Hitting is not easy. But, you already knew that.
Have you ever been in a hitting slump? Maybe you're experiencing one right now and can't even buy a hit. From tee ball all the way up to the Major Leagues, every hitter is going to suffer a slump at some point during their career. But, rest assured, your next hitting streak is one pitch away.
Keep in mind that the best players in the world deal with hitting slumps. There's a reason that professionals have hitting coaches. You're not alone. With that said, there is no master key when it comes to getting out of a slump. Every player has their personal preferences and tactics on how to deal with a bad hitting streak.
The JustBats.com team has experience playing baseball and softball at all levels. After collecting information from former players and current coaches, these are the eight (8) best tips we've gathered for getting out of a hitting slump.
Don't overthink it
A majority of the time, a hitting slump is not due to improper mechanics or a physical deficiency. More often than not, poor performance at the plate all starts with your thoughts and visualization before you even step into the batter's box. You are your own worst enemy. As the legendary Yogi Berra once said, "Baseball is 90% mental, and the other half is physical."
Some players who go 0 for 4 fall into the trap of thinking they're immediately in a slump and try to get back on track. When, in fact, they never got off track. Never, ever start to feel sorry for yourself or walk back to the dugout pouting. You need to stay positive and believe in yourself, no matter the circumstances. Take it one bat at a time and don't dwell on any previous pitch. A great hitter will learn to handle failure and accept it as part of the game. If you attack each pitcher with a tremendous amount of self-confidence and truly feel as if you're going to get on base, then there is a greater chance that you will.
Use a swing analyzer
Now, if you're confident that your mental state is in tip-top shape and you're worried your mechanics or hitting fundamentals are lacking, then you will benefit from using a swing analyzer. In this day and age, if you're not utilizing technology and sabermetrics during your training sessions, you will fall behind. Remove all guesswork from your batting practice sessions and analyze real-time data about swing speed, time to impact, bat attack angle, power, quickness, and much more. Train smart, develop good habits, and get out of your hitting slump fast by using a swing tracker.
Hit the batting cages
As cliche as it sounds, practice makes perfect. The more repetitions you get in at the batting cage, the more comfortable you will feel during your next at bat. Getting a feel for solid contact and being able to hear the ball crack against your barrel will do wonders for your confidence. Get back to the feeling you had before you were ever in a slump. Worry about only what you can control, and that is your work ethic and attitude. Also, when a player is dealing with a bad streak, they're more likely to hack at bad pitches. Be patient, stay calm, and wait for your pitch.
Before we dive into the practice of visualizing, watch MLB All-Star Evan Longoria discuss the power and importance of using visualization in baseball.
Studies show that seeing is believing and using the power of visualization will have positive outcomes. It is truly an effective form of practice and should be used by players of all ages, regardless if they're experiencing a hitting slump. Evan Longoria hit the nail on the head when he said, "Visualization is another one of those tools that can give you that added confidence and an advantage over the next guy." If you visualize and mentally prepare yourself more than your competitors, the game will start to simplify.
Hard work is the best remedy for a lot of problems. Ensure that hustling is always a top priority in both practice and games. Just because you may or may not be in a hitting slump does not give you an excuse to drop your head and lollygag. In fact, it should cause you to do the opposite and hustle even harder. One of the greatest hitters of all-time, Pete Rose, was famously known by his nickname 'Charlie Hustle.' If he ever got beaned, Rose would make it a point to sprint to first base. We've all heard the phrase, "Sprint it out!" That is exactly what you need to do if you're in a slump. It puts all of the pressure on the defense to make a play. Who knows, maybe that bunt up the third baseline will be the end to your worries if you hustle to first.
Can you get live footage of batting practice? Great. How about live footage of a game at-bat? Even better. If you have a coach or a parent who is willing to watch film and break it down with you, that's the best. Once you find some game footage, go back and put yourself in one of the at bats that you did not like. Critique yourself and find any and all flaws you may see. Focus on your swing, not as a whole but in sections. Give yourself a second look at each pitch and ask yourself what you could have done better. Recognize the problem (if there is one) and then immediately go to the batting cage to work on that aspect of your game or swing. Try to hone in on one or two drills and master them. Don't spread yourself too thin by going out and working on 10 different drills at once. Bruce Lee once said, "I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times."
Get your eyes checked
This is not a joke. When was the last time you got your eyes checked by an optometrist? Never? Your eyes are constantly changing, most likely for the worse.
You'd be surprised how many players go their entire careers without getting their eyes checked to find out that they needed contact lenses the entire time. If you can't see the stitches on the ball very well, there's a good chance your batting average will suffer significantly.
Have the right equipment
Having the right baseball bat or softball bat is a vital part of every player's game. Deciding between length, weight, material, balance, and brand can be a bit overwhelming at times. The JustBats.com Bat Resource Guide can help; it's a buying guide that will walk you through the process of finding, selecting, and caring for your bat so that you can swing with confidence. Questions such as "What is the drop?", "Which barrel diameter do I need to use?", and "How do I determine the length and weight that I should be using?" are all answered. For the latter, you can use the handy weight and height chart below to help find the length that is best for you or your player.
Have you ever been in a slump? How did you right the ship? Share your advice below.
Remember, if you ever have any specific baseball bat or softball bat related questions, or you just want to talk to someone about your hitting slump, please feel free to give our friendly Bat Experts a call at (866-321-2287). You may also shoot them an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or click here to live chat. Don't forget, we're here for you from click to hit!