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Thread: Situational Hitting - mental cues?

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    Softball Junkie CoachJD's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rolling Hard View Post
    Instead of "letting it get deeper" cue which I have used and explained, I have been using "keep your shoulder closed a little longer". Seems to work. I believe the more the hitter understands their swing and more they own it the better.
    I think both cues are helpful because they really explain two different but related things.

    Letting it get deeper is about recognizing the pitch location. Keeping the shoulder closed longer is what you do once you've recognized location.

    The first is the "what" and the second is the "how." I think you need both to truly be successful.


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    Certified softball maniac FP26's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CoachJD View Post
    Someone here has a Buster Posey GIF of him hitting an inside, middle, and outside pitch. It appears to me he doesn't really change his swing. He just does everything a little earlier/later. That's what I try to teach, but I don't know that those who have a lot more technical hitting knowledge than I do would agree.

    To hit a pitch to right field, I don't think a hitter has to change her swing. She just has to let it get deeper, right? (I think this is right. I sure hope it is!) So I think the best thing to do is work with hitters on recognizing pitch location AND explain to them generally where those pitches should go. Once they understand that (RH hitter) the outside pitch should go to right field, and to do that they should let it get a little deeper, I think you kind of have to leave it up to them to figure out the timing.
    Merry Christmas

    "Once you stop learning, you start dying" -- Albert Einstein.

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    I eat, sleep and breathe softball FiveFrameSwing's Avatar
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    How do folks teach taking an 'inside pitch' to 'opposite field'?

    How do folks teach taking an 'outside pitch' to 'pull side'?
    Last edited by FiveFrameSwing; 12-02-2018 at 12:56 PM.

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    I eat, sleep and breathe softball FiveFrameSwing's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FP26 View Post
    Merry Christmas

    The caption for this could read ... "Go With The Pitch".

    Do you recommend that a batter "go with the pitch" on every pitch?

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    Certified softball maniac Westwind's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FiveFrameSwing View Post
    The caption for this could read ... "Go With The Pitch".

    Do you recommend that a batter "go with the pitch" on every pitch?
    I would. At least every pitch you “go” on.

    I like and prefer a simple approach though. “Go with the pitch” fits that bill as far as I’m concerned.
    Some ol’ slicks tryin’ to give me friction.

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    Certified softball maniac FP26's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FiveFrameSwing View Post
    The caption for this could read ... "Go With The Pitch".

    Do you recommend that a batter "go with the pitch" on every pitch?
    My recommendation is for each hitter to hunt a pitch that they like and put their best swing on it. Ideally this would provide gap to gap line drives, with some variance based on timing. However, there are times that I will ask a hitter to focus more on situational hitting. Honestly, it doesn't happen often, but will happen in certain very close games. There are really three things that I focus on regarding situational hitting.

    1) Bunting. Not really hitting, but is definitely situational in my opinion. Teams I have coached do not bunt a lot, but it is a weapon that we will utilize at times. DD is a line drive hitter that isn't exactly fleet of foot... But she is a very good bunter. Last summer we asked her to perform 2 suicide squeeze bunts and both were successful. One was a walk off.
    2) Drive the ball. Yes, I realize this is what hitters try to do all the time. However, with a runner on 3rd and less than two outs, I will specifically ask the hitter to look for not only a pitch they can hit, but one they can drive. Ideally it will find a gap someplace, but even if it is caught by an outfielder, the runner on third should score standing up.
    3) Inside out hitting. Not something we do a lot of, but is something I have practiced with my teams. Generally we would prefer to beat teams by hitting the ball hard all over the field. But I remember one game in particular... We were playing in a dome last February. The game was tied 0-0 in the bottom of the fifth. We had runners on 2nd and 3rd with one out. Our third base coach (former D1 catcher) asked the hitter to go the other way, so she was specifically looking for something middle out, if possible. She got such a pitch and hit a weak grounder to the 2nd baseman. Not the prettiest hit ball, but it was slow enough for the run to score. The game ended 1-0 and happened to be the Championship game of that specific tournament. DD pitched a solid game against a gold team with several D1 commits. We knew whichever team would win would not score much. Just one of those games.

    Again, much of this is going to depend on situation, score, count, the quality of the pitcher/team you are facing, the ability of the hitter at the plate, etc. Lots of variables...
    "Once you stop learning, you start dying" -- Albert Einstein.

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    Ex "Expert" Cannonball's Avatar
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    Aren't certain things being forgotten when viewing video? For example, pitch counts and situations. How about the hitting philosophy of the coaching staff and what they have taught. When FFS asked his very valid question, my initial response was, 'well yes." However, it isn't that simple. I want my hitters to be aggressive. I want them to be able to hit the ball where the pitch is. I want them to be able to hit with two strikes. Well, as you can see, I want it all. There are times when that just isn't possible.

    Over riding the other points, I want my hitters focused on hitting gap to gap. I get hacked off if they hit a ball to 3rd with a runner on 3rd. I hate it when they routinely take a 1st pitch strike. To be honest, I want hitters to work on and be able to hit behind the runners but will take solid contact driving the ball gap to gap all day long.
    My opinions here are simply that, My Opinions. I'm an ex expert. I no longer care to have to be right.

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    I eat, sleep and breathe softball FiveFrameSwing's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FP26 View Post
    My recommendation is for each hitter to hunt a pitch that they like and put their best swing on it. Ideally this would provide gap to gap line drives, with some variance based on timing. However, there are times that I will ask a hitter to focus more on situational hitting. Honestly, it doesn't happen often, but will happen in certain very close games. There are really three things that I focus on regarding situational hitting.

    1) Bunting. Not really hitting, but is definitely situational in my opinion. Teams I have coached do not bunt a lot, but it is a weapon that we will utilize at times. DD is a line drive hitter that isn't exactly fleet of foot... But she is a very good bunter. Last summer we asked her to perform 2 suicide squeeze bunts and both were successful. One was a walk off.
    2) Drive the ball. Yes, I realize this is what hitters try to do all the time. However, with a runner on 3rd and less than two outs, I will specifically ask the hitter to look for not only a pitch they can hit, but one they can drive. Ideally it will find a gap someplace, but even if it is caught by an outfielder, the runner on third should score standing up.
    3) Inside out hitting. Not something we do a lot of, but is something I have practiced with my teams. Generally we would prefer to beat teams by hitting the ball hard all over the field. But I remember one game in particular... We were playing in a dome last February. The game was tied 0-0 in the bottom of the fifth. We had runners on 2nd and 3rd with one out. Our third base coach (former D1 catcher) asked the hitter to go the other way, so she was specifically looking for something middle out, if possible. She got such a pitch and hit a weak grounder to the 2nd baseman. Not the prettiest hit ball, but it was slow enough for the run to score. The game ended 1-0 and happened to be the Championship game of that specific tournament. DD pitched a solid game against a gold team with several D1 commits. We knew whichever team would win would not score much. Just one of those games.

    Again, much of this is going to depend on situation, score, count, the quality of the pitcher/team you are facing, the ability of the hitter at the plate, etc. Lots of variables...
    Thank you for the response.

    While bunting is definitely part of the game of softball, it is not swinging … and perhaps I should have clarified that.

    When someone drives the ball, they often “go with it” … i.e., they swing with authority of “getting behind it”.

    The situation you describe about hitting a weak ball to the second-baser on an outside pitch is still a form of “going with the pitch”.

    I see nothing in your response that supports anything other than a mentality to “go with the pitch”.

    Keep in mind, that it is difficult enough to teach a kid a solid swing. You acknowledge that you don’t practice “not going with the pitch”, so the kid in a situation that is given instruction to “not go with the pitch” is more or less taking an unpracticed hack at the pitch.

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    I eat, sleep and breathe softball FiveFrameSwing's Avatar
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    It isn’t uncommon for a manager to make a post-game comment to their team on the importance of hitting based on the situation. They will give an example of having a runner on 2B or 3B and wanting the pitch driven to RF. They express sincere frustration when RH hitters in that situation are not successful in driving the ball to RF against inside pitches.

    Let's start with the obvious question ... is the coach’s expectation reasonable?

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    I eat, sleep and breathe softball FiveFrameSwing's Avatar
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    Let me try this from another perspective.

    When a kid comes in to their weekly lessons I typically start out by asking how their recent games/practices have gone and if they have something in particular that they wish to work on.

    On occasion a kid will tell me that their team is working on situational hitting, and the part they are struggling with is when they are asked to hit the ball to the opposite field in which it would typically be hit to. They are frustrated and want help to succeed with their coach's goals.

    How do you help this kid?


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