What is the #1 key to hitting? If you asked 100 coaches or instructors, you would probably get quite a few different responses, some of which I’m sure would overlap. Advice like stay relaxed, good balance, proper stance, correct amount of stride, coordination of upper body and lower body through the hitting zone (weight transfer), proper hand action, etc. would come up a lot.
And the most common adage of all that you will probably hear, especially from little league coaches is the famous – “keep your eye on the ball”. While this last one is probably heard most in the younger set, it usually is never heard for the older set. Yet, it still holds true.
The #1 key to hitting is “seeing the ball”.
Now when I say this, it goes beyond the simple notion of “keeping your eye on the ball” – that phrase alone is not enough. It needs to be taken much further by literally focusing on the imaginary window area from where the pitcher will be releasing the pitch.
Sounds pretty basic, right? Wrong. A common mistake is when concentration wanders and the focus is not quite at that target; the attempt to “pick up the ball” is actually done a millisecond later than it should be.
When focus is made on the release right from the get go, it makes a big difference in enabling pitch recognition and “seeing the ball” the whole way in. This then allows for two things to happen naturally:
1) Better decision-making on whether to offer at the pitch or not
2) If pulling the trigger, better technical execution of the swing
Because if you can’t see the ball, you can’t hit at your best.