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Help Hitters Build An Approach

Jan 09, 2023

In this post, I will explain how to build an approach at the plate. 

Everyone, no matter what level, needs to know what an approach is and have one anytime they pick up a bat. 


I've seen this take hitter's from the minor leagues to the big leagues, college to pro, high school to college, etc. 


There's no better feeling than having an approach that works for you and not constantly second-guessing yourself. 


After reading this, you should consider an approach that works best for you or your players.


Unfortunately... most players don't have the discipline to stick to an approach for a certain amount of time.

Changing one thing day after day. 


Where do I need to improve as a hitter?


  • Self-Awareness

  • Instant gratification 

  • Understanding "why"

  • Discipline


Luckily, if you follow the simple steps I outline below, you won't have any of these issues. 


Here's how to step by step:


1: Approach in Practice > Approach in Game 


You are in control during practice, from when you start hitting off the tee to when the coach throws BP. Because you are in a controllable environment, this is a perfect time to start working on your approach. 


I am a big believer in starting out your round hitting to the opposite field. It forces you to let the ball travel a little bit longer and takes discipline. 


A question I will ask players is, what do you struggle with? 


Most of the time, it's something like, "I'm consistently rolling over." 


"Great, what have you been doing to work on that?"


Usually, the answer is some random drill. 


If you're rolling over during the game, you need to make sure you're training in a way that prevents that from happening 'during practice.' 


When the game rolls around, you're in reaction mode. In the back of your mind, you may be thinking opposite field, but we want to have already trained that. Which is why have an approach in practice is so important. 

Here's Donnie Ecker, an MLB coach for the Rangers. 


Step 2: Keep the approach simple 

So many go wrong in trying to complicate everything. You have less than a second to decide whether you're going to swing or not. 


One of the things that surprised me when I started with pro players and big leaguers is how simple they keep everything. 


So if they're keeping things simple, why are we overcomplicating everything at the lower levels?


When building out your approach, don't worry if it's not perfect; make sure it's simple. 


Simple = Repeatable.


Step 3: Sticking to your approach = success


You often hear people say, "stick to the process." 


But what does that mean when it comes to building an approach? 


It means that if you can change your mindset into thinking that success isn't the end result at that moment, but you sticking to your approach practice after practice, game after game, long term, you will be a better hitter.

This quote from Carlos Pena is exactly what we're talking about. 

Sometimes hitter's will abandon their approach during an AB.

The umpire calls a strike that is a ball or they swing at a bad pitch and get into panic mode.

Having an approach, sticking with it, and being okay with the result is a professional approach for baseball and softball hitters. 

One of the things that I heard recently was

"would you rather have an 0-1 count?

Or be 0-1?"

Meaning, sometimes you have to be okay with taking a strike if it's not a pitch you were looking for.


  1. Start building your approach in practice 

  2. Keep it simple 

  3. View success at sticking to your approach


The Hitting Chronicle

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