Carrying baggage to the plate

It’s been said that hitting a baseball (or in our case a softball) is the toughest thing in all of sports. And it does seem to be true.

You have so little control over what happens, or the outcome, that it can be extremely difficult to be successful on a regular basis. Which is why a hitter who fails 7 out of 10 times is called an all-star. Since it is so difficult on its own, you really don’t want to do anything to make it tougher.

Today I did a little experiment with a few hitters to help them understand what it means to carry extra baggage to the plate – literally. After having them hit off the tee I had them move to a front toss station. But before they got to hit I had them put on their bat bags or back packs – whatever they had with them.

They took a few awkward swings and then I asked them how it felt to hit with their backpacks on their backs. As you might expect, they found it to be rather difficult.

Then we talked about what the backpacks represented. It’s all those things that hitters take with them that they shouldn’t – all those worries that get in the way. Things such as:

  • If I don’t get a hit soon the coach is going to bench me

  • I don’t know if I can hit this pitcher

  • There are runners on base and I have to bring them in

  • Last time I struck out/grounded out/popped out

  • Everybody’s counting on me

  • My parents will be disappointed if I don’t do well

In other words, all the outcome-focused thoughts. Hitters have to just focus on this pitch, right now, see the ball and hit it hard. Remain focused on their process and not worry about the rest.

Putting on the backpack/bat bag is a great way to demonstrate how carrying extra baggage to the plate can get in the way of good hitting. If you have a hitter who is struggling, give it a try. It just might help them clear their heads.

That’s my thought. What have you done to help hitters regain their focus?


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 April 29, 2013, in Hitting. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. So true!Did your players think you had lost it – LOL!


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