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Friday, February 11, 2011

Baseball Hitting Excellence

Baseball Hitting Excellence
By Chris Moheno

While baseball has always been considered America's pastime, our youth was starting to see it is not so glamorous but compared to other major sports. That has changed recently as power numbers continue to soar and we see more and more baseball players becoming prominent members of our communities. That being the case, once again the interest in baseball has risen and everyone wants to be the next home run king. The way to achieve that of course is through better baseball hitting.

One thing that has been very noticeable in recent times is the lack of fundamentals and the young players coming up. We are seeing all different types of stances and swings as our children try to emulate the professional baseball players they see on TV. While we of course want them to establish their identity, there are still fundamentals that they need to adhere to. The job of the coach is to make these fundamentals enjoyable and interesting so that the developing player uses them for the rest of their lives. That of course means bending the rules a little bit as to the way that we were traditionally taught baseball.

When the forty-something generation was growing up, there was no option as to how you swung a bat or stood in the batter's box. You did it one way and that was the way the coach wanted you to. Every stance and swing were cookie-cutter products of how the coach perceived the game to be taught. In order to be successful today, the coach needs to be a little bit more willing to work the style of swing the player wants into their coaching techniques. This is by no means to say they should abandon basic fundamentals, quite the opposite. You are just trying to allow them some type of identity and implement the fundamentals of baseball hitting into their style.

When coaching a young player, you have to make it fun for them to try new things out. They obviously love the game at that stage and you need to continue the enthusiasm. Introducing them to new drills will help with that. Trying out new stances, different approaches and unique drills will enable them to keep a fresh look and heightened interest in the art of hitting. One thing remains consistent though, hard work is the only way to achieve the desired result.

We've all heard the saying that there is nothing harder to do in sports than to hit a ball moving at 90 miles an hour with a round object, the baseball bat. If that is true, then coaching the art of hitting a baseball is no simpler. The coach needs to put in just as much work as a student. One of the tougher aspects of the coaching job is to again realize that each and every student has her own personality that needs to be adapted to. You can have all the knowledge in the world but the inability to capture their interests will result in failure.

One of the early keys to success in coaching hitting is to try and not change the players hitting style too quickly. There is obviously a reason they're swing that way and you need to find out. If you start making radical changes immediately will have no idea why they started hitting the way that they did. Take the time and learn how they develop their style and you'll have a better idea of how to coach them.

When implementing changes into a player swing and stance, make sure they're comfortable with these changes. If the player is not like them or doesn't feel comfortable they will end up going back to what they were doing prior and this is not good for anyone. It will lead to frustration for both the player and the coach. Always get ample feedback when making any type of change their swing.

Patience is also a huge factor in successful coaching. You may be dealing with a hitter who has established habits over years and years. The changes you are trying to implement are not going to take place overnight. As a coach, you need to realize that and gradually work these changes into their swing. A helpful tool during this process is video. There is nothing like visual feedback to help make your point. You can take the progress of their swing throughout the coaching process and have daily or weekly video sessions with the player to show them exactly what you're working on and how they are becoming a better athlete.

While we are stressing the aspect of allowing the player to have their own identity, keep in mind that basic fundamentals are still the same. If you're faced with a player who is flat out fundamentally unsound, these issues need to be addressed immediately. However, it will have to be approached in a manner so that they understand that implementing the basic fundamentals of baseball heading into their swing will immediately result in positive results.

Every successful baseball hitting instructor should have a set of drills that there are continuously fine-tuning. Drills are just that, daily and structures that are meant to bring the fundamentals home in a sound matter. You cannot coach properly without having these trolls in place and making them enjoyable for your players. Better baseball hitting is a continuously evolving process. Both the coach and player must work together and work hard in order for this endeavor to become successful.

Chris Moheno has a long time passion for sports in general and for baseball coaching more specifically.

His goal is to spread the word about effective non-fluff baseball training techniques for both more experienced and young baseball players, to help them perform better during the game.

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Hello Baseball Friend,
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Have a great day, Nick