Developing your hitting skills takes time, focus, and plenty of quality repetitions. Since only a small fraction of the swings that you’ll take over the course of a season will be seen by your coaches, you’ll have to become your own batting coach to take your game to the next level.
You’re more interested in your swing and its ultimate success than anyone else, so why shouldn’t you also be in charge of making it better? Your coach has an entire team’s worth of swings to straighten out while you’ve only got one.
Becoming Your Best Batting coach
There are some limitations, but the reality is that you know yourself better than anyone else and can really help yourself out by gaining a little knowledge and putting it into action.
Here are some coaching points to help you check, observe, and correct yourself:
- Know what you don’t know. It’s fun to work on your strengths. Work on your weaknesses more.
- When in doubt, check yourself from the feet up. This will keep you from missing certain parts of the swing and gives you a structure to allow you to remember all the details.
- The main limitation of being your own batting coach is not being able to see yourself. A cheap and easy remedy to this is using a full-length mirror to evaluate your swing. Video cameras or smartphones are excellent tools as well if you have access to them.
Your Step-by-Step Guide to Being Your Own Batting Coach
The Rest Position – How does it look? How does it feel? Smooth and calm or tense and jagged? Are you comfortable? Is your weight about 40% front foot and 60% back foot? Are you on the balls of your feet with your weight on the inside of your knees? Are your hands about six inches from your body? Do you have a tall backside? Is your head between your feet? Head level?
The Load Position – Are your hands loose on the bat? Do you make a negative move, loading your hands away from the pitcher? Are your hands held high at the top of the strike zone? Can you feel the slight pull of muscles from your torso and upper body, like the winding of a spring? Are you keeping your stride short? Is your weight now closer to 80% on your back foot and 20% on your front foot? Are you balanced with knees slightly flexed?
The Contact Position – Are you up on the toes of your back foot? Is your front foot slightly open with front knee braced and locked? Are your hands in a palm up/palm down position? Is your head moving or is it stationary? Are your arms at full extension? Have you made contact with the ball in the correct position depending on the pitch? Are your eyes focused on the point of contact?
Finish – Are you hitting off a firm front side with your front knee locked? Are you still balanced with head between both legs and not lunging forward? Is the bat completely wrapped around your back, preferably below your shoulder? Does your head remain at the point of contact all the way through the end of your swing?
Guys, this is great stuff and can be made even better by printing it out and taking it with you the next time you hit. Ted Williams breaks down the swing in this video. Great stuff!