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Re: Re: At Bat Plan

Posted by: tom.guerry (tom.guerry@kp.org) on Fri May 3 09:31:24 2002

Here's another item for discussion. We've all been told to look for a pitch in a zone and if its there swing. Critique this plan for me:
> >
> > While at bat, imagine the top of a hitting T slightly in front of the plate. Focus on this spot while keeping your eyes on the ball. Your goal is to meet the ball at the "T". With this thought process you've already decided where you are going to swing. Very advantageous in terms of loading and readiness. If the pitch will cross the T, swing. If it won't, don't. Another big advantage is it reduces lunging. How many times have you seen players take good swings at the T but in live action the timing messes them up and they rush or they're early, or late. Defining where to swing before swinging reduces the decision to yes or no. Timing is still an issue but if you know where you are swinging its easier to time the ball to that spot. This has greatly helped my sons. It's kind of like aiming or pointing the swing at a spot and when they pull the trigger they automatically go to that spot. Line drives are numerous. Good swings are regular. Of course with 2 strikes you have to shorten up and protect the plate a little better.
> >
> > When you start off you'll find that maybe you can only hit a ball in an area the size of a softball. However, as your swing, timing and judgement improve your hit zone (your T) grows to maybe the size of a volleyball or basketball. Pitchers always try to avoid this area but why swing at anything else until you get two strikes.
> >
> > What I have learned from personal experience in DII college and fastpitch and in teaching my sons and their friends is that keeping your eye on the ball without focus on the hitting zone is a major problem that cause lunging, casting etc. They see the ball as it's coming, they decide to swing and then they send the bat to the spot the ball was when they decided to swing. They lunge, they cast. Focusing on the T keeps them back, keeps them balanced. It gives them the advantage of setting up to the spot they are swinging at instead of having to make that judgement in a fraction of a second.
> An interesting cue or visualization technique. I have a few kids in mind to try this with. Thanks for the idea.

Some thoughts.

Read Paul Nyman's stuff on visual system.There is probably a different set of pathways more like black and white night vision or peripheral vision that does the tracking of high speed projectiles.Consciously trying to focus interferes and degrades the brain/body's attempt to predict contact and get the sweetspot there.It's fine to go from soft focus to hard focus at release,but don't try to consciously follow the ball all the way in.Turning the head back to follow the ball in will slow the swing and inhibit rotation according to both Nyman nad Epstein.

In addition there are motor program considerations.Hitting off atee is a very different program from hitting live.Even hitting live in practice is considerably different from hitting in the stress of a game.Try to make practice and games and piece/part practice as compatible as possible so the body doesn't have too many things to commit to memory.I prefer kids who hit off a tee to look out at where the pitcher would be and have the ball in the perpheral vision with no turning of the head in when they swing.They make contact fine and rotate faster with better batspeed on the meter(2-3mph).

If you look at the head/eyes of home run hitters at contact,they are usually still looking out toward the pitcher.For a comparison clip of a real prospect with a real pro see:


Don't turn your head in like the prospect.


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