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Pre-Pitch Preparation for Hitters

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A batter's success is closely linked to the level of confidence he feels at the plate. As with any other aspect of the game, mental preparation goes a long way to determining the outcome of any given at-bat. Before stepping into the box, the batter should know the situation they are in so that they are mentally prepared to achieve success. More importantly, the hitter must believe in their capabilities as a player, something every coach can assist with.

Mental Routines

Before the Game

  • Find out who will be pitching
  • Visualize hitting their pitches
  • Watch the pitcher warming up to look for movement and point of pitch

In the Dugout

  • Watch the pitcher
  • Talk to the previous batters
  • Look for patterns
  • Look for signals and anything the pitcher does when throwing different pitches

On Deck

  • Formulate a plan for the at-bat
  • Know the situation
  • Anticipate the pitches
  • Keep emotions under control

On the Way to the Plate

  • Have a positive attitude
  • Believe your preparation will pay off
  • Have no doubts in your abilities

Physical Routines

On Deck

  • Relax
  • Achieve synchronization with the pitcher
  • See the point of release and follow the ball
  • Focus on the early load (start before the point of release)
  • Breathe

Batter's Box

  • Use the same routine for every pitch
  • Clear the mind (clear all thoughts after each pitch)
  • Automatic Pilot (let the eyes take over)
  • Trust yourself
  • Remember to breathe

As a coach, you should recognize the alert signs of each batter and help them focus on positive thoughts if they begin to doubt themselves. In-game teaching is about positive reinforcement, never more so than with your hitters.