Learning how to hit off-speed pitches!
Out of all the hitters from high school to the major leagues only about 5 percent can really hit. Why?
Once the curve ball is introduced the game changes. The good little league or travel league hitter suddenly becomes the average to below average hitter because the off speed pitches really mess them up.
What is the key to hitting off-speed pitches?
The key is the ability of the hitter to not to change his swing or posture when the curve is thrown. The thing is that the coaches know this and even the player knows this, but yet it still continues to be the major problem in hitting. Besides waving at pitches. arm swings, and off balance swings there is even more of a deeper problem that coaches and players do not see or realize.
What is this problem that causes changes in the swing during off-speed pitches?
It is called the yips. Yes just like in golf! This is when the timing gets thrown off in a swing and the hitter grabs at the stick with his hands. Hand grabbing changes the swing and takes away power behind the swing right away. Once the power goes out, then the bad habits like arm swinging and hand punching are left to try to save the hitter.
Really though, at higher levels, more hitters can keep their posture better in off speed pitche situations, but if the hand grabbing still exists, the hitter still usually struggles even if he keeps his posture and keeps his hands back. This is something that is not noticed from coaches and players, but really is the main problem.
So if the yips are the main problem, then how do you correct it?
Before we answer that you need to know that hitters progressively gets worse as they go up levels for this very reason. At the varsity high school and college levels, an off speed pitch is thrown 30-40 percent of the time. At the pro level it is about 50-60 percent! Meaning, if you do not learn the secrets to staying back and preventing the yips, you are pretty much in big trouble at the next level. So why the major struggle if hitting the off speed pitch so hard?
Well nobody really can identify the real problem that we just discussed. Telling players to keep their hands back or to stay back is not enough to help them obviously. Really though, the way hitters are trained is one of the huge problems. Most all hitters are trained to bat defensively when down in the count or expecting off speed pitches. Sorry to say, but this type of thinking just helps freeze up the hitters even more, causing more yips and hand grabbing.
Remember this: Great hitters can keep their normal power swings even on off-speed pitches!
Now that you are done thinking about that, you most certainly know that this is true. Hitters that practice situational hitting and 2 strike hitting on a regular basis are on a collision course to end their careers because they cannot hit the off speed pitches with the same authority they can the fastball.
Are there secrets to staying back, keeping your posture, and preventing the yips on off-speed pitches?
You bet there are and those secrets are the key to elite hitting levels. They can be taught and trained to most any hitter quite easily. As a matter of fact, when this secret is learned and the body is used to keeping the same power swing even during off speed and 2 strike situations, then the hitter automatically becomes a better hitter! How much better?
When the secrets are learned correctly, the increase in quality swing per at bat goes up over 30 percent!
Do you know what a 30 percent increase in quality swings means for a hitter?
Since this a major part of our Moneyball Hitting Training Formula, we know after over 15 years of time tested evaluations on hitters and teams at all levels; that increasing the quality of swing by 30 percent over a seasons time usually increases the batting average and slugging percentage by 50 points!
If you think it is possible to hit all types of pitches for more power and with more ball contact consistency to all fields, then you are thinking about being the complete hitter. These are the types of thinkers we like to train.