The Baseball Observer Feb 2015 vol 1 - Page 28

That belief alone already puts you in a negative mental state before you ever get to the plate. What you need to understand is that just because you didn’t get a hit to get on base you didn’t fail as a batter… If you hit the ball and it’s a ground out or a fly out that’s not a failure – you did what you were supposed to do –put the ball in play. Here’s an example. You hit a screaming line drive and the third baseman happens to react quickly, dives to his left and makes an incredible catch. At the end of the day it goes in the books as an out and against your batting average. Did you fail? No. You hit the ball. Hitting in itself is a difficult task. Hitting a round ball (that’s curving or dropping with varying speeds) with a round bat and have about .5 to .7 seconds to do it in – CONGRATS that ain’t easy. So never get upset for hitting the ball no matter what the outcome. So what are some fundamental things you can do as a hitter to break the brainwashing that hitting is mostly failure and the mental preparation and strategies to become a better hitter? We start by getting the correct mind set and mental approach. Here is a quick look at three basic things you should begin with. #1: Mind Set - Hitting actually has a 7582% SUCCESS rate The average strike out percentage since 1980 for college and pro players ranges between 18-25% ( Therefore the average hitter actually only “fails” 18-25% of the time so that’s a success rate of 75-82%! I include walks and HBP as success also. Your primary purpose as a batter is to hit the ball. Once you hit the ball you have no control over the fielders and if they can get to the ball or even field it correctly – it’s out of your hands. Again, plain and simple - your primary job as a batter is to put the ball in play. So now you see factually that hitting the ball actually has a high success rate - never forget that. There is too much emphasis that successful hitting is only measured by base hits and home runs. Say you go 0-3 in a game. You hit the ball every time hard but two were ground outs and one fly out. Most batters would be disappointed. You shouldn’t be – you hit the ball. You controlled what you could control. Remember, once you hit the ball it’s out of your hands. #2 Control - You can only control YOU You can control you – that’s it. You can’t control an ump’s strike zone (or bad calls), the weather, the pitches thrown, the fielders skill level, field conditions, obnoxious fans, etc. You can control your at-bat. Strive to get what many coaches keep track of – a Quality At Bat (QAB). A QAB can be simply defined as: “An at bat in which the batter is productive in a way that fits the situation, whether that involves advancing the runner with a sacrifice bunt or even a ground ball out, getting on base, or making the pitcher throw a lot of pitches. Thus a quality at bat is not measured simply by the standard batting statistics such as batting average, on-base percentage, or slugging average.” Ask your coach how they “define” a QAB.