Feeling better about my team’s hitting

Over the past couple of weekends our team has been struggling at the plate. It’s not that we’ve been overpowered by great pitching for the most part. In fact, I’d say the pitching overall has been on the weak side. But in spite of that we’ve been popping up and hitting a lot of weak ground balls. It’s been maddening, really.

So tonight I’m watching the KFC World Cup series — USA v. Australia. USA got up 3-1 early, and was in command of the game. Then Australia brought in a relief pitcher, a girl throwing a lot of pitches in the low 50s, with a few in the high 50s. So what do you think happened?

The USA has hit five straight weak pop-ups. They are really struggling with the off-speed and general junk.

These are some of the best hitters in the world, and they’re having trouble making the adjustment — doing exactly what we were doing. Somehow I suspect they’ll get through it quicker, but I guess tonight I’m seeing it can happen to anyone. I’m feeling a little better about our difficulties adjusting. But just a little!

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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 July 21, 2009, in Equipment, Hitting. Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. Ken,Our teams struggle as well against slow or off speed pitching. As you point out, it is universal I think. But, once they adjust, they destroy it. This is usually the 2nd or 3rd time through the lineup.My favorite saying, and one that seems to connect with the girls is to “let the ball get in, then drive it out, the worse thing that will happen is you will hit it to right field”. They seem to comprehend this. Most of our girls have really fast hips and I train quick attack swings so when we face slow pitching the ball hits off the end of the bat. This one minor mental adjustment usually works.How do you get your teams to adjust?

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  2. I have a first year 10u team that we are moving to the select level and have finally gotten to hit the faster pitching but when we face a weaker pitcher in league play we can’t hit the ball at all. Most of the time they watch it even if it’s down the middle. Nice to know we aren’t the only ones that struggle in this area. We don’t get through the lineup but maybe twice. they haven’t figured out yet how to adjust with being our first year of kid pitch.

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  3. One other related problem may be self-induced pressure. You know you should hit the ball, so you get yourself all worked up and tied up in knots. It’s fear of failing, I suppose. In any case, we didn’t adjust too well the last couple of weeks. I’m still working on that one. I’m starting to think the immortal of words of Carol Hutchins might be just the thing. After she spoke with one of her hitters who was taking strikes during the WCWS a few years ago, the girl cranked a home run. When someone asked her what sage words of technical advice she offered the hitter, she said “I told her just hit the f’ing ball.” Only she didn’t use the apostrophe. Truer words were never spoken!

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  4. I see this a lot when there are 4 different people telling a kid what to do. The coach is saying one thing, the father another, their other coach is telling something else etc. All while they are trying with everything they have to hit the ball!You can see that “deer in the headlights” look in their face. It is at this point I like to tell them, “forget everything, see the ball, hit the ball”. Surprising how often that works.If they stop “thinking” their instincts and training kick in. Then they hit. Amazing how our brain works.

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  5. We tell them about the same thing, and it doesn’t help.

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