in the box to Win The At-Bat.
How To Win The At-Bat: Batting Tips Video
In a game LOADED with failure, a hitter's biggest challenge is to be confident & stay confident when they're not getting results.
If the ONLY place you draw confidence from is from whether you get a hit or not, you will always be a slave to your stats.
When your goal is to Win The At-Bat, you are on the path of achieving freedom at the plate.
5 Steps To Winning More At-Bats
In my opinion, you will never be an elite hitter if your shoulder shrug when I ask what your approach is. Even worse, if I ask what your approach is, and your answer to just get a hit, you’re hosed.
Especially at the higher levels. The Approach is everything.
You need to be able to communicate what your plan is at the plate.
Especially for you Varsity guys, but the sooner the better for you younger guys. For all you hitters, the approach starts with winning the at-bat.
1. Post-Up & get a good pitch to hit.
For me, it’s about being aggressive early, up in the zone. Since a pitcher is 9 years old there taught to do what? Keep the ball down, why?
Because a pitch UP in the zone is an easier pitch to hit. Especially a hanging breaking ball or flat fastball.
When we're aggressive on pitches up in the zone, we make the pitcher pay on mistake pitches.
You're going to learn how to identify and react to good pitches to hit.
2. Keep your finger on the Swing Trigger™.
As hitters - we can’t get cheated with the fastball - especially when we have count leverage. 1-0, 2-0, 3-1.
Why do we freeze on good pitches to hit? Cause we weren’t ready, hit.
We were thinking “if it’s strike, I’m gonna swing”… Instead of assuming that the next pitch is going to be the best pitch we’re gonna see all day. It’s a strike until it’s not.
If you want to show up on time with the fastball…
You have to be thinking, Yes, yes, no" on a ball and “Yes, yes, go” on a strike.
You're going to learn how to increase your aggression at the plate.
3. Attack the inner half of the ball.
When you attack the inner half of the ball, you're increasing your chances of making hard contact.
Good hitters learn to do it all while using the big part of the field, going gap-to-gap.
It begins with getting great at driving the ball up the middle.
You're going to learn how to repeat an efficient swing.
4. Swing w/ intent to do damage.
The more aggressive your swing is, the more accurate your hand-eye and the higher your hard-hit contact %.
Once we step in the box, and the pitcher delivers…
We're not just swinging to make contact, we’re swinging with intent to do some serious damage.
You're going to learn how to swing with controlled aggression.
5. Compete your tail off.
How good you get at competing will dictate how far you make it in this game.
Being a gamer. Showing up prepared. Loving adversity. Embracing challenges, making your teammates better & rising to the occasion is how you become the best competitor on the field.
You're going to learn how to be the best competitor on the field.
Preparing In The Hole
Visualize - As you get your batting gloves and helmet on, spend a moment rehearsing success in your mind. Close your eyes & recall the last time you hit the ball right on the screws.
The goal here is to feel like you've already succeeded before walking to the plate.
Next, this is where you get loose and calibrate your timing. Get in rhythm with the pitcher's delivery & work on getting your foot down on time.
Your job is to access the game so you can anticipate what the situation will be during your plate appearance.
The Walk-Up & Set-Up
90% of hitting is how you feel when walking up to the plate. This is where the critical aspect of your brain shuts off. You're not worried about your stance or swing. You're going to trust that what you worked on in practice will take over.
Know the situation. Get the sign. Deep breath & dig in.
Elite Hitters Do This
If you’re taking the same swing on different pitches you’re just swinging. You’re not really hitting. Elite hitters learn to do it all.
The elite-of-the-elite hitters all understand these principles:
1. If you wanna be great, be good consistently. It’s not the 400-foot home run or the inside fastball on the black that you turn on that makes you elite. It’s the consistent swings on good pitches to hit.
2. You’re only as good as the pitches you swing at. You can increase your pitch selection with off-the-charts toughness & superior pitch recognition.
3. Being able to drive the ball to all fields with authority is how you hit dominant pitching. Nuff said.
4. If you wanna play at a high level, you can’t get cheated by the fastball. Believe it.
5. How good you get at loving the challenge and rising to the occasion, will dictate the number of quality swings you take.
6. If you wanna play at the next level, you have to first dominate at the level you’re at. To do that, you need reps at game speed.
Go where you can play.
If you wanna be the elite of the elite master the fundamentals, then play to win the at-bat.
Forget stats & be a better athlete than you are a player.
How To Fix Your Mechanics
Why is it that when we get into a little funk at the plate or our swing feels a little off, the first thing we do is try and tweak our stance or swing?
How often do we think about approach or how well we’re seeing the ball?
I believe the right approach will clean your mechanics because the approach dictates the quality of the swing at higher levels.
None of it matters if you’re not getting good looks at the pitch. It’s cliche but it’s true. You can’t hit what you can’t see. Seeing the ball better slows the game down.
If you’re in a funk, make sure you’re:
- thinking up the middle
- swinging with intent to do damage
- minimizing your head movement with a nice soft-to-hard focus transition at the release point.
- keeping your finger on the swing trigger™
- competing your tail off
- Having fun.
Trust your mechanics. If you feel you need to constantly change your mechanics, maybe it’s a sign that you don’t trust your abilities.
Baseball Training: How To Win The At-Bat & Final Thoughts
Now it's time to go into "Compete Mode".
You're not hoping to hit the ball hard. You know you can hit the ball hard
Keep your finger on the Swing Trigger™ - You're not thinking you're going to swing "if" it's a strike. You're assuming the next pitch is going to be a strike & you're going to take a controlled-violent swing.
Yes, yes, no on a ball. Yes, yes, go on a strike.
The only goal is to Win The At-Bat & compete your tail off.
How good you get at this process, will dictate how many at-bats you win.
The beautiful thing about all this is it requires ZERO talent.
It's a choice.
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