Batting Practice vs. At Bats in Games
The art of hitting a baseball frustrated me for most of my life. This love affair gives you enough, to keep you coming back. You practice and practice and it feels great and then we leave batting practice or the cage and “it” is gone.
“In the cage my swing feels great and then the game starts and it’s all out the door.” Absolute confidence and then nothing, why does this happen? There are many different answers to this question and all may have validity.
I have settled on several that I found to be key reasons.
The velocity of the game pitcher plays a huge role. In most cases, batting practice obviously does not look the same as what you will face in the game.
Another obvious answer is there is normally no off speed pitches in batting practice. So we would all probably agree that speed and change of speeds and movement plays a huge role.
For me, the most important reason for the difference in batting practice swings and game swings is RESULTS! The game of baseball is obsessed with results. As a player we know that is how we are judged.
Our brain gets involved and we try and do more. We see a fence and want to hit it over. The brain! When results matter, and adrenaline gets involved all things change.
This fact was so real to me I went to the Dominican Republic during an offseason to fix a flaw in my swing. I could do it right time after time in the cage. But I needed in game results to truly make the adjustment.
Practice and the game will always be different. Results matter! The key is to practice with a purpose. Use part of your batting practice to get lose but at the end raise the level of intensity and do the best you can to replicate at bats.
Visualization of the pitcher you may face and what you want to think while the game is going on. This will also take practice but it will help. We can never make it the same but by raise your intensity and focus for a round or two and it will help you translate batting practice to the game.
“Whatever you vividly imagine, ardently desire, sincerely believe, and enthusiastically act upon must inevitably come to pass.” – Walter Knott
Until Next Time