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We can all agree that Baseball is a numbers game. With the technology that is available today, it makes it easier for us to decipher where the hits are. Having a high batting average will keep you in the game for a long time.
Since we are going into the off-season it is important when you begin to train for the spring you’re not just hitting just to hit. This article will show you prime examples of how you can train smarter and most importantly get more hits. All while learning how to hit for power and average.
Every hitter that I have ever worked with from ages 7-23 years old all have one thing in common. The hardest and farthest balls that they hit are pull-side.
What this means for hitters is that balls that are on the inside of the plate and even over the middle need to be driven hard and in the air. The goal here is to understand where your hits are and how to acquire more of them. The best hitters in the game like Mike Trout prove this time and time again. Balls that are thrown middle-in should be crushed to that hitters pull side.
Therefore when you are training you need to practice driving the ball higher and harder to your pull side.
For most hitters driving the ball the other way can be daunting. A Lot of time balls that are hit higher in the air backside end up being outs. Due to the fact that hitters don’t hit the ball as hard as they do to the pull side. Sure there are outliers like Juan Soto and many other hitters in the Big leagues but chances are if you are reading this you’re not in the Big Leagues. Therefore focusing on what you do best and practicing that way is exactly what you need to do. When you are taking hacks in the cage you can't neglect to hit the ball the backside.
As the numbers have shown us that you want to pull the ball in the air, it is important that we are aiming to hit the bottom of the ball. Now, you want to make sure the bat path is correct when aiming at the bottom of the ball. Too much of a downward swing plane and aiming at the bottom of the ball will just produce pop-ups. Make sure you are swinging back up at the bottom half of the ball when trying to pull it.
If you have a proper swing plane then you should aim at the top of the ball when hitting the outside pitch to the opposite field. Because we have to wait slightly longer on the outside pitch the barrel gets deeper behind us. Because of this, it is better for hitters to aim at the top part of the ball to ensure consistent, hard contact on the outside pitch.
In the spray charts below, you can see all of Mike Trout's balls he put in play. Judging by the charts a lot of his power is pull-side. Mike Trout is one of the greatest players in today's game reason being is when that ball is middle in he doesn't miss as much as most hitters would. Take a look at the breakdown of his spray chart below the photo.
You can see his power comes from hitting the ball pull side in the air. He also has nearly twice as many fly outs to the right side of the centerfield than the left side of the centerfield. While also having nearly twice as many pull side groundouts than oppo ground outs. So you can see the majority of his outs are high backside and low pull side. As young hitters changing your approach to the high pull side and low backside hits can help you increase your barrel accuracy and get more hard-hit balls to land in the outfield.
After reading this article it should be pretty clear on what you need to do as a hitter. Nobody bats 1.000. Getting out less and finding where the hits lie is crucial if you want to stay in the game. The way you practice this off-season directly affects how your next season is going to go.
Understanding that just hitting in the cages is not going to get the job done. Create a plan before you go hit that day. Have a solid routine that will get you better. Nobody is going to change you but you! be realistic with where you're at and then attack your weaknesses with a plan. You never know those might just become your strengths!