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Staying focused on the Baseball or Softball Field

Staying focused on the Baseball or Softball Field

 

Maybe I’m unique but I find it difficult to focus for a couple hours straight and even simple tasks seem almost daunting.  Yet we want the boys or girls on the field to stay focused the whole game.  We want their thoughts to be on or in the game from the time they get to the field till the time it is over.  I found my mind could wander in the course of an at-bat let alone the whole game.  Lets be honest, baseball is not the fastest moving sport and there is a lot of standing around time.

As a hitter I found it easier to break the at-bat down into smaller parts.  You have heard the cliché one pitch at a time, but if you put it into practice we need to only focus for about seven seconds at a time.  When I think of staying focus for only seven seconds at a time it becomes mush easier to manage.   Once we step in the box and get in our stance we begin the focus on our one thought. (See the ball; come down on the ball, short to the ball, etc.) After the pitch is over we step out of the box and collect our thoughts a deep breath or two and the begin the focus again.  Breaking the at-bat into smaller chunks makes it easier to manage.  One pitch at a time or seven seconds at a time does take some practice but it will make it easier to have the intense focus we need to be successful.

The same is true in the field.  The focus does not need to be intense the whole game.  We need the focus to be there for a few seconds before the pitch where we run through the list of what my responsibilities are for a given play and then through the pitch.  It gives us a couple seconds to relax the focus and prepare the next pitch.  We need to be prepared for every play or pitch but to keep your focus at the highest level needed for success we need to give little pauses. So we are ready when it really counts!

 

Until Next Time,

Chad

Baseball and Softball Batting Drill- Fastball and Change Up Drill

Baseball and Softball Batting Drill- Fastball and Change Up Drill

There’s nothing quite the same as the game for a hitter.  Practice is never quite the same how we treat it. We can’t simulate the game.  What we want to do is try to get close.So, I have a front toss drill.  Casey is going to flip front toss to me.  The firmer ones are going to simulate a fast ball.  The softer ones are going to simulate a change up.

What we want to do is make sure we are always ready for the fastball.  The softer ones are going to simulate a change up.

What we want to do is make sure we are always ready for the fastball.  We need to be always back in time for the fastball.  For most of us, we hit the fastballs better than off-speed pitches.

So, no matter what, I want to be ready for my pitch.  I don’t care that the pitcher has a great curve ball.  I don’t hit curve balls very well to begin with so I will look for my pitch.  I want to be in position for my pitch.

So, what I want to do is make sure that when I load, I’m in position and now I’m going to drive through the ball off his fastball.  When he throws a change-up and I don’t like it, I take it.  I’m making sure I’m back and I can recognize it.

Let’s take a look at the drill.

Both of those would be fastballs.  I’m getting back in time.  Now he’s going to show me a change up.  What I want to do is make sure and let it come to me.

I was in a much better position.  I stayed back.  I’m not going to tell him what I am looking for and he’s not going to tell me what he’s throwing.

I was back and ready for the fastball.

Change up and I wasn’t in a position for it.  I wasn’t quite there.  That’s what I want you, as a hitter to do.  If you’re not ready to hit that pitch, take it.

It’s okay.  It’s strike 1.  We got two more. Right?  We want to make sure we are making this as close to the game as possible.

Get back.  Look for your pitch.  Put a good swing on your pitch.  Use this drill.  Mix in the change-up.  You don’t have to them.  Make sure you are staying back.  This drill is going to help you become a more complete baseball player.

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Before You Get in the Batters Box

Mental Preparation Before You Get in the Batters Box

My rookie year I’m playing for the Minnesota Twins and we’re facing the great New York Yankees. Yes the great New York Yankees. I’m facing Andy Pettitte and I’m nervous. For me to have any chance to succeed, I need to be confident, I need to be focused and I need to have a plan.

So in today’s lesson we’re going to talk about what happens before we get in the batters box. Too often, at bats are won of lost before you even step in the box. If you’re not clear what you’re looking for, If you’re swinging at his pitches. We need to be clear about what we want to do. So let’s formulate a plan. First off, you need to know yourself. What do you do well? Do you like the fastball? Do you like off speed pitches? I didn’t. I liked the fastball.

So I wanted to look for the fastball in the zone that I handled well. For me that was the ball middle away. I want to look for the ball there. I want to look for something hard in that zone. I don’t want to look for what he wants to get me out with. He’s going to beat me if I swing at his pitches. I want to look for my strength. Pitchers make a lot of mistakes. Let’s capitalizes on those. So we want to look for a pitch in our zone. For me, mine was right here. I wanted to look for the ball in this area. I didn’t want to swing at these other pitches because that’s how he wanted to get me out.

So now that we know what we are looking for, we need to make sure that we’re confident. We need to be sure that once we step in this box, we are 100% certain we’re going to succeed. If you walk up here with doubt, you might as well not walk up here with the bat at all. That bats already over at that point.

We need to be confident in our brain. At bats are won or lost way to often because of confidence of lack of confidence.
There’s going to be times you’re not quite so sure of yourself, but when you step in this box you got to be clear. That takes place in the on deck circle. That takes place before you get in here. Once you get in here, we can handle one thought and we got to be focused and confident. So the next time you step in the box, be clear, have a plan, be focused and have a great game.

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Baseball Hitting Stance – The Hands

How to Place Your Hands in Your Hitting Stance   

 

So as in our previous lesson, we talked about the baseball hitting stance. In this lesson I want to talk to you about where our hands should be. We talked about where our feet, our chest, our legs should be in our stance. Where our weight should be distributed, but let’s talk about where our hands should be. There’s a lot of places we can put our hands and there’s a lot of places we don’t want to have our hands. We want to find a place that’s going to give us the best chance to succeed.

Let’s be honest, hitting’s difficult. We got a round bat, trying to hit a round ball, being thrown at us extremely hard and we don’t know at what speed it’ going to come at. This is a difficult game. This is a difficult part of the game. So we want to put ourselves in the best chance we have to succeed. When we talk about where we want our hands, let me give you some guides.

First off, let’s go right off our back shoulder. We want to have a little space in here. We don’t want our hands too tight to our body. We don’t want them too far away. These are extremes. These are going to lead to other problems. We want right off our back shoulder. We want our hands basically stacked above our back leg. Use those guides right there. We’re above our back leg. We’re right off of our back shoulder. Take a look at my bat. We basically want to have it at a 45 degree angle. If we have our bat pointed straight up, this is going to lead to problems with our swing looping. If we lay our bat too flat, we’re going to have a problem with wrapping the bat around our head, also creating length.

So keep this bat at about a 45 degree angle. We’re right off our back shoulder. This is a good place to start from. Yes you’re going to tinker with your hands. Don’t have them too low. This is going to lead to problems trying to get ready.  We always got to get back to the same position before we swing. Every hitter will start his swing from the same position, right here. So we might as well start closer to that position. Let’s make this easier on ourselves. This game’s difficult enough.

So give yourself a chance. Have the bat around a 45 degree angle, right off our back shoulder, stacked above our back leg. Right there, that’s comfortable right there. You can move it around. You can be comfortable right in this position. This is going to give us the best chance to succeed most often. So the next time you get in the box, don’t hold your bat up straight. Don’t lay it down too flat. Find a nice spot for it right off your back shoulder and have a great game.

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Baseball Batter Stance – Stride and Separation

Baseball Batter Stance Stride and Separation

 

So if you’ve watched baseball for any amount of time, you know that most baseball hitters take a stride. The stride is that small step that the hitter takes before he swings. Well when should that happen? How should that look? In this segment I want to talk about stride and separation. The hitters stride from his stance is going to take place either at release or just before. We want to make sure we give ourselves the best chance to succeed. The size of our load is going to play a part in this, when that stride takes place.

Now let’s talk about the direction of it. My stride should always be at the pitcher. If I stride to a closed position, we’ll call that diving, I have no chance on the inside pitch now. And on the outside pitch, I’m going to end up having a problem getting all the way through. There’s a problem with stepping towards the third base line, or we’ll call it stepping in the bucket. As you can see, my hips have already left and my shoulder’s going to have a tendency to leave early. The other thing that can happen is now I lose plate coverage. I no longer can cover the outside part of the plate. So we want to make sure, from our good stance, that our stride is directed straight towards the pitcher. That’s going to give us the best chance to succeed.

Also, be sure that your shoulders don’t over rotate when this happens. We get ourselves in here too far we can get into problems trying to cover these pitches. So when we talk about stride, we want to make sure it’s at the pitcher. It’s not closed. It’s not too far open. We want to make sure that when we stride, we control the weight with our foot. Now how far should the stride be? There’s a lot of ways to look at this and the reality is our stride should be as short as possible. I say that from somebody who had a really long stride for most of my career. My stride would cause me so many problems, because if my foot covers lots of ground, my weight has now gone forward. The easiest way to deal with this is a little phrase that was taught to me by a coach with the Milwaukee Brewers. Control the head, the body will follow.

Let me explain. Wherever my head is, my weight’s going to be. If my head comes forwards my weight’s going to go forward. If my head says back, my weight’s going to stay back. For me that worked really well, to think about controlling my head. It gave me less things to worry about. Where my feet were, what my legs were doing. It made it more comfortable. Made it simpler, which is what we want as a hitter. We want this to be simple. So the next time you’re in the box and you’re going to take your stride, keep it short, do it early and be sure it’s at the pitcher. That way you can have a great game.
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