5 Essential Practices Great Hitters Do Every Day

Posted by Camille D.C. Sutton | Mar 30, 2016 12:21:05 PM
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Ted Williams once said, "The greatest name in American sports history is Babe Ruth, a hitter." Pretty cool statement coming from the guy who hit over .400 in the Big Leagues.

Among other All-century players, Ted Williams used to talk about hitting the ball so hard and so good that he could smell the burn of how perfectly the ball made contact with the wood of his bat.

Hank Aaron cracked the bat so hard over a row of trailers that bordered the outfield fence that Ted Williams came running out from the clubhouse wanting to know who it was that could make a bat sound that way when it struck a baseball. 

And the legends go on and on. The great hitters of the game must have something in common, and their peers and many young players have studied their swings and approaches for decades. 

We've rallied up a few simple answers from the greats to answer the question: what are some practical ways of hitting the ball harder, faster, and farther? Check out these hitting concepts below.


Baseball has seen hitters of all shapes and sizes take the plate and stun crowds. The thing we believe unites these competitors is one crucial characteristic: RELENTLESSNESS. 

It's been said that after going 0-4 at the plate, instead of dropping his head, Hank Aaron would go back to the clubhouse and mumble, "Tomorrow, somebody pays." The day he hit his 715th home run, breaking Babe Ruth's record, was a day Hank Aaron saw a piece of the payoff of a relentless hitting career.

 

Like Aaron, hitters would do well to enter every batter's box with the fervent belief that no pitcher will ever get the best of him.  

What do Great Hitters do to Improve Their Hitting?

1. Great hitters swing the bat.

Sachio Kinugasa, Japanese baseball player with the Hiroshima Carp was nicknamed Tetsujin, meaning "Iron Man". At the time, he played a world-record 2,215 consecutive games, passing Lou Gehrig's mark in 1987 (source). At 5'9 163 lbs, Kinugasa hit 504 career home runs, and he attributes his success to simply swinging the bat.

Swinging the bat 2,000x a day in the off-season and 500x a day in-season, essentially making the bat an extension of his body. How's that for a pastime?

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2. Great hitters think about hitting.

In last week's post we addressed Improving Your Mental Game, which certainly applies here in the realm of the batter's box. Successful hitters think about themselves being successful.

They think about rhythm and timing, picking up the ball from the pitchers hand, getting comfortable in the box, being unaffected by environment, and focusing no matter the situation.

They take the time to visualize themselves taking a fast ball away and driving it to the right center gap. They imagine themselves in critical moments fighting tough pitch after tough pitch and finally hitting the line drive up the middle.

Great hitters identify themselves as great hitters. There's a real benefit to the art of believing something into existence about yourself.

 

3. Great hitters perfect their swing.

Hitters invest the time to explore the mechanics of their swing in slow motion and allow their bodies to do the work of muscle memory. 

Learn From the Best: Ted William's Swing

 

The Talent Code offers spot on information for harvesting talent in this area or any other skill in the game. Check our link and summary for this empowering coaching tool.

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4. Great hitters buffet their body.

Ted Williams said if he could do it all over again he would get strong, strong, and stronger. Great hitters are continually making their hands, forearms, triceps, and legs stronger so that everything else becomes easier. By being strong, the bat feels lighter and more effortless, making a more confident hitter.

This simple yet challenging aspect of hitting just happens to be Jim Lefebvre's favorite mantra: "We're gonna hit, lift, hit, lift, and then we're gonna hit, lift, hit, lift, hit lift."

Excellent hitters constantly think about hitting, strengthening, and hitting again.

Check out this awesome interview with Jim Lefebvre when he was on staff as the Padres's hitting coach (2009).

 

5. Great hitters hold a steadfast approach.

Great hitters have a plan. They are great competitors and see the challenge of getting a hit off of hard pitchers. It drives and resonates inside them. The relentless ones can't wait to get back in the box and hit.

Babe Ruth's hitting philosophy:

“How to hit home runs: I swing as hard as I can, and I try to swing right through the ball... The harder you grip the bat, the more you can swing it through the ball, and the farther the ball will go. I swing big, with everything I've got. I hit big or I miss big. I like to live as big as I can.”

Training techniques may differ from player to player, but no one can deny Ruth's personal methodology for hitting. It worked for the Babe. One great takeaway could be an extreme confidence in one's ability to do the incredible.

Something as difficult as hitting a baseball, becomes simple for great hitters because of this passion to make hard contact. The sound. The crack of the bat. The feeling when everything gets timed up right, when the ball comes off the bat, and when you've struck it perfectly. 

Hitting Lesson with a Legend: Babe Ruth (starts at 4:00)

 


I hope this post gave your hitters something to think about or continue to improve upon. What are some simple ways you've found success at the plate? Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments section below.


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Topics: Baseball Coaching, Hitting Drills, Batting drills, Hank Aaron, Baseball hitter, Ted Williams, Batting, Babe Ruth, Hitters

Written by Camille D.C. Sutton

Let's just say that I can hang with the best of them in a game of serious wiffle ball. An expert observer, baseball admirer, and baseball coach's daughter, I'm just here to share the latest and greatest in baseball development, baseball training, and maybe some of my peanuts at the ballpark.

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