Every day, I get calls from players, parents and coaches who want to break hitting slumps or to end hitting slumps quickly and efficiently.
The callers typically say things like, “My son is great in the cage, but he is terrible when the pressure is on and when is at the plate.”
“My kid has a great swing. He is mechanically perfect. He works with a top hitting coach. He looks different when he gets up to bat in a big game.”
“I was a great hitter in high school and in college. I have not been able to hit at all, since I started to play pro ball.”
Now, some hitting slumps are more complicated to break than are others. However, there is one thing that has helped lots of baseball players to end frustrating slumps. And that is adjusting what they are thinking or telling themselves when they prepare to hit during a game.
You can think of this idea as kind of mantra or a swing thought for baseball hitters. Hitters need to train their mind to be calm, focused, confident and relaxed. Telling a player to do this usually does not help them to end their slump.
Rather, they need to be trained to approach hitting somewhat differently. Part of this training involves examining and adjusting the hitter’s self-talk related to the art of hitting.
I encourage players to have either one swing thought or an empty mind when they get enter the batter’s box.
The right swing thought can help with focus, relaxation, confidence and actual performance. Some players need to change these swing thoughts from time to time to maintain a fresh and effective outlook about hitting.
Here are some examples of swing thoughts which players seem to find helpful:
I am going to hit it into the gap.
Rip it over second base.
Bat on the ball.
Hit it hard.
Watch the path of the ball.
See it. Hit it.
I’ve done this a million times.
I will trust my swing.
I am a.350 hitter.
Attack any ball in my zone.
I control the plate.
Turn on it
The ball goes where my hands send it.
The ball goes where I tell it to go.
It’s me the bat, the ball nothing else.
The bat is an extension of me.
The bat is my weapon.
Make great contact.
I love this game.
I love hitting.
Crush it now.
Still eyes, still head.
Swing 85 per cent. That will do it.
Easy does it.
See the ball.
Center of the plate.
This is fun.
I’m having fun up here.
Center of the plate fat part of the bat.
Bat meets ball.
It’s just like being in the cage.
Just hit it.