The Lending Coach

Coaching and teaching - many through the mortgage process and others on the field

Home Buyers and Mortgage Seekers – Beware of Online Credit Reports

U.S. Air Force illustration/Senior Airman Grace Lee

Many consumers are shocked to find out that their Credit Karma or other online scores do not match their true FICO score when it’s finally run by their mortgage lender.

This happens quite often – and it’s important to understand the differences and reach out to your mortgage professional first. 

Unfortunately, many would-be buyers have an incorrect view of their actual credit worthiness and begin looking at homes too soon in the process.

To repeat, the key thing to remember here is to reach out to your mortgage professional to get your official FICO score.

Dive Deeper

I’d invite you to find out the particulars here – as the free online credit products and the FICO score used in mortgage qualification process are noticeably different.  Essentially, they use different algorithms to come up with their own score. 

Most lenders determine a borrower’s creditworthiness based on FICO® scores, a Credit Score developed by Fair Isaac Corporation (FICO™). This score tells the lender what type of credit risk you are and what your interest rate should be to reflect that risk.

FICO scores have different names at each of the three major United States credit reporting companies. And there are different versions of the FICO formula. Here are the specific versions of the FICO formula used by mortgage lenders:

  • Equifax Beacon 5.0
  • Experian/Fair Isaac Risk Model v2
  • TransUnion FICO Risk Score 04

The Key Takeaway

The major takeaway is that your Credit Karma score will be different than your FICO score…and in most cases, the free, online score is better than the FICO score – at least that has been my experience.

Also, you can find out here how your credit score affects your mortgage rate – this is also worth the read!

Delayed Financing – A Great Purchase and Financing Option

Paying cash for a house has its advantages. Purchasing with cash rather than getting a mortgage could help you as the buyer win a bidding war when buying a new home. You may even be able to negotiate a lower price on the home if you’re paying cash.

After all, cash in hand is a sure thing, and a mortgage approval can take some time and isn’t always guaranteed.

Delayed financing is a specific program that allows the buyer to take cash out on a property immediately in order to cover the purchase price and closing costs for a property they had just purchased with cash.

How Delayed Financing Works

Delayed financing is a mortgage that is originated on a property after you already own it, in comparison to a typical mortgage that is used for the acquisition of a property. The delayed financing mortgage option allow buyers to compete with all-cash buyers when purchasing the property. 

By financing the property after the initial cash transaction, the borrower/buyer is able to regain their liquidity because the money isn’t tied up in the house after the delayed financing is completed.

Keep in mind that the value of the property might not the same as the purchase price. Borrowers will need an appraisal done by their new lender to determine the value.  Moreover, your new loan can’t be more than what you paid for the property plus your closing costs and lender fees.

Why Delayed Financing?

Delayed financing is generally helpful for:

  • Investors who want to compete with all-cash buyers’ short timelines
  • Investors who want to have more bargaining power because they’re paying with cash
  • A property that has multiple offers and the seller doesn’t want to wait on financing
  • Investment properties, vacation homes, and primary residences
  • An investor who wants to take their cash out and buy another investment property

The primary reason to utilize delayed financing is that buyers can stay liquid. Investors use delayed financing to recover their cash and be able to purchase another property.

Generally, delayed financing is right for an investor who wants to take advantage of all of the benefits of purchasing a home using all cash. They can often negotiate a lower price, close faster and compete with multiple other buyers. An investor who doesn’t immediately qualify for conventional financing may also opt for delayed financing.

An Investor’s Point of View

In this case, the buyer is an investor and purchases a property using all cash.  The buyer then wants to free-up some cash back to buy another property.

The buyer can then delayed financing to recoup the cash and take a loan out on the new property, utilizing the cash back from the initial transaction!

A Primary Occupancy Borrower’s Point of View

The buyer can also use this option to compete with all-cash buyers and negotiate better terms. Delayed financing can be done as quickly as three weeks after purchasing the property, which is different from a standard “cash-out refinance” transaction, where the borrower must wait six or more months.

How Long Do You Have to Wait to Refinance?

If you’re doing a delayed financing transaction on a property you purchased in the last 6 months, you’re allowed to take cash out immediately without any waiting period.

Under normal circumstances, if you bought a home with a mortgage instead of cash, you have to be on the title at least 6 months before you can take cash out and refinance your home, so delayed financing is a notable exception.

Delayed Financing Qualifications

There are certain qualifications that need to be met in order to qualify for a delayed financing transaction.  Most specifically, the property must have been originally purchased using all cash.

Lenders generally have the following qualifications for this type of transaction:

  • Arm’s Length Transaction: You can’t be related to or have a personal relationship with the seller
  • Closing Documents: Closing statement from the property purchase
  • Proof of Funds: Showing where you got the funds to purchase the property
  • New loan amount can be no more than the actual documented amount of the borrower’s initial investment in purchasing the property plus closing costs.
  • Appraisal: Ordered by the lender and paid for by you, generally $500-plus

There can be more needed and other regulations may apply, but these listed above are most standard.

Although you may have just ordered an appraisal when you originally purchased the property, as mentioned previously, the lender will want to conduct their own appraisal before they approve your loan.

It would be my pleasure to help any borrower with a delayed financing transaction, so don’t hesitate to reach out to me for more information or to get started!

One of my favorite baseball instructors is Steve Springer, of Quality At-Bats fame. If you haven’t read much or followed Spring, you really should. He’s one of the best in the business when it comes to baseball instruction.

His specialty is the mental game, although his mechanical teaching is fantastic, as well.

The topic of the video that I’m sharing has to do with players that don’t find themselves in the starting lineup regularly. This is a must-see video on how to handle being a bench player and the right mind set that must accompany this position.

Some key quotes:

“Don’t be that guy where it’s all about me”

“Take batting practice like it’s your game…take ground balls like it’s your game…take fly balls like it’s your game and be ready when the coach calls you.”

Take Steve’s advice to heart – there can only be 9 guys in the lineup – and teams carry 25+ players, so do the math. There’s not a starting spot for everyone.

Steve Springer’s baseball hitting lessons incorporate the mental side of hitting along with increasing bat speed drills and coaching improved hitting mechanics.  Players and coaches of all levels – youth little league, high school, college and pros agree – Quality At Bats™ is one of baseball’s best hitting programs.

Summer 2019 Forecast – Buyer or Seller Market?

Most experts expect that the summer homebuying season will be quite strong. But a question remains about this real estate market: will it favor buyers, sellers, or both? Let’s take a closer look at who might benefit the most from the upcoming real estate buying season.

Remarkably, based just on consumer confidence, it appears that the summer homebuying season may be beneficial for both buyers and sellers.

According to Fannie Mae, one of the nation’s top mortgage investors, Americans are extremely optimistic about the housing market’s direction.

Growth typically means that it’s a good time to both buy and sell a home, and indicators are that Americans believe interests rates will stay relatively in check while their incomes will increase.

While consumer confidence may be high, some economists are ambivalent about the strength of the housing market.

There are some signs that the market is flattening, instead of continuing to race upward. Experts are actually divided on this issue, as home prices are still appreciating.

For instance, home sales at the national level are slowing slightly, although the rate of home appreciation is still increasing, albeit at a slightly slower rate. In addition, it’s taking a bit longer for homes to sell in some areas of the US, which means the days of homeowners benefiting from bidding wars might be on the wane.

This isn’t necessarily the case out west, as inventories are still low and there are more buyers that sellers. At the same time, with interest rates stabilizing, homes are still extraordinarily affordable, compared to historical norms.

So, who actually is going to benefit from the strong summer market?

Taking into account these facts, it looks like home buyers will have a slight advantage this summer. For starters, home prices are still on the rise but not as sharply as they once were.

Some sellers are also reducing their original listing price, which indicates they’re having trouble attracting buyers. Finally, the Federal Reserve has signaled that interest rates should stay relatively stable through the summer, which is the reason for the strong market, and as almost everyone knows, low interest rates are better for buyers. Rates have been steadily ticking downward over the last 2 months or so.

The summer homebuying season is going to be very strong, and tilted in favor of home buyers. If you’ve been thinking about buying a new home, now might be the perfect time – feel free to contact me for more information!

Source: Chicago Tribune

Daily Mental Practice For Baseball Players

I’ve consistently pointed out that the mental part of baseball is an undervalued and lesser taught piece of this great game.  Sure, mental toughness and “having a good approach” are buzzwords used by coaches every day…but what can you do to teach it?

Well, I’m linking an article by Alan Jaeger regarding some specific advice on “mental practice” every day.

Here’s’ the link to the full article – and I highly recommend that you read the entire thing!

Here are some of the key excerpts…..

Addressing The Mental Game: Prioritizing Your Practice Plan

Practice plans have been passed down for generations, and they of course have plenty of merit. But at what point (and what cost) are we going to continue to center our practice plans around physical preparation when we know that between the lines, the game is at least 90 percent mental? Hitting, throwing and running bases are all indispensable, as is bunt defense, pitchers fielding practice and first and third run downs.

But this is the 21st century – times have changed.

The good news is that society is changing for the better. More than any other generation in the past 50 years, this generation is privy to the reality that Mental Training is not only a credible field, but it’s application to sports and life is a essential. Which begs the question — what are you doing to act on this reality?

Done as a precursor to practice each day, each coach will be given enough information to lead his players through a 10 minute, mental training exercise or session that revolves around breath work.

Ultimately, whether we call “mental practice” relaxation, meditation or mental focusing time, the application of these exercises on a daily basis will have the greatest and most profound effect on your players minds. For without practice how can you expect any skill to be developed and maximized.

Understanding Where We Want To Be: The Zone, Locked In, Unconscious

Having a great mental game is as much about understanding where we want to be, as where we don’t want to be.

When things are going well it seems like the mental game is simple. And when things aren’t going so well the game can be very frustrating and complex. Understanding “how” we go in and out of these states of mind is extremely valuable.

In sports, we actually have many terms for this “optimal” state of mind. It’s been referred to by many names, including “The Zone”, being “Unconscious” and being “Locked In.” The technical term for this state of mind is called a Peak State, and has very specific attributes, including:

  1. The absence of thought
  2. A complete immersion with the action
  3. A sense of being process oriented
  4. A sense of calm or peace
  5. A detachment from the outcome.

By understanding the components of a peak state of mind, we can better understand ways to train the mind in order to put it in alignment with this ideal state.

Breath Work: The Core Ingredient Of Your Mental Practice

Mental Practice is a very broad field that includes breathing exercises, imagery, visualization, affirmations, and so on.  You can also get forms of mental practice from among other things, Yoga, Martial Arts and being in Nature. Anything that brings the mind into a state of “presence”, a state of peace and quiet can be categorized as mental practice.

But the most common element that I’ve found in mental practice revolves around the breath.

There are many reasons why the breath is at the center of mental training exercises universally, including several physiological benefits (relaxation, lower blood pressure, oxygenation), but some of the other profound benefits may be more subtle. For example, the breath is always happening now, which symbolically, can be extremely helpful in teaching the mind how to be present.

The breath is not a thought, thus, the more time you spend with your breath, the more time you are training your mind how to be in a “no-thought” state. Again, the absence of thought and being present are two major characteristics of a Peak State of mind. Thus, the breath alone can be a catalyst in changing the mind from a result oriented default, to a process oriented default.

Other benefits that can often be associated with breath work include calmness of mind, improved concentration, focus, patience, discipline and inner trust. Inner trust, which is similar to the term confidence, is a by product of spending time in a relaxing and comfortable space each day, and getting to know your self and your inner workings. Considering that your breath keeps you alive 24 hours a day, it’s safe to say that a lot can be gained simply by spending time, appreciating and understanding our breath.

Looking where to begin?

Control your breath.  Learn how to take deep breaths, in your your nose, out through your mouth.  Let your belly expand, not your neck.  Try this during your practice sessions and see how you feel.

Want to Learn More About the Mental Game of Baseball?

Here’s the link to Alan’s book that talks about his approach.  It’s called “Getting Focused, Staying Focused: A Far Eastern Approach to Sports and Life.”  

How to use a cash-out refinance to purchase another home

Photo courtesy gotcredit.com

I work with a fair amount of second home buyers and investors – and am asked how to best go about financing these properties (and second homes), as well as their required down payments.

I recently ran across this article from Peter Miller at The Mortgage Reports – and it’s a great read for those looking to tap into home equity to purchase another home.

I’d invite you to read the full article here – and I’ll mention a few key highlights:

How much equity do you have?

At first, it may seem that the equity issue is simple. You bought a house for $150,000 and it’s now worth $275,000.

You’ve paid down principal, too, so your current equity is $190,000.

Can you really get a check for almost $190,000 from lenders?

Lenders generally will allow cash-out refinancing equal to 80 percent of your equity. They will see a property value of $275,000 and subtract 20 percent ($55,000). That will leave around $220,000. This money will be used to first repay the existing loan of $85,000. The balance – $135,000 – represents the cash available to the borrower.

With some program, you might do better. The VA cash out mortgage allows qualified borrowers to refinance up to 100 percent of their equity while the FHA cash out loan will go to 85 percent. However, these programs come with various charges and insurance costs that many borrowers with equity will want to avoid.

Cash-out refinance to buy another home

With cash-out refinancing, you can use the equity in your home for many things — but not for all things. For instance, you can use the money to pay for college tuition, to purchase a business, or buy another property.

Buying a second home or investment property

In terms of real estate, you can use real estate equity to immediately buy a second home or to purchase an investment property.

As soon as you close the cash-out refi, you can use those funds as a down payment on another home — or to buy the house outright — if you plan to keep the current home as your primary residence.

How to Go About a Refinance

Reach out to your lender to begin the application process.  He or she should be able to coach you through the process – and identify the key pieces that will help you make an informed decision.

I’ve helped numerous investors with this process, and I’d be glad to see if this option might work for you, as well!  Give me a call for more….

It’s Time To Seriously Consider a Refinance

Tapping into home equity by refinancing is more of a possibility today and becoming very popular for many borrowers.

As interest rates have moved lower in the last 3 weeks and housing values across the country continue to steadily increase, homeowners now have access to a much larger source of equity and possibly better payment terms!

With current mortgage rates low and home equity on the rise, many think it’s a perfect time to refinance your mortgage to save not only on your overall monthly payments, but your overall interest costs as well.

It’s really about managing the overall assets that you have in order to maximize the returns. Make sure you are working with the right mortgage lender to help in figuring out which product is best.

What is a Cash-Out Refinance?

A mortgage refinance happens when the homeowner gets a new loan to replace the current mortgage. A cash-out refinance happens when the borrower refinances for more than the amount owed on their existing home loan. The borrower takes the difference in cash.

Rates Are Down and Home Equity is Up

Since rising home values are returning lost equity to many homeowners, refinancing can make a good deal of sense with even a small difference in your interest rate. Homeowners now have options to do many things with the difference.

More home equity also means you won’t need to bring cash to the table to refinance. Furthermore, interest rates can be slightly lower when your loan-to-value ratio drops below 80 percent.

Here’s what many of my customers are doing with that equity:

  • Consolidate higher interest debt
  • Eliminate mortgage insurance
  • Purchase a 2nd Home or Investment Property (or a combination of both)
  • Home Improvement – upgrades to kitchen, roof, or pool

Benefits of Cash-out Refinances

Free Up Cash – A cash-out refinance is a way to access money you already have in your home to pay off big bills such as college tuition, medical expenses, new business funding or home improvements. It often comes at a more attractive interest rate than those on unsecured personal loans, student loans or credit cards.

Improve your debt profile – Using a refinance to reduce or consolidate credit card debt is also a great reason for a cash-out refinance. We can look at the weighted average interest rate on a borrower’s credit cards and other liabilities to determine whether moving the debt to a mortgage will get them a lower rate.  Some borrowers are saving thousands per month by consolidating their debt through their mortgage.

More stable rate – Many borrowers choose to do a cash-out refinance for home improvement projects because they want a steady interest rate instead of an adjustable rate that comes with home equity lines of credit, or HELOCs.

2nd Home or Investment Property – many borrowers are utilizing the value of the cash in their home to purchase rental properties that cash flow better then the monthly payments of the new loan.

Tax deductions – Unlike credit card interest, mortgage interest payments are tax deductible. That means a cash-out refinance could reduce your taxable income and land you a bigger tax refund.

Reasons NOT to Refinance

Terms and costs – While you may get a lower interest rate than your current mortgage, your cash-out refinance rate will be higher than a regular rate-and-term refinance at market rate. Even if your credit score is 800, you will pay a little bit more, usually an eighth of a percentage point higher, than a purchase mortgage. Generally, closing costs are added to the balance of the new loan, as well.

Paperwork headache – Borrowers need to gather many of the same documents they did when they first got their home loan. Lenders will generally require the past 2 years of tax returns, past 2 years of W-2 forms, 30 days’ worth of pay stubs, and possibly more, depending on your situation.

Enabling bad habits – If you’re doing a cash-out refinance to pay off credit card debt, you’re freeing up your credit limit. Avoid falling back into bad habits and running up your cards again.

The Bottom Line

A cash-out refinance can make sense if you can get a good interest rate on the new loan and have a good use for the money.

Using the money to purchase a rental property, fund a home renovation or consolidate debt can rebuild the equity you’re taking out or help you get in a better financial position. 

With that said, seeking a refinance to fund vacations or a new car might not be that great of an idea, because you’ll have little to no return on your money. 

It would be my pleasure to see if this type of plan might be a good one for you.

Mortgage Insurance – Mistakes to Avoid and How to Pay Less

Most loans with less than 20 percent down (for purchases) or home equity (for refinances) require some form of mortgage insurance. This can be pricey for some borrowers, so it’s important to have a strategy to deal with this type of insurance.

Everyone wants to pay less for mortgage insurance and with a little preparation and some shopping around that may be possible.

But before we look at lower costs, let’s first explain what mortgage insurance (MI or PMI for ‘private mortgage insurance’) really is.

I highly recommend that you read the entirety of Peter Miller’s post from The Mortgage Reports, although I’ve put together a few key pieces from his article below…and my article on Mortgage Insurance here…

For conventional (non-government) loans, it may be also be called PMI, or private mortgage insurance. FHA programs require mortgage insurance premiums (MIP) regardless of the size of down payment.

VA home loans call their insurance premium a funding fee. Some lenders may not require a separate insurance policy, but charge a higher interest rate to cover their risk.

Why 20 percent down?

Mortgage lenders really, really want you to buy a home with at least 20 percent down. That’s because it substantially reduces their losses if you don’t repay your loan and they have to foreclose.

However, most homebuyers, especially first-timers, don’t have 20 percent to purchase a property. The National Association of Realtors lists these figures for median down payments in 2018:

  • All buyers: 13 percent
  • First-time buyers: 7 percent
  • Repeat buyers: 16 percent

If you don’t have 20 percent down, most lenders force you to purchase mortgage insurance. The policy covers their losses if you default and they don’t fully recover their costs in a foreclosure sale.

How much does mortgage insurance cost?

What MI costs are you likely to face? For conventional mortgages, MI costs depend on your credit rating, down payment size, and type of loan you choose. For government loans, your credit score does not affect mortgage insurance premiums.

Here’s the advice that Peter Miller gives on how to pay less….

How to pay less for mortgage insurance

Mortgage insurance can be a big cost. For example, if you buy a home for $250,000 with 3.5 percent down, and get FHA financing, the up-front MIP will be $4,222. You’ll also pay annual MIP of $171 per month. After five years, you will have spent $14,482 ($171 x 60 plus $4,222).

Here are several strategies to reduce or eliminate mortgage insurance costs.

Go piggyback

Instead of getting one mortgage, get two. Try a first mortgage equal to 80 percent of the purchase price and a second mortgage for 5, 10 or 15 percent of the balance. You can then buy with no mortgage insurance. Here’s how that might work, assuming that you have a 700 FICO score, 5 percent down, and buy a traditional single-family home for $250,000:

  • First mortgage principal and interest, assuming a 4.5 percent interest rate: $1,013.
  • Second mortgage principal and interest, assuming a 7 percent interest rate: $249
  • Total payment: $1,263

A comparable 95 percent loan with 25 percent coverage looks like this:

  • First mortgage principal and interest at 4.5 percent: $1,203
  • Mortgage insurance: $108
  • Total payment: $1,311

In this case, the difference is about $50 a month.

Refinance

If the value of your property has grown, you may be able to refinance to a loan without MI, instead of without waiting until your balance is less than 80 percent. When refinancing, you want to try for a double MI whammy — a new loan with both a lower rate and no MI requirement. Speak with a loan officer for details; the monthly savings might be significant.

Look for refundable premiums

If you expect to be a short-term owner, look for mortgage insurance programs with refundable premiums. With the FHA, for example, you can get a partial refund if you pay off the loan within three years. And private mortgage insurers also offer refundable premiums. However, their upfront costs may be higher.

Reduce your risk profile

With conventional financing, you can significantly reduce what you pay for mortgage insurance by being a less-risky borrower.

  • Improve your credit score. Even a one-point increase can save you money if it puts you into a better tier
  • Make a larger down payment. Going from 3 percent to 5 percent can save you money, depending on the program
  • Choose a fixed loan over an ARM
  • Choose a loan with a term of 20 years or fewer

Cancellation

Conventional loan guidelines allow borrowers to request cancellation of their MI once their loan falls to 80 percent of the value of the home when you took out your mortgage. You must normally be in good standing with your lender to drop MI this way.

With FHA and USDA mortgage insurance, coverage continues for the life of the loan. For VA-backed financing, there is no monthly charge.

Automatic termination

Alternatively, mortgage insurance for conforming loans “must automatically terminate PMI on the date when your principal balance is scheduled to reach 78 percent of the original value of your home. For your PMI to be canceled on that date, you need to be current on your payments on the anticipated termination date. Otherwise, PMI will not be terminated until shortly after your payments are brought up to date.”

In Conclusion

Do reach out to me to discuss your down payment and mortgage insurance options, as it would be my pleasure to help you!

Before Making a 20% Mortgage Down Payment, Do Read This

“How much should I put down on a house?”

It’s a question that I hear all the time from would-be home buyers— especially first-timer purchasers.

And, the answer is:  “it depends,” as it really will vary by buyer.

I’d highly recommend that you check out Dan Green’s article at The Mortgage Reports for more.

Per Mr. Green: “If you’re a home buyer with a good deal of cash saved up in the bank, for example, but you have relatively low annual income, making the biggest down payment possible can be sensible. This is because, with a large down payment, your loan size shrinks, reducing the size of your monthly payment.”

Or, perhaps your situation is reversed.

“Maybe you may have a good household income but very little saved in the bank. In this instance, it may be best to use a low- or no-down-payment loan, while planning to cancel your mortgage insurance at some point in the future.”

Dan continues: “One thing is true for everyone, though — you shouldn’t think it’s “conservative” to make a large down payment on a home. Similarly, you shouldn’t think it’s “risky” to make a small down payment. The opposite is actually true.”

“About the riskiest thing you can do when you’re buying a new home is to make the largest down payment you can. It’s conservative to borrow more, and we’ll talk about it below.”

For today’s most widely-used purchase mortgage programs, down payment minimum requirements are:

Remember, though, that these requirements are just the minimum. As a mortgage borrower, it’s your right to put down as much on a home as you like and, in some cases, it can make sense to put down more.

Larger Down Payments Actually Increase Risk

Green continues: “As a homeowner, it’s likely that your home will be the largest balance sheet asset. Your home may be worth more than all of your other investments combined, even.

In this way, your home is both a shelter and an investment and should be treated as such. And, once we view our home as an investment, it can guide the decisions we make about our money.

The riskiest decision we can make when purchasing a new home?

Making too big of a down payment.”

The Higher The Down Payment, The Lower Your Rate of Return

The first reason why conservative investors should monitor their down payment size is that the down payment will limit your home’s return on investment.

Consider a home which appreciates at the national average of near 5 percent.

Today, your home is worth $400,000. In a year, it’s worth $420,000. Regardless of your down payment, the home is worth twenty-thousand dollars more.

That down payment affected your rate of return.

  • With 20% down on the home — $80,000 –your rate of return is 25%
  • With 3% down on the home — $12,000 — your rate of return is 167%

That’s a huge difference. Please do reach out to me for more information so we can figure out the best down payment strategy for you!

The Mental Side | 4 Keys to Success in the Batter’s Box

Instead of measuring success by how many hits you have (or don’t) in a particular game…how about having achievable, repeatable objectives (call them “attainable goals”)?  This will absolutely help your consistency and keep your emotions in check.

More importantly, you will be a much better teammate and competitor.  The object of the game is a team win, right?

Tying your self-worth as a player to getting hits is a guaranteed ticket to an emotional roller-coaster, and in the end, it’s counter-productive to getting the results you want.

Big shout out to  DOUG BERNIER for much of this content – go here, for the full version….

Attainable Goal #1 – Situational awareness

Being aware of the situation has multiple benefits. In addition to being a mentally stabilizing attainable goal, it also increases the likelihood of having a quality at-bat!

Step 1 – Study the Pitcher

From the dugout you should be watching and studying the pitcher – check for tendencies and track pitches in counts.

Step 2 – Be Situationally Aware

Remember, baseball is actually a team sport. Take a look on the bases and know the outs, is there a situation that needs executing?

Attainable Goal #2 – Aggressive vs Passive Mentality

Once we are ready to hit in the batter’s box, our goal is to find a way to be 100% confident and ready to do damage all the way until the ball is either hit or caught by the catcher. This 3-5 second period should have no doubt, worry, or fear, penetrate its walls.

Step 1 – Identify Who You Are

To make this a truly attainable goal, you need to identify which way your thoughts are leaning.

In between pitches or at-bats take a deep breath and either continue with the aggressive attacking mentality, or realize you are a little passive or defensive and regroup and give yourself assertive and confident self talk.

Step 2 – Make the Adjustment

There is no one way to get your mentality where it needs to be. Find a way that works best for you, to get your mind right when you get into the batters box.

It’s important to remember that nobody can tell themselves to stop thinking something. The thought has to actually be replaced by a new thought.

Attainable Goal #3 – Choose your velocity

By trying to be ready for both fastball (FB) and off-speed (OS) pitches, a hitter will often find his timing isn’t great for either one. The hitter ends up being somewhere in the middle – too slow for the FB and too early for the OS.

Looking hard velocity or softer velocity can simplify an approach that will still allow you to be able to hit the pitches in that group.

With 2 strikes, all bets are off, of course.  Just battle and put the ball in play – and if you see a mistake, crush it!

Attainable goal #4 – Shrink the zone

Home plate is 7 baseballs wide. But if we are looking at the strike zone I would say its closer to 8 baseballs wide and lets say 10 baseballs tall.

If we are looking to hit every strike in that 8 x 10 box we are not going to be very successful.

There are high percentage strikes we should swing at (more likely to get good results) and there are low percentage strikes that if we swing at will usually result in weak contact and/or an out.

We need to shrink up our hitting zone until we get to 2 strikes. I like to think of making my own 3 x 3 box within the strike zone. I place this imaginary zone where I most want to hit the baseball.

In Conclusion

Having a plan isn’t guaranteed to give you the results you are looking for every time. However, taking your best swing on the pitch and location you wanted will result in better at-bats and better overall production.

And you can best help your team win that way!

Trust in the process which will clear our mind and that will allow you to take your “A” swing on more pitches in the zone that you want to hit.

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