Most people fail for lack of planning. Especially lack of effective planning. That is not only in sports performance but life in general. As far as hitting is concerned, whenever I ask a hitter the general question, “What's your plan?” a hitter will look at me as though I have two heads. It is my intent as a coach to make sure all my hitters understand that in order to perform at a high level they must master the organizing of their thoughts -a vitally important factor.
Let's look at some ways in which hitters can begin to improve in the area of game plan development:
1. Know Thyself
First I need to know how to separate what I am good at from what I am not so good at. Identify my zone. What pitches do I drive more consistently and what pitches do I struggle with? I need to better position myself to get those pitches that are more me, the majority of the time.
2. Know Your Opponent
Before the game starts I need to identify the opposing pitcher when she is in the bullpen. What is her best pitch? What is her second best pitch? Here is where I begin to get a sense of how I will time her. Most players do not do this until they get in the batter's box. Too late.
Also how has she worked some of the other batter's? Do I have a clear sense of what she will throw certain hitters in certain counts? Remember, most great ones know what pitch is coming more than 80% of the time.
3. Keep a Journal
It is really important to document your successes and shortcomings. The writing down of your goals and objectives is what lots of successful people do. It is a great habit. Writing down important post game information such as what pitcher you faced, what she got you out on, and what you were successful hitting -especially on what counts you had specific results is key.
Going back to reference what has transpired can be very helpful in your process for not repeating history in the failure department and vice versa.
4. Stick to My Strengths
I feel like one of the worse things a player can do especially in season, is work on their weaknesses. In fact, I almost want to say, “If you have a weakness, try to avoid exposing it.” One should be totally focused on what they do well. And position yourself to be able to feature your strengths as often as possible.
For example, if you are really good at hitting the inside pitch, you should crowd the plate more. So many hitters continue to position themselves to get outside pitches when they know they aren't very good at hitting them. That's not smart hitting to me. Not good planning.
All softball players and coaches playing in fall games this year -I encourage you to try this in your games. Coaches, if you can get your less talented players to be smarter, they can realize a lot more success by elevating their mental game.
Effective game plans help with more efficient decision making and helps younger players to grow as the competition gets better and faster.
| Rob Crews is based in Southern New York, and is one of the most sought after hitting coaches in the country. He is the Author of the book, Complete Game: The Emotional Dynamics of In-Game Focus.Rob provides consultant services for hitting coaches and develops hitting models for professional, olympic, and amateur softball and baseball programs. He served as the hitting coach for USSSA Pride (NPF) in their 2010 championship season, along with Tim Walton (UF), and Beth Torina (LSU).
As a consultant to companies like SKLZ, AXIS Bats, Bratt Sports, and MicroGate USA, Rob is continually developing comprehensive accelerated training systems that involve modern sports psych, neuromechanics, and visual strategies for efficiency in recognition and tracking.
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