How to be a better baseball hitter: The most under-rated key to hitting

7

It’s so easy to over complicate the process of hitting a baseball.  How to be a better baseball hitter starts with seeing the baseball.  Here are 4 tips to help you see the baseball and hit it better.

It’s so easy to over complicate the process of hitting a baseball.

We take hundreds of swings off a batting tee. We analyze how our back elbow is driving down through the baseball. We examine our stride length and make sure our bat path is perfect.

This is all good stuff but it is possible we saturate our minds with mechanics we forget to worry about the most important part of being a good hitter, seeing the baseball.

Here’s the bottom line… You can’t hit what you can’t see.

It’s is a quote often used, and it’s the truth.

Have you ever noticed why there are some players with the prettiest and most fundamentally sound swing but aren’t very good hitters?

Also you have guys that don’t look pretty but they can flat out hit.

How well you see the baseball separates the good hitters from the great hitters.

A couple years ago, I began to really make a point of seeing the ball better.

It became a big part of my offensive thought process when I noticed a common theme among guys who were swing the bat well… all they would talk about was how big the baseball looked and how well they were seeing it.

Here are a few tips, things that I believe have helped me to see the baseball better:

Focus. Seeing the ball is about having good fundamentals… BUT… and this is a big one… you can’t get too focused on the fundamentals that you forget to focus and compete.

There’s actually a lot to unpack there (and we’ll get more into it in the Mental Side of Hitting – a free email course based on info shared with me by a Ranger’s Hitting Coach Chase Lambin.)

But for now, I’ll just say that when you’re in the box, battling the pitcher, is worst possible place to be thinking too much about your fundamentals.

Trust your hard work, and then just be in the moment and see the ball.

Baseball swing fundamentals. It is important to have a good axis of rotation so your head isn’t moving all around.

This comes from having a shorter stride. The goal is to get rid of unnecessary movement from your pre-pitch rhythm and your swing so you can keep your head as still as possible.

Don’t be a cyclops. Unfortunately, it’s all-too-easy for hitters to have just enough angle to their head that they’re actually only seeing the ball well with one eye – which throws off depth perception. Keep your head turned toward the pitcher so you have 2 eyes on the ball, and don’t tilt your head to the side.

Visualization Techniques. Lately I’ve been hearing a lot about the importance of this, and I’ve recently begun doing it myself. I plan to tell you more about it later on.

Eye sight. 81% of professional baseball players see 20/15 or better. If your kid needs glasses/contacts and doesn’t want to wear them, tell him it will help his batting average! Plus you can get sweet baseball sunglasses with prescription lenses. I had my vision fixed with laser eye surgery when I was in college. (I was afraid that something might go wrong, but in the end was very glad I did it.)

Skill development. Train your brain!!!! You need to see speed to get your eyes and brain prepared. Here are 6 ways to practice:

  1. You can stand in on bull pens,
  2. Hit against fast pitching machine during your off season,
  3. Do hitting drills that use smaller balls (like this awesome one),
  4. Do drills at closer distances, or
  5.  Have someone flip baseballs to you with colored dots on them.  Each pitch you call out the color while the ball is in the air.
  6. This innovative company developed a computer game using footage of real pitches from the batter’s perspective.
To sum it up, how to be a better baseball hitter can quickly get complicated.  Seeing the baseball might seem like a pat answer, but it’s a truth that is too often forgotten and can quickly become the source of a hitter’s problems at the plate.

 More about how to be a better baseball hitter:

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 5 organizations (CO Rockies, NY Yankees, Pirates, MN Twins, & TX Rangers) over the past 16 years. He has Major League time at every infield position, and has played every position on the field professionally except for catcher. Where is he now? After batting .200 in 45 at-bats and fielding .950 during 2017 spring training with the Rangers, Doug was assigned to the Ranger’s AAA team the Round Rock Express. You should click to watch this great defensive play by Bernier

Share.

7 Comments

  1. My daughter Emily is A varsity fast pitch softball player. This year will be her senior year. About a year and a half ago she started overthinking at the plate and has spiraled into an unending slump. She’s a big kid at 6′, 200 lbs and always used to hammer the ball. How do I get her out of her head and start focusing on just making good contact again. It’s really taking a toll on her.

  2. My grandson gave up soccer, track, wrestling to dedicate to baseball…..he was a hitter… He has lost his ability to hit the ball and confidence is at a low! He is 15. Where near Roseville , Ca can I locate a real batting coach. Want him to feel good about himself again!

    • Terri,

      I’m sorry to hear that your grandson has had a tough time hitting the baseball and is losing confidence. This game can be very tough on your mind, it is not easy. I am not sure of any batting coaches in that area. Maybe talking to local high school coaches or talking to other players or parents may help out. But I know for me at times when I am losing confidence one of the last things I want is to be “coached” by a hitting coach. Sometimes just taking feel good swings can help the confidence a lot. Have him hit off a tee and start to feel good about his swing or have someone under hand flip to him or throw him batting practice where he doesn’t have to think mechanically but just have fun and hit. I know for me I tend to do a lot better when I try to have fun in practice and not take things so seriously. The mind plays a HUGE role in this game and just feeling good about yourself and seeing some positive results (even if its off a tee) can sometimes help. It does with me. This may not be the answer you were looking for but I know this can be difficult. Good luck and I would love to hear how things go in the future.

      Doug

      • I am currently involved with baseball and I play outfield , mostly left and center , but every time I’m out there I get nervous that I’m not going to be able to catch the ball when it comes my way. Is there anything I can do to fix this?

Leave A Reply