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Swing Decisions Separate The Good From The GREAT

Jan 12, 2023
 

When you think about the best hitters in baseball, you immediately think of all of the highlight reels, HRs, and bat flips that you see online.
 

However, what is often overlooked are those players' ability to control the strike zone.  

 

The next time you’re watching a game (who knows when that might be) watch how a good hitter works the count. 

  • How did he put himself in a position where he could hit that HR?
  • What pitches did he take? 
  • Was he aggressive early? 
  • Did he take a close pitch? 

All of these things play into swing decisions, which will make or break your career. 
 

Now how do you go about developing this skill?
 

I think you have to break up different age groups and view it as a long term progression. 

Here is a graphic on Swing Decisions and ways to develop the skill.

 


How would I approach teaching swing decisions to different age groups? 
 

Here is the most simplistic answer I can give. 

 Ages 11u and under approach 

  • Swing Hard and Often 

That’s the approach I would want for kids 11u and under.

Literally that simple.

It’s so easy to confuse younger kids who don’t have a very high IQ yet. 


I don’t want them worrying about ‘protecting’ with 2ks or making adjustments pitch-pitch. Mainly because…they can’t. Their brain isn’t capable yet. 
 

 Ages 12-14u approach 

  • Slowly introduce them to what an approach is

  • Spark curiosity 

  • Still keep it simple

  • Different rounds in practice with different approaches (Oppo, Pull-Side, Etc.)

This age group is a fun one to work with. They are open to new ideas and you can play an important role in getting them ready for high school baseball. 

 

 Ages 15u - 18u approach 

  • An approach and plan should be emphasized 

  • It starts in practice, each round should have a purpose

  • Asking them questions, instead of telling them what to do 

  • Game Planning for Pitchers (If available)

  • In-Game adjustments 

  • 2K approach (Same as regular approach, IMO) 

I could go on and on here, I love this part of the game.

Having an approach and emphasizing it in this age range is important for the topic of this email, swing decisions. 

 

Pitchers are throwing harder with better stuff in this age group. You can’t ‘hope’ your way to success.

 

Now here’s the last tip I’ll give on an approach at the plate.

I’ve been able to talk to some very good hitters. I’ve noticed that ‘very few’ can only look on the inner half and be successful.

 

Here’s why: Maybe you do the most damage on pitches that are on the inner half of the plate. So you solely are looking for pitches there.

 

What I’ve seen is those guys become susceptible to swinging at pitches that are a ball or two inside, because their perception of the zone changes. 

 

Looking over the heart of the plate is the biggest recommendation I would give. This way they can adjust to both sides of the plate. 

 

I hope this provides some value. If It did please share this email with someone who might enjoy it. 

 
     

Thanks,
PJ