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I’m sure you know from experience that hitting a baseball consistently for any length of time is one of the most difficult and frustrating things to do in sports. There are two areas of your overall baseball preparation you’ll need to develop on a regular basis if you want the most consistency possible as a competitive athlete – the mental game of baseball, and proper hitting mechanics. If you’re interesting in learning more about baseball psychology there are quite a few resources online as well as my blog. This article is reserved for teaching a little on the topic of hitting mechanics.
I get the chance to work with dozens and dozens of athletes individually each year. It’s truly a rewarding experience much of the time, though at times it can be extremely frustrating to see such talented athletes fail to put in the necessary work to achieve some consistency in their swing. I never have a tough time getting the athletes to work hard when I work with them in the cage. It’s when athletes have to motivate themselves to work outside of their practice days when their work habit breaks down.
In order to become a highly consistent and effective hitter, I prescribe the following “medicinal procedure” to be used away from practice:
1. Dry Drills: These are hitting mechanics related drills that are meant to reinforce muscle memory. It is impossible to only put in two to three days on a specific hitting technique and make it stick long-term. The problem you’ll run into is that during a game your focus will be placed on the pitcher and not your mechanics. If you have failed to put in the necessary time to build quality muscle memory, you’ll revert back to the problems you were initially trying to fix.
2. Mental Rehearsal: The mind is a powerful tool for good or evil. When you use your mind for positive imagery or visualization you will increase your effectiveness as a hitter. If your mind pollutes your body with thoughts of failure, your body will respond in a negative way. Lack of confidence and fear can destroy a good hitter. To make sure you are conditioning your brain in the right way, it’s highly important that you replay mental video clips of yourself succeeding offensively. This is easy to do, many of you do it all day long in other areas. Sometimes your mind wanders in church or school and you lose focus as to what is occurring around you. If you can slip into this mode and daydream about your performances, you can truly become a master of the mental game of baseball.