Saturday, November 8, 2014

"When" Is Just As Important As "What"

Part of being a helpful hitting coach is empowering a hitter with mechanical awareness. However, the timing of the hitting "teach" is as imperative as the actual lesson itself.

Most collegiate hitters have some awareness of their swings, and can generalize what they think a good swing should look like. This knowledge, and a desire to create consistency, can cause hitters to analyze and make corrections to each swing. This is an average and unhealthy behavior.

Yes, the best hitters work on their swings relentlessly, but they are working on their energy, focus and concentration as much as they train their mechanics. A thousand swings working on your mechanics doesn't make you a better hitter, necessarily. Intent is king. Purpose is paramount.

Coincidentally, knowing when to coach a hitter with a particular mechanical teach is important. Video review can assist a hitter's awareness and drill work can give a hitter consistency. But when a coach or a teammate makes a mechanical comment to a hitter, are his words well thought out and planned?

Most hitters having success will be resistant to change at that time, and who can blame them? Hitting is challenging. Some elite hitters can make adjustments without sacrificing current success. But let's not think about statistical aberrations here. We're casting a large net.

A helpful hitting coach should evaluate the emotional stability, confidence and current success of a hitter. The goal isn't to give the hitter the answer, but to help him learn the answer.

There will be a time for every hitter on your team, when they crave that interaction, that assistance, that trained eye and communication. If you've been building them up with confidence, energy and passion, hitters will listen keenly to your recommendations.

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