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Coach Andy's Hitting E-zine, #50 - Hitting Focus
April 21, 2008
This issue of my hitting newsletter will help kids and adults be better hitters in baseball, fastpitch softball, and slo-pitch.
The first topic for better hitting - focus on the ball, the second tip is get a perfect swing, the third is on the topic of wanting to get better at the game, and fourthly (is that a word?), how to make all-stars.
Key 1 to better Hitting Focus on the ballAs much as I know about hitting, sometimes an obvious thing can slip right by me.
I know how important keeping your eye on the ball is and even use "Ikey-Mikey" to keep the kids head in the right position to see the ball to the bat, but I didn't catch them looking at the ball coming from the release point and not tracking it all the way to the bat, because they were moving their head from shoulder to shoulder as Ikey and Mikey suggest, but I didn't realize they were just doing what they were told and not really using it to track the ball.
I've always noticed that the higher level of the player, whether it be MLB baseball player or Olympic Softball player, that the ones who succeeded the best were the ones who's hitting focus on the ball was the most intense, almost like they were looking at a little dot on the ball.
So maybe if you or your hitters are struggling a little bit, look at their hitting focus. What they may be doing is using their peripheral vision to see it and not actually looking at the ball all the way to the hitting zone.
I found a drill I really like for this. It started out that I didn't like this product at first, because they market it as a fielding product and I felt that it reinforced catching the ball in the wrong place, but using it for a hitting drill I think it's terrific.
It works in conjunction with the Personal Pitcher, which I like a lot, as you know. They make a product they call the WebGlov, which is a little $9.95 product that you put on your forefinger and your thumb that has a little webbing. You then pitch golf ball sized whiffles that go at various speeds and even curve and have the kids catch them as if they were bunting a ball with this little Webglov. Again, I don't like encouraging catching a ball in the webbing of a glove, but for the purpose of having a batter concentrate all the way from release point to seeing it to the contact zone, this is a great drill.
You can order just the gloves (comes with 2) by themselves
at this website.
If you want some serious hitting focus you can check out the best of their best equipment, which is their best whiffle ball pitching machine, 100 golfball sized whiffles, a bat that is the same as your length and weight, but is only 1" in diameter, and they'll throw in a pair of the WebGlov's, all in one package - http://www.theInternetHittingCoach.com/personal-pitcher.html
Do You Have the Perfect Swing?I use this drill for slo-pitch softball players, to advanced baseball and fastpitch softball players, down to the beginning player.
That is taking a swing off of a tee and being able to hit the ball exactly how you want to hit it and where you want it to go (with the force you want it to go as well).
If you can't hit a ball perfectly when it's in the zone exactly where you want it to be, at the exact height you're practicing when it isn't moving, how will you be able to do it when the ball is moving, coming in at an angle, or at some speed and possibly spinning or moving?
When I say hitting it perfectly, you need to deliver a perfect swing that gets perfect results for what you're attempting to do at least 8 out of 10 times.
If you're not there yet, keep practicing off the tee. Most Slo-pitch softballers, and even some advanced players won't do this, it's too babyish, or beneath them, but again, how do you expect to deliver the perfect swing and hit it to the exact spot you want to in a game situation if you can't do it when you're down to only the very basics?
Try it and see if your game doesn't improve.
Do You Want to Get Good?I have a kid on my little league team that I think could be an outstanding player, but he has some bad mechanics that would take a lot of work to break the bad habits and build up the proper mechanics.
I challenged him early on to follow my advice and he could get really good. He said he would.
For two weeks he was following the advice and you could start to see the results, then some holidays came up and I stopped seeing him other than at team practices. So I finally asked him, "How badly do you want to be good at baseball?"
He answered, "Real bad, coach".
Here's what I told him and it may relate to you or your player(s).
"There are 3 ways we can want to be good at baseball (or anything for that matter). 1) We can get the idea or dream of being good, 2) We can start saying we want to be good, and 3) We can take action and start doing the things that will make us get good at baseball (or whatever we desire to succeed at)."
The league and our team is full of kids who want to get good. Only a few of them will dare say to a coach or to others that they "really" want to get good. And only a handful will actually do what they need to.
Here's another story that illustrates the same point. A high school player asked me to help him on his hitting. Years ago I had helped him in little league go from an 11 year old playing in the lower level league for his age group to making the 12 year old all-star team and now had made the high school team years later, all by taking the instruction I had given him and doing the practice drills I told him to do.
He had stopped getting the instruction and doing the drills because he was now good enough to make it to the levels he wanted, but now found himself floundering. The good news is he remembered how he got good and realized he needed to do something about it, if he wanted to see his dream go farther.
But the real story I want to tell you is that when we were practicing at the high school, we could hear a couple of other kids taking swings in the batting cages. All of this was after the team's practice was over. When I asked him who they were he told me they were the team's current star and the team's future star.
Interesting, the only two players left still practicing were the 2 players destined to be the team's best players over the next few years.
Was it because they were stars that they practiced or do stars do what it takes to get to where they said they wanted to be long ago?
Go and do likewise.
Again, if you have any questions or comments you can write to me via e-mail.
To see other hitting tips in past newsletters, go to the past issues of my hitting newsletter page.
Welcome to you who are new to my hitting e-zine.
Thanks for reading and talk to you next time.
6801 Dove St. Ventura, CA 93003
Coach Andy Collins has been helping players achieve their goals in softball and baseball for over 30 years. He's an advisor to national teams and can help you be a better hitter. He offers free information on his website www.theInternetHittingCoach.com and through free e-mail hitting lessons and has just introduced a new hitting video discussing and demonstrating how to hit great with either the rotational or linear hitting methods. http://www.theinternethittingcoach.com/hitting-video.html
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