Hitting “ The Mental “ Side
If You’re not training, You’re falling behind
The higher the level you play at, the less talent separates the player and the more the MINDSET is the difference. Everyone practices, the first place team and the last place team. Practice is NOT what makes you different or better. How you practice does. What you practice does. Your mindset/mentality DOES! When you know you have your next practice, your next workout. What you need to ask yourself and know is “what is your intent”?
Do you know what your “intent“, is as a hitter? Clearly some swing with the INTENT to hit it hard, and clearly others swing with the INTENT to look good. Some swing as if they were in a bubble and they don’t want to break it. Others swing as if it’s the last swing they will ever take. Knowing your INTENT is where we start. Your INTENT is your mindset.
Let me start with a few quotes from some notable hitters and then we can start with how to change your mentality to what is called ATTACK MENTALITY.
My life time batting average has been increased 50 points by qualities I would call purely Mental -Ty Cobb
I am trying to stay out of my way and think as little as possible. Josh Hamilton on his crazy Home run pace May 2012
Hitters think way too much – Miguel Cabrera
When Tony Gwynn stopped by to see his son play for the Dodgers last year at Dodger stadium he sat down to talk with Don Mattingly. When Don was asked by a reporter about the conversation Mattingly responded with “we talked about hitting approach and mentality,””Obviously, with men in scoring position, you have to make sure the mentality is right. You need to keep a simple approach. Sometimes you complicate things and put pressure on yourself”
Look middle away, about 72% of the time in real life at every level, the pitch is middle-away. It helps the hitter hit the pitch where it most likely to be – Carl Yastrzemski
These are Great hitters, who clearly believe that the mental part of the game is what separates them from the rest of the world.
In understanding the Mental side of hitting it starts with the hitter to be honest with them self. To understand who they are and what they are capable of. It starts with Confidence. What helps build Confidence? It starts when each hitter start to train. The repetitious act of hitting balls off the tee, taking batting practice, strength and conditioning sessions all start working together to develop a hitters mindset and the work they put in helps build Confidence. For some players, the harder they work the more confident they are. Either way, Confidence is ingredient number one in the hitters Mentality. It lacks fear or intimidation. It erases doubt or the threat of failure. It allows the player to do one thing, Focus on hitting the ball hard. Focus is the next ingredient. Focus allows the player to understand any given situation throughout the game enabling them to react properly.
Focus allows a player to simplify the game. “See ball, hit ball” If you can see it you can hit it. Being able to do that means you are also relaxed. Relaxation is one of the final ingredients. It is amazing how hard it can be to just relax, focus, and be a confident hitter. A player though who has worked hard and understands the game, can relax come game time. The player knows what to do and all the work they have put in allows them to do that.
2. Negative Move/Load
3. Positive Move
4. Toe Touch/Land
5. Heel Plant/Hitting Position
7. Bat Lag
11. Finish/Follow through
*Ability to maintain some movement and get to a strong hitting position
*2 eye look at the pitcher
*Problem rarely in stance
2. Negative Move (gather)= LOAD
*Movement away from the pitcher and prior to moving forward
*Weight shifted into back leg
*Head inside the knee, Knee inside the foot
3. Positive Move
*Linear Move that generates Energy to Swing the bat
*Controlled and Continuous/Consistent
*Variations: Early, No, Toe Tap
4. Toe Touch (Ready Position)
*Ready to Swing
*Soft move to firm front side
*Foot Approx 45 degrees
*Equal bend in knees / Pinching in!
*Hips square to the plate
*Shoulders turned in and down less than 12 degrees
*Hands end up in a strong throwing position-even or inside back elbow
*Bend and Bend-Creates room to clear your back elbow
*Weight is “centered”
5. Heel Plant=Hitting Position
*Weight gets into front side
*Posture (establish axis for rotation)
*Front hip is axis for rotation
*Head stops forward movement
*Upper and Lower body in sync
*Elbows/Hands in line with stripe of pants
*Angle of bat 22degrees-Must have something to release
7. Bat Lag
*Point where bat just about enters the Strike Zone
*Hands in front of center of gravity
*Bat head(hands) on plane and ready to release forces built up
8. Release (barrel release)
*Is the release of the angle of the barrel
*We would never force the head of the hammer into the nail. We would release the angle of the hammer into the nail.
*The angle is where we are storing all the energy built up at this point.
*Without angles there is not lateral acceleration or whip
*Head and eyes focused on contact area
*Elbows above the hands, Hands above the barrel
*Wrist straight-Palm up-Palm down
*Moment of truth-Hand Strength!
*Arms fully extended through the ball
*Indicator of how well the hitter released the bat head and how long on plane
11. Finish=Follow Through
*Finish with hands around back shoulder or higher