Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Part Two: Boudurant-Farrar Hitting Philosophy

Coach Hamilton has provided another article for coaches to review. He has shared his program's offensive approach to batting. This is a wonderful resource for coaches to analyze before the season approaches. I wanted to thank Coach Hamilton for sharing his ideas with the rest of us and wish him a return trip to the Iowa High State Baseball Tournament in 2008.


Hitting is perhaps the most difficult skill in any sport to master. The physical/mechanical aspect of the sing is important, but there is also a mental component as well. In addition there are many variables beyond the control of the hitter including, but not limited to; speed, type, and location of pitch, varying strike zone, and weather conditions. In addition, you only have approximately .4 of a second to react to all of these factors, get off a good swing, and hit a round ball with a round bat. You need to start thinking about becoming a pitcher. It is this very difficulty that makes the act great. Hitting a ball on the sweet spot is perhaps the most gratifying moment in life. Hitting is not only fun, it can be done with proper preparation. Remember if it were easy, we wouldn’t have other sports.


BONDURANT-FARRAR HITTING PHILOSOPHY
We want to have an offense that puts the pressure on our opponents:

1. get on base
2. use the bunting game
3. be aggressive baserunning
4. get a quality at-bat

HITTING APPROACH

1. Get in a position to hit every pitch
a. Load early, load soft, keep your head still. Your hands must be between your back shoulder an back foot. Hold your position and track the ball until it hits glove, hits you, or your hit it. Do not turn away or down until the ball is past you. Work on your timing and tracking on every pitch.

2. Get your best swing off every at bat
a. You must be on time, on balance, and see the ball in order to get your best swing off. If you are ahead in the count and you are not on time and on balance don’t swing. No check swings with less that two strikes! If you start – get a rip! Don’t get yourself out with a poor swing. If is better to get a good swing at a bad pitch, than a bad swing at a good pitch. Swing it!

3. Be aggressive
a. Think hit, hit, hit, take ---- or ---- yes, yes, yes, no. Never the other way around. Be confident and cut it loose!!!!

4. Don’t get beat out in front
a. Let the ball get deep before you make decisions. Track it longer and always think middle or away, not pull. This will not only prevent you from taking off balance swings, it will havel you identify pitches better. Remember if you miss late it is usually a foul ball. If you miss early it is usually a weak ground ball or a pop-up. The longer you wait the harder you can swing, the longer you wait the better you see it.

See it better + Swing harder = Success.

5. Battle with two strikes.
a. Be confident that the pitcher can’t throw a pitch by you. Spread your stance, choke up, crowd the plate, eliminate the stride, use your hands take a late quick stroke, and hit every pitch below your hands and off the floor. Make him beat your deep, not out front. Refuse to give away an at bat. Put it in play and make the defense catch it and throw it. Never strike out looking. Be extra aggressive.

GETTING READY TO HIT:

BP is over its game time. You must get ready to hit long before you get in the box. The following responsibilities are to serve as a guide during games.

AT THE PLATE – have a plan, based on the game situation, the pitcher, the umpire, the count, and your strengths as a hitter. With 0 strikes – look for fastballs. Know your sweet spot. With 1 strike this is a see it, hit it count. Look for fastballs in your zone or curve balls that stay up. Remember be aggressive if you are on time and on balance. Also remember that curves must start up to stay up. All pitches go down, curves that start below the belt are usually balls. With 2-strikes hit everything near the zone below your hands and off the floor on the backside.

Remember to:
1. breathe – take deep breaths- this helps you relax and get oxygen to your muscles
2. develop a consistent pre pitch routine.
3. use positive self-talk to help maintain focus. Give yourself 1 or 2 positive instructions each time you enter the box. For example, stay back, trust your hands, see the ball, let it travel. Slow feet, quick hands….ect….

On Deck – Relax, track pitches, time pitches, game speed swings.

In the hole – Work on timing/tracking, and loading. Most umpires only allow one player out of the dugout. This can be done in the dugout no swings?

Fourth – work on tracking , and boxing the pitchers release point.

Fifth – study the pitcher, watch his mechanics. Is he tipping his pitches? Does he have any patterns?

Sixth – ninth – relax and watch the game.

Most important aspect of hitting is the eyes. You can’t hit it if you don’t see it. In order to see the ball the head must stay still, in order to keep the head still all stride and loading activity must be slow, soft, and early. You have to keep your camera still if you want to take a good picture.



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