Pitch recognition. One of the most important pieces to being a successful hitter. There’s not much worse than a player working all offseason on their swing, but when season starts, they are swinging at the balls and watching the strikes! How do you teach pitch recognition when you’re in the offseason so that your players are ready Game 1?
There’s all kinds of different ways to work on pitch recognition. At the pro level and the college level, we have apps and video, and we have all kinds of technology to work on it.
It’s really cool. I would tell you at the younger levels–and it’s still as valid at the pro level is, everybody here coaches a team that has pitchers on it–I’m hoping. And those pitchers hopefully throw bullpens on some regular basis. I would tell you that your batter standing in–and like I said, you can either wear a helmet and a glove, depending on your pitcher; making sure that they’re safe in that batter’s box. I would tell you that seeing pitches is the best way to have pitch recognition.
Seeing Pitches: The key to Teaching Pitch Recognition
I use an example, a lot of times, with my kids in the fall. If I said, hey, Billy and Johnny, Billy’s going to just work on his swing all fall. Going to get a ton of swings in. He gets 5,000 swings in. And Johnny, you know what? He gets 3,000 swings in, but he gets 5,000 pitches in the bullpen. He’s recognized 5,000 off-speed, fastballs, different spin. He’s been really in here, just seeing pitches.
When it comes to the first game day, who is more prepared to hit live pitching? So that would be, to me, the easiest way to do it– a free way to do it, and it’s a great way. The more pitches that you see–and for me, at the pro level, these guys who have incredible pitch recognition, it’s because they’ve seen thousands and thousands and thousands of pitches. They’ve played a lot longer than a lot of us have been blessed to be able to do. So that would be the number one thing I would do.
Other Ways to Teach Pitch Recognition
I think that many golf balls and broomsticks–I mean, I think there’s all kinds of ways to make hitting a focus to be able to do it. I would say that there’s all kinds of tricks out there to do it, but just literally staying in the box would be the number one best way to start working on pitch recognition.
And to me, you could have them stand in there, and to me the spin is cool–be able to recognize spin–but it’s really difficult to do as a hitter. So I would rather you stand in there and say ball, strike, ball, strike and be able to just recognize is this a good pitch to hit or not?
Making Pitch Recognition Competitive
And you could even chart it. You can keep score. You could make it a fun game, where the hitters are in the box. You have someone with a chart. And you say, hey, before the catcher catches it, you’ve got to yell ball or strike, and I’ll tell you if you’re right.
And you could even chart it. You can keep score. You could make it a fun game, where the hitters are in the box. You have someone with a chart. And you say, hey, before the catcher catches it, you’ve got to yell ball or strike, and I’ll tell you if you’re right. You’re right, you get a point. You’re wrong, you don’t get a point. And just literally do that over and over again. Make it a station in your rotations, if a few pitchers are pitching at the same time, or if you can create doing that, that would be the best way, in my opinion.
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