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Timing is Everything – Pt 1

It always makes me smile when I have parents bring their kids in and I ask them what they are wanting out of lessons, and the answer I get in return 90% of the time is, “well, she won’t listen to me because I am Dad or Mom, but I am sure she will listen to you!” I smile to myself, because I have been giving hitting lessons consistently now for 2 years and EVERY SINGLE night I hear something come out of my mouth that my Dad used to tell me but I always ignored because I thought he didn’t know what he was talking about. “Keep your eyes on the ball,” or “Wait on it,” or even, and this is the most famous one “Make sure you use your on deck time! Timing is everything!”

I believe there is so much to talk about when it comes to timing especially this time of year. The season is just now kicking up and the girls are getting their first at bats of the season, and due to that I have a lot of anxious hitters. I believe that this is totally normal and I know that as Coaches and parents we think that it is so easy to wait on pitches and create good timing, but truth be told, it is the hardest part about hitting! I agree 100% with my Dad on this one. TIMING IS EVERYTHING!

This particular topic is going to have 3 parts.

1)      Timing with the body

2)      Timing with the pitch

3)      On Deck Circle – Mental prep

Part 1 – Timing with the body

When I talk about timing with the body I am talking about creating a rhythm with your swing. It is so important when a hitter takes her swing that it is always consistent. We need to make sure that when we swing the bat, it is the same off the tee as it is off front toss then ultimately into live hitting. Load, toe touch (I call it “land”) bat speed and leg drive all need to be consistent and connected!

In the swing, the load is what starts everything. Secondly, the front foot needs to land COMPLETELY, and third and finally the swing can be taken. There are 2 big issues when it comes to timing with the body.

1)      The load –

When a hitter is loading back it is crucial that it is always consistent. If a hitter likes a longer smooth load, it needs to stay that way no matter what. If a hitter prefers a shorter load, it needs to be smooth, but always needs to take the same amount of time.

2)      The land –

I call taking a step “the land” meaning the front foot has to land before the hands can come forward or the back heel can lift. So many kids lose their timing with this because they try and swing and step at the same time and this cannot happen. If the foot is not down before the hands come forward, the base of the swing is lost and therefore the hands do not have a stable platform to work from. This is where we see a loss of balance as well as hand path and you may see the hitter fly open or spin off the ball. A lot of this is due to timing with the body as well as not getting the front foot down to create a strong front leg.

So, all of that being said, how can all of this be worked on?

Timing Check List

1)      Make sure the tee is set up correctly when your girls are hitting.

– Middle Pitch – off the front foot
– Inside Pitch – In front of the front foot
– Outside Pitch – Inside the front foot

2)       Evaluate your players.

How many have issues with timing?

3)      When you figure out who struggles, watch them at each stage in practice.

– Do they swing hard or consistently off the tee?
– Is it the same on front toss?
– Is it the same when it comes to live pitching or the machine?

4)   If timing is still an issue and the swing looks consistent as far as load and bat speed, then start looking at the front foot.

– Does this kid step and if so is the foot completely down before the back heel lifts or the hands come forward?
– Also it may seem that the foot is down, but is it the toe that is down, or the entire foot that is down?
– We need to make sure the entire food is down and creating a strong base to drive from. If the foot is not getting down or the hitter keeps losing balance, take away the step! It is more important to have a solid base than to step.

Drills

1)  Check out our free drill called 50/50. This is a great drill to help separate out the swing and make sure that there is a good solid load back as well as the front foot is landing with the hands back! Go to our E-training page by clicking here!