By: Eric Bunnell
Posted on September 1, 2015
The baseball season is in full swing, and as a hitter, you'll ultimately have your share of ups and downs, riding hot streaks into slumps and back into streaks. Here are a few batting tips to keep you sharp and productive at the plate:
1. Use a Simple Approach
Hitting is hard enough as it is without players putting extra pressure on themselves. One way to combat this is to keep things simple. When you come up with the tying run on second, a simple approach is to focus on hitting a hard ground ball through the middle of the field. Hitters tend to get themselves in trouble when they think about taking the lead by hitting a home run — it makes them anxious, which needlessly expands their strike zone.
2. Control Your Strike Zone
Speaking of strike zones, understanding them is of the key areas for improvement in young hitters. Experience and more at-bats will help, but learning which zones you can handle as a hitter helps you lay off pitches that are designed to get you off balance. This will also help you target certain pitches and certain counts and allow you to jump on pitches in your sweet spot.
3. Focus on Contact
Don't worry about the result, just focus on making hard contact. When you focus on contact, however, you at least give yourself a chance to hit the ball hard through the infield.
4. Use the Entire Field
Hitters get into trouble when they get too pull happy. Instead, look for pitches out over the plate, which will allow you to drive the ball to the opposite field. More and more pitchers are working the outside corner, especially with runners in scoring position. However, you'll have more success by hitting to the pull side and not trying to force an inside pitch the other way. It's key not to sacrifice your ability to drive the baseball by always trying to hit a weak ground ball to the opposite field. Take what the pitcher gives you.
Keep these batting tips in mind, and you'll keep those hot streaks going deep into summer.
Eric Bunnell is currently an assistant coach at Saint Joseph’s College in Rensselaer, Indiana, where he works with infielders and base runners. During Bunnell's twelve years in college baseball, he has coached 17 players that went on to sign professional contracts. Bunnell also writes about baseball for the American Baseball Coaches Association and STACK.com. Follow him on Twitter @thecoachscave.