Re: besides mechanics, what does great hitting take?
> Most of the posts in this forum deal with the vital issue of the swing. I was wondering what thoughts people out there have on the "other" requirements for great hitting? Ted Williams was often quoted as saying 50% of hitting was mental. So what do you think? How much of a role do things like basic strength, speed, size, ability to remain calm & focused, knowledge of the game, knowledge of the pitcher and his pitches, etc; play in success?
most players as well as their coaches do not undertand that there are 2 aspects to hitting.. the mental and the physical. it is a symbiotic relationship..they feed off each other.also, consider in this relationship a player can be no stronger than the weakest link in his chain. when one aspect is not performing up to the level of the other, the overall performance will be affected adversely. a player who is thinking about how fearful he is of losing his job because of his poor play..or how the coach doesn't like him..rather than focusing his entire mental powers on the specific task at hand from pitch to pitch.. is going to hurt his performance as much as would pulled ribcage muscles. you can have all the physical skills in the world..great eyesight, terrific reflexes, world clas hand-to-eye coordination.. but if a player doesn't get the mental nourishing from his coach so he understands the specific demands he needs to focus upon.. what it is that needs to be done, and how to go about doing it well.. then he will underachieve woefully. it is my observation that so many good young players with wonderful physical skills are destroyed.. never advance to the highest levels of baseball.. by coaches whose approach is god-awful.. comounded by their failure to understand their primary job is to teach.
i ask a player "you step in the box.. what are you trying to do?" the most common answer is "i dunno.. get a hit!".. which is an ok answer.. but in my world not anywhere NEAR goal-specific enough to perform at his best. he needs to be more goal-specific.. and say something like: "i'm lookin' for a straight-as-a-nail FB knee-high on the inner half.. & if i get it, i WILL be rippin"!!"
when you are coaching according to being as goal-specific as possible on every pitch.. you teach the player to regard every play as being in the 10th inning of the 7th game of the world series.. thus his level of focus & concentration is at its best at all times.. pretty soon his level of focus & concentration is increased. when that happens, he cannot do anything but improve. i tell players to "be like Mike.. practice like you play". anyone who witnessed Michael Jordan practice realized this guy never took a play off..even in practice.. & neither should any competitor.. at any time.. even in BP.
try to get the player to elevate his level of focus.. & he will understand that you (the coach)have increased expectations of his play. in that way..it can only get better.
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