"Baseball Batting Success Requires Hitting To All Fields"
By Coach Nick Dixon
If you watched the 2008 Baseball College World Series, you quickly realized that great college hitters can catch up to any fastball regardless of the velocity. You saw batters at the CWS in Omaha hit mid-nineties fastballs with power and quickness that is amazing.
The philosophy of most pitching staffs today is that the job of the pitcher is to allow the batter to get them out. The pitcher must keep moving the ball in or out, up or down, and never leave it over the plate. A batter often does not get the same pitch in an at-back and may not see the same pitch in several at-bats.
My point here is that to be a great hitter in today’s high school or college baseball game, you must be able to hit the fastball to all fields, hit the curveball or changeup to the opposite field, and you must not be fooled by pitches in the dirt.
What is the secret to hitting to all fields? There are only two parts to this puzzle. What pitch and location should you expect and adjust to and where should you attack each pitch location. There are two simple principles on "expecting and adjusting" at the plate. Batter's should expect a pitch away and adjust to the pitch "inside of away". The baseball batter should expect a fastball and keep the hands back to allow an adjustment to hit the off speed curve or change-up.
Where each pitch location should be attacked? Here are the correct locations to attack each pitch:
1) INSIDE FASTBALL - Batter attacks it as quickly as possible. Contact with the ball is made in front of the plate and often in front of the "front or leverage" leg. This pitch should be pulled to the batter's "power field". Right-handers should pull the ball to left-field and left-handers should pull the ball to right-field. The amount of hip movement is dictated by how far inside the pitch is. The closer the pitch is to the batter, the more the hip turn movement will be. This pitch location should always be pulled.
2) MIDDLE FASTBALL - Batter should attack this pitch as soon as it gets behind the front foot. The closer the pitch is to the batter, the quicker it will be attacked as it gets inside the front foot. This pitch should be hit back through the box over second base. The amount of hip movement and pulling action will be dictated by how far in or out the ball is over the middle of the plate.
3) AWAY FASTBALL - Batter should attack this pitch as it gets deeper into the "plate' or just inside the back foot's instep. This pitch should be hit to the opposite field. The batter's hip turn and body rotation is limited when hitting the ball to the opposite field.
4) CURVEBALL and CHANGE-UPS - Most of the off speed pitches are attacked at the same location as the away fastball. These pitches are hit to the opposite field. A curve ball that is hung or left inside may allow the batter to turn on it. But, 90% of all off speed pitches are hit deep over the plate at the instep of the batter's back foot.
COACHING POINT: A batter must expect anything with certain counts. When a batter is down 0-2 or 1-2, the batter must even up the stance, take the lower body out of the swing, and us a top-half swing to allow the batter to hit any pitch and to put the ball in play. The batter with two strikes will not take as "big" a swing as a batter ahead in the count 1-0, 2-0, or 3-1.