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Terri Pearson, "Becoming a Great Hitter"
Linda Derk, "Recruiting"

I am often asked by players, "What do I need to do to become a great hitter?" When I am working with hitters, I focus on developing three main characteristics; correct technique, mental toughness, and discipline.


To learn correct technique a hitter must break down the steps of hitting and drill on every phase. (i.e., stride, pivot, lead arm, back arm, hands, etc., which I will specifically address in future articles). When all the parts are perfect they will combine for the perfect whole: the swing. Throughout this process, the hitter will be creating muscle memory. It is critical that hitters perform the mechanics correctly so they are creating correct muscle memory.

During drills, hitters should be visualizing what type of pitch they are hitting (curve, rise, drop, etc.) and the location of the pitch (down-in, down-out, etc...). This will help to train their muscles to react accordingly. Then, when hitters are in a game situation, they will recognize the pitch and automatically react. Only after batters can perform a dry swing with good technique should they begin swinging at a moving ball.


Focused hitters are successful hitters. These hitters have the ability to clear their minds of distracting thoughts, sounds, or other external influences and focus on the task at hand. Mentally tough hitters control their emotions rather than letting their emotions control them. Mentally tough hitters adjust pitch to pitch, rather then at-bat to at-bat. Mentally tough hitters visualize success, then execute at the plate.


Disciplined hitters swing at "their pitch." They control their at-bat rather than letting the pitcher control it. They force the pitcher to throw good pitches because they do not chase bad balls. Disciplined hitters capitalize on pitcher's mistakes. They never let "their pitch" go by. Disciplined hitters know their responsibilities and execute them with greater success.

Athletes can spend 20 minutes or 2 hours a day on hitting. It is not the quantity of time spent that will determine success, but rather the quality of practice. Practice does not make perfect. PERFECT PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT. Going through the physical motions in practice is not enough. Hitters must visualize themselves performing that skill in a game situation. This allows your mind to make the association for your body. In a real game your mind will see A and cause your body to react by doing B. By creating the intensity and pressure of a game situation during drills, hitters can work on mental toughness and discipline in a meaningful way.


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