Proper Hitting Goals
The goals of getting a hit (short term) or to hit .300
(long term) sound reasonable at first. But having goals that are not
within ones control can lead to frustration, desperation and a
lowered probability of success.
A line drive caught by the center fielder should be considered more of a success than a bloop single over the short stop.
A more reasonable and useful goal is to have a successful at bat. Successful at bats are under the hitters control. They dont depend on how good the pitcher is or a great defensive play. They dont necessarily exclude a strike out. They can be monitored by parents or coaches and provide the basis for real improvement (which isnt necessarily the case with batting averages). Such a goal also puts success within every players reach.
A good at bat first and foremost involves taking a good swing. Players should be taught to take a good swing or not to swing at all. A bad swing single is not a success at the plate. The "just make contact" mentality has hurt a lot of young players. "Good swing" in this context includes proper tracking of the ball to the plate, good weight shift, balance, etc.
The second aspect of a good at bat is swinging at the right pitches. This part of a good at bat will vary by hitter and experience. Generally, this involves swinging only at strikes or, with two strikes, swinging at pitches that are close to being a strike. For more advanced players, this might involve swinging at specific pitches in selected parts of the strike zone early in the count.
The third aspect of a good at bat is making adjustments, especially in relation to timing. Swinging late at the first pitch is fine as long as the swing isnt as late on the next pitch, etc.
A good at bat is a short-term goal. Long term goals will vary by level and experience (and concentration levels for very young players). Batting .800, or having successful at bats 80% of the time, is a reasonable goal for many young players. When a player truly adopts good at bats as their goal, their batting average will almost always increase and they will get more enjoyment and satisfaction from the game.
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