TIMING IS EVERYTHING- Pt 3
This month the topic is Timing, and it goes along with “Timing is Everything” Part I & II, but I am going to talk more about the importance of being “in the hole” and then being in the “on deck circle”.
These two phases leading up to an at-bat are critical. First off, in my opinion, it should be a standard that not only the hitter up to bat and the hitter on deck be ready to go, but also the hitter in the hole. Helmets should be on, bats in hand, at the edge of the dugout. I truly believe this is where timing and mental preparation begins.
“IN THE HOLE”
First let’s talk about being “in the hole”. Being in the hole is the preparation stage. It is where every hitter should be starting with their count as well as developing their plan when they step into the box. It is where they think about situations that may arise when they come up to bat so if a situation does occur, they are fully prepared and know what their job is and how to get it done. Bunting situation or swinging away? How many outs? What is my job?
Secondly, when the hitter steps into the on deck circle they should use their count that was created while “in the hole” and start to match it with their swing as well as with the pitcher that will be faced. Practice swings on deck should be game like -working to keep the hands in high and tight and keeping a level and strong finishing swing. This time should also be used to narrow down possible situations that the hitter may face. Review the circumstances – bunting situation or swinging away? How many outs? What is my job?
Side note: I encourage all coaches to talk to their girls about different situations and what they expect in each situation. Make them understand that both success and failure is a part of the game and as long as best effort and working to be a tough out is achieved, that is all we can ask of them.
The hitter at this point should be thinking nothing but positive and encouraging things about herself and the success she will create. Positive mind set is everything.
“UP TO BAT”
Lastly, stepping into the box. When hitters get into the box it is important to make sure each one has a consistent routine that helps settle them in. As they go through their routine and step into the box, the mind should be clear and the body ready to react in the current situation. By this now, timing should be down, plan should be set, and their job should be clear.