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Simple Baseball Confidence

 

How to set yourself apart

Repeat after me, “Playing baseball is hard.” Allow that phrase to sit in your head for a second, and let it sink in. You and I both know this is true, but there is one thing that I can assure you of. In every single thing that we do in life, we will always get what we deserve. In the end , what you put in, you will in equal measure receive. For a lot of players, I see that either because of their natural talent, or willingness to work hard, they feel entitled to a successful career. The truth is, there are a handful of guys who are more talented than them, and another hand full of guys who work just as hard.For some even, hitting has become a way of life.

So what sets these players apart? Specifically, what gives one player an edge over another? How can a player become a better hitter?

Is whatever it is “God given?” Or, is it within their control to develop and cultivate potential, to get the most out of what their capabilities are as baseball players?

I was guilty of this.

I felt entitled to receive playing time. To hit .400 and steal 40 bases. Hell, I worked hard. Why shouldn’t I deserve these accomplishments? But what I was giving in hard work, I was lacking in self-knowledge.

What if being talented or being an extraordinarily hard worker is simply not enough. Sure talent is essential, and sure hard work can make an average player better than the talent around him. But what if all the hard work and all the promising potential was simply a distraction? You might be wondering what I’m talking about, and before I tell you I ask that you keep a completely open mind.

What I’m talking about is knowing.

Knowing that you will succeed. Knowing that you are talented. Not believing. Not having faith. But knowing.

If I told you that you were breathing air, you would agree, right? But not because you have faith that you are breathing air, but because you can feel the air filling your lungs and you have been probably doing it for some years.

This knowing is what allows you to summon the courage to face terrifying pitchers with ungodly secondary pitches. This knowing is what gets the beat up and tired minor leaguer through a season after 150 plus games. He’s chasing his dream, and he either knows he’s going to make it one day, or die trying.

When Ted Williams hit .400, he knew no one could stop him. When Hank Aaron hit a home-run, he knew he could square up the pitch and drop the hammer. He was noted as saying that visualization was the most important part of his approach to hitting. He knew he could hit because he saw it in his head before every at-bat for over 20 years. Derek Jeter knew he was destined to play for the Yankees, and now he’s Captain. Domingo Ayala KNOWS that he is no semi- pro…..and he isn’t:)

5 Quick Baseball Tips

So how do we get to the point as baseball players where we know? Where no matter what happens, between the lines, or outside it, we know we can and will create a successful career.

1. Shed the belief of our entitlement to the sport. The fact is, baseball owes you nothing, and everything that you will ever achieve out of the sport, you will have to learn through understanding what your basic responsibilities are as an athlete.

2. Understand the concept of working smart as opposed to working hard. A lot of players expect good results simply from spending an extra few hours in the cage. The truth is, your probably better off spending less time actually practicing and more time understanding the importance of quality practice. Rod Carew would spend no less than 15 minutes in the cage, but he knew exactly what he wanted to accomplish in those 15 minutes.

3. Remember what it was like playing baseball as a kid. Except for the very “unfortunate” minority of you, you probably had very little pressure put on you by yourself and others to perform well. You just woke up everyday to play the game for the sake of playing. You had no attachments to results, and that was probably why you were so successful.

4. Play with a purpose. A lot of times a player’s main motivation is to be successful. I’m not saying that isn’t an effective medium for achievement, but it’s also important that players get specific with why they want to be successful as a baseball player. Is it to please someone else? Make their family proud? Or is it to make a positive difference in the world? Does the world become a better place by you becoming an MLB player?

Does your development in hitting also help your development as a man?

5. Forget everything you learned and simply play. To make it to the next level, it’s a given that you will have to be an expert at the basic fundamentals of the sport. But we have to come to understand these movements at the level of instinct. The more we are able to correctly react, the quicker and more efficient we will be. And if you don’t know by now, baseball is all about consistency.

I feel that the sooner a player is able to implement these 5 principles, the better off a player will be in facing the enviable challenges that baseball brings. This is something that no baseball drill, coach, university, instructor, or teammate could ever give you. You have to give it yourself.

Photo by ryan gibson

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Failure in baseball part II

Baseball is a game of failure.

If your having trouble with failure, watch this for some useful perspective!

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Keeping your hands inside the ball

 

Rolling over on pitches is something that will happen to every player throughout the course of a season. Chances are if you rolled over on a pitch, the pitcher did a good job of keeping you off balance. You either were fooled on a breaking ball pitch or you just simply failed to stay inside the baseball. Rolling over isn’t the worst thing you can do, but allowing it to become a bad habit will be detrimental to your batting average. So how do you keep from rolling over on pitches?! It’s actually pretty simple.

Here are five simple batting tips.

1. Keep your hands inside the baseball.
2. Allow the ball to get deep in the zone.
3. Recognize off-speed early in the zone
4. Cut the field in half and have a completly oppisate field approach.
5. Focus on throwing the knob of the bat toward the ball.
6. Understanding the concept of the inside-out swing.

Many hitters, especially power hitters have been called “pull hitters”. This means that majority of pitches they hit are contacted in the front of the hitting zone. Hitters like this tend to be great fast ball hitters, but struggle with off-speed and breaking ball pitches. Being a pull hitter and rolling over can be ideal for left handers who are in situational hitting situations. Certain situations may call for you to get a guy from second to third with less than two outs.

Batting tips #1

Practice the inside out swing. Take a few practice swings at about 30%. Yes I said 30%:) Focus on pushing the knob of the bat as far forward without releasing your top hand foward and allowing the bat head to come through. Take 20-25 swings then move to the next drill.

Batting tips #2

Stand parallel to a wall or net. The distance between you and the wall should be about the length of the bat that you will be using. Get in your stance an attempt to take controlled balanced swings, while focusing on keeping your hands inside. If the bat hits the net or wall , your not keeping your hands inside enough, so adjust accordingly.

Batting tips #3

Place a Hitting tee not on the inner half but middle in half of the plate. Focus on keeping your hands inside and hit to the back of the net. The ball should be hit middle away even though the pitch is slightly in. If you pull the pitch, your not keeping your hands in for long enough so adjust accordingly.

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The art of hitting

Hitting is both an exact science and a form of expression. It can be explained and dissected by physics as well as represented as a way of life. It is when these specific principles and elements are combined that it becomes an art form.

So much emphasis is focused on technique and strategy which influences the modern-day hitter.  Scouting reports and approaches are main themes in the awareness of most teams offensive strategy. With all this information so readily available, the most important aspects of any endeavor are lost. The focus of the process is forgotten.

When it comes to performing, while you are in the batters box, you must come to a level of consciousness that involves emotional content. Yes you must truly hit with emotion. All that you have learned physically and mentality was learned so that you may eventually forget it as it becomes an instinctual part of who you are. You must cease to be aware of yourself, which is to be unaware of any external things as well as most internal things. This process must also be effortless. Similar to the teachings of Bruce Lee, it’s the art of effortless effort or trying less trying.

The desire to succeed and win has vanished for we have now become process oriented. Since we are no longer concerned with success or failure we have greatly improved our chances of success.