A number of reasons exist for why baseball hitters chase pitches that are out of the strike zone. Those reasons are often a combination of the physical swing fundamentals and the mental hitting approach of baseball hitters. Coaches must carefully analyze each players swing fundamentals first, as that is the most like cause of the problem, which often leads to the mental approach problem.
First, a definition of chasing bad pitches is in order. For simplicity sake, chasing bad pitches is any swing at pitches that are more than 4 inches out of the strike zone. Of course, the strike zone varies for different levels of baseball, so that variable must be taken into account, also.
When baseball hitters have long swings, they must decide to swing at pitches sooner than hitters do with swings that are more compact. Because of that, pitches often look like strikes when those long swinging players make their decisions to swing, as they cannot wait long enough, only to realize after the pitch was not close enough to hit. This long swing problem is a fairly obvious to recognize in hitting, the solution is also simple enough, develop a more compact swing, but that is not so easy to implement and takes much practice.
Many baseball hitters, even those with good fundamental swings, become too anxious and swing at pitches before waiting to see if they are hittable pitches. This over anxious problem improves with experience, and as players develops confidence in their ability to wait on balls. Little things like having players hit with no strides for a while or having them try to hit balls to the opposite field or up the middle, can help over anxious batters.
Often, young baseball hitters do not have a good feel for the strike zone and/or believe they can hit anything, not just strikes. Learning and teaching the strike zone is a continual process that good hitting coaches stay on top of, and good ballplayer constantly try to improve at. The best philosophy for learning the strike zone is to develop good batting practice habits of swinging only at strikes at that time.
Finally, chasing bad pitches is more understandable with two strikes, as players are fearful of striking out, but good baseball hitters learn to heighten their awareness of ball and strike zone, so they do not fall into the trap of chasing bad pitches very often.
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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