Common hitting assumptions to teach players to avoid

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As a hitter, I never felt like the pitcher got me out, but that I got myself out. I felt like a lack of confidence, pitch selection, and falling for assumptions were more to blame.

Following are some of the assumptions I made that hurt my chances of success, even in the major leagues. It may have been easier to do that at that level because of the higher expectations of the pitchers. Regardless of level, players should be careful they do not help the pitcher out and make unnecessary outs.

Assumption 1

Even though there may be a better likelihood of getting a good pitch on 2 balls and no strikes, and on 3 balls and 1 strike counts, players should not assume that to the point of swinging no matter where the pitch is. Sometimes, batters feel that coaches expect them to attack these counts, only to make an out on a ball they could not handle.

Solution

Be aggressive, but only in your hot zone. A good pitcher will rarely just groove a pitch, so be selective.

Assumption 2

Often hitters guess correctly with breaking balls, are ready for it, and swing; forgetting to consider the breaking pitch was not a strike or was a "pitcher's pitch.” meaning in a tough to hit location.

Solution - Guessing correctly is a good feeling as a hitter, but making sure the pitch is a good one is critical, especially when the pitch could be ball four.

Assumption 3

One of the most challenging assumptions batters must overcome, and the one I had trouble with the most, was assuming the 3 balls and 2 strike pitch would be a strike. This situation is an especially tough situation after battling the pitcher to that count and after fouling pitches off on the full count.

Solution

Don’t get caught up in the battle with the pitcher so much you bail them out when three-ball count. Never assume pitchers will continue to throw strikes and remember throwing strike after strike is hard, too.

Assumption 4

Basing your game confidence on that day’s batting practice. Players assume a good pregame means hits, and a lousy warm up means none.

Solution

Do not put too much stock in pregame batting practice. Players need to understand batting practice is the time to work on timing and bat control, no matter the results, and that hitting flaws minimize by getting good pitches to hit. Visualize yourself only swinging at good pitches.

Assumption 5

Making outs early in the game or for several games means you will make an out the next time or the rest of the game.

Solution

Learn that getting into little ruts is the nature of the game but that each at-bat is independent of the previous ones, so staying in the moment with hope is key.

Assumption 6

When struggling, it is best to be more aggressive at the plate.

Solution

As above, focusing on just getting a good pitch to hit is best, but if usually an aggressive hitter, it may pay off to see a few more pitches for a better sense of timing, release point, and vision of the ball. It never hurts to change up their hitting personality when struggling.

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