One of the more common “battles” we find ourselves fighting in hitting is how we think about practice.
This is a topic I’m very passionate about. During my playing career, I associated practice, especially hitting in the cage on my own time, as a time to get “reps” in an attempt to “find my swing.”
I’m assuming this attitude rings a bell for many of you, as every baseball player understands the eternal struggle to “find it.” One day it’s going to click because you put in the hard work in the cage and took more reps than the next guy. Or, you are embarking on a quest to find the magic move in your swing that allows you to hit any pitch, every time.
It sounds silly when I put it in writing, but this is how I thought about practice—and I’m sure I’m not the only one.
In fact, I’m much more confident that this is how the vast majority of hitters at all levels of baseball think about their training. And the thing about the journey to “find it” is that we all hit the road without a map or any concept of where we’re trying to go.
How does anyone get better at hitting?
Now that we’ve faced the hard truth about our practice time, the first question is: “How does anyone get better at hitting?”
It seems like pure, blind luck for someone to “figure out” their swing one day under this model. Since we know this is how most hitters practice, we’re left with the possibility that there is little reason to improve, and people do just “figure it out.”
For the college player, this means playing summer ball to get reps, without a plan to improve or even knowing what you’re bad at—all you know is that you need to get better.
Given this fact, it seems that no one should ever improve, but the truth is that we all see the guy who makes huge leaps in their summer league and then goes off to get drafted or rake at school, seemingly out of nowhere. This gave me hope as a player.
To see someone actually “figure it out” kept my poor practice habits alive. I refused to acknowledge the empty feeling inside when I went to ask the player what they did and, in response, got a shrug and an “I don’t know.”
This is called good luck—and it is the exception, not the rule. A hitter has stumbled upon different visual strategies, movement solutions, or several things that happened to lead to that individual hitting a baseball well, by merely showing up to the field and getting hacks in the cage.
What this post is really about is bringing to light that hitters do not have to practice this way anymore!
Developing quality practice habits
At Driveline, we help you on your journey to “figure it out” and play your best baseball by thoroughly assessing your hitting game. We then use that assessment to provide proven training programs specifically designed to attack your weaknesses and boost your strengths.
Our technical coaching expertise is top-notch, but what we do besides coaching you on movement, swing plane, and approach is to provide a roadmap for improvement based on objective data. This roadmap includes tangible milestones and a few ultimate goals that we know, if achieved, will play in your at-bats next season.
Those ultimate goals are almost always to hit the ball harder, more consistently, and make better swing decisions. The roadmap to achieving these goals differs with the individual, but if we improve in the areas of swinging at better pitches and hitting the ball hard when we swing at those pitches, we become better hitters.
Along with the physical skills, we take even more pride in teaching those who train with us how to practice and get the most out of their abilities. When you come here to train, expect a full education in hitting and practicing. We’ll empower you with the responsibility and complete understanding of your road map to success so that you will internalize the skills you need to continue to improve on your own.
We write plenty about our hitting research, training results, what hitters should be training for, training modalities, how we teach movement in the swing, and our hitting assessment, but this article shows the why behind it. We do the research and create a data-driven program so that we can change how hitters practice for good.
The good news is that while everyone is still searching for their swing, you’ll have a plan to find it.
For more info on our college summer program, click the links below and call customer relations to reserve your spot, or explore Online Training.
By Max Dutto