Sunday, January 01, 2006

Getting the Stride Down

Solving the Question, “When Should I Stride?
The One, Two, or Three Count Hitting Method


Objective: To help hitters understand and apply proper timing mechanics to every at-bat.

Summary: As a coach, the stride is the grayest area of all when it comes to individual hitting. Teaching hitting, I was always frustrated when a pitcher with good, quick velocity was on the mound and our hitters struggled against their fastball. Often, I would remind hitters to stride early and “read” the pitch. Looking back on this advice, it is way too vague for a hitter to understand. That is why, over the off-season, I have formulated the count system for our hitters. The system, when applied, gives a hitter a concrete timing mechanism to incorporate during their at-bat. The following is a short description of the timing techniques:

One Count: The “One-Count” approach is usually incorporated with pitchers that do not have good stuff or a starting pitcher that has begun to get tired. The goal of the “One Count” approach is to get extra base hits, including homeruns. The pitcher, who does not have great velocity, generally tries to entice hitters to drag their hands through the zone. Usually, hitters, who are getting out, are hitting weak fly balls or groundballs. By using the “One Count” approach hitters are trying to use all of their straight-line momentum to drive the ball in the gaps or out of the park. To incorporate this system, hitters must load and stride before the release of the pitch. This should take place with a mental “One Count” in the hitter’s head. So to the hitter, there is only a one count from the stride completion to the actual swing.

Two Count: The “Two-Count” approach is usually incorporated with pitchers that have average velocity and breaking pitches. The goal of the “Two Count” approach is to hit balls in the gaps or solid line drives. The pitcher, who has average stuff, generally can keep players off balance with their breaking balls. Usually, hitters, who are getting out, are hitting weak fly balls the other way or slow groundballs to the off field. By using the “Two- Count” approach hitters are trying to use all of their straight-line momentum to drive through the ball. The “Two Count” approach allows the hitter more time to read the pitch. To incorporate this system, hitters must load and stride before the release of the pitch. This should take place with a mental “One, Two Count” in the hitter’s head. So to the hitter, there is only a two count from the stride completion to the actual swing.

Three Count: The “Three-Count” approach is usually incorporated with pitchers that have high velocity and good breaking pitches. The goal of the “Three Count” approach is to put the ball in play either on the ground or in the air. The pitcher, who has above average stuff, generally can keep players off balance with their breaking balls and throw their fastballs by the hitter. Usually, hitters, who are getting out, are either frozen on breaking pitches or swinging and missing fastballs. By using the “Three- Count” approach hitters are trying to use all of their straight-line momentum to drive through the ball. The “Three Count” approach allows the hitter more time to read the pitch. To incorporate this system, hitters must load and stride before the release of the pitch. This should take place with a mental “One, Two, Three Count” in the hitter’s head. So to the hitter, there is a three count from the stride completion to the actual swing.

On-Deck Routine: This is the most important element in training hitters in the counting system. The on-deck space allows the hitter to develop timing with the pitcher. The hitter should focus on the pitcher’s release and when to stride at the proper time. If the coach indicates that the pitcher is a “One Count” thrower, the on-deck circle is the place where hitters must get their stride timing down. If the hitter fails to use the on-deck circle appropriately, they will not be effective using this model.

Summary: This model places a lot of emphasis on simple physics. First, the “One Count” approach forces the hitter to generate the momentum during the swing. When the “One Count” model is being practiced, the pitcher generally does not have much velocity in their throw. The hitter must use their momentum to generate power in their swings. The “Two Count” or “Three Count” model allows the hitter to cut down their momentum and use the pitcher’s force on the ball to generate power. Also, by cutting down the force of the hitter, it allows them more time after the stride to read the pitch. As you can see, the objective of each model is clearly stated from hitting the ball in the gaps to just putting it in play. Another benefit of this model is the timing of breaking balls. Pitchers with good breaking balls should not be able to fool hitters that are practicing either the "Two Count" or "Three Count" approaches.



Links to this post:

Create a Link



<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?