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What is a good 2k approach?

Jun 22, 2023


  The Mental Game:

 This week's episode is with Mental Performance Coach Brian Cain. 

If you're a coach, you will pick up at least 1 thing in this episode to help your players. I promise. 

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                                                                  Teaching a 2k Approach

I used to teach all hitters to change their approach with 2 strikes.  

Until one day, I saw firsthand that one of the hitters I worked with swung at a pitch he would’ve NEVER swung at with less than 2ks.

He looked defensive and timid.

When he got to 2 strikes, it didn’t seem like he was on offense anymore.  

It was then that I realized I had made a mistake.  

I realized that not all hitters must have the same approach with 2 strikes.  

If anything, the majority shouldn’t change a thing once they get to 2ks.  

Fear is what causes most strikeouts. 

Instilling fear in young hitters will hinder their development the older they get.  

I promise.

By the time they get to high school, they’re so afraid of striking out because it’s been ingrained in their subconscious mind that striking out is very bad, the coach won’t be happy if they strike out. 

And don’t get me started on what might happen if they strike out looking!  

Now I don’t want any hitter ever to strike out.  

The question is, how do we limit the number of times we strike out?

The 2k approach plays a big part in that.  

Let’s discuss 3 different ways to teach a 2k approach

#1. Don’t change anything with 2ks  

Some hitters already do an excellent job with 2ks; they don’t need anyone telling them anything.  

If it aint broke, don’t fix it. I’d say leave those hitters be.  

Most players in this category have a solid approach, so there’s no reason to change anything.  

These are usually the hitters who don’t seem to think much of anything when they step up to the plate.

We’ve all had the hitter who minds their business and is successful.  

 #2. Make a physical change with 2ks  

 I was taught this growing up, and this is how I used to teach all of the hitters I worked with.  

  • Spread out  
  • Choke up  
  • Expand the zone  
  • Protect anything close  


I’ve seen this work with some hitters. 

Usually, though, these are high-level hitters who have success with this approach.

They aren’t doing it out of fear of striking out but because it helps them.

Big difference.

Experience trumps all.  

I don’t recommend this at all for young hitters.  

They don’t know what they’re doing; the last thing they need is someone telling them to change everything with 2ks. 

A BIG part of this is individualized, which is tricky.  

Knowing a player's personality can help, but that doesn’t always give you the answer.  

#3. Shrink the zone with 2ks  

Instead of expanding the zone as we talked about in #2.  

We’re going to shrink the zone in this approach.  

This would be my favorite 2k approach if I had to pick one.  

Since people's biggest fear is what someone else might think of them, players are afraid to strike out for that reason, which is why #2 is so popular—fear of striking out. 

I don’t want hitters to fear striking out.  

I also don’t want them striking out.  

And in my experience, this approach leads to the least strikeouts and the most productive ABs when a hitter gets to 2ks.  

So instead of expanding the zone with 2ks, shrink the zone with 2ks. 

They’ll naturally cover the corners.  

Ask yourself this question. How many times do you have a hitter who swings at a bad pitch 2-0?  

Not that often.  

Why is that?  

Why not take that same approach to 2 strikes?  

If it’s an 0-2 count, tell them to flip it to 2-0.  


Hitting is fun to talk about because there’s more than one way to think about and teach it.  

Each hitter is different.  

This is why I try not to tell you this is THE WAY and instead say, here are the ways that I’ve seen work, which might work for you too. 

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