• Have a Hitting Plan

    An important part of being a great hitter is developing a plan that you can use when you step up to the plate.

    Developing Plate Discipline

    Almost all players that hit for a high average show great plate discipline by not swinging at bad pitches. On the other hand hitters with low batting averages are often swinging at bad pitches.

    Plate discipline and having an approach at the plate are essential for development of a hitter. One of the most important lessons you can learn is that it's okay to strike out. You want to be a tough out, but too many young players fear striking out and end up swinging at bad pitches simply because they don't want to strike out. You need to understand that you will have a better chance of success if you go up to the plate with a plan. I heard Joe Morgan explain his approach at the plate and have tried to instill a similar approach with my players. Joe Morgan explained that with 0 strikes, he took 2 inches off of each side of the plate. So instead of the plate being 17 inches wide, he treated the plate as being 13 inches wide. With 1 strike he would use the whole plate and with 2 strikes he would add 2 inches to each side of the plate. I try to emphasize with my players that all strikes are not equal and explain that there is a certain zone that each hitter likes to hit the ball in.

    Below are a couple of images that show you how the zone would grow using this approach.

    hitting zones example
    hitting zones example 2

    On the other side of the equation, the zone can and should shrink as the number of balls increase. When you step up to the plate with 2 balls and 0 strikes, you should be looking for a pitch that is right where you want it. Why swing a pitch on the outside corner of the plate for example when you are ahead in the count? Seems simple when you think about it, but that's just the problem. Most hitters don't think about it before they step into the box!

    To develop plate discipline:

    • Know the count hitting zone before you step up to the plate

    • Always pick up the ball right out of the pitchers hand

    • Always take full swings with good balance and follow through