Why Creating Hitters To Solve Problems Should Be The Goal

Photo by Antoine Schibler on Unsplash

Hitting is talked about a lot more today than at any other point in baseballs history. We are now in a time where players, and coaches can openly share ideas, philosophies, mechanical instructions along with about anything else that might be imaginable concerning hitting. In today’s post I want to focus on what the goal should be for coaches when developing hitters.

We need to think of creating hitters, and teaching hitting as if we are going to start to program a computer. I have said for a long time that if a player makes a mistake it isn’t their fault but rather my own fault for failing to program that player to make the correct movement, or play.

As the coach we are asking players to answer complex problems in a pressurized situation….QUICKLY!

“A macro shot of a Macbook Pro screen with a few dozen lines of code” by Luca Bravo on Unsplash

If a player needs to think, or move in a particular way then we are failing them as a player. How many times do you see a player start to make a play in the field, and then because of a coach yelling or other players yelling where to throw the baseball we see problems occur. The problem with this is that the player has solved the problem naturally. They are going to make what they view as the correct play, but then the computer program is immediately interrupted and given a different set of instructions.

This will continue to be more important as we move through this. Players should not be told what to do during game situations. This is so important as the solution to many of these problems as already started to happen. We need to let players instincts take over. Instincts are defined as:

A natural or intuitive way of acting or thinking. Another way to look at this is the programming that already exists in a player. Alright so let us get back to hitting. So if a player gets his programming during practice we need to consider what coaches should be looking to create.

We need to develop hitters that are adaptable, able to solve issues quickly, powerful. How can we program hitters to solve problems better? What problems can a hitter face in a game situation?

Velocity- How quickly can hitters solve the problem? Obviously faster pitches create less time for a hitter to solve a problem.

Spin- How quickly can a hitter solve which type of pitch the pitcher is throwing? What pitch is coming? What does the hitter solve out of the pitchers hand?

Movement- How much or little does the pitch move? This gets more complicated but this is the crux of what goes on.

Location- Where is the location of the pitch coming in the pitcher hitter matchup? Essential question: Is it a BALL I CAN DRIVE?

Tunneling- All the above contribute to the pitchers tunnelling effect. Basically how late can you as the hitter in identifying the pitch type or pitch location?

Timing- What do I need to do to contact the baseball at the best spot?

Deception- This goes into a bunch of different things but basically this comes down to any type of new factor the pitcher can link into their delivery to create diffculty for the hitter.

These are the types of problems that we as coaches should be looking to help hitters solve. These are important because each of these types of problems will vary in terms of the solution strategies that your hitters will have. But these same hitters will face pitchers that will present different problems that hitters have never solved.

This makes coaching hitters when looked at it from this perspective very interesting. I love talking hitting mechanics, but the problem is that hitters need to be able to recall those programs that coaches, and hitters work on in game situations. That is why making practices so much more difficult than games or matching the intensity is so important. Players need to be able to recall different programs in their minds when it comes to facing the pitchers. So could it be that programming different programs, that allow hitters to most amount of adjustability to be more important. Rarely would a hitter make the same movement in a game, or recall the same program each and every time they are in the game.

Could it be that hitting coaches should be more focused on providing players with more strategies that will allow them to gather the information provided by the pitcher and then adjust on the fly depending on the information presented by the pitcher.

Could it be that these different “solution strategies” could be more important than being able to get into the a certain position, or to preform a certain level or movement?

To be building in these different solution strategies means that we are focused on topics of coaching such as reaction times, perception, information recall, adaptability to different situations, and potentially presenting hitters with tougher problems that will allow them to solve problems more effectively in games.

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Joshua Rodrigues

Joshua Rodrigues

MED: Instructional Tech, Previous: Rays BBOPS, UMass Dartmouth, Salve Regina, Old Colony, Bourne Braves, Baseball EDU