Baseball hitting slumps are a very difficult time for any player. A coach, teammate or baseball parent can and should be very supportive during this tough time period.
Very simply, a baseball hitting slump occurs usually because of something that you are now doing that is mechanically incorrect when swinging the bat or it can be something that you were doing correctly and now you are not doing it. In other words, either you have developed a bad habit or have gotten away from a good habit.
One of the reasons we have hitting coaches is because even the great hitters, some who are professionals, occasionally get off track. No matter how good a hitter you are, it can be a very common problem to fall into the much dreaded hitting slump. That’s one of the reasons a very good hitting coach is extremely valuable.
Rather than focus on the entire swing, some coaches focus on specific areas to narrow it down as to where the problem is. It’s very helpful to divide a player into two sections, his lower half of the body and his upper half. Use a clip board and block your view of the player’s upper body and focus solely on the lower part, to make sure the hitter’s “foundation” is okay. If all seems okay with the lower half, block the lower half with the clip board and focuses on the upper half. Sometimes changing the angle that you are watching the batter will help also. When advising the hitter, always remember that visual is better than verbal.
Hard work, practice and several repetitions are the best remedies for curing a mechanical slump. Some hitters try different methods to end their slump as quickly as possible. Some try to hit the ball the opposite way. The theory is that they will have to wait on the ball and let it come to them, instead of being too anxious and not “staying back” on the pitch. Some try to hit the ball right up the middle of the field. The theory here is that usually, if you hit the ball up the middle, a lot of things have to be done properly, such as your timing.
Some Possible Causes For Hitting Slumps:
1. Check your swing from Point “A” to Point “B.” Point “A” is where you load up, cocking the wrists and the hips. Point “B” is where you make contact with the ball. Make sure that you are going A to B in a straight line. You must swing directly to the baseball! The slightest loop in your swing causes you to lose a fraction of a second. A fraction of a second is an eternity when it comes to hitting a baseball. The very start of the baseball swing is a downward movement and is not level at all. The back of your bottom hand faces the pitcher at the start of the swing and only at contact should you have one palm up and the other palm facing down.
2. Make sure that your front hip is staying closed and not opening up too early.
3. Make sure you are getting good pitches to hit. When in a slump, it is a very common problem to swing at bad pitches. The very natural tendency is to get a hit and have your slump be a thing of the past. Looking for that all important hit can easily cause you to be too anxious and chase bad pitches.
One of the better baseball coaching tips to remember is that all players go through hitting slumps. Hey, Ty Cobb was a lifetime .367 hitter and he had his share of hitting slumps too! Hang in there, get to work and you will get back on the right track. Baseball parents, coaches and players, I post a new FREE baseball article on hitting, pitching or fielding EVERY Monday at LarryBaseball.com. Feel free to use the links on your blog, website or newsletter, or to share them with any other baseball people you know!
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