So often, I hear youth baseball coaches giving batters baseball hitting tips when they are up to bat in games; "Do this or do that," instructions that have batters' thinking about doing things other than concentrating on timing the ball. Even game coaching tips that seem innocuous like, "Stay back," puts a thought of what to do in a hitter's mind that diverts some attention from timing the ball. Of course, coaches mean well with their advice and may be correct in what they are saying, but this only serves to distract hitters.
The resulting lack of concentration on timing the ball inhibits hitters from being successful a majority of the time. Pre-game hitting drills and batting practice is when hitters should be thinking of the fundamentals, but game hitting is for concentrating on the ball. Encouraging words from coaches that keep players in the moment and focused on seeing the ball is what is necessaryfor game hitting.
It takes a good swing to hit consistently well. Equally important, is the ability to concentrate on timing and seeing the ball. Knowledgeable baseball coaches know "what to say" to hitters so they remain confident and focused in baseball games. In addition, they know "when to say" things to help players remain ready and hopeful. Following are tips to helpplayers in-gamehitting.
1. "That wasn't your pitch anyway" this is good when hitters take borderline pitches or when umpires makes questionable calls.
2. "Be ready, your pitch is coming" always good advice and better than the more common, "Protect the plate." The latter statement puts hitters in defensive, negative modes.
3. "I know you can do this," is positive advice for all hitters and especially for less confident players.
4. "It only takes one," is good to help hitters remain positive and to prevent them from dwelling on missed, previous opportunities.
5. "See the ball," is a good simple statement that tells hitters to stay focused on the ball and nothing else.
6. "Now you're ready" is good to say after hitters did not swing at a pitch that they should have swung at.
7. "Way to hang in there" is solid advice after fouling off pitches on 2-strike counts.
8. "Good at-bat" is good after hitters make an out but either hit the ball hard, had some good swings, or battled the pitcher for many pitches.
9. ""Nothing you can do about it now" is great advice, suggesting hitters have short memories and positive mental outlooks for future at-bats.
10. "Keep battling" is necessary so players never give up.
Coaches, who remain positive, optimistic, and encouraging with baseball hitting tips like those above, and arenot offering in-gamehitting mechanics advice, give hitters their best chances for success at the difficult skill of hitting a baseball. Of course, there is nothing wrong with coaches giving advice on the opposing pitchers' tendencies when players are not up to bat.
After playing major league baseball, Jack Perconte has taught baseball and softball since 1988 and offered valuable coaching training too. He has helped numerous youth players reach their potential, as well as having helped parents and coaches navigate their way through the challenging world of youth sports. Jack is one of the leading authorities in the areas of youth baseball training and coaching training advice.All Jack Perconte articles are used with copyright permission.
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