Saturday, November 15, 2014

The Core Covenants of Hitting Consistency

Consistent performers control what they can control. Attitude, approach, effort and preparation are the core covenants of controllables.

Nothing is more important to a hitter than his attitude.

Attitude is a choice, a decision, a conscious control we each have over our thoughts. Attitude controls thought processes, body language, energy and enthusiasm. If any of these areas are poor, a hitter's chance of success is poor.

Controlling body language and self-talk are the two quickest ways to improve attitude, confidence and performance. A hitter who improves his body language to combat how he feels inside will find that he more quickly feels positive, aggressive and in control.

Bad body language is the mind saying "I'm defeated. I'm frustrated. This is hard. I hate this."

No hitter can have consistent success with thoughts like these.

Approach is not a reference to hunting a breaking ball or trying to pull the ball. Approach is a general term that reflects a hitter's selflessness, perspective and intent. Trying to hit a home run with the bases empty and your team down three is not having a bad attitude. This is a poor approach. This hitter's perspective is not good. His strategy is one of self-importance and ego.

Effort is easy to see. We can all tell when someone is giving less than their best. Often, a poor effort is related to a poor approach. A runner lets off the gas because he is worried about re-injuring a knee that is fully healed. A hitter doesn't lift as hard during his session because he knows there is a game today and he is afraid of being tired or sore.

Often, poor effort is a result of an attempt to avoid pain. Frequently, this perception of potential pain is just that: perception. No real pain is imminent or even likely. Conversely, when an athlete pursues pleasure (i.e. the pride of hard work, the feeling of success, record breaking, winning, etc.), there are few limits, particularly in his effort.

Preparation is as much about having a detailed plan as it is about working hard. Working smart is underrated. Success leaves clues, and the most consistent hitters pay attention to the detailed regimen of professional hitters. Professional hitters are not just hard working, they are smart working.

Each workout has a plan of action, and each plan is a piece of a puzzle that they know how to put together. Working on hitting sliders in the first week back hitting in the off season is not a smart plan. A hitter's pride and ego can be restricting, if his approach to his preparation is not well thought-out.

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