Batting Baseball FAQ on Tracking & Timing
Thank you Dr. Mitchell Fung for your questions during our hitting session this week. I also had a reader bring this up recently, so I figured the following Batting Baseball FAQ was worth doing (works for softball too):
- Broad v. Fine Focus,
- Fast v. Slow “Stuff”,
- Fisherman OR Hunter? and
- “Start slow and early”.
Broad v. Fine Focus
According to Wikipedia, Coach Bob Bennett retired with a 1,302-759-4 win-loss record. #26 was the first number ever retired by Fresno State. He was once president of the American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA) as well. He was inducted into the ABCA Hall of Fame and College Baseball Hall of Fame (2010).
I was lucky enough to learn batting baseball tips from Coach Bennett as a player for three years, and to have had multiple conversations over lunch, with him since.
When it comes to batting baseball vision and tracking, Coach Bennett talked about having Broad v. Fine Focus. Broad Focus would be looking at a spot on the pitcher’s chest, overall physique, or delivery. It’s basically a rest period for the eyes.
You see, the eyes are highly attracted to movement. They LOVE to dart and “space out”. And HATE to stop and stare at one object for any length of time. Broad Focus is good until after the pitcher breaks his or her’s hands.
A hitter uses Fine Focus by shifting the eyes to the pitcher’s release point window.
Fast v. Slow “Stuff”
I tell my lower level batting baseball hitters to look for either fast or “slow stuff”. 95+% of the time, at the Little League level, hitters should be looking for fast stuff. It’s rare getting a pitcher to throw slow stuff for consistent strikes.
I use the Batting Baseball Random Pitch Drill, where hitters:
- Are to look for either fast OR slow stuff (they can’t tell me),
- Have to stick to their “plan” through a 5-swing round (then evaluate after), and
- Have to hold their “mechanical layers” together (whatever they’re working on).
CLICK HERE to read a Cal Poly baseball study as to why “massed practice” doesn’t develop good game hitters. The Random Pitch Drill is geared for zero-or-one-strike counts. Of course, with 2-strikes, the hitter has to cover ALL pitches.
Fisherman OR Hunter?
One of my friends and blog readers from Canada, Bob Hall, shared this batting baseball tip with me awhile back.
He took a “beast” of a hitter, his son Quin, to a showcase camp where a scout revealed a simplified hitting strategy. You’re either a:
- Fisherman – throws bait out and waits for fish to bite, OR
- Hunter – that stalks their prey…
I tell my hitters, when the pitcher is wild, then be a fisherman. When they’re throwing a lot of strikes, then become a hunter. I work this in with my hitters during the Random Pitch Drill…somedays I’m wild OR am trying to bait them in biting on slow stuff (when I know they’re looking for fast), and in these cases, they become a fisherman.
“Start Slow & Early”
This was the “magic pill” Jose Bautista swallowed (featured commentary in the video above) before the 2010 season. It’s a batting baseball glimpse into explaining how he changed his swing.
I explain this to my hitters in this way…imagine an Olympic archer looking to use precision to hit the bullseye of a target. He or she uses the bow string to load that arrow with potential energy. They start slow and early. Once the decision is made to release all that potential energy (the arrow/bow string), BOOM! The arrow explodes to its target.
The batting baseball hitter needs to think about preparing their swing the same way. Take it from Joey Bats, one of the smallest big hitters in baseball!