Warning to Good Hitters!


When I am asked why I help kids, my answer is very simple… I will not let any player be as ill prepared for achieving his dreams as I was. I was a very talented athlete coming from the NorthEast which is by no means a hot bed for producing professional baseball players. I hit more home runs than any other kid in my state, hit well over 0.500, and struck out only once my Senior year of High School. My skills were good enough to get drafted in a respectable round with an even more respectable signing bonus, yet, I had no chance from the beginning of making it to the Big Leagues. After grinding it out in the Minors for 5 years, I had accumulated a batting average of 0.242, hit only a few HR’s, and my strike out to walk ratio was around a 3.0.

Now I had some injuries… I had some family emergencies which made playing baseball very difficult… but none of them are the reason why I couldn’t succeed at the professional level. You see my problem wasn’t that I couldn’t hit at the professional level, I had stretches throughout every season I played where I was the 3 hole hitter and was putting up numbers better than anyone else in the league. The problem was I also had stretches where I struggled miserably… And even worse, I had no idea how to snap out of it. I had never failed before, and though I didn’t have a problem with handling failure, I did have a problem with never being taught anything that would help me when I wasn’t hitting. Since I was around 12 years old I was never not hitting well. I had never struggled, so I never had anyone giving me their two cents as to why I wasn’t hitting, and let me make this very clear, the minute you start struggling you will have no shortage of coaches, teammates, fans, or even your parents who will be chiming in and telling you everything that you are doing wrong. The worst part about this is that the vast majority of these people have no friggen clue how to help you and they are making the problem infinitely worse.

You see every time you tell a hitter there is something wrong with their swing, it stays with them… Depending on how much clout the person giving the information has divided by how well the hitter is doing at that particular moment will determine how long that blow will last with the hitter. If some drunk fan spouts off to a player going 4 for 4 it won’t even last long enough for the hitter to process what he just heard, but for a hitter who may be 1 for 5 hearing Ken Griffey Jr. saying there is something wrong with their swing on TV, you better believe in the back of his head, that hitter will start to question if his swing really is in trouble.

The only thing a hitter has to combat this assault on their confidence is knowledge. A hitter who understands all the little nuances about the mechanics of hitting and even more importantly why they do them will be able to nullify what he feels is garbage information no matter who the source is.

This is why I try to arm my hitters with as much knowledge as possible. Almost every time a hitter is struggling it is something very simple and not a huge mechanical issue. I have seen hitters with mechanical problems succeed in the big leagues, and I have seen perfect swings fail in College. As hitting instructors we are cursed with the need to try to correct any “non-perfect” swings, and it isn’t until that hitter starts to struggle that we decide to tell them about it. The truth of the matter is making mechanical changes to your swing takes a very long time and they aren’t going to take in only one or two sessions of hitting. More than likely you are simply off balance, not focusing on seeing the ball clearly, are not letting the ball travel, or simply pressing. These are issues that can be corrected even within At Bats simply by understanding why they are so important and what are their consequences.

I am very good at getting players to hit. I may have had struggles getting myself to hit, but without those struggles I would not be here teaching you the lessons I have learned. I didn’t know how much I didn’t know about hitting, so it took me many trial and tribulations in order to sort through all the garbage information that was being bombarded down on me before I learned what was important and what wasn’t.