Learn from the Great Hitters
One way to become a terrific hitter is to learn from the great hitters of today and of the past.
Don't just watch a baseball or softball game when one of the greats come to bat, see what they do. Is there some way you can duplicate it?
Watching hitters bat on TV is what Chipper Jones credited to his becoming one of the great hitters.
A word of caution
Two things you don't want to do in copying other hitters.
1) Realize they have conditioned their bodies over years of training, so without that training for yourself, there may be things you won't be able to duplicate without similar training and conditioning.
For example, Gary Sheffield has a huge stance that he can get away with, that is not normal for most athletes.
On the female side, Kim Maher, had the fastest measured bat speed of the 1996 Gold Medal winning softball team, making her swing possibly the fastest in the world. She holds her bat lower than most people and straight up. Did she teach that to the team she's was a hitting coach for, the 2002 NCAA champions? Only if the girl could generate that much speed as quickly as she could.
2) Mimic or copy only the ones that match your style. I was a singles hitter, so I shouldn't copy Babe Ruth or Barry Bonds. I might want to copy Tony Gywnn or Rod Carew more. On the female side Crystl Bustos, Kim Maher, Sheila Douty are more of your power hitters, where Dot Richardson, Laura Berg, Jessie Mendoza, and others are singles hitters. There are some overall good hitters that hit for power and average, like Ted Williams, Lisa Fernandez, and Michelle Smith.
What to look for
While you're watching these great hitters, start from the bottom up. Watch their feet, their knees, torso, hands and arms, shoulders, and head.
Check the timing of things. Look for their concentration and the point of contact. Pay closer attention to what they look like when they really do it well, like when they hit the ball and drive it in gaps.
Check out these websites
Do you want to hit like Babe Ruth and Mickey Mantle? I found a great resource, some old notes from Babe Ruth himself written in 1928. They have some great insights into his thoughts on hitting, pitching and the game itself. It also includes a little booklet from Mickey Mantle, another great hitter.
Click here for hitting tips from Babe Ruth and Mickey Mantle.
Some of the great hitters even have their own websites.
Not all of them offer hitting advice, but sometimes just hearing their stories will tell of their mental attitude they had in regards to life and/or hitting. For example, I found these great quotes on the Babe Ruth homepage -- "Never let the fear of striking out get in your way." and "Every strike brings me closer to the next home run."
Here's a quick list of sites:
Don't forget to study these pages.
Keys to becoming one of the Great Hitters
Practice, Practice, Practice
Another big time hitting coach's style
And for other hitting tips and ways to become a great hitter, don't forget to sign up for our hitting e-zine.
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