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Re: Did I get cheated out of a better career?

Posted by: Torque (roscoethewestie@comcast.net) on Wed Jun 10 04:16:45 2009

> I started out seeming like a two-way player when I was younger. The better the pitcher, the harder I would hit him. I hit for a very high average, and I had some pop when the pitcher would make a mistake. I was also a feared power pitcher too. A year and half ago when I tried out for the HS team as a freshman, the JV coach took one look at my arm during tryouts(didn't even bother to see me hit)and decided I was a starting pitcher. During fall ball I worked out with the Varsity coach and he saw me have one bad session in BP. He asked "are you a pitcher or a ball player?", and I stupidly replied I was a pitcher, and I now realized this was really bad, because it could have been brushed off as a bad round of BP if I had said I was a ball player. I am now expected to be the best pitcher in the league with an upper-80s fastball, which will happen, but I want to hit. I am a D1 pitching prospect, and have been looked at. However, my questions are this:
> What can I do to change my coaches' mind? I hit well in BP consistently but I still don't get a chance. What kind of workouts can I do to consistently hit the ball out? I honestly think hitting it over the fence is the only way to grab my coach's attention. I am big enough to do so. How can I convince my coach that I am a hitter when I have no real defensive position anymore? I do not see myself being the DH; we have bigger power-hitting meatheads on the team who can't field.
> Thanks.

You have a perception problem and you have to changes your coaches perception. The best way to correct perception issues is to frame up the picture that you want to paint. Perception issues are not corrected in a single conversation or request but are corrected over a series of planned events. Most people want to fix it in a single request or conversation and though this could be quicker if it worked it is often ineffective. So you look at what you want and start planning. You said you need a defensive position and you want to hit.

I'd be humble about where I wanted to work out defensively. Maybe tell the coach you want to work out in right or left field in practice. Tell him you have a good glove and strong arm and want to get some work in out there. Maybe let him know you were a very good fielder at one time and would like to knock some rust off.

If you can line up some defensive work in practice and prove yourself then maybe you get game time defensively. If you get game time defensively, then you are in the hitting lineup and this will get you at bats. The key to the door is defense then hitting because all fielders hit.

As far as BP, I'd work on hitting hard line drives up the middle and in the gaps. When you are doing this consistently then maybe you go to the hitting coach and let him know you are interested in getting a little more loft on the ball to hit it out. Ask him to help or if he has any ideas on getting the ball out of the park. I'd work hard on line drives and hard hits up the middle first though. I've generally found if you are humble and ask for help people above you such as your coach they are often willing to help you. Your peers may not be as willing to help because you are competing against them and they will often work subtly against you in whatever manner is socially acceptable. Peers may make jokes about your hitting or fielding hoping someone in power hears or it falls in their ears.

I'd look at positions where your team is weak defensively and try to work in that position if you have the strengths to play the position full time. As far as hitting goes, I'd buy the DVD on this website and understand what Jack Mankin means concerning top hand torque, bottom hand torque, correctly slotting your rear elbow when swinging, correct lower body movements when swinging. Study Internet clips of great hitters too. A lot of this material can be boring but you have to have to be self disciplined enough to study it, understand it and put it into practice. I'm sure studying and understanding a golf swing wasn't something Tiger Woods was excited about as a teenager but he did it anyway to become great at it. The same goes with a baseball swing and it takes consistent effort and time (years). You have to have a pretty good idea of what you are doing and how to hit the ball very hard whether it be groundballs or line drives. I'd perfect the hitting techniques on the tee and take it to live pitching. Some of the best hitting you can do is very consistent and hard line drives in both gaps and up the middle using a tee on a baseball field. It doesn't seem like much but it really helps with consistency which is much more important than occasional hard hits. It also takes time and practice because the results and better performance come slowly and little by little. Also, measure the success of your at bats by how hard you hit the ball on the ground and in the air. You can't measure hitting success by whether you got a basehit because there are 9 guys trying to keep you from hitting so a hard hit ball is a well hit ball even if someone catches it.

Sorry to be so long but you seem to be sincere in your request for advice and I want to make sure I address your issues thoroughly. Defensive position first and it will take a series of conversations and actions on your part with your coach to change his perception.


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