Coach JP Says:
A lot of guys know, understand and can teach a great swing…a vital part to maximizing your athlete. Dedicated players will take most of the swings they need to improve. The players who don’t are ultimately eliminated at some future point anyway, so to me a lot of batting practice is a given.
This article and this perspective is different…an edge for you if you choose.
Please listen to “Spring.” This guy battled every circumstance you can think of…but never gave up and never gave in. His position over 14 pro seasons? Wherever the “prospect” wasn’t playing. Battler, grinder, whatever the baseball lexicon…this guy maxed the tools he was given…a great guy to have in your clubhouse…and ultimately a great guy to have available when the game mattered and a late inning hit was needed!
You learn a lot from 7,000 pro plate appearances, playing with and against the best players, coaches and managers in the game. This guy has been there…a baseball lifer!
The sooner you get it right…the farther you will ultimately go. Your best tool is your mind…it will dictate your ultimate success. Learn to use it NOW!
From where I started to where I ended up…I’ll take it!
When I was a freshman in high school, I was 4 foot 11 inches tall and weighed 90 lbs.
When I graduated, I was still only 5 foot 8 inches tall and 140 lbs.
I didn’t even start as a senior in high school!
I went to Golden West Junior College and in my freshman year I got a total of 3 at-bats!
Thank God I grew 4 inches when I was 20 and went from a 2nd string second baseman to an all-conference shortstop in one year!
So don’t let anyone tell you or your kid that he is too small to play this game because nobody knows when he is going to grow except for God and that’s it!
When I was 19 years old, I promise you that nobody thought I was going to play in the big leagues… as brief as it was.
I played 14 years of professional baseball, including 11 years in AAA (winning 3 MVP awards and a ring)!
I got over 1,600 minor league hits and 4 big league hits, two with the Indians in 1990 and two with the Mets in 1992.
But looking back…I figured it out when it was too late for me.
With luck…it’s just in time for you!
It’s All About the Mind
If this game wasn’t mental… every draft pick in the top 5 rounds would spend 10 years in the big leagues… and yet they don’t!
…and someone tell me why David Eckstein was the MVP of the 2006 World Series.
I will tell you why. Although he is about 5’7″ and weighs about a buck forty and looks like he’s throwing a wet bar of soap across the infield (but gets it there every single time)… it’s because he is one of the top 10 competitors in this game, that’s why!
This guy could shrink two inches and still play in the big leagues!
Now Let’s Talk Some Hitting
If you asked me what one thing destroys baseball players more than anything else, my answer would be the batting average… hands down!
If I wrote the word confidence on a chalkboard and gave you a list of 10 things that create it, the batting average would be at the very bottom holding the whole list up.
In high school baseball you might get 10 at-bats a week and in college you might get 15-at bats a week. Well if you’re lucky enough to play professional baseball, you are getting 5 at-bats a day every day, 7 days a week. All of a sudden, we’ve only played 6 games and we’re 3 for 30 and so screwed up mentally we’re calling every hitting guy in the world to fix us including our Little League coach.
And it’s all based on our batting average & confidence!
Everybody’s favorite day in professional baseball is opening day and the playoffs because there are no stats to screw us up…
…and then on day 2 we start beating ourselves up because now we’re 0 for 8 and find ourselves in panic mode.
The combo to the lock is…
How Do I Get You & Your Teammates to Do 4 Things Every Day?
 Walk up to the plate with CONFIDENCE every at-bat, 5 at-bats a day, every day.
 To succeed at step #1 you must have an ATTAINABLE GOAL.
Your goal needs to be to hit the ball hard, and that’s it!
If you hit the ball hard… you win!
WHY? Because you can’t control getting a hit, only hitting the ball hard, somewhere. It’s insanity to think that getting a hit should be our goal. That’s just consistently unattainable.
Think about it… I hit 3 rockets right on the screws to the centerfielder and line out and I lose confidence because my batting average went down… now that’s crazy!
I beat the pitcher, the pitcher knows I beat him, his mom knows I beat him and I lose confidence when I should be gaining confidence. I know better… and now you do too!
And now I’m locked in and ready for the 9th inning… to be a hero.
 Attack the inside part of the ball.
If I were to give you a hitting lesson… you would get sick of me talking about this!
A great example
My analogy is that if Albert Pujols, who can hit the ball 500 feet, swings the bat as hard as he can swing it, then why doesn’t he hit 100 home runs a year?
Because sometimes he’s on the outside part of the ball, which creates hard-hooking line drives and ground balls! This guy can actually “miss-hit” balls that still go out of the park when he gets to the inside part of the ball.
Batspeed – Batspeed – Batspeed
I’m saying that we should have the same bat speed on a hard ground ball to shortstop (if we’re right-handed) as a line drive into the gap… it’s just where we attack the baseball, whether we hook it by hitting the outside part of the ball…or drive it by attacking the inside part of the ball!
 Help your team win that day… whatever it takes.
Learn From Those Who Don’t Get It!
What way too many of us do is the exact opposite of those 4 things!
- We walk up to the plate with no confidence when our batting average is low and we allow it to bring us down.
- Our goal is to get a hit, which is consistently unattainable.
- We hook the baseball & hit weak ground balls.
- And we make it all about me & not ultimately about my team.
Do the 4 things and see how you feel after a couple weeks.
Like my old friend Billy Beane, General Manager & President of the Oakland A’s says,
“Spring, if you knew this stuff at age 18 instead of learning it at the age of 30… people might know who you are!”
The Bottom line is:
Be a great competitor every day and stop thinking about your batting average. It’s about the process, not the result. Players who worry about their batting average don’t want that 5th at-bat when they’re 0 for 4…they’re thinking if two more guys get on I have to hit!
When you say “I don’t care what my batting average is,” you can be 0 for 4 with 4 strikeouts and you are thinking, “I need two guys to get on and I can be the hero.” That’s where you want to be.
STOP LETTING YOUR MIND GET IN THE WAY OF YOUR ABILITY.
And always remember…
THE BATTING AVERAGE IS TRULY SATAN!
|Steve Springer was the 500th player selected in the 1982 amateur draft, when he was chosen by the New York Mets in the 20th round. A full decade later, at the age of 31, he finally made his debut at Shea Stadium, striking out against Mitch Williams in the 9th inning of a 4-3 Mets loss.Springer finished the Major League portion of his career with a .235 batting average (4 for 17) in eight games. He played well over 1,000 games during a successful minor league career in the Mets, White Sox and Mariners organizations.
Following his playing career, Springer spent 5 years as a scout with the Arizona Diamondbacks, making history when he negotiated and signed the first drafted player contract in Diamondbacks franchise history. Since 2000 he has been a player agent and the Senior Athlete Advisor for the GAAMES agency in Scottsdale, AZ.
In 2003, Steve Springer began to sell his breakthrough audio CD, Quality at Bats, at Baseball Tips for $24.95. His 34-minute CD has helped players learn about the most important part of hitting: the mental side.
How good is the information on Quality at Bats?