Let me paint a game scenario for you.
Late in the game.
Good hitter up.
The count is 1 ball and 0 strikes. The pitcher throws a change up on the outside part of the plate. The hitter is fooled sitting on a fastball. They stick their butt out one direction and reach for the ball. The hitter does everything they can to make contact. The ball dribbles to an infielder and the batter is out. Inning over. Maybe game over.
From day one, coaches have taught hitters to make contact. And you can’t blame them. At the simplest form, that’s the point of the game. Have you been to game with a bunch of 9 year olds playing lately? Make contact. Put the ball in play. Don’t strike out. Keep it fair.
It might sound crazy, but as a hitter advances, making contact isn’t always the best outcome.
Hitting coaches like to use the term “Doing Damage” and I think it’s a great way to define a mindset that hitters should have at the plate. We are looking for a hard hit ball. We want to be an offensive threat and “Do Damage”. We ONLY hit the ball hard when we take a powerful swing.
Now, let me paint a new picture for you.
This time, the batter takes their best hack and they swing and miss. They miss badly. They were off on their timing. But they took a powerful swing, but missed. But guess what? The count is now 1-1. The batter’s not out. The inning isn’t over. The game isn’t over. They get another chance to do damage.
A Note for Coaches:
Here’s what I teach when comes to Two Strike Hitting. The same principle applies every single time a hitter swings. We want the best swing they have.
As coaches, do you talk to your hitters about this?
Do they know you’d rather them swing and miss than make bad contact?