Finding and Maintaining Confidence as a Hitter

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Confidence: A feeling or consciousness of one's powers or reliance on one's circumstances.

Have you ever met a professional athlete at the highest level?  If you have, you've probably noticed their presence, their swagger, their aura.  There is a way about them that sometimes is hard to quantify. It's a trait they all seem to carry with them in and out of the arena. That trait is simply confidence.

I want to share with you today a concept that we want all our athletes to obtain.  That is the concept of baseline confidence.  An ability to always believe their potential to do damage at the plate, no matter what their stat line might be.  Baseball is a hard game.

As we all know, a good hitter will usually have a batting average near or over .300.  Which also means their "failing" 70% of the time.  There isn't another endeavor in the world that can say a success rate of 30% is high level. Because of this, it can be very easy to perceive "failure" as not batting .300 on the year, month, or weekend.  Believe me, there is a way to go hitless for the weekend and still feel great about what you're doing. Let's look at where achieving high baseline confidence starts.

Your Work

High School Sophomore Working on His Stride at BRHQ
High School Sophomore Working on His Stride at BRHQ

It goes without saying, the time that you put into your craft will directly relate to the height of your success.  Now, that also depends heavily on working smart during that time.  Having a good understanding of your swing is crucial to having high baseline confidence.

One of the best things for me as a professional instructor is when I see a student of any age, self-correct.  They just know.  They can feel the flaw and immediately change something in their swing to get the desired result.  It is important here to make sure the information you are receiving and paying for is correct.

If it's not, you can work really hard at something that is completely incorrect.  I myself am a great example of this.  Be sure to ask questions and make sure you know exactly what you are doing every single time you swing the bat.

Having Goals

Sounds simple right? You would be amazed how many new clients come it with absolutely no idea what they want to do at the plate.

Chas Going Over HitTrax Numbers with New Clients
Chas Going Over HitTrax Numbers with New Clients
Eric Discussing Swing Mechanics to New Client
Eric Discussing Swing Mechanics to New Client

Usually, the answers we get are some sort of regurgitated version of cultural baseball nonsense.  These things include things like "hit the ball", "put it in play", "get a hit", and so on and so forth.  I mean what are those?  Does Javy Baez, Christian Yelich, or Mookie Betts look like that's all they're trying to do at the plate?

Let's get one thing clear, those guys are up there looking to do damage.  Train accordingly.  I've found that the more a player trains to do damage the better the results are in games, the more fun they have, the higher their confidence gets.  Even if they are 0-4 one game, they are fully aware of their abilities.  One at-bat, one game, one weekend doesn't define who they are.  Their baseline confidence doesn't allow them to think any less than what they are fully capable of.

Short Term Memory

Like I have said already, baseball is hard.  There are days where everything is feeling great and balls are jumping off the bat.  Other days, not so much.  The key here is to learn and move on.  Too many players take one at-bat, swing, or game into their next one.  Once this happens, the issues seem to get worse.  If you've put in the work and can correctly identify the issue the only thing left is a slight adjustment.  Could be just timing but if it's a swing adjustment, time in front of the mirror or cage work could be the only thing you need.  Don't let small sample sizes freak you out and think your swing needs a major overhaul.

By creating a high baseline confidence level a player can quickly overcome poor performance and feel excited about the next opportunity to play.  There is nothing worse than fearing your next at-bat due to feelings of uncertainty about what you can do.

Re-define Failure

The word "fail" always carries a negative undertone when it doesn't have to.  Change that today.  A great example of this is my daughter.  She just celebrated her first birthday last month and has begun trying to walk more.  In her attempts to walk from point A to point B she ultimately falls down.  Would you look at an infant and say she is failing?  No, you would say she's learning.  The same goes with your swing.  No matter how much progress you have made so far, there will always be a new period of "failing".  If you look at is a learning opportunity or simply the fact your actually doing something different, the tone is positive and much easier for growth.  Too many kids feel as if they let their team, coaches, and family down in a major way if they "mess up".  This could be anything from striking out in a game or mis-hitting a ball in practice.  The negativity just oozes from their body and growth cannot happen.

Learn to use these learning opportunities to get better and your confidence will not waiver because of the simple positive view you are taking.  You know that you'll figure out whatever your working on, you just know it takes time.  Trust your process and good things can happen.

Understanding Mishits

I thought I'd leave you with a very applicable baseball idea.  We have written many times about good vs bad mishits.  Understanding this can help you develop and raise your baseline confidence to a new level.

As we've discussed already 0-4 never looks good in the stat books right?  While statistically, that is correct, the confidence lies in the details.  Below we will discuss low baseline confidence remarks from both the player and the parent perspective:

Player Response

Example 1: Hitless Game

Low baseline confidence response:

"I really struggled today, man I hope I do better tomorrow."

High baseline confidence response:

"Man, I was all over the pitcher today, just have to get my timing a little better.  I'll get'em tomorrow"

Example 2:  Fly ball caught by the left fielder.

Low baseline confidence reaction:

"I just can't seem to buy a hit!"

High baseline confidence reaction:

"Wow, that pitcher was lucky I just got under it.  That swing felt great!"

Example 3.  Strikeout

Low baseline confidence reaction:

"Striking out is so bad, I can't believe I did it again"

High baseline confidence reaction:

"I struck out, but I took my hacks early and just missed my fastball opportunity.  He better not throw that again"

Parent Response

Example 1: Hitless Game

Low baseline confidence response:

"You really didn't play well today. We're going home to practice until we get it right"

High baseline confidence response:

"You really played hard today. I know that you didn't do as well as you wanted but I'm proud of your effort"

Example 2:  Fly ball caught by the left fielder.

Low baseline confidence reaction:

"He/She hasn't gotten a hit in forever I'm done watching these games"

High baseline confidence reaction:

"Oh what a hit! You were so close to getting that over the fence. Keep swing hard!"

Example 3.  Strikeout

Low baseline confidence reaction:

"I can't believe they just struck out for the fourth time this weekend. What a waste of money"

High baseline confidence reaction:

"Even though you struck out you really looked like you were swinging hard today, the hits will come if you keep swinging like that."

A Visual Understanding of Baseline Confidence
A Visual Understanding of Baseline Confidence

This concept might be new to you or maybe you already practice these types of things to make sure you or your player is always feeling on top of their game. Either way, as baseball gets harder, it becomes even more important to believe in yourself.

Baseline confidence can be a sliding scale.  Hopefully, the better you get at using these techniques, your lowest point of confidence will still be higher than it was a month before.  Therefore not stunting your growth for too long.  When used correctly, these techniques will become a habit, and you won't even know your using them.  Do this, and you've mastered the concept.

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Coaches and Parents: Learn What You Need To Be Looking For In Your Hitter's Swing

Evaluating Hitters

When evaluating hitters what are you looking for? Do you even know what is important or vital for hitters to be doing? We want to help make it easier for you to breakdown your hitter's swings. There are certain mechanics that are a MUST when it comes to being an elite hitter. We're here to show you what those are.

By now you guys know me and have a pretty good handle on how I explain ideas and concepts at Baseball Rebellion Headquarters or here in my articles.

I'm a huge analogy guy.  The reason for this is because I really enjoy simplifying movements to their core and getting rid of the grey area.  For players of all ages but especially younger players, analogies do a great job of cleaning things up inside their heads.

The Important vs. Vital Analogy For Hitters

The important vs. vital concept is no different than anything else.  Like the human body, there are parts of us that are vital to our health and therefore living.  These things are measured as "vitals" in the medical world.

The four main ones are body temperature, heart rate or pulse, respiratory rate, and blood pressure.  Anything other than those four vitals would be listed as important.

In hitting, vitals are concepts or movements that can not be compensated for. Without them, players can "stay alive" in baseball but will ultimately not last.

Important aspects of the swing are things that are nice to have and can really help, but are necessities to be great long term.

I'm sure at this point you're wondering how this relates to hitting.  Well, here it goes.

NOTE: All GIF's are courtesy of and credited to Craig Hyatt (@HyattCraig)

Important Mechanics To Look For When Evaluating Hitters

1. Proper Footwork

Now don't' get me wrong here.  We teach footwork until it's really good but you can find tons of examples in the big leagues of guys doing all sorts of things with their feet in games.

Strong Positioning

It's important to have a solid base of footwork but at the end of the day, if the bat is fast and going up pitch plane, you'll do damage.  Proper footwork will, however, allow hitters to get the most out of what their hips are trying to do. Proper footwork can help you maintain a strong balance throughout your stride and your swing.

2. Back Foot Movement

As stated above, if you look at a few of your favorite big league players you'll notice a variety of back foot movement.  Generally, they all rotate to some degree but the distance forward can really vary, and for some, it may even go behind them.  For the hips to fully clear it is important that the back foot is allowed to move not forced improperly.  The bigger you are the less it may need to move.  For little guys, letting the back foot move can really open up your hip turn and speed.

3. Variation of Leg Kick/Stride

I'm listing this because people often combine the aggressive look of a high leg kick (Donaldson) with a player's power production.  It's important that a hitter find what variation of a leg kick works for them but not everybody has to have their knee in their face.

Prepare

Leg kicks give hitter time to prepare more and therefore give them more power at contact.  Plenty of players have hit the ball really well their whole careers with subtle front leg moves.

4. Perfect Upper Body Mechanics

While perfect upper body mechanics can really be beneficial, we know it can vary.  Ken Griffey Jr. played his whole career with an armbar.  Every game you can see guys adjusting their arms and hands to get to certain pitch locations.  Again, if the bat is fast and on plane, that's all that matters and sometimes a hitter must do something at the moment to just stay alive.

5. The Perfect Stance

I don't believe there is such a thing.  Watch a game and you'll see a variety of stance players use.  Sometimes a player might have multiple stances throughout a season or career.  It is important however to have a stance that fits your own personal tempo and ability.  Don't be afraid to try different things and mimic your favorite hitters.  Just be athletic and you might stumble across who you were meant to be.

Which One Are You?

Big leaguers have had thousands of different batting stances, check out this cool article here on "The Batting Stance Guy."

Vital Mechanics To Look For When Evaluating Hitters

1. Intent

Nothing new here.  If the player does not want to do damage mentally and emotionally at the plate, no mechanical fixes will matter.  They MUST shed any fear or doubt before mechanical adjustments can really help them in games.  Intent starts at practice and reveals itself in games.

2. Vision

The idea of seeing the ball well is a simple one but is widely not worked on.  Hitters must be aware that good vision is a move.  The head must turn inward as the body rotates out. 

Using Vision

Most hitters lose the ball as it approaches them and therefore power and consistency are negatively affected.

3. General Body Awareness

Body Awareness

Hitters will spend the majority of their time away from their instructors.  They have to be able to self adjust quickly at practice and games.  It is the instructor's job to help their hitter's get to a point where they can get themselves out of slumps or stay out of them altogether.

4. Load/Gather/Coil/Separation

Pick whichever one of these words you like, they all mean the same thing.  The body must prepare to fire in some way(there are better ways than others).  If this never happens, hitting the ball hard can't happen.  Be sure you understand to prepare properly and that you know what body parts really swing the bat.

 

5. Angles

Getting the body and specifically the upper body into the proper angle during the load is crucial.  This determines the quality of the previously stated vitals. 

The Angles Game

If a hitter can create the proper angle and spacing they will see vision increase, barrel depth, barrel acceleration, barrel path, and time all go up. 

So yes, get good at this.  I will write a more detailed article on this very soon. For now, check out my Hitters and Angles article to learn more!

Learn how striding with your front hip sets up the body to be in better positions.

Key Takeaways When Evaluating Hitters

The key thing to take away from this is that "vitals" should not be compensated for what might be only "important".  For example, if your back foot is moving so far that it changes your angles/posture than eliminate your back foot move or lessen it.  If you like your stance but cannot load your body properly, change your stance and make it easier to prepare. If trying to have "perfect footwork" keeps you from being explosive then stop worrying about being perfect and smash the ball!

Understand what is vital and what is important and it can really clarify your thoughts when you might be struggling to find answers.

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Pro Concepts- Extension and Release For the week’s Pro Concept, I wanted to highlight a home run hit in the World Series.  Adam Eaton displays a good swing but more...

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How Staying Athletic in Your Swing Can Help You Make Adjustments So far, this postseason has been awesome.  Big names showing up in big moments is what it’s all about. ...

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Hitting the Offspeed Pitch

How to Train to Hit the Offspeed Pitch

The Off-Speed Timing Drill is the most game-like form of timing work that includes changes in the speed of the pitch, a moving ball, and the Rebel’s Rack. We teach timing this way so players can understand that by preparing to turn and then turning as opposed to ‘trying to get a hit’, they have more control and ownership of their body and swing. 

The Off-Speed Timing/Mix Drill allows instructors and coaches to start talking about what having a ‘fastball approach’ really means. A fastball approach allows hitters to prepare to turn for the fastest pitch of the pitcher, and then adjust through their front leg if the pitch is slower. This is only possible if the hitter prepares to turn early, and holds that ability to turn for the fastball. If the ball isn’t in the hitting zone yet, the hitter can ‘sink down’ into their legs and still explosively turn to crush balls they used to be ‘fooled on’ when they didn’t have the trained and deliberately drilled adjustment pattern.

Head Positioning Back

Focus on the hitter’s head staying back and in the same position during the drill. This ensures they maintain proper posture. A back head position both helps the hitter see the ball better and rotate with power through the end range of the swing.

 

Front Leg Engagement

The player learns quickly to prepare to turn and turn-on time and the front leg engages more because they’ve learned the hesitation turn timing drill already. By engaging the front leg the hitter “puts on the brakes” on their turn for a split second to allow the ball to get to the hitting zone.

Multiple Hitters Work at Once

Have two to four hitters timing the same pitches from different spots relative to the plate. Two lefties and two righties can go at the same time as long as all the hitters can see the pitcher and are near home plate (front of the box and slightly farther out towards the dugouts for the front hitters, deep inbox and closer to the plate for backline hitters)

These drills come directly from the Rebel's Rack Certification Course. To gain access to more drills and become Rebel's Rack Movement Progression certified click the box below.

Are you ready to get started with the Rebel's Rack Certification Course?

Creating an Environment for Success in Online Lessons

Last week I received a video back from one of my online lesson clients.  He's a young player who is extremely dedicated to his craft.  He loves to work, and it shows.  In this video, you will see him doing a drill that I prescribed for him.  This drill works on so many things if done correctly and he nailed it.  But this video really isn't about the drill.  It's more about taking ownership of your surroundings, your swing, and ultimately your success. Something hard to do when not in a cage or practice setting with a coach around.

In this video, you will see him in his element.  Just a spare room with some tape on the ground and a mirror.  A kid at work and loving every second of it.  I thought it was worthy of a share and for everyone to enjoy.  The awesomeness is in its simplicity.

Creating Max Hip and Shoulder Separation For this week’s Pro Concept, I wanted to get into something that could help you or your players achieve maximum separation.  We are of......

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Professional Swing Breakdown A couple of weeks ago I highlighted Christian Yelich and how he doesn’t allow his height to be a disadvantage.  I received a ton of positive feedback......

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Online Hitting Lessons

Online hitting lessons are something that is not new. For some people, however, the concept is tough to understand. There is one first question always asked.

"Why don't players just take lessons from someone local?"

Unfortunately, the number of baseball/softball instructors who are armed with good information is small. Because of this, online instruction is sought out.

If you are lucky enough to be within driving distance of these instructors, I highly encourage you to work with them! For the majority of parents and players, this isn't an option.

People who are looking for a proven plan and instructor who will tailor a personalized training progression to the individual client, Baseball Rebellion Online Hitting Lessons might be a great fit! Here are the reasons why.

The Benefits of Online Hitting Lessons:

No More Guessing

I took a lot of lessons growing up. I also gave many lessons while playing, not knowing what I was doing. Because of this, I can tell you that most hitting coaches are guessing. Most regurgitate what they were taught, even if it worked or not. 

But What About the Eye Test?

The human eye is too slow to see exactly what is happening in the swing. Consequently, this leads to inefficient results. Often the player begins practicing things that are detrimental or irrelevant to their swing at best.

This doesn't sound like something most players or parents would want to pay for. As a result of this, we use technology like slow-motion video analysis of clients and professionals. We work to systematically understand optimal body movements and train the movements that produce successful results. 

Detailed Swing Evaluation

Swing Evaluation for Online Hitting Lessons

One thing that we carried over from our in-person lessons to our online lessons is the initial swing evaluation. Before you are taught anything by our instructors your swing is broken down step-by-step. This shows you the things you do well already, as well as the things that need to be worked on.

The evaluation allows the hitter and the instructor to see where they stand and the work they will have to put in. Furthermore, it allows the hitter and their parents to see the inefficiencies of the hitter and how they are going to be corrected. 

THIS MONTH ONLY ALL ONE-TIME HITTING EVALUATIONS ARE ONLY $10

A Clear Plan

Individualized Plan

While some instructors can identify problems in a swing accurately, it is even more important that they know how to improve the issues they see. This is something that takes a great deal of skill from the instructor.

Because of this, many players with similar mechanical problems will respond differently to various drills/cues that are designed to promote a positive change. We make a clear plan that is tailored to each individual client. It is based on their specific age, needs, and learning style.

Quick Feedback and Explanations Anyone Can Understand

Explanation Understood by Anyone

Our online hitting instructors have a great turn around time of no more than three business days. This allows for quick and effective communication of feedback, concepts, drills, and next steps for clients. The feedback given is delivered with the appropriate "voice" for each client. Our goal is to give in-depth and thorough feedback but in a way that is simple and easy to understand.

One of our mottos is that if an Elementary school student can't understand the feedback, then the feedback needs to change! One of my favorite videos to watch is of one of our clients when he was 6-years-old breaking down the swing. His great explanation is a result of the common and easily understood language used at Baseball Rebellion.

A Library of Videos and Drills Available to Watch Anytime

Library of Online Hitting Lesson Drills & Video

One of the best benefits to online lessons with Baseball Rebellion is that you can watch previous feedback and drills an unlimited number of times through HUDLTechnique! While in-person lessons are great, the benefit of watching feedback and drills remotely is not generally offered with in-person lessons.

With Baseball Rebellion & HUDL Technique, you will be using an unbelievably user-friendly app that will give you easy access to submitting video.

Opportunity for Multiple Lessons

You have the ability to share and receive up to 3, 6, or ∞ videos for analysis each month.  Some of these videos may be drills that your expert instructor asks you to perform. Everything is done with the ultimate goal of you improving as a hitter! We have three lesson package to fit your needs! More information on the lesson packages below.

Online Hitting Lesson Packages

-The Bronze Package ($79/month) is best for youth players that are just starting out playing or players who play other sports besides baseball/softball in the off-season. The 3 videos per month allow you to pace your development but still do everything necessary to take your swing to the next level!

-The Silver Package ($119/month) is for serious baseball and softball players of all levels. The 6 videos allowed per month allow you to quickly develop the Baseball Rebellion hitting movements and start seeing improvements at the plate within the first month!

-The Gold Package ($159/month) is for the very few that eat, live, and breathe hitting. This is only recommended if you are ready to invest a large part of your free time in becoming an ELITE Baseball Rebellion hitter! Buyer Beware!

Access to the Instructor of Your Choice

Professional Online Lesson Hitting Instructors

Every instructor at Baseball Rebellion has been trained and is certified in the Baseball Rebellion system of teaching. That being said, all instructors have differing strengths and voices that work better with different players.

You have access to choose your instructor and change instructors at any time. Some clients choose to periodically switch instructors so that they can hear concepts explained in different ways.

This can help clients glean the benefits of the strengths of all the Baseball Rebellion Instructors. All BR instructors are extremely accessible and can be reached through the phone and email easily. Below are example lessons from each of the instructors.

Sample Online Hitting Lessons

JK Whited

Eric Tyler

Garrett Gordon

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How Christian Yelich's Posture Helps Him See the Ball Better

If you are a taller hitter who is struggling to hit the low pitches, learn how Yelich 'sinks' lower to help change his eye level and crush the low pitch

In this week's Pro-Concept video, I want to put Christian Yelich on display.  This guy has been on a tear for the last few years.  There is one interesting aspect of his movements that I wanted to show and that is his height change.

Standing at 6'3, Yelich really uses his height well but I see so many that don't.  What does he do differently that might work for you? HE GETS SHORTER.

In this video you will see how Yelich is able to position himself to:

1) Rotate extremely fast

2) Work the barrel up into and through the pitch plane

3) See the ball better and crush the low pitch

So if you are a taller player who likes to start tall in your stance, there's a good chance this will work for you too.

Twitter video courtesy of @HyattCraig. If you don't follow Craig on twitter, change that now. He provides some of the best hitting videos, GIF's and instructions on twitter!

Cody Bellinger vs. Babe Ruth What Do Cody Bellinger and Babe Ruth Have In Common? Cody Bellinger, MVP candidate of the Los Angeles Dodgers is having an incredible season.  In......

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