During part two of our six questions to ask your softball hitters we continue to focus on mindset. Failure is inevitable as a softball hitter, even the best hitters in the world will fail 7 out of 10 times at the plate. How players get from good to great is by responding to those failures and not allowing it to affect their mindset.
If you missed part one of our blog posts. you can check it out here. Otherwise, let’s dive right into our last three questions to ask your softball hitters.
4. Are You Learning from Previous At-Bats?
If you’ve struck out three times in a row, with all the pitches over your head, that’s a good indicator that you’re not learning from your previous at-bats. Good hitters make adjustments from each at-bat, and elite hitters will even make adjustments from pitch to pitch.
As a coach, we give our hitters the permission to fail. However, I would much rather see my hitters make an adjustment and fail, \ than to do the same thing over and over again and continue to fail. Here are some questions you should be asking yourself after (or during) every at-bat so you can make the proper adjustments:
- Was I early, on time, or late?
- Did I make an adjustment from pitch to pitch if necessary?
- How did they pitch me? (Was the pitcher pounding the strike zone, dancing around, stay inside, all outside, missing really low in the zone etc.)
- Was the umpire consistent? (calling balls, balls, and calling strikes, strikes) If not, you may need to change your approach for your next at-bat.
- Was the pitcher giving anything away on their pitches?
You typically have plenty of time before you’re up to bat again, so don’t waste it thinking about what you’re going to have for dinner. Stay focused and get mentally ready for your next at-bat.
Pitchers tend to have 1-2 pitches that are their “go to’s” as well as intentional, and sometimes unintentional patterns. Maybe they’re throwing a curveball for a strike, 2-3 times for every hitter. Or for every first pitch, they’re throwing a fastball and right down the middle.
If you’re paying attention to the hitters on your team and their approach, you can pick up on tendencies and start timing the pitcher up mentally. If you’re the #9 hitter on your team, you have the opportunity for eight mental at-bats before you get your first actual one! Talk about a confidence booster!
5. Are You Leaving Behind Poor At-Bats, or Are You Bringing Them with You on Defense?
“Learn from it, and flush it.” That was one thing Coach White at the University of Oregon told us to think when we had a bad at-bat. Yes, we want to learn from our previous at-bats, but we cannot dwell on them or over analyze to the point that it negatively affects us on defense or even for our next at-bat. Too often I see players strike out looking, mope their way to their spot on defense, and bury their chin in their jersey. More often than not, the game of baseball/softball has a way of “finding” that player on defense. And there’s not much worse than striking out looking, then immediately making a mental error on defense because you’re too busy worrying about striking out. Learn from it, make an adjustment, and let it go so you can be the best teammate and player you can be for your team.
6. If You’re Doing All These Things Right, but Aren’t Liking Your Results, What Are You Doing About It?
With the game of baseball and softball, there’ll be times where you can’t catch a break and might go 4-5 games without a hit or even getting on base. This often referred to the slump. But when it’s getting to that 5-6 game range without any success, what are you doing about it? If you’re doing all the right things, being mentally tough, confident, learning from at-bats, have a good routine and are still not seeing success, you probably need to take a look at your mechanics. Put in some work on your swing mechanics by spending some time in The Hitting Vault, and eventually, you will break the slump and get back on track.
Make every swing count, with the right body movements and the intent to do damage. Professional hitters didn’t get there by having a picture-perfect swing by the age of ten. It took them thousands and thousands of reps to get their swing to an elite level, and it still takes them thousands and thousands every year to maintain it. Continue to put in the work and keep your mental game strong by focusing on these six questions to ask your softball hitters.