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How to be a better baseball hitter – Seeing the Baseball

How to be a better baseball hitter – Seeing the Baseball
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.

We want to know how to be a better baseball hitter, so will take hundreds of swings off of 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.

You can’t hit what you can’t see is a quote often used and that is the truth. When you break it down our body is so used to our swing that it will happen automatically. Our body is so good that it will make adjustments that we aren’t even aware of because our timing is off.  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. It seems like over the last year I have really made it a point to see the baseball better.  At times when I was automatically taking the next pitch because I had a 3-0 count I knew  that I would see the ball so well.  I thought to myself “I could have crushed that pitch.”

Keeping my head still and looking for the baseball in the place I am looking to hit the baseball has helped me dramatically. It keeps me from over-thinking during my at-bats.  I have learned to judge my at bats on how well I am seeing the baseball, not on my results.   I find that if you consistently see the baseball well, you will put better swings on the baseball, and as a result you will have more success.

I believe seeing the ball is a skill we can get better at just like other mechanical issues we are working on. This became a big part of my offensive thought process when I started hearing guys that were swinging the bat well talk, all they would talk about was how big the baseball looked and how well they were seeing the baseball.

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

  1. Mental focus.  Seeing the ball is about having good fundamentals,  but you can’t get too focused on the fundamentals that you forget to focus and compete.  At the plate is not the time to be thinking about your fundamentals.  Trust your hard work, and then just be in the moment and see the ball.
  2. 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.
  3. Basic but important – Head position.  Keep your head turned toward the pitcher so you have 2 eyes on the ball, and don’t tilt your head to the side.
  4. Practice.   You need to see speed to get your eyes and brain prepared.  You can stand in on bull pens, hit against fast pitching machine during your off season, or do hitting drills that use smaller balls or closer distances.
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 the Author: Doug Bernier

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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One Comment

  1. Interesting and educational, thanks for sharing.

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