By Dave Holt
Not too many top hitters really look forward to getting hit by a pitch. A high velocity four-seam fastball is going to hurt if it hits you.
The fastball pitch can hurt so much that it makes you cry. The pain and sting from being hit by a pitch is real. From Little League baseball all the way to the Major Leagues, the ball hurts when it hits your body.
When Fear Affects Hitting
We know players who play the game are not looking forward to being hit by a pitch and often have a fear of being hit in the face with baseball. The successful top hitters are able to keep the fear of the pitch from affecting their hitting skills.
The top hitters are able to overcome the fear and conduct their swings aggressively and effectively. Many young hitters carry the fear of being hit by pitch into their hitting skills.
They become defensive hitters. They bailout, step away, lean backwards and pull off the ball. Frustration begins and the end of the youth ball career may soon be approaching. Baseball how to hit will not work when fear controls the hitting reactions.
Batting Coach Teaches Hitting Skills
Not a Game for the Timid
Youth sports coaches will have to teach kids every season that are fearful of being hit in the face with baseball. If a player lets their fear of the ball affect their hitting technique they will struggle at the plate.
To hit a fastball consistently when facing good pitching one has to hit without the fear physically affecting or altering their swing skills.
Tips on Hitting:
Problem Solving Hitting Drills
Baseball and softball hitting coaches will need to know some drills to help hitters when the fear of the ball affects the baseball swing.
First tip on batting fearless is to keep the front foot from bailing out. Keep the front shoulder from pulling out. Let the player know if the pitch comes inside and looks like it will hit you then do the ‘inward roll’.
That means the hitter will turn inward which is opposite of opening up. If the pitch hits you the damage will be minimized to a really hard sting and a bruise for a few days.
The pitch will hit the back of the helmet, back of the shoulder, your back pocket area or the back of your leg. When teaching baseball how to hit this is the correct way to take a severely inside pitch.
Contrast that with opening up. Your whole face is exposed. Your hands and arms, the chest area and all the vital areas that are susceptible to severe injuries are vulnerable….Plus, you are hitting in a very weak position with little chance of hitting a ball hard especially facing good quality pitching.
Stepping out is a lose-lose hitting technique. Keeping the front shoulder, and front foot in is a win-win tips on hitting. This is the safest and most powerful position when learning how to be a better hitter.
How to Be a Better Hitter
No fear drill: Have the batter get in their stance. Have a few wiffle balls, tennis balls or safety balls.
Toss the pitches from up close or underhand tennis balls so the ball will hit the batter on the inside pitch. Make sure the batter is performing the inward roll batting drill technique.
The ballgame skills should have the batter getting hit the pitch on the backside of the body parts with vital body parts out of harms way. This is how baseball how to hit methods are used.
Professional Hitters Approach
- Tell them you know the ball hurts when it hits them.
- The safest way is to turn away or inward roll.
- Everyone is trying not to get pegged. That is okay.
- Do not let the fear of being pegged mess up their swing.
- Use the No Fear Drill to teach proper baseball swing.
- Keep doing the drill if the hitters bail out.
- Fear and bailing out will send the player out of the game if not corrected.
Young batters sometimes never get their aggressiveness back after being pegged. Work with them and try to get them back in the box and how to hit swing.
The Game is a survival of the fittest. When fear dominates the batting swing the player will not survive long and they will have to deal with frustration, lack of playing time, and embarrassment along the way.
After finishing his professional playing career Dave spent eleven seasons managing in the Red Sox minor league system helping to develop several major league ballplayers. After leaving the Red Sox Dave managed and recruited in the Independent Professional Baseball leagues. He has also coached collegiate wood bat and high school teams. His site, coachandplaybaseball.com is a wealth of information for baseball players and coaches of all levels.