Here's how step by step:
Step 1: Eliminate Pitches
"Watch what the pitcher does. If he doesn't have a feel for a certain pitch, he's not going to throw it in a key situation"
- Ken Griffey Jr.
Anytime we can simplify hitting, I'm all in. Eliminating pitches is an easy way to do that. For coaches with data on the opposing pitcher, this is easy to do. You can look at percentages and take an educated guess on what pitches you can eliminate.
For coaches without this kind of data, you must watch the pitcher warm up and how they throw to the first few hitters. Early on, you can see what pitches they have working that day.
Here are some examples:
1. "Be great at what you're good at" Let's say you have a hitter who destroys FB but struggles with the breaking ball. You can have them only look for FB and spit on anything with spin.
2. Can't locate the FB. They're only throwing off-speed pitches. Depending on the shape of the breaking pitch, the hitter can look for it to appear in a certain window and take it if it's not there.
Step 2: Top/Down Approach
If the movement of a pitcher's FB has a high vertical break, or in softball, a rise ball, I'd recommend a top/down approach for some hitters, which means they expect the ball to be thrown in the top part of the zone, increasing the chances of being able to hit it.
The hitter will make better swing decisions.
Have a better chance to not miss under.
When hitters swing and miss at a FB, they're under it or late. This strategy helps with that.
Step 3: Shape of breaking ball
The next thing we need to know is the shape of the breaking ball. I put those into two categories.
Sweepy (east/west movement)
Tight (north/south movement
If the pitcher has a sweepy slider, the hitter may need to see it start on the inside part of the plate for it to be a strike. If they see it start on the middle of the plate, it's a take.
For a tight-breaking ball that has north/south movement, how much does it break?
Is it a 12/6 where we let it go if we see spin below the pitcher's release point, or is it a tight slider? These are all questions you have to answer before you game plan with your hitters.
Know the FB movement.
Shape of the breaking ball
Bonus Tip: Small ball doesn't beat elite pitching. You're more likely to get a few big hits than scraping together several high-quality ABs against good pitching.