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.
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.
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.