Pitch Recognition Training Drills & Tips With Trent Mongero & Steve Springer

Video Title: Pitch Recognition Training Drills & Tips With Trent Mongero & Steve Springer.

Gotta love it when you get to be a fly on the wall and listen to Trent Mongero and Steve Springer talking hitting while dropping knowledge on pitch recognition, timing & rhythm.

This video below is a true testament to the powers of having superior pitch recognition skills as well as not being afraid to looks or feel "dumb" in practice.

I say it often if you want to be great, make friends with "the beginner's mindset".

If you only work on strengths and what feels comfortable, your strengths will be strengths but your weaknesses will turn into liabilities.

Being a great hitter is about refining and sharpening all aspects of winning at-bats.

This is exactly what this video tackles.

Lastly, below the video is a full transcript for the video titled Pitch Recognition Training Drills & Tips With Trent Mongero & Steve Springer

Pitch Recognition Training Drills & Tips With Trent Mongero & Steve Springer - Transcript

Trent Mongero (00:00):
All right, so, one of the ways that we can work on varying timings, simply with front flips or front toss, whatever you want to call it, is basically just varying the distance. Okay.

And there's numerous ways that you can do this, but the easier way is just to create a second plate. We didn't have one, so we threw the glove down to simulate the distance.

So when Springer is feeding front toss, basically you're going to do a couple reps here and then a couple reps there.

He's going to make the same exact feed. Okay. But you're going to, obviously, have a shorter distance, which decreases your reaction time. Okay. Which means you have to make decisions faster. Okay. Now a couple of keys to this; pitch recognition is huge, right?

It's a huge variable to hitting and very few people work on it. In fact, when I watch high school players and under work front toss, they're swinging at everything.

Trent Mongero (00:53):
Okay? Literally they're swinging at everything. Very rarely do they take. And I think that you have to be able to establish your zone. You got to know what good pitches are and what bad…

And you might even narrow it down to where you're working a specific part of the plate. Okay. Or maybe you were going to a two strike approach and you're going to widen.

But you still got to have something that you're working on. So the big thing to me is, with hitters, when they're working on hitting is they don't use their internal balance to help them determine balls and strikes. So if I'm looking fastball, okay, I'm sitting fastball, I'm ready to drive.

And I get an off speed pitch, the tendency is going to be, once I'm in a position to hit, I'm going to feel myself wanting to go get that ball a little bit.

Trent Mongero (01:46):
Okay. My chin, my chest, whatever. I'm going to feel myself wanting to leak just a little bit. Well, I think when you can train your body instinctively to recognize that, okay, that's the Spit mechanism. Spit. That means you're spitting on that pitch, you're taking it.

Okay. So, and there, again, I'm not telling you that you have to keep two hands on the bat. But I think that the longer you can, or if you can swing all the way through with two hands, I think there's some benefit to that because I think guys that swing one-handed, and this all applies to this drill, okay, are going to chase more bad pitches.

Because we can reach, okay. I also think guys that let go have the tendency to start letting go sooner and sooner. They don't even realize it.

Trent Mongero (02:35):
But over the course of weeks especially at the high school level. We're not talking about necessarily all-superior athletes. Okay. So habits have a way of creeping in and we don't even realize it. Right? That's why we have to keep working on our swing everyday.

Otherwise, we would just show up and play, right? And we'd be at our best. So guys that have the tendency to let go, have a tendency to start letting go sooner and sooner, next thing you know they're basically hitting one-handed. Okay. If you were to break it down on film. Again talking more lower-level hitters that, that happens too. So all these little things matter. They matter. Okay.

Trent Mongero (03:19):
So if we're just going to do a drill and your coach is going to feed you front toss and you just get in there and you're just hitting everything, you're feeling good about yourself, you're getting a little bit out of that. Okay. But you're not getting nearly as much as coming into a drill with purpose, you know what I mean? "Okay. What are we working on here? Are work in driving middle?

We working away? Working two-strike approach? Working finding timing?" Well right now we're working finding timing.

Trent Mongero (03:44):
So you're going to take about three swings back here and then you're going to move up to this plate here and you're going to hit up from here. Now, this is really, really short. It's going to test your pitch recognition. Your timing. Yeah, you're going to have to be ready to hit.

The whole key is being ready to hit in time. If he's letting that ball go, and you know this as an advanced hitter, but if he's letting that ball go when you're still going back in the balls on you, you're going to have to do a lot of compensating. Or the body's going to try to do a lot of things to compensate to get the bat head there, that aren't going to be good. Okay.

Steve Springer (04:21):
It's almost like, you're hitting from back there, you're going to be facing 85. Hitting up here it's 95 with the same speed. And it's like I've always said, the harder the guy throws, the slower your feet need to be. Right? I believe that this move right here, just a little weight shift is the same move as this right here. But your head stays quiet. You're ready to hit. It's like, "Oh, you got to get your foot down."

Well, no kidding. No, you're not going to hit like this with your foot up in the air. But when the guy's throwing… Nowadays everybody throws 95 to a hundred. When I played there was about five. We had like Dibble and Mark Wohlers and you knew that this was a little extra. It's like I said in my first CD man, 92 looks like a water balloon when you see it every day.

Steve Springer (05:01):
Well now it's 96. It looks like a water balloon to these guys because they see it every day. And the more you see it, the more comfortable you're going to be off it. There can't be any panic in our hitting. And this is why I'm selling to slow feet, fast hands, quiet head, taking the controlled violent swing. Hunting speeds, playing with the right guy every day.

Having fun. See too many players play this game like they're in a three hour time out, bro. Nobody's in trouble, right?

When you give yourself permission not to be perfect. When you give yourself permission, just, "I'm going to be the best competitor on the field. I'm going to have some fun man." Gosh. It's, just, what's the alternative? That's, "Oh, I'm going to worry about my status. I'm going to worry about band, which is all about me." And it's just brew. And I know I got off the subject there.

Trent Mongero (05:41):
Yeah, no, but the thing is when… so as we're doing this drill, when we adjust, I think a lot of hitters feel really good right here. And then they get up here and immediately their anxiety starts to go up, "I have to do something extra. I got to…" It's too close, they to panic. And we don't give ourselves enough credit for how quick we can really be when we swing a bat. I don't think people internally understand the timing. And how late the Big League hitters actually commit to the actual attacking of the ball when they're facing 96 miles an hour. I think, conceptually, most high school hitters, especially, don't understand that.

Trent Mongero (06:22):
If you watch video from the top down and you have the clay circle, right, at home plate. A lot of times the ball is just entering this. From grass to clay heading to the plate. When the hitter is literally going into their attack mode, not the load, but the physical attacking of the ball, it's 96 miles an hour. And it's, I don't know how far that is, eight feet away from the plate. So, it's amazing how fast we can be.

Trent Mongero (06:57):
Timing. We just talked about how hard it is to work on timing. Okay? Most guys in the cage are going to stay right here. They're going to take 50 front toss. Okay. And then they're going to call it a day. You're-

Steve Springer (07:10):
You're going to get in an uncomfortable situation.

Trent Mongero (07:12):
He's not… Yeah. And this has definitely made him uncomfortable. But when you can do this drill regularly and then he can even start to not just make the same type of pitch. And you know how he's snuck in that one back here.

So now he's changing a little bit so you're… I mean, we really can take this to a whole other level. What I want to encourage play… Be careful. Don't take on too much.

It's kind of like a house. You build the foundation. Once you can do front toss here, then we start changing the location to increase the so-called speed from lack of reaction time. Okay. Then once you can do that, then maybe we even start to vary the type of pitches.

But I did see his heartbeat go up a little bit. All right, so go back to it here. Let's go like right where he's at till he… Once he finds two in a row that he's nutted. Then let's move up.

Steve Springer (08:03):
Here we go.

Trent Mongero (08:03):
Okay, I would encourage you to take that pitch. Did you feel your internal balance? You started reaching?

Steve Springer (08:14):
If it's a ball, take it. Right? Zone me up.

Trent Mongero (08:20):

Steve Springer (08:20):

Trent Mongero (08:21):
Atta boy.

Steve Springer (08:21):
But in saying that, it's going to be. Not if. You're not looking to make sure it's a strike. It's going to be a strike until it's a ball.

Trent Mongero (08:29):
Yeah. Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes. You're on swing mode right now. That's a tough one up in the zone. Good job.

Steve Springer (08:38):
Look for it up in the zone. You can look up and hit. Go low and [inaudible 00:08:42] look low and come up. Good swing bud.

Trent Mongero (08:47):
Good. One more and then move up. Okay, now nice and quiet.

Steve Springer (08:54):

Trent Mongero (08:55):
Oh, did you? Okay. Got beat just a tad. Be on time. Good.

Steve Springer (09:12):
That's great buddy.

Trent Mongero (09:13):
Yep. Good.

Steve Springer (09:26):
That's awesome.

Trent Mongero (09:26):
Good, there you go. Over the center fielder's head.

Steve Springer (09:27):
One more.

Trent Mongero (09:29):
Middle approach. Nice. Yeah, no jumping. Slow feet.

Steve Springer (09:41):
Good job, buddy.

Trent Mongero (09:42):
All right, cut.

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