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When Does an At Bat Begin in Baseball or Softball

When Does At Bat Begin in Baseball or Softball

As a batter, when does my at-bat start?  We talk of one pitch at a time.  A routine.  Not just that I step up there and hit this ball.  Is it? Or is it a little more in depth than that?

I think the most basic is “see ball-hit ball.”  You see that all the time.  I think the question you are asking is: “When does the next at-bat begin, and I think that is something everyone has to look at.  Going into an at-bat is like going into a tunnel.

And you will funnel yourself down to “see the ball-hit the ball.”  The at-bat starts as you watch the opposing pitcher.  Getting his timing.  Getting his release point.  Getting his rhythm. Seeing what pitches he goes to.

Then there is going to be the point where you put on your gloves.  You put on your helmet.  This is where you are.  This is a click in the routine.

You start bubbling within.  Then you are in the dugout with your batting helmet on, and you are watching that pitcher.  And then when that guy goes from the on-deck circle to the plate, you are going out of the dug out.

You are walking to the on deck circle.  You are right there.  You are not walking to the bat rack.  If you haven’t already gotten the bat, you are not ready to hit.

When the batter completes his at bat, before you walk to the plate, it becomes every important.  The routine of clicking it in.

Going up to the plate.  Get your sign from the your coach.  At that point clean out the box and take possession of the box.

You don’t need to get a hit and drive in two to be the star.  You just need to clean out the box.  Then you move to get yourself together and make sure you are there.  A good way to check on that is the breath.  Inhale.  Exhales.  Chad, I know we have gone through this looking at something on the bat that you can see.  It may be the foul pole.  Whatever it is for you.  But it must be something to get your attention that is external.  It’s outside of you.  Because in 10 seconds you are going to be in the box looking at the pitcher.  And we got to have that energy and focus out there.  So here is the gradual process to you to pick the ball up out of the release point, and you are getting your bat to square up the ball.

You go into the pitch and do the pitch, and come out of the pitch.

Then you go into the next pitch.  If you take it for a ball, the lights are green.  Use that terminology and then you go into the next pitch.

Maybe it’s a pitch that the umpire makes a bad call on.  You’re upset.  You need to release that and get to the next pitch.  They you may hit the next ball hard.  Shortstop grabs it.  This isn’t like basketball where if you do everything right, the ball goes in the hoop.  You get two.  Scoreboard says you are wonderful.

This game you can hit the ball hard, someone grabs it, and you are out.

You’ll be upset when you come back.  You take your helmet off and you’re your gloves off.  Sometimes you may want to hold onto your gloves a little while longer before you put them away, and put your bat in the rack.

What is important is getting back to the rail to support your teammates.  That serves two purposes:

  1. It helps your teammates
  2. It gets you out of your head

Now if you need a moment to hold onto the gloves, hold onto them.

So, you go into your at bat pitch by pitch.  Then you come out of the at bat.

For the parents watching, this becomes critical because you see these behaviors. You can see the routines.  Your son or daughter may come into the on deck circle and into the batters box.  If you can validate on how they work the process.  Did they give them the greates chance of success?

After an off game, your son struck out 3 times. And 3 times that game he was back on the rail supporting his teammates.

That’s awesome.  That is a deal.  Believe me, I’ve been there with my own kids.  You tell them on the way home and they just blow you off and pretend they do not hear you, but they hear you.

Lot better than going over the out at bats, and going over the bad umps.  Or the coach should have played you more and next year we will change teams because the coach does not like you.

How about accepting some of the responsibility.  You validate them for how they are going about their business.

And that is what needs to be done.  We don’t have control over those results in most cases in this game.  We need to hold onto something else.  Ken, that’s perfect and I’m glad you explained it so clearly.

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