Part 2 – Exclusive from Cardinals Hitting Coordinator, Pro tips for Hitting

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Cardinal’s Hitting Coordinator and former MLB outfielder Derrick May, shares hitting mechanics and mental strategy.

This is Part 2 – Hitting mechanics and mental strategy.  Did you miss part 1?  What it takes to make it to the Major Leagues

Who is Derrick May?

Currently, May is in his 6th year as the Cardinal’s minor league hitting coordinator. If that doesn’t impress you, think of it this way… More than 100 professional baseball players – that is who May is currently responsible coaching in baseball hitting mechanics, mental approach, strategy, and more.

The Cardinals have invested A LOT of money in drafting good players, and it’s May’s job to make sure they’re ready for the Big Leagues.

May spent ten years playing outfield in the Major Leagues, and longer than that as a manager/coordinator in the Saint Louis Cardinals organization. Additionally, he comes from a baseball family. His father also played Major League baseball, and his brother is a scout for the Blue Jays.

1.  You are in charge of a lot of guys, teaching many many hitters… You’ve seen and know what works…  What are some aspects of hitting that you teach all your players?

Derrick May:  I think it’s important to remember that there are many different hitting styles, and that no one hitting style is THE right one.   It’s important to identify guys and work with them to improve, optimizing and enhancing to help them become the best version of themselves.

2.  For guys who are new to pro ball, what is the #1 mechanical flaw for hitting that you have to fix?

Derrick May:  Usually the length of the swing path is too long, so that’s something we’ll work on.   Also, getting off the backside, so they get the most out of the lower half.

Many players don’t realize it but they’re trying to swing up.  So we need to work on bat path.   The first move to the baseball is the most important.

3.  How important is the mental side of hitting?

Derrick May:  The mental side of hitting is the MOST important.  In my opinion, it’s more important than the mechanical, at least if you are an elite player.

Of course you have to have the mechanical stuff first.  But it’s the mental side that will set you apart and ultimately determine your success.   If you don’t have the mental, you don’t have anything.

4.  What are some ways a player can work on the mental side of their game?

Derrick May:  I recommend visualization.  Visualize the outcome you want before and during games.

And after the game, go back over what happened and try to learn from it.  If you made a mistake, visualize the better outcome you want to happen next time.  It just helps to prepare you and build confidence.

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About Author

Doug Bernier, founder of Pro Baseball Insider.com, debuted in the Major Leagues in 2008 with the Colorado Rockies, and has played professional baseball for 13 years. Most recently, Doug signed with the Minnesota Twins in 2013, where he logged time at every infield position except 1st base in 33 Major League games. Currently Doug is with the Twins' AAA team in Rochester, NY

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