This is not a new thought by any means, but it’s surprising how many hitters (and coaches) don’t know about the way you should approach each pitch at the plate.

Ask many hitters what they’re looking for when the pitch is delivered, and they will tell you they’re looking to see if it’s a strike. If it is, then they swing at it.

Problem is, if the pitcher has any kind of speed at all, by the time you look, recognize the pitch, make the decision, and start the swing, the pitch is often by you, or almost by you. This reactive mode doesn’t work too well, no matter what type of talent you have or hitting mechanics you’re using.

The proper way to approach each pitch is to assume it’s going to be a strike, and then hold up if it’s not. This is made easier if you use rotational mechanics, where the hips start the body turning and the hands come through last. You should plan on hitting each pitch, and then hold back if it’s not a good pitch to hit. In other words, you’re thinking yes-yes-yes-no.


About Ken Krause

Ken Krause has been coaching girls fastpitch softball for nearly 20 years. Some may know him as a contributing columnist to Softball Magazine, where he writes Krause's Korner -- a regular column sponsored by Louisville Slugger. Ken is also the Administrator of the Discuss Fastpitch Forum, the most popular fastpitch discussion forum on the Internet. He is currently a Three Star Master Coach with the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA), and is certified by both the Amateur Softball Association (ASA) and American Sports Education Program (ASEP). Ken is a private instructor specializing in pitchers, hitters, and catchers. He teaches at North Shore Baseball Academy in Libertyville, IL and Pro-Player Consultants in McHenry, IL.

Posted on December 19, 2006, in Hitting, Mental game. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. I have heard this a few times and I sway between liking it and being unsure of it. Since this is a mental part of the game – I am trying to understand how a girl would interpret this philosophy. It may make the girl aggressive which is a very good thing, but then I am concerned it will decrease the girl’s bat speed. The batters may want to anticipate needing to stop and will want to be sure they can stop in time. To do this they may swing at half speed because they will be afraid they will not have enough time to stop the swing or be strong enough to stop a full speed swing once it is started. I fear that if they start at half speed, they will finish at half speed, therefore, resulting in weak hits. It might be easier for them to go all out once they believe it is a strike and then decide to explode into the ball. It can be quite difficult to stop something once it is already in motion – especially when all of the stopping force comes from the arms and wrists in comparison to starting it with both linear and rotational momentum. If we do use this as a philosophy, I think we as the coaches truly need to be more accepting of the girls that swing at bad pitches (one of my common comments to the girls is for them to know their strikezone [or the one being called]). We can’t have it both ways.


  2. Interesting dilemma, but thinking this way shouldn’t prevent a quick swing. If anything, it should encourage it, because the hitter has a little longer to make the decision.Look at it this way. Let’s say the pitch takes .5 seconds to reach the plate. You are going to see if it’s a strike before you start your swing, so you’re static until, say, .2 seconds has gone by. You now have .3 seconds in which to stride, hit toe touch, drop your heel, rotate your hips, and bring your hands around. You’re very likely to be late in getting your hands to the ball. On the other hand, if you’re assuming it’s a strike until you see otherwise, you have those .2 seconds to stride and get yourself in motion. Or maybe you’ll take .3 seconds because you only need .2 to finish the swing. You get a better look at the ball, and can be much more aggressive and sure in your swing because your hands aren’t committed until you’re sure. It should also deliver better acceleration than trying to do everything at once.


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