Baseball – and sports in general – teach us how to fight through adversity. Probably the hardest part of baseball – particularly at the youth level – is staying confident while in the batter’s box. A strong mental approach is needed, and that is not the easiest to coach into a young player’s mind, especially if they are not hitting the ball hard – or at all.
We offer some suggestions to change the conversation from trying to be awesome to just doing something positive that helps the team.
For instance, a nice long at bat with 8 pitches thrown is beneficial to the team. Even if the batter eventually strikes out, those 8 pitches can change the rest of the game for the pitcher and sometimes lead to her/him being taken out of the game.
Here are some other areas we help our players focus on to feel good about their at-bats:
- Take a deep breath before getting into the batter’s box
- Concentrate on the next pitch, forget all previous pitches and at-bats
- Change your thinking from “need to get a hit” to “need to have a quality at-bat”
- Swing with intent; try to hit the ball as hard as you can
If your team is 12 or older – encourage your batters to have a game plan before they step in. Look for your pitch and hit it when you get it. If you don’t get it, it’s not your fault. Tip your helmet to the pitcher and try again next time.
What ways have you helped your developing players gain confidence at the plate? Tell us in the comments section below.