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Hitting Thinking - Issue #61
June 30, 2009

Hitting Thinking

What's your hitting thinking? In other words what are you thinking about when you come up to bat or at the plate?

While this is always important, it was really brought home on the last practice/game that my son played in. We had a guest coach come in (his name is Mark Polacek, who's hidden behind the scenes, just maintaining the fields for our league, but secretly he was a great coach years ago and every now and then a team can coax him into helping them at a practice, which is what our head coach did) and he explained his theories of what kids should think about. Whatever he said really sunk in, because we went an entire 4 innings before having 1 strikeout and only 2 in the entire game and had our best hitting game of the entire season (don't you just hate it when someone says basically the same things you've been talking about all season, but they hear it in a brand new light, so they take it and use it). But that's why we brought him in, in the first place, to have a different voice, a different hitting thinking philosophy.

Here's his 5 premises for hitters (with my comments in italics). These are copyrighted, so please don't pass these on. These are just for you my readers.

Great hitters do the following:

When in the dugout they:
They know what and where the pitcher is pitching and the strike zone the umpire is calling and are ready to use that information to hit those pitches.

When on deck they're thinking:
They're blocking out other thoughts and outside distractions and only are concentrating on one thing, hitting the ball.

Walking to the plate they're thinking:
Most people have been shown how to hit and have practiced it enough to have done well in practice, so now it's just doing what they know they can do.

When they step in the batters box they're thinking:
Nothing happens unless the bat is put in contact with the ball, so nothing else matters. From their analysis of the pitcher and umpire they have a pretty good idea as to where the ball will be and from their comittment and their trust in themselves they have just one goal, to hit the ball.

They are always trying to hit the ball, they realize:
They aren't up there to argue balls and strikes, they're ready to hit the strikes and take the balls.

Mark Polacek © June 2009
Unauthorized duplication is prohibited.

It was amazing how just going over these 5 steps the kids could focus their attention off of their school work or chores at home for 2 hours and how easy it was for them to memorize these 5 steps to hitting thinking and apply them.

We even posted these notes in the dugout and had each kid touch them as they came out to hit and we even had them talking about what the pitcher was throwing and the strike zone the umpire was calling that night.

And for those following my son, who was injured for almost the whole season, he hit one off the wall for a double, which was good to see.

Video news

The 4 videos I'm doing have all been shot and are in the editor's hands which is what I've been so busy doing that I couldn't write this newsletter for the past month and 1/2.

These videos are for Coaches Choice, the producer of my last video - Rotational or Linear, Which Swing Helps You Hit Best.

There are going to be 2 for boys youth baseball (1 on hitting and coaching it, how to run a hitting clinic either for a league, a team, or a small group and another 1 on throwing and catching, primarily aimed at coaches of younger inexperienced players) and 2 for girls fastpitch softball (on the same 2 topics).

But I've been filming even more than just those videos, so watch your inbox later this week for more news on some video hitting information from me for the web. You're really going to like this, so make sure you read everything from me.

A Hitting Drill for a nasty change up

Since I had success writing for the Webball coaching challenge, they asked me to write another article for them about what I would suggest about hitting that really hard to hit changeup.

My hitting thinking on this pitch that I wrote for them was this:

How do you hit the guy with the best changeup you've ever seen? A Trevor Hoffman good changeup?

Considering many major leaguers struggle with this, I won't claim I have the answer, but I do have a drill that's been very effective in helping you wait longer on the pitch, because even if you recognize the pitch is coming, it's still not always easy to wait on the pitch. How many of you would rather see fastballs all day than face that weak pitcher that just lobs them up there? Forget about hiding the fact that it's coming, which does take good pitch recognition skills, slow pitching for many of us is just hard to wait for, so that's what this drill addresses.

If you play slo-pitch softball this drill shouldn't be too hard, in fact it's a good one to use to practice when you don't have lots of room and you want to get in a lot of swings, but this is a baseball drill :) (but can be used for fastpitch as well)

Take a bucket of balls (whiffles or tennis balls are perfect for this drill, even golf ball sized whiffles or marshmallows can work) and your bat and another person to help you. They don't even have to be too skilled at baseball themselves (i.e. a mom, a friend who doesn't play, etc. but don't rule out a coach if you can find one). Then either use your hitting net/screen or find a fence nearby or at a park (6 – 8 ft high minimum and taller is even better).

With you being the hitter and your partner being a "pitcher/tosser", go on opposite sides of the screen/fence. The object is for the tosser to lob the ball over the barricade, just barely clearing the divider so that it lands in front of you so you can wait on it and hit it.

You'll find it takes awhile to wait on it long enough to hit it solidly, but once you get the hang of it, it allows you the disciple of waiting on the slow pitches including the nasty change.

Thanks for reading this hitting newsletter. I'm sorry I didn't get this one out as soon as I'd like, but that's going to change as I get moving on some of these projects, so don't forget to open each e-mail from me so you don't miss out on any of the exiting news I have for you to become a better hitter.

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.

Coach Andy

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 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.

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