How do you get the right mechanics to stick with a player? What can you as a coach do to help them learn?

Coach Lisle answers these questions, as well as tells you how much time hitters should be spending outside practice and lessons, working on the correct body movements. Check it out!

The biggest thing that you can do when working on hitting drills with your hitters, is to do the the drills until they can’t get it wrong.

I would say that one of the biggest mistakes that players make, and coaches make them a little bit too, is that they feel like, ‘I mastered this movement. Alright, I’m moving on.’ And it’s like, no, you haven’t mastered it. It takes a lot more time and effort to master this movement and this thing.

So if I have someone like that and I’ve worked on it, I would say, I haven’t worked on it enough. If I have worked on it enough and they’re still not getting it, and this happens, a lot of times as a coach, I have to find another way to do it.

One of the biggest things about The Hitting Vault that I wanted to do was try to create multiple drills for one movement. This drill might work for your kid, and this drill might not, and vice versa.

So for me, as a hitting coach–let’s say I’m working with you and you’re doing something. I’ve got this perfect drill. Here’s how we do it. And we do the drill, and you don’t get it. And we’ve worked on over it again, you’re not getting it.

The Core Job of a Hitting Coach

My job is to figure out, “hey, what do I have to do to get you to feel that movement?” And honestly, there are times that I’ve come to practice and say, “I know. Here’s the drill. Let’s try it this way. Let’s do it like this.”

They’re probably looking at me like, what are you talking about coach?

And I’m like, “you’re the Guinea pig. We’re going to try it out. Does this work?”

I think sometimes we have to do that. So I would say if you are having a hard time getting your hitters to feel the movements, that it’s most likely one of two things.

  1. You haven’t done the movement enough. That’s generally my go-to answer, they just simply haven’t done it enough. It’s really not ingrained in them yet due to lack of repetition and muscle memory.
  2. I’m taking an internal look at myself. OK, what am I doing? How am I teaching it in a way that (they’re) not getting it? What’s the other approach I can take? Maybe it’s different terminology.

Like I said, for some hitters, they have come up with all kinds of things. I’ve asked them, bow and arrow, shooting the arrow, punching– you’ve got to come up with some terms that are going to click for them.

But the first thing I would do is say, “OK, have you really been putting the work in on this?” If the answer to that is yes, then I give my hitters permission to put blame on me if they want.

I can tell you there’s a major league player that I worked with that we worked on the separation drill every day, and we were working on this every day, getting after it.

He told me, “hey, when my wife went to bed and I was standing in the mirror I did it for, like, 15 minutes a day for a week.”

Which seems a little crazy if you think about it. This person’s getting paid more than I am ever going to get paid to play this sport, professional athlete, and he’s sitting in the mirror working on this over and over again, 15 minutes a day.

I’m pretty sure my 12-year-old or my 19-year-old freshman or whoever it is can put in the 15 minutes.

Help your Hitters Understand the Concept of Time

As hitting coaches, when we ask players to do something and ask them how much time did you spend on that? The reality is it’s probably like two minutes.

A lot of times I like to ask the players, “if I asked you to do the separation drill or I asked you to do this drill at home, what do you think is the appropriate amount of time before you would say ‘all right, I’m bored. I’m done.” You get answers across the board. 1 minute, 5 minutes, 15 minutes.

When a kid says 15 minutes, say, “OK. Today when you get home,” and I’ll say, “we’ll check in with your parents tomorrow,” or whatever day it is, “I want you to time it. Tell me if you actually spent 15 minutes,” on whatever the thing is, and just get them to really understand the concept of the time and how much time they spend on developing their swing movements.

Challenge your Hitters

So I would just challenge your hitters a little bit to see and make sure that the appropriate time is spent outside of practice to focus on their movements. As coaches, I hope you guys are giving homework once or twice a week. If you are not having your players work on movements outside of practice, none of that has been ingrained that you’re teaching in that one session. It has to go home. It has to be worked on. And you’ve got to find fun ways to do it and to be able to follow up on it.

If I have a hitter that I worked with only once a week and they came back
next week and I said, how much did you work on it? And they said 0, I personally would love to just send them home. By not putting in the work outside of practice, you wasted both of our time.

So you’ve got to make sure that you really challenge your hitters to actually put the time in and want to get better. You also have to remember, not every hitter wants to put in the time and hard work that it takes, and that’s OK! But you and the hitter also have to realize that they most likely won’t reach the levels of success that are possible without putting in that work. There is no substitution for hard work.

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