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I'm looking for someone to help my son with his approach at the plate. I believe he over-analyzes and lacks a plan. Has power. Good eye. Has a hard time swinging at balls (umps routinely calls 2 balls off plate in HS).

With Zoom, I would imagine location is irrelevant. He is a junior.

Would also appreciate tips for resources on the topic.

Thanks.

Last edited by Elijah
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As I previously mentioned. when your son arrives at the ballpark 1st "shut off the cell phone". When you are on the field study the opposing pitcher as he "warms" up in the bullpen. Does he have control of all pitches? If he does not reduce the pitcher to one p-itch and "wait" for it.

This can change inning to inning - good hitters adjust. "fine focus on the ball out of the hand". When you receive a "hanging curve" do not miss!!!!

Bob

Last edited by Consultant

Good advice here. My hs jr son finally realized he needs to change his approach if he wants to be recruited to the next level. He has a good eye and oftentimes the ump would agree the outside pitches were balls. However that take mentality especially as it got closer to the black was hurting him as he looked like he was not able to hit outside or own the plate. This was confirmed by everyone who has influence in the recruiting game and not just the blowhard thinks he knows it all "dad". My kid is working on hitting at least 2 baseballs from the black at multiple heights and speeds to ingrain a habit of turning on them with the same confidence as an inside pitch. Hopefully he will be a part of his hitting DNA. I am pleased to no end his current hitting instructor is pushing that philosophy and I can almost tolerate son's praise of him and his knowledge on the ride home...I look forward to one day being a grandpa and I will truly enjoy spoiling his kids and undermining his authority.

I think there is a tendency for parents to try to coach every aspect of things rather than let the kid learn by doing.  I know kids who never set foot on a baseball field without a private coach (fielding, running, conditioning... you name it).  If you don't develop the skill of observing what works, trial and error, and just plain figuring things out you aren't going to go very far in life.

Kids to need to figure stuff out, but from the small sample size of kids I know who have been drafted in early rounds over the past few years, all have had extensive private coaching.  They have also all played a hella lot of baseball, so they  have had plenty of opportunity to learn by trial and error.

As for the original question, I think any good hitting instructor will teach approach as well as mechanics, but you should ask. 

Elijah, is remote the only option?  Seems like your son needs an instructor (or Dad) to drill him on hitting with 2 strikes by encouraging him to widen his strike zone, and throwing pitches way outside where he's going to have to hit them.

@Elijah posted:

I'm looking for someone to help my son with his approach at the plate. I believe he over-analyzes and lacks a plan. Has power. Good eye. Has a hard time swinging at balls (umps routinely calls 2 balls off plate in HS).

With Zoom, I would imagine location is irrelevant. He is a junior.

Would also appreciate tips for resources on the topic.

Thanks.

First, the comment about high school umpires has to be totally taken out of the conversation.  It doesn't help any hitter to have some crutch such as it is the umpire's fault.

Having a plan is contingent upon hitters being honest with themselves and their abilities.  They also have to be honest with themselves about the abilities of the pitcher. 

Some hitters think that they are power hitters.  They are not.  For example, I saw a MLB hitter say last week that the change in his career came when he stopped looking for that perfect pitch to pull and started hitting balls where they were pitched thinking gap to gap.  I ask my hitters in their first at-bat to divide the plate in half.  Pick one half or the other and look for something hard to drive pull side OR away.  From there, hitters need to understand how they are being pitched OR HOW THE CATCHER/COACH of the other team calls a game.  For example, if a coach or catcher is calling a game, "Backwards," then in fastball counts, you are going to get an offspeed pitch.  Is that pitcher good enough to do that? 

I don't want to get too technical here.  Some coaches tell hitters that they are good enough to be two-strike hitters.  Well, some are but many at the high school level are setting themselves up for a slider.  I want my hitters to hit that fastball if it is in the zone where ever it is in the zone. 

I agree with JCG in the sense that it would be far more beneficial for a live and present hitting coach to incorporate drills into the approach/plan aspect to immediately reinforce what is being conveyed as opposed to remote lessons/discussion.

We used to spend countless hours with our HS players talking situation/count approach during BP while conducting drills that would simulate those desired situations.  The same applies to every aspect of hitting.  Immediately reinforce whatever is being conveyed with the actual act of execution.  Sometimes, that is as simple as focusing solely on hitting the ball as hard as you can or solely on squaring the ball up.  Other times, it is much more situational whether count-related plan, physical cue (foot down early), position in the box, looking away, intended trajectory, proper relaxation and breathing, zone recognition, etc.

@Consultant posted:

As I previously mentioned. when your son arrives at the ballpark 1st "shut off the cell phone". When you are on the field study the opposing pitcher as he "warms" up in the bullpen. Does he have control of all pitches? If he does not reduce the pitcher to one p-itch and "wait" for it.

This can change inning to inning - good hitters adjust. "fine focus on the ball out of the hand". When you receive a "hanging curve" do not miss!!!!

Bob

Bob, I have used similar language recently concerning observing the pitcher before and during the game. There are little "tells" that he can pick up on. I will pass long your "focus" point. Thanks.

@2022NYC posted:

Good advice here. My hs jr son finally realized he needs to change his approach if he wants to be recruited to the next level. He has a good eye and oftentimes the ump would agree the outside pitches were balls. However that take mentality especially as it got closer to the black was hurting him as he looked like he was not able to hit outside or own the plate. This was confirmed by everyone who has influence in the recruiting game and not just the blowhard thinks he knows it all "dad". My kid is working on hitting at least 2 baseballs from the black at multiple heights and speeds to ingrain a habit of turning on them with the same confidence as an inside pitch. Hopefully he will be a part of his hitting DNA. I am pleased to no end his current hitting instructor is pushing that philosophy and I can almost tolerate son's praise of him and his knowledge on the ride home...I look forward to one day being a grandpa and I will truly enjoy spoiling his kids and undermining his authority.

We are doing something similar. Lately, we have been talking more about hittable balls as opposed to "are they strikes or balls?". For outside, we also do 2 balls off at different heights. I am pleased with his work ethic and training. The problem is that he has been taking this analysis to the plate and overthinking.

We had a deeper talk about it last night after his game. He understands he needs to change his approach. I just think it would be beneficial for him to talk with someone that has been there in real situations; talk mindset and situational, adjusting to the count, etc.

He went 3-3 today with 3 RBI's. I have heard many pro's talk about hunting the fastball. I need to try and retrieve those videos. It is a start.

@Smitty28 posted:

I think there is a tendency for parents to try to coach every aspect of things rather than let the kid learn by doing.  I know kids who never set foot on a baseball field without a private coach (fielding, running, conditioning... you name it).  If you don't develop the skill of observing what works, trial and error, and just plain figuring things out you aren't going to go very far in life.

I agree with your last statement, but players don't coach themselves as you well know. There are some great videos of Ron Washington working with Ozzie Albies of the Braves. He is passing on wisdom every day. It's a mix. Fresh perspectives from those that have done it before you would be valuable.

@JCG posted:

Kids to need to figure stuff out, but from the small sample size of kids I know who have been drafted in early rounds over the past few years, all have had extensive private coaching.  They have also all played a hella lot of baseball, so they  have had plenty of opportunity to learn by trial and error.

As for the original question, I think any good hitting instructor will teach approach as well as mechanics, but you should ask.

Elijah, is remote the only option?  Seems like your son needs an instructor (or Dad) to drill him on hitting with 2 strikes by encouraging him to widen his strike zone, and throwing pitches way outside where he's going to have to hit them.

I only mentioned remote in case someone knew someone out of state (Georgia). My first impulse to find someone that can talk with him about his approach and what he is thinking during his ABs; maybe help unravel why he might be overanalyzing. Perhaps that person would recognize something obvious. If I could find THE guy in Atlanta, that would be amazing, but I don't think a bat needs to be picked up for what I am looking for.

@CoachB25 posted:

First, the comment about high school umpires has to be totally taken out of the conversation.  It doesn't help any hitter to have some crutch such as it is the umpire's fault.

Having a plan is contingent upon hitters being honest with themselves and their abilities.  They also have to be honest with themselves about the abilities of the pitcher.

Some hitters think that they are power hitters.  They are not.  For example, I saw a MLB hitter say last week that the change in his career came when he stopped looking for that perfect pitch to pull and started hitting balls where they were pitched thinking gap to gap.  I ask my hitters in their first at-bat to divide the plate in half.  Pick one half or the other and look for something hard to drive pull side OR away.  From there, hitters need to understand how they are being pitched OR HOW THE CATCHER/COACH of the other team calls a game.  For example, if a coach or catcher is calling a game, "Backwards," then in fastball counts, you are going to get an offspeed pitch.  Is that pitcher good enough to do that?

I don't want to get too technical here.  Some coaches tell hitters that they are good enough to be two-strike hitters.  Well, some are but many at the high school level are setting themselves up for a slider.  I want my hitters to hit that fastball if it is in the zone where ever it is in the zone.

Coach, there was no ill intent toward HS umps; merely observation. Knowing that actually has helped my son realize that he can not lay off those balls 100% of the time. He now will put the tee 2 balls off and practice swings.

Our approach is to barrel the ball based on where it is on the plate. He'll find HR's if he trains for the gaps. I like the visual of dividing the plate in half. I will pass that along. We are dialoging about properly observing the pitchers and pitch calling, factoring in what has been working, what is happening in the game, etc.

Thanks for your advice. I will copy them and pass them along to him.

@cabbagedad posted:

I agree with JCG in the sense that it would be far more beneficial for a live and present hitting coach to incorporate drills into the approach/plan aspect to immediately reinforce what is being conveyed as opposed to remote lessons/discussion.

We used to spend countless hours with our HS players talking situation/count approach during BP while conducting drills that would simulate those desired situations.  The same applies to every aspect of hitting.  Immediately reinforce whatever is being conveyed with the actual act of execution.  Sometimes, that is as simple as focusing solely on hitting the ball as hard as you can or solely on squaring the ball up.  Other times, it is much more situational whether count-related plan, physical cue (foot down early), position in the box, looking away, intended trajectory, proper relaxation and breathing, zone recognition, etc.

i agree that local would be better. Not all instructors are equal, of course. One of the reasons I decided to ask here  was in case someone knew of someone that really excelled in this area. Some people just have a knack. Another hurdle is the amount of time taken up by his high school schedule. Tough because we have ran into instructors that do not work on weekends.

@Elijah posted:

i agree that local would be better. Not all instructors are equal, of course. One of the reasons I decided to ask here  was in case someone knew of someone that really excelled in this area. Some people just have a knack. Another hurdle is the amount of time taken up by his high school schedule. Tough because we have ran into instructors that do not work on weekends.

Makes sense.  I'm sure some guys are getting really good at remote instruction these days too.  It is a process though.  You bake in each area until the hitter doesn't have to think about that aspect and then you move on to the next.  That's why, for example, guys like Albies still work with guys like Wash.

@Elijia, I understand that you did not intend to disparage umpires and I could have written that sentence better.  My intent was to mention that hitters have to address their at-bats and what they can control.  What I want my hitters to do is have the mindset that if a pitcher gets them out the first time, well, they are a .500 hitter and so, great because they increased their chances of getting a hit their next at-bat.  If they make an out that next at-bat, great because they have two hits left in the game for their next two at-bats.  On and on and on and make everything a positive but including the idea that they learn how they made the outs and how they were pitched.  In watching a MLB game today, I saw a dozen hitters in a row take a 1st pitch fastball away.  They swung at a 2nd pitch slider in the dirt.  It was easy to determine how they were being pitched and yet, no adjustments were made.  One of the announcers pointed it out in the 2nd inning.  If I were hitting, I'd be looking for something to drive the other way.  If I fouled that ball off, I would have a reasonable chance of getting a slider in the dirt on the next pitch.  In the game I am talking about 7 of 12 hitters hit with a 0-2 count in the first 4 inning.

Finally, catchers and coaches all call games in a pattern.  I charted my team's opponents for a couple of dozen seasons.  When we went to play a team, my team knew how they had been pitched the previous year or game and they had to build a plan based upon that for that first pitch.

Last edited by CoachB25

Mike trout said his approach is looking fastball middle. That is all the approach you need, give about the outer 3 inch of the zone to the pitcher and be very aggressive in that heart of the zone.

Depending on your strengths that heart can slightly be shifted within the zone (for example a bit more in or up if you like that more) but generally that still should be the approach, don't overthink it.

The key really is not the approach but the pitch recognition to execute it.



Screenshot_20210308_001509_us.plurib.drawphoto1

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@CoachB25 posted:

@Elijia, I understand that you did not intend to disparage umpires and I could have written that sentence better.  My intent was to mention that hitters have to address their at-bats and what they can control.  What I want my hitters to do is have the mindset that if a pitcher gets them out the first time, well, they are a .500 hitter and so, great because they increased their chances of getting a hit their next at-bat.  If they make an out that next at-bat, great because they have two hits left in the game for their next two at-bats.  On and on and on and make everything a positive but including the idea that they learn how they made the outs and how they were pitched.  In watching a MLB game today, I saw a dozen hitters in a row take a 1st pitch fastball away.  They swung at a 2nd pitch slider in the dirt.  It was easy to determine how they were being pitched and yet, no adjustments were made.  One of the announcers pointed it out in the 2nd inning.  If I were hitting, I'd be looking for something to drive the other way.  If I fouled that ball off, I would have a reasonable chance of getting a slider in the dirt on the next pitch.  In the game I am talking about 7 of 12 hitters hit with a 0-2 count in the first 3 inning.

Finally, catchers and coaches all call games in a pattern.  I charted my team's opponents for a couple of dozen seasons.  When we went to play a team, my team knew how they had been pitched the previous year or game and they had to build a plan based upon that for that first pitch.

Love the positive way of approaching AB's, @CoachB25. And hopefully your words about patterns will reinforce my words to him about a similar approach. I have passed this along.

@Dominik85 posted:

Mike trout said his approach is looking fastball middle. That is all the approach you need, give about the outer 3 inch of the zone to the pitcher and be very aggressive in that heart of the zone.

Depending on your strengths that heart can slightly be shifted within the zone (for example a bit more in or up if you like that more) but generally that still should be the approach, don't overthink it.

The key really is not the approach but the pitch recognition to execute it.



Screenshot_20210308_001509_us.plurib.drawphoto1

I'll need to look up Trout's approach. Thanks. I like your last thought. Thanks.

Here is an interview with trout. He probably is not 100 percent honest and I'm sure there are occasions where he sits off speed but I would assume that he is generally telling the truth.

https://youtu.be/ne_7xhj-Huc

What is extremely important is to have a yes yes no approach. Some people say look for a pitch in your spot and swing but that is bad, you want to think swing first and then stop if it is not a good pitch to hit.

Practice active takes. I like to have them do what I call early check swings which means stopping the bat about in the 45 degree position (see picture). Alternate pitches in the dirt and middle middle and have him stop in the early check in the bouncers and actually swing on the middle ones but time up every load for a fastball in the zone.this will give him much more time to read the pitch. Progression is first do early checks on pitches down the pipe so you stop when ball is about 2/3rd home, second you alternate between check and swing and third is random bounced and in zone balls.



Screenshot_20210308-114139

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Last edited by Dominik85

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