“Either you can hit or you can't.” Have you ever heard that phrase before? Well if you can't hit at the travel ball level, you're more than likely not going to magically figure it out in college. On the other hand, if you're a great hitter at the travel ball level, you are not guaranteed success at the college level. Why? Because compared to travel level pitching, college pitching is no-joke. College pitching is significantly better.
Pitchers at the next level just don't make the same mistakes. College pitchers have better control, more movement, and that movement usually happens later. Also, the higher the level of college softball you play, the better the pitching.
I am going to outline with brief explanations, 7 attributes Travel Ball Hitters need for College level success. If not, you will sit the bench for 4 years.
1 . Work Ethic – developing a solid and disciplined work-ethic usually stems from a parent who really pushes you toward a practice regiment. Swinging the bat everyday, 200 swings minimum is about less than 30 minutes of work -seven buckets to be exact. Certainly doable. There aren't very many lazy All-Americans at the college level. Most players that are workers in college, we're workers before they got there.
2. Adaptability – being able to handle the criticism of your college coaches is also key. A hitter's ability to adapt to new concepts and embrace adjustments is vital. There will be changes made, and being emotional a bout those changes will only hinder your progress. I always suggest hitters have a conversation a bout hitting with their college coaches before committing. Find out what hitting philosophies your college coaches believe in. This could help in avoiding a lot of unnecessary stress down the road. You cannot expect your college coaches to understand how to teach to different swings. Some can and some simply will not.
3. Short- Memory – you will experience some failure. The adjustment of the new college lifestyle alone, is enough to effect your on-field performance. Being able to leave yesterday's game in the past will help you to move forward. I have seen many hitters who are unable to turn the page. Hitters who aren't mature enough to bounce back from adversity will surely fail. This could mean the difference between being pretty good or great.
4. Bullet -Proof Confidence – your confidence will prevail due to your preparation. A false sense of confidence is based on past success. You need to be confident regardless of the past. Your resilience will contribute to your ability to compete for a starting spot and keep it. If you don't believe in yourself, how can your coaches believe in you?
5. Pitch Selection – there are so many hitters at the HS and Travel ball level who never really gain an understanding of what a game plan is. Most hitters don't know they need one or what a game plan is for that matter. A bad game plan is better than no game plan at all. Hitters are making outs mostly due to swinging at pitches they should have taken or taking pitches they should have crushed.
6. Short-Stride – I can watch a college team take BP and pick out the consistent hitters without any foreknowledge of their stats. The hitters with the shorter strides will generally have m ore success because timing is easier for them. Getting the front foot anchored and planted early in the process, simplifies timing which is a huge part of college success. Most college hitters never realize this factor till their junior year. Why wait?
7. Great Extension – hand path is the key to creating great ball spin, flight, and trajectory. This is an immutable fact. When the barrel is in the strike-zone longer, it is so much harder to fail.
Extension and being long through the strike zone is something that you must do in order to be successful as a college hitter. In fact, in video analysis of college hitters with a .400 average and higher, I have seen identical extension in about 9 out of every 1 0. It's no coincidence that 5 of the 7 attributes are mental traits. I will end this short article by saying this:
“Every .400 hitter is only 150 points smarter than a .250 hitter.”
| 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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