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7 Ways to Hit in Games
like you do in Practice
While it’s common for hitters to hit better in practice than in games, it still drives us crazy when it happens! I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve heard a coach or parent start off a sentence with, “if this kid could hit in games like she hits in practice…” And while the cause might seem like a lack of effort on the player’s part, the real culprit is the exact opposite. Most players tend to try Too Hard during games causing them to become tense, and slow. Nobody goes up to bat to strike out or look ridiculous. But why does it happen, and more importantly, what can we do about it?
I’ve come up with a list of 7 mistakes that I commonly see hitter’s make that prevent them from hitting well. Often these won’t be as bad in practice as they are in games simply due to a lack of pressure in practice. Let’s take a quick look at this list:
- Shoulders – tense shoulders create slow hands. Watch for high shoulders as a sign of tension.
- Small Movements – keeping your hands & elbows moving in tiny circles helps swing quicker.
- Load – cocking the wrist of your top hand during load helps power.
- Follow – your eyes need to follow the path of the ball as it goes from the pitcher to the plate.
- See – looking & seeing are totally different. Hitters must quickly get information from what they’re looking at…that’s “seeing”.
- Finish – hitters will often twist to the side when following through. Finish forward and long past impact.
- Risk – a good hitter must risk swinging & missing.
Whenever you’re doing a skill that requires speed, tension is not your friend. In fact, tension makes us slower by making it more difficult for our muscles to fire. While our players think they simply need to “try harder”, it’s the “harder” part that ends up doing them in. Harder implies more tension, and more tension makes them slower – thus hurting their performance. So what do they do? They try even harder – getting even slower. By now they’re totally frustrated and any chance of improving their performance is long gone.
When it comes to hitting this is exactly what happens in games. To players, games equal tension. Most players see games as opportunities not to blow it instead of trying to hit the heck out of the ball. Most players spend games simply trying “not” to do something. But that’s not so in practice. In practice, players are more relaxed, get more reps and as a result, aren’t as worried about making mistakes. This lack of worry helps them relax their muscles making them quicker for skills like hitting.
Download your copy of the complete HITTING – PRACTICE vs GAMES CHECKLISTand get your hitters on track!
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Hitting - Practice vs Games
Have you ever said to yourself, “I wish she’d hit in games like she does in practice”? If so, then there are things you can do to start bridging the gap between practice and games. For instance, did you know that how you place the ball on the Batting T can actually matter – here’s how:
The next time your players are hitting off a batting T, place the ball on the T with the 2 close seams facing up-and-down and facing backwards. Have the hitter hit the seam closest to her – this keeps her “inside the ball” instead of casting out.