The great Ted Williams summed up the mental game of hitting very easily when he said “Get some good ground to hit.” Of course, there is a lot more to the mental hitting game to advise, but ultimately it is the best advice when a batter is in the batter’s box. All the analysis, preparation, and visualization needs to end with a batter facing the pitcher and getting a good pitch to hit is all that’s left to focus on.
I often ask my student hitters, “What makes a great hitter – those who are good two hitters or those who are not?” Most respond: “Those who have two hits”. Of course, this is better than the alternative, but I answer: “Not necessarily”. When a batter has two hits on him, especially when it happens often, the hitters are in defensive mode and are at the mercy of the field. I try to convince them that the great hitters are the ones who make the right decisions before they take two hits on them
With that in mind, here are some things that will help the mental hitting game for baseball players:
1. Prepare and expect the first step to be in the middle of the board. When the field is located there, the hitters must swing on it. A batter’s chances of hitting the ball solid increase dramatically when the balls are in the middle of the plate, whether high or low. When not in the middle, hitters should put it down.
2. When hitters are ahead in the count, they should think about which court they hit best – inside, outside, up, down. Either way, this is the step they should be looking for with a count of 1s and 0s. As above, if that land happens, they should swing into it and give up all other throws, balls, or balls. strike.
3. When the batter falls behind in the count before two hits, batters should know the two-thirds of the plate they are handling best and only swing if the ball is in that area. It’s worth risking two hits when the first two hits are in an area the batter isn’t hitting well.
4. With two hits, all hitters are the same. When a pitch is a strike or very close to a strike, the batter must swing to avoid being canceled on strikes. The pitcher definitely has the advantage when the batter has two strikes because the batter needs to be prepared to handle every inch of the plate, from the bottom up.
To help with this full plate coverage, hitters must learn to find the steps on the outside of the plate and adjust to the pitches that are on the inside half of the plate. This philosophy better protects the hitter on outside and off-speed courts, as it will help them open up on those courts soon.
As players reach the highest level of balls and pitchers become more consistent, they can change this approach to take advantage of their strengths and the pitcher’s weaknesses. Plus, the top hitters stay confident because they have a good fundamental swing, have prepared for practice, and believe in that swing so they can make good contact, regardless of the number. Finally, hitting coaches should help young hitters learn about their individual strengths and weaknesses to aid their “mental hitting game”.