Mechanics tend to make hitters robotic, tense, and at times really over analyze their swings. I do my best while working with hitters to avoid over-coaching and picking apart every swing a hitter takes. We want to develop movement patterns conducive to producing optimal results, and I don’t care what player you ask, a ground ball to the opposite side of the field is not the result they truly want on a consistent basis. Any hitter with a brain wants to drive doubles and triples into the gaps and hit their fair share of home runs… fair statement?
So, if that statement is true, then why so often are hitters told to hit the ball on the ground and hope the defense makes a mistake? Pitching coaches: what do you teach your pitchers? Keep the ball down, throw strikes, get ground balls.. right? So why in the world have we as hitters been taught to hit the ball on the ground? Doesn’t make much sense does it? For those of you who have hit with us over the past year, you’ve likely gotten to use our HitTrax simulator. This has been an unbelievable addition to baseball facilities around the country. Those of you who have hit using this technology were made aware and now understand the importance of exit velocity and launch angle off the bat. If you watch Major League Baseball, this data is all over the place now showing the most recent home runs and how hard, how high, and how far they were hit. I can’t tell you how many hitting instructors I’ve seen who are determined to finish their half hour lesson and have all the balls in the back of the cage because the hitter did nothing but poke balls back up the middle and stay off the top of the cage. Statistics have proven that the most damage (extra base hits) comes between a launch angle of around 18 - 35 degrees.. So why would you encourage your hitter NOT to work on it? To me, that’s like taking a sprinter who knows that in order to succeed, he has to run faster than everyone else to win, but you only work on how to walk/jog. If you want to be good at something, you have to work on it!!
If a hitter like Altuve just settled with the ceiling that most coaches would likely put on him and didn't continue to learn and make adjustments and TRY to drive the ball.. there's no telling how average his career would've been. Now, he's in the World Series hitting homers and is probably the MVP. Hitters all around baseball are learning how to consistently hit the ball harder with positive launch angles and we've seen more home runs that EVER before in the MLB in 2017. It's not easy to do, but it's a pretty simple idea when you take the time to learn what makes the best hitters in the world successful.
So guys, regardless of where you are right now or what a coach is telling you.. have a growth mindset and continue to educate yourself and learn to do more damage at the plate. If you haven't read our blog yet about having an approach.. do that. Start there. The most important thing you can do is learn to swing at pitches you can do damage with and be on time for those pitches. Yes, you have to get stronger and yes, you have to have a swing tailored to launching baseballs... but that's it. Work hard in the cage and in the gym and swing at good pitches.
Here's where we can help: by hitting our overload balls, you can be your own coach by getting immediate feedback on your attack angle (or approach angle) and strengthen your point of contact. For your own personal set of overload balls, click here: https://www.sevnteenco.com/products/soft-grip-weighted-balls-hitters-set