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The BatAction Blog presents baseball batting training tips, baseball hitting drills, and other information to help Bat Action owners produce unbelievable results from working out on the BatAction Baseball Trainer. Baseball coaches, players and parents will find this information very interesting and extremely useful. The Regular posts include new and innovative training drills and techniques to increase bat speed, improve power, improve hitting skill, and increase batter confidence.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

How to Overcome Being Scared of the Ball When You're Up to Bat!

How to Overcome Being Scared of the Ball When You're Up to Bat!
By Janet K Hansen

As a coach, you can teach hitting mechanics all day and even see players improve by leaps and bounds when hitting off a tee or hitting pitches delivered by a pitching machine that grooves every pitch into the strike zone. But one intangible problem often rears its ugly head when live pitching from an uncertain source, like an opposing pitcher, enters the mix-bailing out of the box due to fear of getting hit by the pitch. How can a fear of being hit by the pitch be overcome? It may not be easy in some cases, but it is possible.

It Starts with the Proper Batting Stance!

To begin with, teach your players (or son/daughter) that proper batting stance will help them hit strikes AND shield themselves more effectively should a pitch come at them. Stepping in the bucket prevents a good swing at any pitch, reducing both power and contact. Plus, opening the front foot out and away from the plate exposes the face, stomach, and for guys, the external anatomy to the potential of being hit. Explain that the impact will hurt worse in these locations than if they keep their front foot in place, striding straight toward the pitcher. Then, if they have to shield themselves, they can tuck in their shoulder and head, twisting towards the back arm, and take the pitch off the helmet, butt, meat of the arm or shoulder, or back, reducing the sting considerably. The bottom line is that proper stance is safer and more productive. Here's a key: training your players to get out of the way properly, or shield the more vulnerable spots, when a ball is destined to strike them will give them confidence when they head to the plate. Their attitude will be "if I need to, I know how to duck the pitch or have it hit me where it won't hurt so much." That confidence will translate into fewer worries, and soon, they may not be thinking about it at all!

The Fear is Usually Worse Than the Sting!

This is a tough one, but help your players understand that the fear of being hit is often worse than the actual fact of being hit. The truth is, in a game, or even batting practice, the adrenaline is usually running pretty high, and adrenaline acts as a natural barrier to pain. Taking a fastball off the leg or hip, or even square in the back, usually doesn't hurt that bad, if at all. Help your players comprehend this. If you have a pitching machine, have the players stand at the plate with their gloves and catch pitched balls. When they are in receiver-mode, expecting the ball at the speed a teammate might throw it to them while they're covering a bag, their perspective changes. They may just realize "this ball isn't coming that fast! It doesn't hurt my hand when I catch it... it probably wouldn't hurt me if it hit me." When that realization occurs, the fear problem often vanishes.

Coach Through the Fear and Never Tease Them!

NEVER belittle players for their fears. This will only encourage them to quit or to act out of fear even more. When a player gets hit by a pitch in batting practice or in a game, make sure that they are not injured, and then give them huge kudos if they don't melt into a puddle. Let them hear "atta girl" and "that's my man" when they shake it off. This will strengthen their resolve in the future and help the rest of the team realize it isn't as bad as they fear it might be. "Way to take one for the team!" will boost pride and resiliency, and might even produce the attitude that getting hit by the pitch is a badge of honor and toughness.

Building Confidence in Practice, Delivers Rewards When it Counts the Most!

Build confidence during hitting drills and batting practice. Confidence is the key to overcoming the fear of being hit by a pitch. Boost your players' confidence in their hitting through drills and verbal encouragement, and they'll go to the plate with success on their minds, looking to get on base or drive in runners already there. The fear of getting hit by the pitch will recede as their desire to hit the pitch hard grows.

Janet Hansen is a girls softball coach in NC and helps others understand how to choose the right softball bat for their needs at her softball bat review website, http://www.SoftballBatGuide.com. You can also learn batting tips and join in the discussion along the way!

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Janet_K_Hansen

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Hello Baseball Friend,
I welcome any comments or suggestions. If you have a question or a topic that you would like to read about, please leave a comment and I will try to address that topic as soon as I can. Good luck in the coming season!
Have a great day, Nick