Want to know why you keep hitting lazy pop-ups & fly balls? It's because while in the batter's box, you're either.
- Getting beat by the fastball
- Early Collapsing
- Not getting on top
- Not zoning up
- Don't have your finger on the swing trigger
If you want to truly understand why you keep hitting lazy pop-ups & flyballs, keep reading.
Getting Beat By The Fastball
Here are two tips about hitting the fastball.
- You can't be late, especially with count leverage
- The foot has got to be on time. Either on sync with the pitcher or early with a post-stride.
One of my favorite quotes about hitting the fastball comes from Steve Springer when he says...
..."If I tell you a fastball is coming, and you still can't put a good swing on it...go play soccer".
Is he joking? Sure, but it's still half true. If you want to be a good hitter, you have to be able to hit the fastball.
When it comes to hitting weak fly balls, and getting beat by the fastball, oftentimes it's happening because you're making contact with the bottom half of the ball.
More specifically, the pitcher elevates the ball up in the zone and you failed to get on the plane with the pitch because you didn't start your load and separation before firing the hips.
Be on time. Get the foot down early. When the pitch is elevated, you'll be able to make contact with the fastball up in the zone to hit it hard instead of hitting another weak can of corn. Believe it.
The swing collapses eventually. What we don't want is the early collapse. I'm not blaming the "launch angle" for this, but I've seen too many hitters are trying to get more lift and flight on the ball by incorporating a "launch angle".
Hitting is like golf. You don't want to slice and you don't want to hook. You want a good drive with straight backspin.
When the hitter moves away from their approach by trying to get lift OR WORSE, attempting to guide the ball to the opposite field, the back shoulder collapses and the lazy pop-ups come back.
To fix this problem, think about it like this.
The back shoulder needs to stay a tick taller than the lead shoulder for as long as possible.
The back shoulder collapses only AFTER we've fired the hips. If the hips don't fire, the back shoulder should never collapse.
Keep the back shoulder tall. (Tall back-side)
Not Getting On Top Of The Pitch
I've touched on the three different swing types in a previous post, but the gist of it is this.
The bat head must get on the plane of the pitch early and long. If a pitch is up in the zone, and the bat head doesn't start on the plane of the pitch, one of three things will happen.
- You'll be late. Swing and miss.
- You'll make decent contact with top-spin
- You'll make weak contact with a lazy pop-fly
If what we want is hard contact, then we have to get the bat-head on the plane of the pitch as early as possible and for as long as possible.
Not Zoning Up
If we're facing a fly ball pitcher, we have to zone up. Their approach is "changing the zones" for us as hitters so we have to anticipate and have an answer to their approach.
Most fly ball pitchers have decent velocity. If we know they're trying to induce pop-flys, we start by putting an imaginary table on the plate that is as tall as our hip or waist.
Anything above the table, we're taking a controlled, violent swing while anything below the table, we're spitting on (not swinging).
Anticipate and look for something up in the zone. When you get a good pitch to hit, make the pitcher pay.
Finger On The Swing Trigger
I've spoken about this so many times to count but it's worth repeating a million times if that is what it takes for you to buy into this VERY IMPORTANT hitting principle.
Hitters have to be ready to hit. This means the hitter:
- has to have their finger on the swing trigger.
- is assuming the next pitch is going to be the best pitch they will see all-day
- has to be thinking "Yes, yes, yes GO, on a strike and "Yes, yes, yes, NO, on a ball.
Assuming the next pitch is going to be a strike gives you a better shot at connecting with fastballs up in the zone.
Selectively aggressive, but always ready to pull the trigger.
The Why You Keep Hitting Lazy Pop-Ups & Fly Balls Checklist
If you're hitting lazy pop-ups, it's usually because of at least one or two things explained above.
As you get to more advanced pitching, you'll begin facing pitchers who are effective with pitching to contact while inducing fly balls.
Often times, it's because they have decent velocity and are good at changing zones. So their pitching sequence will be off-speed down in the zone and the four-seam up in the zone.
Lastly, watch what pitches your teammates are getting. Are they popping up as well?
If so - make the adjustment, then help your buddies make them too.
This is how you help your team win, which at the end of the day, is what it's really about.
It's also how you'll stand out on the baseball field.
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