To hit hard, you have to practice hitting hard

Ok, the title statement may seem a bit obvious. But bear with me for a bit while I explain what it means.

Very often in batting practice, hitters will measure success by whether they hit the ball or not. A swing and a miss equals failure, so they’ll do whatever it takes to make contact — even if that means slowing down their bat if they’re ahead.

You can tell them to start the swing later, but that advice doesn’t always translate that well. So what the hitter winds up doing is making a lot of contact in the cage, but what she’s really practicing to do is hit weak ground balls and little infield pop-ups.

One thing I’ve found works to help hitters learn to hit the ball hard is to redefine the measure of success. Instead of letting them measure it by hits, try convincing them to measure it on good swings instead — even if that results in a lot of swings and misses. Keep encouraging hard, strong, fast swings and the hitter will figure out what she needs to do to time it correctly. It won’t be long until those weak grounders and little popups turn into powerful line drives — and even dingers.

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