Great College Hitters have a tremendous amount of mental and emotional management skills. That should go without saying. Compared to the mental side, the physical side of hitting is really a smaller part of college success. I would like to expand on just 3 of the things I feel make hitting at the college level easier.
1. Less Equals More. Shorter strides and smaller steps rule. I can pick out the better hitters in a college batting practice simply by watching the stride lengths. The hitters with the smaller strides will be a lot better with their timing and ultimately more consistent. Hitters with the bigger strides tend to be more susceptible to chasing bad pitches. This is mainly because their front foot is usually landing at the same time the commitment has to be made. This is multi-tasking and pretty impossible to manage at the speeds necessary to recognize, track, and time a ball. More accurate timing systems happen much sooner in the process. If it is absolutely necessary for a hitter to have a huge stride, it needs to be completed prior to the pitcher’s release -a feat that is more difficult to do than we think. The hitters with more raw talent can usually get away with bigger strides. Shortening stride lengths is a great way to help your 7, 8, and 9 batters to improve their consistency.
2. Keep It Under 100. You ever see a hitter hit a long home run and it seems like they barely swung? Yeah. That happens more often than you think. Swinging at 100% strength levels actually makes hitters weaker. I always preach this to my hitters, “I’d rather you be in control of 85% than to not be in control of 100%.” Balance, body control, coordination, vision, and power are far more efficient when a hitter is performing somewhere in between 85 and 90 percent strength levels.
3. Extension is Everything. So many super coaches out there put so much emphasis on the things that do not support great hand path. In fact, if the lower half of the body takes the hands in the wrong directions, there are a lot of problems that will occur that the most talented athlete cannot recover from. The body has to support hand path. It cannot do its own thing. Simply getting to the ball is contact -getting through the ball is power. I promise you if you spent more time on extension and less time in the weight room, your power numbers would increase and your injuries would decrease!
| 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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